Brandon Knight has been avoiding going head-to-head in workouts against the other top guards in the run-up to next week’s NBA draft. If you want to see how he looks against Kemba Walker, pull out the take of the Kentucky against UConn Final Four matchup, because you will not be seeing it in a workout.
So it comes with a bit of irony that the day after Walker and Jimmer Fredette went at it head-to-head so the Utah Jazz could watch, Knight came to town to work out for the Jazz. Alone. He really looked good spinning around the chair on the floor, and if the Celtics go to that on defense Knight is going to put up big numbers.
Then Knight called out Kyrie Irving, essentially saying Irving was ducking him, according o the Salt Lake Tribune (via SLAM).
“The guy I’m trying to work out against is Kyrie Irving,” said Knight, referring to the former Duke point guard widely expected to be taken No. 1 overall by Cleveland.
Irving is not working out for anyone but the Cavs and not against anyone else. You know why? He’s the No. 1 pick. The clear No. 1 pick despite what comes out of Derrick Williams camp. Workouts only hurt him, don’t help. Him not working out is a smart strategy.
Knight… there are questions. He can score but there are questions about him at the point — he is more Tyreke Evans score-first than John Wall pass-first. A lot of people think he’s a combo guard. His left hand is questionable.
But honestly, it’s a smart strategy for him not to go head-to-head either. He’s not as strong physically as Kemba Walker and it would show up in workouts. His passing skills would be put to a difficult test. Again, there’s a bigger chance he gets hurt by workouts rather than helped. So his agent tells him to take the safe road.
That’s one reason the Jazz are still expected to take Knight No. 3 (that and the Jazz need a point guard now).
That’s fine. It’s part of the game. But you can’t call out Irving for the same thing. Unless you enjoy irony.
At some point, Russell Westbrook will sit down with members of the media and discuss Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder, how he felt about the move, and how it impacted him both personally and professionally.
But not right now. He remains silent.
This Vine making its way around, where Westbrook laughs — probably at the question, although read into that whatever you want — when asked about Durant sums up where we are.
In the full Facebook clip, Westbrook walks away, too. It’s his right. He can talk about it on his schedule.
Rudy Gay expressed displeasure with how the Kings were handling trade rumors. Sacramento general manager Vlade Divac retorted that Gay had his phone number.
Apparently, Gay found it.
Sean Cunningham of ABC 10:
Following those comments, Gay told ABC10 on Thursday afternoon that he had since spoken with Divac.
“I have talked to Vlade,” Gay said from his Nike Skills Academy at Hardwood Palace in Rocklin. “I can’t say since Monday stuff has changed, but I just feel like we have a little bit of time to start changing things.”
Gay, who will be entering his 11th NBA season, has insisted he hasn’t demanded a trade and should he remain a member of the Kings by the time training camp opens in October, he says he’ll report and be ready to go.
“At this point in my career I just want to be happy,” said Gay. “I talked to Vlade and we’re trying to make that happen.”
Even if he hasn’t demanded a trade, it sure sounds like Gay would welcome one. I doubt the Kings would mind moving on, either.
But it takes another team to trade for Gay, and so far, one hasn’t emerged.
In the meantime, tensions appear to be eased. Open communication usually helps.
Jimmy Butler said of the Derrick Rose trade, “It had to be one of us.”
Butler also says not blame him for the Bulls losing Rose — or Joakim Noah, who’s also headed to the Knicks.
Jimmy Butler, via Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago:
“That has nothing to do with me, I don’t move guys,” Butler said. “People are gonna think what they’re gonna think. I don’t let it bother me. I know where I stand, I know who I am. It’s one more thing for people to talk about. I don’t pay too much attention to it.”
I can believe Butler didn’t directly urge Chicago to trade Rose, but Butler’s presence matters.
Rose and Butler clearly didn’t ideally mesh on the court, and there might have been off-court issues, too. If it weren’t for Butler, the Bulls might have kept Rose.
Noah is a little different, because it seems he, more than the team, was ready for a breakup. Still, that might have also had to do with Butler.
Butler is trying to grow into a leader, a natural progression for someone who became his team’s best player. But that was awkward with the Bulls’ previous leaders — Rose and Noah — still in the locker room. There’s no simple solution, though moving on without Rose and Noah will clear that cloud.
So — without other information — it’s too much to “blame” Butler for Rose’s and Noah’s departures. But Rose and Noah moving from Chicago to New York can still be ascribed to Butler.
It might not have been something asked for directly. It’s just the reality of the situation.
Dwyane Wade is back in sweet home, Chicago.
Wade met with the media for the first time and talked about the pairing of himself and Rajon Rondo with the Bulls’ existing star in Jimmy Butler — Wade used the term “three alphas” more than once. But he also was clear about whose team this was going to be on the court.
“We’re not going to go through this all year. It’s Jimmy Butler’s team. Myself and Rondo are here to bring what we bring as athletes.”
Wade added that he would not be a Bull if Jimmy Butler had not personally called him and asked him to come.
Wade took that cue from Shaquille O’Neal when he joined Wade’s Heat team — which eventually led to the Heat’s first title in 2006. The Bulls would love for that kind of result here, although it’s much tougher to see this Chicago roster having anywhere near that kind of impact.