Sorry shoppers, Marc Gasol is probably not on the market

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Marc Gasol has been targeted by essentially every big shopper for the 2012 offseason (whenever that may be).  He’s a big, talented, burly center who has touch, vision, is a willing passer, and shoots a ridiculously high percentage. He’s the ultimate complimentary center in a league painfully short on them. Plus, he plays in Memphis, which everyone just kind of assumes a player would want to escape as fast as humanly possible.

But those in that frame of mind are ignorant of a few facts. One, Gasol went to high school in Memphis, and it’s as much a home to him as Spain is. Two, he’ll be a restricted free agent, which means the Grizzlies can match any offer made to Gasol by New York, Oklahoma City, etc. And three, the Grizzlies, despite their history of bungling big transaction points, have no intention of losing Gasol under any circumstances. From CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger:

A league source cognizant of the Grizzlies’ strategy said Memphis intends to “do what it takes” to retain Marc Gasol, a restricted free agent after the season. “He’s the No. 1 priority,” the source said.

via Kobe passing on labor talks, but not before taking shots at owners – NBA – CBSSports.com Basketball.

Their pattern of approach seems to indicate that’s the case as well. If you notice, they haven’t been aggressive in dealing with last year’s All-Star Zach Randolph, arguably the best player on the team, knowing his age is getting higher and his price will also take its toll. They have not only failed to commit to O.J. Mayo, they’ve sent him to the bench and have questioned him at every turn, leaving many to wonder if Mayo is feeling isolated in Memphis since Lionel Hollins took over. But Gasol? The refrain has been consistent, as has the organization’s commitment to him.

When I spoke to Gasol last week before their game against L.A. , Gasol reiterated that he’d consider playing in Spain in the event of a lockout, but that he loves Memphis. There’s been no indication from front office officials that they’ll even consider losing Gasol, even if that decision means losing Mayo and/or Randolph.

Gasol is one of the premier free agents on the market this summer. But in reality, he’s likely not on the market at all.

 

James Dolan’s MSG threatens to sue Steve Ballmer’s Los Angeles Clippers

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This story requires a little background.

The Forum in Inglewood was best known for decades as being both fabulous and the home of the Los Angeles Lakers, back from the Jerry West era and through Magic’s “Showtime” teams. Then in 2001 the Lakers moved downtown to Staples Center, and after that the Forum went through some rough times. It was a number of things, including a mega church for a while, but mostly it was empty. Then several years ago the Madison Square Garden company (owned by Knicks owner James Dolan) bought the Forum, fixed it up, and started booking it again. Now the Forum is one of the hot major concert/event spaces in Los Angeles again, and it’s about to get a boost because it’s adjacent to where Stan Kroenke is building the new Los Angeles Rams stadium. Hello gentrification!

Now enter Steve Ballmer. The Clippers’ owner wants out of Staples Center and the Lakers’ shadow, so he has proposed to build his new arena in Inglewood in another space adjacent to the Rams stadium — land that MSG used to lease. As you might imagine, Dolan’s MSG is not thrilled — they are already battling with Staples to fill their space, now a state-of-the-art arena is moving in down the street.

In a proxy Knicks/Clippers battle, MSG may sue to Clippers and Inglewood in an attempt to block the new building. Here is what Dolan’s attorney in the case, Marvin Putnam, told the Daily Breeze in Los Angeles.

“The mayor made it extremely clear that he needed that piece of land back for a kind of ‘Silicon Beach,’ ” said Marvin Putnam, a partner with the law firm Latham & Watkins, which filed the damage claim that serves as a precursor to a lawsuit. “They’re attempting to flat-out trick people.”

(Inglewood Mayor James) Butts declined to comment, and there is no proof that he made those statements. But when Madison Square Garden Co. relinquished the parking lease to the city, its approved contract states that the land would not be used for anything that would hurt the Forum’s business, according to documents.

Right now the Clippers and Inglewood are in an exclusive negotiating agreement to come to terms on the sale and plans for the property. Putnam told the paper — and the Inglewood City Council — that if the deal goes forward they will sue to block it.

It’s impossible to say how this will turn out, although as a former government reporter I will say these cases tend to be decided in favor of the side about to spend a ton of money on a new building.

 

Jaylen Brown’s #drivebydunkchallenge video is awesome

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I love the drive by dunk challenge (if you prefer, the #drivebydunkchallenge), it would be the best thing on NBA Twitter this summer, if it wasn’t for Kyrie Irving.

But the best one yet comes from Boston’s Jaylen Brown.

He steals the ball, and the best part is the guy who comes over like he’s going to stop Brown from throwing it down.

Nets’ Jeremy Lin: ‘We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says’

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The Nets went 20-62 then traded their best player (Brook Lopez) for a worse player (D'Angelo Russell). Brooklyn’s biggest free-agent signing this summer (Otto Porter) plays for the Wizards. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert are nice developmental pieces but hardly seem on the verge of breakthroughs.

Still, Nets guard Jeremy Lin expects big things next season.

He set expectations in an Instagram Live video (hat tip: AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today):

We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says.

The Nets are on the right track given their asset constraints. Though worse than Lopez now, Russell – eight years younger and on a low-paying rookie-scale deal – is more valuable. Brooklyn made the favorable swap by absorbing Timofey Mozgov‘s awful contract, a wise use of assets considering the difficulty of attracting free agents. An aggressive offer sheet for Porter was a reasonable swing in that situation, as well.

But that’s all helpful in the long run. In the short term, the Nets are almost certainly stuck as lousy. Maybe they can sneak into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, but even that is a huge longshot.

Not that Lin cares what I say.

Check out Top 10 blocks from Summer League (VIDEO)

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When you think of Summer League basketball, sharp defensive rotations is not the first thing that comes to mind. Defense, in general, tends to be an after thought.

But there were some great blocks.

Here are the top 10 blocks from the Las Vegas Summer League. Enjoy the flashes of defense from Vegas.