Report: Clippers, Celtics talks to send Garnett, Rivers to L.A. stalled

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UPDATE 8:18 pm: The talks have apparently stalled out. Which shouldn’t be shocking. But things are stalled out, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports as well as others.

The Celtics want DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe and two first round picks for Kevin Garnett and the right to talk to and sign Doc Rivers. The Clippers reportedly have offered Jordan and one first rounder, not wiling to part with both Bledsoe and Jordan. And right now things are at an impasse. Not dead, but stalled out.

5:12 pm: What seemed like a long shot is moving closer and closer to reality.

The Clippers are getting closer and closer to bringing in Kevin Garnett to anchor their defense just like Vinny Del Negro wanted. Except Del Negro isn’t there to coach them.

Talks have gotten serious between the Clippers and Celtics around a deal that would send KG to Los Angeles as well as the rights to sign Doc Rivers as a coach, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The final hurdle of a deal centers on the Clippers’ willingness to include guard Eric Bledsoe into a trade package with Boston, sources said.

Boston and Los Angeles are discussing a package that will send DeAndre Jordan and two first-round picks to the Celtics for Garnett and the right to hire Rivers as coach, sources said.

The report adds that both sides want to get this taken care of in the next couple of days or they will walk away from the table.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reports the reason the Clippers want to keep Bledsoe is they want to package him and Blake Griffin to try and trade for Dwight Howard after July 1. The Lakers want to re-sign Howard and keep him as their star, but if they were going to lose him for nothing they would consider a sign-and-trade options — but not ones from the Lakers. They are highly unlikely to send their best player down the hall, no matter who is coming back.

While the Clippers like Rivers and the pedigree he brings, the Clippers were very impressed with Lionel Hollins in his coaching interview this week, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. That gives the Clippers some leverage in these talks to hold on to Bledsoe for now — they feel they are going to land a great coach either way.

Garnett would have to waive his no trade clause, but he is expected to do that for this deal. Chris Paul is a free agent but everyone around the league thinks he will re-sign with Clippers this summer, regardless of whether this trade happens or not.

The Clippers are also talking with the Celtics about getting Paul Pierce. However, this likely would be two separate deals and not one huge package. A pierce trade would happen at a later date.

This is a clear sign that Boston is moving closer and closer to blowing the entire thing up and ending the “Big Three” era. It is possible Doc, Garnett and Pierce are back in green next season, but it seems less and less likely.

For the Clippers, this is an all-in move as a contender, because KG has a window of a year or two, tops. That owner Donald Sterling is willing to come close to the $7 million a year Doc Rivers was making in Boston shows he is much more committed to winning than he gets credit for.

Report: John Wall’s extension includes player option

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The Wizards had John Wall under contract for the next two seasons then signed him to a super-max extension that locks him in for an additional four three years.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

I’m a little surprised the Wizards gave Wall a player option considering their leverage.

Wall’s extension projects to pay him $169 million over four years – $30 million more than another team’s projected max offer over the same span. Even if Wall wanted to stay in Washington, this was the only offseason he could’ve ensured receiving the super-max rate. Had he rejected the extension now, he would have been eligible for the super max only by making an All-NBA team either of the next two years – far from guaranteed.

Still, the Wizards gave Wall everything – the highest-possible salary, max raises, a player option and a trade kicker.* There’s value in pleasing the franchise player. Wall will be the team’s third-highest-paid player for the next two years (behind Otto Porter and Bradley Beal), which might have bothered Wall if not for the super-max extension about to kick in. This deal makes locker-room harmony more likely.

But it also allows Wall to hit free agency in 2022 rather than 2023. Maybe that won’t matter. Wall’s salary option-year salary projects to be $47 million when he’s 32-years-old. I doubt Wall opts out then, though it’s certainly possible.

Effectively, if Wall is worth that much in 2022, he’ll be a free agent. If he’s not worth that much, Washington committed to pay him.

*The trade kicker is unlikely to to matter unless the salary cap unexpectedly increases significantly. It can’t lift Wall’s salary above 35% of the salary cap in the season he’s traded, and he’ll likely be at or above that mark throughout the extension anyway.

Basketball Hall of Famer John Kundla dies at 101

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — John Kundla, the Hall of Fame coach who led the Minneapolis Lakers to five NBA championships, died Sunday. He was 101.

Son Jim Kundla said his father died at an assisted living facility in Northeast Minneapolis that he has called home for years.

Kundla coached George Mikan and the Lakers in the 1940s and 1950s, helping them become the NBA’s first dynasty. He went 423-302 before retiring at the age of 42 and went on to coach his alma mater, the University of Minnesota.

Kundla was the oldest living Hall of Famer in any of the four major pro sports.

Kundla was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995. A year later, he was named one of the league’s 10 greatest coaches as part of the league’s “NBA at 50” celebration.

 

Report: Magic signing Marreese Speights to one-year, minimum contract

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It’s a tough market for free-agent centers, as Marreese Speights learned the hard way.

Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today:

I wonder whether Speights regrets opting out with the Clippers, who were also slated to pay him a minimum salary. Not only is he stuck with a low-paying deal, he’s on a worse team and one with center depth.

Nikola Vucevic and Bismack Biyombo should play only center, where Speights is best. Speights can also play power forward, but Aaron Gordon should get all his minutes there. Maybe Jonathan Isaac should, too, though it’s more tolerable to play him at small forward while the rookie adjusts to the NBA.

Simply, there won’t be much playing time for Speights unless Orlando makes a trade (maybe this is a harbinger) or plays too big of lineups (a lesson it should have learned last season).

Likewise, the Clippers will be fine, though less versatile, without Speights. The acquired Willie Reed (free agency) and Montrezl Harrell (Chris Paul trade) to play behind DeAndre Jordan.

Speights clearly isn’t essential, but he has expanded his range beyond the 3-point arc. He defends with effort, though not necessarily well. There’s a place in the league for stretch fives like him. But he turns 30 in a couple weeks, and his stock is clearly low. At least he’ll have a chance for a bigger payday next summer.

Kristaps Porzingis on Knicks: “This is where I want to stay… this is where I want to win”

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There were multiple, connected reasons it was time for the Knicks to move on from the Phil Jackson era — a triangle of reasons, really — but this one should have been at the top of the list:

He was alienating Krisptaps Porzingis.

We don’t know yet if Porzingis can be a franchise NBA player, however, he shows the potential to do it. He could become a top five NBA player you can build a contender around. You endear yourselves to those kinds of players, not get into power struggles that lead to said player blowing off end-of-year meetings and being guided out the door.

With Jackson gone, Porzingis has more motivation to stay a Knick and be the guy that turns the franchise’s fortunes around. KP was running a youth hoops camp in his native Latvia and was taking questions from the children when one kid got in a question the New York media would have loved to ask: Are you going to abandon New York? Here is Porzingis’ answer, translated and obtained by the New York Post.

“I feel that it is the best place to win. And if you win in New York, you are king. For the last two years, I have had so many positive emotions here that this is where I want to stay and that this is where I want to win.”

The Knicks have their cornerstone big. Now they need a guy on the outside (Kyrie Irving will get mentioned, but he is not the only answer), they need to get and develop young players to go with their stars. It’s the next phase for the Knicks.

But if they can keep Porzingis happy, they can lock him up to a max rookie extension after next year and have that piece in place. Then it’s up to Steve Mills and Scott Perry to put the pieces around him.