It’s pretty easy to picture the Clippers as a serious threat to the Thunder in the West if they added Ray Allen — the Celtics sharp shooter who takes on the Clippers Monday night.
The Clippers have struggled with production from the two guard spot since Chauncey Billups went down with an Achilles tendon injury. Allen would be the perfect fit — a veteran, championship presence in the locker room and a deadly outside shooter who would love the assists from Chris Paul and could balance out the inside game of Blake Griffin.
But the Clippers are not making the move, reports Ramona Shelburne at ESPNLosAngeles.com. The price is too high — the Clippers think they have a contender for years to come and will not risk that to win this year with someone like Allen who is a free agent at the end of this year.
“We’re willing to do anything we can to move needle this year,” (Clippers GM Neil) Olshey said. “But unless it’s piece for the future that also gives us to win a championship this year, we’re not going to give up our long-term flexibility and assets to do that.”
The price for the top shooting guards being mentioned in trade talks this spring — Boston’s Ray Allen, Portland’s Jamal Crawford and Washington’s Nick Young — has so far been too high for the Clippers. Most teams have asked for some combination of young point guard Eric Bledsoe, a future first-round pick and the expiring contracts of Randy Foye or Brian Cook.
Here’s why that is too high a price — both Crawford and Allen will be free agents this summer (Crawford can opt out and has said he will, Allen’s deal ends). You can go after both of them this summer as free agents. Why give up pieces now — and in Bledsoe a good piece — for a rental you can lose.
Olshey has it right — it is not about winning this season at all costs for the Clippers. This is a team built to contend for five years (if they can re-sign Paul), you think big picture and long term, not just right now.
Watching Monty Williams back on the court at the USA basketball camp/practices in Las Vegas, you could see he was at home. He’s easily the best 44-year-old defender on the planet — he went toe-to-toe with Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, and the rest, was physical, and made them work for buckets. Then he’d instruct. He’s just a natural.
Back in February, Williams’ wife was killed in an auto accident. It devastated the devout family man, in ways it’s hard for us to understand who have never experienced it. He walked away from coaching the rest of the NBA season with the Thunder, and nobody questioned it for a second.
Now, after getting his feet wet with Team USA (where he is an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski), he told Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman he is ready to get back on the sidelines.
“I wouldn’t even think that if I didn’t know, one, my wife would want me to; my kids talk about it all the time. And there have been some things that have happened in my life lately that have allowed me to get that back. I’m so juiced up and ready to get back into it again.”
He is one of the better respected assistant coaches in the league, and a guy who will get another shot at a top spot someday. Soon. Can’t wait to see him back on the sidelines.
The leap from college — even high-level college programs — to the NBA can be hard to describe. Now everybody is bigger, longer, and far more athletic — the guy at the end of the bench barely getting any burn was one of the best players on his college team.
Players get their first taste of that at Summer League. The Sixers’ No. 1 pick Ben Simmons looked pretty good when he got that taste, but you can see the development that needs to go on as well.
He’s spending the time between now and the start of training camp working on his shooting and getting stronger, among other things, he told Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com.
“I think just getting in the gym and making sure I’m getting reps up, shooting-wise, dribbling,” Simmons said earlier this week after an appearance at Sixers Camp in Wayne, Pennsylvania. “The weight room as well, making sure I get my strength back and my weight up.”
All good things. Handles and shooting in particular — he’s about to start seeing much better defenders nightly. It’s going to take time, and we’ll see how far he can go, but Simmons unquestionably brings a lot of skill and potential to the table. That he’s putting in the work is a good sign — that was one of the concerns about him heading into the draft.
New GM Bryan Colangelo is going to benefit from Sam Hinkie’s process. So long as he doesn’t screw it up.
JaVale McGee is getting another shot in the NBA.
He played just 34 games off the bench for Dallas last season. He played 23 games the season before that due to injury.
But the Golden State Warriors are thin up front — Zaza Pachulia will get the bulk of the minutes at the five (when the Warriors use a traditional center), and there is the often-injured Anderson Varejao behind him. The Warriors could use another big. So they are giving McGee a look, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
This is a low-risk move by the Warriors, and it’s worth the gamble. Vintage McGee, for all his Shaqtin’ a Fool flaws, is far more athletic and a better rim protector than any of the guys the Warriors now have at the five. If it doesn’t work out — and the odds are it will not — they cut him, if it does they pay him a minimum deal.
I hope he makes it, just because the league is more fun when McGee is in it.
At some point, Russell Westbrook will sit down with members of the media and discuss Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder, how he felt about the move, and how it impacted him both personally and professionally.
But not right now. He remains silent.
This Vine making its way around, where Westbrook laughs — probably at the question, although read into that whatever you want — when asked about Durant sums up where we are.
In the full Facebook clip, Westbrook walks away, too. It’s his right. He can talk about it on his schedule.