Eric Freeman

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

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 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 2 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 2 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 3 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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  • Klay Thompson says he's ready to sacrifice shots for more Warriors titles

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    The acquisition of Kevin Durant is an outright coup for the Golden State Warriors, but it does come with its own set of special challenges. In addition to the basic task of bringing a new player with an established style into a team that’s already had great success, the Warriors must contend with the very good problem of integrating a superstar without sacrificing what makes their three existing All-NBA talents so effective. As Kevin Love and Chris Bosh have shown in the past, getting less of the ball can be tough for a top-level player no matter how much he wants to win. How will Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson adjust?

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    Thompson says he’s aware of the challenges and ready to take them on for the good of the Warriors and his career. From Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN.com:

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  • Yao Ming couldn't tell his Rockets teammates they called him the wrong name

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    Players who come to the NBA from foreign countries often have difficulty adjusting to the culture of the United States, but few have seemed so comfortable while still remaining themselves as Houston Rockets great and soon-to-be Hall of Famer Yao Ming. The first pick of the 2002 draft came to Houston and immediately became friends with players like Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley, who came from very different backgrounds and easily could have been dismissed via preconceptions. That openness and warmth helped make Yao one of the most widely liked players of his era.

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    It turns out that his adjustment wasn’t entirely easy. In fact, he didn’t have the heart to tell his Rockets teammates they were calling him by the wrong name. From Yao’s new article for The Players’ Tribune:

    Whatever the case, it’s pretty clear that Yao (or Ming?) still feels great affection for his teammates. Expect him to give many of them credit when he gives his speech in Springfield later this offseason.

  • Leandro Barbosa is honoring an old Suns teammate with new number

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    Under most circumstances, a free-agent move from the elite Golden State Warriors to the rebuilding Phoenix Suns would rank as a massive downgrade. However, the situation is quite different for veteran guard Leandro Barbosa. The Brazlian Blur started his NBA career with Phoenix in 2003 and served as one of the league’s best sixth men up until he left town in 2010. While Barbosa proved that he can still be valuable during the Warriors’ playoff run, it’s not crazy to think that the new two-year deal the 33-year-old signed with the Suns could be his last.

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    If Barbosa does end his basketball career with his first team, then he will do so while honoring someone who helped get it started. As Barbosa said, he will continue to wear the No. 19 he donned with Golden State because of the effect one player had on his career:

    — Phoenix Suns (@Suns) July 19, 2016

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  • The Thunder are set to sign the final piece of the James Harden trade

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    The Oklahoma City Thunder’s 2012 trade of James Harden to the Houston Rockets for a collection of players and draft picks is seen as one of the biggest moves in recent memory. While the play of Steven Adams this past postseason caused many to tab the Thunder as the real winners of the deal, the prevailing view says that the team’s owners sacrificed its best advantage for some short-term financial relief. Harden’s continued development into one of the NBA’s best offensive weapons is the biggest takeaway from the trade, and it’s fair to say that it will be for some time.

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    Nevertheless, the Thunder will not stop trying to get as much value out of the deal as they can. So it’s extra notable that they look set to sign the last remaining asset of the trade to the roster very soon.

    Alex Abrines and Oklahoma City Thunder have a deal. The Spanish forward has agreed to terms for a three year contract which will pay him near $18 million in total.

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  • Valentine's heroics give Bulls Summer League title in crazy finish

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    The NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League is more about the chance to see top draft picks and youngsters before real games start than about the competition itself. A few more games like Monday night’s tournament final between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Chicago Bulls could change that opinion soon enough.

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    Down 69-68 entering the fourth quarter, the Wolves managed to enter the final few possessions tied at 74-74. Minnesota handed the ball to newly crowned LVSL MVP Tyus Jones to make a play, which he apparently failed to do as two Chicago defenders limited his movement well outside the three-point line. Yet that defense didn’t keep Jones from giving his team a big lead on an unlikely shot with just three seconds left on the clock:

    The Bulls’ first-round pick had an answer. Summer League head coach (and normal assistant coach) Pete Myers drew up a play that put center Christiano Felicio in a position to find guard Denzel Valentine for an open three, and the Michigan State star forced overtime with just 0.2 seconds on the clock:

    Ok Denzel Valentine I see you kid!!!

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  • Report: Warriors looking to earn more from jersey ad than any NBA team

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 9 days ago

    The NBA’s use of on-jersey advertisements has gone from long-running flirtation to full-on relationship set to start during the 2017-18 season. The Philadelphia 76ers became the first franchise to reach a deal with sponsor when they announced a three-year, roughly $15-million agreement with online ticket marketplace StubHub in May, and it’s likely only a matter of time before more teams announce their own deals.

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    The Golden State Warriors are asking for $15 million to $20 million per year for the rights for a company to put its logo on their jersey starting in the 2017-18 season, sources told ESPN.

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