Kurt Helin

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 15:  Ty Lawson #3 of the Houston Rockets looks on from the bench against the Sacramento Kings during an NBA basketeball game at Sleep Train Arena on December 15, 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 Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Report: Not much trade market for Ty Lawson

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This summer, it seemed like a smart gamble. Denver wanted Ty Lawson gone, while the Rockets needed a second shot creator and were willing to take on the salary. It seemed to push the Rockets into the realm of contenders for the title.

But it was a gamble, and sometimes the dice come up snake eyes. Lawson is averaging 5.9 points a game, shooting 32.9 percent from the field, he has a career-low PER of 7.9, and the Rockets are 8.6 points per 100 possession better when he is off the court than on it. Pair Lawson with James Harden and the Rockets get outscored by 6.3 per 100. All of it was part of reason former coach Kevin McHale has a lot more free time this holiday season.

So the Rockets started testing the trade waters for Lawson, but they do not run very deep, reports Ken Berger at CBSSports.com.

Even the Rockets, who have a long track record of expertly drumming up leverage in seemingly desperate trade scenarios, will struggle to find Lawson a new home. The trade market for him is minimal, league sources tell CBS Sports, and the best move for Houston might be to hold onto him…..

“The only team that makes sense already has [Rajon] Rondo,” an Eastern Conference executive said. “There’s no market.”

 

Morey can be patient and see if injury or something else opens up across the league, but the bottom line is — just like talk of moving Dwight Howard — it takes two to tango, and he is going to struggle to find a dance partner. In the case of Lawson we are discussing a player is coming off a couple of rough seasons now, some off the court issues, and with most teams being set at the point guard spot there isn’t a lot of market.

The fact Lawson makes $12.4 million adds to the challenge for Morey, someone is going to have to give him something of value back to get Lawson, and why would anyone do that? The only advantage is that the final season of Lawson’s deal is non-guaranteed, so it is essentially an expiring contract. But that isn’t enough to get it moved.

The trend around the league right now is that there are far more buyers than sellers on the trade market (because so many teams still have a shot at the playoffs), and the teams that are selling are pushing players such as Lawson that draw little interest.

Kobe Bryant expected to play Tuesday night against Denver

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DENVER (AP) — Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott says he expects Kobe Bryant to play Tuesday night against Denver after sitting out the last game with a sore right shoulder.

Scott says Bryant will arrive at Pepsi Center a little earlier than normal to “get some shots up.” He cautioned Bryant not to take too many shots, though, just enough to “see how it feels and to gauge where the pain is, if there’s any. But he said he’s definitely 100 percent ready to go.”

Bryant didn’t play in Oklahoma City on Saturday, two days after dunking for the first time this season against Houston.

The 37-year-old Bryant leads the team in scoring at 16.7 points per game. He announced last month he was retiring after the season.

PBT Extra: Will Russell Westbrook stop being criticized for taking over?

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There was a time that Russell Westbrook was criticized for not willingly being Robin to Kevin Durant‘s Batman.

Then with Durant out injured much of last season, Westbrook put up numbers that put him in the MVP conversation and a lot of casual fans (and some casual talking heads) started to realize: Oklahoma City had two Batmen. That’s the topic of this latest PBT Extra with Jenna Corrado.

In the Thunder’s victory over the Clippers Monday night, Durant had the game winner (and block) but it was Westbrook who was the fulcrum for the team much of the night, finishing with 33 points and controlling the offense in a great duel with Chris Paul. If the Thunder are going to have a shot at the Warriors and Spurs, they will need both of their stars (and a little more help than they are getting right now).

Jenna and I also discuss where the Clippers fall in the West. And sometimes fall seems the key word.

 

After dropping 19 assists, John Wall admits playing with ankle sprain

WASHINGTON, DC -  DECEMBER 21: John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards handles the ball against the Sacramento Kings  on December 21, 2015 at Verizon Center in Washington, DC. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
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John Wall dished out 19 assists, and the Washington Wizards got a much-needed win Monday, 113-99 over the Sacramento Kings.

But Wall did it on almost one leg, playing through an ankle is so sore he may need to sit out, reports J. Michael at CSNMidAtlantic.com.

“All my trainers know what it is. All I know it’s a real, real bad sprain,” Wall, who had an MRI on Thursday after the Wizards returned from a four-game road swing, told CSNmidatlantic.com before Monday’s game when he set a career high with 19 assists vs. the Sacramento Kings. “I’ve sprained it like five, six games in a row so it wasn’t getting no better.

“A high ankle sprain. I probably should take time off but when we start getting a couple guys back I’ll see how it feels and make a decision.”

Wall also suffered bruised ribs Monday, to go with a hip injury he got over the weekend. Wall will play through pain — he played through ankle sprains last season, and then a broken hand in the playoffs. He’s tough. But at some point a body needs a chance to recover.

