Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 5 hrs ago
On Tuesday, Kevin Love, a fully-fledged member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, plays his first contest against the same Minnesota Timberwolves team he worked for from 2008 until last spring. Those springs never included any trips to the playoffs for the Timberwolves, who are currently working through a playoff drought that dates back to the team’s 2004 trip to the Western Conference finals, and Love pushed for a trade out of the city last summer as a result.
The Wolves took back the top two overall picks in the last two NBA drafts in the deal, an unprecedented trade haul, but that won’t matter to one Wolves know-all:
Fella by the name of “Flip Saunders,” who remains the coach, president, and general-manager-in-everything-but-name for the Timberwolves. From a Monday discussion with the Associated Press’ Jon Krawczynski
Asked Flip if he thinks fans will forgive Love: "no. Minnesota people are pretty loyal. When you turn on MN they don't forgive you."
So, let’s review.
The guy that was given either incompetent or uninspired coaches throughout his NBA career in Minnesota, somehow “turned” on the state.
Flip also offered this:
Oh, well, good for Flip.
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Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 7 hrs ago
It was a massive surprise until you truly thought it out. The Detroit Pistons waived Josh Smith on Monday using the NBA’s stretch provision, a collective bargaining agreement complement that allows you to dump a player without having to see the full amount of his salary weighted against your salary-cap totals at the originally signed-for yearly rates.
Smith had disappointed terribly in his two seasons with the Pistons, as was his gradual decline over his last season in Atlanta. Former Pistons general manager Joe Dumars, in last-ditch attempt to turn around his team’s lacking fortunes via the free agent market, whiffed on signing Smith to a four-year, $54 million contract in the summer of 2013 despite scads of information that would tell you that a giant frontcourt featuring Smith, power forward Greg Monroe, and center Andre Drummond absolutely would not work.
I mean, look:
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Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 8 hrs ago
Mocking Kobe Bryant’s shot selection has acted as a gleeful exercise for NBA observers since the spring of 1997: Bryant’s rookie year, when the teenager was either charged with or decided to personally take several ill-advised jumpers down the stretch of Los Angeles’ Game 5 loss to the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference semis. Elden Campbell missed 12 of 13 shots in that game, and Lakers not named “Kobe” were embarrassingly incompetent at defending the pick-and-roll, but Bryant’s airballs and 4-14 shooting mark were given the most blame.
In the years since, it’s been just fine to contain multitudes regarding Bryant: Kobe does take lots of terrible, inefficient shots, but he also makes quite a few of them and remains one of the greatest players of his generation.
This year, however, stands as less charming. The Lakers were never going to make the playoffs and Bryant is to be credited for his usage alone – it takes a special NBA athlete to be able to get off 22.4 shots per game at age 36. Sunday evening’s Lakers loss to the Sacramento Kings, though, was downright embarrassing. And all because of Kobe.
Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 9 hrs ago
The Philadelphia 76ers actually won on Sunday evening, taking in their third conquest in 26 tries, moving into a virtual tie with the disappointing New York Knicks in Philly’s “attempts” to make it out of the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division cellar.
Still, the team grabbed its third win over the similarly-rebuilding Orlando Magic on Sunday, and it’s hard to think of a drearier pairing for either the obsessive NBA or even Philadelphia 76er fan. This was not a classic game to watch, which made the exploits of K.J. McDaniels’ mother all the more entertaining.
She was spotted by several Magic fans and media during the course of the win apparently booing McDaniels’ teammates and demanding they pass the ball to her son, rather than run through their current sets.
A 76ers family member across from me. She keeps booing the 76ers and yelling "pass the ball to my son" sparkly boots. pic.twitter.com/2iIJugaY5V
Now an arena officer is now talking to her. This is fantastic. pic.twitter.com/1cV1Nte345
Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 11 hrs ago
When Chicago Bulls center Pau Gasol turned down more money to leave Los Angeles and join the Chicago Bulls last summer, you knew his motivations were multifold. It’s true that Los Angeles has its own rather Titanic-sized arts community, and it’s also true that these Bulls have championship potential when healthy, but it also felt like the veteran All-Star wanted a new sort of thing to do on his (suddenly chilly) nights off.
