Mitch Kupchak

Lakers GM Kupchak calls trade “unlikely”

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They just lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s inconcievable. So you’d have it right if you thought Lakers fans were talking about trades today. And by talking about we mean obsessing over and demanding.

Not going to happen.

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said as much at the unveiling of the Jerry West statue outside of Staples Center on Thursday. He called a trade unlikely.

Why? Two reasons.

One, the Lakers don’t have any tradable assets. What they have a bunch of guys over 30 locked into long term deals — Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Steve Blake, Derek Fisher. Those can’t really be moved. Nobody wants Luke Walton either. Matt Barnes and Shannon Brown would draw interest but you couldn’t get anyone back nearly as good for what they make. The only tradable asset L.A. had was Sasha Vujacic and they already moved him for Joe Smith and some second round picks (and some financial savings).

Andrew Bynum? Please. Stop it. The Lakers are not moving him (he’s a favorite of Jim Buss, and he calls the shots). And while we’re at it, trading Bynum for Carmelo Anthony would kill the Lakers shot at a title this year because their already spotty defense would become dramatically worse. I mean, unless you want to see the Spurs in the finals.

Secondly, this is a team that has won the last two titles. Talk to scouts and executives around the league and they see the Lakers as bored enough to lose to the Cavaliers but talented enough to wake up for the playoffs and still win it all. It’s going to fall to Phil Jackson (and Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher) to wake this team up. But they are a sleeping giant that the rest of the league hopes keeps napping.

Chris Paul, after breaking finger, intends to play in Clippers preseason game tomorrow

Chris Paul
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Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.

The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.

Here’s confirmation.

Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:

Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.

Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.

Report: David Lee, Tyler Zeller in line to start for Celtics; Jared Sullinger, Jonas Jerebko out of rotation

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 08: David Lee of Boston Celtics attacks during the friendlies of the NBA Global Games 2015 basketball match between Real Madrid and Boston Celtics at Barclaycard Center on October 8, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.

It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.

A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.

That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.

Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.

Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.

I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.

This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.