Delonte West pushing car

Delonte West can’t attend White House ceremony, goes on Twitter rant against media

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Wow, there hasn’t really been a lot of Delonte West news this year, has there? Things have been pretty quiet. Yup, guess he’s put all that drama behi… oh. OK, maybe not.

So first off, a pretty good quote from West, who it turns out thanks to his weapons charge from several years ago, you know, the one where he had a bunch of weaponry stuffed in a guitar case strapped to his back on the highway while he was riding a three-wheeled motorcycle, that one, can’t attend the White House on Monday along with his Mavericks teammates who are celebrating their championship. (Well, kind of. The former Mavericks won’t be there, and considering how much of an impact J.J. Barea and Tyson Chandler had to do with last year’s playoffs… that’s a little weird. But whatever, this happens every year.)

From the Star-Telegram:

“I’m banned from going to the White House, so I’m not going to make it,’’ West said after tonight’s 96-81 win over the New Orleans Hornets. “But I’m going home to D.C., I’m just not allowed to go to the White House.

“That’s what happens when you make bad decisions in your life. You can’t go to the White House.’’

via Full-Court Press: West wont be going to the White House.

Oh, well that’s a pretty mature and reasonable thing to say. Good on Delonte for taking responsibility for his actions. I guess he’s put all that nonsense behind him, can more effectively manage his condition, and we can all move on.

Oh. No. 

West went on a Twitter rampage Saturday night, after apparently someone in the locker room was asking questions that didn’t pertain to basketball. The tweets have since been deleted, but Mavs Moneyball captured them. They’re explicit, so consider yourself warned. Part one, and part two.

For those of you keeping score:

  • He says he has to sleep in his car because he can’t get apartment complexes in Dallas to approve him because of things they read on the internet.
  • He says he is, in fact, not our (expletive) side show.
  • Most notably, he pins the media’s portrayal of his little armed excursion on the fact that he’s making the league minimum: “Since that incident… went from starting on a 60+(win) team, supposed to make 5-8 (million) a year… now makin (league minimum). “
  • Then he starts talking about how the league minimum of $800,000 isn’t really all that much because of lawyer fees, agent fees, league fines, escrow, and his divorce settlement.
  • And finally he takes a pretty nasty shot at a media member who’s fairly respected by pretty much anyone who’s ever met him.

He then went back and apologized to the Mavericks for making it sound like he wasn’t appreciative of his contract, and said he would play for free if he had to.

Then on Saturday morning, West was back at it again. Apparently part of it has to do with someone asking about the thing about being banned and how he felt it made him come across as arrogant, when in fact he’s remorseful over his decisions. West apparently was just sad because he felt he could have made the president laugh. West did follow up by saying he doesn’t blame all the media, just a handful. For what it’s worth, the media member in question, who didn’t write the offending article, I might add, said that he wished West nothing but the best, and was clearly hurt by the comments.

So there’s that.

OK, look, I’m a media member. And the only thing worse than someone who partakes in the often-times blatantly agenda-driven pieces of media that come out, especially in sports, is someone who decides to get all holier than thou on everyone else in the industry. But this situation is really unfortunate on all sides.

West doesn’t deserve to be treated as a side show, particularly because one of the primary causes of his long-term behavior is a pretty serious mental condition that is extremely difficult to live with. West struggles with being bipolar. If you’ve had any experience with it, you know how hard that is for someone to deal with who isn’t being asked questions about their behavior all the time. And the reality is that it’s easy to make jokes about him, without considering how serious his problems are. We’re removed from athletes and rarely do we ever actually treat them as fully formed, three-dimensional, flesh and blood and mind and soul individuals, instead of cardboard cutouts on a television screen. Bloggers get nailed with that accusation more than any.

But you can be empathetic to West’s condition and what he’s gone through in his life and still say “Come on, man.” First off, no one wins with him taking this to Twitter. None. He has an agent. All he has to do is have that agent call the writer to express his thoughts. If he wants to instead set the record straight on how he feels about the White House trip, but doesn’t want to go to the same writer, he can have his pick. Most national writers are going to be all ears for an interview with a player of that nature. He’s got a better chance of having his thoughts considered in a full feature than blasting them out in 140 characters.

