Chris Paul to Clippers deal dies, league’s demands too steep

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Chris Paul is not going to Los Angeles. Not to the Lakers because David Stern killed the deal and now not to the Clippers because he and the league drove the asking price too high, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo and multiple other reports.

And now you have to wonder: Next time a league GM sees Hornets’ GM Dell Demps’ number come up on his phone, will he just send it straight to voicemail? Who is going to want to trade with the Hornets now?

There appear to be several versions of the deal offered but the league — read David Stern — wanted there to be Eric Gordon, Eric Bledsoe, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu and a 2012 unprotected first round pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Clippers were reluctant to part with Gordon and really would not part with Gordon and the pick and Bledsoe. So the Clippers walked away from the table, which is a reasonable thing to do because they are a good team with those guys. It is possible this deal gets revived because the league relents, but for now it is dead.

This is very similar to how the CP3 to the Lakers deal fell apart, in that the league decided it was not enough. The difference was in the Clippers case Demps thought he had the autonomy to make a dead and reached one all sides agreed to. In the Clippers case, the league was dictating terms to Demps and the Clippers from early on, and were driving such a hard bargain they killed the deal. (Sounds a lot like the lockout, doesn’t it?)

There are suggestions that the league doesn’t think it can get as much money in a sale of the Hornets if Paul is not on the team. But no owner who would buy the team is stupid enough not to know that Paul is gone at the end of the year, and any smart owner would want something to start rebuilding on in return. Like either of the Los Angeles deals.

If there is no deal by the trade deadline for Paul, he will leave the Hornets next summer as a free agent and the team will get nothing. He has told them he will will not sign an extension to stay with the franchise. (That is not about the city of New Orleans, it’s about the franchise and ownership.)

There is one other aspect to this: There are rumblings the union may file a collusion lawsuit against the league on behalf of Paul. In the case of the Lakers deal, while the league denies this there was clearly pressure from the other owners that helped kill that deal, they did not want to see the big market, powerhouse Lakers improve right after a lockout about competitive balance.

Akron store already selling “Stay Home 23” shirts, hats as LeBron decision looms

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We’ve seen this movie before.

There is all sorts of buzz around the league that LeBron James has one foot out the door in Cleveland. While people around LeBron denied he the rumor he is “100 percent” leaving, good luck finding any league source who thinks he is staying put next summer. Nothing is set in stone, his options — including staying — remain open, but we’ve all been down this road before.

The hometown fans are going to do their part to urge LeBron to stay.

Fan sentiment has some pull with LeBron (he came back to win the city a title). However, what matters more is a sense of a plan to keep the Cavaliers as title contenders for the coming years — and that is more than just Dan Gilbert paying the tax. The Cavs did nothing this summer that got them closer to beating Golden State, and while they swung for the fences with Paul George, what they really needed was wing defenders and athletes, and they didn’t get those either. Luc Mbah a Moute signed a one-year deal for the minimum somewhere else. Instead, Cleveland overpaid Kyle Korver.

Despite all that, the Cavs remain the team to beat in the East. If Cleveland gets to the Finals — LeBron’s eighth in a row — and they win or make it close, he may see staying as his best option. A season can be a lifetime in the NBA in terms of shifting attitudes. Still, I wouldn’t bet the rent on it.

Marshall Plumlee gets camp invite, partially guaranteed contract from Clippers

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The Los Angeles Clippers have 14 fully guaranteed contracts on their roster, plus a partial guarantee for DeAndre Liggins (who likely is on the roster opening day). They also are pretty much set at center with DeAndre Jordan and Willie Reed (plus when they go small they can play Blake Griffin there, something I wish they’d do a little more).

That said, Doc Rivers — just a coach now — needs bodies for camp, so in comes former Duke star and Knick Marshall Plumlee, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Plumlee played in 21 games for the Knicks last season, logging a total of 190 minutes. He bounced between New York and the D-League Westchester Knicks, when down he averaged 12.3 points and 9.8 rebounds a game.

He’s not making the Clippers’ squad (barring injury), but he could show well and get noticed by other teams. Over the course of a season, there will be a need for bigs as guys go down injured, Plumlee is getting a chance to show how his game has developed. And he makes some money in the process.

Kawhi Leonard is smiling, and that confuses Manu Ginobili (PHOTO)

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Much like Kevin Durant, it appears that Kawhi Leonard is having a great summer.

In fact, this appears to be the Summer of Kawhi Smiling. Which, according to one of his longtime teammates, is a bit confusing.

When the Spurs posted a photo of Leonard with a big old grin on his face to their Twitter feed recently, San Antonio legend Manu Ginobili responded asking the team whether something was up.

Specifically, Ginobili said that he had seen more photos of Leonard smiling in the past two days then he had in six seasons as a teammate.

Via Twitter:

You can leave an anonymous tip about why Kawhi Leonard is smiling so much by contacting the produce manager at your local H-E-B.

Kobe is the Lakers’ all-time leader in steals (and other trivia rookies don’t know)

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“He played 20 years … I mean, yeah I guess.”

That’s what Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball had to say in this video after learning that Kobe Bryant was the all-time leader in steals for his franchise. You have to hand it to him, it is a little surprising. Even more surprising is that Bryant has 220 more than Magic Johnson at No. 2.

In a video posted to YouTube by Complex on Saturday, rookies tried to answer questions similar to the one Ball pondered over, like what team drafted their head coach, who the NBA all-time leading scorer is, and what day the first game of the season starts on.

A lot of the responses were pretty funny, including the guys getting wrong what year Adam Silver became NBA commissioner. Poor David Stern has already been forgotten about!

Meanwhile, Ball looked the sharpest. He’s going to come in handy when the Lakers play pub trivia.