Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Seven

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.

PBT Podcast: Derek Fisher fired, plus your trade questions from Twitter

Derek Fisher
Associated Press
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Derek Fisher is out as coach of the New York Knicks.

In this latest podcast, NBC Sports’ Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman discuss the odd timing of that move — we expect another shoe to drop as to why. It’s not that Fisher was a great coach, but replacing him with Kurt Rambis mid-season is not an upgrade. And Luke Walton isn’t available until this summer.

After struggling to figure out what the Knicks are thinking, Helin and Feldman answer questions off Twitter from readers/listeners on the coming trade deadline including discussions of Blake Griffin, Jeff Teague, the Pistons, the Jazz, the Knicks, and more.

As always, you can listen to the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunesdownload it directly here, or you can check out our new PBT Podcast homepage, which has the most recent episodes available. If you have the Stitcher app, you can listen there as well.

Warriors’ center Festus Ezeli to have knee surgery, out indefinitely

Golden State Warriors center Festus Ezeli, left, of Nigeria, looks to pass the ball as Denver Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, in Denver. Golden State won 118-105. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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Festus Ezeli has been a rock-solid backup for the Warriors this season, playing almost 18 minutes a night behind Andrew Bogut giving the team 7.5 points and 5.9 rebounds a contest. Golden State’s defense is 3.6 points per 100 possessions better when he is on the court, and he’s part of the team’s long-term plans.

But he’s going to be out for a while now following knee surgery, the team announced and as reported by Monte Poole at CSNBayArea.com.

http://www.csnbayarea.com/warriors/festus-ezeli-undergo-knee-surgery

The surgery is exploratory, which is why the Warriors say there is no timeline for recovery yet.

The surgery is on his left knee; it was his right one that had reconstructive surgery and forced him to miss all of two seasons ago.

This is a blow to the Warriors’ depth, but little has slowed their march this season. More Mo Speights is not ideal, but the Warriors can just go small more often and run teams out of the building that way.

Ezeli is a restricted free agent this summer and the Warriors would like to keep him on the roster and expand his role, particularly if they do not retain Andrew Bogut. The severity of this knee injury could impact Ezeli’s ability to earn a big contract this summer, but hopefully for him, it’s not that serious.

Russell Westbrook stands behind Kevin Durant, mimics him during interview (video)

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, right, gestures after scoring as forward Kevin Durant stands by during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Los Angeles. The Thunder won 117-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Choose your spin.

This is why Kevin Durant is leaving the Thunder. Russell Westbrook doesn’t respect him.

or

This is why Kevin Durant is re-signing with the Thunder. He and Russell Westbrook have so much fun together.

Report: Magic open to talking Tobias Harris trade, looking to add experience

Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen (9) grabs the uniform of Orlando Magic forward Tobias Harris (12) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
AP Photo/Brandon Dill
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Tobias Harris signed a four-year, $64 million contract with the Magic just last summer.

Now, just 50 games later…

Marc Stein of ESPN:

I’m skeptical this is significant. Teams discuss trades for many players for a variety of reasons. That doesn’t mean the player is likely to be dealt.

Orlando in particular has a roster of players who cause significant debate about their value. It’s helpful to know what other teams think of Harris, and soliciting trade offers is a good method to learn his worth.

It’s more intriguing the Magic are looking to add experience. They should probably go the opposite route, but they’ve tried (and failed) for years to accelerate their rebuild. At 22-28 – four games and three teams from playoff position – now is not the time to seek shortcuts. Spend the rest of the season developing young players – and probably securing a higher draft pick in the process.

One of Harris’ best traits is his youth. He’s just 23. See what other teams would offer for him, sure. But, in all likelihood, it’s better to let him grow into the veteran Orlando needs rather than trading him for one when the rest of the team isn’t ready to win, anyway.

My guess is that’s what Orlando will do. Remember, always consider who has incentive to leak this information anonymously and what they’d be positioned to know.