The Los Angeles Lakers looked like they made a pretty good deal when they were able to add Chris Kaman for the taxpayer’s mid-level exception of just $3.1 million for the upcoming season. The Lakers needed a big that could come in, know his role and complement Pau Gasol in the frontcourt — but that’s something Kaman had trouble doing alongside Dirk Nowitzki, according to Mavs’ owner Mark Cuban.
Cuban joined Norm Hitzges on KTCK-AM in Dallas over the weekend and, when asked about how bad Dirk and Kaman were on the defensive side of the ball, Dallas’s owner said it was harder for him to watch Kaman play next Dirk when the Mavs had the basketball.
I don’t think it was so hard to put Dirk and Chris on the floor together defensively. I think where we ran into problems … we couldn’t convince Chris not to put the ball on the floor. When Chris would just pick and pop, he was a top-five shooter in the NBA. Dirk and Chris playing pick and pop, pick and roll was lethal. No team could stop it. Chris had his own way of doing things, and that created some issues. It just didn’t work. Dirk and Brandan Wright played a lot better together. That’s one of the reasons we went hard after Samuel Dalembert. Sam is much more of a rebounder and he’s also a good shot blocker and rim defender.
Cuban is known for saying pretty much whatever comes to his mind, but it’s especially humorous when the business owner takes one of his players to task regarding their basketball ineptitude. His skewering of Kaman for dribbling too much is a bit overblown, though, when looking at the raw statistics provided by Synergy Sports Technology.
47 percent of Kaman’s offensive possessions came when he was either posting up or the roll man in pick-and-roll situations, according to Synergy, compared to just 16 percent coming from spot-up shooting or isolation plays for the 7-foot, 265-pound center out of Central Michigan. That would seem to discredit Cuban’s quote, but we can go a bit further: Kaman took 159 catch-and-shoot jumpers compared to just 29 jumpers off the dribble last season — meaning, if he was putting the ball on the floor, at least he wasn’t throwing up too many ill-advised shots after he did decide he can dribble.
There are plenty of reasons why Kaman wasn’t the greatest fit next to Dirk — and yes, a decent amount of those reasons came on the defensive end — but the fact that he occasionally put the ball on the floor wasn’t the primary problem.
Magic president Jeff Weltman inherited an expensive and bad roster, limiting his options to shape it.
He also inherited coach Frank Vogel, and maybe there’s something Weltman will do about that.
Marc Stein of The New York Times in his newsletter:
Orlando’s ongoing malaise, especially after the promise of an unexpected 8-4 start, make it a widely held assumption in coaching circles that Vogel will be dismissed after the franchise’s sixth successive season out of the playoffs.
Perhaps, these people in coaching circles are doing nothing more than connecting dots. Many coaches with poor records – only the Suns and Nets have been worse during Vogel’s two-year tenure – inherited by a new front office get fired.
Or it could be something more concrete, like Orlando putting out feelers for potential replacements. That possibility gives juice to this report.
Vogel has one more guaranteed year left on his contract, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Will ownership pay to oust Vogel? That seems likely. The alternative is paying Weltman to sit on his hands.
This would be a tough break for Vogel, who coached well with the Pacers. The Magic’s roster is just so lacking. Vogel hasn’t impressed in Orlando, but his opportunity to do so has been narrow.
At least it’d be more understandable if he got fired by a losing team. Last time, he got fired by a winning team.
Jabari Parker is a confounding fit on the Bucks now and in the future.
Could he and Milwaukee part ways this summer, when he’ll be a restricted free agent?
Gery Woelfel on 105.7 The Fan:
At this very moment, I’d say the odds are slim to none it’s going to happen … that he’ll be on this team next year.
I just don’t see a good fit there. I didn’t bring this up, and I’ve been meaning to do so, but I haven’t. He came very, very close to being traded at the deadline. And I think that spoke volumes of they think of Jabari Parker and whether he’s a part of their future plans.
Bucks executive Alex Lasry denied it:
So did general manager Jon Horst. Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Horst made it clear both on the radio and in a separate interview with the Journal Sentinel on Wednesday that the Bucks never had any intention of trading Parker
Teams often discuss trading players then deny it to avoid offending the player. Whether or not they nearly traded Parker, the Bucks would probably respond now similarly.
As far as Parker’s future in Milwaukee, it’s unclear where the well-connected Woelfel’s reporting ends and his analysis begins. There’s a huge difference between trading Parker for value and letting him walk for nothing. Just because the Bucks came close to trading Parker wouldn’t mean they won’t re-sign him.
Shedding Parker would not open cap space without additional moves. It would probably allow Milwaukee to use the full mid-level exception and stay beneath the luxury-tax line. But that’s unlikely to land a player who combines Parker’s age and talent.
Because Parker will be a restricted free agent, the Bucks hold the cards. If he’s upset about trade talks or anything else, he can’t unilaterally leave.
Milwaukee must determine how much to pay Parker and how to utilize him with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Those are hard questions. But the Bucks throwing up their hands and letting Parker walk in free agency isn’t the answer.
Tony Parker reportedly led a players-only meeting in which Spurs implored Kawhi Leonard to return.
Leonard injured his quad last season, has played just nine games this season and remains sidelined. The Spurs have reportedly cleared him, but he got second opinions and is waiting for his medical team to clear him.
Parker injured his quad last May then returned in November – and said at the time Leonard would return in 2-3 weeks.
Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News:
It’s not hard to read between these lines.
Though some Spurs reportedly told Leonard to return only once he feels ready, Parker is clearly applying pressure. It’s not working, but he’s apparently not stopping.
These comments don’t befit a healthy organization, which is just so stunning for the Spurs, whose excellent culture has been exalted for year.
Maybe Parker will get his wish, and a shamed-into-playing Leonard will lead San Antonio deep into the playoffs. But it seems more likely these quotes will just increase tension.
With uncertainty surrounding Kyrie Irving‘s knee injury, the Celtics announced a course of action.
The Boston Celtics announced today that guard Kyrie Irving will tomorrow undergo a minimally invasive procedure to alleviate irritation in his left knee. Further information will be provided following tomorrow’s procedure, and the team will have no further comment until that time.
This is so vague. We barely know more than we did before.
Irving reportedly might need the pins removed from his knee, so that’d be the first guess at the type of procedure. But that’s just a guess.
The Celtics look vulnerable with Irving hobbled, which is big update from yesterday, when the Celtics looked vulnerable with Irving hobbled.