Thursday morning one liners

2 Comments

Our morning look around the NBA with stories worth reading and notes that are not their own post here at PBT.

The Celtics may have been closer to getting Chris Paul than you think.

Eddy Curry is about to sign a deal with the Heat. So, you can just start sizing them all for championship rings right now. (Actually, this is certainly a make-good contract for camp.)

how u? Roger Mason is likely to sign with the Wizards.

Jamal Magloire is about to sign with the Toronto Raptors (which would make him the first ever Canadian born Raptor).

Earl Watson may well be with the Wizards as a backup to John Wall.

Marquis Daniels is about to return to the Boston Celtics.

Terrico White is being let go by the Pistons, so if anybody needs a guy who can dunk….

T.J. Ford could be backing up Tony Parker with the Spurs.

Carlos Arroyo is interested in the Knicks.

John Wall says the Wizards’ goal is to make the playoffs this year.

Dwyane Wade enters this season lean after a training program with a black belt and former military pilot.

Pau Gasol is pretty much just trying to ignore the trade rumors.

After all the talk and meetings, maybe the Nuggets end up with Nene.

You want to know why all the star free agents gravitate towards the big markets? Check out the NBA television broadcast schedule.

Check out the Wizards’ new court. I like it.

A closer look at the back-to-back-to-backs (or, stop your whining).

One thing not in the new NBA labor deal — testing for human growth hormone (although it could be approved later). Not sure it’s a big problem in the NBA, but shouldn’t there be testing for it?

Speaking of human growth, the Celtics appear to be inviting Mike Sweetney to training camp.

There are things to like about Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley. He’s up front, for one.

More and more rumors of Big Baby Glen Davis being headed to the Hornets, although the Celtics are talking to him.

Maybe Jordan Crawford finds his footing with the Warriors.

Magic CEO Bob Vander Weide says he was not drunk when he called Dwight Howard to tell him the entire city of Orlando loved him.

The Associated Press has settled a lawsuit with NBA referee Bill Spooner for $20,000, after Spooner sued because an AP writer said he made a make-up call in an NBA game. The AP writer may have misheard the one conversation in question. But make no mistake, NBA refs do makeup calls all the time.

What was it like to cover the NBA lockout on stake out in New York? Howard Beck of the New York Times tells you.

Report: Lakers eager to use LeBron James at center flanked by top four young players

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Why did the Lakers, after securing LeBron James, sign Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson? Their explanation leaves plenty to be desired.

What will the Lakers do with Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma now that none of those four are being traded for Kawhi Leonard? Their plan there is far more intriguing.

Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report:

“We may not see this on day one, but the coaching staff is eager to see our version of the [Warriors’] Death Lineup with Lonzo [Ball], Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, [Kyle] Kuzma and LeBron,” a second Lakers executive said.

LeBron at center is a dangerous weapon. The Cavaliers showed it more during the 2017 playoffs – to positive effect.

But LeBron isn’t Draymond Green, who makes Golden State’s Death/Hamptons Five Lineup function. Green possesses a unique combination of rim protection and – through his ball-handling and especially passing – ability to get into offense quickly. LeBron isn’t as good at protecting the paint, and though he’s lethal in transition when he wants to be, he’ll be fighting years of slow-down habits.

I also wonder how much LeBron embraces the physical toll of playing center. The Lakers have only JaVale McGee, Ivica Zubac and Mo Wagner at the position. Are they banking on LeBron playing there a significant amount during the regular season?

LeBron would likely accept the role more enthusiastically in the playoffs. But Ball, Hart, Ingram and Kuzma will be tested – at least initially – by the heightened level of play. I’d be wary of overly relying on that lineup.

But this is the best way for the Lakers to get talent on the floor and overcome spacing concerns. I’m absolutely excited to see it in action. Whatever concerns I have about it are only multiplied with other potential Lakers lineups.

Report: Nuggets lottery pick Michael Porter Jr. undergoes another back surgery

Getty Images
3 Comments

Michael Porter Jr. underwent back surgery in November, missed nearly his entire freshman season at Missouri then slipped to No. 14 in the draft amid injury concerns.

The Nuggets have been noncommittal about their plans for Porter, but they’ve given an eyebrow-raising update.

Nuggets release:

Michael Porter Jr. has undergone surgery of the lumbar spine at The Carrell Clinic in Dallas, Tex. The Procedure was performed by Dr. Andrew Dossett. There is no timetable for his return to basketball participation.

Porter is a talented forward with the length and skill to make a major impact as a scorer.

But, as this latest surgery underscores, drafting him carried terrifying risk. Denver will have to bear that for a while.

Report: Dirk Nowitzki to re-sign with Mavericks for $5 million

Abbie Parr/Getty Images
2 Comments

Dirk Nowitzki is set to play his 20th season – breaking Kobe Bryant’s record for most seasons with a single franchise and tying Kevin Garnett, Robert Parish and Kevin Willis for most seasons in the NBA.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Mavericks declined Nowitzki’s $5 million team option, but he was never signing elsewhere. He was either going to retire or play for Dallas.

Once he decided to return, the only question was money.

The Mavericks declined Nowitzki’s option to maximize their flexibility for upgrades, namely signing DeAndre Jordan. Once Yogi Ferrell agreed to an absurdly team-friendly contract, Dallas had enough cap space left to give Nowitzki his team-option amount. If necessary, he would have taken the $4,449,000 room exception.

Nowitzki has had a great career, and this could be his farewell tour. But he also remains a helpful rotation-level player. Though he’s a defensive liability, his outside shooting as a big goes a long way toward floor spacing.

Report: Mavericks re-signing Yogi Ferrell for less than qualifying-offer salary with second year unguaranteed

Abbie Parr/Getty Images
2 Comments

The Mavericks expected Yogi Ferrell to accept his qualifying offer.

Turns out, they’ll keep him on an even more team-friendly deal than the one he could have unilaterally signed.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

This is an awful deal for Ferrell.

As reported, he’ll earn between $2,548,077 and $2,760,417 next season. That range is less than his qualifying offer – which would have paid him a fully guaranteed $2,919,204 next season.

That reduction is acceptable if Ferrell got something in exchange – but he gave Dallas the concession by adding an unguaranteed second year. If he plays well, the Mavericks will keep him at a cheap salary. If he doesn’t, they’ll waive him for no cost. They have all the control.

The promise of the backup shooting guard job is probably just lip service. Teams don’t stick by that if the player struggles. If he produces, he would have gotten the job anyway.

Dallas has plenty of point guard types – Dennis Smith Jr., Luka Doncic, J.J Barea, Jalen Brunson and Ferrell. Rick Carlisle uses two of them simultaneously often enough that Ferrell should land in the rotation. But it’s far from a lock.

With this deal, Ferrell is taking all the risk and the Mavericks are getting all the upside.