Tuesday And-1 links: If you think LeBron’s shoes cost too much don’t pay it

15 Comments

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 Young The Giant loves Cough Syrup.

• Lots of buzz today about Nike releasing LeBron X Nike+ this fall — the shoes he broke out as new during the USA’s gold medal game against Spain. The reason for the buzz is the reported price tag of $315. Two key points here. First, that is for the Nike+ version (which tracks how far you run, how high you jump, etc, with a chip in the shoe that ties to your iPhone), but if you just want the shoe it reportedly going to be $180. Which is not out of line with the basketball shoe market. (I love Nike+ for runners, for hoop it’s your call.)

Second — if you don’t like the price, don’t buy it. Pricing of shoes, like corn and televisions, is dynamic based on supply and demand. Don’t buy the shoes, spend your money on a less expensive pair from another brand. The market will correct if you are in the majority. Nike (and adidas and everyone else) will charge what they can get. If this offends you, well, capitalism isn’t for you. Sorry.

• While we’re on the sneaker beat, Blake Griffin and Russell Westbrook are among the big shoe deal free agents after this season.

• If this matters to you, see who NBA players, front office and owners donated to this election season. (If you guessed the owners lean Republican, you get a gold star.)

• Does anybody in the United States like FIBA’s 3-on-3 Olympic basketball idea?

Great writing in the New York Times about the rise and fall — mostly fall — of Jonathan Hargett.

Here’s a rumor the Thunder would love to steal Jimmer Fredette. Take with a lot of salt. A lot.

• Boston hired Jay Larranaga to join Doc Rivers’ team of assistant coaches.

• Dallas has signed Jim O’Brien to be Rick Carlisle’s lead assistant coach.

• The Timberwolves would consider bringing back Anthony Tolliver.

• John Wall schools a high schooler who challenges him. But as Kelly Dwyer points out at Ball Don’t Lie, the best part is at the very end when one of the high schoolers says his buddy “read the scouting report” and let Wall have jumpers. True. Wall will get more of that starting in November.

• Remember how there was talk of MSG’s stock price after Jeremy Lin left for the Rockets. MSG closed at a record high yesterday. Lin doesn’t impact that much.

• Houston Rockets executive vice president of basketball operations Sam Hinkie is in the mix for the 76ers GM search, which continues at a casual pace.

• Jerryd Bayless officially signed two-year deal worth approximately $6 million with the Grizzlies.

• Former Sixer Craig Brackins has signed with Angelico Biella in Italy.

• Did you ever see the video of the Tunisia coach slapping a player during the Olympics?

Matt Barnes announces retirement from NBA after 15 seasons

Associated Press
Leave a comment

When too many fans think of Matt Barnes, they think of the guy who tried to fight Derek Fisher, the nightclub incident in New York, the guy who was a pest on the court and racked up more than his share of technicals and fines in a 15-year NBA career.

Ask Barnes former teammates about him, and they loved him — off the court and on. He was the quintessential guy you wanted on your team and hated to play against.

Barnes announced Monday on Instagram that his 15-year NBA run was over.

Barnes won an NBA title with the Warriors last season, and he played well for the team after signing in Golden State — Kevin Durant went down with a knee injury and Barnes stepped up his role and play. He earned that ring. However, this season there seemed to be no fit for him in the league.

Barnes was drafted in the second round out of UCLA by the Memphis Grizzlies and went on to play for nine teams during his career. He was the guy teams turned to for a spark off the bench — both because he could shoot the rock and because he played a fiery, emotional game. Barnes finished his career averaging 8.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.

I’m going to miss him. While he had a rough exterior and was plenty chippy on the court, off the court he was one of the more thoughtful basketball interviews out there — ask him about the game and he gave smart, calm, intelligent answers, not just clichés. He was active with charities and gave of his time and money, it wasn’t just a tax write off. I wish him the best and know he’ll enjoy life after basketball.

