The Golden State Warriors have next to zero chance of landing Dwight Howard. They knew it when they asked to meet, Howard knew it. Convincing the Lakers to do a sign-and-trade that makes the Warriors a contender for years to come is next to impossible. But Howard was interested in what Golden State was building and the Warriors wanted the meeting.
Golden State also had a meeting in Los Angeles with Andre Iguodala. It was kind of the same situation — you can see the fit on the court but this would have to be a big sign-and-trade that Denver likely wants no part of. But both sides took the meeting.
What does Golden State get out of all this?
It’s all part of changing the culture.
Golden State was as poorly run a franchise you could find for a couple of decades — they made the playoffs once in the 18 seasons before this last one.
New owners Peter Guber and Joe Lacob set about changing the culture of the franchise. They brought in the highly-respected Jerry West to the front office. They went way out of the box with Mark Jackson as the coach. They have talked about a new arena on the San Francisco waterfront. They wisely want to do everything different than their predecessor.
And that includes spend money — and let fans know they are willing to spend it. That they are willing to go after the best players available.
So even if you have no real shot at Howard or Iguodala, you go in the room and pitch to them how good things are and how they fit in. The fans appreciate it. Future free agents (and their agents) take notice. And you put yourself on a different track.
We’ll see how all this plays out — short-term success could swing on a turn of Stephen Curry’s ankle.
But what they are showing from ownership on down is the kind of long-term change Warriors fans should be excited about.
The NBA’s award season seems more wide open than ever.
Ben Simmons was going to enter the season as the heavy favorite to win Rookie of the Year, but with him out injured the door is flung open to a lot of players. Coach of the Year is always a game of “which coach exceeds expectations.” Even MVP seems more open with Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant — the award winners the past three seasons — teamed up in the Bay Area.
In this latest PBT Extra I throw out my predictions for the awards, but let’s get on with the games next week and see who earns them.
During the ProBasketballTalk podcast with Sixers coach Brett Brown, you could hear the frustration in his voice. He has all these talented young front line players — Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Jahlil Okafor — but he can’t begin to figure out how they all fit together if he can’t get them on the court at the same time.
That problem just got worse.
The Sixers announced that Nerlens Noel will miss time following surgery to deal with soreness in his left knee. Here is the word from the press release itself:
During the normal course of evaluation and treatment for his left adductor strain, which was identified on October 6, Noel reported localized soreness in his left knee. After consulting with multiple specialists, the source of the soreness was identified as inflamed plica. Noel has elected to address the injury via a minor surgical procedure in the coming days.
The team gives no timeline for Noel’s return. Soreness from the plica — a band of tissue around the knee that is not important following birth — happens in some players and can be fixed by an arthroscopic surgery that removes the area being irritated. While the surgery is minor, it usually takes around six weeks to bounce back from this.
That likely means a little more run for Jahlil Okafor (just coming back from an injury of his own) and Richaun Holmes. But it’s just another injury setback for a Sixers team plagued by them.
The Sixers also announced that Jerryd Bayless will not have surgery on his wrist, but will remain out and be evaluated in two weeks.
This was flat out incredible.
After a back-and-forth, even series between the Minnesota Lynx and the Los Angeles Sparks, it came down to the final seconds (although maybe it shouldn’t have, the WNBA admitted Friday the referees missed a call with 1:14 left, giving the Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike a bucket on a shot after the shot clock expired).
The biggest stars took over at the end, as you can see in the video above: L.A.’s Candace Parker drives and scores with 19 seconds left putting the Sparks up 75-74; Minnesota responded with a Maya Moore jumper to take the lead back, then it came down to Ogwumike (the WNBA’s 2016 MVP) getting the ball after a block by Sylvia Fowles and following it up with a fadeaway bucket that gave Los Angeles the title.
Congrats to Candace Parker on the win, after how she’s been overlooked on the awards circuit in the WNBA this season, this is some sweet revenge.
Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday is away from the team as his wife, Lauren Holiday, battles a brain tumor.
First, Lauren gave birth to a healthy daughter.
Now, more good news.
John Reid of The Times-Picayune:
Hopefully, the Holidays continue to find good health.