Rip Hamilton is living in basketball limbo.
He hasn’t been playing, sat down by his coach. The Pistons are trying to find someone to trade for him but Hamilton but he is owed $25 million over the next two seasons. Guaranteed.
At that price nobody is interested in making a trade, reports Ken Berger at CBSSports.com.
There were reports that Boston or Dallas would want him, but you know why those two franchises are near the top of the league? They make smart player-personnel choices. Well, Boston does. Dallas already signed Brendan Haywood to the “vastly overpaid role player” spot on the roster, so they’re good. Heading into new, unknown financial waters with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, no smart team is taking on $25 million for a nice role player (which is what Rip is now, at age 32 he is not the scorer to be feared he once was).
The problem for Rip is, the Pistons sat him Jan. 12 against the Memphis Grizzlies (because the rumored three-team Carmelo Anthony trade was about to go through) and the team is a solid 5-5 without him. That includes knocking off the Magic and Mavericks, plus putting a real scare into the Heat on Friday. They are playing their best ball of the season. Sure, playing .500 is not getting them to the playoffs but for this season’s Pistons it is a huge step up. And if you learned just one thing from Bull Durham it’s that you don’t mess with a streak.
The Pistons could buy him out. (Dallas, Boston and others would have interest in a free agent Hamilton at a league minimum). However until the ownership sale to Tom Gores goes through there is no chance of that happening. And with all the stops and starts in that process we could have peace in the Middle East first.
Rip is too good to be sitting out Pistons games with the “stomach flu.” Detroit under John Kuester has gone away from running Hamilton off picks for catch-and-shoots and doing some of the things he can still do (the way Boston uses Ray Allen, for example).
But with the team playing well Kuester has no reason to change.
So Rip lives in basketball limbo.
Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.
This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.
The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.
Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.
Did Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant talk during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night? Westbrook said no, though video and first-hand accounts indicate otherwise.
Even more clearly: Westbrook – who walked near teammates Enes Kanter, Anthony Morrow and Jerami Grant – didn’t want someone talking to someone as they left the floor after the game. ESPN caught Westbrook saying, “Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—.”
You will never convince anyone Westbrook is referring to anyone but Durant.
Between getting laid out by Zaza Pachulia and apparently talking with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook committed a travel for the ages.
The Thunder guard took an inbound pass against the Warriors and just started walking up court without dribbling. The violation was so blatant, NBA officials even called the travel.
And it’s not as if they’re inclined to blow a whistle in that situation. Before Westbrook, Kemba Walker set a high bar last season, but he got away with this walk:
Russell Westbrook deleted Kevin Durant‘s goodbye text and, months later, told the whole world they still hadn’t talked.
That apparently changed during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder yesterday – though not if you ask Westbrook.
Westbrook dunked in the third quarter, and according to ESPN commentator Mark Jackson, Westbrook told Durant, “Don’t jump.” Anthony Slater of The Mercury News also wrote of the same quote.
ESPN’s telecast caught Durant clearly speaking to Westbrook shortly after. It appears Westbrook is talking back, but his back is to the camera.
After the game, Westbrook denied the exchange:
- Reporter: “Are you and KD on speaking terms?”
- Westbrook: “Nah.”
- Reporter: “You guys had a little exchange in the third quarter.”
- Westbrook: “What exchange?”
- Reporter: “You and KD said something to each other.”
- Westbrook: “Oh. You gotta maybe sit closer to the game. You maybe didn’t see clearly.”
This is so Westbrook – stubborn to the point of denying reality.
That approach worked for him when everyone rightly told him he was a significantly lesser player than Durant. Westbrook ignored that fact until it became false.
I suspect he wants to forget this exchange so he can maintain a cold animosity toward someone he prefers to resent.