Clippers rumored to be open to Lou Williams trade

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The Clippers have already let the reigning Sixth Man of the Year walk (choosing to replace him with Serge Ibaka, who is seen as a better playoffs fit within the organization). Would the team also move on from their other Sixth Man of the Year winner to remake team chemistry and the roster?

Maybe. Other teams expect the Clippers to consider a trade of Lou Williams, reports Marc Stein of the New York Times in his weekly newsletter.

The additions of Ibaka and Luke Kennard (via trade with Detroit) are just the beginning; many rival teams also expect the Clippers to trade Lou Williams in their quest to create a fresh-start environment after they blew a 3-1 series lead to the Nuggets.

Williams, who averaged 18.1 points and 5.6 assists last season and is in the final year of his contract ($8 million), would draw a lot of interest on the trade market. He works primarily in isolation or with a good pick-and-roll big man (Harrell) and can go get buckets, although his lack of defense limits how much a team can use him deeper in the postseason.

There were chemistry challenges in the Clippers locker room throughout the season. This had been a unified, lunch-pail, we-play-harder-than-you team two years before that had pushed its way up to the playoffs; when Kawhi Leonard and Paul George landed, they were seen by some as getting time off and favoritism not granted others. The Clippers never got their core guys together on the court enough. As an organization they didn’t seem to take building good habits during the regular season seriously enough (unlike the Lakers), and in the end it cost them in the playoffs.

Changing that chemistry is Tyronn Lue’s biggest goal as coach, and the front office is apparently trying to help with some personnel moves. One of them could be a trade of Williams, although in doing so the Clippers would need to find another shot creator to run the second unit (they can stagger George and Leonard more, but that alone is not the answer, the NBA is becoming a league where teams need more and more shot creators).

Just look at it as something to watch, particularly as we move closer to the trade deadline. The buzz around the league is that the Clippers are not done making moves, that they know George and Leonard can be free agents who walk away after this season, and they will do whatever it takes to give them a reason to stay. The Lakers got better this offseason, they are the team to beat in the West (and the NBA), but the Clippers remain the one roster that, on paper, is a threat to them out West.

The Clippers don’t want to let this chance slip away.

Watch Dinwiddie get ejected for elbow to Poole’s face; Mavs still win behind Doncic 41 points

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Dallas has gotten in trouble this season because of a lack of secondary shot creation behind Luka Doncic, so when Spencer Dinwiddie got ejected for an elbow to the face of Golden State’s Jordan Poole, it seemed like the Mavericks might be in danger of falling to the Warriors.

Doncic had other plans — and a 41-point triple-double.

The ejection happened early in the fourth quarter, when Dinwiddie drove the lane on Poole and, bringing the ball up, elbowed Poole in the face.

That was reviewed by the referees who ruled it a Flagrant 2. The league has cracked down on blows to the face and head — intentional or not — the past couple of seasons.

Dinwiddie being out just meant more Luka — and that was bad news for the Warriors.

Despite Doncic and his triple-double, the Warriors had a couple of chances in the final seconds. First, Stephen Curry got called for a travel.

The Warriors argued that call but got nowhere with the referees. But they got one more chance on a Klay Thompson 3 to tie, but it was just not their night.

The Mavericks got the 116-113 win. Tim Hardaway Jr. pitched in 25 points, including five 3-pointers for Dallas. Curry led the Warriors with 32.

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
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Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images
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With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.