Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns

Pau Gasol remaining calm as trade deadline approaches


Over the next week, Pau Gasol’s name is going to come up a lot in rumored trade talks. Most of which have little if any foundation, but the rumors will be out there.

Gasol said it doesn’t bother him anymore. He’s moved past it.

Here is what he said, via the Los Angeles Daily News.

“I don’t know what the state the moves and (team’s) intentions are right now,” Gasol said the other day when asked about his phone conversation with Kupchak. “I have an understanding where things are, where he stands and where I stand.

“(Kupchak) told me just play the way you play. Keep playing hard and keep playing well and then we’ll see. It was kind of calming to have that feedback.”

Except for a tough game against Miami (where LeBron James did a good job defensively on him), Gasol has shot over 54 percent in each of the last six games. He has looked like his old self.

The Lakers were ready to move Gasol before the season in a three-team deal that netted them Chris Paul. That made sense — Paul is one of the 10 or so transcendent superstar players in the NBA. Gasol is a 1A guy — the guy who needs to be paired with an elite guy.

However, the Lakers are just like the Celtics with Rajon Rondo (who also were willing to move that player for CP3) — unless you are getting a true superstar back, there is no point in trading the guy in all these rumors. The Lakers are not shopping Gasol around. If you want him, you better have a Dwight Howard level player to send back.

Gasol didn’t like seeing his name in all the rumors, but he has clearly learned to deal with it.

76ers tie NBA-record losing streak, dropping heartbreaker to Celtics

Isaiah Thomas, T.J. McConnell
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After a rare period of on-court competence, the 76ers led the Celtics by five with two minutes left tonight.

Then, Philadelphia snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

The 76ers yielded a 9-0 run to close an 84-80 setback.

They’re now 0-16. Combined with their 0-10 finish to last season, that’s a 26-game losing streak – tied for longest in NBA history. Last year’s 76ers already shared the record.

Philadelphia is also in danger of the worst start to a season. The 2009-10 New Jersey Nets began 0-18, and last year’s 76ers won only one game sooner.

The 76ers will try to avoid the all-time longest streak at the Rockets on Friday. If that goes unsuccessfully, they’ll try to avoid matching the worst season start at the Grizzlies on Sunday. And if both fail, they could set the worst-start record against the Lakers on Tuesday.

76ers-Lakers – it’s shaping up to be a big one.

Timberwolves read mean tweets about themselves (video)

Flip Saunders, Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones
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The Timberwolves didn’t select the meanest tweets about these players, but credit Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones, Shabazz Muhammad and Zach LaVine for being good sports.

LeBron James: I’m healthier than a year ago


LeBron James received an injection in his back before the season.

It’s working.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

LeBron James now says he feels better than he did even a year ago.

“I feel better in the mornings; I feel better throughout the games; I feel better throughout the day,” James said before a Cavs shootaround Wednesday in preparation for their game against the Toronto Raptors. “It was a rough start to the season for me last year and for our team. Obviously the way we’ve been playing, a lot is predicated on my health and being able to lead these guys out on the floor and not from the sidelines.”

LeBron certainly looks healthier than he did at this point last year. He’s moving much better and giving more effort.

But comparing November to November means very little for the Cavaliers, who hope to play deep into June.

The key question: Did LeBron properly time his injection? There’s a limit on the number he can have in a year, and it takes time to recover after one. Cleveland doesn’t want LeBron to peak to early.

It’s good for the Cavs that LeBron feels better now, but his health in the playoffs remains the priority.

Report: Suns signing Bryce Cotton

Bryce Cotton
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Eric Bledsoe missed the Suns’ loss to the Spurs on Monday with a knee injury.

So, Phoenix is bringing in a reinforcement – Bryce Cotton.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Jazz waived Cotton before the season despite Dante Exum‘s injury leaving them with just two other healthy point guards. That says something about Cotton – but also Utah’s depth.

Cotton – who went undrafted out of Providence last year – is quick, varies his speed well and can leap. There’s reason to believe in his potential at age 23. But his 6-foot-1 frame limits him defensively, and he’s not much of a distributor.

Phoenix will rely on Brandon Knight and Ronnie Price at point guard if Bledsoe is unavailable. The Suns can also use fewer two-point guard lineups – giving more minutes at shooting guard to Devin Booker, Archie Goodwin and Sunny Weems.

Cotton provides insurance while Bledsoe is banged-up with what seems to be a minor injury. But he might have to show something to keep drawing an NBA paycheck once Bledsoe gets healthy.