Monday And-1 links: An oral history of the Dream Team

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like Texans love barbeque.

• If you read just one thing today, make it An oral history of the Dream Team at GQ, put together by my man Lang Whitaker. Fantastic stuff.

• Another great read, a profile of Stephen Jackson over at Grantland.

• One final great read, about the basketball hero system at Deadspin.

Were there UFO’s circling Jimmer Fredette’s wedding? Sure. And they were piloted by Tupac and Elvis.

• Referees working the NBA finals will wear number 57 on their jerseys to recognize NBA referee Greg Willard who was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Great gesture.

• There is a James Harden beard on a building in Oklahoma City. As there should be.

• Watch out for people saying “small market Oklahoma City getting to NBA finals a sign of parity/better economics in the NBA.” No. Not close. The Thunder roster was built under the old system. Good management is good management.

There’s a report that the Celtics are going to go after restricted Spurs free agent Danny Green. The Spurs will match.

• Celtics big man Jermaine O’Neal tweeted he is going to go to Germany and get the Kobe knee treatment.

• I’ve been as quick to throw dirt on the grave of Derek Fisher as anyone, but he really helped the Thunder and foiled Gregg Popovich in the WCF.

What would you be willing to give up in a trade for Rudy Gay? Not as much as Memphis wants, probably.

• We’ll see what happens going forward, but whatever it is the Celtics “big three” will have left their mark on the NBA.

• DeMarcus Cousins says he wants to use his USA Select team experience to come back a better leader. The Kings brass hopes for that, too.

• Lance Stephenson could be the Pacers sixth man next season.

• The Cavaliers may make a run at Michael Redd this summer.

• Owner Ted Leonsis wants to get the Wizards’ practice facility.

Meet the new Hawks, same as the old Hawks.

• There will be 8 million of these stories before the draft and they are almost all meaningless — Hornets GM Dell Demps is open to moving the No. 10 pick for the right price. Of course he is. Every pick in this draft (except No. 1) and nearly every player in the league could be traded if you come with an over-the-top offer. That’s very different than saying it’s likely.

• By the way, the Hornets might take UNC’s Tyler Zeller with that No. 10 pick they are trading.

• Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson has been re-elected. Which is good for whatever is left of the effort to build an arena in Sacramento. Of course, he was never the problem with that deal.

• Another big free agent this summer — long time NBA writer Peter Vecsey is leaving the New York Post soon.

• The NBA is going to telecast it’s first ever Social Media Awards.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

AP Photo/Nick Wass
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.

Pacers president Kevin Pritchard likes tweets critical of Paul George trade

AP Photo/Darron Cummings
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Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard was widely panned – including by me – for trading Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

Oops.

Oladipo and Sabonis are killing it while George has underwhelmed.

Upon George’s return to Indiana, Pritchard took the opportunity to gloat. The Pacers general manager recently liked these tweets (hat tip: Matt Ellentuck of SB Nation):

This is petty – and I love it. Pritchard earned the victory lap.

Report: Rival executives still expect Paul George to leave Thunder for Lakers

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Paul George has been pretty open about his plans.

He told plenty of people – including the Pacers – he planned to leave for the Lakers in the summer of 2018. Even after the Thunder traded for him, George spoke of the lure of playing for his hometown team.

Of course, George also left the door open to re-signing with Oklahoma City. He proclaimed he’d be dumb to leave if the Thunder reached the conference finals or upset the Warriors.

So far, Oklahoma City (12-14) doesn’t even look like a playoff lock, let alone a team capable of knocking off Golden State or reaching the conference finals. So, cue the inevitable speculation.

Sam Amick of USA Today:

Rival execs still expect Paul to head for the Lakers in free agency

Do these executives have inside information into George’s thinking, or are they just speculating based on already-available information? Some executives are incentivized to drum up the Lakers threat, because they want to trade for George themselves now. If these executives insist George will leave for Los Angeles regardless, they might pry him from Oklahoma City for less.

There’s also a theory George is hyping his desire to sign with the Lakers so a team would have to trade less for him. That got him to the Thunder for what looked like a meager return (but hasn’t been). It might get him to a more favorable situation before the trade deadline without hampering his next team long-term. Of course, this theory isn’t mutually exclusive with George actually signing in Los Angeles. It could just get him better options to choose from this summer.

Surely, the Thunder are trying to parse all this noise. If their season doesn’t turn around, they should explore flipping George rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer. But they should also be wary that he’ll bolt for Los Angeles at first opportunity just because rival executives predict it.