Your Lakers trade rumors and speculation of the day

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I’m just going to put this one out there, and let you decide how you feel about it. Peter Vescey of the New York Post, yes, him,  has a post describing the Dwight Howard situation and the Lakers’ involvement. Apparently there’s been an offer, and apparently it was shot down. From the Post:

“I can tell you for a fact the Lakers offered Andrew Bynum and the Magic do not want him,” said a Western Conference executive.”

via Peter Vecsey: Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard still has an uncertain future – NYPOST.com.

So that’s fun. It should be no surprise that if the Lakers offered a straight-up swap of Bynum for Howard that the Magic said no. Or screamed “No!” Or laughed and hung up. Or laughed so much they had to be put in an institution for three days. Bynum is an injury prone, inconsistent player with debatable work-ethic issues and a history of reckless on-court behavior. Dwight Howard is an MVP candidate. So that’s kind of funny.

That’s really the crux of this deal. The Lakers can probably get Howard, but they don’t want to give up Bynum and Pau Gasol. They’ll need to send out both players,even if they involve other teams to get more pieces back. Howard’s just worth that much more than Gasol and Bynum are valued at. If the Lakers like those two guys so much, that’s fine, they can keep them, but they can’t get Howard. Maybe the Magic’s resolve will weaken in the coming months, but that’s where they’re at now.

Vescey also throws out there that  Gasol-for-Jermaine-O’Neal-and-Rajon Rondo deal could be out there. Raise your hand if you can see the Lakers and Celtics making a deal given even the recent history between the two teams, and if you think Gasol embodies the Celtics culture. Yeah, me neither.

All-Star Weekend is over. Trade season is here. Getcha’ popcorn.

Caris LeVert suffers injury so horrific, it brings teammates to tears and opponents to prayer (video)

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Caris LeVert has been one of the Nets’ biggest bright spots. The hard-working 24-year-old was a Most Improved Player candidate, and he seems well-liked throughout the organization. He’s even already hit a couple gamewinners this season.

But LeVert’s breakout campaign hit a devastating snag tonight, as he injured his leg.

The reactions of both his Brooklyn teammates and the Timberwolves say everything. This is a tough one.

Markelle Fultz takes ugly pump-fake free throw

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A key question after the 76ers traded for Jimmy Butler: How would the demanding star affect Markelle Fultz‘s confidence?

Butler isn’t even playing for Philadelphia yet, but this isn’t an encouraging sign.

Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice:

Maybe the ball just slipped out of Fultz’s hands on the way up, and he had to continue pushing it toward the rim to avoid a violation. That could happen to anybody.

But given everything we know about Fultz’s shooting woes, it’s impossible to take this as anything other than a ghastly low point in an ongoing problem.

LeBron James: ‘I almost cracked’ with Lakers’ slow start

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LeBron James has played in eight straight NBA Finals.

How’s he handling reduced expectations with the Lakers, who started 2-5 before rising to 7-6?

LeBron, via Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

‪“I haven’t changed anything outwardly, but you know me. You know how I am. I almost cracked [last week]. I had to sit back and remind myself, ‘[Expletive], you knew what you were getting yourself into,’” James told Yahoo Sports while laughing after Saturday’s win in Sacramento. “This process has been good for me. I just have to continue being patient.”‬

LeBron warned everyone to stay clear when he loses his patience, but he has never sounded close to losing it this season. He signed a four-year deal with the Lakers, said he doesn’t feel urgency to win quickly before his prime ends and seems content to wait for a co-star.

If anything, it seemed LeBron might be too relaxed, enjoying the Los Angeles lifestyle and focusing on showbusiness.

So, this is a welcome sign of his competitiveness.

Also kudos to LeBron for harnessing it unlike others in the organization. These Lakers need time to determine how these oddly shaped pieces fit together – unless a star becomes available. Then, all bets are off.

Dwyane Wade: Making Carmelo Anthony ‘fall guy’ doesn’t address the ‘real problem’

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LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul – the banana-boat buddies – comprise the NBA’s most famous friendship group.

With Anthony nearing his end with the Rockets, that puts Houston teammate Paul in an awkward place. But Wade and LeBron are speaking up. So are the Trail Blazers’ Evan Turner and Damian Lillard.

Wade:

LeBron:

Evan Turner:

Damian Lillard:

It’s unclear whether Wade is scolding the Rockets or fans/media. That comment is far more loaded if he’s referring directly to the organization. I wonder what he sees at the “real problem” in Houston.

A struggling team waiving a minimum-salary player is rarely viewed as making that player the scapegoat. But Anthony has an outsized reputation due to his long, star-level career. With that in mind, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tried to defend Anthony.

But Anthony is a part of Houston’s problems. He’s awful defensively and shooting poorly. There is mounting evidence he’s washed up. Downgrading his role, whether or not that includes waiving him, is a step in the right direction for the Rockets.

It won’t solve everything, and Anthony – after all that he has done in the NBA – should be treated with respect. But there’s no way around his substandard current level of play.