Reports: Lakers pull out of trade for Chris Paul, will trade Lamar Odom to Dallas, Dwight Howard move next?

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And the strange, strange saga rolls on.

After nearly a week of negotiations and one failed attempt by the Los Angeles Lakers to trade for Chris Paul in a three-way deal with the Houston Rockets which was blocked by the league, ESPN reports that the Lakers “have pulled out” of the Paul trade. The deal has “fallen apart” according to Yahoo! Sports. But what may be of even more interest is what comes next.

ESPN’s Marc Stein also reports that the Lakers will trade Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks for the trade exception they obtained in a sign and trade with New York for Tyson Chandler. Getting past the general insanity of the past two paragraphs is this: the Lakers are now in prime position to trade for Dwight Howard and take on Hedo Turkoglu’s massive contract, a sticking point for any trade for Orlando.

Kaboom.

So the big loser in the short term is Paul, though it’s entirely likely that the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, or Golden State Warriors will come through with a significant offer for Paul to move him from New Orleans in the coming days. Meanwhile, Lamar Odom is on his way to the reigning NBA champions who feature an All-Star, Hall-of-Fame, Finals MVP player at his natural position. The Mavericks are going to have an entirely bizarre lineup this year, but they’re also going to have a tremendous amount of depth, even if they have no center.

To review: Mark Cuban blocks a trade for the Lakers to get Chris Paul, then inserts his team into conversations and winds up with Lamar Odom, using the trade exception he gained from letting his center go, which will allow the Lakers to pursue the best center in the league.

Sure, why not? At this point you could tell me the Lakers are trading for Marvin the Martian with Fruity Pebbles and two Laker Girls and I’d believe you. The strangest year in the NBA rolls on.

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.

 

Memphis Grizzlies sign former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies have signed former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, a second-round pick in last month’s NBA draft.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Brooks was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 45th overall pick. The Grizzlies acquired him in exchange for a future second-round pick.

Brooks, 21, averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a junior at Oregon last season. He was named the Pac-12 player of the year and helped Oregon earn its first Final Four berth since 1939.

 

Report: Even after Kyrie Irving requests trade, Carmelo Anthony still focused on Rockets, not Cavaliers

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Carmelo Anthony was reportedly willing to waive his no-trade clause for the Rockets or Cavaliers. Cleveland never seemed overly interested, but Houston was. Anthony became set on the Rockets, even reportedly expecting a trade to Houston.

Then, Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavs.

That has thrown everything for a loop. Maybe Cleveland is more keen on trading for Anthony now? The Knicks are reportedly interested in trading Anthony and draft picks for Irving.

But any deal still depends on Anthony’s approval, and it’s now unclear he’d still grant that for the Cavaliers.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

However, a source close to Anthony said late Friday that the All Star forward is focused on getting a deal done with Houston.

Consider this another indication LeBron James will leave Cleveland next summer. Of course, Anthony might have other reasons for preferring Houston. But when reading tea leaves on LeBron’s future, this is a clue.

I doubt LeBron has completely decided his plan, and he hasn’t even necessarily shared his thinking with Anthony, a close friend. Remember, LeBron edited his coming-home essay while on a flight with an unknowing Dwyane Wade, another close friend. But it was one thing for LeBron to strand Wade in Miami, a desirable city where Wade was happy even before LeBron arrived. It’d be something else entirely for LeBron to ditch Anthony in Cleveland. If LeBron is considering leaving, maybe he’d tell Anthony to stay clear.

Anthony could also be operating without hearing directly from LeBron. But if LeBron’s friend believes LeBron might leave, that’d still say something (though obviously not as much).

Back to the possibility that Anthony prefers the Rockets for other reasons. What happens if New York and Cleveland agree to a trade? Does Anthony still hold out for his top choice? Or does he relent and accept what was once his second choice? For now, it seems as if he’s still angling for Houston and will cross other bridges if he reaches them.