Dan Feldman

Report: Lakers taking and making calls on trading No. 2 pick

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Will the Lakers draft Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson or someone else with the No. 2 pick?

Or nobody at all?

Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times:

Just after the Lakers secured the second overall pick in this year’s NBA draft through the lottery, general manager Rob Pelinka made two things clear:

1) He’ll listen if teams want to talk about trades.

2) It’s unlikely the second pick in the draft gets moved.

In the month since, however, the Lakers have been taking and making calls about trading the pick, said a source who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. They’ve had scenarios presented to them, and offered their own.

I doubt there’s a single pick the first round where the team that owns it hasn’t discussed trading it with other teams. Are these talks particularly substantive? I don’t know, though the tone of the article – and the fact that it was written at all – implies they are.

But we don’t know what the Lakers are seeking or what they’re being offered. These hypothetical trades might be nowhere near completion.

In particular, don’t get your hopes up Pacers fans. It’s hard to see the Lakers trading the No. 2 pick for Paul George.

On the other hand, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss has openly discussed her desire to add a star immediately. Especially with Brandon Ingram off the market, the No. 2 pick might be the Lakers’ optimal asset to deal for a star.

As much as Magic Johnson is preaching patience, pressure from his boss could lead to trading the No. 2 pick.

Draymond Green pokes Cavaliers with t-shirt at championship parade (photo)

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The Cavaliers battled the Warriors in a six-game NBA Finals two years ago. Cleveland edged Golden State in a hard-fought seven-game series last year.

This year, the Warriors cruised past the Cavaliers, 4-1, for the title.

Draymond Green – who, after Game 5, said he respected the Cavs too much to follow through on his planned bashing – sure noticed the difference.

NBC Sports Bay Area:

Does that stylized Q look familiar?

Oh, right.

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert probably won’t mind the exposure for his company.

Bill Russell to receive NBA’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
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The NBA is putting on a televised award show that will be highlighted by regular-season awards, like MVP and Rookie of the Year, few people seem to care about after months of playoff basketball. Even fewer will care after the draft.

So, in an effort to drum up interest, the league is implementing fan-voted awards – and a lifetime achievement award.

NBA release:

The NBA and Turner today announced Bill Russell – a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer and 11-time NBA Champion with the Boston Celtics – will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the first-ever NBA Awards on TNT, airing Monday, June 26, with coverage beginning at 9 p.m. ET.

Among his numerous athletic achievements, Russell was the first player to win an Olympic Gold Medal, an NBA Championship and a college title. While playing at the University of San Francisco, he led his team to back-to-back championships (1955 and 1956). A civil rights pioneer, Russell became the first African American to coach a major professional sports team (1966) and win a championship when he guided the Celtics to back-to-back titles (1968 and 1969).

One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, Russell won five NBA MVP Awards, earned 12 NBA All-Star selections and left an indelible mark as a superb shotblocker who revolutionized NBA defensive concepts. The annual NBA Finals MVP Award is named in honor of Russell, an NBA Champion in all but two of his seasons as a player with Boston.

I can’t think of a more deserving winner for this award that I hadn’t heard of until an hour ago.

No matter the agenda behind the award, Russell is a true pioneer and worthy of the recognition. There’s not a wrong time to celebrate him.

Stephen Curry says he’s opposed to visiting White House, wants to discuss with other Warriors

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Andre Iguodala said he didn’t want to visit Donald Trump’s White House, but added the Warriors – who would seemingly receive the customary invitation as NBA champions – would follow Stephen Curry.

Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area:

The reigning two-time MVP reiterated Wednesday that he stands by his previous comments in response to the hypothetical question about whether he would visit the Trump White House if the Warriors were to win a championship.

“I think I answered, ‘I wouldn’t go.’ I still feel like that today,” he said at the team facility.

“But as a team we’re going to have a conversation. This is a moment that we all need to enjoy together, and nothing should detract from what we were able to accomplish together and the different kind of ceremonies and traditions that have happened around championship-winning teams. We don’t want that to taint what we’ve accomplished this year, so we’ll handle that accordingly and responsibly and do the right thing for us individually and as a group.”

Iguodala doesn’t want to go. Shaun Livingston doesn’t want to go. Steve Kerr doesn’t want to go.

And Curry, who essentially called Trump an ass, doesn’t want to go.

There might be room for someone within the Warriors to persuade the team to attend, to relish the experience and place the office of the presidency over personal views of Trump. I’m just not sure anyone actually within the Warriors would do that.

It’s not Curry, the team’s leader who had been apolitical publicly. He’s now making his anti-Trump feelings known, and I think his teammates will get in line behind him – not that they needed much persuasion.

It doesn’t sound as if Hawks will offer Paul Millsap a max contract

Daniel Shirey/Getty Images
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Hawks owner Tony Ressler said Atlanta would “make every effort imaginable” to re-sign Paul Millsap.

And then the Hawks hired Travis Schlenk as general manager.

Schlenk, via Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“We are going to make Paul our best offer,” Schlenk said this week. “Will he have better offers? I don’t know. Do we want to keep Paul? Sure. I said last week, if you are building a team with all the things I’ve said, Paul checks all those boxes. He’s a hard-worker. He’s a good guy. He’s high-character. Skilled. He does all that stuff. We’d like to have him. The reality is, he might get better offers than we can make him.”

The Hawks are in a pickle.

Locking a 32-year-old Millsap into a max contract, projected to be worth $205 million over five years ($41 million annually), isn’t ideal. Most players decline at that age, and Atlanta isn’t even ready to win more than a playoff or series during the front end of that deal.

But losing Millsap, projected for a max elsewhere of $152 million over four years ($38 million annually), would also bring complications. The Hawks aren’t positioned to replace him in the short-term, and Dwight Howard would be wasted on a team rebuilding around Dennis Schroder and Taurean Prince. The Atlanta market might not tolerate rebuilding, anyway.

There are different people on both sides of the negotiating table, but the Hawks just lost Al Horford after offer him only a little less than the full max. That gives Millsap room to leave and frame the organization as the problem rather than taking the brunt of the blame from Atlanta fans himself.

I don’t envy the Hawks. There’s no good answer here.