Tuesday And-1 links: We talk LeBron’s steak house eating habits

20 Comments

Here is our daily look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT).

When he dines out at a fine steak house, LeBron James apparently likes apple martinis, his steak well done and he wants it cut up for him. Not my drink of choice but I can live with the apple martini. Getting your steak cut up for you is a little juvenile, but fine. However, the wannabe foodie in me must complain — to have a good piece of steak cooked until it is well done is a crime against nature and the animal that gave its life for your meal. Medium at most. I’m medium rare to rare myself. Also, tip a lot. That’s how these people make a living. (Via Ball Don’t Lie)

On a serious note, Dwyane Wade is concerned that the Heat not peak too early.

Stephen Jackson got a DNP-CD from Bucks coach Scott Skiles Monday against the Magic. That situation is deteriorating fast.

Wilson Chandler hopes to have a deal with the Nuggets in the next week or so.

Kobe Bryant says his jumper is “sexier” than Dirk Nowitzki’s. I have no idea how to judge that. Nor do I want to.

What trouble in the Lakers organization? Metta World Peace gives his stamp of approval to Mitch Kupchak.

Dave Chappelle swung by the Warriors locker room and hung out.

Drew Gooden is getting a second opinion on his wrist.

Ty Lawson sprained his left ankle again Monday night. We don’t know the severity yet, but don’t expect to see him for a couple games.

Minnesota’s suddenly hot big man Nikola Pekovic also rolled his ankle but said after the game it was “not bad.”

The Kings are trying to use Tyreke Evans as a small forward, and that’s a big adjustment for him.

Expect Danilo Gallinari to return to the Nuggets after the All-Star break.

Andrea Bargnani will be out through the All-Star Game.

The Warriors picked up a good win Monday night, and Mark Jackson doesn’t want to go there, but if they fall too far out of the playoff picture look for the Warriors to start force-feeding the young players (Klay Thompson fantasy owners rejoice).

Quentin Richardson suffered a quad injury Monday night and did not return to the game. That’s not a huge blow to Orlando, however.

The Hornets are giving Donald Sloan a second 10-day contract.

Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan staying in 2017 NBA draft

Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan declared for the 2016 NBA draft, struggled at the combine, withdrew, got into great shape, had an All-American sophomore season, declared for the 2017 draft.

This time, he’s not turning back.

Swanigan:

Swanigan is a borderline first-round pick. He has a couple NBA-ready skills the good teams that typically pick late in the first round might covet, but thanks to trades, teams that didn’t win a playoff game this year hold most late first-round picks. They might pick someone with more upside than Swanigan.

Swanigan is a tenacious rebounder, particularly defensively. He has excellent fundamentals, size (6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan) and ability to read the ball, and he crashes through contact to hunt boards.

He’s also a quality post-up player who can finish with either hand and has the passing ability to make that play work.

But Swanigan is slow. NBA teams have become increasingly adept at running plodders like him off the court by dragging them into pick-and-rolls. Even when on the court, he hasn’t protected the rim at satisfactory levels.

Swanigan has overcome his athletic limitations as a rebounder. He hasn’t done so in other facets of defense.

He’s hardly a dinosaur offensively. He made 45% of his 3-pointers last season, and though I’m not confident that will translate to NBA 3-point range (give the small sample and his form), he should be at least a midrange threat.

Swanigan is also just 20, young for a sophomore. He can improve.

But it’s just hard to look past his defensive limitations.

Hawks hire Travis Schlenk as general manager

Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Hawks picked Warriors assistant general manager Travis Schlenk as their next general manager. All that was left was negotiating terms.

That’s done.

Hawks:

The Atlanta Hawks today announced the hiring of Travis Schlenk as General Manager and Head of Basketball Operations. He will start leading Hawks basketball operations on June 1.

Schlenk worked his way up the latter and helped the Warriors become the envy of every other NBA team. He deserves this opportunity.

But the job won’t be easy.

The Hawks are stuck between two directions. On one side, they have veterans Paul Millsap (a 32-year-old pending unrestricted free agent whom the owner has basically promised a huge contract) and Dwight Howard (who sounds unhappy). On the other side, they have a youth movement featuring Dennis Schroder and Taurean Prince. Tim Hardaway Jr., who bridges the age groups, is about to enter a potentially tricky restricted free agency.

Keeping the core together offers the upside of a playoff-series victory or two annually, modest outcomes for the cost. But a fragile Atlanta fan base might not tolerate a rebuild.

Schlenk works for owner Tony Ressler, and Ressler sounds committed to maintaining the status quo by keeping Millsap. It’s now Schlenk’s job to execute that vision or convince his boss to approve a different direction.

Potential none-and-done first-rounder Hamidou Diallo returning to Kentucky

AP Photo/Gregory Payan
Leave a comment

The more I’ve looked into the 2017 NBA draft, the less impressed I’ve become. There are a few bright spots in the first round relative to an average draft – No. 2, 5ish-10ish, 17ish-22ish – but I’m not convinced this is the generationally strong draft it has been touted as.

In the absence of prospects who offer secure promise, why not turn to upside? Hamidou Diallo offered plenty and was increasingly viewed as a first-rounder.

Yet, he’ll return to Kentucky for his freshman season.

Diallo:

A highly ranked recruit, Diallo began last school year at a prep school then enrolled at Kentucky for the spring semester. He practiced with the Wildcats, but never played.

Then, he went to the combine and posted excellent measurables: 6-foot-5, 6-foot-11 wingspan, 44.5-inch vertical and strong agility and sprint scores. Just 18, Diallo might have been the second-youngest player drafted this year (behind only Ike Anigbogu).

It wouldn’t have taken long – likely somewhere in the middle of the first round – for a team to bite on all that potential.

Instead, Diallo returns to Kentucky and must now show his ability to actually produce in basketball games. If he does, there’s no limit on how high he goes in the 2018 NBA draft. If he doesn’t, he’ll regret missing the opportunity to get drafted before his game got picked apart.

Report: Bulls expect Dwyane Wade to opt in

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
1 Comment

Dwyane Wade said he wants to see the Bulls’ plan for Jimmy Butler and the rest of the roster before deciding on a $23.8 million player option for next season.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

I can tell you is most everyone associated with the Bulls believes Wade will pick up the option and remain in Chicago for a second season. More surprising things have happened in league history, though. So stay tuned.

This could be a tell that Wade will opt in. The Bulls could obviously be positioned to base their prediction on inside information into Wade’s thinking.

This could a tell the Bulls won’t trade Butler. If they know they’ll keep Butler, they can extrapolate what that’d mean for Wade.

Or the Bulls, like so many of us, just assume a 35-year-old Wade won’t turn down so much guaranteed money at this stage of his career.