Wednesday And-1 Links: Lamar Odom pleads not guilty to DUI

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• Lamar Odom’s attorney has pled not guilty to the DUI charge filed against him, reports the Los Angeles Times. This is pretty standard for guys who want to fight a DUI, but Odom is standing on difficult ground here. California law states that if you have a driver’s license you have to take a breathalyzer or other test in the field, or you can choose a chemical test back at the station. Odom refused all of those tests, which means his license is suspended for a year. I’m sure the attorneys will try to argue against that, but that is going to be a tough to overcome.

• The domestic abuse charges against Ty Lawson have been dropped.

Here is a fantastic breakdown of the basketball in Space Jam. The lesson here is not to trust a Martian ref.

• The gambling site Bovda released its odds to win the championship for the upcoming season, here is the Top 10:

Miami Heat 2/1
Chicago Bulls 8/1
Oklahoma City Thunder 8/1
Los Angeles Clippers 9/1
Houston Rockets 10/1
Indiana Pacers 10/1
Brooklyn Nets 10/1
San Antonio Spurs 12/1
Golden State Warriors 16/1
New York Knicks 22/1

• My first thought on those odds: The Spurs and Pacers are good bets at those odds. That matchup very well could be our NBA Finals.

• Great story about Chris Douglas-Roberts trying to catch on with the Knicks. There are a lot of guys in his shoes around the NBA.

• Add Rudy Gay to the list of guys who trained with Hakeem Olajuwon this summer.

• Great quote from Chris Kaman on his time with the Clippers (when he was an All-Star):

“Yeah (he was the focus of the team), but of a losing franchise so how good am I? At that point it’s all about trying to do the best I can with what I have. Donald Sterling didn’t want to pay a ton of money to get other players.” 

• The court records from when police were called to Zach Randoloph’s home in Oregon where an alleged drug deal said he was beat up will not be made public.

Five potential breakout players for this season.

• The sore foot Wes Johnson has kept him out of Lakers practice Wednesday.

• Mario Chalmers had dropped 10 pounds and feels quicker.

• Kevin Garnett’s Boston area home is up for sale, if you have a cool $5 million. No, it doesn’t have a shark tank. At that price it should.

• The Bulls have waived Dahntay Jones.

• Finally, watch Gerald Green kiss the rim.

Report: Tampering investigation stems from Magic Johnson’s TV interview

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In April, new Lakers president Magic Johnson went on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and discussed then-Pacers forward Paul George:

We’re going to say hi, because we know each other. You just can’t say, “Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,” even though I’m going to be wink-winking like [blinks repeatedly]. You know what that means, right?

Now, the Lakers – at Indiana’s request – are being investigated for tampering.

Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times:

The investigation, which has been going on since May, stemmed from comments Magic Johnson made on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” that angered Pacers owner Herb Simon, according to several NBA officials who were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

This doesn’t mean the Pacers believe Johnson tampered with his televised comments. It seems as if that was the last straw following numerous rumors about George going to Los Angeles.

However, there’s a case Johnson’s televised remarks alone would constitute tampering. The Collective Bargaining Agreement prohibits “assurances of intent, or understandings of any kind (whether disclosed or undisclosed to the NBA), between a player (or any person or entity controlled by, related to, or acting with authority on behalf of, such player) and any Team (or Team Affiliate)” – and even attempts to solicit assurance of intent or understanding – when the player is still under contract with another team. Johnson sure appeared to do that.

But it’d be shocking if Johnson or the Lakers were punished for the interview alone. Indiana probably needs more evidence.

Then again, the arbitrary way the NBA enforces tampering, who knows?

Report: Nerlens Noel hires Rich Paul as agent, looking for big deal from Mavericks

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It’s been a rough year for restricted free agents (and plenty of unrestricted ones). After NBA teams spent like drunken sailors on shore leave last summer, this time around — with the cap not rising as much as had been expected — the market got tight quickly, and few questionable contracts were handed out. A year ago the Brooklyn Nets were making the Miami Heat pay big to retain Tyler Johnson and the Trail Blazers pay big to keep Allen Crabbe. This year teams were not biting the same way on restricted free agents.

Which left guys like Nerlens Noel, who expected to be maxed out by the Mavericks (or someone), still looking for a deal. Noel was frustrated enough to switch agents, picking up Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, according to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders.

Paul is LeBron James‘ agent, and in recent years has done well getting Tristan Thompson and Eric Bledsoe good contracts as extensions to their rookie deals. In both cases, he showed a fearlessness in holding out longer and being willing to push the envelope. That had to appeal to Noel.

But it doesn’t change the underlying dynamics at play — and not just with Noel. Paul also represents restricted free agents this summer Shabazz Muhammad — who has yet to sign a deal — and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who had to take a one-year deal with the Lakers for $18 million (well below his max). Throw in Noel’s injury history, and teams were not eager to jump in with a big offer for the athletic big man.

At this point, no team has the money to offer Noel a max contract right now — the Bulls have the most available money at $17.3 million, the Sixers and Suns have about $15 million and $14 million. Noel’s max is $24.7 million a year. Dallas is playing hardball because they can — without another offer on the table, Noel’s only real threat is to sign the qualifying offer (about $6 million) and play the season for that, then become an unrestricted free agent next summer. That’s possible, but a guy with Noe’s history of injuries may want to be careful betting on himself like that.

With Paul in the negotiations, expect them to drag out. That’s about the only sure thing.

Remembering Notre Dame, Laker legend Tommy “the hawk” Hawkins

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Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.

The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.

The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.