LaMarcus Aldridge

Blazers GM is incredibly sick of LaMarcus Aldridge trade questions


LaMarcus Aldridge has said he has not requested a trade — but he has admitted to frustration. He has said he likes the team’s off-season moves and wants to see if they can win in Portland.

But somebody around Aldridge is talking. Reportedly he has his eye on the door when he’s a free agent in two years and his people even set up a meeting this summer with Blazers GM Neil Olshey to discuss trade options.

At Trail Blazers media day Olshey was asked about the Aldridge trade rumors and he just about lost it. Here is the quote, via Ben Golliver of Blazers Edge.

“Oh dear God, would you guys get over it? How many — asked and answered. Thank you [to’s Chris Haynes], by the way. What else, guys? Show me a media report where LaMarcus Aldridge has said anything other than, ‘I hope the team improves, I’m excited about what we did, I want to get better and I want to win.’ Then we can have a conversation. Until then, let’s move on. OK? Is that possible?

“It’s not breaking news, dude. We covered it in July. Guys, let’s talk about something, someone has got to have a better question than that.”

If Olshey wants and overly-dramatic audition tape to get on Big Brother next summer, he should send in this press conference. Nice performance.

He went on offense against the rumors but his logic is flawed. Players under contract do not say they want to be traded because if they did the league would fine them (heavily) and the fan base in the city they are in would turn on them fast. So disgruntled players have their agents or entourages express their frustrations to the media. Meanwhile other front office guys around the league talk a little, and when asked by trusted reporters about who they heard might be available names come up.

Olshey would like these Aldridge rumors to go away, but it’s clear someone around Aldridge does not fully trust Olshey and the Trail Blazers front office to build an actual winner with him as one of the corner stones. Aldridge has two seasons left on his current deal and this is when the discussion comes up (this is the time in his contract when Deron Williams was traded from the Jazz to the Nets).

The question is not going away. The one way to really quiet it down is build a winner, and Portland made some nice steps that direction this summer. But until there is a trade or a contract extension, this is a valid question Olshey, sorry.

League executives, players wince watching this Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
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Over the last few days, we’ve written in more detail about Kobe Bryant‘s shooting troubles. He’s jacking up threes his fastest pace ever, he can’t create space to get off clean shots, he’s hitting 31.1 percent overall and 19.5 percent from three. There are flashes of vintage Kobe, but they are fleeting (and mostly because poor shot choices are falling). Byron Scott is still in Kobe’s corner, saying they just need to get the veteran better looks.

However, talk to people around the league about Kobe and you hear some variation of the phrase “hard to watch.” After 20 seasons, more than 55,000 minutes on the court, and coming off two major injuries, Kobe clearly is not the same player everyone admired for so long.

Over at the Los Angeles Times Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner got a number of sources to wince about Kobe for a story — except nobody wanted their name attached to attacking a legend of the game.

“Man, I don’t want to see Kobe go out like this, looking this bad and not able to do what he once could do,” said a retired guard who faced Bryant. “He doesn’t have anything else to prove to anybody. He was one of the greatest. I know he’s owed that $25 million, but he should just walk away now. He ain’t got it anymore.”

“He’s one of the few players in NBA history to have gotten everything possible out of his body. Now his body has nothing left to give,” (an Eastern Conference executive) said. “But that’s life in the NBA, in professional sports. At some point, the body just can’t do it anymore and Kobe’s body can’t do it anymore.”

One West scout said Bryant looked “disinterested” at times. A current player in the West went a step further.

“Yeah, I’ve seen him play and it’s disgusting,” he said. “He’s one of the best of all time. But he really hasn’t played that much in the last two or three years. He’s got nothing left. It’s sad to watch because he used to be so great, and I mean great.”

Kobe is not going to walk away mid-season, and nobody wants an injury to force him out of the game.

But it’s hard to see how anything is going to dramatically change. Kobe may shoot a little better than his current but it’s not likely going to change in a meaningful way. Which will just make things hard to watch for a full season.

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
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The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

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.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry

The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

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.