Eric Freeman

  • The NBPA is funding health insurance for most retired players

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 19 hrs ago

    Michele Roberts has attempted to reform many aspects of the NBPA since she became its executive director in July 2014, but one of her most aggressive pushes has been to connect with the league’s many retired players. She has gone beyond basic introductions and newsletters, working to extend many benefits to retirees who may need the help to keep themselves healthy. That has been clearest in the decision to fund heart screenings for retired players, but there have been other efforts, as well.

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    The players’ union unveiled one of its most comprehensive efforts to help former players on Wednesday. As announced via press release, the union has voted to fund health insurance for all retired players with at least three seasons of NBA service:

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  • One of Brazil's most popular basketball players will miss the Olympics

    Eric Freeman at Fourth-Place Medal 22 hrs ago

    The Brazilian men’s basketball team will be without one of its most recognizable and popular players when it hosts the Olympic tournament in Rio de Janeiro. As announced by the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, veteran big man Anderson Varejao will miss the Olympics due to a back injury:

    Warriors center Anderson Varejao was examined earlier this week by Dr. Robert Watkins at the Marina Spine Center in Marina Del Rey, CA, and was diagnosed with a small lower back disc herniation. He is expected to be ready for the start of training camp, but will be forced to miss the 2016 Summer Olympics due to the injury.

    Varejao recently experienced back pain while participating with the Brazilian National Team and returned to California to be examined by Dr. Watkins, a renowned spine specialist.

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  • Amar'e Stoudemire was so much more than his highlights

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    History will not view the newly retired Amar’e Stoudemire as one of the best players of his era, but he is sure to go down as one of the memorable. Few big men have ever dunked with such ferocity, commitment, and constancy. Every time he took the court provided the opportunity for a fantastic highlight, and more often than not he gave us one.

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    It’s to Stoudemire’s credit that all those incredible moments seem more like the punctuation to his fantastic NBA career than they do the substance. There’s a reason that many people took to social media to post their favorite Amar’e dunks in the aftermath of his retirement announcement, but it’s not as if anyone thought they would speak for his full career. The videos were just the most readily available evidence of his greatness.

    Still, even then, he could do this:

    Amar'e Stoudemire gets crossed up, recovers and swats the ball to JJ Redick for an NBA 3 pic.twitter.com/tUzTsMGDfo

  • Kevin Durant gets hero's welcome at Team USA exhibition in Oakland

    Eric Freeman at Fourth-Place Medal 1 day ago

    Tuesday night’s pre-Olympics basketball exhibition between the United States and China is unlikely to be remembered for its result, a 107-55 thumping that confirmed everything we already know about Team USA’s dominance. They led 52-24 at the half and never looked in serious danger of winning in anything less than a blowout. It wasn’t always a thrilling display, but they dominated every facet of the contest.

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    Durant was surrounded by an overwhelmingly positive atmosphere as soon as he took the court. He met with fans and signed autographs over an hour before tipoff, taking in the love that has not come his way in most cities since his decision to leave Oklahoma City:

    #DubNation with a warm welcome for @KDTrey5 ???????????? pic.twitter.com/MkyYTDYceV

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  • Kevin Durant's Oklahoma City restaurant is rebranding

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    We’ve written several times in this space about Oklahoma’s abrupt and intense breakup with Kevin Durant. When the best player in Oklahoma City Thunder history left for the Golden State Warriors several weeks ago, it brought on lots of heartache and more than a few price-cutting super sales. It’s been a reminder that cities forge real bonds with star athletes that cannot be ignored as soon as they change teams.

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    As one of the NBA’s best two or three players, Durant had stronger connections to OKC than most free agents. His departure has caused some headaches for colleagues and business associates, including those involved with KD’s, his restaurant. Now that the Durant name isn’t so strong in OKC, the eatery has closed to rebrand itself. From Brianna Bailey for The Oklahoman:

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  • Chris Bosh and the Heat are in another debate over his health

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    Chris Bosh saw a second straight season end early due to blood clots last February, but the story of his 2015-16 hardly ended there. While Bosh and the Miami Heat largely kept their disagreements out of the press, reports indicated that player and team were at odds over when he should return to the court. Bosh apparently wanted to play in the postseason (where the Heat took the Toronto Raptors to seven games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals), but the team did not want to risk his health. Concerns over Bosh’s long-term health did not seem likely to end this offseason, but the summer at least provided more hope for a resolution.

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    If Bosh comes off the medication this summer, there’s no reason why he couldn’t play.

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  • An OKC store sold Kevin Durant jerseys at a 99 percent discount

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    Oklahoma City Thunder fans have understandably taken the departure of Kevin Durant quite hard. He is the greatest player in the eight-season history of the team and one of the league’s two or three best players, the sort of superstar who teams go to great lengths to keep or obtain. While the claims regarding his traitorous nature and/or lack of competitive fire are overblown, the anger is understandable. Fans feel a connection to their teams and the players on them, and when that bond is broken it hurts.

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    The aftermath of such a decision can include wide-ranging effects. For instance, local businesses will have to cut prices on player-specific merchandise. Yet few would expect this 99 percent price cut on Durant jerseys:

    Oklahoma City store discounts Thunder Durant jerseys to 99% off https://t.co/2hoflwYAms pic.twitter.com/rRBOq9gHKS

    — Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 22, 2016

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  • Derrick Rose somehow thinks the Knicks are a known superteam

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    Kevin Durant’s decision to join the Golden State Warriors served as the latest shot in the ongoing battle to form the NBA’s strongest superteam. An arms race that hit new highs after LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat in 2010 has turned into an annual issue. General managers do their best to construct their own strong squads, stars usually only seriously consider teams that already have several high-level players, and unlucky owners rail against the rules that make such moves possible.

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    At the same time, it’s fairly apparent that not all high-profile moves result in the construction of a superteam. Not every team can be the Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, or San Antonio Spurs. And that can make it somewhat embarrassing when someone acts as if he’s part of a potential juggernaut when pretty much no one thinks that’s the case.

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  • Most evidence says practicing FTs doesn't help the worst shooters

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 6 days ago

    Discussions of NBA free-throw shooting often come back to one point — that there’s no good reason why professionals shouldn’t be able to practice enough to avoid Hack-a-Shaq fouls and the ignominy that comes along with shooting around 50 percent from the line every season. Professional basketball players may have lots to improve at from season to season, but they surely have enough time in there to work on their free throws. If a 45-year-old man in his backyard can make 75 percent, than surely a young man in elite physical condition can do the same.

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    The problem with this position is that most serious evidence suggests that practice can only do so much to improve NBA players’ free-throw percentages. Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com has done a deep dive into many possible reasons why many centers miss free throws, and all the most credible have little to do with practice or physicality. Instead, they’re psychological:

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  • N.C. lawmaker Crying Jordans Governor McCrory after NBA pulls ASG

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 6 days ago

    The NBA’s decision to follow through on months of threats and pull its 2017 All-Star Weekend out of Charlotte ranks as one of the boldest stances for equal rights that a professional sports league has ever taken. At the same time, it should not come as much of a surprise given that the league has reaffirmed its stance on North Carolina’s House Bill 2, widely known as an anti-transgender “bathroom law” but more generally a severe and broad limitation of anti-discrimination policy, so many times since its adoption in March. With the Charlotte Hornets and owner Michael Jordan on board with the stance, it seemed like a matter when, not if, the league would decide to move the All-Star Game. Not doing so would have been a public relations disaster.

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