Marcin Gortat came to the Suns in the middle of last season and took Robin Lopez’s starting center job away from him. Quickly. It’s one of the dynamics of team sports that makes it a fascinating window on the human psyche — these guys are both fighting each other for minutes and at the same time working together to get wins for the team.
So it didn’t sound like Lopez and Gortat were the best of friends, what with Lopez sending Gortat to the wrong place on Gortat’s first practice after being traded to the Suns. Then Gortat taking Lopez’s job and essentially saying “you had your chance, I took it.”
But no, everything is good between them. Swear. That’s what Gortat told Paul Coro at the Arizona Republic.
“There’s no argument between me and him,” Gortat said, feeling as though there was backlash to his comments. “The stuff that came out with what I said at the camp was just the first contact with Robin. I don’t think there was any problem between me and him. Whatever happened didn’t have any impact on me or on him.
“We’re still talking. We’re still having the same conversation since Day 1. I don’t think there’s any problem in the team. I believe we’re going to come back next year strong and hopefully we’re going to fight for the starting job, me and him. It’s going to be good for the team, hopefully. If he’s going to win, then I’m going to try to be a strong player coming off the bench or opposite.”
Okay. We’ll let you have that one since it’s a lockout.
But when that lockout ends, don’t be shocked if Lopez gets moved as the Suns have two solid centers and other holes to fill.
The Dallas Mavericks are looking for a center— desperately at times, they brought JaVale McGee into training camp to get a look. They will start Zaza Pachulia and behind him it’s probably Samuel Dalembert once he gets healthy.
Which is why Dallas may be the team interested in Larry Sanders — Mark Cuban is a guy known for giving second chances in the league. But there have been no talks, yet, reports Tim MacMahon at ESPN.
Larry Sanders has been out of the game since his buyout last February trying to deal with his personal demons and may well not be ready to return. He may never return.
His couple seasons with the Bucks were filled with drama and issues. There was the nightclub brawl left him with an injured thumb in need of a surgery. There were the charges of animal cruelty. There was a five-game drug suspension. There was missed time for personal reasons. There was the 10-game suspension for marijuana use (he failed at least four tests to get there) — then that suspension was extended past the 10 games. In the end, he agreed to a buyout to get space away from the game to deal with his personal issues.
He may or may not be ready to return from that. He may or may not ever be ready. But if he decides to give it a try, NBA teams will be waiting. Maybe Dallas.
Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka are healthy — just how good will the Thunder be?
The bold prediction in this PBT Extra preview with Jenna Corrado is that the Thunder will win 60 games, something they have not yet done. I wouldn’t bet on them hitting that number — with a new coach, and them making sure Durant and Westbrook get rest coming off injuries, plus the fact they’re in the deep West, that number may be high.
I think they have a better chance to come out of the West than win 60 games. I think they have a good shot to come out of the West.