Daryl Morey defends Jeremy Lin in Reddit AMA

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Rockets GM Daryl Morey did a Reddit AMA — which stands for “ask me anything.” For those who don’t know what this means, it is essentially a cool kids Q&A.

As happens pretty much every time there is public discussion of the Rockets, Jeremy Lin takes some hits. He put up a nice 13.4 points and 6.1 assists per game, and he hit the three better than he has in his career, but overall his efficiency numbers were pedestrian. Average. Not thrilling. He wasn’t the guy from the crazy run in New York.

Which frankly was to be expected, Lin was overhyped because of that but is a quality player does some things very well (attack off the pick-and-roll to the right). Last season he was injured some, the league adjusted, and now it’s up to him to improve his game. But Lin’s critics do not let up; they see him as wildly overpaid.

Morey defended Lin on Reddit (via Ben at The Point Forward):

It is amazing to me that all the time I encounter people feeling negative about Jeremy’s season with us. I have chalked this up to:

– he started off slow, mostly due to getting 100% back from injury
– very high, unrealistic expectations after his time in New York
– had a rough ending in the playoffs, again due to injury
– people generally remember starts & ends more than anything else
– people generally compare things to their expectations when forming opinions versus look at the big picture

Last year was Jeremy’s 1st full year in the league. Essentially his rookie year. If last season would have been his rookie year and he never would have played in New York, right now people would be appropriately talking about him incessantly as one of the top young rookie stars in the league. He was the starting point guard on a playoff team in West at age 24!!! Don’t get me started on this. Too late …

This is the season Lin needs to step up his game — he needs a better left hand, he has to finish better than 53.5 percent inside five feet, he needs to hit better than 39.9 percent of his midrange shots, he has to be better on the corner threes he can get, his defense needs to improve. There are a lot of areas to get better, but Lin wasn’t bad and when he plays to his strengths he’s good.

Lin is entering the couple of seasons when we normally see players make jumps in improvement and efficiency. If Lin can take even a step forward the Rockets, with all their other weapons, become all that more dangerous. It’s going to be a year that Houston’s roster learns how to play together and Lin is going to be part of that process. Like him or not.

Ex-financial adviser gets 4 years in federal prison for defrauding Tim Duncan

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) An ex-financial adviser to retired San Antonio Spurs player Tim Duncan has been sentenced to four years in federal prison for defrauding the former NBA star of millions of dollars.

Federal prosecutors say 49-year-old Charles Banks of Atlanta was sentenced during a court hearing Wednesday in San Antonio.

A judge also ordered Banks to pay $7.5 million in restitution.

Banks had pleaded guilty in April to one count of wire fraud.

Investigators say Banks manipulated Duncan -who retired last year after five NBA championships with the Spurs – into guaranteeing payment of a $6 million debt related to a merchandising business.

Prosecutors say Banks failed to disclose commissions and loans he received in the deal.

Banks is set to report to federal prison as early as Aug. 28.

Lakers exercise David Nwaba’s $1.3 million contract option

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Lakers have exercised their $1.3 million contract option on guard David Nwaba for the upcoming season.

The Lakers announced the move Wednesday.

Nwaba earned a job with the Lakers after they called him up from their D-League affiliate on Feb. 28. The rookie averaged 6.0 points and 3.2 rebounds per game while impressing Luke Walton’s coaching staff with his hustle and defensive play.

The Lakers signed him to a new contract with a multi-year component just three weeks after his NBA debut.

Nwaba is a local product, attending University High School in West Los Angeles and Santa Monica College before finishing his college career at Cal Poly.

Stephen Curry to play Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic

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HAYWARD, Calif. (AP) — Two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry is set to test his golf game against the pros.

The Web.com Tour said Wednesday that Curry, coming off his second NBA championship with the Golden State Warriors, will play in the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae on Aug. 3-6.

It’ll be the first PGA Tour-sanctioned event for Curry, who has competed in various celebrity events and pro-ams. The top 25 on Web.com Tour’s regular-season money list will earn PGA Tour cards.

Curry will maintain his amateur status, competing on an unrestricted sponsor exemption in the event that benefits the Warriors Community Foundation.

Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice played in the event in 2011 and 2012. He missed the cut in 2011 with rounds of 83 and 76 and withdrew in 2012 after playing 27 holes in 23 over.

Also Wednesday, Nissan’s upscale Infiniti brand announced that Curry would be its new global brand ambassador. The point guard will be featured in ads for the Q50 sports sedan beginning this summer.

Report: Clippers never committed to offer Chris Paul five-year max contract

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The Clippers projected to be able to offer Chris Paul a five-year, $201 million contract that would have culminated with a $46 million salary in his final season.

Did they offer that much before sending him to the Rockets?

Just as one side is trying to pin all the Clippers’ problems on Doc Rivers and Austin Rivers, the Clippers surely want to spin Paul’s exit to another way – that they shrewdly chose when to part ways rather than that they lost the best player in franchise history due to nepotism.

David Aldridge of NBA.com:

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

If Paul really wanted that five-year max, he could have pushed harder for it by bringing counter offers to the Clippers in July rather than engineering his way to Houston before free agency even began.

Would the Clippers have eventually relented and offered the five-year max? We can never know for certain.

But it’s pretty clear why the Clippers would want this version out there. Accurate or not, it makes them seem far more on top of things and is less likely to taint them with free agents they covet in 2018.