A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out.
C: ESPN.com. I'm a bit late to the party here, but this Kevin Arnovitz feature on the San Antonio Spurs — how the NBA couldn't figure out how to sell them, how the organization couldn't care less, and how the franchise's commitment to innovation, culture and process make them "the NBA's research and development division" — is the best thing I've ever read about the Spurs. And considering we could be 48 minutes away from them being crowned champions, now seems like a good time to get familiar with how they got here (and keep getting here).
PF: USA TODAY Sports. A nice read from Sam Amick on how Danny Green went from "the guy for whom a D-League owner didn't want to give up Patrick Ewing Jr." to the cusp of a potential NBA Finals MVP nod.
SF: The Onion. "'For all the chatter that’s surrounding tonight’s contest, when everything’s said and done, pens, John Cheever, and whether ferns require direct sunlight just aren’t going to come into play,' said NBA On ABC analyst Mike Breen."
SG: Salt Lake Tribune. As if the Utah Jazz didn't already scream "explosive high-definition entertainment," they're about to install massive LCD video screens above the court so that you can thrill to the mammoth exploits of Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks in crystal-clear HD.
6th: NBA.com. Eighteen early-entry candidates for the upcoming 2013 NBA draft withdrew their names from consideration on Tuesday, including highly regarded Croatian teen Dario Saric and attempted preps-to-pros prospect Norvel Pelle. Check out the full list of names you won't hear the Commish pronounce on June 27.
7th: Cowbell Kingdom. Now that he's been hired as the Sacramento Kings' new general manager, former Denver Nuggets vice president Pete D'Alessandro has a pretty big job ahead of him. The first step: building a whole new front office. Jonathan Santiago takes a look at how D'Alessandro might go about doing that.
8th: Knickerblogger. By NBA.com's numbers, the 2011-12 New York Knicks finished the season ranked fifth in the NBA points allowed per 100 possessions; the '12-'13 model, though, finished tied for 16th in defensive efficiency. How did the Knicks drop from the ranks of the defensive elite to below the middle of the pack? David Vertsberger takes a closer look.
9th: Bullets Forever. How does the trade that brought Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza to the Washington Wizards from the New Orleans Hornets look, one year later?
10th: Los Angeles Times. As part of the settlement in their lawsuit, Ben Boltch reports that Kobe Bryant and Goldin Auctions have agreed to give 50 percent of the proceeds from the auctioning of several pieces of the Los Angeles Lakers star's memorabilia to the anti-bullying social action campaign The Bully Project, which is pretty neat. Bidding's open, so dig in if you're feeling collect-y.
Got a link or tip for Ball Don't Lie? Give me a shout at devine (at) yahoo-inc.com, or follow me on Twitter.
We're still a little over two weeks away from the start of NBA free agency, but the stove's already begun to heat up when it comes to the eventual destinations of the two most coveted players on the market this summer, Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard and Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul.
Like All-NBA pals LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh before them, the two friends and All-Stars have chatted in the past about joining forces upon hitting free agency, but for a variety of reasons — Howard didn't want to join Paul's New Orleans Hornets, Paul didn't want to come to Howard's Orlando Magic, Howard wouldn't commit to eventually joining Mark Cuban's Dallas Mavericks and Paul balked at going to Texas without assurances of Howard's eventual presence, etc. — the link-up never took place. Now, with both players facing unrestricted free agency come July 1, they've apparently resumed the Marvel Team-Up discussion.
ESPN.com's Chris Broussard cites sources who say Howard and Paul "have been in consistent contact recently about the possibility of becoming teammates next season," exchanging text messages about the prospect of joining forces as free agents:
"They would love to play together if somebody can make it happen," one of the sources said.
The Atlanta Hawks could make it happen. Atlanta, which is Howard's hometown, has the cap room to sign both players to maximum-salaried contracts.
Let's stop there: This isn't true. It could be, given some elbow grease and wrangling, but strictly speaking, it isn't. Grab your calculators, kids — we're about to get nerdy, with some help from salary cap wizards Larry Coon and Mark Deeks.
