Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while watching one heck of a freshman quarterback…
Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer, Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic (Minnesota’s starters). The Timberwolves blew out the Sixers and the starters were a key reason — in 21 minutes the starting five put up 65 points and was +17, they hit 10-of-12 threes and they had an offensive rating of 127.9. They played at a pace of 116 possessions per 48 minutes. Great night on offense, if they can do it again Wednesday against the Suns the Timberwolves will finally be above .500.
Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets. With Deron Williams out with a sprained ankle (again) the Nets hopes of keeping a modest two-game winning streak going really fell to Johnson — and he delivered. Mostly. He had 23 points including 9 in the fourth quarter, one of which was a three that put the Nets ahead for good. He shot just 10-of-22 from the field, not exactly efficient, but the Nets needed points and someone to create shots on the night and he got it done better than Jeff Teague could for the Hawks. So the Nets have a three game winning streak.
Darren Collison, Los Angeles Clippers. All you’ve been hearing for the past few days is how he’s no Chris Paul — and with reason, he’s no Chris Paul. But he played well against what passed for Orlando’s “defense” on Monday night and racked up 21 points, 13 in the first quarter when the Clippers pulled away, plus had 7 assists four steals.
Three days into the NBA season seems early to be discussing the semantics of NBA trade talk, but here we are.
There have been rumors that the Minnesota Timberwolves called the Cleveland Cavaliers, interested in talking Iman Shumpert trades, possibly involving Ricky Rubio (who at some point will lose his starting job to rookie Kris Dunn). And that the Cavaliers were at least open to the idea. But nothing came of it.
How serious is Cleveland on the Shumpert front? Joe Varden of the Cleveland Plain Dealer addressed that in a Q&A with fans.
A few teams such as the Minnesota Timberwolves have inquired about Iman Shumpert, who has three years and $30 million left on his contract at age 26. The Cavs are answering the phone… But they are not actively looking to deal him, a team source told cleveland.com….
Keep in mind, Cleveland also has a trade exception worth about $11 million, the expiring contract of Mo Williams ($2.2 million) and Jordan McRae to deal. So if it is Rubio they want, they don’t have to trade Shumpert to get him.
What Varden is saying is Cavaliers GM David Griffin is not picking up the phone and seeing what he can get for Shumpert. But if teams call him…
Right now, the Cavaliers will need to be blown away to make a deal. Shumpert is backing up J.R. Smith and got more than 22 minutes of court time in the opener — he has a role on this team. Plus Shumpert is on an affordable contract. The Cavs are only going to make a move they believe makes them better right now — they want another ring. Maybe that offer comes, but the Cavs can be patient, and they have options.
The Baller and Chief is on his way out the door.
Barack Obama has been by far the biggest hoops fan to inhabit the White House (with John Quincy Adams a very distant second). He’s put up a basketball court at the White House, filled out NCAA Tournament brackets, jokingly applied for the Wizards’ coaching job, thought about becoming an owner, gone to NBA games, and just been a fan like the rest of us.
And he’s picking the Warriors to win it all. Like everyone else.
In what was primarily a “get out the vote” effort, President Obama called in to ‘Sway in the Morning’ hosted by Sway Calloway on Eminem’s SiriusXM channel Shade 45. Asked to pick the next NBA champ, the Bulls fan went exactly where everyone else did — Golden State.
“I’m going to go with the Warriors just because of [Kevin] Durant, that addition. I think they just have too much firepower,” Obama said. “Although they just got spanked in their first game, so it will take a while to figure things out.”
Obama also picked the Patriots to win the NFL title. He’s such a frontrunner.
With rumors of NBA expansion swirling, it’s time to look at more concrete evidence.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has repeatedly shot down expansion talk, and that’s not him going rogue. His bosses have apparently taken a firm stance.
Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:
Basketball Insiders reached out to an NBA owner and a voting member of the Board of Governors and was told flatly that any talk of expansion has been shot down at every turn inside the Board of Governors meetings. It’s been a non-starter.
There is a theoretical one-time expansion fee so high where the current 30 owners would divide their shares of revenue further. But the NBA takes in so much annually, it’s hard to imagine a new ownership group could and would front enough money.
Sorry, Seattle (and Louisville and Las Vegas and…). The evidence is overwhelmingly on the side of the league staying at 30 teams. You’ll probably just have to poach a team from another city.
Greg Oden’s multiple injuries dictated the former No. 1 pick wouldn’t have the career forecasted for him.
But he returned from three years off an NBA court to play for the Heat in 2014. He followed that breakthrough with a couple tryouts and a stint in China.
Could he once again return to the league?
Dana Hunsinger Benbow of IndyStar:
Asked whether he’d play basketball again, he said, “I wish. It’s over.” Instead, he is back with the Buckeyes as a student coach, helping out the players and Matta any way he can.
Oden, who was picked one spot before Kevin Durant, once declared: “I know I’m one of the biggest busts in NBA history and I know that it’ll only get worse as Kevin Durant continues doing big things.” That statement is blunt, reality and sad all wrapped into one.
It’s a shame we never got to see Oden healthy for long. There was good reason for the Trail Blazers to pick him first, but injuries ruined what could’ve been an intriguing extend debate over him and Durant.
Hopefully, Oden finds fulfillment in the next chapter of his life.