Posts Tagged ‘NBA’

Related image

Vince Carter turns 42 years old on January 26th. He is the definition of a veteran, a man who has changed his game so much from his younger days in order to stay in the NBA. Carter has played for eight teams during his career, but many remember him primarily as a member of the Toronto Raptors.

Carter played it the first six-and-a-half seasons of his career in Canada, and he was one of the defining players of a young generation entering the league at the end of the 1990s. Carter left Toronto after a tumultuous final run that saw him benched at times, butting heads with Raptors management and coaching.

Fans in Toronto have come to re-embrace Carter in the years since his departure, and many seem to hold a soft spot for him.

Image result for demarcus cousins to make debut for warriors jan 18

DeMarcus Cousins is expected to make his highly anticipated debut with the Warriors on Jan. 18, sources tell Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Golden State will play the Clippers in Los Angeles that Friday night and then take on the Lakers two days later at the Staples Center.

Cousins is recovering from the torn Achilles he suffered last season with the Pelicans. He signed a one-year deal with the Warriors with the expectation of hitting the free-agent market again in 2019. The team can only offer him a modest raise on his $5.3 million deal, although reports indicate that Cousins might consider playing on a similar one-year deal during the 2019-20 campaign.

Playing with the Warriors will be different for Cousins. The pace and real title expectations are unlike anything Cousins has seen since he came into the league.

“They play faster than most other teams. It’s not even about the rust. That’s going to be part of the process. I’m aware of that. It’s about having my body in the best shape possible for an NBA game,” Cousins said last month.

Image result for kevin love and john wall

The NBA is just starting to flush out the poor contracts signed in an over-splurging summer of 2016, with the likes of Nicolas Batum, Evan Turner, and others receiving a handsome sum for little return in productivity. Yet one of the executives who spoke with Bleacher Report’s Ken Berger said Kevin Love’s four-year, $120 million extension with the Cleveland Cavaliers and John Wall’s four-year, $170 million extension with the Washington Wizards are “the two worst contracts in the league.”

Both contracts will pay these players a hefty sum of money into their mid-30s, but that is hardly the worst part of it. Love and Wall have been plagued by injuries during their respective careers, and while neither of them is currently enjoying the money from their extensions, they are currently out of action.

Love recently took back a presumed return date and is now noncommittal on a return, as the Cavs now boast the worst record in the league after LeBron James’ exit left them with a hollowed-out roster. Once a double-double machine, Love is no longer the board-inhaling, box-out bandit or the outlet pass king that made him a nightly triple-double threat as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Teams looking to fill roster spots temporarily are now allowed to add to on 10-day contracts. As noted by ESPN’s Bobby Marks, salaries for 10-day deals are based on a player’s years of service and will be either 10 days or three games, whichever is longer.

Current teams with open roster spots include the Warriors, Hornets, Pacers, Grizzlies, Heat, Thunder, Sixers, Suns, Raptors and Wizards. Teams are permitted to sign a player to two 10-day pacts and can sign him for the remainder of the season after the second one expires.

As Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) notes, luxury tax restrictions may prevent the Warriors, Heat, Thunder, Raptors, and Wizards from adding a 10-day player. Also, given Monday’s deadline to waive players before contracts become guaranteed. We examined five notable non-guaranteed contract situations that are worthy of monitoring. On Jan. 10, all contracts become fully guaranteed.

Image result for anthony davis

Following the Pelicans’ devastating loss to Brooklyn on Wednesday night, a defeated Anthony Davis couldn’t hide his frustration to the media.

“We’re a better team than our record shows. Everyone is frustrated. Players, coaches, front office. We’ve just got to do better,” Davis told ESPN. “We wasn’t playing no defense. The whole first half, they did whatever they wanted. They didn’t feel us on the defensive end. We wasn’t physical, wasn’t talking. They got a lot of layups, a lot of open 3s. They shot the ball extremely well in the first half due to our lazy defense.”

