Utah is in the market for a point guard. They lost Dante Exum before the season started and have tried to go with a combination of Trey Burke and Raul Neto, but it’s not been impressive (they have won lately because Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert both got healthy).
Houston is trying to pitch Utah on taking Ty Lawson as the solution to their problems — and getting him out of Houston, where he has been a major disappointment this season. Marc Stein of ESPN has the report:
There is some mutual interest.
That said, in a past twitter chat Lawson said he would never want to play for Utah because the city was “too boring.”
For the Rockets, this makes sense — they move Lawson (which they’ve wanted to do for a while now), they get a potential backup point in Burke plus whatever is needed to make the salaries match.
Does this make sense for the Jazz? When healthy and focused he’s a quick pick-and-roll point guard who could make plays with Favors and Gobert. He plays up tempo, is a solid scorer, and can really dish the rock and help move the ball. He also hasn’t played anything like that guy in recent games for the Rockets when he did get some run. He’s battled some alcohol issues with two DUIs in Denver, where he clashed with coach Brian Shaw. Is he past that and would he be a good influence on a young Jazz core?
The advantage for the Jazz is that Lawson’s contract is not guaranteed for next season — a condition of his move to the Rockets last summer — so if the Jazz want a rental to see how it works, they can swing this deal and cut bait this summer. But do they want to give up assets for that rental?
It’s a deal to watch. The Jazz want to make the playoffs and Lawson could help them get there. Even if they don’t keep him long term.
Between Lawson and Howard, the Rockets are aggressive on the trade market, but making headway will not be easy.
Nikola Jokic was delayed in joining the Nuggets after testing positive for coronavirus in Serbia.
Gary Harris, Torrey Craig and Michael Porter Jr. apparently aren’t with Denver, either.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
The Nuggets closed their facility two weeks ago after positive coronavirus tests. At least a week prior to that, a Western Conference playoff team reportedly had four positive coronavirus tests.
Are either of those events related to these absences?
The NBA has shown a disturbing lack of transparency around its restart.
When the season got suspended, Denver looked like a good regular-season team that’d face issues adapting to a playoff style. Now, who knows how the Nuggets will be when the season resumes? There’s so much roster uncertainty.
Harris is Denver’s starting shooting guard, and Craig and Porter have been rotation-level backup forwards. Both Harris (on smaller players) and Craig (on bigger players) have been defensive standouts with lackluster offense. Harris’ shooting struggles have been a major disappointment. For Craig, they’re an accepted limitation. Porter has shown flashes as a superb scorer, but he’s still raw.
Who knows if and when these three will join the Nuggets? Again, the lack of transparency has been frustrating. But Harris, Porter and Craig missing time would be a major setback for Denver.
Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Luc Mbah a Moute didn’t travel with the Rockets to Orlando for the NBA’s resumption at Disney World.
Westbrook says he tested positive for coronavirus:
It’s good that Westbrook is feeling well. And, once he had coronavirus, it’s good he tested positive before the team departed. He can quarantine in the comfort of his own home rather than a hotel room. He didn’t risk spreading coronavirus during the flight.
When will he join the Rockets? That’s tough to say. He must clear coronavirus first, and it’s unclear how long he has had it. Then, upon arrival at Disney World, he faces an in-room quarantine. The length of that can vary.
With Harden as the centerpiece, Houston has built its secondary attack around Westbrook’s aggressive style. The Rockets’ unique center-less approach is a direct response to Westbrook’s minus outside shooting. Empowered by spacing later in the season, Westbrook has really thrived.
He’d be a huge loss. Houston could go from a championship-contending wildcard to one-man show – or less.
This revelation also raises questions about Harden and Mbah a Moute, whose late arrivals haven’t been publicly explained.
Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard and 76ers star Joel Embiid expressed doubt about players following the NBA’s protocols in the bubble.
See Rockets forward Bruno Caboclo.
Tim MacMahon of ESPN:
Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
Players first arriving at Disney World is one of the most perilous times in the NBA’s plan. A player leaving his initial quarantine with coronavirus could undermine the whole operation.
The league has no practical choice but to be strict.
James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Luc Mbah a Moute didn’t arrive with the rest of the Rockets in Orlando. This makes four players who are behind in their ability to build chemistry and train with their teammates. At least Caboclo is just four days away from being four days away – major progress for him.
Houston has already clinched a playoff spot. But there’s some danger of slipping to the No. 7 seed and facing the powerful Clippers in the first round. So while they don’t have the most urgency for the seeding games, the Rockets are playing for something in the seeding games.
Missouri U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley sent out a press release complaining about the NBA’s list of approved social-justice messages for jerseys.
ESPN NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski replied to the email, “F— you.” (Wojnarowski did not censor the first word.)
Wojnarowski apologized. ESPN condemned his behavior and, according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, suspended him two weeks.
Several NBA players have publicly supported Wojnarowski:
Lakers star LeBron James:
Clippers guard Lou Williams:
Clippers guard Patrick Beverley:
Nuggets guard Jamal Murray:
Heat big Bam Adebayo:
Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie:
Kings forward Harrison Barnes:
Pacers center Myles Turner:
Grizzlies forward Anthony Tolliver:
Wizards wing Troy Brown Jr.:
Trail Blazers guard Jaylen Adams:
LeBron’s message is particularly notable.
Obviously, he’s the NBA’s biggest star. His words carry weight.
Wojnarowski also has a long history of harshly criticizing LeBron. Here are just a few examples.
But if he can get over The Letter from Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, LeBron can probably get past anything written about him.