Report: Lakers offered Steve Nash, draft picks for Rondo

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Update: Sam Amick of USA Today:

The Lakers inquired about a deal Thursday that would send forward Jordan Hill and a first-round pick to the Celtics for Rondo and forward Jeff Green, but the Celtics declined that offer, a person familiar with the details told USA TODAY Sports.

I’m assuming that proposal also would have included Steve Nash to make salaries match, but that’s only the beginning of the problems with this offer.

The Lakers can’t trade Hill until Jan. 15 — and not without his consent. I’m not sure why he’d approve a trade to Boston and forfeit his Bird rights in the process.

Plus, Green going back to the Lakers makes this totally unappealing to Boston. I doubt the Celtics would even do the deal without Green included. Hill and a single first rounder for Rondo just isn’t enough, and it’s definitely not worth waiting until January if the Mavericks have a good offer on the table now.

Maybe Rajon Rondo and Kobe Bryant breakfasting together meant something after all?

The Lakers, who are reportedly interested in signing Rondo this summer, have tried to to pry loose the Celtics point guard sooner.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

Obviously, it all depends on the picks. Because they owe the Suns (and Magic) a first rounder, even though they have an incoming first rounder from the Rockets, the Lakers are very limited in what first-round picks they can trade. They could include just one unprotected first rounder in a Rondo trade – their own in 2020 or 2021.

They could also add a first with complex reverse protections based on when they receive Houston’s pick and send picks to Phoenix and Orlando. That protected pick would have high upside but the potential never to be conveyed (or it could turn into a second rounder if not conveyed by a certain year).

There’s at least potential for the Lakers to make an intriguing offer.

Steve Nash’s expiring contract just gives the Celtics a clean break. He’s out for the year, and his career is probably over. He’s included in this deal only to make salaries match.

My Rondo-to-Mavericks trade idea – Brandan Wright, Raymond Felton and picks for Rondo – includes Boston taking Felton’s unappealing contract. Felton has a player option for 2015-16, which gives him negative value to the Celtics, but his salary is necessary to make the trade work. Nash wouldn’t have that drawback.

They key question on the Lakers’ end is whether they’d re-sign Rondo. Their experience with Dwight Howard should at least force them to consider the possibility Rondo would bolt this summer. Maybe Kobe, after speaking with Rondo, could provide some insight on that front.

If the Lakers want to make this happen – and I sort of suspect they just made a token effort and would prefer to target Rondo in free agency – they better hurry. The Mavericks just followed Rondo on Twitter (hat tip: Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders).

Cavaliers’ new jerseys feature a big ol’ feather

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The Cavaliers rank near the top of the NBA by taking 19% of their total shots outside the restricted area while still in the paint. But Cleveland has converted just a middling 41% of attempts in that floater/runner range.

Maybe these uniforms will help the Cavs find a more feathery touch.

Though not in so many words, the Cavaliers actually stuck a feather on their jerseys and called it macaroni.

Jarrett Allen denies Kyrie Irving rumors, “He acts like a normal teammate”

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It hasn’t taken long for the “Kyrie Irving isn’t a good leader in Brooklyn” rumor mill to start up. The Nets 6-8 start combined with a desire in some corners of the NBA (and NBA Twitter) to pile on Irving has started the talk. Whether those rumors are just smoke or there’s some fire there depends on who you ask.

It was ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith who brought the topic to the forefront again on First Take.

Just as a refresher, anything Smith says should be taken with a full box of Morton’s Kosher salt. His job is to stir things up. That doesn’t mean he has no connections.

Nets center Jarrett Allen did an AMA on Bleacher Report and shot down the idea Irving is a bad influence in the locker room.

He acts like a normal teammate. People say that he has mood swings, but that’s a complete lie. He wants to see us succeed and do well if anything.

Allen added this when asked to compare playing with Irving vs. D'Angelo Russell.

They’re kind of different. Kyrie can score from anywhere, even without me setting up the pick-and-roll. DLo…we worked well; if he didn’t score, he’d kick it to me to score.

