Report: Lakers will try to shop Steve Nash’s $9.7 million expiring contract. Good luck with that.

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Under the old Collective Bargaining Agreement, expiring contracts had a real value, teams with them could dump them for young players, picks and things to help speed a rebuild (and give the team that took them on future flexibility). However, under the new CBA things are different — shorter contract lengths, the amnesty that let teams dump a bad contract, the stretch provision, plus a different philosophy on assets from younger GMs have made expiring deals far less valuable.

Which means the report from Marc Stein of ESPN that the Lakers are going to shop Steve Nash’s expiring deal may be true but likely end up fruitless. But they will try.

As ESPN.com reported last month when Nash was ruled out for the 2014-15 season because of recurring nerve issues with his back, Lakers officials are planning to explore the trade market for potential deals between now and the February trade deadline with Nash’s $9.7 million expiring contract.

It’s worth a shot, but don’t hold your breath on it working out.

If a team takes on Nash’s salary, they are going to want a sweetner — they are going to want a pick or a player, not to give one of quality back to the Lakers.

Make no mistake, Lakers have put themselves in a position to try and be a player in the trade market as we move through the season and toward the deadline. Why do you think they gave Jordan Hill a $9 million salary this season (with a team option for next year)? His play? No. Because then he’s a more valuable trade chip. With Nash and Hill, the Lakers have plenty of salary to move (any player not named Kobe could be moved in the right deal).

However the trade deadline has been slow the past couple years, a trend likely to continue this season. The new crop of GMs is less likely to make big mid-season deals unless pressured and they are not just going to absorb big contracts. And who is out there and likely to be moved? Rajon Rondo’s name comes up but there is a risk as he will be a free agent next season, plus the Celtics’ price is high. There are a number of guys who can or will be free agents next summer (Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, Kawhi Leonard) that their teams plan to re-sign, not move.

But the Lakers are going to pay Nash anyway, might as well try and move the deal.

Paul George’s late three proves to be game-winner against Thunder, his former team (VIDEO)

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Paul George hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 25 seconds left, lifting the Los Angeles Clippers over the Oklahoma City Thunder 90-88 on Monday night to improve to 8-1 at home.

The Thunder had just tied the game at 86-all on a 3-pointer by former Clipper Danilo Gallinari before Chris Paul made two free throws after being fouled by George for an 88-86 lead.

George’s 3 put the Clippers ahead 89-88.

The Clippers were then called for a foul that was overturned on a challenge by coach Doc Rivers. The Thunder retained possession and Terrance Ferguson inbounded to Gallinari, whose 3-pointer missed.

George made a free throw with 0.3 seconds left to close out the game against the team that traded him to Los Angeles last summer.

The Thunder fell to 0-5 on the road.

Montrezl Harrell had 28 points and 12 rebounds off the bench to lead the Clippers. George finished with 18 points after scoring 30-plus points in his first two games of the season.

Paul scored 22 points, making 10 of 11 free throws, against his former team. Gallinari added 14 points and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, another former Clipper, had 11 points despite five fouls.

The Clippers were without Kawhi Leonard for the third straight game because of a bruised left knee.

 

Luka Doncic with 42-point triple-double, sticks dagger in Spurs for Mavericks win

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Luka Doncic is having a “we’ve got to talk about this guy as a possible MVP” kind of season so far.

The latest addition to the resume: A 42 point, 11 rebounds, 12 assist triple-double to lead the Mavericks past the Spurs. That includes sticking the dagger in the Spurs late.

Dallas won 117-110 and improves to 8-5 on the season.

The 42 points is a career-high for Doncic, and he is the first player in Dallas history to record a 40-point triple-double. This is Doncic’s sixth triple-double of the season.

And he’s still just 20 years old.

Here’s the full list of NBA players who have had 40-point triple-doubles at the age of 20 or younger:

LeBron James
Luka Doncic

That’s it — and that’s some impressive company for Doncic.

Kings’ Buddy Hield fined $25,000 for kicking ball into stands in celebration

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This was a $25,000 celebration by Buddy Hield.

Sacramento led by one in the final seconds against Boston Sunday, but the Celtics had a final shot and Marcus Smart‘s attempt at a game-winning floater hung on the rim seemingly forever… then fell off. The ball was tipped out to mid-court and — as you can see in this video — Heild kicks the ball into the stands as part of the celebration.

Kicking or throwing the ball into the stands is a standing $25,000 fine, and the league came down with that on Hield on Monday. It was not a surprise.

Hield was the reason Sacramento won the game, scoring 35 points to lead the Kings, including going 7-of-12 from three. He’d likely make that trade for the win again.

Kawhi Leonard out vs. Thunder Monday night, third straight game due to knee bruise

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This isn’t load management. This is a bruised knee.

The first Clipper game with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George sharing the court will have to wait as Leonard is going to miss his third straight game with a knee contusion Monday night against the Thunder. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN broke the news.

The Clippers are going to be cautious with bringing Leonard back from this, thinking long term with his health, as they should. Los Angeles is playing for games in May and June, not games in November.

This means tonight the Clippers will be the Paul George show again — in two games he has scored 70 points in 44 minutes. This will be George’s first game against the Thunder since he demanded a trade out of the city last summer, landing him on the Clippers with Leonard.