It’s all about the money. The paper. The Benjamins. How many bands are we talking?
Lance Stephenson is a restricted free agent and the Indiana Pacers kind of need to bring him back because they need his shot creation skills for a team otherwise short in that department. The problem is even if he leaves the Pacers are over the cap so Larry Bird’s hands would be somewhat tied in trying to replace what Stephenson brings.
But neither side wants to part ways, Bird said after the draft Friday night when asked about free agency and getting a new contract with Stephenson, as reported by Scott Agness of Vigilantsports.com.
Stephenson’s agent would be smart to wait it out here, not rush the decision.
There are teams out there with Carmelo Anthony (and maybe LeBron James) dreams who are going to swing and miss on their first targets then be searching for a player to bring in, provide some good play and help the GM save face. Stephenson can benefit from that and drive up his price — “We just landed a 23-year-old borderline All-Star who averaged 13.8 points and 7.2 rebounds a game, and he is still improving.” A GM can sell that to the fans and to his owner. Even if he overpaid a little to get him.
The Pacers can match any offer but again, at what price? And how much does Stephenson’s maturity issues play into that number?
What about $10 million a year for four years? Or $11 million? Of $12 million? At what point does Bird throw in his cards and say “too rich for my blood.”
It’s going to be an interesting free agency.
New York Knicks C Joakim Noah has an awkward jumper and free throw technique, there’s no denying that. His two-handed, horizontal approach to shooting a basketball is ripe for criticism.
DeMarcus Cousins thinks so, at least.
During a game between the Sacramento Kings and the Knicks, Cousins decided to give Noah a little tongue-in-cheek trolling about his form.
Looks about right.
The 1980s were back in Cleveland Friday night. Well, not completely, Bernie Kosar wasn’t leading the Browns to contention (although man, could they use him now).
No, the ’80s were back in the form of the throwback orange Cavaliers uniforms. And to complete the theme, the Cavaliers players dressed up and Rick-rolled the intro video — they did the complete “classic” Rick Astley hit “Never Gonna Give You Up.” And it was awesome.
The Cavaliers won the game 114-84 over the Heat behind 28 from Kevin Love, but that was secondary to the intro video.
Second-year forward Sam Dekker is finding a comfort zone in the Mike D’Antoni offense in Houston. Healthy this season, he is coming off the bench for 18 minutes a night, and his game where he is quick and can also hit the three is fitting perfectly with Houston’s system, leading him to 6.7 points a game.
Also, he can run the floor. And finish.
As Enes Kanter found out when he hustled, got back in transition defense, and wasn’t going to stop Dekker from getting to the rim.
That’s a quality dunk.
The Rockets went on to win the game 102-99, despite Russell Westbrook‘s seventh-straight triple-double.
LeBron James has been climbing the NBA’s All-time scoring list fast the past couple years, passing Hakeem Olajuwon last season to move into the top 10.
Friday night LeBron passed another legend, Elvin Hayes, who spent the prime of his career with the Washington Bullets and was an NBA champion, six-time All-NBA and 12-time All-Star from the late 1960s through the early 1980s.
LeBron passed Hayes with a vintage LeBron bucket, bringing the ball up in transition, then just using his quickness and strength to power to the rim.
LeBron’s not done, he should pass Moses Malone in the next week or so. Here is the NBA’s All-time scoring Top 10. (As a side note, if you count ABA scoring in the mix LeBron is 11th because Julius Erving and Dan Issel both pass him. For now.)
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 38387
2. Karl Malone 36928
3. Kobe Bryant 33643
4. Michael Jordan 32292
5. Wilt Chamberlain 31419
6. Dirk Nowitzki 29552
7. Shaquille O’Neal 28596
8. Moses Malone 27409
9. LeBron James 27315
10. Elvin Hayes 27313