Of all five teams that the New Orleans fiasco sort of screwed over this week (Los Angeles, New Orleans, Houston, the Knicks and Boston), it’s the Lakers who are probably hurting the most to get these talks kick-started and moving again. Lamar Odom isn’t feeling the love right now, and showed up for just a few moments during practice yesterday. So there’s no doubt in our minds that they’re working feverishly right now. The teams were given the green light to start talking again so all three are back to the negotiating table, attempting to tweak what they thought was a sure thing just a few days ago. But what will be the result of this? The league has set a precedent with their despicable actions. How exactly can they go back on their word and approve any deal now where CP goes to the Lakers? Meanwhile, the Lakers are screwed in every which way. How about the fact that Derek Fisher is the president of the union so he sort of has to back Chris Paul and the trade in this, basically publicly saying “Hey Pau, Lamar. I love you guys, but I’m in support of this trade and believe it should be able to go through.” We don’t care how psychotic Kobe Bryant is, if this trade doesn’t go through soon, it’s going to be a long and crazy year in L.A. … Check out this tweet from Beto Duran, who works for ESPN Radio, from the first day of Lakers’ camp: Kobe on Pau & Odom “they’ll get over it. Don’t win back 2 back by being soft emotionally.” This dude is ruthless. We love it … Dwight Howard glossed over most questions yesterday on the first day of training camp, and left open the possibility that his team of people did meet with execs this week from the Nets. We know there are rumors Howard wants to steer himself there, and also reports he met with the team’s front office in recent days, but nothing is clear right now. The big wrench being thrown into the middle of all this is the Nets. Do they actually even want Howard? We know it sounds crazy, but reports are saying New Jersey is prepared to offer Nene a contract for around four years, $65 million, and Nene’s decision could come at any moment (another reason for Houston to get moving on the CP deal. They were prepared to offer big money to bring Nene in as a result of shedding salary). Yahoo! Sports writes that the team is in trouble with SI.com and ESPN.com reports that they did hold that illegal meeting in Miami this week with owner Mikhail Prokhorov, Billy King and Howard. And while Orlando has denied it, NBA.com reported the Magic may file tampering charges. Do you think this Nene attraction is a ploy by New Jersey to simply get the cops off their back? They could face stiff penalties if found guilty … The Kings re-signed one of the most underrated players in the league, two guard Marcus Thornton, to a five-year $40 million contract (it’s being reported that it’s actually for four years, $31 million). At first glance, you’re probably thinking they would’ve been better off using that money on a big man. Rightfully so. They could use some more size next to DeMarcus Cousins. But even though they picked up another small gunner – Jimmer Fredette – and still have Tyreke Evans, this was absolutely necessary. Thornton might’ve very easily been their best player last season and no one knows it. Just check the numbers: in 27 games in Sacramento, he dropped over 21 a night with 4.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists, and even added nearly two rips a game. He’s 24 years old. We say kudos to the Kings, even though most will look at that deal and laugh … LaMarcus Aldridge will miss at least a week after heart test revealed another episode of Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome, a condition he’s had episodes with before. It involves an irregular heartbeat, and while people around the team are very optimistic about a full recovery, stuff like this is always scary … Keep reading to hear how Vince Carter is about to be reunited again with Jason Kidd …
Well it didn’t take long for somebody to scoop up Vince Carter now that Phoenix let him go to save $14 million. Dallas is closing in on a multi-year contract with VC in the hope that Jason Kidd will resurrect his game (and heart) for the second time in his career. So the Mavs won’t sign their own guys, won’t even sign a 27-year-old J.J. Barea to a nice new deal, and yet they’re going after one of the biggest underachievers of this generation? We have no idea what Mark Cuban is doing right now. He’s acting like one of those cheap friends who goes out to the bar with you, and then refuses to buy more than one Captain ‘n Coke to save money. Then immediately after, he hits up McDonald’s for two grilled chickens because he says he’s hungry. Cubes tried to explain his strategy to ESPN Dallas in an email by saying with the new CBA, it’ll be much harder in the future to make moves as a tax-paying team. So his goal is to blow the team up and make them financially ready to go after younger players and make moves in the future. This sounds splendid, if your best player wasn’t 33 years old and your PG like 90. Go for the ‘chip now, and worry about the other stuff later. Of all the owners worried about money, we would’ve thought Cuban would be the first one to say “f— it” and just go all out. That’s the way he’s always worked … So the inevitable “Gilbert Arenas Gets Axed” headline showed up yesterday as the Magic said good bye to the former All-Star by amnestying him to save some cap space. Where will he end up? We heard everything from Chicago to New York to Boston to even the couch in his living room. He really needs to go out to Phoenix and get put on that special Ivan Drago workout they have out there. Reheating the Hibachi would be the ultimate test of the Suns’ trainers … Speaking of the Suns, they sent Mickael Pietrus to Toronto for a conditional second round pick … Rip Hamilton is officially out in Detroit, a move that had been building for about two years. His contract will be bought out so it isn’t an amnesty transaction. That’s big. Now, he doesn’t need to go through the whole “waiver wire” process that came in with this new clause and instead can sign anywhere he wants to. There’s no way this dude doesn’t end up in either Chicago or Miami … That’s almost as inevitable as another Greg Oden injury/setback. We say that because, yes, Greg Oden is hurt AGAIN. He just re-upped with Portland by accepting their qualifying offer for this year, but in a press release Portland president Larry Miller said this: “Following Greg’s most recent physical examination and evaluation, we’ve determined that he has suffered a setback. We’re hopeful, but less confident that he will return to the court this season. We’ve stood by Greg from the day he was drafted and we continue to do so now with this agreement.” With the probable retirement of Brandon Roy on the horizon, and Aldridge’s heart condition, how much more of this can the Northwest take? It doesn’t sound like it’s anything new for Oden, but this setback could put his season in jeopardy … In a move that could swing the balance of power amongst the Superteams, and thus making it a prime candidate to be blocked by David Stern, Brian Butch has been signed as a free agent by the New Orleans Hornets … Let’s all hope Dan Gilbert takes up the chance to really become a Washington General. That’s right, after calling out Stern for turning the NBA into a league of 25 General squads, the real thing has offered him a chance to either play or coach when they go to Cleveland. They even made him a jersey. Sadly, his name wasn’t written in Comic Sans … And everybody be safe out there this weekend. Don’t be like Charlie Bell, who showed up legally drunk to a hearing on his drunken driving case in Michigan yesterday. He had to sober up in a holding cell. Classy … We’re out like Dan Gilbert letters.
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