Because the result is that West comes across as someone upset because he’s only making $300,000 after those expenses this year, that he’s someone who was unfairly victimized by the media when what brought about the criticism was a series of decisions on his part. It’s not that that’s who West is. His attempts Sunday morning to clarify show that. He’s not blaming everyone in the media. He was just sad and upset as being portrayed as someone who didn’t care about the trip to the White House. But it’s these brash events where he lashes out that allow for people to take an overly simplistic, undeveloped view of him and to crack jokes, instead of considering the full weight of both what he’s chosen to share about his life and his condition.

No one wins in this. Especially not West.

Report: Joakim Noah having “positive dialogue” with Bulls about future

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah dunks the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
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And the spin keeps on happening.

First came the report that Joakim Noah was telling teammates he was out of Chicago. Followed by Noah’s agent — the person charged with keeping Noah’s options open — saying that was not true.

Now comes team management — the people who said they want to keep Noah with the Bulls — saying the sides are still talking, and they want him to stay. Via Nick Friedell of ESPN:

Veteran Bulls center Joakim Noah, his representatives and the Chicago front office continue to have a “positive dialogue” about a new contract amid a report that Noah has been telling teammates he’s ready to leave the franchise, a league source told ESPN.com on Wednesday.

Those close to Noah, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, are still hopeful that he will be able to work out an agreement to stay in Chicago long term.

I’m going to let you in on a real insider bit of knowledge on what team Noah will play for next season:

Whatever team pays him the most money.

I know, it’s crazy, but sometimes people make a decision about where to work based on pay. Right now, everything is posturing. Come July 1, money will go on the table, and then Noah will know just how badly the Bulls want to keep him vs. other teams wanting to bring him in. Once the money is out there, if things are roughly even, then minutes and role on the team, lifestyle, weather and all the rest come into play.

But Puffy had it right — it’s all about the Benjamins.

Coach Steve Kerr: Warriors on brink but ready to rally

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OAKLAND, Calif. — Steve Kerr gave his Golden State players a much-needed mental day off with time to rest their weary bodies, and he got back to work trying to figure out how to save the season against a powerful Thunder team that shows no signs of slowing down.

Back to the basics, back to doing the little things that got the Warriors this far.

After a record 73 wins in the regular season, the Warriors are on the brink as they go into Game 5 of the Western Conference finals Thursday night in Oakland trailing the Thunder 3-1 after a second straight lopsided loss in Oklahoma City.

No denying it’s a daunting task for the defending champs – especially given that MVP Stephen Curry is a far cry from being completely healthy.

“Well, it’s a sense of reality staring us in the face. We’re down 3-1,” Kerr said Wednesday. “Momentum can shift quickly in the playoffs. We’ve seen that the last couple years. Let’s take care of business at home, get some momentum back and we’ve got a chance.”

All season long, the Warriors have taken the best efforts from every opponent. The just haven’t shown the vulnerabilities that appeared the past two games in Oklahoma City, where Golden State lost back-to-back games for the first time during its record-setting season.

The flight home was hardly fun following Tuesday’s 118-94 defeat.

“It was not festive. It was quiet,” Kerr said.

The Warriors shot 41 percent and committed 21 turnovers that led to 18 Thunder points. Curry was 6 for 20 and missed eight of his 10 3-point attempts to score 19 points, sparking further talk that he’s far from full strength. The unanimous MVP has dealt with ankle, knee and elbow injuries this postseason alone.

Kerr isn’t about to put a percentage on his superstar’s health.

“I don’t do that. If he were struggling with anything, I would know,” Kerr said. “Nobody has said anything about Steph being 70 percent to me. Our training staff, relatives, friends, sources with knowledge of our team’s thinking, nobody has told me he’s 70 percent.”

Golden State will likely need a big night from Curry to get back in this.

Only nine teams in NBA history have rallied from being down 3-1 to win a postseason series, yet Kerr was quick to note, “I’m guessing most of them weren’t the defending champs.”

With the season on the line, first-year Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan expects the Warriors to bring their best while back in front of their home fans.

“Again, we have great respect for Golden State. We know how good of a team they are. You’ve got to get to a place after each game – what happened in the game, what do we need to get better, what do we do well, what are some changes or adjustments we need to make – and then you’ve got to move into the next one,” Donovan said.

