Tag: Spencer Hawes

Lance Stephenson

Report: Clippers and Hornets agree in principle to Lance Stephenson trade


Earlier on Monday, multiple reports indicated that the Hornets and Clippers were discussing a trade that would send talented but erratic swingman Lance Stephenson to Los Angeles in exchange for Spencer Hawes and Matt Barnes. Now, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting that the teams have agreed to the deal and it’s on track to get done tonight.

By all indications, there are no picks involved in the trade, just an agreement to swap one bad contract for another. This is a swing for the fences for the Clippers — if Stephenson pans out, he gives them a dynamic wing defender.

Report: Clippers and Hornets discussing Lance Stephenson trade

Lance Stephenson

At the trade deadline, the Hornets couldn’t give Lance Stephenson away. Their marquee signing of last offseason was a complete disaster when taken away from Indiana and Larry Bird, and they seemed to be stuck with the remaining year and $9 million in guaranteed money on his contract. Now, they might finally have a taker in the Clippers.

From Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski:

In a high-risk, high-reward move, the Los Angeles Clippers are discussing a deal with theCharlotte Hornets to acquire guard Lance Stephenson, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The Clippers would send forwards Spencer Hawes and Matt Barnes to the Hornets, sources said. Talks have been ongoing for several days, but the proposed deal is yet to be considered imminent.

The appeal in this trade for the Clippers is obvious. Hawes signed a four-year, $23 million contract last summer, killing the Clippers’ flexibility and barely cracking the rotation. They would love to get out of that long-term money. Bringing on Stephenson is an obvious risk. The Hornets hoped they would get the version of “Born Ready” that became an important wing defender and playmaker for the Pacers in the 2013 and 2014 playoffs, but his production fell off a cliff this year in Charlotte.

He would be a reclamation project for Doc Rivers, who would be banking on the idea that his reputation and championship pedigree will be enough to get the best out of Stephenson on the court while mitigating the off-the-court headaches that come with him. Part of the reason Stephenson was so successful in Indiana was the presence of Bird, and even the Pacers balked at the idea of giving him a long-term deal. But if the Clippers re-sign DeAndre Jordan to the five-year, $100-plus million contract he’s expected to command in free agency, they won’t have much room, if any, to add depth. If they can shed Hawes’ long-term money to take a one-year flier on Stephenson, whose 2016-17 salary is a team option, it’s worth a look.

For the Hornets, getting rid of Stephenson at all costs seems to be the objective here. Taking back Hawes isn’t deal, but he might be more productive in a different environment, and his salary isn’t completely untradeable if it doesn’t work out.

Rumor: Paul Pierce might opt out of contract with Wizards, join Clippers

Atlanta Hawks v Washington Wizards-Game Six

After his last game in Washington, with the Wizards eliminated by the Atlanta Hawks from these playoffs, Paul Pierce sounded like a guy ready to walk away.

“Truthfully, what was going through my mind is, I don’t have too much of these efforts left, if any,” Pierce said. “These rides throughout the NBA season, throughout the playoffs, are very emotional. They take a lot out of not only your body, but your mind, your spirit…. I don’t even know if I’m going to play basketball anymore,” Pierce said.

But maybe he will — on the other coast with another team that just can’t quite seem to live up to its promise.

Pierce to the Clippers rumors have floated around the league for a while, and David Aldridge at NBA.com brought it up in his column Monday.

Washington’s main issue is complacency. The Wizards could stand pat if Pierce decides to return to D.C. next season rather than opt out of his deal, but many around the league believe Pierce will do just that and finish his career back home in Los Angeles with the Clippers.

The point Aldridge is making is a good one: The Wizards need a long term answer at the three. Pierce enjoyed his time in the city and may, once things settle down, decide to stay put. He spoke glowingly of his teammates there and the city.

Doc Rivers had the chance to go after Pierce last summer but decided to give his full mid-level exception to Spencer Hawes instead. You can bet he’d like that one over.

And he may get the chance. One-year deal and the Clippers get some needed depth at the three and a veteran voice? At an affordable price, it makes sense.

If Pierce wants to go through one more run.

The conspiracy behind the NBA draft lottery

David Griffin, Jeff Cohen

I dislike conspiracy theories.

I’m not some tinfoil-hat wearing lunatic raving about the Kennedy assassination, moon landing and Elvis’ true whereabouts. These are delusions, poor excuses for paranoid people to attack the establishment.

That’s not me.

But as much as I dislike conspiracy theories, I absolutely detest those in power preying on the powerless.

And, I’m sad to say, that’s what David Stern did for years and Adam Silver continues to do with the NBA draft lottery.

The lottery is fixed. I’m 100% certain. No doubt. Absolutely positive.

I won’t attempt to prove this with anonymous sources or innuendo. I’m a stick-to-the-facts kind of guy.