Despite Davis finishing the game with 34 points and a career-high 26 rebounds, New Orleans failed to pull off a victory against a team they should’ve beaten. Sadly, this kind of narrative has been normal for the young star since he was drafted back in 2012.

This reality has us all wondering when Davis will call it enough. How long will he keep on losing? How long will he continue to put up with a franchise that has routinely lacked the ability to build and sustain playoff teams?

Most think it won’t be much longer and, as Kay Williams put it on ESPN’s morning show “Get Up,” it’s only a matter of time until Davis forces a trade out of The Big Easy.

Image result for lebron james

LeBron James declaring himself the greatest NBA player of all time has sparked a pretty fierce public debate.

Perhaps that was all part of his plan?

Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge was asked Thursday what he thought of the Los Angeles Lakers star’s recent remarks about being the GOAT and made an interesting analogy while wondering aloud why James would make those comments with more basketball ahead of him.

“His career’s not over,” Ainge said on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich.” “I’d just like to — why he’s saying that, I don’t know. Maybe he thinks that that sells. Maybe he’s taking the Donald Trump approach and trying to sell himself. I don’t know.”

James made the statement on his new show, “More Than An Athlete,” which airs on ESPN+ and is produced in partnership with his media company, UNINTERRUPTED. So, while LeBron is getting some pretty harsh blowback for his boast, he’s still drumming up awareness for his own business venture

Image result for lebron james

Image result for kawhi leonard

THE FIRST MEETING Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse had with Kawhi Leonard came with trepidation.

As Nurse walked down the hall from his office inside the team’s practice facility to the coach’s meeting room last July, just weeks after being named Toronto’s head coach, uncertainty loomed large. Nurse had heard that Leonard might not have been happy with his trade destination and that some people within the Raptors organization were less than thrilled that a beloved franchise icon, DeMar DeRozan, had been sent to San Antonio in exchange.

“So here we are in a meeting,” Nurse said last week inside that same office, “and I was thinking: What if this guy just sits there and says, ‘I’m not ready to talk to anybody yet?’ What am I gonna do?”

Image result for kawhi leonard

It turned out that Nurse had nothing to worry about. When the meeting started, he asked Leonard if he had any questions. The star forward said yes.

The rest, Nurse said, took care of itself.

“Next thing you know, it led to me being at the board, drawing plays, with him standing up there with me,” Nurse said. “It was an interesting first meeting. He was super engaging, and his basketball mind was awesome, and it was fun.”

It was the moment Leonard’s integration into his new team began. In the months since, Leonard has become the clear go-to guy on a team that has the most wins in the NBA this season. The Raptors also hope it was the moment they can point to as laying the foundation for a years-long relationship with the pending free agent.

“We’re playing well,” Leonard told ESPN. “It’s a lot to make an adjustment to be here. It’s different. It’s a different culture, a different mindset than what me and Danny [Green] are coming from.”

As soon as they acquired Leonard, the Raptors knew they had plenty of ground to make up to convince him to stay beyond this season.

