From Bill Simmons, Grantland: You know where this is headed. Unless Patrick Beverley comes flying out of the stands to take out LeBron James or Tony Parker, we’re getting a history-altering Heat-Spurs showdown. Can Miami finish off one of the greatest basketball seasons ever played? Can the Spurs win their fifth title while breaking the record for “Most times a fan base irrationally claimed that everyone hated them”? Will LeBron officially join the “Greatest Player Ever” conversation? Will Tim Duncan officially hijack “Best Player of His Generation” status from Kobe Bryant? Will Gregg Popovich forge his way onto the NBA Coaching Mount Rushmore? Will Chris Andersen break the record for most casual viewers who said the words, “My God, look at those tattoos!”
From Andrew Ungvari, Lakers Nation: Another day, another team. Dwight Howard’s list of possible destinations has reportedly expanded to include the Golden St. Warriors. While nothing in the NBA is impossible, the English language doesn’t have a word for the closest something can be to being impossible without actually calling it impossible.Here are three big reasons why Dwight Howard won’t be a member of the Golden State Warriors next season:
From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: The Lakers shopped Pau Gasol around a little at the trade deadline (or at least listened to offers of people that called them, if you prefer that fine-line distinction). This summer the Lakers could test Gasol’s trade value again. Or they could keep him. Or they could amnesty him (although that seems a real long shot). But every decision the Lakers make this summer hinges on one thing: What Dwight Howard decides. If Howard leaves the Lakers then Pau Gasol will be back with the team next fall. If Howard returns the Lakers can explore other options, whether or not they take them. And since Howard wants to take his time, talk to a lot of teams and be wooed, and he can’t even start to do that until July 1, Gasol knows the first part of his summer is going to be one of uncertainty. Gasol sounded resigned to that speaking to Sam Amick of the USA Today. I guess.
From Eric Pincus, LA Times: Assistant coach Steve Clifford will not return to the Lakers next season. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports!, Clifford has an agreement in place to be theCharlotte Bobcats’ head coach. Clifford was added to Mike Brown’s Lakers staff for the 2012-13 season. Brown was fired five games into the season but Clifford stayed on with Coach Mike D’Antoni. Before joining the Lakers, Clifford was an assistant with the Orlando Magic under Stan Van Gundy. He also worked with the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets for Jeff Van Gundy. The Bobcats finished the season with a 21-61 record, second worst in the NBA. Clifford’s deal is believed to be for three years and $6 million, with the final year a team option.
From TheGreatMambino, Silver Screen & Roll: From the way the season ended, hopes of a title contender look very, very distant for the Los Angeles Lakers. But as the 2011 NBA Champion Mavericks proved, it might not be as far away as everyone thinks. Odd as it seems, the 7th seeded “woe is me” Lake Show isn’t too far off from the model that won the Mavericks a championship. It’s not terribly visible to the naked eye, but next year’s team could very well have a lot of the same ingredients that propelled the seemingly cursed Dallas organization to a chip. Let’s go down the grocery list and check off the items: