Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns, Game 4

Report: Warriors in talks to land Robin Lopez from Suns

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The emergence of Marcin Gortat as a quality center in the Suns up-tempo offense has left them with a problem a lot of teams would like to have — two quality centers, when you remember they have Robin Lopez as well.

The Golden State Warriors would like to help them out with that by offering a trade, according to a tweet from John Gambadoro of 620 KTAR in Phoenix.

Suns and Warriors have discussed trade scenarios in which Robin Lopez goes to Golden State and 11th pick plus (Ekpe) Udoh ends up with Phoenix

This makes some sense for the Warriors in their shift toward a more defensive mindset — Lopez is the kind of defensive minded center they need. He can play in an up-tempo offense. His hair will not look the least bit out of the ordinary in the Bay Area. There’s a lot going for him there.

As for the Suns, the question is how high are they on the potential of Udoh? Also, they already have the No. 13 pick, do they really want the No. 11, too? Gambadoro says the Suns want to draft a point guard and a power forward to address needs in this draft (although are the guys they get at that point in this draft really going to address those needs?).

Still, they seem to be talking. Another potential draft day trade to watch.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at NBA.com.

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.