Dallas has lost six in a row and nine of their last 10 now. It hasn’t been pretty, especially the two losses to the Spurs where Dallas was barely even a threat.
Coach Rick Carlisle is frustrated — frustrated with the effort level of his team. Frustrated with the professionalism. And he threatened his players with suspension after Sunday’s loss, reports the Dallas Morning News.
“The last week, I’ve had to literally scream in the face of two guys in practices and shootarounds to get the point across. And I will continue to do that. If I have to start suspending guys for not doing things they’re supposed to be doing on the court, I’ll do it. And Mark (Cuban) and I will get into it about that. But somehow, things have got to change and it can’t just be about that it’s a tough schedule. It just can’t.”
If Carlisle wants to get into it with Cuban, they should first acknowledge that Cuban ordered a roster built that allows him to go after free agents next summer but in getting guys willing to take one-year deals — Chris Kaman, Elton Brand, Dahntay Jones — or with that much left on their contract (Darren Collison) that there was a drop in talent level.
The other part of this fall in Big D is O.J. Mayo could not sustain his hot start when he carried this team. For his first 20 games Mayo was scoring 20 points a game and shooting better than 45 percent from three and 47 percent overall. But in his last 10 games Mayo is scoring 13.2 points a game on 38.5 percent shooting and 24.4 percent from three.
Dirk Nowitzki isn’t in shape yet to carry the team coming off knee surgery.
But Carlisle is not wrong here, either — the effort from Dallas has been lacking, particularly on defense. They are playing some good teams lately but just rolling over for them, especially when they get behind.
Carlisle isn’t going to be suspending guys, but he can just take away minutes from guys who are not producing. The problem is he doesn’t have a lot of good players to give those minutes to.
Four-fifth of the Chicago Bulls starting lineup this season is locked in: Rajon Rondo at the point, Dwyane Wade at the two, Jimmy Butler at the three, and Robin Lopez at center.
But who starts at the four? Taj Gibson? Nikola Mirotic? Bobby Portis?
Fred Hoiberg isn’t letting anyone know quite yet, via our friend Sean Highkin of The Athletic.
The conventional wisdom has been that Mirotic would get the start because with Rondo/Wade/Butler teams could just pack the paint, clog driving lanes, and force them to shoot jumpers. Mirotic shot 39 percent from three last season and could be a stretch four that opens driving lanes for the three guys who like to slash to the rim. The downside there is defense, which is why Gibson can’t be counted out.
Expect Hoiberg to try a lot of combos trying to figure out what works. That’s what preseason games are for.
It’s cool the 76ers had a baby-sized basketball for Jahlil Okafor to hold.
Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News:
Wait. That’s a regulation NBA ball?
Next summer, Stephen Curry will be a free agent.
With 100 percent certainty, he will be a max player.
With 99.9 percent certainty, he is not leaving the Golden State Warriors, if you talk to other teams around the league.
Still, when he heads to his hometown of Charlotte and a few other spots, he’s going to be asked about it. The topic came up on Tuesday, the first day of Warriors training camp practices, and Curry tried to shoot the idea of him leaving down. Here is the exchange, via Anthony Slater of the San Jose Mercury News.
Are you optimistic about your chances of coming back next offseason?
“Yes,” Curry said.
Kevin faced this a ton last year in almost every city he went. Are you gonna talk to him at all about that, how he handled it?
“Maybe,” Curry said. “But I’m not gonna let it distract me at all. I want to be back here. I like playing here. And that’s it. The rest of it is about what we’re gonna do this year.”
There are a lot of teams hoarding cap space and planning to make a run at free agents next summer, but no teams are setting their sights on Curry as happened with Durant. Where there was a sense around the league Durant wanted to look at his options and could be swayed, that is not the sense with Curry. He’s not going anywhere.
Maybe Curry plays the final couple years of his career back in his hometown of Charlotte, where his father played, but that’s a long ways off. At midnight July 1 next summer the Warriors will offer Curry a five-year max contract, he will sign it, and nothing will change in the Bay Area.
Chris Bosh‘s career with the Miami Heat is over due to recurring blood clots, according to team president Pat Riley. The Heat are ready to move on, although they don’t have many good options.
Chris Bosh wants to prove he can still play, something he reiterated Tuesday in his latest video for The Uninterrupted. “I feel right now that I can still play at that level,” Bosh said in the video.
When asked where he stood on this impasse, former Heat star and Bosh teammate LeBron James had Bosh’s back. Here is his quote, via Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.
“I stand behind my brother Chris,” he said. “The most important thing is his health. Whatever decision he wants to do, I’m all for it. I support him in every way, shape and facet. It’s a difficult situation for him. I was pretty surprised to hear that the team was just done with him, for them to come out and say that. But it’s not like I’ve been there to know exactly what’s gone on. I’ve only seen it from the exterior. I wish the best for him, he has my support.”
Not sure what else LeBron would say, other than to have his friend’s back.
The resolution to Bosh’s situation is a long way off. The Heat will not play him, he will not retire, and no team is going to give up good players in a trade for a $75.8 million contract where the player may never set foot on the court again. There is going to be some kind of negotiated deal, likely with the league and players’ union pitching in. Nobody is sure yet what that deal will look like, however.