Ultimately, Dwight Howard wanted to stay in Orlando and — after a couple days of ridiculous flip-flopping — he decided to “opt in.” (Technically he waived his right to opt-out of his contract, but we’ll go with opt-in.) Dwight Howard has a loyalty to Orlando that overcame everything else.
Deron Williams has no such loyalty to New Jersey.
The day after Howard’s decision, Williams was asked if he would opt-in with the Nets. At least he didn’t laugh outright. But this is pretty close. Here are the tweets from Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.
Deron Williams tells the Daily News: “I will not op-in. Its not monkey see, monkey do.”
So to clarify, Deron says he will definitely become a free agent after the season and weigh his options
Somewhere, Mark Cuban involuntarily smiled.
Williams has kept quiet this season and not talked about wanting to be traded or who the Nets needed to get to keep him. As best he could he stayed out of the spotlight.
Sorry Nets fans, he’s as good as gone. He’s going to opt out for sure and is a good bet to sign in his home town of Dallas next season. Which makes the Nets trade-deadline move to get Gerald Wallace — a trade meant to bolster the team in the short term — makes no sense. They gave up their first-round pick. This is a deep draft, the Nets could have gotten a good player. Instead they got Wallace, a player who also can opt-out after the season.
The new Barclay Center in Brooklyn better be stunning, because it will need to distract Nets fans from the team next season, they are going to be awful.
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.