The Nets are a franchise inhabiting a strange space this season. First, this ultimately is Kevin Durant‘s team, but he doesn’t really get the keys until he can play, which almost certainly means next season. That makes Irving an interim Alpha on that team, but that’s an unusual dynamic.

Second, this is a Nets team that has rebounded from as low as it can get in the NBA to being a place Irving and KD wanted to play by establishing a culture, an identity. This is a lunch pail group of players who were selfless and bought into the team’s ideas and concepts. Nobody was a superstar, it was team first. Except, in come two superstars who bring their own ways of doing things — and the Nets can’t mess with that. There are compromises that need to go on for both sides, with Irving/KD bending to the Nets some, but the Nets giving them superstar treatment.

All of that creates friction that is going to rub some people the wrong way. Plus, Irving is a unique personality who is going to do things his way, and that will bother others. Some of those people will talk to the media, but that doesn’t mean everyone — or even a majority — feel the same way. It’s usually people who feel aggrieved who want to vent.

How all this plays out in Brooklyn is going to be something to watch. But the ultimate test is next season, not this one.

Matt Barnes: ‘We Believe’ Warriors celebrated by smoking weed with Woody Allen at Don Nelson’s place

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The No. 8-seeded Warriors upset the 67-win Mavericks in the first round of the 2007 NBA playoffs. That Golden State team had some characters, including coach Don Nelson and forward Matt Barnes.

Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times:

Woody Allen! Jessica Alba! Kate Hudson! Owen Wilson! Snoop Dogg!

(Just a hunch, that was Woody Harrelson, not Allen. But it’s Barnes’ story.)

This story is incredible!

Rick Pitino says he tried to convince Knicks to draft Donovan Mitchell

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Many criticized the Knicks for drafting Frank Ntilikina over Dennis Smith Jr. with the No. 8 pick in the 2017 NBA draft. Now that New York has Smith and Smith has failed to separate himself, that chatter has quieted.

But everyone still loves to pile on the Knicks. (They deserve most of it.)

So, it’s time to second-guess New York passing on Donovan Mitchell, who was the No. 13 pick to the Jazz. Former Knicks coach Rick Pitino, who coached Mitchell at Louisville, is leading the charge.

SiriusXM NBA Radio:

Pitino:

I tried to get the Knicks to take him.

Nah, they can’t take him at that number.

Donovan, I knew would be a star in the league. I always felt he could play the 1. Can he run a pick-and-roll? Without question. Can he get other people shots? Without question. So, I always knew he could play two positions. He’s just a unique personality.

A lot of people – 7, 8, 9 – they passed on him, because they, A, they didn’t think he could play point guard, B, they questioned certain things.

Donovan is a worker. He’ll get in the gym, and he’ll perfect it. He doesn’t have a big ego, but he has an ability mentally. He wants to be the best. He doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder. He has a boulder on his shoulder, because he wasn’t heavily recruited out of high school. He was ranked 55th in high school instead of top 10, top 15. And he’s always out to prove that he’s one of the better players. So, it’s a good chip. He wants to be the best, and he’s willing to pay the price to be the best.

This is the same Pitino who, when Mitchell declared for the draft, said:

I think (Mitchell) will go out there and try out. And if he can move into the post-lottery area, anywhere from 13-20, it’s something we’ll talk about, but if it’s not there he’ll come back.

Pitino’s optimistic outlook was Mitchell getting drafted in the middle of the first round. Yet, we’re supposed to take seriously Pitino knew Mitchell would be an NBA star? That’s hard to jibe.

To be fair to the Knicks, many – myself included – didn’t have Mitchell ranked that high. He just didn’t look that exceptional at Louisville. But Utah watched him dominate a private pre-draft workout then traded up to get him.

I don’t blame the Knicks for not taking Pitino’s advice (if he truly gave it that way). They can’t listen to every college coach who raves about his own player. Mitchell is likable, and that gets people around him to vouch for him. But drafting teams must assess a player’s basketball ability, not just his likability.

Mitchell had the goods, and in hindsight, New York should have drafted him. The Knicks should self-assess and learn from that mistake.

But I doubt the applicable lesson is listening more to Rick Pitino.