In trading Serge Ibaka to the Raptors, the Magic didn’t just get assets (Terrence Ross and a first-round pick) for a player who seemed increasingly likely to leave in unrestricted free agency this summer.
Orlando apparently also got rid of a headache.
Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:
Going from the winning Thunder to the lowly Magic probably didn’t bring out the best in Ibaka, and thats understandable, though not entirely excusable.
I also wonder how much of this was situational rather than anything Ibaka actively did wrong.
His presence forced Aaron Gordon and Jeff Green from their ideal position of power forward to small forward. That narrowed Mario Hezonja‘s path the the court. Any minutes Ibaka received at center cut into Bismack Biyombo‘s and Nikola Vucevic‘s playing time.
Both elements probably worked in concert. Ibaka disrupted the play of several teammates just by being there, which likely led to them giving him less benefit of the doubt about his attitude.
Don’t absolve Magic general manager Rob Hennigan, though. He built a roster overloaded with bigs. He asked for leadership from a newcomer who was third banana at best on his previous team and is entering a contract year. It’s not a huge shock this dynamic soured on and off the court.
It’s likely you’ve seen Jarrius “J.J” Robertson before. The 14-year-old came into public view as a New Orleans Saints superfan that deals with a liver disease called biliary atresia. Robertson has shown up at NBA All-Star Weekend this year, and he’s been a big hit.
On Friday, J.J. showed up and played a spot in the 2017 NBA Celebrity Game. He even dropped a layup during gameplay.
But he’s not just been around the court. Robertson has been just about everywhere thus far, hanging out with NBA athletes, meeting Charles Barkley, and telling Russell Westbrook that the Oklahoma City Thunder need more shooters.
J.J. even hung with Draymond Green courtside, where the Golden State Warriors forward tried to trade his watch for J.J.’s chain.
Should have made the trade dude! But I’m glad he’s got run of the place.
NEW ORLEANS — This year’s NBA All-Star Dunk Contest was doomed to disappoint, it was never going to match last year’s epic battle. It started in a hole.
It never climbed out. Don’t take my word for it, check out what JaVale McGee thought.
Saturday was an underwhelming night of dunks punctuated by a couple of moments of brilliance.
The Pacers’ Glenn Robinson III had the most of those moments — which is why he won the event. His strong night started with his first dunk, which may well have been the best of the contest.
The final one from Robinson, the one that sealed the victory, may be the other best dunk of the competition — dunking over Paul George, the Pacers mascot, and a Pacers dancer.
“I originally planned for it just to be PG (Paul George),” Robinson said afterward. “I knew I had to bring out something special. We added the mascot and the cheerleader. I really just wanted to get up high and dunk that thing hard, man. My adrenaline was going. It felt like I was looking at the rim. All I knew was the crowd go crazy. I pointed like this because, man, everybody seemed to sleep on me, didn’t really think I was going to win this thing.”
Event favorite Aaron Gordon, who should have won a year ago, opened the contest with an innovative idea — a drone dunk — but he couldn’t execute it and there were a few attempts before he nailed it.
Gordon didn’t advance out of the first round, and his first dunk summed up the 2017 Dunk Contest — interesting ideas that didn’t quite pan out like planned. (To be fair, Gordon has been battling injuries recently, that may have thrown him off).
If it wasn’t going to be Gordon, a lot of people expected it to be the bouncy Suns forward Derrick Jones Jr. who won, and he reached the Finals in part thanks to this spectacular dunk that woke the Smoothie King Center up.
In the end, it was Gordon who was making the plays.
“I’m not really a known dunker,” Robinson said. “I practiced. I prepared. I know I’m a jumper. And like I said, I’m a guy that stays out of the way. But when it’s time to shine, that’s my thing. That’s what I wanted to do. I knew all along I had some things planned, and I just wanted to show the world.”
NEW ORLEANS — Glenn Robinson III won the dunk contest with the second-best dunk of the night, going over a few people and under the rim — a narrow path to slamming victory.
It would’ve rated as the event’s best dunk if he were truly under the rim rather than somewhat in front of it. And he did have the best body of work to win the contest.
But the best single dunk was still by runner-up Derrick Jones Jr., who went between the legs on a pass off the side of the backboard.