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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.

 

Report: Paul Pierce probably wants to come back and play for Clippers, but still thinking it over

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The Los Angeles Clippers still have Paul Pierce under contract. Not many minutes for him, but he has a roster spot.

Pierce probably wants come back but is thinking it all over, according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

Pierce has been debating this with himself for a while now.

Pierce saw a dramatic drop off in production and how much he was used last season by Rivers. Pierce averaged a career-low 6.1 points per game on an also career low 48.9 true shooting percentage. His PER of 8.2 was also a career low. You get the idea. By the end of the season Pierce was mostly an afterthought for Doc Rivers (although he did start one game after Blake Griffin was out and the Clippers’ playoff dreams were toast).

Pierce would be more mentor than a key player on the court, but he would be on probably the third best team in the West, a team that capable of making a deep playoff run. Does he want to do that for one more season? You know Doc would welcome him.

Andrea Bargnani signing in Spain

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 14:  Andrea Bargnani #9 of the Brooklyn Nets takes a shot as Andrew Nicholson #44 of the Orlando Magic defends at Barclays Center on December 14, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of  New York City.NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Andrea Bargnani said he would’ve played “for free” to prove himself with the Nets last season.

That would have been about the right price.

Bargnani suffered through a miserable season — full of injury, poor individual play and losing. Brooklyn eventually bought him out.

Now, the entire NBA might be finished with the former No. 1 pick.

Bargnani signed with Spanish team Saski Baskonia.

At age 30, he faces a long road back to world’s top league — if he even wants to try. Bargnani is a one-dimensional jump shooter, and he doesn’t even shoot that well.

It was ridiculous for the Knicks to trade a first-rounder for him, and that was three years ago already. Bargnani is only further from his peak now.

Maybe he carves out a niche in Europe, where his lack of physicality is less likely to be exposed. But Bargnani is no longer an NBA player.

Pat Riley: Dion Waiters ‘is not a room-exception player’

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 12: Dion Waiters #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder reacts after hitting a basket against the San Antonio Spurs  during the first half of Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 12, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
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The Heat signed Dion Waiters to a room-exception contract.

Heat president Pat Riley, via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:

“Dion is not a Room Exception player. He wanted to play for the Miami Heat and chose to forgo other more lucrative financial opportunities to be a part of our championship organization. We are very honored that he made the commitment to come to South Florida and sign with us. Dion is young, athletic and explosive, which fits in with our roster. He will add a great dimension for us at the off-guard spot. I really like the depth and versatility that we now have in our perimeter positions. Welcome aboard Dion!”

I’m really curious about those “more lucrative financial opportunities.”

The Thunder didn’t think Waiters was worth his one-year, $6,777,589 qualifying offer. They earmarked that money for a Russell Westbrook renegotiation-and-extension and don’t define the market themselves. But every team has other uses for its money than paying Waiters, and none deemed Waiters a priority.

How much could Waiters have gotten next season if he signed a multi-year deal rather than the 1+1 he inked with Miami? The whole “Waiters betting on himself” narrative falls apart if nobody was willing to bet more more on Waiters.

The 24-year-old is talented. But his ball-hogging, drifting focus and me-first attitude can be infuriating.

It behooves Riley to paint Waiters as more than a room-exception player, because that enhances Riley’s reputation as someone who lures free agents for less than market value. A big-time compliment from the influential Riley might have even part of Waiters’  contract negotiation.

But there’s a reason Waiters signed for the room exception. It has something to do with the type of player he is.

Report: Clippers exploring leaving Lakers at Staples Center, getting their own arena

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29:  Jamal Crawford #11 of the Los Angeles Clippers pulls up for a shot between Brandon Bass #2 and D'Angelo Russell #1 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 29, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The Clippers don’t just play second fiddle to the Lakers in Los Angeles. They play second fiddle to the Lakers in their own arena.

Unless the Clippers want to move from the NBA’s second-biggest market, the former isn’t changing.

The Latter?

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:

The Clippers want to escape the Lakers’ shadow. Leaving the Staples Center wouldn’t turn the Clippers into L.A.’s team, but it’d give them a new avenue for attention — and revenue.

Of course, if the Clippers stay in the Staples Center, they’ll want the best terms possible. Leaking interest in a new arena only helps their bargaining position.