Report: Mike Bibby working out for the Grizzlies

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The Lakers are in desperate need of point guard help, and are rumored to be weighing the Delonte West option for some immediate assistance until Steve Nash and Steve Blake are healthy enough to return to action.

L.A. is a disaster at this point in the season, so the desperation is understandable. It’s a little less so in Memphis.

The Grizzlies are off to a surprising 14-4 start, with legitimate wins over some of the league’s elite team’s included in that record. Mike Conley is having a breakout year in the starting point guard role, and Jerryd Bayless has seemed at least serviceable filling the void at that position off the bench.

Yet, the Grizzlies are looking to add some additional depth at the position from an unlikely source.

From Sam Amick of USA Today:

According to two people with knowledge of the situation, the Memphis Grizzlies are working out veteran point guard Mike Bibby today in Phoenix. Bibby, the 34-year-old who lives in the Phoenix area, has been out of work since playing 39 games for the New York Knicks last season.

According to one of the people who requested anonymity because of the private nature of the situation, the Grizzlies are one of “four or five” teams that will be working him out as he attempts to sign on with a team for the second half of the season.The Lakers, however, are not one of them.

Bibby appeared in 39 games for the Knicks last season, but didn’t play particularly well while doing so.

His shooting was dreadful, as Bibby finished the year with a career-low 28.2 field goal percentage. He’s never been known for his defense, and has actually made his team worse in that department in the late stages of his career. We should note that Henry Bibby, Mike’s father, is a Grizzlies assistant coach.

By bringing in Bibby, the Grizzlies would simply be adding a form of insurance to their team, should something catastrophic happen. We’ll see if Memphis believes he’s the right person to provide that coverage, or if there’s someone else out there who they believe may be better-suited to fill that spot at the end of the bench.

Russell Westbrook on Rockets laughing at Andre Roberson missing free throws: ‘Probably the guys that don’t play’

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The Rockets bench made a big production when an intentionally fouled Andre Roberson kept missing free throws in the Thunder’s Game 4 loss to the Rockets yesterday.

Russell Westbrook stuck up for his teammate.

Royce Young of ESPN:

Westbrook:

I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it at all. Probably the guys that don’t play, probably over there the ones laughing, if I had to guess.

Good guess. It appears Montrezl Harrell and Bobby Brown – whose only playing time this series came late in Houston’s blowout Game 1 win – led the jeers.

But the most important thing for the Thunder is Roberson making his free throws. They need him on the court to defend James Harden, which exposes him to hacking. If Westbrook deflecting attention onto the Rockets’ benchwarmers helps Roberson at the line, great. But if not, the Rockets will keep having reasons to laugh.

Magic Johnson winks at bringing Paul George to Lakers

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Paul George-to-the-Lakers rumors have swirled for a while.

New Lakers president Magic Johnson will only fuel them.

Asked how he’d interact with the Pacers star to avoid tampering if they ran into each other, Johnson said on Jimmy Kimmel Live:

We’re going to say hi, because we know each other. You just can’t say, “Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,” even though I’m going to be wink-winking like [blinks repeatedly]. You know what that means, right?

In explaining how he’d avoid tampering, Johnson probably tampered. Accidental tampering appears to be his specialty.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement says team employees can’t permissibly “induce, persuade, or attempt to entice, induce or persuade, any Player who is under contract to, or whose exclusive negotiating rights are held by, any other Member of the Association to enter into negotiations for or relating to his services or negotiate or contract for such services.” But the league arbitrarily enforces tampering, so who knows whether he’ll be punished?

Johnson almost certainly could have gotten away with the hypothetical conversation he laid out. But going on television and describing it — even as fantasy, even not directly to George — could constitute tampering in itself,

If Johnson helps attract George to Los Angeles, it’d well be worth it. At least he’s trying something.

Report: Austin Rivers returning for Clippers-Jazz Game 5

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There have been bigger injuries in the Clippers-Jazz first-round series: Blake Griffin‘s toe, Rudy Gobert‘s knee and Gordon Hayward‘s stomach.

But Clippers guard Austin Rivers has yet to play due to a strained hamstring.

It sounds as if that will change tomorrow.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

This is neither as big a deal as the Clippers will make it out to be nor as meaningless as Rivers’ many detractors will claim.

The 6-foot-4 Rivers will provide an important defensive upgrade on the perimeter. The Clippers haven’t successfully hidden Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton, allowing Utah too many quality looks. Here how the Jazz have shot when defended by each, per NBA.com:

  • Crawford: 18-of-36 (50%), including 7-of-17 on 3-pointers (41%)
  • Felton: 13-of-24 (54%), including 5-of-8 on 3-pointers (63%)

Rivers needn’t be great to help behind Chris Paul and J.J. Redick.

Rockets bench hams it up over Andre Roberson missed free throw (video)

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Russell Westbrook might not want to talk about his supporting cast distinctively, but it’s a real issue for the Thunder, who trail the Rockets 3-1 in their first-round series.

Even Andre Roberson, who has impressively defended James Harden, brings a glaring weakness: free throws. Roberson is 2-for-17 from the line in the playoffs, including 2-for-12 in Game 4 yesterday. Houston even repeatedly intentionally fouled him late.

It was agonizing for all but the most partisan Rockets supporters – though even Houston’s bench, while at least implicitly mocking Roberson, appeared put off that he missed yet again.