Daily Gossip, Monday 15/6/15

Mike Malone is rumoured to be Denver Nuggets bound (Official), and Lance Stephenson has gone to the Los Angeles Clippers in a move that sees Spencer Hawes and Matt Barnes move in opposite directions.

There are also some rumours regarding possible player moves, but the biggest one potentially of them all has been squashed already.

LEBRON AIN’T GOING ANYWHERE

With Cleveland fighting for their lives in this season’s NBA Finals, down 3-2, this is something LeBron doesn’t need right now but with front office thinking about the future, it’s something that they themselves need to address.

James though has made their job easier.

Via NEOMG:

“Ha, I haven’t even thought about that until you just said something,” James said. “I’ll tackle all of that after the season, but, yeah, I’m happy where I’m at.”

Winning a championship in Cleveland was one of his stated reasons to return to the Cavs after four years in Miami. He also said previously he wants to “build something great in the present and the future” and finish his career in Cleveland. […] Nevertheless, James must choose this summer whether or not to pick up the one-year, $21.57 million player option on his current contract. Virtually no one – the Cavs included – expects him to do so, which means that at least for a few days James would be a free agent.

James’ contract last season was designed with two basic principles in mind: flexibility to maximize his worth when NBA revenues explode because of the new TV contract, and, secondarily, leverage to ensure the front office is building around him properly. […] Those principles remain in place, and leverage is no small thing for James given the enormous impact he makes on any team. The Heat, for example, went to four straight Finals with him and missed the playoffs this season.

LAKERS WON’T PICK ON WHO KOBE LIKES OR DISLIKES

Why are we finding that hard to believe though.

Slam Online have said it best: There is no questioning the influence that Kobe Bryant has on a young player’s development. After 19 seasons and 5 titles, Kobe has a lot of wisdom to impart. At the same time, Bryant has notoriously been hard on rookies, challenging them both on and off the court. (The Lakers’ top pick last year Julius Randle found out early.) The reality is that the Lakers’ decision on draft night will have a big impact on the remainder of Kobe’s career and the beginning of a new prospect’s career.

We’ll see, I guess.

Via LA Daily News:

The Lakers have debated how they will use their No. 2 pick. Some options include Duke center Jahlil Okafor, Ohio State point guard D’Angelo Russell or point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, who played professionally last season in China. The Lakers also have the 27th and 34th picks. Kupchak argued such a youth infusion “can make it fun for (Bryant) again,” though Kupchak hopes to add more veteran players during free agency.

Which qualities would any of those No. 2 prospects need to flourish under Bryant’s imposing presence?

“We’re not going to pick a player because he can play with Kobe, likes Kobe or dislikes Kobe,” Kupchak told Los Angeles News Group. “We’re going to pick the player that can have the longest and best career.”

After all, Bryant will enter the 2015-16 season in what could become his last of a storied 20-year career. The Lakers hope their No. 2 pick can lead the franchise following Bryant’s eventual retirement. Still, Kupchak argued, “Kobe is going to impart a work ethic in training camp that will be beneficial to any player we bring.”

JOEL EMBIID TO SIT ANOTHER SEASON?

We certainly hope not, but it’s reportedly looking likely.

Via Philly.com:

76ers center Joel Embiid may not be available to play at the start of the NBA season after the latest setback in the healing of his right foot, an NBA source said Sunday. There’s also a legitimate chance that the 7-footer could miss the entire season.

Another source, an Eastern Conference executive, said Sunday that the 76ers’ rebuilding plan is doomed if Embiid is unable to remain healthy or play at a high level.

“He was their guy,” said the executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They were hoping he was a franchise player. If he’s not a franchise player, their whole plan is gone. . . . If Embiid can’t play or if he can’t reach a superstar level, their plan is really in trouble.”

The team announced Saturday night that Embiid has had a setback in his recuperation. The first-round pick from Kansas missed what would have been his rookie season after undergoing surgery last June to repair a stress fracture in the navicular bone in his right foot.