Bobcats get Theo Ratliff in trade

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Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Spurs have traded Theo Ratliff to the Charlotte Bobcats. It is unclear what the Bobcats will be sending to the Spurs in exchange. Ratliff was once one of the league’s most fearsome defenders of the paint, but has slowed down at 36. Ratliff is only averaging 9 minutes a game for the Spurs when he does play, and has often been a DNP-CD. He’s still an effective shot-blocker, averaging .9 blocks per game in those 9 minutes. Jeff Green doesn’t average that many blocks, and he averages 33 minutes per game. 

The motivation for the Spurs dumping Ratliff is likely to give promising rookie DeJuan Blair more minutes. Blair is a tough role player like Ratliff, but is obviously much younger and a piece the Spurs will look to hang onto for a while. 
On the Bobcats’ side of the equation, Larry Brown likes guys who play defense and he likes veterans. Ratliff is exactly the type of player Brown likes. The question is how long it will take before the occasionally overzealous Brown benches new acquisition Tyrus Thomas for Ratliff one game to prove a point.  

Thabo Sefolosha’s lawyer: White police officer targeted black Hawks forward

Thabo Sefolosha
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NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.

Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.

Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.

A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”

Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.


DeMar DeRozan says he hates talking about free agency, takes pride in Raptors longevity

DeMar DeRozan
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DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.

But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.

DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:

“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.

“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”

This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.

Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.

Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.

I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.