The longer the lockout lasts, the longer Mark Cuban gets to bask in the glow of being the owner of the NBA Champions. Sure, the whole “I can’t talk about my players or David Stern will hammer me with fines” part is no fun, but Cuban is loving this winning a title thing.
Like when he went on CNN Monday and said the Mavericks beat the “Evil Empire,” as reported by our man Ira Winderman at the Sun Sentinel.
And during that interview Cuban added another reason he thinks the Mavericks prevailed.
“I’ll tell you the interesting thing,” Cuban said, “after Game 3 of the Miami series, our guys said, ‘They aren’t making any adjustments. We got ’em.’ And so the confidence was through the roof.”
Rick Carlisle did a fantastic job coaching during the finals. He moved J.J. Barea and Brian Cardinal into the rotation, putting DeShawn Stevenson and Peja Stojakovic on the bench, taking advantage of matchups. Early in the finals the athletic Heat closeouts on the Mavs shooters bothered them, but the Mavericks adjusted, found spaces and by the end were raining down jumpers on the Heat.
Erik Spoelstra didn’t make the same adjustments — but he also had a lot fewer tools in the toolbox. Yes, he had Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh (and I still would have liked to see more Wade/James pick and roll) but after that what choices did he have? More Mike Bibby? More Joel Anthony? Do you really think Zydrunas Ilgauskas was an answer? Mike Miller had bad hands and Udonis Haslem was just coming off an injury, both giving everything they could but they have limits.
Carlise did better using the tools at his disposal in the finals because he had a lot more tools to use. Spoelstra wasn’t making a lot of adjustments, because what choices did he really have?
Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game — but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.
In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.
Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.
That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.
If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.
First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.
Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.
Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.
Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.
Joakim Noah is playing 20.6 minutes a night coming off the bench for Fred Hoiberg and the Chicago Bulls this season.
And he doesn’t like it. He wants more run. He was getting 10 minutes more a night last season under Tom Thibodeau, and Noah wants some of those minutes back. Nick Friedel of ESPN sent out a tweet that was a reminder of just that.
Three thoughts here.
1) Reducing minutes for guys who battle injuries every season by the time the playoffs roll around was one huge reason Fred Hoiberg was brought in to coach the Bulls and Tom Thibodeau was shown the door. This isn’t just Hoiberg, the minutes reduction comes from management. While it is possible Noah’s spot in the rotation shifts (he could start at some point) and he might get a little more run, the Thibodeau era is gone.
2) There are legit reasons for Noah to want to play. First, he is a competitor who doesn’t like sitting. Second, the Bulls’ defense is elite when he plays (allowing 95.5 points per 100 possessions) and the Bulls outscore opponents by 1.3 per 100 when he plays. Finally, Noah is in the final year of his contract and scoring just 3.1 points per game is not going to help him earn more cash in the next deal.
3) Barring injury to another big, don’t expect a change.
You can’t make this stuff up.
After being cut by the Spurs during training camp, Jimmer Fredette decided to stay stateside and play in the D-League, looking for a way back into and another chance in the NBA (the banged up Pelicans picked him up for four games but released him again). Fredette put up impressive numbers in his debut with the Westchester Knicks (the New York Knicks affiliate), scoring 37 points on 12-of-17 shooting, hitting a couple of threes and getting to the line a dozen times.
All while boxer Floyd Mayweather looked on from courtside (Mayweather was there to see buddy Jordan Crawford).
If Fredette keeps putting up numbers, maybe he gets a call up. But nothing is seriously going to change for Fredette unless his defense improves markedly — that has always been the big problem, and not always one exploited the same way in the D-League. He is on the low end of the athleticism scale for the NBA (not college) and that has led teams to just target him when he comes in games. There is no mercy in the NBA, and Fredette has been the gazelle outside the herd that becomes the clear target.
But he’s had a good D-League game, it’s a start on a road back.