DeMarcus Cousins: Calipari pushed me to go pro

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It was evident very early in the season that DeMarcus Cousins should go pro. I tuned into an early-season Kentucky game to see what all the John Wall hype was about and was quickly thinking, “who is this Cousins and how can the Lakers get him?” (Hey, I grew up a Lakers fan, what about it?)

Apparently Kentucky coach John Calipari was thinking the same thing. Not about the Lakers, but about Cousins being ready for the next level, something Cousins explained at his press conference announcing he was going pro.

While Calipari didn’t answer questions on Thursday, Cousins said Calipari practically ordered him to enter the draft.

“He told me it’s my time to go,” Cousins said, then nodded his head vigorously later when a reporter asked if Calipari “pushed” him out.

If you’re a college coach playing the big-time, one-and-done recruit game, then you have to be honest with them. While for a guy like Butler’s Gordon Hayward might have to think through a decision to go pro, for a top-five pick like Cousins it is a no-brainer. And the coach has to be honest with the player about that, or quickly word will spread to other top recruits.

So Cousins is following his coach’s advice. Somehow Calipari will survive.

Gordon Hayward goes behind Jordan Clarkson’s back with dribble

Gordon Hayward, Nick Young
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Utah’s Gordon Hayward abused the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson on this play.

First, Hayward reads and steals Clarkson’s poor feed into the post intended for Kobe Bryant, then going up the sideline he takes his dribble behind Clarkson’s back to keep going. It all ends in a Rudy Gobert dunk.

Three quick takeaways here:

1) Gordon Hayward is a lot better than many fans realize. He can lead this team.

2) It’s still all about the development with Clarkson, and that’s going to mean some hard lessons.

3) Hayward may have the best hair in the NBA, even if it’s going a bit Macklemore.

(Hat tip reddit)

Could Tristan Thompson’s holdout last months? Windhorst says yes.

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”

That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.

Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:

“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”

Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.

And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.