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.

Lonzo Ball makes expected official, declares for NBA Draft

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There was no hesitation. None was expected.

After UCLA was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament in the Sweet 16 by Kentucky, the Bruin’s Lonzo Ball — who is expected to be a top-three pick — declared for the NBA draft this June.

Ball is expected to go second or third in the upcoming NBA draft. Speaking with people around the league Washington’s Markelle Fultz is a clear No. 1, but after that if the Lakers — the team with the second-worst record in the league — have the No. 2 pick they are expected to snap up Ball. Depending on how the lottery shakes out the top of the draft, Ball could fall a little — there are teams that like Josh Jackson — but not much.

Ball is a 6’6″ point guard who averaged 14.7 points, 7.6 assists and 6.1 rebounds a game for UCLA last season. He has fantastic passing vision, impressive shooting range (although he can take some questionable shots), and a great sense of floor spacing and how to run an offense, particularly in transition. However, his weaknesses were exposed in his final game some as De’Aaron Fox of Kentucky completely outplayed Ball. Defensive pressure took Ball (and the Bruins) out of rhythm, forced them to play in the half court (where Ball is not as strong), and it’s one of the things Ball is going to have to adapt to at the next level where everyone is more athletic. Also, he’s going to need to get more consistent defensively.

The potential for Ball to be special is there, which is why he will go high in the draft.

And no, the rantings of his father will not change that. Teams see the father as a distraction that can be handled, they aren’t going to let him get in the way of drafting talent.

Watch highlights of Shaquille O’Neal’s statue unveiling outside Staples Center

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Kobe Bryant said “Thank you. I learned so much from you as a player.”

Jerry West said he loved him like a son.

Jeanie Buss said “No one celebrates a championship like you, but please no more asking Mark Madsen to dance.”

The Lakers unveiled a new statue for Shaquille O’Neal Friday night, one flying high over a Staples Center entrance, and the stars were on hand for the event. Phil Jackson was there making Snoop Dogg jokes. Shaq and Kobe were sharing laughs. It was a big night for a big man with a big personality. And a big heart.

Check out the highlights above.

Report: Knicks’ Joakim Noah to be suspended 20 games for violating league drug policy

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Joakim Noah hasn’t set foot on an NBA court since Feb. 4, and his season was all but ended when he had knee surgery at the end of February. Last summer, Phil Jackson took a $72 million gamble on an aging Noah that has not worked at all, and left New York with an anchor of a contract for three more seasons after this one.

Tomorrow it will be official Noah is done for this season, but not because of the Knicks or his injury.

During his recovery, Noah violated the NBA’s drug policy and will pay for a 20-game suspension, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Noah tested positive for an over-the-counter supplement that is prohibited under the outgoing Collective Bargaining Agreement, league sources said.

Noah, 32, is expected to serve 10 games of the suspension to finish out the 2016-17 regular season and 10 games to start the 2017-18 season, league sources said.

The National Basketball Players Association’s investigation concluded that Noah hadn’t “knowingly or willingly” violated the policy and cooperated fully with the league’s probe, league sources said.

According to reports, this is not a substance banned in the new CBA that kicks in July 1, but was covered in the previous CBA. Over-the-counter supplements could be something put in his regular workout recovery drinks that he was unaware of, although we are unsure of the details.

Traditionally, the player has to be healthy enough to play before the league starts the suspension. Noah has been out for more than a month, but if a league doctor says he is healthy enough to play the then the clock on the suspension can start. The 10 games this season is no big deal for the Knicks, he wasn’t going to play anyway, but the 10 at the start of next season could sting (depending on how they plan to use him).

 

 

Devin Booker drops 70 points for Suns in loss to Celtics (VIDEO)

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Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.

Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.

His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.

Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.