Steve Nash

Steve Nash to return, start for Lakers Tuesday night against Minnesota


So much for that whole “easing him back in” thing…

Steve Nash will not only be back and play for the Lakers on Tuesday night, he will start, coach Mike D’Antoni told the media, as reported by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. Nash will play the first 5-8 minutes of the game then sit the rest of the first half, then repeat that pattern for the second half.

Steve Blake also is back for the Lakers and will start. The starting five in Minnesota are Nash, Blake, Jodie Meeks, Ryan Kelly and Robert Sacre.

“I’d Like Steve to warms up instead of sitting down and coming up,” D’Antoni said. “He’s always been a starter. If he can’t go, he can’t go and we’ll make adjustments.”

“That’s a big step that I got through some practices,” Nash said. “It is tenuous. I’m going to have to play some games to be a player and get some games under my belt to build the strength and confidence to protect the area. It’s tenuous. I’m not going to lie. If I can get through that window there where I put some games behind me, there’s a chance I can finish the season.”

“I love the game. I haven’t had a good run of it in LA and I want to be able to contribute,” Nash said. “It’s been one thing after another. Hopefully I can fight through this and get another opportunity to play well.”

Nash will sit out the back-to-back Wednesday when the Lakers head to Cleveland, for that game expect to see Jordan Farmar’s return. Farmar will suit up in Minnesota but is not expected to play.

D’Antoni’s rotation is now flush with guards, having those three back to join Kendall Marshall, who has played solid offense (if not much defense) for the Lakers. Even for D’Antoni and his desire to go small it’s going to be more bodies than minutes available, and we are going to see some interesting rotations.

The Lakers are without Pau Gasol (groin injury) for this week, while Kobe Bryant and his fractured knee remain out until at least the All-Star break.

LeBron James posts photo with Tristan Thompson, sends message to Cavs

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.

Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.

But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.

LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.

However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.

For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.

Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.


Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.