TEAM W L WIN% GB CONF DIV HOME ROAD L10 STREAK
Milwaukee Wins26 Losses10 Win Percentage.722 Games Behind0.5 Conference Record18 and 5 Division Recordand 1 Home Record17 and 3 Away Recordand 7 Last Ten Recordand 2 StreakW 4
Toronto Wins28 Losses11 Win Percentage.718 Games Behind Conference Record17 and 7 Division Recordand 3 Home Record15 and 4 Away Record13 and 7 Last Ten Recordand 4 StreakW 2
Indiana Wins25 Losses12 Win Percentage.676 Games Behind2 Conference Record19 and 5 Division Recordand 2 Home Record14 and 5 Away Record11 and 7 Last Ten Recordand 2 StreakW 5
Philadelphia Wins25 Losses14 Win Percentage.641 Games Behind3 Conference Record17 and 11 Division Recordand 6 Home Record16 and 3 Away Recordand 11 Last Ten Recordand 4 StreakW 2
Boston Wins22 Losses15 Win Percentage.595 Games Behind5 Conference Record15 and 7 Division Recordand 2 Home Record12 and 5 Away Record10 and 10 Last Ten Recordand 5 StreakW 1
Miami Wins18 Losses18 Win Percentage.500 Games Behind8.5 Conference Recordand 13 Division Recordand 7 Home Recordand 11 Away Record10 and 7 Last Ten Recordand 3 StreakW 1
Charlotte Wins18 Losses19 Win Percentage.486 Games Behind9 Conference Record17 and 12 Division Recordand 2 Home Record14 and 8 Away Recordand 11 Last Ten Recordand 6 StreakL 1
Detroit Wins17 Losses19 Win Percentage.472 Games Behind9.5 Conference Record12 and 16 Division Recordand 4 Home Record11 and 8 Away Recordand 11 Last Ten Recordand 6 StreakW 1
Brooklyn Wins18 Losses21 Win Percentage.462 Games Behind10 Conference Record13 and 10 Division Recordand 2 Home Record10 and 11 Away Recordand 10 Last Ten Recordand 3 StreakW 1
Orlando Wins17 Losses20 Win Percentage.459 Games Behind10 Conference Record12 and 10 Division Recordand 4 Home Record10 and 11 Away Recordand 9 Last Ten Recordand 5 StreakW 1
Washington Wins15 Losses23 Win Percentage.395 Games Behind12.5 Conference Recordand 14 Division Recordand 3 Home Record11 and 7 Away Recordand 16 Last Ten Recordand 6 StreakW 2
Atlanta Wins11 Losses26 Win Percentage.297 Games Behind16 Conference Recordand 17 Division Recordand 4 Home Recordand 10 Away Recordand 16 Last Ten Recordand 5 StreakL 2
Chicago Wins10 Losses28 Win Percentage.263 Games Behind17.5 Conference Recordand 16 Division Recordand 6 Home Recordand 14 Away Recordand 14 Last Ten Recordand 6 StreakL 2
New York Wins9 Losses29 Win Percentage.237 Games Behind18.5 Conference Recordand 22 Division Recordand 7 Home Recordand 12 Away Recordand 17 Last Ten Recordand 9 StreakL 8
Cleveland Wins8 Losses30 Win Percentage.211 Games Behind19.5 Conference Recordand 21 Division Recordand 7 Home Recordand 14 Away Recordand 16 Last Ten Recordand 9 StreakL 7
Western Conference
TEAM W L WIN% GB CONF DIV HOME ROAD L10 STREAK
Denver Wins24 Losses11 Win Percentage.686 Games Behind Conference Record15 and 6 Division Recordand 0 Home Record15 and 3 Away Recordand 8 Last Ten Recordand 3 StreakW 3
Golden State Wins25 Losses13 Win Percentage.658 Games Behind0.5 Conference Record15 and 9 Division Recordand 2 Home Record15 and 5 Away Record10 and 8 Last Ten Recordand 4 StreakW 2
Oklahoma City Wins24 Losses13 Win Percentage.649 Games Behind1 Conference Record14 and 11 Division Recordand 3 Home Record13 and 4 Away Record11 and 9 Last Ten Recordand 3 StreakW 2
Houston Wins21 Losses15 Win Percentage.583 Games Behind3.5 Conference Record13 and 11 Division Recordand 4 Home Record13 and 5 Away Recordand 10 Last Ten Recordand 1 StreakW 5
Portland Wins22 Losses16 Win Percentage.579 Games Behind3.5 Conference Record13 and 13 Division Recordand 4 Home Record14 and 6 Away Recordand 10 Last Ten Recordand 3 StreakW 2
LA Clippers Wins21 Losses16 Win Percentage.568 Games Behind4 Conference Record16 and 11 Division Recordand 1 Home Record12 and 6 Away Recordand 10 Last Ten Recordand 6 StreakL 2
San Antonio Wins21 Losses17 Win Percentage.553 Games Behind4.5 Conference Record16 and 12 Division Recordand 4 Home Record15 and 5 Away Recordand 12 Last Ten Recordand 3 StreakW 2
Los Angeles Lakers Wins21 Losses17 Win Percentage.553 Games Behind4.5 Conference Record15 and 12 Division Recordand 2 Home Record13 and 7 Away Recordand 10 Last Ten Recordand 6 StreakL 1
Sacramento Wins19 Losses18 Win Percentage.514 Games Behind6 Conference Record12 and 15 Division Recordand 6 Home Record10 and 8 Away Recordand 10 Last Ten Recordand 6 StreakL 2
Memphis Wins18 Losses19 Win Percentage.486 Games Behind7 Conference Record12 and 12 Division Recordand 2 Home Record10 and 8 Away Recordand 11 Last Ten Recordand 8 StreakL 3
Dallas Wins18 Losses19 Win Percentage.486 Games Behind7 Conference Record10 and 16 Division Recordand 4 Home Record15 and 3 Away Recordand 16 Last Ten Recordand 7 StreakW 1
Utah Wins18 Losses20 Win Percentage.474 Games Behind7.5 Conference Record12 and 12 Division Recordand 4 Home Recordand 8 Away Record10 and 12 Last Ten Recordand 5 StreakL 1
Minnesota Wins17 Losses21 Win Percentage.447 Games Behind8.5 Conference Recordand 15 Division Recordand 3 Home Record12 and 6 Away Recordand 15 Last Ten Recordand 6 StreakL 2
New Orleans Wins17 Losses22 Win Percentage.436 Games Behind9 Conference Record10 and 13 Division Recordand 4 Home Record13 and 6 Away Recordand 16 Last Ten Recordand 7 StreakL 1
Phoenix Wins9 Losses30 Win Percentage.231 Games Behind17 Conference Recordand 18 Division Recordand 7 Home Recordand 15 Away Recordand 15 Last Ten Recordand 6 StreakL 4

