Most of the NBA world is still reeling from the Knicks’ decision not to match Jeremy Lin’s offer sheet with the Rockets, and the parts that aren’t are focused mainly on the potential for Dwight Howard to head west to wear purple and gold for the Lakers. We’ve got some more post-Linsanity hangover pieces, and a thorough recap of everything going on with Dwight Howard, as well as all the rest of the news from everywhere in the NBA.
Be sure to check out our extensive Olympic basketball coverage as well, starting with Chris Sheridan’s pieces about how Team USA may be in trouble and an in-depth look at how coach Mike Krzyzewski will be setting up the rotation in London.
- Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM reports that Dwight Howard could sign an extension with the Lakers: “Questions about Howard’s role with the team, however, became an early concern for the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Howard has since moved on from those concerns and is confident he will be an integral part of a team that will have a chance to compete immediately for a championship, according to sources that spoke with RealGM.” The extension issue was one of the major sticking points on a potential Howard trade to LA, but if that’s removed, it could be even more likely that Dwight will join Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant with the Lakers.
- Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon-Journal, though, says otherwise: “Andrew Bynum’s agent, David Lee, told me he has had zero conversations with #Cavs GM Chris Grant about a possible trade. “I would imagine any team involved in this trade would be smart enough to talk to us,” Lee said, referring to the fact Bynum is entering the final year of his deal,” Lloyd wrote today on Sulia. The main rumor that has been flying around regarding a Howard trade has Bynum going to the Cavaliers as part of a three-team deal, and it certainly does seem unlikely that the Cavs would bring Bynum in for essentially a Dwight Howard price, and then lose him after one year, so this has to put a damper on trade speculation. Certainly possible that there’s one or more smoke screens going on here, though, so believe what you want.
- The best summary of the situation I’ve been able to find comes from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports: “‘Cleveland will only do the deal if Bynum extends,’ a league official directly involved in the talks told Yahoo! Sports. Los Angeles wants the structure of a three-team deal agreed in principle before letting Cleveland take that next step to communicate with Bynum and his representatives – and that won’t happen until Orlando makes a decision that it wants to also lock-in the framework of a trade, sources told Y! … Cleveland needs the promise of a contract extension to consummate this deal. The Cavaliers believe they can sell Bynum on a partnership with one of the most dynamic young players in the sport – point guard Kyrie Irving – as well as their young core of talent and owner Dan Gilbert’s willingness to commit the resources needed to compete for championships.”
- The New York Times’ Harvey Araton lays the blame squarely on James Dolan for Jeremy Lin’s departure in this piece, which includes phrasings like this one: “All of a sudden the normally free-spending Dolan decided it was time to stop the Linsanity. With a gun to his head that was loaded with a potential $35 million luxury-tax penalty on top of a $14.9 million balloon payment in the third year of Lin’s contract, he hid behind the reasonable-sounding excuse of a long-elusive fiscal prudence.”
- Howard Beck of the New York Times also has a Lin-related piece, this one centering more on Rockets GM Daryl Morey, who reacquired Lin after waiving him in December: “General managers rarely admit their mistakes (at least, not in real time), and they even more rarely get the chance to rectify them. Morey did both, and shook up two N.B.A. franchises in the process. Lin became a Rocket late Tuesday night when the Knicks balked at matching a three-year, $25.1 million offer sheet from Houston. In doing so, the Knicks surrendered one of the most fascinating sports figures of the decade and handed Morey a chance for quick redemption.”
- While most of the focus has been on the Rockets grabbing Lin from the Knicks, they’ve also targeted another RFA from an Eastern Conference playoff team: the Bulls’ Omer Asik. And, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, they might be able to pry him away as well. “Collective bargaining agreement rules allow the Rockets to spread Asik’s salary cap hit evenly over three seasons, at roughly $8.33 million annually. The Bulls would be charged salary-cap hits of $5 million in 2012-13, $5.2 million in 2013-14 and $14.9 million in 2014-15, a season in which they already have $18.9 million committed to Derrick Rose and $12.2 million to Joakim Noah. Carlos Boozer, due $16.8 million that season, likely will be an amnesty cut by then. Matching Asik, then, would take the Bulls into luxury tax territory for the first time for at least next season and 2014-15 in a new CBA in which penalties are more punitive, particularly for repeat offenders,” Johnson writes.
- Courtney Lee is headed to the Celtics, as first reported by Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. The Rockets will get JaJuan Johnson, E’Twaun Moore, Sean Williams, and a Charlotte second-round pick from Boston in the sign and trade.
- Eric Gordon can’t have endeared himself to New Orleans fans with the way he practically pleaded with the Hornets to not match his offer sheet with the Suns, but in an interview with Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, Gordon says he’s “ready to lead” the young team. “‘I wish I could’ve done a little better with the fan perception,’ Gordon told Yahoo! Sports. ‘But also at the same time they don’t know the business perspective of how negotiations are handled. They don’t know how being a restricted free agent can be mind-boggling for a player. I’m here with an open mind and here to help the young guys. They will see the next four years will be better than the last four years of my career, so it should be nothing but good things.’”
- Meanwhile, the team Gordon said his heart was with is facing a rebuild after the departure of future Hall of Famer Steve Nash and veteran Grant Hill. Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic covers what life will be like in Phoenix in the near future: “For all the Suns’ roster movement this month, it is not evident whether the Suns are any better or even as good as the teams that just missed the playoffs the past two seasons. They will be younger (only Luis Scola, 32, is older than 30) but have all sorts of questions from chemistry to leadership as they count on commodities with short, proven histories (Goran Dragic replacing Nash after 36 career starts) or inconsistent track records (Michael Beasley’s maturity-impaired potential). The Suns could wind up being worse next season but adding a reliable, proven big man such as Scola on a high-value contract won’t let them bottom out, to a lesser extent of what Nash’s presence did amid a declining talent level in the past two seasons.”
- The Blazers have matched Nicolas Batum’s offer sheet with the Timberwolves, according to the Associated Press. “‘The decision was made a long time ago,’ [Portland GM Neil] Olshey told reporters in Las Vegas. ‘We were never not going to have Nicolas back. We did investigate certain things with Minnesota as a due diligence deal. We wanted to make sure we explored every option to improve our basketball team, but there was never a situation where there was a commensurate package offered back that was attractive enough to let Nicolas go.’”
- The Clippers have agreed to sign backup center Ryan Hollins for the veteran minimum, reports Broderick Turner of the LA Times.
- Things haven’t been going well in Washington over the last few years, and if there’s one person who’s ready for that to end, it’s former #1 overall pick John Wall. In this piece from HoopsWorld, Wall said “‘It’s time for me to be in the playoffs. It’s time for me to be an All-Star,’ Wall told HOOPSWORLD while taking in some action at the Las Vegas Summer League. ‘Those are all things that I’ve been wanting. I want to help the Washington Wizards get better as an organization, and that’s all up to me to lead my team.’”