Shane Battier was reportedly considering four teams as his free agent destination for the upcoming season: the Grizzlies, Pacers, Raptors, and Heat. The Pacers and Raptors aren’t exactly relevant these days, and while Memphis is on the rise after making an exciting run in the playoffs last year, the veteran known for his defensive ability decided to go with more of a sure thing as far as winning is concerned.
Battier announced via Twitter that he will sign with the Miami Heat.
The Lockout gave me a lots of time to consider what was important to me at this stage of my life and career. Over the last week, I’ve played out every scenario in my head over and over. It always came back to one thing for me: a winning role. I am appreciative of all the kind words and recruiting pitches over the last week, thank you!!
This was a exciting process and after much deliberation, I would like to quote the great poet Jimmy Buffett and take my chances “Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season”
Down. In. Miami. Let’s Go
Clearly, Battier is excited.
As for the Heat, who can’t afford to be big spenders in free agency (Battier reportedly took only part of the mid-level exception or the new mini mid-level) and aren’t going to blow things up by making any big trades to land another star, this is probably about as good as they could have done. While Battier’s defense has slipped over the past couple of seasons, he’s still an above average defender, and can knock down the occasional spot-up three-pointer, which makes him at least semi-serviceable on the offensive end of the floor.
Combine that with the leadership he should be able to provide in the locker room, and from a chemistry standpoint, Battier’s contribution in Miami might be even more important than what he ultimately produces for the team on the court.
The second round was supposed to be when things got exciting. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs put on an absolute clinic at home, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 124-92 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Just about everything went in for San Antonio, particularly for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 63 points. How dominant were they?
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.