We last saw Michael Finley as a guy who barely got off the Boston Celtics bench in the 2010 playoffs, and when he did he shot just 25 percent. After that, the former All-Star walked away from the game to become a part of the Dallas Mavericks front office staff.
But the long time Maverick and Spur looks around the league now and sees old running makes having an impact — Rasheed Wallace yelling at free throw shooters in New York and Jerry Stackhouse going from irrelevance to scoring points and not playing defense like the rest of the Nets.
That gave Finley the comeback bug and he thinks he can help a team as a veteran player off the bench, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.
After (Mavs GM Donnie) Nelson publicly acknowledged for the first time in August that both Finley and former teammate Eduardo Najera were working as special assistants to the GM, sources say the Mavericks invited Finley to training camp as a player on a non-guaranteed contract before a minor calf injury scuttled that plan.
Finley has since shaken that injury and, through longtime agent Henry Thomas, is pitching himself to teams as a capable shooter off the bench and mentor to young players.
Stein adds Finley almost played in the D-League last season as a way to try and get on the NBA radar again but decided against it.
If a team has a couple injuries or just figures out they need a shooter, don’t be shocked to see Finley get a tryout. During the 21 regular season games he played for Boston in 2010 he was a decent player off the bench and shot 46 percent from three. If that Finley can come back there are teams that could use him.
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.
Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.
His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.
Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.
Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.
As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.
Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.
Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.
Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.
Maybe a little too pumped.
That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.
Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.
(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)
The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.
While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”
Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”
We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.
Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.