Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett

Some buzz growing around Garnett, Pierce, Rivers to Clippers. But it’s a long shot.

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Last trade deadline it was Vinny Del Negro who was trying to push a trade for Kevin Garnett, bringing the veteran to Los Angeles to stabilize the Clippers defense. But Clippers management wanted no part of the deal — they didn’t want to move DeAndre Jordan — and that was part of the tension in Clipperland that helped get Del Negro let go.

Now there is some talk of that kind of trade happening again, but this time with Paul Pierce and maybe even Doc Rivers coming West also. The key difference seems to be Clipper management is willing to consider throwing in the towel on Jordan.

It’s still a long shot, but Marc Stein tweeted this.

It’s more likely they all roll on in Boston next year.

Out West question becomes this — are the Clippers willing to move a lot of young pieces and essentially go all in on winning a title next season? Because the KG and Pierce window is about one season, then the Clippers have to retool in a big way.

Making a trade with the Clippers that works is pretty complex because we are talking about a lot of salary being moved — KG and Pierce make $28.4 million combined next season. That’s a lot of dough. ESPN’s cap guru (and all around good guy) Larry Coon talked with ESPNLosAngeles.com to break down how this could happen.

So if the Clippers wanted to trade for Garnett and Pierce, who make $28,356,610, in one big mega-trade before July 1, they would need to send out at least $22,605,288. Let’s start with DeAndre Jordan, who makes $10,532,977, and Caron Butler, who makes $8,000,000. Those two add up to $18,532,977. The Clippers would still need another $4,072,311 under this scenario, which would not be met even if they included Eric Bledsoe and Willie Green, who combine to make less than that. They could make it work if they included Jamal Crawford, but sources say Crawford would not be included in the deal.

That means the Clippers would go to the second option, which would be doing two separate trades. In this scenario, according to Coon, they get 150 percent or $5 million rather than just the 125 percent they get by acquiring them together. So they could trade Jordan and Bledsoe for Pierce and then Butler for Garnett. These two separate but parallel trades would work from a numbers standpoint.

That’s just the players. Doc Rivers still has three years, $21 million left on his contract with the Celtics. If the Clippers get him they are going to have to pretty much match that salary and give up some compensation to the Celtics (draft picks, cash) to get him. Does that sound like Donald Sterling at all? No.

So this is all a real long shot. But it’s gaining some buzz and people are talking about it, at least.

Kobe Bryant throws down old-man breakaway dunk (VIDEO)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 8:  Paul George #13 of the Indiana Pacers defends against Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the first half of the game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on February 8, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Once upon a time, Kobe Bryant was one of the best in-game dunkers in basketball. Age and injuries have sapped him of his explosiveness, which makes it rare these days that he dunks at all. On his final trip to Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Pacers fans got a special treat of sorts, even if it was nothing like what we’ve seen from Kobe over the past two decades.

NBA local television ratings up, led by spike in Warriors viewship

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 30: Klay Thompson #11, Draymond Green #23, Harrison Barnes #40, Shaun Livingston #34 and Stephen Curry #30 high five one another in the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on January 30, 2016 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 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 Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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Everyone wants to watch Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors.

Local television ratings for Warriors games on Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area have spiked 120 percent since last season, according to data compiled by the Sports Business Journal. An estimated 209,000 people tune in to CSN Bay Area for the games (plus the numbers of subscribers streaming Warriors’ games through CSNBayArea.com also has spiked this season).

It’s all part of an overall upward trend in ratings for the league, although about half the league’s markets have seen ratings fall.

Overall, as the NBA enters its All-Star break this weekend, the league’s local telecasts are up 6 percent year over year, according to Nielsen. Eleven teams have seen gains in their local ratings this season, while 15 have dropped. Denver Nuggets games on Altitude are flat with last year….

Golden State’s average rating is high enough to rank third in the NBA, an impressive achievement for a big-market team. Three of the top four teams as measured by ratings play in small markets: Cleveland, San Antonio and Oklahoma City. Additionally, with a league-best 209,000 households on average watching Warriors games locally this season, Golden State is far outpacing the New York Knicks for their games on MSG (160,000 households) and the Cleveland Cavaliers for their games on FS Ohio (141,000).

Interestingly, ratings for the Lakers are down 16 percent year-over-year, despite this being Kobe Bryant‘s final season, according to the report. That impacts the Lakers in that their massive cable television deal with Time Warner does have ratings ties — the Lakers could get a little less out of this deal than anticipated. Still, the average Lakers’ broadcast draws 92,000 viewers, fifth largest in the league.

LeBron has Cavaliers ratings up 36 percent over a year ago. The three biggest drops in ratings percentage wise are Atlanta (33 percent), New Orleans (33 percent), and Washington (34 percent). The average Pelicans game draws 7,000 viewers, according to the report.

That discrepancy in local television viewership — and the money that affords teams in local television deals — you can be sure is something the owners will fight about more in the upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement discussions. There already is some sharing of that revenue, but as the gap grows you can expect a push from smaller markets to grow that sharing model (the only time rich owners suddenly want socialism in their lives). Expect the players’ union to bring it up as well when the owners cry poverty.

 

Love returns to Cavaliers’ lineup after missing 1 game

Cleveland Cavaliers' Kevin Love, right, drives past Phoenix Suns’ P.J. Tucker during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers won 115-93. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
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CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love will return to the lineup Monday after missing a game because of a bruised left thigh.

Cleveland hosts Sacramento on Monday night.

Love sat out for the first time this season on Saturday in a win over New Orleans. He was injured in the third quarter of Friday’s loss to Boston and didn’t return.

He is averaging 15.9 points and 10.5 rebounds.

Love participated in Monday’s shootaround. He is nearing a pair of career milestones, needing three points to reach 9,000 and three field goals to hit 3,000.

Report: Luke Walton not leaving Warriors before their season ends

CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 18: Interim Head coach Luke Walton of the Golden State Warriors during the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on January 18, 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. Mandatory copyright notice. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Luke Walton is going to have his pick of coaching jobs this summer. The Knicks are reportedly interested, as are the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers allegedly would fire Byron Scott mid-season to get Walton. This doesn’t even get into current or expected openings such as Brooklyn, Sacramento, and Houston. Walton will have options.

But he’s not doing anything until the Warrior’s season ends, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

This shouldn’t be a surprise, and it is the right thing to do for Walton — shows of loyalty to your current employer and players should raise his stock in the eyes of those trying to hire him.

We may ultimately see with Walton what we saw with Alvin Gentry a year ago; he took the job with New Orleans while the Warriors were still on their championship run, but continued to coach the team through the Finals.

It’s fair to ask if Walton is being over-hyped. He did a fantastic job with the Warriors to start this season, but that was an already built team playing the same system with mostly the same players as the season before. He just had to not fall off the horse, it was going to run plenty fast. Coaching up the kinds of troubled teams we see on that list above is a different challenge entirely. Walton may be up for it, he’s certainly earned the chance, but it’s fair to ask if he’s ready for that step.