Tonight we will play the four — three power forwards who keyed their teams’ wins.
Third Star: Glen Davis (24 points, 6 rebounds)
A night after an emotional win in Los Angeles — don’t think for a second those Magic players didn’t enjoy beating and embarrassing Dwight Howard after standing up for him for years only to feel deserted — for Orlando to come back the next night with a win in Golden State is impressive. Big Baby was at the heart of it, scoring 24 and grabbing six rebounds. It was Davis’ second big game in a row and for much of the night the Warriors had no answer for him inside.
Second Star: LaMarcus Aldridge(25 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists)
There are times when you are watching the Blazers when it seems the other four guys on the floor just forget LaMarcus Aldridge is the best player on the team and stop getting him the rock. That happened for a stretch in this game. But during the Blazers dramatic 18-point comeback — fear Luke Babbitt — Aldridge had six points on 3-of-4 shooting, but more importantly six rebounds, three offensive. Then in the OT Aldridge had another bucket and three more boards. He was at the heart of the comeback and had a line that reminds you he is an All-Star.
First Star: Blake Griffin(30 points, 11 rebounds)
Blake Griffin is off to a slow start this season — he has struggled in isolation sets, he is taking fewer shots at the rim and converting them at a lower percentage — but he seemed to break out of it against the Jazz with his biggest night of the season. What he seemed to be was aggressive again — he was getting transition buckets and dunks, he was making things happen with his crazy athleticism. Griffin gets criticism for not having a more rounded game — no steady outside shot, no go to move if you take the spin in the post away — but when he can do is run and jump and dunk and when he does those things he impacts the game. Like he did against Utah. It’s be nice to develop the Tim Duncan in his game, but that can’t come at the expense of him being Blake Griffin. Dunks aren’t just highlights, they are a very efficient two points.
Report: Magic’s search firm inquiring about Larry Bird
This strikes me as more as Orlando’s search firm trying to prove its usefulness than a viable option.
Whether they’re trying to generate excitement, getting used for leverage or actually serious, the Magic keep getting linked to big-name replacements for the fired Rob Hennigan – Doc Rivers, David Griffin and now Bird. If the Magic are willing to pay major money for name recognition, they could get plenty of people to at least listen. But I’m unconvinced about that spending.
It’d be a little weird for Bird to inherit Frank Vogel, whom Bird fired as the Pacers’ coach. But Bird did everything he could to show that was more about seeking change than losing faith in Vogel.
Report: Larry Bird stepping down as Pacers president
Bird had already resigned once as Pacers president, in 2012. He returned the following year.
Bird’s patience and pain tolerance for the job due to lingering back issues from his playing days has long seemed to waver. I wouldn’t write him off for good.
Indiana promoted Kevin Pritchard in 2012, when Bird previously stepped down. Pritchard previously worked as the Trail Blazers’ general manager, and he’s a qualified replacement.
The work begins immediately with a decision on George. If he doesn’t make an All-NBA team, the Pacers won’t gain as much financial advantage in his contract offer. That could open the door to a trade and rebuilding around Turner — or making a last-ditch push to convince George he can win in Indiana.
Sources close to the Clippers say that they expect Paul to re-sign with the Clippers. He’ll be eligible for a five-year contract in excess of $200 million. Griffin’s return is less certain, sources say. This summer is his first foray into unrestricted free agency. Given his snakebitten tenure with the team and the possibility of another early exit, the prospect of exploring what’s out there will be alluring. One premise volunteered in good humor suggests that Paul is more likely to take a slew of meetings in a public process but ultimately re-sign with the Clippers, while Griffin is more likely to mull the decision privately under the guise of night, but announce he’ll be playing elsewhere in 2017-18.
Clippers president/coach Doc Rivers has made clear his desire to re-sign Paul and Griffin, and the playoffs won’t change that. This is the right call. It’s so difficult to assemble a team this good, the Clippers shouldn’t throw it away for the sake of change. Just because the Clippers haven’t gotten the breaks in previous seasons doesn’t mean they won’t get the breaks in future seasons.
An endorsement deal with Nike, Under Armour or Adidas is not in the cards for Lonzo Ball.
Ball’s father LaVar confirmed that the three shoe and apparel companies informed him that they were not interested in doing a deal with his son. Sources with the three companies told ESPN.com that they indeed were moving on.
In his meetings with the three, LaVar insisted that the company license his upstart Big Baller Brand from him. He also showed the companies a shoe prototype that he hoped would be Lonzo’s first shoe.
“We’ve said from the beginning, we aren’t looking for an endorsement deal,” LaVar told ESPN. “We’re looking for co-branding, a true partner. But they’re not ready for that because they’re not used to that model. But hey, the taxi industry wasn’t ready for Uber, either.”
“Just imagine how rich Tiger (Woods), Kobe (Bryant), Serena (Williams), (Michael) Jordan and LeBron (James) would have been if they dared to do their own thing,” LaVar said. “No one owned their own brand before they turned pro. We do and I have three sons so it’s that much more valuable.”
Is there more upside in this approach? Yeah, I guess.
But the traditional shoe companies bring valuable infrastructure and experience. There’s value in forfeiting upside for those resources. Lonzo Ball, who has yet to play in the NBA, is also missing out on guaranteed life-changing money.
On the risk-reward curve, this seems like a mistake.