  • Fact: The actual lottery occurs in secret for no good reason. The NBA could end all the fixing accusations by simply showing the actual drawing in front of the cameras.
  • Fact: In the last three years, the New Orleans Hornets Hornets (14.8%), Cavaliers (1.7%),Cavaliers (15.6%) andhave gotten the No. 1 pick. The odds of that happening? Just 0 .4%. Are you really falling for something that has just a 0.4% chance of happening?
  • Fact: I have predicted the winner before each of those lotteries. The NBA always fixes it for the most obvious team.

Three years ago – before the lottery – I wrote:

The NBA no longer owns the Hornets, but is still committed to keeping them in New Orleans. With their arena improvements needing approval of the state legislature in July, the Hornets could ride the Anthony Davis buzz and ensure there are no hitches. The league spent a year-and-a-half trying to sell the team without finding a buyer, so maybe Tom Benson needed a No. 1 pick thrown in the deal. David Stern has also meddled in the Hornets’ business before, in the Chris Paul trade. Davis would help Eric Gordon, and therefore Stern’s reputation, because Stern was the one who handpicked Gordon for the Hornets rather than taking the Lakers’ offer.

Of course, New Orleans got the No. 1 pick and Davis.

Last year, again before the lottery:

Stern desperately wants to create a Cavaliers-Heat rivalry to boost rankings, and to do so, he must make the Cavaliers better. Dan Gilbert remained loyal during the lockout, and especially after LeBron became the worst example of players seizing control from teams, Stern will reward Gilbert with a second No. 1 pick.

Yup, Cleveland got the No. 1 pick and Anthony Bennett. (The NBA can lead a team to a the top pick but can’t make the team pick someone worthwhile.)

Last year, I wrote before the lottery:

I don’t know what Dan Gilbert is blackmailing the NBA with, but it sure works. Two No. 1 picks in three years is unprecedented in the current weight setup. Gilbert tried showing restraint on his golden goose, exercising his ability to get a top pick only every other year. But now, the Cavaliers owner is getting desperate. He traded for Luol Deng and Spencer Hawes and still couldn’t make the playoffs, and Anthony Bennett sure deserves a mulligan. Gilbert will cash in again.

Obviously, Cleveland got the No. 1 pick and Andrew Wiggins.

I’m no Ivy League genius. I can’t just magically predict something that has a 0.4% percent of happening. The only reason I knew how the lottery would unfold is because the NBA always gives the top pick to the most obvious team.

Every. Single. Year.

The lottery winner is always the team that the NBA has incentive to give the No. 1 pick.

So, who will get it this year? It’s painfully clear.

Here – regardless of the what the NBA will tell you – are the true lottery odds:

Minnesota Timberwolves

Odds of winning the lottery: 25.0% 100%

The NBA wants to tap deeper into the Canadian market. See the league’s flirtation with Montreal. Marketing the Raptors would have been the easy route, but they’re fizzling. The next-best option: Selling Andrew Wiggins, a native Canadian and budding superstar. That gets easier when the Timberwolves get better. (That they also have Canadian Anthony Bennett and Vince Carter’s closest dunking heir apparent, Zach LaVine, only helps.) The NBA will give Minnesota the No. 1 pick and gain a huge following across an entire country.

New York Knicks

Odds of winning the lottery: 19.9% 100%

The NBA literally invented the lottery to give the Knicks the No. 1 pick, Patrick Ewing in 1985. The league likes to claim it’s financially viable without a strong team in New York – which is true. But methinks the NBA protests a bit too much. This isn’t complicated. Better team plus larger market = more profits. The NBA isn’t interested in merely being viable. The league wants to maximize profits, and that’s why the Knicks will get the No. 1 pick.

Philadelphia 76ers

Odds of winning the lottery: 15.6% 100%

The 76ers have won. They’re a black eye on the league, their tanking an annual embarrassment. The NBA tried to alter the lottery format, but Philadelphia successfully scared off enough teams from changing the rules. So, the league has no choice but to give the 76ers the No. 1 pick and end their “rebuilding” process as quickly as possible. Plus – and it’s easy to forget now that the team has put itself in the pits – Philadelphia is a major market.

Los Angeles Lakers

Odds of winning the lottery: 11.9% 100%

The Lakers are the NBA’s best brand, and the league must protect it. Even in these last two dismal years, the Lakers have gotten many nationally televised games. The NBA needs that to continue, but for it to be viable, the Lakers must be better. A good Lakers team essentially has license to print money. That’s why the NBA is sending the No. 1 pick to Los Angeles.

Orlando Magic

Odds of winning the lottery: 8.8% 100%

LeBron James, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard are the only players in the last decade to make the All-NBA first team and then leave their team that offseason. The Cavaliers got three No. 1 picks after LeBron left, and New Orleans got one after Paul. Now, the NBA  will get around to compensating the Magic for losing Dwight Howard. This is the NBA’s most important – and most secret – strategy for achieving competitive balance.

Sacramento Kings

Odds of winning the lottery: 6.3% 100%

Nearly a year ago, Sacramento approved funding for a new arena – for a Kings team that has now missed the playoffs nine straight seasons. Why? Because city officials knew the Kings would be rewarded with the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft.

