In this week's edition of the Friday 5 with Ken Berger, the CBSSports.com senior NBA writer discusses more Lakers disaster, buyers and sellers at the deadline and Snowocalypse 2013. You can follow Ken on Twitter at @KBergCBS.
1. So that "Lakers are back" thing ... down 30 in the fourth to Boston, discord between Dwight and Kobe, Pau out for 6-8 weeks as you first reported ... This is a team that never accepted mediocrity. Are they really willing to go down with the ship this season without a move?
What move are they going to make? Pau was their most tradeable asset, and they can't move him now. Unless they're going to move Dwight and completely punt on this season and who knows how many more, I don't see much in the way of a substantial trade that's there for them. But given what a left turn Dwight's short tenure with the Lakers has taken, I would expect the usual suspects -- Brooklyn, Houston, Dallas -- to jump in and see if Mitch Kupchak can be tempted to go back on his, "We're not trading Dwight Howard" statement. Which makes you wonder: Does Kupchak's statement go down in history with George H.W. Bush's "read my lips, no new taxes"?
2. Meanwhile, Boston has won six straight and is playing the best ball of their season. Danny Ainge always talks about not being affected by emotions, but isn't there a good chance this play has nailed the coffin closed on any changes to the roster at the deadline?
A lot can happen between now and Feb. 21. But the way the Celtics have steadied themselves definitely has swung the pendulum away from a massive-overhaul type trade.
3. Ken, it's trade season. Give me three teams you expect to be buyers and three teams you expect to be sellers.
I believe the buyers will be teams with the most cap space this summer: Atlanta, Utah and Cleveland. Because let's be honest. If you're not getting Dwight Howard or Chris Paul in free agency -- and they're not -- who are you getting? Better to parlay your assets and room into veteran talent now -- and talent that's probably on a shorter contract than the four-year deal that you'd have to give to a mediocre free agent. I still view the Celtics as a seller to some degree because they're $1.5 million over the tax and clearly aren't a title contender. All the other tax teams pretty much intended to be there, but another team I see as a potential seller is Indiana (Danny Granger). And if it's possible for Atlanta to be a buyer and a seller, they're a seller when it comes to Josh Smith.
4. Rip Hamilton should be packing his stuff, right? Bulls will get under the tax in the next two weeks, yes?
That would certainly make sense. His role is shrinking already and will shrink even more once Derrick Rose returns. The Bulls said they were committed to paying the tax this year. But if they can dive under without hurting themselves, why not? The cost of dumping Rip's contract shouldn't be prohibitive, either, since he only has $1 million guaranteed next season.
5. What have you done to prepare for Snowpocalypse 2013?
Let's see. We've got the fridge stocked with food, plenty of water, paleo snacks -- everything but beef jerky. I always forget the beef jerky.