In the wake of Russell Westbrook having a spat with Kevin Durant while at the same time the Boston Celtics are off to an 0-3 start, there’s been all sports of buzz on the Internet and talk radio about a Westbrook for Rajon Rondo trade.
Stop it. Let it go. It doesn’t work. And it’s a bad idea for the Thunder.
First, you can’t just swap the two — Rondo makes $10 million this season, Westbrook $5 million. NBA rules — even with the new CBA — mean you have to be a lot closer with the salaries, OKC has to give up more. If I were Boston I’d ask for Eric Maynor and Nick Collison to balance it out. Think the Thunder would still do it if they have to give up a couple more guys, quality depth and role players?
Secondly, the Thunder wouldn’t do it in the first place — Rondo is a poor fit in Oklahoma City. Westbrook works there because he is a scoring point guard and the Thunder need his shooting and points from the perimeter (and on drives). Rondo is not a shooter, he’s a slasher. Put Rondo in the back court with Thabo Sefolosha and now you have two guys who are not threats with the outside shot. It makes defending the Thunder easier.
I’m not saying Rondo is better than Westbrook, or visa versa. They’re different, and different fits. Westbrook works well with what the Thunder want to do, Rondo less so. The Thunder would still be good with Rondo, just not as good.
As for the personality clashes, I think it’s overblown. I have concerns about Westbrook’s maturity level at times, but he and Durant seem to get along. By now, what happened yesterday is behind them. Is Rondo’s personality — storming out of meetings and feeling like he gets all the blame and none of the credit in Boston — going to be any better in Oklahoma City? On Kevin Durant’s team?
This deal makes no sense for OKC. They wouldn’t do it. I’m not sure Boston would either, but you never know with Danny Ainge. He did offer a Rondo and Jeff Green for Kendrick Perkins and Westbrook deal at one point that probably made Geoff Petrie laugh out loud. Frankly the Celtics would be better off building for the future around Rondo’s unique skill set, but Ainge doesn’t seem to love that idea.
As of tomorrow, training camps around the league open, and all the focus goes to the 2016-17 season.
For fun, let’s look back one more time at last season — the 50 top circus shots of last season.
Stephen Curry driving the lane and throwing up prayers once he draws contact (and hitting them), there is Russell Westbrook throwing the inbounds pass off an opponent’s back, and so much more. Enjoy. Then let’s get on with next season.
Kevin Garnett intimidates people. In the machismo-fueled world of professional sports nobody comfortably admits they were intimidated, but in the wake of Garnett announcing his retirement, a number of players stepped forward to say exactly that. And that KG trashed talked them fearlessly.
Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams found a way to avoid that — tell KG he didn’t speak English.
Adams was lucky, KG had a reputation for going harder at foreign-born players with his trash talk and intimidation. Then again Adams is not the kind of guy prone to be intimidated.
Athletes are injecting themselves into the needed national conversation about race, violence, and policing in this nation. That has taken some very public forms, including LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony speaking at the ESPYs, and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem and leading others to do so. Some NBA players likely will follow Kaepernick’s lead.
Pistons coach/GM Stan Van Gundy likes seeing players speak out.
A couple of his Detroit players — Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris — said they backed the 49ers quarterback. Here is what the never shy Van Gundy said about all of it, via Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
“I’m encouraged by the fact of what some of those guys stood up and did at the ESPYs and had a conversation,” Van Gundy said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we have guys that not only see the problem, but want to try to do something about it…
“To me, in some ways, (police brutality is) just the most visible to focus on and it goes to deeper inequities in our criminal justice system, our education system so there’s so much to focus on,” Van Gundy said. “I think it’s great that we have players that want to be part of that conversation, and a lot of players that want to go beyond the conversation and be part of the solution.”
Van Gundy has been telling his players part of that solution is to vote.
The players union and NBA sent out a release saying they wanted to work together to create positive change, but details are still vague on what that might be. The only thing we know for sure as we head into the NBA season — with as divided a nation and election as anyone can remember as a backdrop — is that some NBA players are going to try and keep the conversation going.
It was the last game of the group stage of the 2000 Olympic basketball tournament at the Sydney Olympics, the USA was taking on France, another USA win on its way to another gold medal.
But what we all remember is this one play — Vince Carter dunking over the 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.
Best. Dunk. Ever.
Weis was never the same.
In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.
Hat tip to nitramy at NBA Reddit.