In this edition of the podcast, Kurt Helin and I sit down to discuss the state of the Lakers following Thursday night’s loss to the Bucks.
We look at how the latest injuries to Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash might affect the team with just nine regular season games remaining, and wonder if the injuries, along with the turnovers and porous defense, are finally getting to be too much to overcome.
We also look at the playoff picture at the bottom of the Western Conference standings, where the schedules that lie ahead for L.A., Dallas and Utah don’t exactly leave the Lakers as the favorites to wrap up that eighth and final postseason spot out West.
We then turn our attention to the Phoenix Suns, who are “resting” their best player for a couple of games, and getting blown out by their opponents while doing so. We discuss the tanking option in the NBA, and while we don’t necessarily have a problem with it in Phoenix, the lack of a long-term plan in place does seem to be troubling for the franchise.
Finally, we discuss the end of the Heat’s 27-game winning streak at the hands of the Bulls earlier this week, and what it might have meant for Miami’s legacy had they been able to run it to 34 straight to set the all-time record. We wrap things up with a discussion of the more physical play in the league, sparked by comments from LeBron James about the way the Bulls played him so physically during that Miami Heat loss.
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The Lakers took on the salary of Jose Calderon this year so they could get a couple second-round picks from the Bulls (Chicago got him from New York in the Derrick Rose trade), but even with the previous regime in Los Angeles the aging point guard was never part of the future.
Sources told ESPN that it’s not yet a certainty Calderon will secure his release from the Lakers in the coming days, but the sides are indeed discussing the options as Wednesday’s playoff eligibility deadline nears….
Sources say that Calderon, if he winds up hitting the open market, would instantly become a target for both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.
Cleveland may also have interest if their plan to land Deron Williams when he is bought out by Dallas goes awry.
Calderon, 35, was not part of the Lakers’ regular rotation, playing in just 24 games. He can still knock down a shot if he has space and can set his feet, and he still has a high hoops IQ and can see the floor, but his athleticism has faded, and that can leave him exposed. Particularly on defense.
Players are being waived now so they clear in time for teams to sign them by March 1, after that said players are not eligible for playoff rosters.
There are better players to hit the waiver wire in the coming days — D-Will, Andrew Bogut, Matt Barnes — but Calderon is going to land somewhere. He’d be a solid third point guard and veteran presence for a playoff run.
Marquese Chriss blocks Bobby Portis, who gets testy (video)
The time off during the All-Star break did Dwyane Wade some good.
The Bulls guard turned back the clock on Friday night, leading the Bulls with 23 points and topping it off with this dunk that proved to be the dagger, sealing a Chicago win. The Suns were convinced Wade was going to run the shot clock way down before making his move and they lollygagged into position — so he just blew past everyone for the poster slam.