Nash talks being reunited (and it feels so good) with D’Antoni

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You knew Steve Nash would like the Mike D’Antoni hiring by the Lakers.

Once he gets his leg healed, and if he can stay healthy, Nash will become the key to the Lakers offense. They are going to run a lot of pick-and-roll and while Kobe Bryant showed Tuesday night against the Spurs he can certainly be the ball handler there and be effective, Nash should be back at home.

So yes, he’s happy, he told Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated.

“I never would’ve predicted him being here as we get a chance to work together again, especially here with this team. I’m thrilled, but definitely shocked as well. I didn’t see it coming. Everything has happened so fast.”

Like everyone, Nash thought it was Phil Jackson getting the job.

“Well I mean, of course. In some ways, I thought it was Phil, and so I was geared up for that, and excited in a totally different respect because of his experience and success, and particularly here with this organization. That would have been a whole different circumstance that I would’ve been excited for as well. But I’m back with Mike and thrilled.”

There was a sense that D’Antoni was too wed to his system, too ridged in New York and that led to his problems coaching the Knicks. The Lakers are not the 2006 Suns in terms of youth and athleticism. Can he adapt?

“Yeah, I think he’ll adapt. I think that’s one of Mike’s strengths, is that he’s a thinker and that he’s willing to adapt. He’s great in-game, and I think he’s also great going back and looking over a game, looking over a month and saying, ‘Look, I think this will help our team,’ and shifting toward something that suits the parts. That’s just one of the things that I think he’s terrific at and a strength of his. You know, I’m sure he’ll adjust to the group. I’m sure there will be a lot of familiarity with the old Mike teams, but at the same time we’ll adjust somewhere to the natural place where this team is going to succeed.”

Asking Nash what he thinks of D’Antoni is pretty much like asking the head of the Democratic Party what he thought of a Barack Obama debate performance. You know the answer whether you believe it or not. Nash said he thinks with this Lakers roster (read: Dwight Howard) he will have a good defensive team. That’s at least some spin.

D’Antoni has gotten a huge chance here, we’ll see what he does with it.

Report: Lakers ‘longshot’ to sign LeBron James

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
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Preeminent NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski called it “likelyLeBron James would sign with the Lakers or Clippers next summer. The Clippers have since been somewhat debunked as a LeBron destination. There’s circumstantial evidence linking LeBron to Los Angeles.

Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

So imagining James’ last act coming in purple and gold isn’t without basis. But as of now, it’s also a longshot, according to league sources.

Shelburne and Windhorst are highly credible. I doubt they’d report this without connected sources.

LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, and manager, Maverick Carter, have recently publicly downplayed the importance of Los Angeles to LeBron. That felt like a coordinated attack on the LeBron-Lakers rumors, and this fits as a continuation.

But why wage that campaign? To keep the Cavaliers focused while LeBron still plays for them, even if he might leave after the season? To lower expectations among the Lakers’ massive fan base, so as not alienate those people (potential customers of the many LeBron-connected brands) when LeBron inevitably signs elsewhere? Both could be true, but there’s obviously a difference between each driving LeBron’s camp.

DeMarcus Cousins barrels in for powerful putback dunk over Bucks (video)

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When DeMarcus Cousins builds up a head of steam like this… poor John Henson (and kind of Khris Middleton).

This helped the Pelicans pull away for a 115-108 win over the Bucks last night.

Enraged Jason Smith restrained from Mario Chalmers (video)

AP Photo/Nick Wass
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During the Wizards’ win over the Grizzlies last night, Mario Chalmers tried to stop Jason Smith from shooting after Smith had been called for travelling. It’s a fairly common tactic, one pioneered by Kevin Garnett. Players don’t want their opponents to gain confidence by seeing the ball go through the net, even after play stops.

But Chalmers held onto Smith’s arm, and Smith took umbrage.

NBC Sports Washington:

I think it’s more likely, after halting Smith’s shot, Chalmers was trying to hold up Smith rather than yank him down. But I can’t know Chalmers’ intentions, and holding up a falling person by his arm isn’t very effective.

The double technical foul called seems about fair.

PBT Extra: Two months from trade deadline watch DeAndre Jordan and… Paul George?

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The NBA trade deadline got moved up this season to Feb. 8 so the league can avoid the spectacle of DeMarcus Cousins being traded during the All-Star Game and then doing an uncomfortable press interview afterward where he had to be told of the situation.

That means we are less than two months away from the trade deadline, and in this PBT Extra I look at the big names that could be on the market.

The Clippers seem likely to move DeAndre Jordan, the only questions are where and what will they get back? But three other teams have big decisions to make about their stars: Oklahoma City with Paul George, New Orleans with DeMarcus Cousins, and Memphis with Marc Gasol. Right now none of those guys are on the market, but that could change.