Los Angeles Lakers Steve Nash of Canada intervenes as Kobe Bryant berates Metta World Peace for committing a foul during their NBA game in Los Angeles

Wednesday And-1 links: Do the Hawks, Lakers struggles with playoff teams matter?


Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like Jack Bauer loves danger (sorry, got sucked into a “24” rerun the other day)….

• The Lakers and Hawks are the two playoff-bound teams that have struggled the most beating other playoff teams this season. In the Lakers case, it’s hard to read much into that because they are playing with a better sense of identity and health lately. As for the Hawks… they’re still the Hawks.

• Houston’s Thomas Robinson talks about how he puts his family before everything else.

• Pau Gasol could be back practicing with the Lakers next week.

• Dennis Rodman was in Vatican City for the papal conclave. I’m sure Rodman believes that’s why they got a selection done so quickly.

• Caron Butler starts for the Clippers at the three, but they are better when Matt Barnes plays. That makes Barnes the potential key to any long Clippers playoff run.

• Brandon Bass has been the whipping boy of some Celtics fans, but he’s played well for a few games and they are going to need him come the playoffs.

• The Blazers Nicolas Batum is playing through a lot of wrist pain.

• Kentucky’s star center Nerlens Noel underwent knee surgery Tuesday. That’s not going to impact his draft status much if at all — this was a fairly routine knee surgery and you’re drafting the player for who he will be three years from now, not who he is draft night.

• Speaking of surgeries, Austin Rivers had his wrist surgery this week and according to reports it went well. He is done for the season but he should be ready to go for Summer League.

• A lot of people wondered exactly what the Jazz were doing not moving Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson at the deadline. Zach Lowe at Grantland has a good explanation.

• Sixers coach Doug Collins met with new Eagles coach Chip Kelly. And didn’t try to talk him out of the job.

• Chris Kaman doesn’t like his lack of playing time in Dallas.

• Up in Seattle, Chris Hansen (the guy trying to buy the Kings and move them north) is compiling a potential season ticket holder list to impress the league.

• Here’s some thoughts on who future top-5 pick Cody Zeller could have as an agent.

• Aquille Carr is a potential future NBA player and is going the Brandon Jennings route of skipping college ball (Seton Hall) to play overseas for a year.

• The Cavaliers assigned Kevin Jones to the D-League.

Watch Kawhi Leonard rip ball out of Ben McLemore’s hands. Twice.

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You almost pity Ben McLemore.

The Kings’ swingman trying to prove his worth got the ball on the wing Thursday night, looked up and Kawhi Leonard was there. Then Leonard proceeded to literally rip the ball out of his hands and go to the other end for a layup.

McLemore did not learn his lesson. Next time down the court he again gets the ball on the wing, again Leonard is on him, and McLemore shows him the ball — and gets stripped again. This time McLemore fouls Leonard on the layup at the other end.

The lesson here — showing Kawhi Leonard the ball is like saying “Candyman” into a mirror five times. It doesn’t end well for you.

Dwyane Wade fined $25,000 for throat slash gesture after dagger vs. Celtics

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All anyone would talk about is how the Bulls could not hit the three.

Then, with the game in the balance, the ball rolled out to Dwyane Wade standing at the three-point line and he sank the dagger three — Chicago beat Boston on Thursday night.

Watch the video above, after Wade hits the game-sealing three, he makes a throat-slashing gesture.

That will cost Wade $25,000. The league announced the fine Friday.

Wade cares about this as much as he cares when the Osmonds are playing in Branson. He can afford this.


Report: Cavaliers not “actively” shopping Iman Shumpert. Just listening.

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 25: Iman Shumpert #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shows his championship ring before the game against the New York Knicks at Quicken Loans Arena on October 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Three days into the NBA season seems early to be discussing the semantics of NBA trade talk, but here we are.

There have been rumors that the Minnesota Timberwolves called the Cleveland Cavaliers, interested in talking Iman Shumpert trades, possibly involving Ricky Rubio (who at some point will lose his starting job to rookie Kris Dunn). And that the Cavaliers were at least open to the idea. But nothing came of it.

How serious is Cleveland on the Shumpert front? Joe Varden of the Cleveland Plain Dealer addressed that in a Q&A with fans.

A few teams such as the Minnesota Timberwolves have inquired about Iman Shumpert, who has three years and $30 million left on his contract at age 26. The Cavs are answering the phone… But they are not actively looking to deal him, a team source told cleveland.com….

Keep in mind, Cleveland also has a trade exception worth about $11 million, the expiring contract of Mo Williams ($2.2 million) and Jordan McRae to deal. So if it is Rubio they want, they don’t have to trade Shumpert to get him.

What Varden is saying is Cavaliers GM David Griffin is not picking up the phone and seeing what he can get for Shumpert. But if teams call him…

Right now, the Cavaliers will need to be blown away to make a deal. Shumpert is backing up J.R. Smith and got more than 22 minutes of court time in the opener — he has a role on this team. Plus Shumpert is on an affordable contract. The Cavs are only going to make a move they believe makes them better right now — they want another ring. Maybe that offer comes, but the Cavs can be patient, and they have options.

Barack Obama picks Warriors to win title. Like everyone else.

Barack Obama

The Baller and Chief is on his way out the door.

Barack Obama has been by far the biggest hoops fan to inhabit the White House (with John Quincy Adams a very distant second). He’s put up a basketball court at the White House, filled out NCAA Tournament brackets, jokingly applied for the Wizards’ coaching job, thought about becoming an owner, gone to NBA games, and just been a fan like the rest of us.

And he’s picking the Warriors to win it all. Like everyone else.

In what was primarily a “get out the vote” effort, President Obama called in to ‘Sway in the Morning’ hosted by Sway Calloway on Eminem’s SiriusXM channel Shade 45. Asked to pick the next NBA champ, the Bulls fan went exactly where everyone else did — Golden State.

“I’m going to go with the Warriors just because of [Kevin] Durant, that addition. I think they just have too much firepower,” Obama said. “Although they just got spanked in their first game, so it will take a while to figure things out.”

Obama also picked the Patriots to win the NFL title. He’s such a frontrunner.