While the Hawks would clearly love to have both Howard and Paul on board and have only $22.5 million in guaranteed contracts on the books for next season, cap holds for the team's potential free agents — including Josh Smith, Jeff Teague, Devin Harris, Kyle Korver, Zaza Pachulia, Ivan Johnson and a host of others — gobble up large chunks of that room. So what appears to be about $36 million in salary cap space is actually quite a bit less.
Smith's nine-year veteran maximum cap hold would disappear upon signing with another team. But in order for Atlanta to get far enough under the cap to be able to make the two prospective max offers, they'd have to renounce their rights to all of those pending free agents (including restricted free agent Teague) and waive the non-guaranteed contracts of DeShawn Stevenson, Shelvin Mack and Mike Scott ... and that still wouldn't be quite enough.
Atlanta would also have to carve out more room in some combination of moves with their remaining existing non-Al Horford assets — rehabilitating guard Lou Williams, who's set to make $5.23 million next year; rising sophomore guard John Jenkins, owed $1.26 million for '13-'14 on his rookie deal; their two first-round picks in the 2013 NBA draft — to get far enough under the cap to offer max-level deals to Howard, a nine-year veteran whose full max would pay him just over $20.5 million next year, and Paul, an eight-year vet whose full max will start at $18.7 million.
In sum: In order for Atlanta to actually realize its maximum possible cap room, Ferry would have to get rid of everyone on the Hawks roster except Horford plus what ESPN Insider Kevin Pelton projects would be Jenkins and one of their two first-rounders.
From there, he'd have to convince Howard to get past "not [being] particularly fond of the idea of returning to" his hometown of Atlanta and convince Paul to get past the Hawks choosing Marvin Williams over him in the 2005 draft (which is something Hawks fans, understandably, have not gotten over themselves). But that's language arts rather than math — just in terms of number-crunching, there are a quite a few hoops to jump through before CP3 and Dwight wind up wearing Hawks uniforms.
And, as Pelton notes, Atlanta's "far and away the most realistic situation" for the pairing ... even if it's not where the dynamic theoretical duo would like to team up, if they had their druthers. More from Broussard:
The preference for both players would be to play together for the Clippers, according to the sources. Because the Clippers don't have enough cap room to sign Howard as a free agent, it would take a sign-and-trade deal with the Lakers to make it happen.
And that's unlikely to happen because the Lakers, with $79.6 million in salary already committed for next season without a new deal for Howard, are over what's referred to in the collective bargaining agreement as "the apron" — the mark $4 million above the luxury tax line. One of the restrictions put in place for free-spending teams that go above "the apron" is that they can't take receive a player in a sign-and-trade unless the deal winds up bringing their cap number down below the apron, which, with the luxury tax line projected to fall at $71.6 million next year, would slot in at $75.6 million.
So in order for the Lakers to be part of such a deal, they'd have to wind ways to shed even more payroll in the process in addition to losing their starting center without being able to bring back comparably high-priced assets — while the spitballed Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe package Broussard mentions is attractive from a talent perspective, that pair's owed more than $16 million for next year, which doesn't help with apron-tanking. And they'd have to do it all for the privilege of allowing the guy they've repeatedly prioritized as the next face of the franchise to walk across the hall and play for their neighbors in their gym. That doesn't seem like it's going to happen, either.
Again, it's not impossible that Howard and Paul could wind up wearing the same uniform next season — if some executive (most likely Ferry, or perhaps Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey, who's apparently got a swingman who's tight with Howard) is willing to wheel, deal, slash, burn, beg, borrow and steal his way through the roster contortions necessary to create enough space to be able to offer the two All-Stars max deals, or is able to convince both of them to take less than the max to join up, then it could happen. It's just that it's much more likely that the only time they'd wear the same colors would be by making another trip to the All-Star Game to play for the West after Paul re-ups with the Clips and Dwight takes that extra $30-plus million to stay with the Lakers.
Besides, all the extra bread they'll make by staying separated can pay for, like, 100 cell contracts with unlimited text plans. Then they can talk about whatever they want, whenever they want. (Dwight only wants to talk about "Man of Steel," though.)
NBA video from Yahoo! Sports:
Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Tony Parker hopes to be '100 percent' for Game 5 of NBA Finals
• Chris Bosh fined $5K for flopping
• Judge says Michael Jordan's $5M lawsuit is 'greedy'
Let us know by submitting a url: