Chris Paul is not going to the Lakers, they pulled out of the running for him. He’s not going to get traded to the Knicks, even Paul realizes they don’t have the young assets to make the move (even if some Knicks fans don’t).
If he can’t land there, he wouldn’t mind playing along side Blake Griffin for the Los Angeles Clippers, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com.
But it’s not that simple.
To make the deal work the Clippers are likely going to have to throw in Eric Gordon and/or Minnesota’s unprotected first round pick for this draft (to which the Clippers have the rights), along with Chris Kaman, Eric Bledsoe and Al-Farouq Aminu. Steep price, but not an unfair one.
But the Clippers are not going to pay that price without some assurances from Paul.
The Clippers know Paul is going to want to play out his contract and sign as a free agent even if he doesn’t change teams (under the rules of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, if he gets an extension it can only be for four years but if he becomes a free agent then re-signs with the same team he can get five years).
What the Clippers want Paul to do right after the trade is pick up his option year for next season. This would give him one more year guaranteed under his current deal, then he would be a free agent in the summer of 2013.
When presumably the Clippers think they could sign him. This is where Donald Sterling the Clippers owner being a guy nobody likes comes in. Maybe Griffin and Paul can change the complexion of the Clippers on the court, but there is still one problem looming — Sterling. And if you think that what an owner does doesn’t reach into the locker room you underestimate Sterling. Or you don’t remember Sterling heckling Baron Davis while Davis was still a Clipper.
Still, this is a move the Clippers have to make, if they can get Paul to give them that year.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.
On Friday night, the Lakers announced that they’re hiring Luke Walton as their next head coach, effective as soon as the Warriors’ playoff run is over. It’s a good hire, but it’s especially interesting given Walton’s close relationship with Phil Jackson and the rumors that never seem to go away, that Jackson might be set up to return to the Lakers to run the team alongside fiancée Jeanie Buss after next season, when he has an opt-out in his contract with the Knicks.
But that doesn’t mean Walton will be running the triangle, as he said in his first comments to reporters since the news broke.
Via the Orange County Register‘s Bill Oram:
Regardless of whether Jackson eventually gets back in the picture in Los Angeles, Walton has been a successful assistant in Golden State and has the right temperament to lead the Lakers into the post-Kobe era.
Stephen Curry might be back sooner than expected. It’s been one week since he suffered the sprained MCL in his right knee that led the Warriors to rule him out for at least two weeks, but head coach Steve Kerr said Saturday that there’s at least an outside chance he could play Tuesday in Game 2 of Golden State’s second-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Via ESPN.com’s Marc Stein:
Obviously, the smart money is on Curry not playing this early in his timetable. But the fact that it’s even on the table would seem to indicate that, barring a setback, he’ll be back for at least some of the series, which tips off Sunday.