Clippers ready offers to Jamal Crawford, Chauncey Billups

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The Clippers need a two guard who can help them diversify their offense (we saw what happened when the Spurs stifled Chris Paul in the playoffs, it wasn’t pretty). Jamal Crawford can do that, even if last year’s Crawford should not be confused with the Sixth Man of the Year version.

On another note, Paul really wants Chauncey Billups back with the team next year. Yes, Billups blew out his Achilles at age 35, but Paul wants him back.

So the Clippers are going to make offers to both of them, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The Clippers plan to offer Crawford the mid-level exception that starts at $5 million. The Clippers are willing to offer Crawford, a 6-foot-5 guard, at least a three-year deal, sources said.

The Clippers also are planning to offer a contract to Chauncey Billups, sources said. Billups, who is recovering from a torn left Achilles’ tendon injury, will get a one-year offer from the Clippers for about $4 million, sources said.

The Clippers have added Lamar Odom to help out with the front line. If they get Crawford and we see Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and the rest of the Clippers step up their game we may be saying “Pacific Division champion” Clippers. That said, we should note that Crawford’s game has come back to earth after winning Sixth Man of the Year a couple years ago, last season he shot just 38.4 percent and 30 percent from three, with a PER at the league average of 15.7. At age 32, do you want to do a three year deal?

Of course, the real question for the Clippers should be: Is that enough to keep CP3 and get him to sign long-term with the Clippers next summer? We will see, but that is the question that should be asked about every move the Clippers make for the next year, from what to do with coach Vinny Del Negro on down.

Remembering Notre Dame, Laker legend Tommy “the hawk” Hawkins

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Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.

The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.

The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.