Hypothetical: What if the Lakers were able to team Dwight Howard with Andrew Bynum?

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From CBSSports.com:

Despite assertions to the contrary, the Lakers remain firmly on Howard’s list of three teams he’s asked to be traded to, along with the Nets and Mavericks, multiple people familiar with the situation said. The Lakers’ clear preference is to trade Pau Gasol in a Howard deal and not Andrew Bynum, who was elected as an All-Star starter for the first time this week.

via Postups: Recent coach changes may foreshadow ouster of some GMs – NBA – CBSSports.com News, Scores, Stats, Fantasy Advice.

So take a walk with me down hypothetical lane.

Let’s set up a series of possibilities:

  • Let’s say that Dwight Howard realizes Brooklyn is cold, that the Nets will have to surrender any semblance of talent they may have just to get him in trade outside of Deron Williams, and that he could wind up with Shawne Williams as his third best player.  The Nets still have to be considered the leaders for Howard, but let’s say they don’t land him.
  • Let’s say that the Lakers don’t ride their success out and decide to go for the home run.
  • Let’s also say they manage to get a deal done with Houston (you know, kind of like the one they already had done for an All-Star) to send Orlando the veterans they reportedly want instead of young players. They send out Pau Gasol and whatever else and don’t have to give up Bynum.
  • Let’s say they don’t immediately then swap out Bynum for Deron Williams which would be the next logical step given the abject panic that would result from the Nets. (Again, this is unlikely to happen, Nets fans, we’re focusing on a Lakers scenario here.)

What if the Lakers paired Bynum with Howard?

This is, naturally, insane. You don’t commit $30 million-plus to two centers. Their skill-sets overlap. It’s just beyond crazy. You’re talking about $60 million-plus being committed to three players down the line when the luxury tax goes bazooka.

The negatives are obvious. Who guards out in space against stretch fours? Can Howard cover in space that well? Wouldn’t teams just slot in a versatile oversized three at the four and bomb away? I mean, who’s guarding Ryan Anderson on that lineup?

But the, I mean. Come on. Who’s scoring in the paint versus that team? Two seven-foot centers with freakish athleticism? There would be no rebounds. There would be no shots in the paint. There would be nothing but an all-consuming maw down low. If the Lakers struggled to defend smaller lineups, smaller lineups would have no ability whatsoever to defend those twin towers. As long as there’s a competent swing man to facilitate a pass from one or the other out of a double team to the other one, you’re looking at a pretty unstoppable set.

Naturally, Kobe Bryant could have issues with this. Where are the shots going to come from?

There are a number of flawed ideas with this, but it is tantalizing. Lakers owner Jim Buss gets to keep his precious commodity in Bynum. The Lakers get the two best centers in the league. They overwhelm with size, and Kobe Bryant is set up for that sixth title. It fits well with Mike Brown’s offense. It’s too crazy to work, but it’s amazing to think about.

The reality is that the Lakers won’t get Howard without giving up Bynum, and if they do manage to, they’ll have to move Bynum to return scoring help. That’s how much this Howard situation can shift the league.

 

Warriors say Kevin Durant doing non-contact drills, could return before end of season

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Kevin Durant has been working out on the court before the last couple of Warriors road games, and people watching have taken note — he was moving well, shooting, and generally looking healthy for a guy coming off a grade 2 MCL sprain and a bone bruise.

Reports were out that Durant was on target to return before the end of the season.

Wednesday the Warriors confirmed that.

Teams are vague, realistically what is that timeline?

Durant likely would be on a minutes restriction for those game, but just getting to shake the rust off and work on his conditioning in a real game would help Golden State heading into the playoffs.

Not that they need much help, having won eight in a row. The Warriors have a 2.5 game lead over the Spurs for the top seed in the Western Conference heading into the game between the two Wednesday night.

Check out Lakers’ stretch of hitting 15 straight shots to end third quarter (VIDEO)

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The Lakers lost to the Wizards because they are young, inconsistent, and defend like traffic cones at times.

But that young Lakers core also has its moments.

Los Angeles strung together 15 straight made buckets to end the third quarter Tuesday night. Some of it was flukey, like Corey Brewer driving and finishing contested layups like he’s Kyrie Irving, but there were things Lakers fans should want to see such as D'Angelo Russell draining threes, Jordan Clarkson working hard off the ball and his teammates finding him, and Julius Randle just attacking.

After this run the Lakers led by 13 going into the fourth, but lost the game.

It’s official: Joakim Noah cleared to play, 20-game suspension starts tonight

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What this ultimately means is next season the Knicks should have Joakim Noah available just before Thanksgiving.

Noah has been suspended 20 games for testing positive for a banned substance, but because he was out due to knee surgery the suspension did not start until he was “physically able to play.” Noah said on Tuesday that he had been cleared, but that was just by the team doctors. He also had to be cleared by the NBA’s doctors (because if teams could cheat they would).

That happened Wednesday, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.

Noah’s first season in New York after signing a four-year, $72 million deal has been a disappointment. To put it kindly. He’s not been completely healthy, and any observer of him the past few years had to wonder if he would ever be fully healthy again. He had lost a step from the 2014 Defensive Player of the Year before the Knicks signed him. The Knicks don’t need him to necessarily be that dominant a force again (although it would be nice), but they need to get more out of him and see if he is a fit next to Kristaps Porzingis for now as the Knicks try to build a roster for next season that can play a little defense. And the triangle.

Report: Pacers bring back Lance Stephenson in time for playoffs; deal for three-years, $12 million

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The Indiana Pacers need healthy bodies for their playoff run, and they had three rotation guys injured between Al Jefferson, Glenn Robinson III, and Rodney Stuckey. Wednesday, the Pacers waived Stuckey to create an open roster spot to bring in some help (they were not going to pick up his option for next season anyway).

Who are they bringing in? The prodigal son Lance Stephenson returns, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The surprising part of the deal was the security Stephenson got, as first reported by Adam Zagoria at his blog — three years, $12 million, with a player option for the final year. (This has since been confirmed by other sources.) Other teams were looking at giving Stephenson a 10-day contract, the length of the Pacers’ offer is a surprise.

Stephenson played in six games for Minnesota recently, averaging 3.5 points per game off the bench, but an ankle sprain kept the Timberwolves from really having to decide whether to keep him for the season. Stephenson knows how to create shots for himself and can be a good defender when focused, something we saw with the Pelicans at the start of this season — he became a key part of their rotation averaging 9.7 points and 4.8 assists per game until he tore his groin.

It’s a little strange to see him back in Pacers colors. It will be particularly strange if the Pacers stay in the seven seed and the Cavaliers remain the two-seed setting up a first-round playoff series. Because I don’t think any of us need to see this again.

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