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#pounditTuesday, November 24, 2020

Basketball

Lakers slow-played Dwight Howard with contract offer

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard may not have ditched the Los Angeles Lakers so much as they may have stood him up.

Howard tweeted at the start of free agency on Friday that he was returning to the Lakers. However, he quickly deleted the tweet and later agreed to a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.

So what happened?

According to Yahoo’s Chris B. Haynes, Howard thought he had an offer from the Lakers for $3 million. The center accepted, thinking it was a done deal. However, the Lakers apparently said that no formal offer was made and they only had a “deal concept.” They told Howard they needed to talk with ownership for approval.

Howard waited for about an hour without hearing back and decided to move on. He was pursued by new 76ers front office leader Daryl Morey, as well as Joel Embiid. He even took $2.6 million from Philly, which is less than the Lakers supposedly were offering.

It sure sounds like the Lakers slow-played Howard, and we now know it was for a very good reason.

Did Montrezl Harrell hint at stunning Lakers signing with tweet?

Montrezl Harrell

Montrezl Harrell stunned everyone by leaving the Los Angeles Clippers to possibly sign with the rival Lakers on Friday. The crazy thing is Harrell may have hinted at the surprise earlier in the day.

Harrell tweeted early Friday that the day would “be really interesting!”

Harrell likely knew what he had up his sleeve.

He’s likely to take a two-year, $19 million deal with the Lakers that includes an option in the second year. He is a Klutch Sports client, which represents LeBron James and numerous other Lakers players, so it’s no surprise he ended up in Purple and Gold.

The Harrell signing also helps explain what happened with Dwight Howard. Howard originally tweeted he was re-signing with the Lakers, but he deleted it and ended up in Philly for the veteran’s minimum. Maybe the Lakers did not come through with an offer for him because they ended up with Harrell instead.

Harrell, 26, is the reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year.

The Lakers have added Dennis Schroder, Wes Matthews, and Harrell. But they may end up losing someone else.

Lakers fans, show everyone who runs LA with this great T-shirt. It makes a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Report: Lakers pursuing Marc Gasol as Dwight Howard replacement

Marc Gasol

The Los Angeles Lakers are trying to move quickly to replace the departing Dwight Howard in the frontcourt.

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Lakers are eyeing Marc Gasol as a potential replacement for Howard. The 35-year-old center spent last season as a starter for the Toronto Raptors, but likely would not be too expensive for the Lakers.

The Lakers seemed to have Howard set to return, but are now moving quickly on other targets after he ended up signing with the Philadelphia 76ers. Gasol is a solid second option. Though he’s no longer the potent scorer he was in his prime, he still averaged 7.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game for Toronto last season. Gasol also has some distant ties to the Lakers, as his brother Pau was a popular championship-winning member of the organization.

Gasol has made clear that he wants to play for a contender. Signing with the defending NBA champions would certainly fit the bill.

Christian Wood still a free agent despite report of Rockets deal

Christian Wood

There were questions on Friday about whether Christian Wood was really headed to the Houston Rockets.

SiriusXM’s Frank Isola reported on Friday that Wood agreed to a three-year, $27 million contract with the Rockets.

Many people could not believe how little money Wood signed for and questioned the contract. Perhaps it made sense then that Shams Charania said no deal was finalized and that Wood continues to look around.

Such a deal didn’t seem to add up. Why would Detroit sign Mason Plumlee for a similar amount instead of just signing Wood if that’s all he would cost? The Pistons have had a bizarre run on centers based on the thought they would lose Wood.

Wood is an excellent modern big man, at least based on his breakout 2019-20 campaign. He averaged 13.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game last season, with those numbers rising to 22.8 points and 9.9 rebounds in the final 13 games once he was made a more consistent starter.

Twitter reacts to Dwight Howard leaving Lakers for Daryl Morey a second time

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard teased the Los Angeles Lakers only to leave them for Daryl Morey for the second time in his career.

In 2013, Howard was a major free agent, and the Lakers reportedly tried everything to convince him to stay. Instead, Howard left and signed with the Rockets. Morey was running things in Houston at that time.

Fast forward to 2020, and the Lakers reportedly wanted to retain Howard yet again. And guess what happened? He teased Lakers fans by tweeting he was staying, only to delete the tweet. An hour later, we learned that Howard agreed to join the Philadelphia 76ers.

And guess who’s running the Sixers now? That’s right, Morey.

Naturally, the Twitter reactions were great.

Howard signed with Philly on the veteran minimum for $2.6 million. The low salary makes many wonder whether the Lakers rescinded the offer, possibly because they have something else cooking. There are some possibilities that could make sense for the Lakers.

