Greg Monroe not expecting Pistons contract extension, thinking 2014 free agency

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This summer the draft class of 2010 is eligible for contract extensions — teams with a star they want to lock up can do what the Thunder did with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, what the Clippers did with Blake Griffin, and so on. Give your franchise player the max.

So who from that draft do you think you want to lock up from 2010? John Wall? Evan Turner? Derrick Favors? Wesley Johnson? DeMarcus Cousins? Those were your first five pick and… not so much. We’ll see what the new ownership (whoever it is) and GM do with Cousins. Wall if he takes a discount salary maybe.

Then there is Greg Monroe, who fell to Detroit at the seventh pick and has been a quality NBA center — 15.9 points and 9.6 rebounds a game with 48.9 percent shooting this season. That’s the kind of big man you want to keep.

But Monroe’s agent, David Falk, told the Detroit Free Press there are no plans to talk extension, it will get sorted out in the summer of 2014 when Monroe is a restricted free agent.

“Greg isn’t gonna go backwards between his third and fourth year,” Falk said. “I don’t think I’ve ever done an extension after a third year. In the 90’s you maxed out a guy after his second, but the (CBA) rules are different now.”

“When I evaluate things, with a player of Greg’s stature: Take the money out of the equation. I can get it from five different teams. ‘Are there players I want to play with? A coach I want to play for? A city I want to live in?’ My job is to make the money as insignificant as possible (relatively).”

It’s a very agent thing to say “take the money out of the equation” because money IS the equation. In the case of Monroe in the summer of 2014, whatever some team with a great coach, livable city, and great teammates can offer to Monroe the Pistons have the right to match.

The Pistons are an up-and-coming team with a great young front line of Monroe and Andre Drummond, solid backcourt players like Brandon Knight, a guy they may want to keep in Jose Calderon, and $20 million in cap space. And if you want to know what attracts free agents, it’s cap space.

Detroit is a good place to be right now, I’d be surprised if the Pistons let him go.

Lakers fans give Dwyane Wade standing ovation, check out L.A. tribute video

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Lakers fans take a lot of abuse from other fan bases, some of it well deserved, but the core fans know the game.

And they know how much Dwyane Wade has meant to it.

Which is why they gave him a standing ovation when he checked into the game Monday night in Los Angeles.

The Lakers also put together a tribute video that played in the arena.

Classy move, Lakers. Well done.

Pacers’ Myles Turner shuts down Bradley Beal at the rim (VIDEO)

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Myles Turner owned the paint in the first half — the Pacers’ center had five blocked shots in the first 24 minutes.

The big shut down was on Bradley Beal, this is how a big man recovers and goes after it.

Then later there was this play leading to a bucket on the other end.

Turner has had a strong defensive season in the paint so far for the Pacers, a big step for him. He’s sixth among centers in ESPN’s defensive real plus/minus stat (which has its flaws but is a good snapshot).

Washington learned that the hard way.

 

Report: Houston kicking tires on J.R. Smith trade with Cavaliers

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The Houston Rockets desperately need help on the wing (among other things, but wing is the personnel focus). The Rockets would also like to have less salary on the books next season, giving them some flexibility and lowering the tax bill.

J.R. Smith fits both of those bills, so Houston and GM Daryl Morey are at least taking a look at a potential trade, reports Marc Stein of the New York Times.

While there is some logic to this, we are a long way from it being a reality. Smith does not exactly have a positive trade value, at least as a player right now.

Smith was part of the rotation that helped the LeBron-led Cavaliers reach the NBA Finals last season, but he will be best remembered for the Game 1 blunder in the Finals that deflated the Cavs. Without the playmaking of LeBron, Smith struggled to start this season, shooting 34 percent for the Cavaliers in limited minutes, before going on hiatus from the team. That said, in a better situation where he was asked to play a small and specific role, maybe he could still help.

Smith is guaranteed $18.59 million this season but only $3.87 million of his $15.68 million salary for next season is guaranteed.

Houston seems a logical fit. Money wise, a Brandon Knight for Smith trade works, but the Rockets will have to throw in picks or other sweeteners to get the Cavaliers interested. Cleveland also likely will be patient, hoping that as the deadline gets closer there is a little bidding war for Smith.

Still, the Rockets are active on the trade market (as always), and they need wings, so this is worth keeping an eye on.

Lakers’ Rajon Rondo has fluid drained from hand slowing his recovery from surgery

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Rajon Rondo has been out more than three weeks following surgery to repair the third metacarpal bone in his shooting hand (his right hand), and while there has been no official timeline he was expected back in the next week or two. He’s been out on the court before recent Lakers’ games getting in some work.

But he has now hit a bit of a setback, Lakers’ coach Luke Walton said on Wednesday. Here is what Walton said, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“There’s a little bit of swelling,” Walton said at Lakers shootaround on Monday in advance of his team’s game against the Miami Heat. “We’re going to shut him down for a few days then get back out after it again.”

It’s not clear when Rondo will return. He was averaging 8.5 points, 6.5 assists, and 4.5 rebounds a game before the injury.

The Lakers have gone 8-4 since Rondo went to the bench with his fractured hand. Without the veteran point guard, LeBron James has had the ball in his hands more as a playmaker (to Magic Johnson’s frustration at times), paired with Lonzo Ball (who has started to show some real chemistry with LeBron). The Lakers offense hasn’t been particularly good in these past dozen games, bottom 10 in the league, but they have balanced that with a top 7 defense. The Lakers are getting wins thanks to that defense and enough LeBron shot creation to get it done.

The Lakers are going to have to keep getting it done and now without Brandon Ingram, too, who is expected to miss a few more games with a sprained ankle.