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Lakers shopping for short-term backup center

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With Andrew Bynum still a few weeks away, Theo Ratliff out for a month or more after knee surgery, Lamar Odom’s sore foot and so on, the Lakers may be looking for some help. So that Pau Gasol doesn’t have to play 43 minutes, like he did against the Bucks Tuesday.

Phil Jackson said the Lakers could be in the market to sign a center, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“We have to have some support there interim until Andrew comes back,” Coach Phil Jackson said Tuesday.

The Lakers will talk to the representative for free-agent Erick Dampier, though it might not be a good match for either side. Dampier will want more than a short-term contract, and the Lakers are looking for a little more mobility in the post.

The Lakers cannot offer a 10-day contract (it is not allowed until later in the season) but this deal would be essentially that, a non-guaranteed deal where the guy will be cut loose when everyone is healthy. Dampier would never sign that deal, so we don’t need to get into what a bad fit that would be.

Jake Voskuhl, Steven Hunter and Sean May will get looks, according to the report. Also, for the next couple games expect to see more of rookie Derrick Caracter (already on the Lakers roster).

Players’ union, NBA to set up cardiac screening for retired players

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First it was Darryl Dawkins. Then it was Moses Malone.

Two all-time great players who recently died — and at t0o young an age, 58 and 60 respectively — from undiagnosed heart conditions. Even before that, recognizing the issue the NBA players union and the league itself were setting up supplemental health coverage to provide cardiac screening for retired players, something ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan recently broke.

The joint effort between union executive director Michele Roberts and NBA commissioner Adam Silver — at a time when there still may be potentially acrimonious labor negotiations looming for their sides — is intended to ease the health concerns of its retired players.

Roberts said action from the players’ association on providing screening for its retired players is “imminent.”

“I wish I could give you an exact timetable, but we have to make sure all the components are in place,” Roberts told ESPN recently. “I will tell you we hope to have something sooner than later.”

The Cardiologists are affiliated with the NBA already, and some of the money will come from the league, while the union is both pitching in a chunk of cash and is the one organizing this, according to the report.

It’s good to Roberts and Silver working together on this. While you’d like to think this would be the kind of no-brainer move that the league and union would work together on, in the past the relationship didn’t always facilitate this sort of cooperation even on the obvious.

I’d like to think this bodes well for future labor talks, but I’m not willing to completely draw that parallel.


Stephen Curry drops 30 on Portland in preseason (VIDEO)

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Somebody is in midseason form.

Stephen Curry put up 30 on Portland in a preseason game Thursday night, hitting six threes and getting to the line 15 times over the course of his less than 26 minutes. It was quite a show.

Portland won the game 118-101 behind 25 points from Allen Crabbe and 22 from Damian Lillard. Not a lot of defense in this one but it was fun to watch.