Like the rest of the top free agents in this year’s class — including Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson — Leonard has the prior accomplishments, including a championship ring and Finals MVP award, that allow him the freedom to make the choice that makes him happiest on a personal level this summer.

It was no secret that as his time in San Antonio was coming to an end last summer, Leonard’s desire was to return to his native Southern California. Meanwhile, getting a read on Leonard’s thinking — unlike with Paul Georgeduring his first season with the Oklahoma City Thunder — was always going to be difficult.

Toronto knew its only legitimate chance to get Leonard for the long term was to trade for him first, then spend the better part of a year selling him on its vision for a shared future — one with the two-way star as the franchise’s centerpiece.

FROM THE MOMENT the Raptors traded for Leonard, they began planning for July 1, when Leonard will hit free agency and Toronto will attempt to convince him to remain the face of this organization. The Raptors will point to all of the details, both on and off the court, that they believe tip the scales in their favor — details Leonard will have spent an entire season seeing firsthand.

“You can always make that pitch, [and] you can believe it,” Raptors general manager Bobby Webster said. “But professional athletes see it, and they come in, and they know the difference between organizations. To live it, and to be here, you see it, and you live it every single day. They know if you’re bulls—-ing them.”

For his part, Leonard declined to say what his priorities will be when he decides where to play next season.

“I’m not thinking about that,” he told ESPN. “I’m focused on right now, what this is bringing for me and focused on the opportunity that I have here and what we can do this season.

“Later down the road, that’s when I’ll make my decision.”

Image result for kawhi leonard

Webster and Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri are optimistic about their chances when Leonard does make his decision, for plenty of reasons. Toronto won at least 51 games in each of the three seasons prior to Leonard’s arrival and enters Thursday night’s game against the Spurs with a league-high 28 wins. FiveThirtyEight’s NBA projections give the Raptors a 38 percent chance to reach the NBA Finals, something Toronto has never done.