Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes gets snarky with Warriors fans


Most athletes and coaches make nothing but mundane comments after games. They just watched the same game as everyone else, and although the athletes and coaches often have more nuanced observations, they rarely offer to share those insights. So, the insiders often end up providing basic, fact-based quotes that could come from anyone.

For an example, just look at a few Warriors after their 109-103 win over the Lakers last night.

Golden State coach Mark Jackson:

We’ve played 72 games and the survey says that we are the better basketball team. That can’t be debated – through 72 games.

Makes sense. The Warriors are 41-31, and the Lakers are 36-35.

Klay Thompson:

“When you hold a team under 40 percent shooting it’s a good night. They’re a good team and we just played our defense.”

Exactly. The Lakers shot 39.6 percent, so Thompson speaks the truth.

Jarrett Jack:

We stopped being an aggressive, attacking team. We started playing half-court basketball and it’s kind of a tale of two halves.

Golden State scored 63 points in the first half and 46 in the second half, supporting Jack’s straight-forward claim.

Harrison Barnes:

Thanks to all the Warrior fans that came out to support is tonight. Big time road win!

Again, right on. Golden State won for the 24th time at Oracle Arena in Oakland, home of the – hey, wait a minute!

Very tricky move, Mr. Barnes.

According to the NBA, the Warriors played a home game Tuesday. According to the mood in the California arena, well, it’s up for a little more debate.

Barnes is following the lead of Pacers guard George Hill, who also voiced displeasure with hometown fans supporting the Lakers. Hill ended up clarifying and softening his comments, and I suspect Barnes will eventually do the same.

There’s no perfect way for Barnes – who comes across a little hypocritically, unless he’s willing to accept less money on his next contract to show his loyalty to the Warriors – to voice his displeasure with Warriors fans selling their tickets to Lakers fans. The Lakers are more popular than the Warriors due to years of winning and marketing, and it’s unfair to ask Warriors fans to sacrifice money to instantaneously change that. If a Lakers fan offered significant money for a ticket and I were a Warriors fan, I’d sell my ticket. Because the Lakers have such a large fan base, it’s more likely there will be Lakers fans willing to pay whatever amount the hometown fans consider significant.

Barnes just has to realize his tweet reflects poorly on the fans who did support him. The Warriors fans in attendance are the ones who come out looking badly, as they’re blamed for being inadequate, but it’s not their fault other Warriors fans didn’t show up or sold their tickets to Lakers fans.

Report: Rockets will try to sign Alessandro Gentile next summer

Alessandro Gentile, Paulius Jankunas
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The Rockets tried signing Sergio Llull this summer, but he opted for a long-term extension with Real Madrid.

So, they’ll just turn to another player in their large chest of stashed draft picks – Alessandro Gentile.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Gentile, who was selected No. 53 in the 2014, is a 22-year-old wing for Armani Milano. He’s a good scorer, but he primarily works from mid-range – an area the Rockets eschew. He can get to the rim in Europe, but his subpar athleticism might hinder him in the NBA.

If Gentile comes stateside, he’ll face a steep learning curve. But he’s young enough and talented enough that he could develop into a rotation player.

Report: Hawks co-owner made more money by exposing Danny Ferry’s Luol Deng comments

Michael Gearon, Bruce Levenson
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A terribly kept secret: Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. wanted to get rid of general manager Danny Ferry.

Many believe that’s why Gearon made such a big deal about Ferry’s pejorative “African” comment about Luol Deng – that Gearon was more concerned about ousting Ferry than showing real concern over racism.

Gearon had another, no less sinister, reason to raise concern over Ferry’s remarks.

Kevin Arnovitz and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

While Gearon felt that Ferry, as he wrote in the June 2014 email to Levenson, “put the entire franchise in jeopardy,” Gearon also figured to benefit financially from a Sterling-esque fallout.

In the spring of 2014, Gearon was in the process of selling more of his interest in the team to Levenson and the partners he had sold to in September. The agreed-upon price for roughly a third of Gearon’s remaining shares valued the Hawks at approximately $450 million, according to reports from sources.

“We accept your offer to buy the remaining 31 million,” Gearon wrote in an email to Levenson on April 17, 2014. “Let me know next steps so we can keep this simple as you suggested without a bunch of lawyers and bankers.”

Approximately five weeks later — just a little more than a week before the fateful conference call — Steve Ballmer agreed to pay $2 billion for the Clippers, a record-smashing price that completely changed the assessed value of NBA franchises. Gearon firmly maintains he was acting out of the sincerity of his convictions to safeguard the franchise from the Sterling stench, but such a spectacle also allowed him to wiggle out of selling his shares at far below market value.

Gearon and his legal team later challenged the notion that the sell-down was bound by any sort of contractual obligation and that any papers were signed. Once the organization became involved in the investigation, the sale of the shares was postponed.

Arnovitz and Windhorst did an incredible amount of reporting here. I suggest you read the full piece, which includes much more background on the Gearon-Ferry rift.

Considering the Hawks sold for $850 million, Gearon definitely made more money than if he’d sold his shares at a $450 million valuation.

Did that motivate him? Probably, though it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Most likely, his actions were derived from at least three desires – making more money, ousting Ferry and combating racism. Parsing how much each contributed is much more difficult.

What Ferry said was racist, whether or not he was looking at more racism on the sheet of paper in front of him. His comments deserved punishment.

But if Gearon didn’t have incentive to use them for his own benefit, would we even know about them? How many other teams, with more functional front offices, would have kept similar remarks under wraps or just ignored them?