“I just don’t believe that Game 5 is a continuation from Game 4. This is its own separate game and we’re going to have to go now on the road to play in a very difficult environment against a great team.”

The Thunder know full well how close they are but also that nothing will be given to them easily. They last reached the NBA Finals in 2012, losing in five games to the Miami Heat.

Oklahoma City stole Game 1 on the Warriors’ raucous home floor in Oracle Arena, where Golden State has lost just three times all season.

“Every game you have a sense of urgency, it’s the playoffs and you know what everybody’s playing for. We’ve just got to come out there and be who we are,” Kevin Durant said. “We can’t put too much pressure on ourselves. We have to go out, play the game, and play with passion and energy. And we know the whole crowd’s going to be against us and we have to stick together even more.”

The Thunder are playing with all the poise and passion on both ends, while the Warriors haven’t been able to hang around the past two games, in part because of uncharacteristic miscues.

“They’ve had a lot of frustration over the years. They’re healthy. They’re whole. They are determined, and they want what we have,” Kerr said. “We have a banner hanging up in here and we take great pride in that. It’s a hard thing to accomplish, and they’ve been close, but they haven’t done it, and they’re coming after us. They’re really getting after it and playing well and competing. We’ve got to stand up to that.”

Report: Bismack Biyombo could command $17 million per year in free agency

TORONTO, ON - MAY 15:  Bismack Biyombo #8 of the Toronto Raptors celebrates late in the second half of Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Miami Heat during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre on May 15, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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Last summer, Bismack Biyombo signed a two-year, $6 million deal with the Raptors with a player option for the second year, following four unremarkable seasons in Charlotte. After his performance in the playoffs, it’s a no-brainer that he’ll opt out, and he’s in line for a huge payday. Perhaps bigger than most people expected, even with the rising salary cap.

An unnamed GM told the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney that Biyombo’s price tag this summer could be $17 million per year:

“For someone like (Biyombo), I think when you look at a guy like Tyson Chandler and what he got from Phoenix last summer (four years, $52 million), that’s where you start for a contract,” one Eastern Conference GM told Sporting News. “But you factor in the cap spike and it’s probably going to be high, I’d say, $16-17 million. It’ll be a heck of a $17 million-per-year gamble.”

Honestly, $17 million a year seems low given what next year’s market is shaping up to be. He’s arguably the third-best center available, after Al Horford (unlikely to leave Atlanta) and Hassan Whiteside (a lock for a max deal somewhere). With the amount of cap space teams around the league will have, and the top-heaviness of the free-agent class (there isn’t much beyond Horford, Kevin Durant and Mike Conley), it’s a good bet that somebody will overpay for Biyombo, especially after a playoff run that’s seen him average 20.5 rebounds per 100 possessions, per Basketball Reference. Whether he’s worth that money is a different discussion, but he’ll get it from somebody.

Steve Kerr on Stephen Curry: “it’s not an injury”

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In the age of social media and spin, the idea of a nuanced answer — where there is some truth to a statement, but it is not the only reason for something — gets drowned out.

For example, let’s take the case of Stephen Curry‘s below-par performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder (he was 6-of-20 shooting with six turnovers in Game 4 and is 5-of-21 from three in the last two games). A report came out Wednesday morning saying Curry was only 70 percent following his knee surgery, which first led to a lot of silly “excuses” comments on Twitter. This led to Steve Kerr denying the injury, via Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times.

Here’s a radical idea: Curry’s struggles are a combination of things.

Yes, the improved, athletic, and lengthy Thunder defense is giving Curry problems. They are meeting him out high, often doubling off the pick-and-roll, and when that pick is set by Draymond Green Kevin Durant and his length is doing a great job of blowing that play up. Also, it is clear the physical exertion of guarding Russell Westbrook is wearing Curry down.

But also, he has lacked the explosiveness we saw lift him to a second consecutive MVP during the season. He’s had great quarters — the fourth and OT in Game 4 vs. Portland, and the second quarter of Game 2 vs. OKC — but he has not been the consistent force we are used to seeing.

Welcome to the playoffs, where if someone is a little bit off that gets exploited by the other team.

That is what is going on, the rest is just spin.