Posts Tagged ‘NBA NEWS’

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The Celtics have so many talented players.

Yet, they started Gordon Hayward – whose play clearly didn’t merit it – his first 15 games this season.

Boston went just 8-7 during those games. Its main starting lineup – Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford – scored only 91.1 points and got outscored by 3.9 points per 100 possessions during that span.

Why were the Celtics so invested in Hayward?

Several reasons:

He’s earning $31,214,295 this season and is due $66,887,775 the next two years. He was going to factor significantly into the team’s roster construction, regardless. There was plenty of financial pressure to get Hayward on track.

Hayward suffered a season-ending injury in Boston’s first game last season. He didn’t get healthy until shortly before the season. Hayward reaching full speed was always likely to require a rocky transition into gameplay at some point.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens coached Hayward at Butler. It always helps to have the coach so personally believe in you.

Stephen A. Smith of ESPN:

And then there’s the element of Boston, Massachusetts. They don’t just want a star. Of course, they’ll take any star that they can get, because their priority is winning. But everybody and their mother knows that particularly when it comes to Boston if we can have a white superstar, that would be even better. And they view Gordon Hayward as having that kind of potential.

So, all of those things considered, the players recognize this, were aware of this. And ultimately those who were compromised by having to be on a court with Gordon Hayward were sensitive to it.

Not because they don’t like him. Not because he’s not a good guy, because he is a good guy. It’s just that they know he hasn’t fully recovered 100 percent from his injury. So, he’s not the same as he used to be. They know he’s going to be a step slower. They know he’s going to be compromised. I have spoken to people in the league who literally have said, “Look, man, no disrespect to Gordon Hayward, nice guy, but he’s really, really compromised right now. He’s not the same guy that he was.” And they said, “We actually kind of feel sorry for him, because he is a nice guy, and we know he’s trying to come back from injury.”

Are there Celtics fans who’d prefer a white star? Yes.

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When the Bulls named Michael Reinsdorf chief operating officer and president in 2010, Jerry’s son vowed to be hands-on and accessible.

The former has been apparent over the last eight-plus years, and the latter is happening with more frequency. Michael Reinsdorf sat down with the Tribune for a lengthy interview on the eve of this season and did so again by phone Monday.

Over the course of 30 minutes, he touched on a wide variety of topics, including the futures of John Paxson, Gar Forman and Jim Boylen. Here’s a partial transcript of that conversation, edited for space and clarity:

Will John Paxson and Gar Forman be back next season?

Absolutely. We believe they’ve done a great job. I know that in this market, with some of our fans and some in the media, they look at it differently. That perplexes me. Let’s talk about them individually because that’s another thing I don’t understand — why they’re referred to as “GarPax” when they have different job responsibilities.

John, as our vice president of basketball operations, he took over in 2003 and orchestrated our first rebuild. He inherited a team and made a lot of different trades. He drafted Kirk Hinrich. We spent $3 million in a trade with Phoenix so we could draft Ben Gordon and Luol Deng in the same draft. He added Joakim Noah. We signed a top free agent in Ben Wallace in 2006. A lot of people forget he was the No. 1 free agent that year. And we ended up sweeping the defending NBA champion Miami Heat in the first round and played Detroit in a tight, six-game series. We were on our way.

The Lakers had a pretty devastating weekend. They blew a close game late against the Bucks and then lost another must-win game to the Suns, lowlighted by LeBron inbounding the ball off his own backboard. Luke Walton isn’t all to blame for the Lakers’ collapse — there’s plenty of blame to go around — but it’s increasingly clear a) that the Lakers are unlikely to make the playoffs, and b) Walton will be at least one of the scapegoats. Here are some replacements that make sense (a version of this list originally ran in February).

Jason Kidd

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In odds released by Bovada in February, Kidd was actually the betting favorite to be the Lakers’ head coach on opening day next season. A lot of times these odds can be taken with a grain of salt because they have low betting limits, but Kidd to the Lakers has been a subject of persistent chatter all season. Personally, watching the Bucks improve vastly after replacing Kidd, I think this would be a horrible idea. However, maybe the Lakers do it anyway?

