Mychal Thompson on son Klay’s possible trade: “I’m going to have to talk him down off the ledge”

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If you’re looking for a reliable source for the rumors that a Kevin Love trade to the Golden State Warriors is moving along, how about the father of one Klay Thompson, the main piece that would be heading back to Minnesota?

Klay’s father Mychal Thompson — the former No. 1 overall pick, the former member of the Showtime Lakers, and currently a Lakers broadcaster and sports talk radio host in L.A. — made it sound like the deal is very close, as reported by Monte Poole at CSNBayArea.com.

“My source knows what’s going on up there (in Oakland),” Thompson said Thursday morning on the air of ESPN LA 710. “And since this guy told me that this is really close to happening, it just kind of depressed me.”

It also depressed Klay. There had been talk about Love coming to the Bay Area but at first the Warriors were reticent to part with Thompson. That has changed.

“It’s disappointing, because Klay and I have been talking about this all summer and the possibility of this happening, as far as him and Kevin being together on the same team – along with Steph Curry,” Mychal Thompson said. “And he was really looking forward to that. He thought that if you added Love to the Splash Brothers, with (Andrew) Bogut and (Andre) Iguodala, they had a chance . . . to get to the West finals next year.

“If this happens, I’m going to have to talk him down off the ledge.”

I would feel the same way if I were Thompson.

But it is the right move for Golden State. The bottom line is this: Thompson’s skill set is easier to replicate than Love’s.

The alleged deal would look something like Thompson and David Lee for Love and some combination of Kevin Martin, backup point guard J.J. Berea and Minnesota’s No. 1 pick (13th overall) in next week’s NBA draft. I think sending all of those West is too high a price for Minnesota. This is a fluid situation and other players such as Draymond Green could end up in the mix. I’d give up Martin (Thompson replaces him) and either Barea or the pick, but not both.

That trade is a win for the Warriors. Martin isn’t as good as Thompson but he’s a solid replacement and good three point shooter. With Love and Stephen Curry Golden State would have the instant best pick-and-pop combo in the NBA, plus it keeps its defensive core of Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut in place. The Warriors become contenders in the West.

Expect that if Minnesota does this it’s the first of a series of moves to rebuild. They may like and try to keep Thompson, but Lee will not be in the long-term plans (Lee and Nikola Pekovic make a terrible defensive front line).

It’s not yet a done deal and I wouldn’t expect Minnesota to pull the trigger until draft day. But talks are progressing.

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.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.