Smith was asked if Griffin was 98.9% back after having missed all of last season because of a stress fracture in his left kneecap.
“159.7531 percent,” he said, smiling. “Blake’s looking real good. He’s determined. I’m happy for him. Happy he’s back on the court. You know he’s going to do some special things this year…
“I can say this. I never played against Karl Malone,” Smith said. “But he has the strength of Karl Malone but can run and jump like LeBron James.
“He can definitely make LeBron plays, defensively. Out in the open, he can make something special happen. He’s kind of like a specialist. He has the best of both worlds. The physical strength, the power and he can run like a deer.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he was running a 40-yard dash with a car in the way, if he wouldn’t hurt the car versus hurting himself.”
Remember that in a draft that gave us Tyreke Evans and Brandon Jennings and Stephen Curry, Blake Griffin was the sure thing first pick. Hands down the best player in that class. We just forget because we didn’t watch him play, but this year we will and things should be different.
But it’s the Clippers, we need to see it on the court.
Gordon Hayward dunks on Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thon Maker (videos)
The Lakers took on the salary of Jose Calderon this year so they could get a couple second-round picks from the Bulls (Chicago got him from New York in the Derrick Rose trade), but even with the previous regime in Los Angeles the aging point guard was never part of the future.
Sources told ESPN that it’s not yet a certainty Calderon will secure his release from the Lakers in the coming days, but the sides are indeed discussing the options as Wednesday’s playoff eligibility deadline nears….
Sources say that Calderon, if he winds up hitting the open market, would instantly become a target for both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.
Cleveland may also have interest if their plan to land Deron Williams when he is bought out by Dallas goes awry.
Calderon, 35, was not part of the Lakers’ regular rotation, playing in just 24 games. He can still knock down a shot if he has space and can set his feet, and he still has a high hoops IQ and can see the floor, but his athleticism has faded, and that can leave him exposed. Particularly on defense.
Players are being waived now so they clear in time for teams to sign them by March 1, after that said players are not eligible for playoff rosters.
There are better players to hit the waiver wire in the coming days — D-Will, Andrew Bogut, Matt Barnes — but Calderon is going to land somewhere. He’d be a solid third point guard and veteran presence for a playoff run.
Marquese Chriss blocks Bobby Portis, who gets testy (video)
The time off during the All-Star break did Dwyane Wade some good.
The Bulls guard turned back the clock on Friday night, leading the Bulls with 23 points and topping it off with this dunk that proved to be the dagger, sealing a Chicago win. The Suns were convinced Wade was going to run the shot clock way down before making his move and they lollygagged into position — so he just blew past everyone for the poster slam.