- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie19 hrs ago
Nobody really expected the Brooklyn Nets to contend for a championship last season, but the team’s goofball mix of aging veterans, All-Star-level players in prime and the addition of a wild card in rookie head coach Jason Kidd at least added some intrigue to things. With the right matchups and a little luck, the Nets could have possibly upended a top-tier team like Miami, Indiana, or Chicago (thought of as top-tier, prior to Derrick Rose’s season-ending injury) in the second round and made things interesting in the East.
Instead, the squad worked its way through a wildly inconsistent season, with Kidd nearly fired midway through, Brook Lopez breaking his foot yet again, and Deron Williams limping his way through another diminished year. D-Will only missed 18 games during the season while dealing with ankle woes, but he spent training camp in a walking boot, and contributed his worst box score numbers since his rookie season in 2005-06.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie22 hrs ago
NBA players and coaches, huge shocker here, are usually not good actors. That’s not their fault, it’s an entirely different profession, and yet for decades players have been pressed into service as either commercial pitchmen, would-be stars of the silver and/or small screen, or into all manner of thespian pursuits that more often than not turn out rather poorly.
This turned out rather poorly.
This is a pregame video put together by the New Orleans Pelicans, featuring the team’s mainstays and head coach pretending to act as line cooks at a New Orleans restaurant named “Borgne,” helmed by a “celebrity chef” that I’ve never heard of, ultimately serving a meal to the just-as-befuddled Pelicans owner Tom Benson.
Even by athlete standards, this is truly, truly awful. You have to watch:
Now, there has been some consternation of whether or not it is in good taste to feature a litany of African-American players serving dinner to their white owner, but I’ll leave that for you to pass judgment on.
I’m judging the acting here.
This is where we’re at now, I suppose. Kemba Walker is a $12 million a year player. The guy may never make an All-Star team, and yet he just signed a contract extension with the Charlotte Hornets that, starting next season, will pay him $48 million spread out over four years until 2019.
Of course, this is a duplicitous hot sportswriter take. Kemba Walker is not a $12 million a year player this year, even technically – he’s set to make over $3.2 million on the final year of his rookie deal. If the deal’s terms rise as the years move along, a likely scenario, he won’t be a $12 million a year player in 2015-16. And by the time the NBA’s new television contract sets in following the 2016 offseason, even if the league and its players decide to stagger the influx of revenue so as not to sharply raise the salary cap, Kemba Walker will likely be more than worth the money paid to him over the last three seasons of his deal.
Most readers of this column will pull out their tiny violin after skimming through this. They’ll probably head down to the comment section to creep up on some poorly-spelled screed about a cheerleaders’ worth, and ironically they’ll be the sort of person who pays unending attention to the cheerleaders during an NBA game. Doesn’t matter, we’re following through on this.
NBA cheerleaders – or, more accurately, NBA dance teams – are not integral to a live NBA showcase. Then again, neither are the boosters who fire T-shirts into the crowd, neither are the Jock Jam songs that blare from the sound system when the home team goes on a 12-2 run, neither is the Jumbotron that just replayed that last and-one, and neither are most concession stands. You don’t really need that $12 microbrew to watch this game, do you?
Not sure if you’ve heard, but with three days left to go before the two sides can agree on a contract extension, the San Antonio Spurs and Kawhi Leonard aren’t seeing eye to eye on terms (no pun intended) of the potential deal!
The same disconnect, weirdly, is also in place in Cleveland, where the Cavs and Tristan Thompson are attempting to get things together.
Also, hey, listen – I know this is going to sound weird, but Klay Thompson and the Golden State Warriors are also having the same sort of difficulties.
Jimmy Butler and the Bulls? Still workin’ on it.
NBA observers have more or less come to the conclusion that there are no untradeable contracts. They’ll point to deals involving Rashard Lewis and Gilbert Arenas and sign off on the idea that although their yearly rates of pay are onerous and not in line with their production, teams will still find reasons to deal for contracts like these for reasons that extend past what happens on the court.
With that idea in place, Amar’e Stoudemire has yet to be traded from the New York Knicks. There is still time, the trade deadline is just under four months away, but all indications are pointing toward the Knicks keeping Stoudemire until his five year, nearly $100 million deal runs out this July. New York will point to its lacking front court depth as part of the reason, but the main roadblock is the fact that Amar’e will make over $23.4 million this season, and teams aren’t lining up to deal for that.Thu, Oct 305:00 PM PDTNew York at ClevelandPreview Game
In the days leading up to the NBA’s tipoff of the 2014-15 regular season, the league’s teams are sending various contributors and even stars out for meet-and-greets and signing shows in the hopes of drumming up fan support. As one of the NBA’s more gregarious and interesting players, Golden State Warriors swingman Draymond Green would seem like a logical choice to go press the flesh as the Warriors ready themselves for what they hope will be an improved season and extended postseason run.
Golden State Warrior fandom, even during the squad’s lean years, has never been in question. With that in place, showy Los Angeles Laker fans have always been in plentiful supply, and apparently a signing session over the weekend proved as much once again.
Via the Triangle Offense, here’s one sub-tweeted interaction that had us all cracking up, via Green’s Twitter account:
The Chicago Bulls were playing with found money in 2006. The franchise wasn’t a championship contender, it had just been bounced from the first round of the playoffs for the second year in a row as it entered the 2006 NBA draft, but the team was in a good place. It boasted perhaps the NBA’s best young roster (though that would soon fall apart), a massive amount of cap space, and the second overall pick in the draft (along with its own mid first-round selection) as a result of perhaps Isiah Thomas’ worst move as president of the New York Knicks.
Whether it was the fault of the air conditioning unit in San Antonio’s AT&T Center, a product of life as a point guard in Karl Malone’s body, or the culmination of a series of fatigue-inducing events, LeBron James cramped up on a national stage in Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals. The league’s best player, playing the most important game of his life, was unable to perform and had to leave the court when his team needed him most as the Spurs pulled away from his Miami Heat. James could not walk, much less run and dominate the court in the fourth quarter, and even his toughest critics had to give him a break considering the diligent ways in which he played deep into June for four consecutive years, while tossing in one Olympics appearance along the way.