The battle for Los Angeles games next year are going to be amazing. And we could see those battles deep in the playoffs.
The Clippers addressed a key need Thursday by reaching a three-year agreement with Jamal Crawford, reports the Los Angeles Times. At the same time they reached a deal to bring back injured guard Chauncey Billups.
Crawford, an unrestricted free agent who opted out of his $5.2 million contract with the Portland Trail Blazers, has been offered a spot by the Clippers. He is expected to sign a three-year, $15.7 million contract, according to the executives.
Billups, who played in just 20 games last season with the Clippers before suffering a season-ending left Achilles tendon surgery, will sign a one-year deal that could be worth up to $4.3 million if he reaches bonuses, the executives said.
The Clippers went into this season wanting to address a couple of needs, one being a two guard who could provide scoring. Crawford is certainly that. The former Sixth Man of the Year can light it up — even though he stepped back last year and shot 38.4 percent overall and 30 percent from three. He’ll need to do better next season.
(The other need was depth along the front line, which trading for Lamar Odom got them.)
But Crawford can create his own shot and that is something the Clippers sorely needed in the playoffs. When the Spurs walled off Chris Paul the rest of the Clippers struggled to get good looks. Crawford is a dynamic second option.
CP3 had said he wanted the Clippers to bring back Billups and that is reason enough to sign him — Paul becomes a free agent next summer and the Clippers need to do anything to keep him. When healthy Billups also brought calmness to the Clippers young offense that they missed in the postseason.
The NBA has unveiled its top 100 plays of the 2015-16 season, and there’s no mystery as to what were the top two.
No. 2: Stephen Curry‘s halfcourt buzzer-beater in overtime against the Thunder in Oklahoma City during the season.
No. 1: “The Block” by LeBron James on Andre Iguodala in the final stretch of Game 7 of the Finals.
There’s plenty more, too, and if you have 25 minutes to kill, you can and should watch all of them above.
Tyler Zeller is one of the few restricted free agents left on the market who could make an actual impact next season, and on Saturday morning, he’s come off the board. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports that the fourth-year big man has agreed to a deal to stay with the Celtics. It’s for two years and $16 million, with the second season being a team option.
Zeller isn’t a starter, but he’s a nice rotation big man, especially at that price. He can play minutes off the bench for Boston, and his contract is also very movable with the second season being unguaranteed. He played just 11.8 minutes per game last season, but averaged 18.5 points and 9 rebounds per 36 minutes.
The Toronto Raptors were good last season, second best team in the East. That means the guys on Inside the NBA on TNT had to talk about them.
Which means Charles Barkley had to say “Jonas Valanciunas” a lot. Which is high comedy. While a lot of people struggle to say his name the guy is a solid NBA center who, with a little practice, you can say (and spell) his name pretty easily.
This comes from a YouTube user, via Reddit, with a hat tip to Eye on Basketball.
Argentina isn’t considered a medal contender heading into the Rio Olympics. Their golden generation — led by Manu Ginobili — has picked up a lot of speed on the downhill side of their careers at this point.
They didn’t provide much of a challenge for Team USA in an exhibition game Friday night in Las Vegas, one won by the USA 111-74. Kevin Durant impressed playing with his new teammates in dropping 23 points, Paul George had 18, and the Americans had their way in the game.
Which is what we’re going to see a lot of in Rio — the USA’s talent level is just steps above any other team in the tournament.