Author: Dan Feldman

Lamar Odom

Report: Lamar Odom’s heart functioning better

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It’s not all bad news for Lamar Odom.


Lamar Odom’s condition has improved in a hugely important way … his heart is on the mend … TMZ has learned.

Sources familiar with the situation tell us, tests on Lamar’s heart Friday morning revealed his heart function is “much better.” Doctors have told Lamar’s friends and family this is a good sign of improvement, that a critical organ is responding.

Unfortunately, even if Odom’s organs continue responding better, he faces a tough road ahead.

Report: Cavaliers pull five-year, $80 million offer to Tristan Thompson

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five

The Cavaliers reportedly offered Tristan Thompson a five-year, $80 million contract.

He reportedly wants the max, worth more than $94 million over five years.

But when he let his qualifying offer expire…

Larry Coon of Basketball Insiders:

The Cavs were under no obligation to leave their $80 million offer on the table, and from what I heard, pulled it as soon as Thompson’s qualifying offer expired.

In a vacuum, this is the right move.

One of Thompson’s biggest pieces of leverage was the qualifying offer – the ability to take a one-year contract and become an unrestricted free agent next year. The Cavaliers had to offer him more to protect against that outcome. If he leaves next summer with no return, that’d be a real blow to Cleveland.

Without the qualifying offer available, the Cavs have much more leverage now. Thompson remains a restricted free agent and, unless the Trail Blazers or 76ers suddenly step up with an offer sheet, has little recourse but to accept whatever Cleveland offers. If he sits out the full season, he’ll miss a year of earnings and become a restricted free agent all over again next July.

In this scenario, $80 million over five years is way to much to offer. The Cavaliers definitely don’t need Thompson right now. If they get by without him once the regular season begins, he’s far more likely to cave to a lower offer. If they need him later, they can always pay him. There’s just no reason to do so yet. He can’t force their hand without the qualifying offer.

But LeBron James looms over everything.

LeBron – who shares an agent, Rich Paul – with Thompson reportedly isn’t basing his future in Cleveland on these negotiations. He just might not care that much whether Thompson gets $80 million, $94 million or somewhere in between.

However, LeBron is keeping himself in the picture (literally). He might not look so kindly on the Cavs lowering their offer, even if it’s the right cold strategic position.

If the Cavaliers have reduced their offer, this stalemate could easily last months. LeBron might be the only person who ensures it doesn’t get that far. His influence could at least get both sides back in the same ballpark.

Warriors center Andrew Bogut breaks nose for fourth time

Andrew Bogut
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The Warriors’ biggest preseason injury make no longer be to their coach.

Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area:

Starting center Andrew Bogut sustained a broken nose Thursday night against the Houston Rockets, the Warriors announced early in the third quarter. He left the game with 50.8 seconds remaining the first half and did not return.

Bogut will be further evaluated on Friday, after which his status for the team’s upcoming road trip will be determined.

Bogut, via Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN:

“It’s the fourth time I’ve broken it,” Bogut said. “I have surgery tomorrow, afternoon I hope, or Saturday morning. But I’ll miss Saturday, probably miss Tuesday, and I’ll try to play Thursday with a mask in the final preseason game. Then I’ll be ready to go.

Bogut has been through this before. I tend to trust his timeline. If he’s even considering playing in a preseason game, he should be ready for the Warriors’ Oct. 27 opener.

But I could also see Golden State being patient with the 30-year-old.

Interestingly, the Warriors have three full games (vs. Pelicans, at Rockets, at Hornets) and a partial on deadline day (vs. Grizzlies) while Festus Ezeli is eligible for a contract extension. This could be an opportunity to test Ezeli’s ability to eventually replace Bogut in the starting lineup before paying him.

Report: Sam Hinkie’s Michael Carter-Williams trade angered Brett Brown, 76ers president

Michael Carter-Williams, Brett Brown
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The 76ers traded then-reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams to the Bucks just before the trade deadline last February.

The move was typical Sam Hinkie – dealing a productive player for an asset that might be more valuable long-term, a Lakers’ first-rounder that’s top-three protected in 2016 and 2017 and then becomes unprotected in 2018.

But that doesn’t mean everyone in Philadelphia appreciated the deal.

Brian Geltzeiler of The Cauldron:

According to multiple league sources, last season’s decision to trade point guard Michael Carter-Williams — Hinkie’s first draft pick with the franchise in 2013, and a second-year player coming off winning the league’s Rookie of the Year award — was Hinkie’s alone, and the move angered both head coach Brett Brown and team president Scott O’Neil, who were caught unaware. Although Brown previously had some dustups with Carter-Williams, he had no desire to take a competitive step backward and give up one of the team’s better players for a (potentially valuable) future first-round pick. O’Neil was miffed because he was planning to market the team around Carter-Williams and 2014 lottery pick Nerlens Noel.

The Cauldron reached out to O’Neil for comment. Michael Preston, the team’s director of public relations, responded to the inquiry via email, stating “that unsubstantiated rumor is a gross mischaracterization of the events leading into the Michael Carter-Williams trade. Our organization has been and will continue to be opportunistic when deal of that nature become available.”

Here’s a list of coaches who would dislike one of their best players being traded for a draft pick: All of them.

Brown understands Hinkie’s plan, but like all coaches, Brown wants to win. Carter-Williams could have helped the 76ers win a little more. A future draft pick obviously contributed nothing last season.

Carter-Williams believes Brown wouldn’t have traded him, and he’s probably right. But Brown wouldn’t have undertaken the massive rebuilding project Hinkie did. The trade improved Philadelphia’s long-term outlook. That Lakers pick is valuable.

O’Neil’s initial frustration is similarly understandable. But marketing plans shouldn’t drive basketball decisions. The 76ers will have a much easier time marketing themselves when the team actually gets good in a few years than they would selling Carter-Williams and Noel now.

Of course, Brown and O’Neil could be out of work by then. Brown’s record is historically bad, and Philadelphia’s attendance is down. Losing Carter-Williams made it more difficult for both of them to prove their value in the short term.

But Hinkie is in charge and thinking further down the line. Hinkie and O’Neil just have to accept that.

If you’re a Comcast subscriber in Philadelphia, you can stream tonight’s 76ers-Wizards game here.