Nuggets' Iguodala controls the ball against Warriors' Thompson during Game 6 of their NBA Western Conference quarter-final playoff basketball game in Oakland

Warriors sign Andre Iguodala after trading Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins to Jazz


The Warriors have either put themselves in prime position to get Dwight Howard or completely eliminated themselves from the race.

David Aldridge of

Ken Berger of

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

Sam Amick of USA Today:

In the short term, this makes the Warriors much better. Jefferson and Biedrins were dead weight, and Rush, after  missing nearly the entire season with an ACL injury, can’t be counted on to offer much. Iguodala is an excellent wing player who will be key defensively and has point-guard skills that will allow Stephen Curry chances to play off the ball on the other hand

This might mean Harrison Barnes (or, less likely, Klay Thompson) goes to the bench, or maybe Iguodala becomes a super sub who still plays a lot. The Warriors have options – all of them better than earlier in the day.

As far as the cap implications, unless more details emerge – and isn’t fun when so many NBA writers collaborate to break details of a move? – the Warriors can offer Iguodala just $47,395,710 if they waive Kent Bazemore

, Dwayne Jones, Scott Machado and Murphy, who all have fully unguaranteed contracts. There’s probably some rounding happening in some of the reports, and I don’t expect Iguodala to throw away the deal over the missing $604,290 if it comes to that.

Now, the Warriors will set their sights on Howard, who will likely see a team that just added Iguodala for scraps as more appealing. But they won’t have any cap room or, guessing what it took to unload the bloated contracts of Jefferson and Biedrins, draft picks. So, if Howard chooses Golden State, it will certainly take a sign-and-trade.

The Warriors could offer David Lee and Bogut for Howard and Metta World Peace (another player who likely has negative trade value), though I doubt the Lakers would do that. Including Thompson and/or Barnes could make the deal palatable, but there’s still no guarantee the Lakers go for it.

For the Jazz, this deal comes down to the picks. What round are they? What are the protections? When are they coming? Without knowing more specifics, it’s tough to say whether this deal was worthwhile, but taking such bad contracts, Utah better be getting favorable protections and multiple first rounders.

Update: Jody Genessy of the Deseret News reports the Jazz will get unprotected 2014 and 2017 first rounders, and Wojnarowski says they will also get multiple second rounders. This seems like a pretty good haul, though Iguodala means that 2014 pick is likely to be in the 20s.

There’s an added cost for the Jazz, because this deal could cost them Paul Millsap.

If this trade is completed before they sign Millsap or make another move to clear cap space – trades can’t become official until July 10 – they will have to renounce Millsap. In theory, they would be allowed to re-sign him, but without his bird rights, without cap space and without the mid-level exception, that would essentially be impossible.

Utah’s best – and perhaps only – feasible plan for re-signing Millsap is to reach a deal before July 10, when presumably, the Warriors will want this trade executed. By waiving Jerel McNeal, whose contract is fully unguaranteed, the Jazz could offer Millsap five years for up to $ 41,200,843 and still have enough cap room to absorb Jefferson, Biedrins and Rush. Then Utah could simply execute its signing of Millsap before the trade.

But if Millsap wants more money or to take more time, he’s gone.

51Q: Does Ty Lawson vault the Rockets into the top tier of championship contenders?

DENVER, CO - MARCH 07:  James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets controls the ball against Ty Lawson #3 of the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on March 7, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockets defeated the Nuggets 114-100. 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 Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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I see five clear upper-echelon championship contenders –  Warriors, Spurs, Clippers, Thunder and Cavaliers.

Do the Rockets belong in that group, or do they fill the next tier by themselves?

Ty Lawson – acquired for pennies on the dollar – could put Houston over the top.

But, really, this premise might not be fair to the Rockets. They earned the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference last season and reached the conference finals last season. James Harden finished second in MVP voting. Dwight Howard looked like a star during the playoffs. The supporting cast – Trevor Ariza, Terrence Jones, Donatas Motiejunas, Patrick Beverley, Corey Brewer and even Jason Terry – played better than anyone expected. Young players like Clint Capela, K.J. McDaniels, Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell could make a leap at any moment.

There’s a case to be made we should have taken Houston more seriously even before trading for Lawson.

I didn’t, though, and I don’t think many others did either.

I suspect one of the biggest reasons is the Rockets’ balance. Houston – 12th in points scored per possession, sixth in points allowed per possession – was one of only two teams to win more than 51 games last season without ranking top five in either category. Of the seven teams with so many victories, the Hawks – sixth, seventh – were the only other. Atlanta was a darling team, winning 60 games after going 38-44 the season prior. The Rockets’ modest win increase, from 54 to 56, drew less attention.

But balance shouldn’t be punished. Houston’s surprisingly strong defense should be celebrated. Lawson might push its middling offense over the top.

There are reasons to question that, though.

The biggest is Lawson’s sobriety. If he’s not focused and engaged, this all goes out the window. His comments about going to rehab only because it was court-ordered raise doubts, though they hardly foretell anything.

Let’s say Lawson’s off-court problems are behind him. How big of an upgrade is he? The Rockets already had a pretty good point guard who fit well with Harden in Beverley. Lawson is a clear offensive upgrade, but in the biggest moments, the ball will still run through Harden. At that point, would you rather have Beverley or Lawson on the floor? Beverley is a far superior defender, and his off-ball offensive game isn’t far from Lawson’s. Beverley is is a fine spot-up shooter, and Lawson’s strengths involve having the ball and creating. Lawson’s biggest boost could come when Harden sits, but that was fewer than 12 minutes per game last season.

Sure, a secondary ball-handler could ease pressure on Harden throughout a long regular season. Lawson and Harden can take turns running the attack.

But we’re talking about title contention, and in those high-leverage situations, it’s Harden’s show. How much does Lawson matter then?

The Rockets have a chance to win a championship. As good a chance as the NBA’s five best teams? I’m not so sure.

UNLV following Kentucky’s lead with combine for NBA scouts

Goodluck Okonoboh, Patrick McCaw
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Kentucky held a two-day combine last season for NBA scouts.

Now, LSU and UNLV are following suit.

Rob Dauster of NBC Sports:

The Runnin’ Rebels will hold their event on October 23rd and 24th at the Mendenhall Center, UNLV’s practice facility, sources told The expectation is that all 30 NBA teams will be in attendance.

LSU has potential No. 1 pick Ben Simmons and another first-round prospect in Tim Quarterman.

UNLV features lottery prospect Stephen Zimmerman.

This won’t replace scouts attending games and watching practices, but the fact that all 30 teams plan to attend shows how seriously the pro league takes these. No college team wanted John Calipari to have that competitive advantage in recruiting, so the smart ones are leveling the field with their own combines. Soon, more college teams will follow.

As the calendar gets packed, NBA teams might have to pick and choose which they attend. At that point, we might get little clues about which prospects they’re scouting hardest.