The Bucks’ successful season was sure to raise the individual stock of a number of the principals involved (Think John Salmons earned himself a few bucks in free agency with his tear?), and assistant coach Kelvin Sampson appears to be the first to reap the benefits.
Not only do the Cavs seem to have legitimate interest in Sampson because of his success, approach, and Spurs ties (in fact, he may be pretty high up on Danny Ferry’s list), but Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported that the Clippers may also have interest in Sampson as well, but for a connection of a different kind: one to former Oklahoma standout Blake Griffin.
Sampson was the head coach at Oklahoma from 1994-2006, which just preceded Griffin’s arrival. Still, it makes sense for the two to have a relationship considering that Blake’s brother Taylor also attended Oklahoma (where he played directly under Sampson), and Sampson no doubt helped to recruit Blake prior to his departure from the program.
Whether or not Sampson’s relationship with Griffin will give him the leg up on the Clippers’ job (or whether or not the nature of that relationship will entice Sampson should there be a competition for his services) is yet to be determined, but there’s something there, apparently. The obvious connections are minor at best, but the Clippers reportedly think enough of the connection to pursue it.
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.
After a bumpy season where the he fought with Suns coaches, then a summer where he and his twin Marcus felt they were blindsided by a trade, Markieff Morris has been plenty vocal about his unhappiness in Phoenix. To the point it has cost him some serious cash.
So what should we expect from Markieff Morris’ upcoming season?
Relative calm, I tell Jenna Corrado of NBCSports in this latest edition of PBT Extra previewing the NBA season.
The reasons are twofold. First, he has to realize the Suns aren’t trading him anyway (especially not while he publicly demands a trade, lowering his trade value). Second, can you imagine how new locker room leader Tyson Chandler is going to react to that? Chandler was brought in to fill a leadership void in the locker room, and you can bet he will make his displeasure at such team-disrupting antics known.
Still not sure if that’s enough to get the Suns to the playoffs.