Sometimes in the NBA players just need a change. Boris Diaw needs one about once a year, apparently.
In Charlotte Diaw was fat and too comfortable. Literally fat. He came back from the lockout probably 50 pounds heavier than last season and that combined with a mercurial personality and sharply declining performance was more than Paul Silas would put up with.
The question with Diaw was never talent — big man with court vision skills as a passer and midrange shooter who can run the floor and get you offense in the paint, too. It was the commitment to working on the talent, to bringing it nightly, to avoiding the buffet tables that was always the concern. Especially in Charlotte. Diaw as a Bobcat was a starting center scoring 7.4 points on 41 percent shooting and loafing around this season.
So the Bobcats just waive him in March. Dump him. He signs a deal with San Antonio… and he fits right in, giving them a post player who blends well with what they want to do on the court. Of course he does, because that’s how things go with the Spurs.
“I think adding Boris Diaw has been huge for them,” said Clipper coach Vinny Del Negro. “Everyone talks about Stephen Jackson, and that was a great pickup for them in terms of depth, but Boris gives them another facilitator out there, a guy who shoots it, can guard, a guy who can take some pressure off Tim (Duncan). At the elbow he’s a pass-first guy then they spread you out with their shooters.”
This is not the first time we have seen a Diaw renaissance. He was wasting his time in Atlanta then got to Phoenix and running the floor with Steve Nash put up 13.3 points per game of 52.6 shooting his first year. Then he faded. He got sent to Charlotte midseason and averaged more than 15 points a game for the Bobcats for 59 games. Then he faded. Badly. Got sent to San Antonio. And here we are.
Diaw is a free agent at the end of this season, but don’t expect the Spurs to overpay to keep him. He fits, but GM R.C. Buford is smart and knows the pattern.
But for right now, for this playoff run, the energized and slimmed-down Diaw is another weapon that just works for the Spurs.
One of the New Orleans Pelicans mascots is a Pelican. His name is Pierre, and after a makeover he’s looking pretty normal these days. But the Pelicans also have a second mascot of sorts. His name is King Cake Baby — named after the Mardi Gras pastry — and he’s horrifying.
So when you have an NBA All-Star Game in town, what do you do? Trot out a giant baby mascot to mix in with the league’s elite, of course.
Or at least have him bother Charles Barkley on his birthday:
Ok it’s actually weirder that Kenny Smith wanted to see what was under King Cake Baby’s bib. I can never unsee that.
The DeMarcus Cousins trade to the New Orleans Pelicans just gets weirder and weirder.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Sacramento Kings GM Vlade Divac said that he had a more appetizing deal on the table for the All-Star center. Why didn’t they take it?
Divac would not say:
Perhaps even more confusing is that Divac said that owner Vivek Ranadive did not have input on the trade process. That seems highly unlikely, given how hands-on Ranadive has been in the past regarding keeping Cousins.
“[Ranadive] didn’t have any idea,” Divac said of the trade. “I just told him what I was going to do.”
Let’s cut right to the chase here: this makes no sense.
First, because ownership in the NBA always has some kind of contact on trades, if only as a heads up. When it comes to franchise players, I’m hard-pressed to believe Ranadive wasn’t involved.
Meanwhile, what explanation could possibly be given for not pulling the trigger on a deal Divac admits was better than the one he got from New Orleans? That would appear to imply outside pressure not to take the better of the two trades, which again would point to Ranadive.
The offer from the Pelicans was one that Ranadive has reportedly been a big fan of, particularly because he feels that Buddy Hield is has the potential to be in the range of Stephen Curry.
That’s a lot to unpack.
Then we have to get to the Kings and their press release, which takes an unsubtle potshot at Cousins with regard to his character:
“It was time for a change and I decided this was the best direction for the organization, said Divac. “Winning begins with culture and character matters. With the upcoming draft class set to be one of the strongest in a decade, this trade will allow us to build the depth needed for a talented and developing roster moving forward.”
Ah, ok. Couple that with Kings play-by-play announcer Grant Napear going nuclear on Cousins moments after he was traded and you’ve got an extremely confusing, bad looking coming out of Northern California.
The Kings are a mess.
The Sacramento Kings made one of the more disastrous trades we’ve seen in recent years involving a superstar player. They traded DeMarcus Cousins — franchise center who sometimes torpedoes his own team with his temper — for a sharp-shooting rookie, a first round pick that sits outside the top 3, and a player they already traded away and are apparently unlikely to keep long term. Gross.
This is not going over well with Kings fans, but it is said to be sitting well with Sacramento owner Vivek Ranadive.
Hield was an excellent scorer in college, and has the kind of range that makes him a prime candidate for the type of offenses being developed in the modern NBA. But that’s where the reasonable comparisons end for him and Curry. Come on.
For one, Hield is a true shooting guard. No part of his game is crafted to be the primary ball handler at an NBA level. He’s not the passer Stephen Curry is, nor was he even as good at that as Klay Thompson was in college.
It’s OK that the Kings like Hield in a vacuum. Within context it appears they’ve sold themselves on something patently ridiculous. We’ve never seen a player in Curry’s mold before. Hoping an incomparable player somehow matches up with his talent and skill set — and trading away Cousins because of it — is wild.
Sacramento is going to be bad. Call a Kings fan today, tell them you love them. They need you now more than ever.
NEW ORLEANS — LeBron James can do it.
Stephen Curry? Not so much.
The Golden State Warriors PG tried to pull the Trady McGrady in Sunday’s All-Star Game but found himself coming up just a little short.