These are exciting times in the life of a new Washington Wizards owner, and Ted Leonsis is making headlines pretty much every day. After being blessed with John Wall, the Wizards owner has come out with discussions of changing the name of the Wizards back to the bullets and cutting down on in-game nonsense.
But perhaps most significant for the future of the the Wizards franchise is what Leonsis said about Gilbert Arenas. As the Washington Post reports, Leonsis reasserted that the Wizards are “not actively trading” Gilbert Arenas and discussed the fact that most general managers will be reticent to put up anything for the former All-Star turned gunslinger.
“We’re not actively trading him,” Leonsis said. “But I would ask you to
put yourself in another general manager’s shoes. He was injured for two
years and suspended for a year and he’s a max [contract] player. If you
were another team’s general manager, would you be trading for Gilbert
Arenas right now?”
It’s a realistic perspective, and one that Wizards blog Bullets Forever has been advocating for a while. The only question is if Arenas’ presence could damage the integration and development of John Wall. The discussions of Arenas as a leader have always been somewhat of a red herring, and in general, he’s just Gil. Crazy, gun toting, occasionally brilliant, ocassionally super-usage Gil.
At the same time, Leonsis’ statement indicates that a decision has been made regarding the realistic implications of trading Arenas and how those implications make it impossible. So now the Wizards will have to figure out how to make it work. It’s not an impossible task. Arenas isn’t Ricky Davis by any means. or even Ben Gordon. He can work off-ball, and maybe this whole ordeal has taught him something about humility. This can work, and it appears to be how the Wizards will approach it.
Just make sure Wall doesn’t like card games.
The second round was supposed to be when things got exciting. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs put on an absolute clinic at home, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 124-92 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Just about everything went in for San Antonio, particularly for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 63 points. How dominant were they?
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.