Shaq on free throws: ‘I told Rick Barry I’d rather shoot 0% than shoot underhand’

Leave a comment

Rick Barry famously made 90% of his free throws while shooting underhand.

Shaquille O’Neal infamously shot just 53% on his free throws, inspiring hack-a-Shaq.

Why didn’t Shaq use Barry’s technique?

Shaq, via Emmanuel Ocbazghi, Noah Friedman and Graham Flanagan of Business Insider:

Shaquille O’Neal: Because it’s boring.

Business Insider: But it’s been proven to be somewhat effective.

O’Neal: No, it’s not. It’s not proven. Just ’cause a couple guys did it doesn’t mean anybody can do it.

I told Rick Barry I’d rather shoot 0% than shoot underhand. I’m too cool for that.

O’Neal is somewhat trying to protect his larger-than-life, jokester image. But he’s also speaking to truth.

Barry would have been a good free-throw shooter overhand, too. Shooting underhand wasn’t necessarily going to fix Shaq’s problems at the line. Just because it worked for Barry doesn’t make it a “proven” technique.

Yet, every poor free-throw shooter – from Shaq to Andre Drummond to Andre Roberson – has been pestered about shooting underhand. It might be the right form for some players, but it’s no silver bullet.

Report: George Hill unhappy after Scott Perry promised him, Zach Randolph, Vince Carter that Kings would compete for playoffs

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
5 Comments

After a recent Kings loss, George Hill tweeted:

Reading too much into vague tweets is often folly, but Hill hasn’t looked happy in Sacramento. Despite signing him, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter last summer, the Kings are 8-18.

Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune:

These are vets brought in to help a young team, and according to sources, were brought in with the promise of a team aiming to be playoff competitive.

But that promise was made to them by Scott Perry, who since left Sacramento and now makes personnel decisions for the New York Knicks. So the direction of the franchise has shifted since Perry left. An organization that brought in veterans aiming to win now is aiming to lose.

Not surprisingly, Hill isn’t happy, according to multiple sources

The Kings aren’t bad because they shifted direction after Perry left for the Knicks. They’re bad because they lack talent.

This team was mostly assembled by the time Perry departed, and it looked lousy. To whatever degree Sacramento is emphasizing youth post-Perry – Garrett Temple, Randolph and Hill rank in the top four in minutes – the won-loss record wasn’t changing much.

If Hill, Randolph and Carter didn’t know that, they have nobody to blame but themselves. Smart veterans like them should have understood the bargain they accepted.

Hill ($40 million guaranteed over two years), Randolph (two years, $24 million) and Vince Carter (one year, $8 million) took the money. In exchange, they’re stuck on a bad team. And that’s fine. Many of us prioritize salary in career decisions.

But now they’re dealing with the downside of that arrangement – grinding through a long, losing season. It’s disingenuous to sulk and blame Perry (though, if Perry pledged a team realistically competing for the playoffs, he overpromised).

Unfortunately for everyone involved, Sacramento isn’t making rapid improvement overnight. So, something might have to give with Hill’s mood.

Tristan Thompson: Cavaliers’ stated 3-4-week timeline for my injury was never realistic

Jason Miller/Getty Images
Leave a comment

When Tristan Thompson suffered a calf injury early last month, the Cavaliers announced he’d miss 3-4 weeks.

More than five weeks later, Thompson still hasn’t played.

Tom Withers of the Associated Press:

Thompson:

Who said that was the real timetable? They told you guys three to four weeks. That was never the case. The first week, I was on crutches the whole time. So, there was no chance. So, I don’t know. I don’t know who told you three to four weeks. For that, I’m sorry.

Thompson sounds close to returning, so this issue should pass. But teams are usually conservative in these estimates so as not to expose their players to criticism for not working hard enough in rehab. Thompson was left hung out to dry here.

Maybe Thompson, who’s famously low-maintenance, doesn’t mind. But if a 3-4-week timeline was never realistic, I wouldn’t blame him for resenting the Cavs.

Poor communication on injuries might not be limited to only the 76ers.