- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie1 hr ago
During the 1990-91 season, a campaign that saw the Los Angeles Lakers ride a fifth-ranked offense all the way to the NBA Finals, Magic Johnson and Byron Scott led the team in attempting 250 and 219 three-pointers, respectively. No other Laker even broke triple digits in triples attempts, as the aging Laker backcourt relied more and more on the perimeter bombs to contribute.
It would be the last season the two would play together, as Johnson retired the next October after being diagnosed with HIV, and Scott went on to a respected journeyman career as a three-point specialist. Both eventually returned to the Lakers for one final NBA season – Magic in 1996, Scott the next season – with Magic continuing to rely on his push shot from outside the arc, and Scott taking nearly half his attempts from long range.
This is why it was more than a little curious that Magic would offer a particularly nasty take on the shot that has served him so well, in talking up Scott’s recent hire as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie3 hrs ago
In 1993, when he was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in the years before rookie scale contracts, Vin Baker signed a 10-year agreement with the team. That deal included an opt-out after the sixth season, by which time Baker had made nearly $17.3 million. He then signed a seven-year, $86.7 million contract with the Seattle SuperSonics, though he chose to negotiate an opt-out settlement after five years in order to make himself a free agent, strangely negating the final two years of the deal. The smaller contracts that Baker played on over his final few seasons put his official career earnings at nearly $100 million.
Half of that career was spent disappointing his teams and various fan bases, as Baker struggled with weight issues and an admitted alcohol problem. Though he made four consecutive All-Star teams from 1995 through 1998, Baker’s confidence tailed off in 1997-98 (especially at the free throw line), and his weight ballooned extensively in the lockout months following that campaign.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie23 hrs ago
The argument against NBA teams tanking games is tired and silly. For decades, pro squads have given up on entire seasons in order to develop young talent and secure high-end draft picks, but it wasn’t until 2013-14 the hyperdrive media and those who tend to fall in lockstep with their favorite TV/radio shows and/or writers started to kvetch about things.
Recently, Grantland’s Zach Lowe broke the news about the league considering a percentage-based variation on determining draft lottery odds. We strongly discouraged the league to pass on the idea, and we weren’t alone.
The Philadelphia 76ers – the squad that lost 26 straight games last season while sitting out its top draft pick, a franchise that may sit out its current top draft pickfor most or not all of 2014-15 – are also strongly objecting to the idea.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie1 day ago
NBA players are pampered. They earn millions of dollars to play a sport, but they also get free transportation to road games, free five-star accommodations on the road, and even meal money. They get summers off, a halftime to rest, free Gatorade at time outs, and all the free bubblegum they can chew. It’s a pretty sweet gig.
It’s also a pretty tough gig, especially for the sort of star that is expected to prop up exhibition game attendance in October, cable TV ratings at the All-Star break in February, and play deep into June. And then, possibly, represent your country during the NBA-governed (if we’re honest here) Olympic and international tournaments.
It’s hard to consider, in an era where the Milwaukee Bucks can be sold for half a billion dollars and the Los Angeles Clippers can fetch a $2 billion asking price even with absolutely no leverage on their side, but we’re not that far removed from NBA teams doing everything they can to pinch every penny. The lackluster world economy in 2003 had quite a bit to do with it, but even a Finals-contending New Jersey Nets team wasn’t above selling draft picks over a decade ago just to pay for a Summer League inclusion and soon-to-be-outmoded office equipment.
Former Nets general manager Rod Thorn relayed as much in a Grantland feature fixated on Atlanta Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver, who was selected by the Nets just 11 years ago and dealt to Philadelphia so that the Nets’ front office could tidy up their finances. From Zach Lowe’s report:
Nobody knows how Steve Nash’s body will respond to the 2014-15 NBA season. We’re not even sure if Steve Nash will be around for the 2014-15 NBA season, because though the move would be unlikely, the Los Angeles Lakers could waive Nash by using the stretch provision, and in reaction he may choose to retire rather than move onto another team.
Nash has hinted at as much in the past, and on Monday he also dropped hints that the 2014-15 NBA season could be his last in the league. That’s a bit of an open secret, but it’s still a little strange and sad to hear. Mark Medina of Inside SoCal reported this aside captured by Sport TV:
In case you can’t play the video at work, here’s the pull quote:
A California judge rules in Shelly Sterling's favor, clearing the way for the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s wife acted in good faith when she encouraged him to meet with two neurologists to determine if he was suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, judge Michael Levanas ruled on Monday, and her proposed sale of the franchise in the wake of Sterling’s racist taped comments was not hatched as a result of a conspiratorial plot. Donald Sterling, who is suing the Sterling family trust (and, by slim extension, himself) lost a court ruling that should encourage the agreed-upon sale of the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.
One of the attorneys for Shelly Sterling told reporters he hopes the sale to Ballmer closes before Aug. 15. The NBA released a statement saying the league looks forward to the sale "closing as soon as possible."
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie4 days ago
After some careful, crowd-sourced consideration, it appears as if new Cleveland Cavaliers small forward will choose the No. 23 for his next uniform. James announced as much on Twitter during Sunday afternoon:
I know that two multiplied by three equals six, but I genuinely have no idea what this tweet means. Maybe it’s a code that is only given to people that can get rim on a 10-foot hoop.
Unfamiliar maths aside, James’ choice does call into question the nationally televised statement he made nearly a half-decade ago:
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie5 days ago
In a league that’s getting smaller and quicker, the need for a knockout low post presence at center and power forward has been minimized. The NBA, more than ever, values spacing and sharing, and less of the low post hoggery that dominated the league’s first few decades or dull two-man game’ry that dominated the 1990s and early aughts.
The Chicago Bulls boast what is probably the league’s deepest frontcourt, but it hardly reminds of the sluggo outfits from days of NBA yore. With Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic up front, the team is able to field four players with fabulously versatile games that could produce a ferocious array of passing, finishing, shooting from the outside and the ability to make life hell for opposing offenses.