Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford wouldn’t mind playing in Portland


Around the league, players love Jamal Crawford. He is a popular guy in league locker rooms. And he’s a guy who can come off the bench and light it up — he’s not going to be efficient doing that, and he’ll get lost on defense every other time down, but he’ll put up points. That’s how he won sixth man of the year in 2010 with the Hawks.

All that and his age (soon to be 32) sets him up to be one of the most overpaid players this free agency period (whenever that is post lockout). And LaMarcus Aldridge has lobbied hard to make Portland the team that overpays him, even asking fans to try and recruit him on twitter. (Because the Trail Blazers don’t have enough contracts to worry about like Greg Oden and Brandon Roy.) Aldridge put on the full court press when Crawford came to Rip City last weekend for a charity game.

Crawford himself likes the idea, he told Ben Goliver of Eye on Basketball.

“Yeah, definitely,” Crawford said. “I’ve been watching the Blazers so long with Brandon [Roy] being one of my best friends. With LaMarcus here, Wes and Ray, it’s almost close to a hometown team. I’m from Seattle. It’s the closest thing we have to basketball right now.”

“I think I would bring a little bit of everything to Portland,” Crawford said. “Scoring, creating for other people. Trying to make the game easier for my teammates… I think they’re a team on the rise.”

There are teams where Crawford makes sense. Win now teams. Portland, on the other hand, needs to scrapping the last win now plan and building for the long term. Which is not what owner Paul Allen wanted to hear (so he fired Rich Cho), he wants to think this team is closer to winning than it is. So Allen may want to go after him.

But Paul Allen himself will prevent that with his hardline stance in negotiations. Portland already has $73 million committed for next season, well over the projected salary cap and luxury tax lines. And even if they amnesty Brandon Roy (which they likely will not) and get Oden to take less, the Blazers are not going to have the money to pay what Crawford will get on the open market.

So, nice dream, but not going to happen.

Kristaps Porzingis grew up a Kobe fan. Still is one.


When you hear player comparisons for Knicks rookie, the most common is Dirk Nowitzki — a European big with ridiculous shooting range and potential to embarrass anyone.

So did he grow up idolizing Dirk? Not so much.

Rather, like many of his generation, he grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant, he told Mike Francesa of WFAN.

“My favorite player growing up was Kobe. The Lakers were my team and I still love him.”

There is an entire generation of NBA players — and just fans — who would say the same thing.

In the interview, Porzingis laments his missed shots and turnovers, he thinks he can be a lot better. That is exactly what you want out of a rookie. It’s a huge adjustment playing at the NBA level, the speed of the game and IQ is a leap from Europe (or college). Recognizing the challenge is part of it.

There’s a lot to like in Porzingis. He could be special (we don’t know yet, we see only the potential). But idolizing Kobe — and if you understand the work he put in, the passion for the game — can be a good start.

(Hat tip NBA reddit)

Warriors’ interim coach Luke Walton’s car stolen

Luke Walton

If you’re looking for a “when are things going to go wrong for the Warriors” moment, we have one for you. But it may not be what you had hoped for.

Warriors’ interim head coach Luke Walton — the guy on the sidelines for the 15 (soon to be 16) game winning streak — had his car stolen during a crime spree, reports NBCBayArea.com.

One of the cars stolen during an Oakland Hills crime spree belongs to Golden State Warriors coach Luke Walton, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said late Monday.

Walton’s Mercedes Benz was stolen Tuesday by two suspects, who police believe are also responsible for a violent attack on a 75-year-old woman outside her home on Thursday. The suspects also took the woman’s car during the attack, according to police.

Yikes. That’s serious.

I’m sure Steve Kerr has like 14 cars, he can loan one to Walton.

Pacers guard George Hill returns Tuesday against Wizards

Paul George, Marcus Morris
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Pacers guard George Hill returned to the lineup Tuesday night against Washington after missing three games with an upper respiratory infection.

Hill is averaging 14 points and just under 37 minutes in 10 games this season. He was on the bench in case of emergency in Saturday’s victory over Milwaukee.

Coach Frank Vogel said Tuesday Hill’s infection had improved “to the point where he’s fine to play,” but would keep an eye out for fatigue after an 11-day layoff.

Hassan Whiteside on intentional fouls: “It’s not working, so keep fouling me”

Hassan Whiteside

Remember how Adam Silver was preaching that the league didn’t want to change the intentional foul rule — the hack-a-Shaq strategy — because it was really about two players (DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard) and a handful of others now and then. The fact that it’s not basketball didn’t matter.

Well, it’s not just two — Miami’s Hassan Whiteside has gotten the treatment this season. He’s a 53.4 percent free throw shooter this season.

And he says bring it on. From Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post:

“I’m enjoying this,” he said. “Foul me so I can get a double-double and we can win. It’s not working, so keep fouling me.”

He’s even smart at not getting fouled.

Whiteside also is liking that teams are looking at their options against the best defense in the NBA — yes, Miami at 94 points allowed per 100 possessions, is the best defense in the NBA right now — and deciding to attack Whiteside.

“There’s teams that’s out there that say ‘Stay away from Hassan,’ and there’s teams that say, ‘We don’t care if Hassan’s down there. Attack Hassan.’ I love them teams that do that. God bless them coaches. I love them teams.”

Whiteside is not as great a defender as the block totals would indicate — if he doesn’t see a block in it, his rotations can be a bit slow. One scout recently called him a selfish defender to me recently, suggesting he is in it for the numbers, not the sacrifices needed for an elite defense. True or not, the Heat have an elite defense and Whiteside is at the heart of it.

And if the strategy is to try to exploit him, Whiteside plans to make people pay.