Delonte West, trying to resurrect career, will play in Summer League for Clippers


When last we saw Delonte West, the Dallas Mavericks — arguably the most player-friendly organization in the NBA — let him go at the end of training camp after he clashed with management. He couldn’t get back into the league after that.

West is trying to get back his image and his NBA life. He talked openly with Slate about being perceived as a person he is not. Yes, he has battled a bipolar disorder, and as we have seen with Royce White and others fitting that kind of mental challenge into the NBA life is not easy. But a lot of things rumored to have happened didn’t (nobody reasonable around the league buys the LeBron rumor, only fans seeking titillation latch on).

West is trying to get back in the league at age 30. That is going to start this summer in the D-League, reports Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com.

Can he make it back?

Talent isn’t the question. Back in 2012, his last season in Dallas, West averaged 9.6 points a game, shot 35.5 percent from three and had a PER right at the league average of 15.3. He brings versatility to the table — West can penetrate, dish, knock down open looks and is a solid defender. A lot of teams could use a guy like him as a veteran backup point guard.

The question is would he be worth the potential distractions? This is the guy who gave Gordon Hayward a “Wet Willie” during an NBA game, who has been arrested on gun charges (something he thought was blown out of proportion), who has presented a series of challenges for teams that had him. The Mavericks let him go for a reason.

But if he can prove the off-the-court stuff is in the past, he can make it on the court. That starts in Las Vegas in July.

LeBron James posts photo with Tristan Thompson, sends message to Cavs

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.

Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.

But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.

LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.

However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.

For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.

Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.


Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.