Author: Dan Feldman

SACRAMENTO, CA - OCTOBER 30:  DeMarcus Cousins #15 of the Sacramento Kings reacts after teammates Rajon Rondo #9 made a three-point basket against the Los Angeles Lakers at Sleep Train Arena on October 30, 2015 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Kings GM Vlade Divac insists trading DeMarcus Cousins ‘off the table’

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A few teams may (or may not) badly want the Kings to trade DeMarcus Cousins.

All indications are Sacramento won’t budge on dealing the center, but in case you want it straight from the horse’s mouth…

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Kings general manager Vlade Divac was adamant this week when he told ESPN.com that Cousins is “off the table.”

Cousins is very productive, on a relatively reasonable contract that runs two more seasons after this one and just 25.

Of course, the Kings should be reluctant to trade him. Players like him don’t come around very often. They’ve made him their centerpiece, and they’re trying to build a roster around him.

But as long as that plan continues to fail – they’re 141-279 since drafting him – trade rumors will persist. The closer we get to his 2018 free agency, unless the Kings’ fortunes turn for the better, they might have to re-think their stance.

For now, Sacramento is probably correct to keep attempting to give him sufficient support to win. Having Cousins is a big head start.

The Kings must capitalize on his presence, though.

Byron Scott says Lakers were scared against Thunder, players disagree

at Staples Center on December 17, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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The Kobe Bryantless Lakers got routed by Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder yesterday, 118-78.

Why?

Lakers coach Byron Scott, via Time Warner Cable SportsNet:

Kobe’s fearless. These guys looked like they were scared tonight or intimidated by Durant and Westbrook, for whatever reason. So, obviously the game got out of hand real quick and real early, and I thought those guys were just in attack mode from the start of the buzzer until the end. And our guys were on their heals all night long.

Asked what he learned and how he can teach the young players, Scott again blamed his players:

I don’t learn anything from it. The guys on the court have to learn from it. You know what I mean? They didn’t play well at all and really just got embarrassed by the way we played tonight. And like I told them, I said it was pathetic in every area. We didn’t come to compete. They just played harder than we did and like I said, it just looked like we were in awe of that team.

D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle disagreed, and it sounds as if Jordan Clarkson did, too.

Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:

Said Russell: “I can only speak for myself. I’m definitely not scared”

Said Randle: “We didn’t have energy. We didn’t play with energy. We didn’t play as a team. But we definitely weren’t scared.”

“It’s embarrassing,”Clarkson said. “I don’t know if I was scared. They just outcompeted us.”

It’s impossible to know what’s in someone else’s mind, and it’s difficult even to guess. Scott should have more insight into the thinking of his players than I do, but I’m unconvinced he’s positioned to make that observation.

The Lakers played lousy – no question. But they’re a bad team and poorly coached. They can get blown out without being scared.

This public disagreement doesn’t point to the situation improving. To the contrary, it could worsen.

How long until the Lakers’ young players tire of Scott putting Kobe on a pedestal? How long until they tire of Scott blaming them without looking in the mirror?

And how long until management tires of Scott, period?

Report: Ty Lawson pleads no contest to Los Angeles DUI

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 14:  Ty Lawson #3 of the Houston Rockets controls the ball against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on December 14, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Rockets 114-108. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Ty Lawson pleaded guilty to a January DUI in Denver, and the NBA suspended him two games for it.

Now, the Rockets guard has settled his July DUI in Los Angeles.

TMZ:

Lawson will NOT go to jail for his 2nd DUI this year — getting 4 years probation after entering a “no contest” plea in his L.A. court case.

This will likely get Lawson another suspension.

While a no-contest plea is not an admission of guilt, there is precedent for the NBA to act. The league suspended Mavericks forward Devin Ebanks two games in 2013 after he pleaded no contest to a 2012 DUI.

It took nearly a month for the NBA to suspend Lawson for his Denver DUI after the guilty plea was first reported. So, there could again be a delay while the league ensures everything is finalized, but I’d be very surprised if Lawson isn’t suspended again.

Safe to say, this won’t help Lawson’s trade value.

Byron Scott: 75% of future free agent meetings will focus on basketball

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 2: LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots over Kyle O'Quinn #9 of the New York Knicks during the second half at Madison Square Garden on November 2, 2015 in New York City. The Spurs defeated the Knicks 94-84. (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
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Kobe Bryant‘s contributions notwithstanding, the Lakers’ free-agent meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge last summer went poorly. They reportedly focused too much on business, not enough on basketball, for Aldridge’s liking. The Lakers got a second meeting with Aldridge, but it was probably too late by then.

So, the Lakers have a plan to get it right initially next time, according coach Byron Scott.

Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:

“Seventy five percent or more of it will be about the basketball part,” Scott said

“The other part will be about the business part of it as well. We found out from a great player that he was more interested in the basketball on the court stuff than anything else.”

It’s cute that Scott thinks he’ll be invited to future free-agent meetings.

I doubt the Lakers will retain him for another season after Kobe Bryant’s retirement. Scott will probably last the rest of Kobe’s tenure, but given Scott’s poor handling of young players and inability to win, that’s probably it.

Scott likely has knowledge of the Lakers’ free-agent plans, though. I’m just not convinced they’re wise.

Every max-salary player who changed teams through free agency last summer chose a small market. That has caused many to claim the nature of free agency has changed, that winning has become the only priority and city size is no longer a concern.

But that was just two players, Aldridge and Greg Monroe (Bucks) – hardly a telling sample.

Potential max players in next year’s free-agent class – including Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Andre Drummond, Al Horford, Bradley Beal, Dwight Howard, Mike Conley and Hassan Whiteside – could have completely different priorities. These are all individuals with their own outlooks. Just because Aldridge was focused more on basketball aspects means little to nothing about future free agents.

More importantly, how are the 4-22 Lakers going to sell basketball to free agents?

D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson are a nice start, but this is still a crummy team. A lost first-round pick sometime in the next three years doesn’t help, either.

The Lakers just can’t credibly talk up their on-court plans, not right now. So many other teams can sell better situations to players who prioritize winning.

But the Lakers can sell Los Angeles, Hollywood. The stature of being a Laker is what separates them from other teams. The marketing possibilities are better there.

The Lakers didn’t approach Aldridge wisely, though I don’t think they would’ve convinced him to sign anyway. But if they overreact to that isolated error, it could cost them even more in free agency.

Gerald Green’s brother soars for spectacular putback dunk – on wrong basket (video)

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Gerald Green is one of the NBA’s best dunkers, but the Heat wing isn’t the only member of his family with incredible athleticism. His brother, Garlon, can also slam.

At first glance, this Garlon dunk in Germany is pretty impressive. He races through the lane quicker than anyone can put a body on him, and he elevates for the putback slam.

But look closer, and Garlon is wearing a black jersey. The free-throw shooter is wearing yellow.

Yup.

He dunked the ball through his own hoop.

Why? He tries to explain:

What I gather: The other team’s coach told his player to miss intentionally with 0.4 seconds left, and Garlon wanted to disrupt their plans – even if it meant icing the game by giving his own team a four-point deficit.