Once upon a time, Sam Smith was arguably the NBA's premier journalist, a man who wrote one of the best sports books of all time. This was a guy who had good, solid information, and if he said something, you listened.
But that was then. Today, Sam Smith's legacy is as one who spits ridiculous rumors left and right, pulling most of them seemingly out of his butt. For example, here's Smith suggesting LeBron James could sign with the Timberwolves this summer:
So how would LeBron fit with the Minnesota Timberwolves? I know, I laughed, too. But then I was told it wasn't such a funny idea, which suggests even more so that this recruitment of James is going to take even more forms than we imagined possible.
The thinking goes like this: The Timberwolves have three firsts and seem willing to part with Al Jefferson, a post up inside player, or Kevin Love. Say Jefferson is in greater demand because he is a bigger scorer. They offer Jefferson and their three firsts, including No. 4, to Denver for Carmelo Anthony. Denver has an aging group with Kenyon Martin and Chauncey Billups and likely is headed down. Here's a chance to recoup fast at a time they easily could lose Anthony in a year. So they get a potential star center and a top five pick to build a better core. And maybe pick up something for their veterans as they seem to have peaked. And Minnesota has Jonny Flynn, Love, Darko Milicic and Corey Brewer and goes for LeBron and even maybe works a sign and trade by getting Ricky Rubio to the Cavs and also LeBron out of the conference. Far fetched? Sure, but you never say never in the NBA, and perhaps more significantly, it suggests the bidding for James is hardly going to be among just the four or five teams who gutted their rosters for cap room.
Riiiiight. Tell you what, Sam: if LeBron goes to Minnesota, I will buy a LeBron Timberwolves jersey and wear it every day.
So yeah, keep this in mind when you read the following passage from the same column below the jump:
So could/would the Lakers put together something for Gilbert Arenas? We hear all this stuff now how the new Wizards owner is becoming close with Arenas, but the Wizards know they will never get the most out of No. 1 pick John Wall as long as Arenas and his monstrous personality are around. They'd love to move on. Certainly the biggest obstacle for anyone is those four big years left on his deal.
If I were the Lakers, I'd go for LeBron or Bosh. But if Kobe did not want that kind of ego and personality around, Arenas may make sense. He is from L.A., he's been a huge scorer in the league at point guard and really is more a tweener guard, which fits Phil Jackson's two guard front in the triangle. Jackson's never needed a classic, true point guard. Just to get rid of Arenas and his money, you figure the Wizards would take some combination of Sasha Vujacic and Luke Walton and a sign-and-trade for someone else, maybe even Lamar Odom. Maybe even have the owner drive Arenas there. No one's better dealing with troubled players than Jackson and Arenas puts 20 more points into the game. Now Fisher can come off the bench in fewer minutes, which would fit better. And now you keep Bynum, which gives them size and more scoring.
Sam, your ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
Oh, and here's another rumor, courtesy yours truly.
So could/would the Wizards put together something for Pau Gasol? We hear all this stuff about how Gasol isn't soft, but the Lakers know they will never get a tougher performance than they got from Gasol in the 2010 Finals. Gasol has peaked, and they'd love to transition into the new era of Lakers basketball. Certainly, the biggest obstacle for anyone is those four big years left on his deal, which the Lakers just gave him last season.
If I were the Wizards, I'd go for LeBron or Wade. But if Wall did not want that kind of ego and personality taking all his touches, Gasol may make sense. Michael Jordan nearly drafted him back in 2001, he's been a huge scorer in this league at center and really is more a tweenter power forward, which fits Flip Saunders' offensive system. Saunders has never needed a true, back-to-the-basket player, which is why Gasol's versatility is great. Just to get rid of Gasol and his money, you figure the Lakers would take some combination of Al Thornton and Nick Young and a sign-and-trade for someone else, maybe even Shaun Livingston, who would be a great fit in the Triangle. Maybe even have Juan Carlos Navarro drive Gasol there. No one's better dealing with soft players than Saunders, and Gasol puts 20 more points and 10 more rebounds into the game. Now JaVale McGee can come off the bench in fewer minutes, which would fit better. And now you keep Andray Blatche, which gives them tallness and more points.
See, that wasn't so hard, was it?