Lamar Odom, who recently met with Doc Rivers, clearly is the Clippers’ No. 1 choice to fill their 15th roster spot. But there are no guarantees Odom will be ready by the end of the season, so they can’t bank on him.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Lamar Odom remains the leading candidate to be signed by the Los Angeles Clippers to fill the opening they have in their frontcourt rotation.
But there’s at least one other known name on the Clippers’ list behind Odom in terms of potential in-season signees: Chris Wilcox.
Yet sources say the likelihood remains that Odom will ultimately get the call as he continues to work his way back from an offseason of off-court tumult. One source told ESPN.com last week that no deal with the Clippers “is imminent” but added that he’d be “surprised” if Odom doesn’t wind up as a Clipper for the third time.
Wilcox spent the last two seasons in Boston with Rivers, so the Clippers would likely know what they’re getting. For a team that’s already a legitimate championship contender, the safe route with end-of-bench players is usually best.
When not asked to do too much – and he certainly wouldn’t be in Los Angeles – Wilcox is pretty good. He’s an efficient finisher in the pick-and-roll (a skill that would mesh well with Chris Paul), a surprisingly effective passer and even a helpful defender after picking up a few tricks during his 11-year career.
There’s no rush to sign either Odom or Wilcox. The Clippers (8-5) are good enough already, and veterans like Odom or Wilcox are mostly desired for depth in the playoffs. Because neither player is being waived in-season, there is also no deadline for something to happen in order for them to be eligible for the playoff roster.
The only deadline is one self-imposed by the Clippers to ensure they get enough time acclimatize whomever they sign. Whenever that is, that’s likely when they actually move on from Odom to someone like Wilcox.
The Chicago Bulls are trying to find their identity. They used to be a defensive team, but they went and got an offensive coach in Fred Hoiberg and by the end of the season had slid badly on that end of the floor. They are no longer Derrick Rose‘s team, but they didn’t have the personnel to run Hoiberg’s system. The Bulls need to figure out who they are and what players on the roster should be part of that team moving forward.
Expect Jimmy Butler to be part of that future. He’s the best player on the team, but he rubs some teammates the wrong way, and there have been rumors the Bulls would listen to trade offers.
The Bulls are telling teams they plan to hold on to him, reports A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com.
A league source tells CSNNE.com that the Bulls, while still open to listening to offers for Butler, are telling teams that are inquiring about his availability that their plan for now is to keep him in the fold.
And while there was some thought that a top-3 pick coupled with a few decent players might be enough to entice the Bulls to pull the trigger on a deal to trade Butler, CSNNE.com has been told such an offer would have to include at least one “legitimate, NBA starter” for the Bulls to even possibly consider trading him.
“And that might be a stretch,” the source indicated.
What is the hardest part of assembling a potential NBA title contender? Finding the elite, cornerstone player you need who can lead your team at both ends of the floor. The Chicago Bulls have that in Butler, he’s locked up under contract until at least the summer of 2019 on a good contract (a max before the TV deal money kicked in), why would they trade him?
Stranger things have happened, especially with the Bulls, but unless they want to tear it all down and rebuild — and they don’t — getting rid of Butler doesn’t make sense.
The better question is who will be around Butler come next fall. =
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.