SH Blog: CP3 to return to Clippers; Iguodala, Josh Smith have significant interest; Bargnani to Knicks?

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Dwight bannerTick-tock, tick-tock … less than six hours left until teams can contact players and free agency begins. Check out Moke Hamilton’s top 50, and the podcast where Moke discusses what could happen with them, to get ready.

One thing we probably won’t have – to the massive relief of probably everyone in the world – is an immensely protracted drama regarding Dwight Howard’s next destination. The All-Star center will only visit five teams, and hopes to have decided by the time he makes his last visit. That means we could know where D12 is heading by the end of the week. Which will be a nice change from the last two summers.

We’ve got plenty of free agency news and rumors, starting with one superstar staying put, so let’s get right to the latest from around the NBA:

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SH Blog: Do the other Knicks underperform when Melo scores big?

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We’re in the closing stages of the NBA season, with only a handful of playoff spots (and realistically, just one) still up for grabs. Beyond that, it’s a battle for seeding for the teams that are in the playoffs, and time to look ahead to the offseason for the rest of them.

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SH Blog: Pau won’t be benched when he comes back

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The Lakers can’t seem to buy wins right now. Tonight’s loss to the Jazz put them back to 9-12, eight back of West-leading San Antonio and Oklahoma City, and a game and a half back of eighth-place Minnesota for the last playoff spot in the conference. And yet they’re scoring 3.1 more points per game than they’re allowing, and also they have Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant. Something doesn’t seem right here.
Meanwhile in the East, things are shaking out slightly more according to the script. The Knicks topped the Nuggets tonight to keep a hold on their perch atop the conference, holding off the 13-5 Heat.
In non-game related results, the NBA dished out a few fines today, for such offenses as saying things on Twitter and criticizing ref performances. Also on SH, we’ve got a new run of MVP rankings, which you should check out.
Now here’s the latest NBA news:
  • The latest episode of the soap opera that is the 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers is Pau Gasol’s knee tendinitis, and the question of whether he’ll retain his starting spot. Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com has the word from Mike D’Antoni: “Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol missed his fourth straight game because of knee tendinitis Sunday against the Utah Jazz, but whenever he is able to return he won’t be coming off the bench. ‘Not yet, that’s not what we need to be doing right now,’ Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said of the possibility of using Gasol in a sixth man role. ‘We need to find him and Steve (Nash) in there together and look at it and make a good assessment. I envision him being really good at what he does at the four, so I don’t see that.’ Even though part of the motivation of keeping Gasol in the starting lineup is to see how he performs alongside Nash, D’Antoni said that Gasol will retain his starting spot even if he returns to the lineup before Nash is back.”

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