Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers

Pau Gasol is like everyone else: waiting on Dwight Howard

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The Lakers shopped Pau Gasol around a little at the trade deadline (or at least listened to offers of people that called them, if you prefer that fine-line distinction).

This summer the Lakers could test Gasol’s trade value again. Or they could keep him. Or they could amnesty him (although that seems a real long shot).

But every decision the Lakers make this summer hinges on one thing: What Dwight Howard decides.

If Howard leaves the Lakers then Pau Gasol will be back with the team next fall. If Howard returns the Lakers can explore other options, whether or not they take them.

And since Howard wants to take his time, talk to a lot of teams and be wooed, and he can’t even start to do that until July 1, Gasol knows the first part of his summer is going to be one of uncertainty. Gasol sounded resigned to that speaking to Sam Amick of the USA Today. I guess.

“Dwight is looking at his options, and there’s nothing wrong with that, I guess,” Pau said. “I’m not him. I’m not in his position, but I guess it all starts with his decision and I’m sure the franchise is waiting to see whether he decides to sign (with the Lakers) or sign with somebody else, I guess….

“Obviously from the team’s standpoint, the sooner Dwight makes his decision the better,” Pau said. “And as players and teammates too (it’s better), because in a way I don’t know — there’s certain things that depend on his decision, right? Probably. I don’t know what percentage (it factors in), or to what extent, but to some extent yes.”

There is no answer now for Gasol, he understands that. During their exit meeting Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak was apologetically vague with Gasol about future plans, because he doesn’t know how things will turn out.

Gasol is just going to have to ride this out. I guess.

PBT Extra: Who do you want to see most in first All-Star Game?

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Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.

This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.

The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.

Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.

Russell Westbrook: ‘Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—’ (video)

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Did Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant talk during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night? Westbrook said no, though video and first-hand accounts indicate otherwise.

Even more clearly: Westbrook – who walked near teammates Enes Kanter, Anthony Morrow and Jerami Grant – didn’t want someone talking to someone as they left the floor after the game. ESPN caught Westbrook saying, “Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—.”

You will never convince anyone Westbrook is referring to anyone but Durant.

Russell Westbrook commits epic travel (video)

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Between getting laid out by Zaza Pachulia and apparently talking with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook committed a travel for the ages.

The Thunder guard took an inbound pass against the Warriors and just started walking up court without dribbling. The violation was so blatant, NBA officials even called the travel.

And it’s not as if they’re inclined to blow a whistle in that situation. Before Westbrook, Kemba Walker set a high bar last season, but he got away with this walk:

Are Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant on speaking terms after apparent conversation? Westbrook: ‘Nah’ (video)

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Russell Westbrook deleted Kevin Durant‘s goodbye text and, months later, told the whole world they still hadn’t talked.

That apparently changed during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder yesterday – though not if you ask Westbrook.

Westbrook dunked in the third quarter, and according to ESPN commentator Mark Jackson, Westbrook told Durant, “Don’t jump.” Anthony Slater of The Mercury News also wrote of the same quote.

ESPN’s telecast caught Durant clearly speaking to Westbrook shortly after. It appears Westbrook is talking back, but his back is to the camera.

After the game, Westbrook denied the exchange:

 

  • Reporter: “Are you and KD on speaking terms?”
  • Westbrook: “Nah.”
  • Reporter: “You guys had a little exchange in the third quarter.”
  • Westbrook: “What exchange?”
  • Reporter: “You and KD said something to each other.”
  • Westbrook: “Oh. You gotta maybe sit closer to the game. You maybe didn’t see clearly.”

This is so Westbrook – stubborn to the point of denying reality.

That approach worked for him when everyone rightly told him he was a significantly lesser player than Durant. Westbrook ignored that fact until it became false.

I suspect he wants to forget this exchange so he can maintain a cold animosity toward someone he prefers to resent.