Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.
–Red (Morgan Freeman) from the Shawshank Redemption
For Clippers fans, there is always hope.
Hope that this time the number one pick stays healthy. Hope that the owner and general manager will make more good calls than bad. Hope that the next coach will be able to pull it all together and make this team blend.
Hope that LeBron James will want to come play for the Clippers.
So much so on the last one that Clipper fans — led by their superfan Clipper Darrell — will put on a LeBron James parade on May 27.
The Clippers have the cap space to offer a max deal (something Mike Dunleavy did before being fired as general manager). They have a solid young core of guys like Blake Griffin and Chris Kaman inside to build on. They have an open coaching vacancy so they can appoint whomever LeBron wants as coach (say John Calipari).
On paper, they are a very good destination. Hope is high in Clippers Nation.
Whether an African American player would risk the public relations hit to play for a man (Sterling) who has faced multiple discrimination suits for his apartment buildings is another thing. Whether any star player wants to trust that Sterling will keep spending like he needs to win in the future is another thing. Whether a superstar wants to enter a media market where another team and anther superstar are already established and have won the city is another thing.
But there is hope. There is always hope for the Clippers Nation.
Tyler Zeller is one of the few restricted free agents left on the market who could make an actual impact next season, and on Saturday morning, he’s come off the board. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports that the fourth-year big man has agreed to a deal to stay with the Celtics. It’s for two years and $16 million, with the second season being a team option.
Zeller isn’t a starter, but he’s a nice rotation big man, especially at that price. He can play minutes off the bench for Boston, and his contract is also very movable with the second season being unguaranteed. He played just 11.8 minutes per game last season, but averaged 18.5 points and 9 rebounds per 36 minutes.
The Toronto Raptors were good last season, second best team in the East. That means the guys on Inside the NBA on TNT had to talk about them.
Which means Charles Barkley had to say “Jonas Valanciunas” a lot. Which is high comedy. While a lot of people struggle to say his name the guy is a solid NBA center who, with a little practice, you can say (and spell) his name pretty easily.
This comes from a YouTube user, via Reddit, with a hat tip to Eye on Basketball.
Argentina isn’t considered a medal contender heading into the Rio Olympics. Their golden generation — led by Manu Ginobili — has picked up a lot of speed on the downhill side of their careers at this point.
They didn’t provide much of a challenge for Team USA in an exhibition game Friday night in Las Vegas, one won by the USA 111-74. Kevin Durant impressed playing with his new teammates in dropping 23 points, Paul George had 18, and the Americans had their way in the game.
Which is what we’re going to see a lot of in Rio — the USA’s talent level is just steps above any other team in the tournament.
When Kevin Durant chose the Warriors, he received criticism from all angles.
Fans burned his jersey. Charles Barkley decried the decision. Markieff Morris said, “That ain’t right.” Durant’s former Thunder teammates leaked their displeasure with the process.
Durant was so reluctant to face the backlash, he stayed in his
bed luxurious rental house for two days.
It, uh, worked.
Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports:
Though he has heard some criticism from Barkley and fellow Hall of Famer Reggie Miller, various talking heads and people in social media who believe he has cheated the system and cut corners to a ring, Durant said the reaction to his choice hasn’t been too bad: “All that stuff happens on the Internet. I haven’t had one person come to me and say anything negative. … It’s easy for the critics on the outside to tell you what to do, to tell you how to play. I’m the one that’s going through it, so I can’t really worry about the outside noise. The work don’t stop. Everything stays the same.”
This is a good reminder how insulated NBA players, especially stars, can be.
And it adds to why Durant signing with Golden State makes sense. While we’re debating his legacy and discussing the backlash (and the backlash to the backlash and the backlash to the backlash to the backlash and the…), he’ll be playing high-level basketball with his friends in a desirable city for a max salary.
Sure, it’s not all rosy. Durant altered his relationship with his friend Russell Westbrook, and Durant will have to return to Oklahoma City for a game. There, he’ll face plenty of booing fans.
But, all in all, Durant should have little trouble tuning out the critics.
They’re too far away for him to hear them much.