SH Blog: Lakers/Mavs Positioning for Kevin Love; Knicks One of Many Interested in Rondo; LeBron Happy in Miami, For Now

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KevinLoveSH1With the NBA Trade Deadline less than 48 hours away, we have a lot of noteworthy news and rumors around the league to get to.

Before we just recklessly cannonball right in, let’s take a look and see how deep the water is.    

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Bernucca: Clippers Captain is Back, But the Ship Ran Just Fine Without CP3

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ChrisPaulSH1Chris Paul returned to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.

We don’t want to be party-poopers, but it probably should be pointed out that the Clippers were better without him.

This does not mean that GM Gary Sacks should start exploring trade possibilities for a top-five player. And it doesn’t mean that coach Doc Rivers should go with the hot hand at point guard at the end of games.

But it does mean that if the Clippers want to win a championship this season – which is entirely within the realm of possibility – Paul has to reacclimate himself with his teammates more than they do to him.

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SH Blog: Dan Gilbert still has hopes for Cavaliers this season, Barkley says Curry is not a superstar

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Dan GilbertThe Cleveland Cavaliers are an absolute mess this season, and owner Dan Gilbert has finally had enough.

After watching his team suffer a humiliating defeat at home against a depleted Los Angeles Lakers team on Wednesday, Gilbert made the decision to fire general manager Chris Grant, the architect of this currently-disastrous team. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports first reported the news:

Gilbert informed Grant of his dismissal late Thursday morning, sources said.

Assistant general manager David Griffin will take over as the interim GM, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Gilbert had grown increasingly frustrated with the losing and dysfunction within the Cavaliers, and the loss to the Lakers – who finished the game with four eligible players – was the breaking point.

Grant had a reputation as a hard-working executive, but failed to construct an infrastructure of talent to return the Cavaliers to the playoffs for the first time since LeBron James left as a free agent in 2010.

Grant had been responsible for drafting several high lottery picks that have yet to validate themselves, including No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett in the 2013 NBA draft. Grant has been waiting for several top-five draft picks, including Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson, to fulfill their promise.

So who are the potential replacements for Grant? Ken Berger of CBSSports says there is no shortage of good general managers to choose from:

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Bernucca: Fixing the Fans’ All-Star Mistakes

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Kyrie IrvingNBA fans do an awful job of protecting the image of their favorite sport.

This is not the NFL, which has been America’s pastime for a generation and can do no wrong in the eyes of its fans. The only time the NFL has an image problem is when a storm affects satellite reception.

This is also not baseball, which has a considerable image problem with its collection of prima donnas on PEDS. But it also has more than a century of tradition on its side.

NBA fans constantly have to argue the merits of their sport not only against other sports but against other versions of their sport. The international game is more fluid. The college game has more energy and emotion. The women’s game has more fundamentals.

So what do NBA fans do to cultivate and protect the image of their favorite sport? They ignore common sense and vote their darlings as All-Stars.

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Bernucca: Grading the Trades That Have Already Been Made

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Andrew_Bynum_CavsSince training camp opened, there have been five significant trades involving 10 teams, 19 players and seven draft picks.

The big winners have been a team that got rid of the highest scorer among the traded players and a team that acquired a player who has yet to play. The big loser has been a team that swears by analytics.

Another way to look at it is like this: The biggest trades thus far have been the ones that haven’t been made – Omer Asik for Thaddeus Young, Carmelo Anthony for Blake Griffin, Pau Gasol for just about anybody.

And with six weeks until the trading deadline, there will be plenty more trades that are and aren’t made.

But we can’t grade those. So we graded the ones that have been made.

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