Rafter Alston was not happy about losing his starting job, but that is not why he just went AWOL from the Miami Heat last week.
It was about being told he was no longer going to play and deciding that looking after a twin sister who tried to take her life just a few days earlier was more important.
“The way I handled it was wrong,” Alston said Tuesday in his first public comments since leaving the team last Friday. “I didn’t really tell [team officials] why I was leaving.”
Alston broke his silence to Ric Bucher of ESPN. Alston story of his twin sister, Racine, puts a different face on his decision. But not how he handed it, simply texting the team, is something he understandably regrets.
Alston is one of the few players to be able to transfer his And 1 street game — Skip to my Lou — to the NBA hardwood. He bounced around but had an 11-year career.
The announcement leaves the Heat in a bit of an awkward spot — just dumping him now makes the franchise come off as calloused. While this was poorly handled, if he had requested time off to be with his sister it would have been granted. Now they have a choice to make.
The challenge for Alston is that these types of incidents and his fearless, fiery personality mean other teams are not likely to pick him up. If you’re going to take a risk, you do it with someone 24 not 34.
“It’s been a tough and long year,” he said. “I’ll be 34 in July. If I can come back and play one more season, that would be great. But if not, I’m still happy with my decision. I played 11 years and had a solid career. Maybe I didn’t leave Miami the right way. But I left for the right reason.”
Joakim Noah said in January he wanted to re-sign with the Bulls. Chicago reportedly wants to keep him.
A perfect match?
Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times:
According to a Bulls player, Noah has been telling teammates the last few weeks that he was done with the organization once free agency begins, and “has no trust in the front office getting this in the right direction.’’
The player was asked if Noah’s feelings had anything to do with first-year coach Fred Hoiberg and the he said, he said that went on early in the season when Noah lost his starting job, and insisted that Noah didn’t offer up that as an explanation.
What was offered up, however, was the fact that there seems to be a complete mistrust that multiple players have toward general manager Gar Forman, with Noah leading the way.
Noah and Hoiberg publicly disagreed about whose choice it was for Noah to come off the bench. Hoiberg said it was Noah’s. Noah said it was Hoiberg’s.
That looked like a petty problem, one both sides could – and maybe did – get over. But it seems Noah has deeper concerns.
This has been a rough year for the Bulls, who missed the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons. That unexpected downturn takes a toll on chemistry and brings buried problems to the surface. That’s especially true considering Chicago fired Tom Thibodeau – a coach who looks better in hindsight. If players miss Thibodeau, that opens the door for them to turn on Forman, who forced out Thibodeau.
That said, the Bulls are probably better off letting Noah walk. He’s 31 and has been banged up the last couple years. I wouldn’t commit big money to him with Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis under contract and the need for faster players to run Hoiberg’s system. Chicago can’t quickly solve its Jimmy Butler–Derrick Rose issue, because Butler is worth keeping and Rose is under contract another year on a difficult-to-trade deal. But shedding Noah and using the resulting cap flexibility elsewhere gets the team headed in the right direction.
For his part, Noah can seek a fresh start – how about with Thibodeau in Minnesota? – and find a team that suits him, either a win-now squad or a younger group seeking veteran leadership.
An Indiana player – Thomas Bryant – who likely would’ve been a first-round pick didn’t even declare for the draft without an agent.
Another Indiana player – Troy Williams – who might not even get picked will stay in the draft.
Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star:
Williams, a 6-foot-7 small forward, is an excellent athlete. He’s not strong enough and hasn’t shown enough awareness to project him defending well in the NBA yet. But his length, quickness and leaping ability give him potential on that end. That and transition offense will have to carry him for now, because his outside shot is unimpressive.
There are players like Williams in every draft. It’s on him to convince a team that he has the work ethic and intelligence to refine his game.
The Warriors are taking a beating on the court, but their turmoil reached heartbreaking levels in Klay Thompson‘s press conference after Game 4.
Thompson, scanning the box score for any semblance of hope, applauded Golden State’s “40 assists” – which would have been the most in a playoff game since 1994. But he quickly realized that couldn’t be right, looked again and sadly announced Golden State had just 15 assists.
Thompson was probably looking at the Warriors’ rebounding total (which was 16 below the Thunder’s).
When Draymond Green kicked Steven Adams in the groin, it did more than create mass debate about the appropriate punishment.
Green hurt Adams badly, it sounds like.
John E. Hoover of The Franchise Tulsa:
Once you finish wincing, take a moment to appreciate how tough Adams is. He kept playing in the game and then came out in Game 4 throwing bullet passes.