Report: Lakers have called Pistons about Greg Monroe, Brandon Jennings

16 Comments

The Lakers are not content to just play out their worst season since moving to Los Angeles. (Yes, even worse than last year.)

They’re going to talk trade – and make sure you know they’re talking trade.

There was the pursuit of Rajon Rondo, an offer just good enough to look serious but clearly short of the Mavericks’ package. It never made sense for the Lakers to trade for Rondo, because they could just chase him in free agency after this lost season, but it seems they want their fans to know they’re trying.

They’re still trying to tell their fans they’re trying.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

Dion Waiters already got traded to the Thunder, so that’s probably a no-go now.

It’d make no sense for the Lakers to trade for Greg Monroe. They wouldn’t get his Bird rights, so why not just sign him as an unrestricted free agent this summer? The Lakers could offer him the same contract whether or not they deal for him this season. There are only two rationales for making a Monroe trade now:

1. The Lakers want to use him this season to win. That’d upset Magic Johnson – and common sense, no matter what Jeanie Buss says. The Lakers’ best course is to tank enough to keep the top-five protected pick they owe the Suns, hope they strike gold in free agency and then ideally convey Phoenix a much lower pick in 2016.

2. The Lakers want to use the rest of the season to sell Monroe on Los Angeles. Even if adding to the roster sooner won’t change the contract they can offer him in the summer, they could have an opportunity to impress Monroe before any other suitors. However, given the way the Lakers’ season is going, they should probably want Monroe to see as little as possible in advance.

It makes a little more sense, emphasis on little, for the Lakers to trade for Jennings, who’s under contract for next season. He has has been instrumental in the Pistons post-Josh Smith turnaround. If Detroit deals Jennings, it’d clearly be taking a step back. Jennings is the best point guard on either the Pistons or Lakers.

Stan Van Gundy initially talked of a long-term view before his team won seven straight immediately after dropping Smith. That unexpected success has changed the team’s direction, but it doesn’t preclude the Pistons from selling off their parts. It’s not as if they’re anywhere near a playoff lock.

That said, why would the Lakers want Jennings now? Anything he provides this season is for naught, and though he’s under contract for an affordable $8,344,497 next season, the Lakers play in a market where they can target bigger free agents. Jennings would just cut into the Lakers’ cap space.

Essentially, there’s little reason Jennings should have more value to the Lakers than he does to the Pistons. But if the Lakers have an unreasonably high opinion of Jennings, the Pistons should at least listen.

Arizona State leading scoring Remy Martin declares for 2020 NBA Draft

(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Arizona State junior Remy Martin has declared for the 2020 NBA Draft:

The six-foot point guard took on more of scoring role in his third season with the Sun Devils than he had in his first two seasons. Martin averaged 19.1 points per game on 43.2% shooting from the field. Martin also dished out 4.1 assists per game, after averaging 5.0 assists as a sophomore.

Arizona State’s leading scoring may just be testing the waters, as he’s expected to go undrafted. NBA scouts have concerns over Martin’s size at the NBA level. One concern is his ability to hold up defensively, as NBA point guards are trending bigger and bigger in recent years.

As a smaller guard, Martin was one of the players who could have benefited from the traditional pre-draft process. With in-person workouts on hold, and potentially cancelled entirely, players have limited opportunities to improve their draft stock. Teams may be drafting off previous in-person scouting and off of tape.

NBA players reportedly to take part in televised NBA 2K tournament Friday

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for NBA 2K
Leave a comment

If we can’t watch NBA players on the court, at least we can watch them control their digital selves and teammates in a live basketball tournament.

ESPN plans to broadcast an NBA 2K tournament with only NBA players at the controllers, a story broken by Chris Haynes at Yahoo Sports. The hope is to have it air Friday, with the players competing from their homes around the country.

The NBA is planning a players-only NBA 2K tournament that will feature the league’s sharpest video gamers and it will be broadcast on ESPN, league sources told Yahoo Sports…

Players competing against their peers in the comfort of their own homes could offer a distraction for fans who are missing the game and a little competition.

Esports are incredibly popular and growing as a spectator sport, both in person and on Twitch and other platforms. With there being a pent-up demand for sports programming, this seems a smart attempt to draw eyeballs. Even people who are non-esports viewers could tune in just to check it out, because it’s that or rewatching Tiger King.

You can bet that if it works, we will see a lot more of it in the future.

(Inside baseball note: I would love to see the emails/texts flying around ESPN about Yahoo breaking a story about what is coming in their network.)

 

Shaquille O’Neal: I had no idea what was happening with Joe Exotic of Tiger King

(Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Papa John's International, Inc.)
Leave a comment

On a recent episode of “The Big Podcast with Shaq” former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal said that “he had no idea” what was happening at the zoo run by Joe Exotic. Joe Exotic was recently made famous through the popular Netflix documentary “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness”.

Footage of O’Neal appeared in the first episode of the show and was shown taking photographs with the animals.

The documentary also showed a cut of O’Neal on TNT saying “Shoutout to Exotic Joe. I got two more tigers.”

On his podcast, O’Neal explained:

“So we go in there, and it’s a beautiful place, and the character that was there was Exotic Joe. We’re there and I dropped some donations for the tigers’ foods and all that. We take pictures with (the) tigers. We went back a couple times. Then we go back another time and we found out that he’s involved with all the stuff, and then, actually, I stopped going.”

Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic, was sentenced to 22 years in prison after being found guilty of 19 different charges. Those charges included murder-for-hire plot, illegally selling endangered species and other animal-related offenses.

O’Neal clarified that he never bought any animals, but often donates to charities that help animals. He also made it clear that he’s not friends with Joe Exotic, nor anyone involved in the trade of endangered species.

“I don’t harm tigers,” O’Neal said. “I love tigers. I love white tigers. Do I put donations to these zoos to help these tigers out? I do it all the time. Do I own tigers personally at my house? No. But I love tigers. Listen, people are going to make their own opinions, but, again, I was just a visitor. I met this guy — not my friend. Don’t know him. Never had any business dealings with him, and I had no idea any of that stuff was going on.”

Report: Brooklyn Nets looking to hire a blue-chip head coach

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Leave a comment

When the Brooklyn Nets and Kenny Atkinson parted ways in early-March, the team installed Jacque Vaughn as the interim head coach.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst that’s a short-term appointment. On his podcast “Brian Windhorst and The Hoop Collective”, the reporter said the Nets are looking to hire a coach with a track record of NBA success.

“One of the things that has been expressed sort of the grapevine, that’s the way I’m going to say it to protect myself from the aggregators, is that Durant and Irving would like a blue-chip coach. I don’t know what this says about the way they thought about Atkinson, but they want a big-name coach.”

Names linked to the Brooklyn opening are Tom Thibodeau, Mark Jackson, and both Jeff and Stan Van Gundy.

Atkinson leaving Brooklyn was a surprise, considering he had led the Nets back to the playoffs in 2019. That success came after a three-year rebuild. That process was kicked off when general manager Sean Marks hired Atkinson to lead the on-court development. Under Marks and Atkinson, the Nets developed several players who had been given up on by other teams.

Brooklyn was 28-34 when Atkinson was let go. The Nets had gone 2-0 under Vaughn before the NBA suspended play in mid-March.