Nothing is ever easy with Rashad McCants.
After spending last season outside the NBA looking in, McCants signed a non-guaranteed contract with Dallas late in the preseason, and was cut almost immediately after. From a media perspective, the Mavericks’ intentions seemed rather obvious. However, McCants reportedly was told he would have a chance to make the team, and that never happened. Dallas, and GM Donnie Nelson, had other plans.
Regardless of who was told what, the Mavs’ signing and dismissal of McCants was a strategic move to procure the guard’s D-League rights for the Mav-affiliated Texas Legends, which are co-owned by Nelson. But for a time, it looked like the Mavs and Legends may have miscalculated. If McCants really was as incensed as his agent’s comments would suggest, then perhaps the red tape that prevented McCants from being assigned to any other D-League would be ripped to pieces in the name of hurt feelings and miscommunication.
That doesn’t appear to be the case, as McCants was named to the Legends’ 15-man training camp roster. However, that inclusion doesn’t technically mean anything; Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported that according to Percy Miller (one of McCants’ personal advisers), McCants intends to fully pursue several leads on NBA jobs before reporting to Legends camp. McCants may be a Texas Legend yet, but only if the team is willing to wait for him.
If when all is said and done McCants is willing to play for the Legends, he’s a no-brainer to make the team, and may not be long for the D-League world at all. McCants is an NBA-caliber player, and would undoubtedly be a focal point of Nancy Lieberman’s offense. That said, there’s still plenty of time left before the D-League season begins for things to turn sour. McCants’ career has had too many strange happenings for us to simply assume that his inclusion on the roster makes this a done deal. It’s likely that McCants will be a Legend next season based on his current inclusion, but stay frosty.
Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.
As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.
Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.
Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.
Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.
Maybe a little too pumped.
That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.
Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.
(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)
The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.
While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”
Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”
We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.
Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.
Shaquille O’Neal was as dominant a force as the NBA has ever seen.
His peak years came with the Lakers, when paired with Kobe Bryant one the court — and Phil Jackson manipulating both of them — they won three titles (and arguably would have had more if they stayed together). Those Lakers teams were one of the NBA’s great teams.
Friday night, the Lakers unveil Shaq’s statue at Staples Center. Take a look back at some of Shaq’s Lakers highlights.