Lakers talk extension with Andrew Bynum (which he will not sign)

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While the Lakers were talking to Orlando about a Dwight Howard trade, they have always been only willing to make a deal they really liked. Because the fallback position for them is to bring Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash into camp and chase a ring.

Then the Lakers can sign their All-Star 24-year-old center (who averaged 18.7 points and 11.2 rebounds a game last season) to a long-term deal — but that’s not going to happen until next summer.

Still, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has reportedly started that dance, talking extension with Andrew Bynum’s agent, according to Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register.

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and Andrew Bynum’s agent spoke Wednesday about a contract extension for Bynum, an indication of the Lakers’ ongoing interest in locking Bynum beyond next season.

Bynum’s agent told Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLA.com that there have not been substantive conversations about an extension. It’s negotiations, neither side can ever agree about what they even discussed. Remember the lockout?

Here is how this dance is going to go — the Lakers are going to offer Bynum a max contract extension, which would add three years on to the additional year he has on his deal.

Bynum will turn that down. He will play out the season and — if he has not been traded by the Lakers for Howard — Bynum will re-sign a five-year deal with the Lakers at the max.

Why go that route? Because by becoming a free agent Bynum gets five years and larger raises than are allowed under an extension. It is what Deron Williams did with the Nets, it is what all free agents will do as long as the CBA stays worded the way it does.

Bynum will re-sign with the Lakers and not bolt as a free agent because at 24 he is motivated by money more than many and the Lakers can offer more of it. Plus, in that next contract window Kobe will retire and the Lakers will be built around him. He likes that idea.

So it’s a dance, which Kupchak and Bynum have begun but will last until July. If Bynum is still a Laker in July. Which at this rate he probably will be.

Watch the top 60 clutch shots from last NBA season

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It’s that time of the year when there is no basketball, so we fill the time with idle Kyrie Irving speculation and video highlights of last season.

Along those lines, above you can out the top 60 clutch shots from last season, as determined by the folks at NBA.com.

The great thing about the clutch shot list is the ball is in the hands of stars at the ends of games, so there is plenty of Russell Westbrook, John Wall, LeBron James, Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and more. Personally, I would have switch No. 1 and No. 2 on the list, but it’s all fun to relive.

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert: Pacers ‘could have done better’ on Paul George trade

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Kyrie Irving has requested a trade. LeBron James could leave next summer. The Cavaliers keep churning through general managers, the newest – Koby Altman – the reason for today’s press conference.

But Cavs owner Dan Gilbert looked past his own team’s turmoil and potential turmoil to take a shot at the Pacers, who traded Paul George to the Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

“I will say Indiana could have done better than they did,” Gilbert said after Altman refused to directly address a question about George trade talks and shifted the discussion elsewhere.

This didn’t strike me as Gilbert trying to distract from Cleveland’s troubles. He just seemed to want to take a shot at a foe, something he’s no stranger to doing. The Cavaliers are particularly salty about their trade offer for George, which included Kevin Love, not being accepted.

For what it’s worth, Gilbert is right. The Pacers should have done better. Oladipo is now on a lucrative contract extension, and Sabonis spent his rookie season showcasing the reasons people doubted him the draft. That’s a piddling return for a star, even one on an expiring contract with dreams of joining the Lakers.

Report: Kings meet with former Magic GM Otis Smith about front-office job

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The Kings lost Scott Perry to the Knicks, so Sacramento is seeking someone else to aid Vlade Divac in the front office.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Former Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith has met with Sacramento Kings officials about the franchise’s vacant vice president of basketball operations job, league sources told ESPN.

Smith has plenty of experience, which Divac lacks. But it’s not all good experience.

Running the Magic, Smith made numerous errors – including drafting Fran Vazquez (who has never played in the NBA) No. 11, overpaying Rashard Lewis and then trading Lewis for Gilbert Arenas’ even worse contract. If Smith’s Orlando tenure is predictive, he’ll indulge the Kings’ worst tendencies to mortgage the future for the present.

That said, Smith might have learned from his time with the Magic (though working under Stan Van Gundy with the Pistons the few couple years isn’t exactly the best place to hone long-term-planning skills). What amounts to an assistant general-manager role might be a better fit for him, too.

Usually, this opening wouldn’t garner so much attention. But Perry was lavished with praise for Sacramento’s offseason, raising the profile of this job – which already carried relative prominence. The No. 2 in the Kings’ front office is now perceived, somewhat fairly, as more important than the typical assistant general manager.

Lakers sign Tyler Ennis to minimum contract

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Jut before the trade deadline, the Lakers took a flier on Tyler Ennis, who had struggled in two-plus seasons with the Suns, Bucks and Rockets.

The former No. 18 pick finally looked like an NBA player in Los Angeles, so he’s returning.

Lakers release:

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed guard Tyler Ennis, it was announced today by General Manager Rob Pelinka.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

This is fantastic value for the Lakers. Ennis is probably worth a minimum salary, and if he is, they have him for two years at that price. If not, they can drop him for no cost next summer, when their cap room will be at a premium. This is the type of bet smart teams make, which bodes well for the Magic Johnson regime.

Ennis’ productivity in Los Angeles might not be sustainable. He shot well above his career marks on 3-pointers and free throws in a small sample. But he looked more comfortable on the court, showing some of the savvy he was expected to bring from Syracuse. He’s also just 22, and point guards tend to develop later than other positions.

The Lakers still have their room exception, which they could use on another point guard. So, it’s uncertain whether Ennis will back up Lonzo Ball or fall to third string. I’m not sure any remaining free-agent point guards – Ty Lawson, Deron Williams, Brandon Jennings, Ramon Sessions – will command more than the minimum or playing time over Ennis, though.