Ty Lue

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When Lue replaced David Blatt in Cleveland, the Cavs won the title later that season. He has familiarity with the LeBron media frenzy, and won’t get bogged down by the media circus perpetually surrounding the Lakers. Lue played for the Lakers in his first three seasons in the NBA, from 1998-2001.

Mark Jackson

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Jackson had a 121-109 record in three years as coach of the Warriors, including 51-31 in his final season.

Otto Porter Jr. has had a massive impact on the Bulls’ soul.

Their 5-3 record since he came on board is an obvious consequence. His attitude, his shot-making, his size — which makes switching seamless — and his dog mentality on defense have generated a true esprit de corps.

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“I can’t say I did,’’ coach Jim Boylen said Thursday when asked if he thought Porter would be so influential so quickly. “I would not be telling you the truth. I’m thankful for it, but I didn’t see it coming.’’

That’s because a player’s intangibles often aren’t felt until he’s in that locker room.

Jabari Parker was signed to a two-year, $40 million contract during the summer and boasted that he wasn’t paid to play defense, which he backed up once training camp and the regular season started.

Parker and Bobby Portis were sent packing to the Wizards for Porter, who came in with playoff experience and a contract that pays him $26 million this season and $27.2 million next season with a player option at $28.4 million for the 2020-21 season. Big money, no doubt. But the new highest-paid Bull is willing to dive after loose balls, wants to defend the best players and plays the game unselfishly.

Adam Silver still thinks the NBA All-Star Game needs a dramatic overhaul, and this year’s exhibition in Charlotte didn’t change his mind.

“The All-Star Game didn’t work,” the commissioner said at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on Friday, adding that the game was “an afterthought” of the weekend, according to the Associated Press.

“I get it. We put an earring on a pig.”

Silver brought up the possibility of a midseason tournament replacing the All-Star Game if the league cuts the regular-season schedule down to roughly 70 games.

New York City hoops legend and former Nets star Kenny Anderson suffered a stroke this weekend and is currently hospitalized, according to former NBA guard Ron Harper.

“Let’s say a prayers for my guy [Kenny Anderson] who is [in] the hospital after having a stroke over the weekend. You’re in my thoughts my brother,” Harper wrote of the Queens native.

Anderson, 48, played for nine franchises in his 14-year career.

In an effort to broaden the scope of the sport of basketball across the world, the NBA and FIBA announced today that they are planning to launch a basketball league featuring 12 club teams across Africa. NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the creation of the league during All-Star Weekend in Charlotte.

The league will reportedly feature 12 franchises that will begin play in January 2020, with existing African club teams having a chance to qualify for the league. The new league will be called the Basketball Africa League (BAL), and will be based on already existing team competitions that FIBA has organized throughout Africa.

“The Basketball Africa League is an important next step in our continued development of the game of basketball in Africa,” Silver said in a statement (via ESPN). “Combined with our other programs on the continent, we are committed to using basketball as an economic engine to create new opportunities in sports, media and technology across Africa.”

The NBA and FIBA also announced that they are planning on conducting qualification tournaments later this year in order to find the 12 best teams to represent countries including Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia. According to the statement, there will be no more than two teams from any single country in the league.

Along with the announcement of the league, the NBA also announced that by the start of the 2019-2020, a revamped direct-to-consumers offering of NBA games will be available for fans in Africa, along with FIBA also promising to dedicate financial support and resources toward the development of the sport in Africa, which will include money that goes to training players, coaches, referees, and infrastructure.

There are currently 12 players from African countries on NBA rosters. Joel EmbiidLuc Mbah a Moute and Pascal Siakam are from Cameroon; Bismack Biyombo and Emmanuel Mudiay are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Abdel Nader is from Egypt; Cheick Diallo is from Mali; Josh Okogie is from Nigeria; Serge Ibaka is from the Republic of the Congo; Luol Deng and Thon Maker are from South Sudan; and Salah Mejri is from Tunisia.