Mavericks sound like team ready to move on from Odom

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Just like after the Mavericks last game, coach Rick Carlisle was not going to talk about Lamar Odom on Monday. All he said is they wouldn’t have trouble filling his playing time, which was all of 4 minutes last game and 34 over the last four.

So reporters turned to ask veteran Jason Terry if Odom was a distraction. (Via ESPNDallas.com.)

“Key word: was. He’s not here anymore,” Terry said … “We won’t know how much we miss him until the season’s over, I guess.”

In statement after statement Monday afternoon the Mavericks sounded like a team just ready to move on from the Odom issue and get on with the playoffs. Earlier on Monday it was announced the Mavericks and Odom had come to an agreement to go their separate ways. (Odom is not being released by the team and cannot be picked up by another team for the playoffs, it would be after the deadline to add players to the playoff roster anyway.)

Mark Cuban, who had publicly backed Odom before, did not comment yet. Team GM Donnie Nelson did and sounded sympathetic.

“I know it’s been a difficult and frustrating year for our fans, for Lamar and for ourselves,” Nelson said in a news conference…. “We’ll adjust. We’ve got other guys,” Nelson said. “I really feel that we have other guys that are ready to step up. So that’s what we’ll do.”

Odom did have personal things going on — he had a 24-year-old cousin murdered over the summer, then while in New York a town car where Odom was a passenger ran over and killed a 15-year-old boy. Even before the lockout ended Odom had broached to friends the idea of taking the season off. Then, when the Lakers planned to trade him as part of the Chris Paul deal that was eventually killed by David Stern, he was even more hurt.

He requested a trade, the Lakers moved him to Dallas for basically a trade exception and a pick, but he never found a groove with the veteran team. He complained he never had a defined role, but his versatility never showed itself. He averaged 6.6 points per game on 35 percent shooting, 4.2 rebounds a game, and most nights just seemed to go through the motions.

Dallas was counting on his depth to help make up for guys let go in free agency. That didn’t happen, and the daily questions of “what is wrong with Odom” were wearing on the coach and players. So the organization cut bait and moved on.

That may be best for Odom, to get his head right and come back as a free agent somewhere next year.

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.

Kings hire former WNBA Seattle coach Jenny Boucek as assistant

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The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.

The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.

Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.

A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.

 

 

Video of Kawhi Leonard struggling to board team plane concerning

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The San Antonio Spurs have been very tight lipped about how serious Kawhi Leonard‘s ongoing quadriceps issue is. He hasn’t played in the preseason or now the start of the regular season, with no timetable for his return. Part of that is the nature of the Spurs organization, but it leads to the feeling there is something more there.

Now surfaces this video of Leonard gingerly, slowly making his way up some stairs to the team plane, and it’s concerning.

To be fair, there is a real lack of context here, but according to the San Antonio Express-News, he had just come out of a rehab session. That means he might have been especially sore (and could have been iced up for the flight).

Still, this video makes one think it could be a while longer before we see Leonard back on the floor for San Antonio. (By the way over the past three seasons, including this one, the Spurs are 15-4 when Leonard sits. They will be fine short term.)

Nike “very concerned” after LeBron James’ jersey rips on opening night

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In the team’s first preseason game, the jersey of the Lakers’ Tyler Ennis was torn in the back with a tug from an opponent. Everyone made tearaway jersey jokes and moved on, thinking it was a one-off situation.

Then LeBron James‘ jersey ripped down the back on opening night, on national television.

Now Nike is looking into the issue, reports Darren Rovell of ESPN.

Nearly three days after one of its jerseys tore in the first regular-season game of its new deal with the NBA, Nike released a statement Friday expressing worry about the issue, without offering insight as to what happened or what will be done.

“The quality and performance of all our products are of utmost importance,” the company said in a statement. “We are obviously very concerned to see any game day jersey tear and are working with the NBA and teams to avoid this happening in the future.”

This is the first year Nike has the NBA apparel contract, having just taken it over from Adidas. They made the jerseys similar to what had been done for the 2016 Rio Olympics, where there were no issues, but these jerseys are lighter than the former Adidas ones. It’s unclear what, if any, changes could be coming.

Like many of the jerseys from opening night, LeBron’s ripped one is being auctioned by the NBA to raise money for hurricane relief.