UPDATE (9:10 EST): Scott Schroeder of NBA FanHouse and Ridiculous Upside offered his take on the Spurs’ situation:
[For what it’s worth], I’ve been told Spurs haven’t decided on Larry Owens for sure. It’s pretty likely, but not confirmed by anyone. Yet.
7:25 EST: Zabian Dowdell scored the honor of being the first D-League call-up of the season almost a week ago, but Larry Owens may not be far behind. According to Jonathan Givony of Draft Express, Owens could soon be called up by the San Antonio Spurs, making Owens the first call-up following the D-League Showcase.
San Antonio is among the most embedded NBA teams in terms of the D-League relations. They operate their very own D-League affiliate, the Austin Toros, and have been pretty creative in retaining talent in order to use the Toros as a true farm team. Owens himself isn’t a member of the Toros (he plays for the Thunder-affiliated Tulsa 66ers), but the Spurs clearly have an understanding of the value of the D-League as a resource and a player pool, and could be dipping in soon to offer Owens a 10-day contract.
Owens should fit right at home in San Antonio, tucked away in the corner to fire away from three-point range. He’s made 37.7% of his three-point attempts during his two-year D-League career, and an impressive 46.4% mark from long range during last season’s D-League playoffs (during which Owens led the 66ers all the way to the D-League Finals). On top of that, Owens is a solid positional rebounder and a long defender, making him a suitable complement for the Spurs’ array of talented players. Owens won’t play much if at all, but he certainly fits the San Antonio mold of the role-player-in-waiting, ready to step in and contribute at the first sign of injury trouble.
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.