Ever since Pau Gasol was essentially traded to the Houston Rockets in December, Gasol has been mentioned in countless trade rumors sending him everywhere from Orlando to New Jersey. Now a report from Sheridan Hoops on Sunday night said that Bulls superstar PG said that he wants to play with Gasol and that he has given Chicago management the go-ahead to put together an offer for the Lakers.
The report said that any package offered to Los Angeles in exchange for Gasol would begin with Carlos Boozer, who has three years and $46 million remaining on his contract. However, a portion of that contract would be covered by an $8.9 million trade exception the Lakers gained when they sent Lamar Odom to Dallas before the regular season.
It makes sense that the Lakers would also ask for PG C.J. Watson back, given the team’s struggles this season at point guard. Watson filled in quite admirably for an injured Rose and it’ll be interesting to see if the Bulls would be willing to part with that kind of depth to acquire a premium player like Gasol, who has two years and $28 million remaining on his contract.
In this lockout shortened season, there has been less time for players and coaches to distinguish themselves. However, this group of individuals have been extraordinary for their teams and are the most deserving of the coveted Sprung first half honors.
MVP- LeBron James, F, Miami Heat
He’s the most efficient player in the NBA, and it’s not really close right now. Miami sports the best record in the NBA and a lot of that has to do with James’ 27.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game. He’s shooting nearly 55 percent from the field, his 8 win shares trumps the field, his PER is more than five points ahead of the next best player (Kevin Durant) and some pundits are calling LeBron’s season one of the best statistical years in history. Kevin Durant and Chris Paul are the runners up.
Rookie of the Year- Ricky Rubio, PG, Minnesota TimberWolves/Kyrie Irving, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers
I’m 1,000 percent taking the easy way out on this one. Kyrie Irving has to do a lot more for his team, scores more with a higher field goal percentage and a lower turnover rate, but he doesn’t distribute the ball as well as Rubio. Rubio gets more assists and steals and has a fraction more than Irving in terms or win shares, but Rubio also has an elite player to play with in Kevin Love. Each player has reasons to win the award, so it’ll be split like it was in 1995 with Jason Kidd and Grant Hill.
Defensive Player of the Year- Dwight Howard, C, Orlando Magic
Statistically speaking, Howard is the class of the field on the defensive end. His defensive win shares and defensive rating top the league and his Magic are fourth in the league in scoring defense. He also leads the league in total rebounds and minutes played, so no player is more responsible for his team’s success on the defensive end than Howard. Josh Smith and Andre Iguodala are the runners up.
Most Improved Player- Jeremy Lin, PG, New York Knicks
He may have been this good all along, but Linsanity has spread around the world and has saved the Knicks season and the job of head coach Mike D’Antoni. His turnovers are undoubtedly high, but New York has won eight of nine with him playing significant minutes. He’s averaging 20.5 points and 9.5 assists per game as a starter and, while he hasn’t played enough minutes to be eligible yet, his player efficiency rating is currently a hair below Kobe Bryant’s at 24.25 (Kobe’s is 24.4).
6th Man of the Year- James Harden, G, Oklahoma City Thunder
Harden just does things that helps his team win. He averages a complete 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game and is a huge third offensive option for the Thunder along with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. His win shares are 4.8, which is ridiculous for any player and certainly incredible for a bench player. According to win shares, his value to his team this season is as high as Dwight Howard and higher than Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose. His offensive rating is third in the entire league, he’s fifth in the NBA in true shooting percentage and is eighth in the league in free throws attempted despite not starting. Lou Williams was the runner up.
Coach of the Year- Doug Collins, Philadelphia 76ers
They have no star player and they were severely overlooked to begin the season. The young Sixers are growing and evolving with a lot of very good players, stingy defense, strong team ball and a can-do attitude fostered by Collins’ coaching expertise and experience. Philly may be on a three game losing streak, but they still hold a four game lead in an Atlantic Division that was supposed to be dominated by Boston and New York.