ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard has the report:
The Minnesota Timberwolves offered to trade Michael Beasley to the Los Angeles Lakers for a first-round draft pick, but the Lakers turned them down, according to a league source.
While Beasley, a talented and athletic small forward, would fill one of the Lakers’ greatest needs, the Lakers rejected the offer because they do not want to add to their luxury tax bill, according to the source.
Broussard goes on to explain that Lakers owner Jerry Buss is no longer willing to simply spend money and have to take the resulting luxury-tax hit, which was the primary motivation behind the Lakers giving away Lamar Odom for the Mavericks’ trade exception when Odom asked to be traded before this off-season. The Lakers may also be saving that trade exception for a possible Bynum-for-Howard swap, although it’s looking increasingly unlikely that Howard will be moved before this year’s deadline.
Offensively, Beasley would certainly be an upgrade over Metta World Peace, who has looked completely washed-up this season and currently has an abysmal PER of 7.07. Beasley is a talented scorer who would help the Lakers stretch the floor — Beasley is currently shooting 46% from beyond the arc, and the Lakers are currently 29th in 3-point accuracy.
However, the former #2 pick does still have some glaring holes in his game, which would explain the Lakers’ reluctance to trade for him. Beasley has been shooting the ball well from deep, but his overall FG% is just 44%, and he’s struggled at the line while turning the ball over nearly twice as often as he makes an assist. The former Kansas State’s star’s defense has also been a major issue throughout his career, which would make him a bad fit for Mike Brown’s defense-first coaching mentality.
Beasley is certainly talented — he showed that with an incredible scoring performance against the Clippers last night — but it looks like he has too many bad habits on the court and too much baggage off of it to make him a desirable target for the Lakers right now. We’ll see if anything comes of this rumor, but I would be surprised if Beasley wears a Laker jersey this season.
The second round was supposed to be when things got exciting. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs put on an absolute clinic at home, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 124-92 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Just about everything went in for San Antonio, particularly for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 63 points. How dominant were they?
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
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.