- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie13 hrs ago
Former Minnesota Timberwolves superstar Kevin Love was, in effect, dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first week of August. The Wolves and Cavs could not execute the deal until Aug. 23 because of the NBA’s bylaws regarding the trading of rookies, but eventually the two teams did follow through on the agreed-upon move to send Love (in essence) to Cleveland for youngsters Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and scoring forward Thaddeus Young.
That’s a pretty large franchise shift, especially for a player in Kevin Martin who decided to join Minnesota two summers ago so as to ride out his prime with a knowing coach in Rick Adelman (since retired) and a sweet-shooting forward in Kevin Love (since traded). Trading a 26-and-12 guy for a couple of young men born during the Clinton Administration would seem to be a bit of a lifestyle shift, especially for a player about to enter his 11th NBA season, as Martin is.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie15 hrs ago
Perhaps I’m missing something here.
Actually, I know I’m missing something here. By choice I’m working without a working knowledge of what Utah Jazz guard Trey Burke looks like without his clothes on, which is not something I can say for dozens of other athletes I’ve been around in various states of undress while working in NBA locker rooms. Burke’s reason for disrobing wasn’t to change back into his everyday clothes following a Jazz game, in this instance, as apparently he took nude photos of himself and sent them to someone who apparently appreciated receiving those sorts of photos via phone.
As, you may have heard, thousands if not millions of people do.
(I understand that feigning ignorance before lecturing an audience is a common sportswriter trope, but this genuinely does baffle me.)
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie18 hrs ago
It’s when you know you’re right, even though you want to be left. When you want to be wrong, because being wrong could bring about so many wonderful things.
The 2013-14 Detroit Pistons were never going to work out. Josh Smith was never going to cut it as a small forward, Brandon Jennings was never going to kick it with that contract on a team like this, Maurice Cheeks was never going to be the sort of voice or bring the sort of vision that would put it all together. We knew this in July and August, and it played out from October until April. We were right, about this team’s potential to fail, even if we wanted to see something pretty cool out of this cadre of seemingly mismatched players.
The Pistons lost that “seemingly” qualifier early in the season, incumbent big men Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond were lost in the miasma almost immediately, and Cheeks seemed helpless as the team lost five of its first seven games. Even in an Eastern Conference that was universally hailed for its awful depth beyond the top two seeds, the Pistons failed to make a dent, and Cheeks was fired after serving barely half of the first year of a three-year contract he signed with the team.
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie1 day ago
A look around the league and the web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out.
C: The Brooklyn Game. Joe Johnson can’t hide his giggly-face when asked about the difference between Lionel Hollins and former Net coach Jason Kidd’s practice schedule:
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie1 day ago
The Toronto Raptors weren’t supposed to win last season.
They weren’t designed to fail, but they weren’t far off. In fairness they weren’t designed at all by general manager Masai Uriri, who was lured from Denver after the 2012-13 season concluded to replace former GM Bryan Colangelo. Working without a first round draft pick and much trade leverage, Ujiri still managed to dump Andrea Bargnani and his contract on the New York Knicks for a cadre of draft picks, but by and large his Raptors looked very much like the squad Colangelo had put together in hopes of making the playoffs the year before.
Search any 2013-14 season preview roundup, though, and you’ll find Toronto’s name listed squarely amongst those that were expected to more or less sit out the season during the NBA’s Great Tanking Scourge of the Long Winter. The Raps may have featured a playoff-level payroll, nearly dishing out the luxury tax last year, but Toronto was supposed to battle with the 76ers, Celtics and Magic in the race for more and more ping-pong balls in the draft lottery.
If we’re honest, there never was any question as to whether or not Kevin Garnett was returning to the Brooklyn Nets for the 2014-15 season. For one, Garnett is a competitor, and even if he continues to decline this season after 2013-14 tough go of things, just the mere chance for one strong comeback is enough to motivate such a return.
Secondly, he was never going to be traded anywhere. His value on the trade market, sadly, is at an all-time low. This is also a guy with a no-trade clause that had to be convinced to be dealt from the pitiful Minnesota Timberwolves to a champion-in-waiting with the Celtics back in 2007 after four lottery trips. He may have waived that trade clause to join Brooklyn in 2013, but KG’s not exactly a three-teams-in-13-months sorta guy.
Last? There’s that $12 million he’d have to leave on the table in walking away. Garnett’s never been about the money, he leaves it out there more than anyone, but $12 million is $12 million.
LeBron James admits there would have been 'a greater chance' for a Miami return had the Heat won again
The morning of June 9 must have felt pretty, pretty good for Miami Heat fans, a crew that is noted for its doggedness in its support for the Heat no matter how slim the chances for winning look. The Heat had not only managed to overcome a frustrating Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals, competing without a cramping LeBron James down the stretch as San Antonio’s AT&T’s air conditioning unit broke down, but the two-time defending champs had stolen home court advantage from the Spurs with a Game 2 win.
Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge is a competitor, and he’s a bit privileged. He’s not excited at the thought of topping out at 50 or even 55 wins. He grew up as a player with banners, he delivered another banner as an executive in Boston in 2008, and he’s not about to sell out his team nor his current team-building exercise by shooting for an easy trip to the first round.
He’ll tell you as much. From ESPN Boston:
Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was asked Tuesday to size up the Eastern Conference for the upcoming 2014-15 season and pegged Cleveland, Chicago, and Washington as the three top squads.
"You left out the Celtics," a reporter noted.
Responded Ainge: "I did. Good observation there. But I do believe the extraordinary is possible."
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie6 days ago
Several NBA team presidents, coaches, general managers, and out and out personalities will be going on record in the coming weeks for extended interviews pitched to promote their team’s upcoming season. We’re going to ignore most of them, unless the participants decide to say something outrageous or actually deign to say something telling about the state of their team, because carefully constructed pablum is the order of the day with these things. That’s completely understandable – these are businesses lousy with hundreds of egos to mind.
Phil Jackson, though, will always be interesting. The New York Knicks, even though they’ve made just one second round appearance since George W. Bush’s third month in office during his first term, will always be interesting.
Pair Phil Jackson with his first executive gig, handing the reins over to a rookie coach in Derek Fisher who was wearing shorts to work some four months ago, working within the toxic James Dolan/MSG atmosphere, attempting to bring a semblance of space to New York’s offense and sensibility to the team’s front office along the way?
- Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie7 days ago
Buried near the end of a (very good) notes piece from Cleveland Cavaliers beat writer Jason Lloyd were a few depressing tidbits about the NBA’s approach to the furor that erupted after Danny Ferry was documented signing off on a horribly misguided scouting report on Luol Deng.
Ferry, as you likely know by this point, paraphrased a line that equated being of African heritage as also being prone to acting as a duplicitous two-face, never once pausing to pass on relaying that sort of “information” to his bosses with the Atlanta Hawks, never thinking twice about how this execrable nonsense ended up in a scouting report in the first place.
The report was later leaked, showing that a former Cleveland Cavaliers employee was behind the words, though that knowledge doesn’t absolve Ferry (and whatever Hawk employee saw fit to copy and paste the ex-Cleveland source’s thoughts into the report) for his glaring lack of leadership.