Report: Clippers, Mavericks talking Lamar Odom trade

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Lamar Odom back with the Clippers?

Well, he wants to go somewhere he is comfortable and Los Angeles is that. And he wants to play for a team that could go deep in the playoffs, and the Clippers are that. Or, the Clippers could just buy him out and save some cash.

But the Clippers are talking about getting Lamar Odom in a trade from the Mavericks, reports Marc Stein of ESPN. But there is a catch. Isn’t there always.

The Los Angeles Clippers have engaged in trade discussions to bring Lamar Odom back to the L.A. team that drafted him, according to sources close to the situation.

Yet the deal, sources said, could hinge on the willingness of a third team to take on the contract of Clippers veteran guard Mo Williams, which would allow the Dallas Mavericks to send Odom to the Clippers with no significant money coming back to the Mavericks.

The Clippers may not have to look far to find a team interested in Williams and his $8.5 million salary. Just look down the hall.

Sources told ESPN.com on Tuesday that one team to express interest in Williams is the Los Angeles Lakers, who still have a trade exception big enough to absorb Williams’ contract that they created when they dealt Odom to Dallas.

Things could move fast here — there is a Friday deadline to buy Odom out. He is slated to make $8.2 million next season but can be bought out by $2.4 million by Friday. That deadline can be extended by mutual agreement of Odom and the Mavericks, and Dallas might be willing to do that if Odom’s agent is close to finding a deal.

Odom struggled last season in Dallas after having a rough off-season in his personal life then being blindsided by the Lakers trying to trade him. Because of that, he demanded a trade and the Lakers sent him to Dallas. Odom is an emotional person and what happens in his life off the court can impact him plenty on it. However, Odom has seemed right of late according to reports and could return to his Sixth Man of the Year form. If he does he’s worth the full salary.

The Clippers would get some depth along the front line behind Blake Griffin, something they have been looking for. (Or, owner Donald Sterling could just buy him out and save money.)

Dallas would get financial flexibility, which is what they crave most as they try to lure Deron Williams there (with the promise they can add a lot of talent around him).

The Lakers would get a backup guard who could score, maybe meaning they wouldn’t have to play Kobe Bryant 49 minutes a game.

There’s some logic to this. But that is a long way from reality. There’s still a good chance the Mavericks just end up buying Odom out.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

AP Photo/Nick Wass
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.

Pacers president Kevin Pritchard likes tweets critical of Paul George trade

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Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard was widely panned – including by me – for trading Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

Oops.

Oladipo and Sabonis are killing it while George has underwhelmed.

Upon George’s return to Indiana, Pritchard took the opportunity to gloat. The Pacers general manager recently liked these tweets (hat tip: Matt Ellentuck of SB Nation):

This is petty – and I love it. Pritchard earned the victory lap.

Report: Rival executives still expect Paul George to leave Thunder for Lakers

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Paul George has been pretty open about his plans.

He told plenty of people – including the Pacers – he planned to leave for the Lakers in the summer of 2018. Even after the Thunder traded for him, George spoke of the lure of playing for his hometown team.

Of course, George also left the door open to re-signing with Oklahoma City. He proclaimed he’d be dumb to leave if the Thunder reached the conference finals or upset the Warriors.

So far, Oklahoma City (12-14) doesn’t even look like a playoff lock, let alone a team capable of knocking off Golden State or reaching the conference finals. So, cue the inevitable speculation.

Sam Amick of USA Today:

Rival execs still expect Paul to head for the Lakers in free agency

Do these executives have inside information into George’s thinking, or are they just speculating based on already-available information? Some executives are incentivized to drum up the Lakers threat, because they want to trade for George themselves now. If these executives insist George will leave for Los Angeles regardless, they might pry him from Oklahoma City for less.

There’s also a theory George is hyping his desire to sign with the Lakers so a team would have to trade less for him. That got him to the Thunder for what looked like a meager return (but hasn’t been). It might get him to a more favorable situation before the trade deadline without hampering his next team long-term. Of course, this theory isn’t mutually exclusive with George actually signing in Los Angeles. It could just get him better options to choose from this summer.

Surely, the Thunder are trying to parse all this noise. If their season doesn’t turn around, they should explore flipping George rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer. But they should also be wary that he’ll bolt for Los Angeles at first opportunity just because rival executives predict it.