Rumor: Lakers want to talk to Celtics about No. 1 pick, but would offer be good enough?


The Lakers have worked out Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Jackson — the three guys expected to be the top three picks in next Thursday’s NBA Draft.

The buzz was the Lakers were not blown away by Ball’s workout because his conditioning wasn’t there, while Jackson struggled with his shot when it was his turn. Fultz, however, apparently killed it.

Problem is, the Lakers have the No. 2 pick and Fultz is not going to be on the board at that point. While Philadephia may be close to leapfrogging Los Angeles and trading with Boston for the No. 1 pick, the Lakers would like to get into that mix, reports Jonathan Givony of Draft Express.

The problem for the Lakers is that likely is not going to work for Celtics.

The challenge is putting Julius Randle in the mix. He’s a good player who could fit in the Celtics’ already crowded front court, however, he will make $3.3 million on his rookie deal next season. Boston is trying to clear out cap space to offer Gordon Hayward the max, taking on Randle adds salary to the bottom line. The Lakers don’t have another first rounder to trade until 2020, while the Sixers can offer the Lakers’ unprotected 2018 pick or the Kings’ first rounder in 2019. Not only will those likely be lottery picks (likely high lottery), they don’t add salary this year (in fact, the Celtics move about $1.4 million off the books with the Sixers trade if they use that No. 3 pick).

Philly wants to meet with Fultz and look over his medical records before signing off on the deal, which is prudent. The Boston/Philadelphia trade seems to be pretty far down the tracks and may well get, although the longer anything draws out the more likely one side gets cold feet.

Friday afternoon fun: Watch James Harden’s 10 best plays from last season

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James Harden had a historic season in Houston.

Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.

Mavericks sign Jeff Withey to one-year contract

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Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.

That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.

Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.

Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.

Marc Gasol: If Grizzlies don’t share my goal of continued growth, we might have to revisit things

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The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.

Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.

Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:

I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.

Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.

But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.

Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction

On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.