P.J. Hairston is a basketball player, and now he’s playing basketball.
As it should be.
Some of his problems (reckless driving, speeding) would have troubled him anywhere and others would have mattered only in certain states under certain conditions (marijuana). But his most-recent issue – and the one that has most substantially effected his career – matters only to the NCAA. The NBA doesn’t care who pays for whose rental cars.
Mostly, the NBA cares about who can play. And if Hairston’s D-League debut is any indication, Hairston can play.
Coming off the bench, Hairston led the Texas Legends with 22 points (on 16 shots, including 4-of-9 3-point shooting) and six steals.
Hairston is ranked No. 32 by Draft Express and No. 34 by ESPN, but if he keeps up this level of production, he’ll be a first-round pick, even in this loaded draft.
Washington Wizards rookie Glen Rice Jr. paved the way, getting drafted No. 35 last year after spending a season in the D-League following an ill-fated run at Georgia Tech. NBA teams increasingly see the D-League as a route to basketball’s highest level.
Rice performed well in the D-League over 48 games, though. This is only one for Hairston so far.
But there’s a long season ahead for Hairston to establish his value, and at least he has a chance to prove himself.
Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.
So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.
LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.
When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.
At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.
The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.
China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.
China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.
Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.
This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.
The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.