On Sunday evening, with the Bulls taking in a rare two-day weekend respite in the middle of a long season, we learned what Pau was into.
And he brought a friend:
Yes, that’s Chicago native and stalwart respected Bulls backup Nazr Mohammed joining Pau Gasol in a production of "Anna Bolena" at Chicago’s famed Lyric Opera.
All in all, a fine night out. Save for those that had to sit directly behind the two 7-footers.
Earlier in the week, to promote increased donations for Gasol’s favorite charities, Pau decided to sing a cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” in order to raise funds for UNICEF. Take a look:
The man is a gem, and once again: I cannot be counted on to cover him as a basketball player objectively.
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Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago
In a rather swift and shocking December surprise, the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics moved quickly to negotiate and finalize a deal sending Rajon Rondo from Boston to Dallas. The timing of the transaction, pitched a good two months prior to the NBA’s trade deadline, was telling – Rondo is an odd player, and the Mavericks have forever been an intriguing (and winning) experiment under Dallas owner Mark Cuban, a man who mixes equal amounts basketball know-how and a love for tossing himself in front of a television camera.
Cuban put those two loves together on Thursday night in typically busy and visible fashion. He was one of dozens of celebrities that gathered to sing Stephen Colbert’s “Colbert Report” character off into the televised sunset, but prior to the sing-a-long Cuban was furiously working to sign off on the Rondo deal, which sent Jameer Nelson, Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright, and a pair of picks to Boston for the mercurial guard.
ESPN anchor Keith Olbermann, no stranger to the camera himself, noticed as much:
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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.
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Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive has recently been raked over the coals, and for good reason.
He fired a very good coach in Michael Malone who had led a significantly improved Kings team to a solid record prior to center DeMarcus Cousins’ bout with viral meningitis. He has hired Tyrone Corbin to coach his team, perhaps for the rest of the season, despite Corbin’s uninspiring recent turn in Utah. Ranadive is also apparently begging Kings consultant Chris Mullin to take over the team, despite Mullin’s inexperience at coaching at any level, and the fact that Mullin would have to learn on the fly without assembling his own staff and without the benefit of a training camp.
"I like to use a music metaphor. We had a Sousa marching band, which was needed when there was chaos. But now we need to shift to a jazz band, where people can be individually showcased and improvised. What we need is a jazz director. I think that's the kind of leadership moving forward."
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Tyson Chandler is a good dude. He’s also a smart dude, aware of his station and lot in life after teams in Chicago, New Orleans and Charlotte have essentially given up on Chandler so far in his career, and his denial at a chance to become a member of the Kevin Durant-led Oklahoma City Thunder after failing a physical. As recently as last season, even, he was thought of as a contract albatross in New York.
Working back in Dallas at the age of 32, however, Chandler is clearly having a career year with the surging Mavs. Those Mavericks visited the sad state that is Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night, and following the team’s 20-point demolishing of the reeling Knicks, Chandler was asked if he had any of the sads for former teammate Carmelo Anthony.
“It’s so tough. He signed a contract coming back here with expectations of doing everything in his power to take his team to the next level.
“Ultimately, I feel he will with the right pieces.”
In the summer of 2013, Dwight Howard turned down a significant amount of guaranteed money and a chance to live in sunny Los Angeles for a gig with the Houston Rockets. In the summer of 2014, several prominent free agents chose to pass on the Lakers’ sizable salary cap space in order to play elsewhere. Pau Gasol turned down more money to work with the team he’d won two championships with in order to move to a cold climate and uncertain (if enticing) rotation in Chicago. Many wondered if the Lakers had to overpay just to keep incumbent big man Jordan Hill.
The Lakers will have salary-cap space again this summer, but all signs point to top level free agents heading elsewhere. The underlying rumor here lists that players want nothing to do with playing with Kobe Bryant, for whatever reason.
Kevin Durant, a free agent to be in 2016, however, isn’t having any of that. From a talk with USA Today’s Sam Amick on Tuesday:
Here’s where things get dicey.
Take Kobe out of the equation, and all the Lakers free-agent losses seem sensible. Let’s make every excuse we can for the guy.