Roy Hibbert, Tim Duncan

Thursday And-1 links: Maybe Indy will not match Hibbert offer


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.

• I have said I expect the Indiana Pacers to match the max-offer (four years, $58 million) that the Trail Blazers gave Roy Hibbert. Because to me, Indy is pretty average without a true center like Hibbert in the paint and they had to know they would be paying him $12 million or so a year anyway. But Mike Wells, the Pacers beat writer for the Indy Star, doesn’t think they will match it. He’s much closer, maybe I read it wrong. Hibbert will sign the Portland offer July 11 and the Pacers will have three days to make the call.

• The Knicks are still really trying to re-sign J.R. Smith.

• Nicolas Batum’s agent met with the Trail Blazers front office Thursday and the Blazers came out of the meeting and said they will match any qualifying offer he signs and they will not discuss a sign-and-trade. That will keep his value down.

• The Clippers, Pacers, Bulls, Mavs and Wizards are all going after Courtney Lee after the Rockets yanked their qualifying offer. Lee is a free agent.

• Is getting the gang back together for one more run the smart play for the Celtics?

• There are a lot of teams interested in Brandon Roy.

• Rashard Lewis is meeting with the Miami Heat this week. Don’t laugh, at a veteran’s minimum deal he is a stretch four that fits their new small-ball identity.

• Look for the Hawks to buy out Jordan Farmar (he was shipped to them as part of the Joe Johnson deal). That will make him a free agent.

• Dirk Nowitzki said he was ready to move on after Jason Terry agreed to terms with Boston. Wonder how he feels today?

• Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau talks his contract situation, also Derrick Rose’s recovery.

• The Kings have made an offer to Jason Thompson.

• The Lakers re-signed Darius Morris.

• The Bobcats have waived Jamario Moon.

The Sacramento Kings arena situation still sucks.

Pizza and soccer on agenda for Celtics on trip to Italy

Perry Jones III, Malcolm Miller, James Young, Jordan Mickey
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MILAN (AP) — After a couple of days in Milan, Isaiah Thomas‘ Italian experience is still lacking a certain something.

“I’m waiting on some pizza,” said a laughing Thomas, who used to do commercials for a regional pizza franchise when he played for the Sacramento Kings. “The place we went to last night didn’t have no pizza so hopefully tonight we go somewhere I can order some pizza for real.”

This trip isn’t just about culinary experiences, though. The Celtics are in Milan to play an exhibition game against Olimpia Milano on Tuesday before traveling to Spain to play Real Madrid as part of the NBA Global Games.

Ahead of the team’s practice session on Sunday, Thomas was also looking forward to his first soccer match, as the Celtics headed to San Siro later for AC Milan’s home match against Napoli in the Italian league – after an afternoon trip to nearby Lake Como.

“That’s going to be fun,” Thomas told The Associated Press at the Celtics’ first practice in Italy. “I’m excited about that. I’ve never been to a soccer match, to have my first soccer match be in Italy is going to be nice.”

Teammate Marcus Smart said the trip was also an important bonding experience for a young roster with plenty of new pieces. They went for a players-only meal in Milan on Saturday night.

“We had a good time with each other,” Smart said. “No phones, so everyone was talking to one other. It was good overall fun.

“We understand the severity of this trip, it is a business trip but at the same time not many people get this chance to travel like we do so we understand its business but we’re here to have fun at the same time.”

Coach Brad Stevens has overseen plenty of rebuilding since taking over the Celtics in 2013 but still led the team to the playoffs last season after trading point guard Rajon Rondo – the only remaining player from the 2008 championship team. After being swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team is aiming higher this season. For Stevens, it all starts here in Italy.

“These sessions are really important to get something accomplished in practice and to make sure that we’re continuing to progress,” Stevens said. “It’s still very much a part of our training camp, and so you’ve got all of the great things about being a tourist – getting a chance to see new things and experience new things – and at the same time we’re 24 or 25 days away from our season opener.”

And after spending so many hours in the gym during the offseason, Thomas is ready to start playing actual games again – even if its just preseason.

“We’re ready to beat up on somebody else, we’re tired of beating up on each other,” Smith said.

Kings’ Karl admits mistakes in DeMarcus Cousins trade controversey

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In the NBA, elite players have the leverage. It is just simple supply and demand.

DeMarcus Cousins is an elite player — and a favorite of owner Vivek Ranadive. He is not going anywhere.

Which made this summer’s “George Karl wants trade Cousins” a battle the coach couldn’t ultimately win — the owner wasn’t going to sign off on it, and the fans are going to side with Boogie. Remember Karl said he never had a player that was untradable, and that spiraled into reports Karl probed trade options with other teams, much to the frustration of management and Cousins himself.

Karl owned up to some of his mistakes in an interview on Comcast Bay Area, as reported by James Ham at

“To be honest with you, I apologized to DeMarcus for making the trade comment that I’ve never coached a player that’s untradeable,” Karl told Christensen. “That was wrong for me to say, because you all (the media) took it and blew it up into crazy.”

“But it’s my responsibility to be smart enough to not say things like that,” Karl continued. “So I did apologize because I thought that was the only thing, maybe some other things, but really the only thing that got us separated was that comment that then everybody wrote the we’re going to trade [Cousins].”

The relationship between Cousins and Karl — not to mention Rajon Rondo and other veterans — is the biggest key to the Kings’ season. Karl and Cousins say their relationship is solid now, but what happens when that is put under stress at some point during the season?

In talking to people around the team, the Kings players seemed to have formed a tight bond — even if part of the glue of that bond is a distrust of Karl that can work for them. This is a team that has the talent to compete for the bottom couple playoff seeds in the Western Conference, but everybody needs to be pulling on the rope in the same direction. We will see pretty quickly if the Kings can do that.