The Indiana Pacers are feeling it.
They have been the best team in the NBA to start the season — their defense is still suffocating allowing opposing teams to shoot just 37.5 percent so far (and giving 86.3 points per 100 possessions, best in the league by 5 points in this young season); while on the other end of the court Paul George has taken a step forward averaging 25.8 points per game and hitting 44.4 percent from three.
How good are the 5-0 Pacers feeling after a strong second half Wednesday where they outscored the Chicago Bulls by 33 and brushed aside their division rivals like so many gnats? Look at what George said about the Bulls to Steve Aschburner of NBA.com.
“Their success is the Michael Jordan era. This is a new age, this is a new team. It’s ours till they take it.”
Good. If you’re a Pacers fan you want your team and its star player to have that swagger. You want them thinking they can win one more game than they did last year and reach the NBA Finals.
There are 77 games left and the top teams in the East, especially those Bulls, will look different then than they do right now with their slow start to the season. It’s too early to draw any sweeping conclusions.
Still, right now it looks like the Pacers are ready to take the next step in the East. And that should worry the Bulls and Heat.
Do you have 22 minutes to watch the 100 best crossovers of last season? It’s Monday, of course you do. It’s either that or work.
Here they are, as compiled by the fine folks at NBA.com. Enjoy. And don’t be shocked that Damian Lillard, Stephen Curry, and Russell Westbrook have the top spots.
And if you must go into the comments and complain that technically not all of these are crossovers, go ahead, but it doesn’t change anything. It’s like saying there is only one way to make a proper matzo ball soup — there are a lot of variations (I like it with dill in the broth), and they all can be delicious. Just enjoy it.
CLEVELAND (AP) The Cavaliers have named Koby Altman their full-time general manager.
Altman’s promotion had been expected for days and was made official on Monday. The 34-year-old has been serving as Cleveland’s interim GM this summer after David Griffin parted ways with the club following the NBA Finals.
Altman has been with the club since 2012. He will be the fifth GM for owner Dan Gilbert since 2005.
Gilbert said he’s been impressed with the job Altman has done over the past five weeks and said he “has the credentials, knowledge, experience and instincts to be an outstanding general manager. … I am confident that Koby is equipped and prepared to lead and succeed in this dynamic environment.”
Altman is taking charge during an interesting juncture for the Cavs. All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving recently asked to be traded and LeBron James is heading into his final season under contract.
More AP basketball: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball
It looks like former NBA MVP Derrick Rose is heading to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Rumors have been swirling all week about Rose, who could be a backup or big-minute replacement for Kyrie Irving, who reportedly wants to be traded away from LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
According to reports released on Monday from Yahoo! Sports and ESPN, Rose has committed to sign with the Cavaliers after completing a physical. Rose will be paid $2.1 million on a one-year contract.
The Cavaliers have had one of the weirder offseasons, and while adding Rose isn’t necessarily the strangest thing they have done, it could be a larger signal for the rest of the league with regard to what direction the team is going to go.
Rose played OK in New York last season, and would be well suited as a backup bench spark for a contending team if he found the right fit. The Cavaliers will likely try him out in lineups with Lebron, but how he fits in as of the end of July isn’t quite clear. Will he be a backup? Will he be the de facto starter if Irving is no longer on the team come opening night?
The 2017 NBA offseason has been endlessly interesting, and this move is another in a long series of twists and turns.
The Spurs got Pau Gasol to decline his $16,197,500 player option, allowing them to chase major free agents. They didn’t take advantage of that flexibility, so they’re re-signing Gasol to make him whole – and then some.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Sources: Free agent Pau Gasol’s deal to return to Spurs: three years, $48M with a partial guarantee on final year
If Gasol’s 2018-19 salary is guaranteed – strongly implied by this report – this is a bad contract.
The 37-year-old Gasol, still a nice player, isn’t worth $16 million this season in a tight center market. It’s fine to pay him that much given the circumstances of his opt out. But to guarantee him a similar amount – salary-cap rules dictate his 2018-19 salary be within 5% of his 2017-18 salary – at age 38 is an awful choice.
Especially for San Antonio, which was shaping up to have massive flexibility next summer.
The Spurs can still have significant cap room if LaMarcus Aldridge, Danny Green and/or Rudy Gay opt out. But then they wouldn’t have Aldridge, Green or Gay. So, the more space to upgrade, the better. San Antonio just cut about $16 million from that maneuverability.
Kawhi Leonard is a 26-year-old superstar who has proven his ability to thrive deep into the playoffs. Instead of aggressively working to add talent to chase another championship, the Spurs are surrounding him with the status-quo declining-veteran supporting cast.
That was acceptable this year, once Chris Paul chose the Rockets. But to commit about $16 million toward a similar team in 2018 is a major mistake.