No one wants to come out and admit it right now, but is there a race going on between Dwight Howard and Chris Paul to get to Hollywood? Some believe so. How it came to this, we aren’t sure. But it suddenly feels like the two biggest pieces in this new age NBA and are both privately gunning for the same team. The only problem is, most likely, only one of them gets there. As Yahoo! Sports reported, the Lakers and Hornets have already talked deals. With Howard not coming out one way or another and with the Hornets’ front office determined not to have a repeat of what happened in Cleveland, the focus shifted to CP, and the Lakers reportedly offered New Orleans their pick: Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol? Who do you want? Howard doesn’t want to play anywhere that is cold. CP would like NYC, but knows the earliest he could get there is next summer. Both of them love Los Angeles, even though there have been differing reports. Especially with Howard, some sources from his inner circle say he wants to stay. Former teammates like Matt Barnes are saying he’s already made up his mind. So if you were the Lakers, who are you gunning for if you had to choose (If they found a way to get both, it might even rate above Miami’s ridiculous turnout last summer. We have a hard time seeing it.)? The answer to us is quite obvious. He’s really tall and likes to dunk a lot … The Lakers could use all the help they can get to start the season. They are opening with three games in three days: Dec. 25 vs. Chicago, Dec. 26 at Sacramento and Dec. 27 vs. Utah. Andrew Bynum won’t be playing either (suspended) … Flopping? Yeah, it’s pretty much helped destroy a part of the NBA game that we love. A few comments on the rare video of Magic Johnson that we posted yesterday told it all: with so many big men in the lane now trying to fall backwards, we can’t see the same type of breakouts and moves we got from Magic. Here are our 10 biggest culprits of the disease of flopping. Two Lakers made the list … Grant Hill plans to suit up for one of these four teams next season: Phoenix, Chicago, New York or the Clippers. Reports say the small forward will make a decision soon on one of those four. Phoenix has the added advantage of employing the most forward-thinking training staff in the game. They saved his career, and if Hill never made it out to the desert, he might already be sitting at home on the couch. The Knicks have been rumored for a few years. But the two teams that really intrigue us are Chicago and the Clippers. The Bulls could use another vet like Hill. But where would he play? And you can’t really add another non-shooter next to Derrick Rose. That leaves the Clippers with their big, gaping hole at the small forward. It makes sense, but we don’t really believe he’ll abandon Steve Nash … One guy who definitely isn’t staying with the Suns is Vince Carter. As we reported earlier, Phoenix has already decided to cut the former Half-Man/Half-Amazing as soon as free agency officially begins. And not everyone is convinced Carter is done. Some will make the case he can be productive in 20 minutes a night. The man was the most efficient ballhandler on pick-n-rolls in the entire league last season while in Orlando. How funny would it be if he and T-Mac ended up on the same team? It’s definitely possible … Yesterday, Pat Cassidy dropped a post on the 10 best centers in the NBA. Do you agree with him? … Keep reading to hear about what Deron Williams had to say about the Knicks and why you need to ease up on Carlos Boozer …
While Paul and Howard speculation continues, before you start making plans to see Deron Williams in another jersey, check this. The point guard says he’s 90 percent sure he’ll stay with the Nets next summer. Really? What happens if they strike out in free agency again this summer? What if Dwight Howard keeps saying he won’t play in cold weather? We definitely believe the Nets are on the right track and even if they don’t get another superstar (Howard) to come to NJ/Brooklyn, they at least have a solid foundation to get better. But it’s still surprising to see Williams say that. Maybe he knows something we don’t. He did admit that a move next summer to the Knicks would be “very unlikely.” What we’ve heard people say is kinda funny though: There’s a 90 percent chance he stays, and a 100 percent chance he leaves if they don’t get another star … Get ready. Shaq‘s coming, and he’s singing (and sweating a lot too) … Check out this tweet from Craig Stouffer of the Washington Examiner: John Wall and Shelvin Mack were working one-on-one last night at Verizon Center at, um, 3:30 in the morning. #Wizards … Tom Thibodeau doesn’t agree with you. He says Carlos Boozer had a very good year last year and expects him to have a great one this season. Boozer received the brunt of the criticism for the way the Bulls ended last season. He had a lousy playoff run, and by the end was sitting on the bench during fourth quarters. Still, Thibs felt we were all too hard on him and that really the biggest thing that set him back wasn’t toughness or defense, it was getting hurt. Boozer missed two months early in the season and then struggled at times to get acclimated. Some fans called for him to be let go. But Chicago isn’t ready to do that. Do you believe what Thibodeau had to say? … There must be something wrong with this story, must be some type of misunderstanding. No way could Brian Scalabrine be causing problems. He’s the beloved red head, the ultimate human victory cigar. But somehow, leaving his club Benetton Treviso caused the coach (Alexander Djordjevic) to say this: “He was the first NBA player in Europe to go back to the USA without a contract, without playing the latest games and help the team and greet the fans, all at 33 years ago only for going on his knees to his wife that wanted him back. He hasn’t a team and an NBA contract yet. I was counting on his professionalism, respect for the club and especially for his young teammates. He could help us at least until tomorrow, the team needed it, but Scalabrine had a very negative attitude, as already shown in recent weeks, which gave us not so much on the field and beyond, indeed he has also negatively influenced other americans. We’re thrown off by this, thinking of a serious professional, but caused problems with teammates and club.” … And someone tell Matthew Barnaby to ease up. Yes, he’s only a (now former) ESPN hockey analyst. But this story is too crazy to pass up. Sounds like Barnaby was arrested and charged with a DWI this weekend after police caught him driving on a parkway in Clarence, New York with only threes tires, and one of the rims at the front of the car was causing sparks … We’re out like Scal.
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