The usual pattern goes like this: Team tries hard to trade overpriced veteran player, then if they find no takes they buy him out after the trade deadline. Then he signs elsewhere for the minimum (or fades into the sunset)
That’s not going to be the pattern with Chris Kaman of the Hornets.
New Orleans has tried to trade him for a month but they couldn’t find any takers. The price they asked for a good big man but an expensive one ($14 million) who can walk as a free agent at the end of the season was too steep.
“Everything is always a possibility,” Demps said. “I mean there’s no reason to say I’m certain, 100 percent sure. There’s always a possibility. I never want to say never. But our intention is to keep Chris.”
Here are the two reasons they are not buying him out.
One, he’s playing pretty well. In his last 10 games he has averaged 15.8 points and 9.7 rebounds a game, plus dishing out 3.1 assists per contest. He’s been solid defensively. He’s probably been the best Hornets player. You keep guys like that (unless you are trying to tank, which the Hornets probably should do but can’t as they are owned by the league right now).
Second, the other owners would not allow Kaman to be bought out. Remember, saying the league owns the Hornets really means the other owners actually own the Hornets. If New Orleans bought out Kaman and made him a free agent he’d sign with the Heat within days, giving them the solid big man in the middle they lack. You think the other owners are going to help the Heat get better? They hate what the Heat did. They will block them? Remember Chris Paul to the Lakers? Same thing here.
So Kaman will stay with the Hornets. And there’s a decent chance that when he does become a free agent he re-signs in New Orleans.
Joel Embiid frustrated, wants more post touches, to play back-to-backs
He wants to be unleashed on the NBA, and he feels he’s being held back.
Part of that is not playing in back-to-backs — Embiid started Friday night against Boston but will sit out by plan Saturday night against the Raptors in Toronto. Embiid knows the plan to help protect a body that has played only 31 games in three seasons before this one and was not cleared for most of training camp, but that doesn’t mean he likes it, as he told Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.
“I just want to feel like an NBA player,” Embiid said. “I feel like I’m not an NBA player because I can’t play back-to-back.”
I get his frustration, but can you blame the Sixers for treating the guy like he’s made of glass at this point? Hopefully, later in the season, he can be cleared to play on both ends.
His second frustration came from the loss to the Cavaliers on Friday — he wants more post touches. In the video above he is clear, “I didn’t get the ball enough in the post.”
He’s right here. Embiid had three post-ups all game, one in each of the game’s first three quarters (stat via Synergy Sports). Embiid is efficient in the post — he has shot 9-of-12 on those plays overall this season and the Sixers score 1.33 points per possession when he does. Especially against a team going small — the Cavaliers start Kevin Love at center — Embiid should be fed down low.
Instead, look at his shot chart from Friday night.
Part of this is on him with all the threes, but they have to utilize him better. It’s part of the Sixers growing pains that will come this season.
Nets’ national anthem singer kneels to finish performance
NEW YORK (AP)— The national anthem singer at the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener took a knee at the end of her performance.
Justine Skye was nearing the completion of the song Friday night when she went to one knee for the finish. There were some cheers, but appeared to be more boos from the crowd at Barclays Center to see the Nets play the Orlando Magic.
NBA players have continued to stand during the playing of the anthems, as required by league rule.
Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling
This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.
After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverleyin his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.
Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).
Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.