Last summer, there was deal was in place to bring Hedu Turkoglu and his stretch four game to the Portland Trail Blazers — he was to be team’s next step in evolving into a Western Conference Power. You all saw what he did in the playoffs, right? He killed the Lakers. So of course the people of Portland were enamored with him.
Then Turkoglu left them at the alter, choosing instead hockey and Chris Bosh in Toronto.
Portland fans don’t forget, and they let him know it when the Raptors came to the Rose Garden Sunday. They booed him in player introductions. They booed him every time he touched the ball. They booed him off the court. If they could have, they would have booed him in his hotel room.
But why? After watching him Sunday, did anyone in Portland think, “That’s the guy that puts us over the top?” Ben Golliver at Blazers Edge watched him and came away happy the Blazers missed out.
Tonight, Turkoglu went through the motions like so many slightly above average players on slightly below average teams. His shot was falling (4 of 5 from deep), he was careless with the basketball (4 turnovers) and he did not impact the game on the boards or on the defensive end. Don’t look now but it could be a really, really, really long 5 years.
That could be you, Portland. You could have the guy with the future-killing five-year deal for a guy who is just kind of above average most nights. A guy taking the ball out of Brandon Roy’s hands. A guy who brings some skills but not the intensity most of the time. A guy who is an average defender
Don’t boo him, give thanks he had a change of heart. Leave his wife out of it and just count your blessings. You’re better off this way.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.
CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Bulls acquired Dinwiddie in a trade with Detroit last month and waived him three weeks ago. He spent two years with the Pistons and appeared in 12 games last season, averaging 4.8 points and 13.3 minutes.
The Bulls announced the move Thursday.