It’s a move that is a little Ari Gold and feels a little awkward.
Powerful agent Lon Babby is making a change to the other side of the table and will be announced today as the new president of basketball operations for the Phoenix Suns, replacing Steve Kerr. Babby’s clients — including Tim Duncan, Ray Allen and Hedo Turkoglu — all will be moved to other agents.
Yes, Turkoglu, the guy the Suns just traded for, sending Leandro Barbosa and Dwayne Jones to Toronto. Feeling awkward yet?
You can say that Turkoglu is a better fit than Barbosa in Phoenix — especially since the emergence of Goran Dragic — but the Suns still just took on four years, $52.8 million dollars. This is a franchise always hesitant to venture near the luxury tax, now has taken on one of the most questionable contracts in basketball. Then they take on his agent.
Top agents like Babby are real power brokers in the NBA, they help make trades happen. They get how the system works. The jump from the agent to the NBA front office is not some huge stretch. Babby could be good at this job.
But it just feels awkward and uncomfortable. It blurs lines. Especially after the Suns just took on one of Babby’s largest clients.
But it will happen today in Phoenix. Then Babby will get on with the business of finalizing the new general manager to work under him. The guy who will have to try and move Turkoglu in a couple years.
Nets’ Greivis Vasquez pulls out of Olympics for Venezuela
If you want to know what this means for the Venezuelan team heading into Rio, well, they shot just 23.9 percent in an 80-45 loss to Team USA Friday night in Chicago — and that was by far the USA’s worst performance in the exhibition run-up to the Rio Games.
Vasquez should be getting decent minutes off the bench behind Jeremy Lin in Brooklyn this season. They need him healthy as the team tries to move from “god awful” to just plain “not good” next season.
Report: Monty Williams to accept role on Spurs coaching staff next season
Monty Williams is one of the better assistant coaches in the NBA right now, and he was available (remember he understandably left Oklahoma City last season after the tragic death of his wife). He’s part of Mike Krzyzewski’s staff with USA Basketball this summer — watch him in practices at age 44 and he’s a better defender plenty of players in the league — and he wanted to get back on the bench.
Sources told ESPN that Williams — who left the Oklahoma City Thunder’s bench in February after the tragic death of his wife, Ingrid — has been urged by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to take as much of a role with the organization as he feels comfortable for the 2016-17 campaign.
The specifics of what role Williams would fill and how much time he could commit have not yet been determined, but sources say San Antonio has opened the door to either a coaching and player-development role or a front-office position (or a hybrid), depending on what he prefers.
One source close to Williams told ESPN that the 44-year-old “absolutely” intends to be a head coach in the league again after his expected stint with the Spurs. The source also said numerous teams, including Oklahoma City, have made similar offers to Williams for next season.
Williams will get another shot in the big chair down the line. In the short term, this is a smart move — nothing looks better on a resume than “Spurs” around the league right now.
Team USA has sing-along on plane leaving Chicago. Well, except for ‘Melo.
Like “Stillwater” in Almost Famous, Team USA’s Jimmy Butler, Draymond Green and Kyrie Irving were leading a sing-along of Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” on the team plane out of Chicago to Houston for the USA’s final exhibition game. Hat tip Alysha Tsuji who pulled the snapchats.
How could you hate this team 😂 TEAM USA 🏀 singing A Thousand Miles on the plane: 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
There were a lot of ugly things for Team USA in its exhibition win over Venezuela — the 4-of-25 shooting from three comes to mind. There was more, it was not a strong offensive performance from Team USA.
But like usual, we can overwhelm teams with athleticism, and that means wins and highlights. Like Kyle Lowry‘s tip-pass alley-oop to Jimmy Butler.