The Philadelphia 76ers traded for Royce White in early July, sending just “future considerations” to the Houston Rockets in order to acquire the 2012 first-round pick and Turkish prospect Furkan Aldemir. It turns out that the little-known Aldemir, not the embattled White, was apparently the object of the Sixers’ affection.
It made sense for new 76ers GM Sam Hinkie to pick up White considering he came from Houston and likely knew about the internal issues that kept White from ever actually playing a regular season game for the Rockets. Hinkie spoke pretty openly — at least by his standards — to Tom Moore at the Bucks County Courier Times on Friday, however, and it seems that the Sixers might not be all that high on the enigmatic White.
As for the embattled White, Hinkie answered a question about White’s possible role on the team generically and never mentioned White by name.
An NBA source said the Rockets, who dealt him to the Sixers on July 6 along with a second-round pick and Turkish power forward Furkan Aldemir for future considerations and cash, are picking up the $1.7 million salary of White, who has an anxiety disorder and is afraid to fly. That means the Sixers have nothing invested in White — and that the 21-year-old Aldemir was the primary target in the deal, which the source confirmed.
If the Sixers don’t actually owe White anything this season, as Moore reports, it would seem that they likely wouldn’t put up with a lot hen it comes to the former Iowa State Cyclone. That likely means that he’ll probably be cut if he’s serious about not flying again this season (he gave an emphatic “Hell no” when asked about the possibility this summer), especially if the Sixers don’t like what they see in training camp. That’s a possibility, too, considering White showed up out of basketball shape when the Rockets finally convinced him to play in the D-League last season.
Let’s all hope that White’s situation turns out the best for everyone involved basketball-wise, but it sounds like White is already doing his part to make a difference off the court.
Kevin Durant might have left the Thunder, in part, because he grew tired of playing with Russell Westbrook.
But does that mean nobody wants to play with Westbrook?
Presented with that claim, Oklahoma City center Enes Kanter refuted it strongly:
Of course, many players want to play with Russell Westbrook. He’s a great player and even better competitor. People want to be around someone so maniacal about winning and capable of delivering.
But there’s an obvious difference between Kanter and Durant. It’s much easier for a pick-and-roll big man than a superstar wing to play with Westbrook.
Westbrook tends to over-dribble, and he can be selfish. I’d understand Durant preferring a team with more ball movement like the Warriors.
Kanter doesn’t have the cachet to pick any team at any salary like Durant did. Of his options, Kanter is probably genuinely happy to play with Westbrook. And the Thunder should be happy to have Westbrook (as long as they do). His strengths far outweigh his flaws.
No scoring star seamlessly blend with each other. Even LeBron James and Dwyane Wade — close friends and one an elite passer — struggled to mesh early in their Heat days. It’s just hard when there’s one ball.
So, it’s unfair to kill Westbrook for this drawback to his game. Maybe he’d click better with another star who’s more aggressive than Durant. And it’s not even as if Westbrook and Durant failed together. Oklahoma City won a lot of games with those two.
Plenty of players would sign up to replace Durant as Westbrook’s partner in crime.
Amar’e Stoudemire — despite spending more time and having more success with the Suns — signed with the Knicks to retire.
Why not Phoenix?
John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:
Stoudemire was linked to the Suns last year, but a return never happened.
It didn’t make more sense now. Phoenix already has 15 players, the regular-season roster limit. John Jenkins and Alan Williams have unguaranteed deals, but why waive one for Stoudemire? The Suns are semi-rebuilding, and Tyson Chandler already serves as a veteran big.
There’s a reason Stoudemire retired rather then sign somewhere. Maybe nobody wanted him.
But it’s also only July, and teams are still filling out their rosters. If Stoudemire wants to keep playing, he might have opportunities later, especially after the trade deadline. He’s just 33. There’s now reason to believe his retirement won’t stick.
Derek Fisher is already stumping for his second head-coaching job.
Fisher has done plenty since retiring as a player — getting hired by the Knicks, getting fired by the Knicks and in between being attacked by Matt Barnes and finding another controversy about player relations.
All the while, Fisher counted against the cap for the Thunder, his last NBA team.
Oklahoma City finally renounced him to sign Alex Abrines.
Albert Nahmad of Heat Hoops:
This is one of my favorite salary-cap quirks, explained in further detail here.
These are becoming fewer and further between, because teams are using cap room more frequently as the salary cap skyrockets. Gone are the days of a team operating above the cap for a dozen straight years.
There’s also even less utility in old cap holds now that a player must have played the prior season for a team to be used in a sign-and-trade. (Not that these holds were useful except the rarest of occasions prior, anyway.)
Fisher’s quick transition from playing to coaching helped make this an exception, allowing this weird (and trivial) transaction.
Where will the NBA hold the 2017 All-Star game?
New Orleans? Probably.
New York/Brooklyn or Chicago? Maybe.
One more maybe: Las Vegas.
Scott Kusher of The Advocate:
The NBA held All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas in 2007. By all accounts, it was wild.
I’d be surprised if the league returned the event to Las Vegas, but at this point, I’d really be surprised by any option besides New Orleans.