A couple of days ago Jerry West — in what seemed a low-key venue in front of a bunch of car dealers in Southern California — questioned the Lakers defense, how long they could remain on top and used a favorite phrase of your grandparents, “long in the tooth.”
But he wasn’t talking about those Lakers being old. Exactly. West went on the Dan Patrick radio show today and took part in the newfangled trend of clarifying previous comments (as transcribed by the Orange County Register).
“It’s actually funny,” West said Wednesday morning on the Dan Patrick radio show. “A gentleman in the audience asked me why the (Lakers) don’t defend and I said that comes down to the age of players on the team. I wasn’t talking about the team (Lakers) at all.
“I’m shocked that someone wouldn’t think the Lakers can defend. I fully expect them to be back with a championship this season, with all due deference to San Antonio and the incredible job Greg Popovich and the organization has done down there.”
Um, how were we supposed to read that? The Lakers defense depends on how old the team they are facing is? But the Lakers are getting up there, right Mr. West?
“No question,” West told Patrick. “But look at the Boston Celtics. They’re older than the Lakers and everyone says they are one of the best defensive teams in the league.
“…. To me, they have to be the team that is the favorite. But they are getting older and the one opponent you don’t defeat in this league is age. And Boston will face that too.”
As usual, West is spot on here. It is a question we will discuss a lot in the next few years: How long is the Lakers title window open? Boston, too. But no doubt, that window is still open for both right now. Whether they are young enough to climb through it this year remains to be seen.
Derek Fisher is already stumping for his second head-coaching job.
Fisher has done plenty since retiring as a player — getting hired by the Knicks, getting fired by the Knicks and in between being attacked by Matt Barnes and finding another controversy about player relations.
All the while, Fisher counted against the cap for the Thunder, his last NBA team.
Oklahoma City finally renounced him to sign Alex Abrines.
Albert Nahmad of Heat Hoops:
This is one of my favorite salary-cap quirks, explained in further detail here.
These are becoming fewer and further between, because teams are using cap room more frequently as the salary cap skyrockets. Gone are the days of a team operating above the cap for a dozen straight years.
There’s also even less utility in old cap holds now that a player must have played the prior season for a team to be used in a sign-and-trade. (Not that these holds were useful except the rarest of occasions prior, anyway.)
Fisher’s quick transition from playing to coaching helped make this an exception, allowing this weird (and trivial) transaction.
Where will the NBA hold the 2017 All-Star game?
New Orleans? Probably.
New York/Brooklyn or Chicago? Maybe.
One more maybe: Las Vegas.
Scott Kusher of The Advocate:
The NBA held All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas in 2007. By all accounts, it was wild.
I’d be surprised if the league returned the event to Las Vegas, but at this point, I’d really be surprised by any option besides New Orleans.
The 76ers hired Bryan Colangelo, and Sam Hinkie bounced.
Now, much of Hinkie’s front-office is also heading out the door.
Zach Lowe of ESPN:
that regime — including deposed GM Sam Hinkie’s handpicked analytics crew — will be mostly gone by the end of August, league sources say.
If Colangelo hires his own analytics staff and integrates numbers into his decision-making, this is no big deal.
If Colangelo leaves those positions vacant, Philadelphia will be working from behind.
I’m betting on the former. He isn’t Hinkie, but Colangelo has discussed the importance of analytics. Let Colangelo hire his own staff, and everything might even flow more smoothly.
Mike Krzyzewski hates fun (even more than he admits).
So, the coach wasn’t thrilled after Team USA’s exhibition win over China, which included DeMar DeRozan nearly 360-degree dunking on someone.
Marc J. Spears of ESPN:
I want to see Team USA make highlight plays. Dunk from the free-throw line. Shoot from halfcourt. Throw behind-the-back passes. Show up weaker competition.
So, it’s hard for me to get behind Coach K’s criticism.
But I also want to see the Americans win gold medals in the Olympics, and I’ll blame Krzyzewski if they’re not adequately focused.
Fair? Not one bit.
Doesn’t change what I want, though.