Christian Wood likely to leave Pistons in free agency?

Christian Wood

The Detroit Pistons are going all-in on big men early in free agency. However, their decision to do so could mean that their most reliable big man last season won’t be there anymore.

Free agent forward Christian Wood remains unsigned, and has been linked to few teams outside of Detroit. However, the Pistons have brought in three big men — Mason Plumlee, Jahlil Okafor, and Josh Jackson — in the early hours of free agency. In addition to making them the butt of a lot of jokes, that calls into question whether the Pistons have the money or the roster space to keep Wood. That’s especially true when considering Plumlee is reportedly getting $25 million over three years.

The Pistons also took on Trevor Ariza’s salary during Wednesday’s NBA Draft. For now, they appear intent on keeping him.

Despite the center signings, Rod Beard of the Detroit News reported the Pistons may still try to bring Wood back. It’s not completely implausible, but it also appears less likely as time progresses. Even if Wood profiles as a power forward, the Pistons now have a glut of big men. Unless Wood is willing to take roughly $10 million with the Pistons still owning his Early Bird rights, it’s hard to see the financial fit, too.

Wood was the Pistons’ breakout star last season, averaging 13.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. One Eastern Conference contender was said to be interested several months ago.

Pistons mocked after signing all the centers to start free agency

Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons made it their business to corner the market on big men, and their moves led to plenty of jokes.

News emerged Friday that the Pistons are signing Mason Plumlee to a three-year, $25 million deal. They also agreed to a two-year deal with Jahlil Okafor. As if that weren’t enough, the team recently acquired Dewayne Dedmon and Tony Bradley, and they drafted Isaiah Stewart.

With so many centers in the fold, the Pistons made themselves the focus of numerous jokes on social media. Take a look.

Detroit has a surplus of big men, which likely means they expect Christian Wood to leave in free agency. Still, they can’t play all of them at the same time, making you wonder what exactly they are doing.

Dwight Howard deletes tweet about re-signing with Lakers

Dwight Howard

Something odd is going on with Dwight Howard.

The Los Angeles Lakers want to bring Howard back next season and are negotiating with him in free agency. On Friday, Howard even announced on Twitter that he was staying with the Lakers.

“I’m staying right where I belong,” Howard wrote in his tweet. “Laker nation I love y’all. Purple and gold never gets old.”

Even Shams Charania reported that Howard agreed to a deal with the Lakers.

However, Howard quickly deleted the tweet, raising some questions.

Was the tweet sent out in error or prematurely by the center or a member of his team? Did some term of the deal with the Lakers change? Did another team come through with an offer he is considering?

Howard previously seemed to indicate a report about the Lakers heavily pursuing him in free agency was a lie. Howard averaged 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds in 18.9 minutes per game last season. Interestingly, Howard deleted around the same time a report said free agent center DeMarcus Cousins was also receiving lots of interest.

De’Aaron Fox reportedly agrees to supermax contract with Kings

De'Aaron Fox

The Sacramento Kings are keeping De’Aaron Fox long term for a hefty price.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Kings have agreed to a five-year deal with Fox. It is worth an initial $163 million, with the potential to rise to a $195.6 million supermax deal.

It’s clear that the Kings will be building around Fox for years to come. The 22-year-old is coming off a season that saw him average 21.1 points per game, a career-best mark, and 6.8 assists per game. Plus, it’s pretty clear that he’s very comfortable in Sacramento despite the smaller market and lack of success.

Fox is quickly developing into a leader and a star for the Kings after just three NBA seasons. As long as he stays healthy, this deal should pay off for everyone involved.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope now more likely to sign with Knicks?

The Los Angeles Lakers’ new additions to their backcourt may be leaving Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as an odd man out.

SportsNet New York’s Ian Begley reports Friday that rival teams monitoring Caldwell-Pope’s free agency expect the New York Knicks to have interest in him. The Knicks have nearly $40 million in cap space to work with.

Caldwell-Pope, 27, seems less likely now to return to the Lakers after they signed Wesley Matthews and traded for Dennis Schroder. The Knicks have reportedly been pursuing Gordon Hayward with some of their cap room, but that could inevitably be a lost cause.

In any event, the Knicks recently waived guard Elfrid Payton, creating an opening in their backcourt. Caldwell-Pope also used to be teammates with a pair of Knicks: Reggie Bullock on the Detroit Pistons and Julius Randle on the Lakers. New York may ultimately be a more desirable destination than this other cap-space team with interest in Caldwell-Pope.