Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol’s exit comments another sign he’s being shopped

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Pau Gasol says he doesn’t know where he really stands with the Lakers.

Which is code for “we’re going to shop you around on the trade market but we don’t know what we’ll get, so you may or may not be a Laker next October.”

Gasol had his exit meeting with Laker GM Mitch Kupchak and coach Mike Brown Wednesday and then spoke to the media. When asked about his status with the team going into the summer, Gasol said he didn’t know because the team couldn’t tell him. Via Elliott Teaford of the L.A. Daily News:

“I wish I could have clarification right now, they can’t give it to me. They had to talk to management. We didn’t talk too much about the future. We talked about this year. We talked about how things went. It was really positive.

“It’s kind of early. If they knew it would be good to know. But I understand we just finished playing two days ago. Things don’t work that easily. At some point, I won’t worry too much about it. It’s something I’ve been through already this year. If something does happen, it does. If it doesn’t, I’ll be happy to be back next training camp ready to go and have a more peaceful year and focus on our goal to win a championship.”

It’s out of his control, so Gasol is just going to go with the flow. The reed bending in the river.

Kupchak echoed the same thoughts when he met with the media and said he thought this season took a toll on Gasol. Via NBA.com.

“I thought personally that he did the best anybody can do being professional and saying the right things, being a good teammate, having a really good season up until I met with him a couple hours ago. He’s the consummate teammate, the consummate professional. But what took place is hard for a player to deal with, and I’m sure there’s a little bit of trust that’s not quite the same.”

The Lakers need to make big roster changes after getting bounced in the second round for the second consecutive year. Problem is they are way over the salary cap and have no draft picks to speak of. The only way to make a serious change is to move Gasol or Andrew Bynum. And as the Lakers have already put Gasol in a trade — the three-team Chris Paul deal killed by David Stern — you know they are not averse to making a move.

But getting value for him is another thing. And if the choice is making a bad trade or no trade, the Lakers will stand pat.

Bottom line: Pau Gasol, welcome to limbo.

Report: Former Magic teammates had ‘real issues’ with Serge Ibaka

Orlando Magic forward Serge Ibaka, of Congo, reacts after being called for a foul while defending a shot by Denver Nuggets forward Nikola Jokic in the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 16, 2017, in Denver. The Nuggets won 125-112. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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In trading Serge Ibaka to the Raptors, the Magic didn’t just get assets (Terrence Ross and a first-round pick) for a player who seemed increasingly likely to leave in unrestricted free agency this summer.

Orlando apparently also got rid of a headache.

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:

Going from the winning Thunder to the lowly Magic probably didn’t bring out the best in Ibaka, and thats understandable, though not entirely excusable.

I also wonder how much of this was situational rather than anything Ibaka actively did wrong.

His presence forced Aaron Gordon and Jeff Green from their ideal position of power forward to small forward. That narrowed Mario Hezonja‘s path the the court. Any minutes Ibaka received at center cut into Bismack Biyombo‘s and Nikola Vucevic‘s playing time.

Both elements probably worked in concert. Ibaka disrupted the play of several teammates just by being there, which likely led to them giving him less benefit of the doubt about his attitude.

Don’t absolve Magic general manager Rob Hennigan, though. He built a roster overloaded with bigs. He asked for leadership from a newcomer who was third banana at best on his previous team and is entering a contract year. It’s not a huge shock this dynamic soured on and off the court.

 

 

 

Jarrius Robertson hits layup at Celebrity Game, hangs with Draymond Green (VIDEO)

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It’s likely you’ve seen Jarrius “J.J” Robertson before. The 14-year-old came into public view as a New Orleans Saints superfan that deals with a liver disease called biliary atresia. Robertson has shown up at NBA All-Star Weekend this year, and he’s been a big hit.

On Friday, J.J. showed up and played a spot in the 2017 NBA Celebrity Game. He even dropped a layup during gameplay.

Via Twitter:

But he’s not just been around the court. Robertson has been just about everywhere thus far, hanging out with NBA athletes, meeting Charles Barkley, and telling Russell Westbrook that the Oklahoma City Thunder need more shooters.

J.J. even hung with Draymond Green courtside, where the Golden State Warriors forward tried to trade his watch for J.J.’s chain.

Should have made the trade dude! But I’m glad he’s got run of the place.

Glenn Robinson III does his best to salvage Dunk Contest, gets victory in process

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NEW ORLEANS — This year’s NBA All-Star Dunk Contest was doomed to disappoint, it was never going to match last year’s epic battle. It started in a hole.

It never climbed out. Don’t take my word for it, check out what JaVale McGee thought.

Saturday was an underwhelming night of dunks punctuated by a couple of moments of brilliance.

The Pacers’ Glenn Robinson III had the most of those moments — which is why he won the event. His strong night started with his first dunk, which may well have been the best of the contest.

The final one from Robinson, the one that sealed the victory, may be the other best dunk of the competition — dunking over Paul George, the Pacers mascot, and a Pacers dancer.

“I originally planned for it just to be PG (Paul George),” Robinson said afterward. “I knew I had to bring out something special. We added the mascot and the cheerleader. I really just wanted to get up high and dunk that thing hard, man. My adrenaline was going. It felt like I was looking at the rim. All I knew was the crowd go crazy. I pointed like this because, man, everybody seemed to sleep on me, didn’t really think I was going to win this thing.”

Event favorite Aaron Gordon, who should have won a year ago, opened the contest with an innovative idea — a drone dunk — but he couldn’t execute it and there were a few attempts before he nailed it.

Gordon didn’t advance out of the first round, and his first dunk summed up the 2017 Dunk Contest — interesting ideas that didn’t quite pan out like planned. (To be fair, Gordon has been battling injuries recently, that may have thrown him off).

If it wasn’t going to be Gordon, a lot of people expected it to be the bouncy Suns forward Derrick Jones Jr. who won, and he reached the Finals in part thanks to this spectacular dunk that woke the Smoothie King Center up.

DeAndre Jordan was okay, but without Chris Paul throwing him lobs it didn’t quite feel the same. Jordan can dunk with such power in game, but we didn’t see that Saturday.

In the end, it was Gordon who was making the plays.

“I’m not really a known dunker,” Robinson said. “I practiced. I prepared. I know I’m a jumper. And like I said, I’m a guy that stays out of the way. But when it’s time to shine, that’s my thing. That’s what I wanted to do. I knew all along I had some things planned, and I just wanted to show the world.”

Glenn Robinson III wins underwhelming dunk contest on over-people, below-rim dunk (video)

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NEW ORLEANS — Glenn Robinson III won the dunk contest with the second-best dunk of the night, going over a few people and under the rim — a narrow path to slamming victory.

It would’ve rated as the event’s best dunk if he were truly under the rim rather than somewhat in front of it. And he did have the best body of work to win the contest.

But the best single dunk was still by runner-up Derrick Jones Jr., who went between the legs on a pass off the side of the backboard.