NBA: Williams, Odom trade a go
Los Angeles Clippers guard Mo Williams officially picked up his option for next season, which clears the way for a three-team trade that will send the Dallas Mavericks’ Lamar Odom to the Clippers and Williams to the Utah Jazz.
Williams’ agent, Mark Bartelstein, told ESPNLosAngeles.com about the deal Friday.
The trade allows the Mavericks to relieve themselves of Odom’s salary. They originally had until Friday to either pay $2.4 million to buy out Odom’s $8.2 million salary for next season or have him on the books for 2012-13 but the deadline was extended to Saturday to finalize the trade.
Odom and Williams began their NBA careers with the Clippers and Jazz, respectively.
Odom was traded by the Los Angeles Lakers to the Mavericks in December, but his time with the Mavericks was not productive. He averaged just 6.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game for Dallas, and Odom and the Mavs agreed to part ways on April 9.
It had been reported that Odom, 32, wanted to return to Los Angeles.
Williams averaged 13.2 points, and 3.1 assists in 52 games, including one start, for the Clippers this past season.
–Andre Drummond will not make much of an offensive impact early in his NBA career but the Detroit Pistons can live with that. They finally got the interior defensive presence and shot blocker they have craved since their run of six consecutive Eastern Conference Finals appearances ended.
Drummond, a 6-foot-10, 270-pound freshman from Connecticut, will be the Pistons’ center for many seasons to come if he maximizes his size and athleticism. Considered a possibility to go No. 2 overall early in the draft process, he slipped to Detroit’s first-round slot at No. 9.
“For big men in the NBA today, it’s imperative that you be really athletic,” president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said. “It’s really tough if you’re a big man and not athletic because the game has changed so much. He can protect the rim, he’s very athletic and he has a ready-made NBA body.”
Dumars admits that Drummond is very raw offensively but Drummond promises that he’ll develop those skills, saying he walked into a “great situation” by getting passed over by eight other teams.
“It doesn’t matter what the number is,” said the 18-year-old Drummond, referring to where he was drafted. “It’s how hard you work.”
This is the third consecutive season the Pistons have benefited from an unexpected slide by a player projected to go higher in the lottery. Greg Monroe fell into their laps two years ago at No. 7 overall after Golden State surprisingly selected forward Ekpe Udoh at No. 6. Dumars was planning to pick a frontcourt player last year but when there was an early run on big men, he shifted gears and nabbed floor leader Brandon Knight at No. 8.
The Pistons were trying to decide between North Carolina forward John Henson and Illinois center Meyers Leonard in the weeks leading up to the draft. When they realized Drummond might slide, Dumars flew to New York two nights before the draft to watch him in a private workout.
After Sacramento selected Kansas forward Thomas Robinson instead of Drummond at No. 5, the Pistons knew he would drop to them unless someone else traded up. When Toronto failed to make a deal just ahead of them, Drummond was theirs.
With Drummond at center, Monroe will move to power forward in the long run. Monroe’s offensive prowess should blend nicely with Drummond’s defense.
“They can cover for each other’s weaknesses,” Dumars said.
The Pistons added depth on the wing with second-round picks Khris Middleton and Kim English.
Dumars also made a significant move two days earlier when he traded underperforming guard Ben Gordon to Charlotte for small forward Corey Maggette and a future first-rounder. That pick is lottery protected next season, top 8 protected the following season and protected only at No. 1 overall in 2015.
That move shed approximately $15 million in salary over the next two seasons. Maggette’s expiring contract — he’ll make $10.9 million this season — gives the Pistons an asset that they could deal before the February trade deadline or use to facilitate a trade or sign a free agent next offseason.
–Chris Bosh will skip the Olympics to recover from a strained abdominal muscle suffered during the NBA playoffs.
The Miami Heat forward told USA Basketball Friday that he’s withdrawing from consideration for the London Games to can heal from the injury that kept him out for some of championship.
Bosh’s announcement comes one day after Heat teammate Dwyane Wade pulled out because of looming left knee surgery.
“This injury was a pretty serious one,” Bosh’s agent, Henry Thomas said. “He was able to come back and play under the circumstances because he was trying to contribute to them winning a championship. There’s still pain. There’s still discomfort. And the real concern is if he doesn’t rest and do the rehab associated with the injury, this could become sort of a chronic thing for him.”
Without Wade and Bosh, 16 players remain for 12 spots on the U.S. Olympic team — with LeBron James the lone Heat player left on the national team roster. The team will gather in Las Vegas next week to start training, then has five exhibitions with international teams before Olympic play begins against France on July 29. USA Basketball plans to announce the roster around July 7.
–Despite a history of success and no foreseeable reason to end the relationship, the Oklahoma City Thunder and head coach Scott Brooks remain far apart in contract negotiations, according to an ESPN.com report.
“We’re not close,” a source familiar with the negotiations told ESPN.com, “and the clock is ticking.”
Since taking over for P.J. Carlesimo after a 1-12 start to the 2008-09 season, the Thunder has been a team on the rise. In Brooks’ first full season as head coach, the team qualified for the 2010 playoffs, and reached the 2011 Western Conference finals the following year.
This season, they took the Miami Heat to five games before losing in the NBA Championship.
For his effort, Brooks has been underpaid for the past two seasons, earning $1.9 million and $2.1 million, respectively. The team originally offered a three-year extension worth between $11 million and $12 million before the season, then increased that offer to about four years for $16 million.
–The Los Angeles Lakers extended qualifying offers to forward Devin Ebanks and guard Darius Morris, making them both restricted free agents, the team announced Friday.
Ebanks was a second round draft pick (No. 43 overall) in 2010 out of West Virginia. The 6-foot-9 forward played 24 games for the Lakers last season, averaging 4.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.5 assists in 16.5 minutes per game.
Morris was drafted in the second round (No. 41 overall) last year from Michigan. In 19 games, he averaged 2.4 points and 1.1 assists in 8.9 minutes.
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