The Lakers and the Clippers are in similar situations where the salary cap is concerned, in that each team currently has 12 players with guaranteed contracts on the books for next season resulting in a committed total payroll amount somewhere north of $70 million.
Both clubs are looking to potentially add a veteran piece to the end of their bench for the league minimum, and they reportedly met with the same free agent this week.
From Shams Charania of RealGM (via HoopsHype):
The Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers were the two teams that Lou Amundson visited this week and discussions went positively with both organizations, agent Mark Bartelstein told RealGM on Friday.
Amundson had met with a couple teams last week and sat down with two more within the past few days, and the 6-foot-9 forward is continuing dialogue with interested teams in hopes of landing a deal soon.
“They were good meetings,” Bartelstein said. “I wouldn’t quite use the word frontrunner right now, but there’s interest, and hopefully we can get something done soon.”
The Clippers are more likely to add Amundson, even though they have their sights set on either Lamar Odom or Antawn Jamison, because they’re trying to contend for a title. You can never have enough depth in that situation, especially someone productive like Amundson who can defend and rebound to eat up some of those bench minutes during the long grind of the regular season.
Amundson bounced around last year, playing for Minnesota and then Chicago (well, at least technically) before finishing the season in New Orleans.
Also, he once took a punch to the face from Zach Randolph and didn’t hit the deck — that has to count for something.
Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.
So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.
LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.
When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.
At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.
The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.
China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.
China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.
Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.
This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.
The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.