Denver Nuggets

Odds of winning the lottery: 4.3% 100%

The Nuggets’ attendance dropped from last season to this season by 2,199 fans per game – a bigger fall than every other declining team combined. Denver needs the jolt of a No. 1 pick, and increased revenues will follow. The NBA is well aware how this works. The biggest attendance jump from last season to this season? The Cavs, who won the last two and three of the last four lotteries.

Detroit Pistons

Odds of winning the lottery: 2.8% 100%

Not long ago, the Pistons led the NBA in attendance. Now, they rank near the bottom of the league. A suburban arena makes it easy for Detroit fans to ignore the Pistons when the team is struggling. The Knicks and Lakers play in bigger markets, but they’re cash cows regardless. Giving the Pistons the No. 1 pick will maximize the NBA’s overall revenue.

Charlotte Hornets

Odds of winning the lottery: 1.7% 100%

The NBA desperately wants to market Michael Jordan as an owner, but lowly Charlotte had to take steps before that was viable. The team rebranded to the Hornets and secured funding for arena upgrades. Now, the league will uphold its end of the bargain – the No. 1 pick. As long as Jordan doesn’t mess this up like Kwame Brown, Charlotte will become one of the league’s trendiest teams. That’ll move shoes.

Miami Heat

Odds of winning the lottery: 1.1% 100%

The Big Three era is over in Miami, but the Heat’s success the previous four years drew incredible attention. Some of Miami’s new fans followed LeBron to Cleveland, but many still cheer for the Heat – for now. These are not people with deep-rooted ties to basketball. If the Heat continue to struggle, these fans will move onto other forms of entertainment. So, the NBA will give the Heat the No. 1 pick and retain a huge number of fans who might be lost otherwise.

Indiana Pacers

Odds of winning the lottery: 0.8% 100%

Paul George’s comeback is such a feel-good story. A star player seriously injured himself while selflessly representing the Red, White and Blue. Then, he worked his way back quicker than anyone expected. The perfect next chapter would be a playoff berth – which gets easier if the Pacers get the No. 1 pick. The NBA knows people would rally around that narrative. Patriotism and perseverance sell. Wrap both into one narrative, and this has amazing potential.

Utah Jazz

Odds of winning the lottery: 0.7% 100%

There is no reason for the NBA to fix the lottery for the Jazz… which is exactly why they’ll win. The league wants to fool those who are catching onto the the lottery being a charade. What better way to do that than give a team like Utah the No. 1 pick? This is year the to do it, because there’s no historically elite prospect (not even Karl-Anthony Towns), and the next tier of players (Jahlil Okafor, D’Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay) is relatively close. The NBA will give the Jazz the No. 1 pick, allowing its premier franchises to still draft good players and throwing gullible fans off the scent.

Phoenix Suns

Odds of winning the lottery: 0.6% 100%

The Suns repeatedly playing well and missing the playoffs is a bad look for the NBA. Goran Dragic’s unhappiness and forced trade could bring this issue to the forefront, and the league hopes to avoid that. The NBA wants to keep its current postseason format, which creates an easier road to the playoffs for larger East Coast markets, without disruption. So, a small token to Phoenix – the No. 1 pick – is worth it. That will keep people from asking too many questions about why the Suns keep outplaying Eastern Conference teams and missing the playoffs.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Odds of winning the lottery: 0.5% 100%

The Thunder are the NBA’s model small-market franchise. Whenever someone brings up the advantages held the biggest markets, the league can point to Oklahoma City. The team is excellent, and Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are marketing giants. That all unravels if Durant leaves in free agency in 2016. So, the NBA will give Thunder the No. 1 pick in an attempt to convince Durant to stay with them.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Odds of winning the lottery: 0.0% 100%

These guys always win.

So, there you have it. In case you can’t remember after the lottery winner is revealed, check back here to see why it was fixed for that team. Then, tell everyone you know why the NBA just had to have that team win the No. 1 pick.

Report: Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan had falling out

Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets - Game One

The Clippers need to re-sign DeAndre Jordan.

If they don’t, they’ll likely have only the mid-level exception to find a replacement. For perspective, that netted them Spencer Hawes last season.

Jordan plans to explore the market, including the Mavericks.

That puts pressure on the Clippers. They can offer Jordan more money and, in most cases, a better team.

Potentially not helping? Chris Paul.

Bill Reiter of Fox Sports:

Paul better evaluate whether this is a grudge worth holding – because Jordan has the power here. If he leaves, the Clippers are stuck.

It’d be a shame to waste a season in Paul’s and Blake Griffin’s prime. The Clippers would still probably make the playoffs next season, but they’d be hard-pressed to contend for a title without Jordan. (And make no mistake: Despite their Game 7 loss yesterday, they were among the teams legitimately competing for the 2015 championship.)

Then, when the salary cap jumps in 2016, they could seriously look into upgrading the roster around Paul and Griffin. Playing with those stars will appeal to free agents, but many teams will have flexibility. It’s far from guaranteed the Clippers come out ahead of their competition – and that’d be following a near-certain step back next season.

Winning isn’t everything, but Paul should be going to every length he finds reasonable to make Jordan feel comfortable with him and the Clippers.