The Wizards want him to get right, but this team also needs him — Washington is 9.4 points per 100 possessions better when Wall is on the court, mostly because its defense is dramatically better. If he is gone for an extended period it hurts the team’s chances of climbing back into the playoff picture in the East (the Wizards are currently 12-14 and the 12 seed, three games back of a playoff spot in an improved East).

The Wizards are so banged up right now Randy Wittman can’t run a full practice, J. Michael had this list of injuries keeping guys out:

Bradley Beal (leg), Drew Gooden (calf), Nene (calf), Gary Neal (lower back), Alan Anderson (ankle) and Otto Porter (thigh).

 

Five Takeaways from NBA Monday: Another loss exposes Bulls’ dysfunction

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The funniest thing you’ll see today comes from that traditional home of great comedy, the Washington Post. Their version of if Star Wars was retold by Ken Burns in a documentary is classic. If you discovered it last night and missed NBA games because you were sharing it with friends, then don’t worry we’ve got you covered. Here’s what you need to know from a busy Monday around the NBA.

1) After an ugly loss to Brooklyn (where Joakim Noah was injured), the dysfunction in Chicago was put on public display. During the ProBasketballTalk Podcast Monday, our own Sean Highkin — who lives in Chicago and covers virtually every Bulls’ home game — expressed a theory: The Bulls front office of Gar Forman and John Paxson were so blinded by their personal hatred of Tom Thibodeau that they misjudged the serious flaws on this Chicago roster. They were convinced that bringing in a more laid back coach with a more modern offense would bring together a roster that they thought had underachieved. They didn’t get it — this core looks done. Derrick Rose isn’t the same, Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol are on the downsides of their career, Mike Dunleavy is out for a while, Nikola Mirotic‘s shot remains an issue, and only Jimmy Butler is a guy that you can build around long-term.

Monday night the Nets went into Chicago and bullied the Bulls, and the visitors picked up the win 105-102. After the game, Both  Hoiberg and Butler admitted didn’t play tough and were a defensive mess. Gasol said that if this loss didn’t hurt them they might not be salvageable, and that Butler’s comments the day before about the coach were something that should have been handled in house, not through the media. The Bulls looked dysfunctional on and off the court. This isn’t on Hoiberg — this roster isn’t designed to fit his system at all. Thibodeau kept it together and drove it as far as it would go, but the roster’s flaws — that you’d go under the pick and clog the lane against everyone with the ball — are the reason this is a bottom-five offense, not the coach. The transition to being Butler’s team is a rough one. This team is no threat to Cleveland. This team looks like making the second round of the playoffs would be a best-case scenario. It’s going to be a cold winter at the United Center.

Add to all that, that the Bulls could be without Noah for a while after he felt a pop in his shoulder when trying to defend Andrea Bargnani. After the game the Bulls said it was a shoulder sprain, but it would be re-evaluated Tuesday. Noah could miss some time, further exposing this roster.

2) Too much Kevin Durant late means the Clippers drop another game they circled on the calendar.  The Clippers have played in some of the most thrilling games we’ve had this regular season — against the Warriors, the Spurs, and now the Thunder.

Los Angeles lost them all. It’s a concern. The Clippers are good but appear a step behind the elite in the West, at least it felt that way again after there was too much Russell Westbrook all night (33 points, seven assists, five rebounds) and too much Durant late and the Thunder picked up a win over the Clippers in L.A. Another game the Clippers circled on the calendar, led in the fourth quarter, and lost. Another one to make you question just how good Los Angeles really is. But credit where it is due, the Thunder needed their superstar and former MVP to earn it. First Durant hit the tough game-winning jumper. Then he helped off Wesley Matthews in the corner and blocked Chris Paul‘s attempt at a game winner.

3) Atlanta’s Dennis Schroder is going to need some dental work. During the Hawks’ win over the Trail Blazers Monday, Dennis Schroder went to the floor trying to get a loose ball and his face hit Meyers Leonard‘s knee. In this video you can see his tooth come flying out. Schroder did return to the game.

4) Utah’s Alec Burks had the dunk of the night, and it wasn’t close. This is monster.

5) John Wall had 19 assists in Wizards’ win, but ankle bothering him so much he may sit out. Usually when a guy sets a career high in assists he’s feeling good, Wall certainly played well in the Wizards 113-99 win over the Kings. Wall dished out 19 dimes. But after the game said his ankle is so sore  he may need to sit out, reports J. Michael at CSNWashington.com.

“All my trainers know what it is. All I know it’s a real, real bad sprain,” Wall, who had an MRI on Thursday after the Wizards returned from a four-game road swing, told CSNmidatlantic.com before Monday’s game when he set a career high with 19 assists vs. the Sacramento Kings. “I’ve sprained it like five, six games in a row so it wasn’t getting no better.

“A high ankle sprain. I probably should take time off but when we start getting a couple guys back I’ll see how it feels and make a decision.”

The Wizards are 9.4 points per 100 possessions better when Wall is on the court, mostly because their defense is dramatically better. If he is gone for an extended period it hurts their chances of climbing back into the playoff picture in the East (the Wizards are currently the 12 seed, three games back of a playoff spot).