How badly does Tony Battie want to win?
He is one of the prime candidates to be bought out today, and if the deal is done by the league-set midnight deadline he can sign with another team and be on their playoff roster.
Battie is owed about $1.7 million for the remainder of this season (on his $6.5 million deal). The Nets would not miss him and would be happy to send him on his way, but they also have no motive to do so unless they can save money. So Nets President Rod Thorn is offering Battie the chance for his freedom, the chance to sign somewhere else and for his season to have meaning, but at a rate well below what Battie would make if he stayed put.
“Honestly, I’m not sure,” Battie told ESPN.com. “I’m going to be professional about it, and whatever happens happens. That’s kind of where I’m going to leave it because I honestly feel that way.
“It’s not smart to leave money on the table knowing that you still have to go out and find a team that’s going to be a taker, so you don’t want to put yourself in limbo to leave a situation and not have a 100 percent guaranteed deal waiting somewhere else,” Battie said.
On one hand Battie doesn’t strike you as a guy with a lot left to give — he has battled a foot injury all season. has played in just 15 games for the Nets, averaging 2.4 points per game on 35 percent shooting. If you can’t crack the six-win Nets rotation, whose can you can you crack?
But he is a 6’11” center who could provide some playoff minutes off the bench — last season he played in 21 playoff games for the Magic. He played a small but effective role for them. With playoff teams such as Atlanta and Denver (maybe Cleveland?) looking for a little front-line depth for the post-season, Battie likely would have suitors.
But will he leave money on the table just to win?
Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.
The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.
The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.
Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.
Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.
Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.
“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”
The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.
Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.
LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.
Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?
Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.
LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.
To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.
It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.
With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.
There were a couple of good ones, however.
Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.
One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.