The Indiana Pacers have already handed out 13 guaranteed contracts for next season, leaving two spots available for potential role players ready to contribute. One of the players vying for that opportunity will be Ron Howard, a longtime standout for the Pacers’ NBA Development League affiliate Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
Howard will attend vet camp with the Pacers, a league source told Pro Basketball Talk, after averaging 19.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists this past season in the D-League. The man known as Mr. Mad Ant will turn 31 in November, but he’s continued to improve since entering the D-League through an open tryout prior to the 2007 season.
Howard put up a career-best 18.2 PER for the Mad Ants last season while helping lead the team to its first playoff berth in six seasons. He showed that an old dog can learn new tricks in the process, too, as the 6-foot-5 swingman played more point guard than he had at any other point in his career.
The former Valparaiso standout has participated in three previous vet camps — two with the Milwaukee Bucks and one with the Knicks — but has never appeared on an NBA team’s regular season roster. He’s hoping that changes this year, however, considering another only five other players have played more career minutes in the D-League’s history … and that’s a list nobody wants to move up on at this stage of their career.
Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver
That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.
Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.
What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.
Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.
By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.
Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.
How’s that going?
(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.
Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks
Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.
So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.
“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….
“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.
“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”
Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.
Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.