Report: Rockets GM in Philly first night of free agency to chase Kyle Lowry

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Kyle Lowry is a highly sought after free agent for a couple reasons.

One: The point guard position has become key in the NBA and he is the best one available, a, aggressive, slashing player who puts up points, can dish the rock and plays strong defense.

Second: He’s available, unlike some of the guy atop the free agent ladder (LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki, etc).

The Toronto Raptors think they can keep him and are going hard with a big money offer, but Houston Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey and coach Kevin McHale were making a first hand pitch in the opening hours of free agency as well, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

It might be easier to list the players the Rockets are not going after. Plus trying to keep Chandler Parsons (who is going to get a lot of interest from the teams that strike out with Carmelo Anthony).

In some ways Lowry makes more sense than Anthony for the Rockets. He and James Harden would form as dynamic and maybe the most aggressive and attacking backcourt in the league. Plus Lowry gives the Rockets a good defender at the guard spot. One of the concerns with Anthony on the Rockets is that him and Harden together on the floor at one time leaves a lot of defensive messes for Dwight Howard to try to clean up.

Lowry has a lot of suitors. Miami has interest but the prices being bandied about — the Raptors offer reportedly starts at $12 million a year — is going to be too rich for their blood unless some of the big three take a massive pay cut.

Toronto GM Masai Ujiri is confident the Raptors can win him back, in part because of a big money offer that begins with at least that $12 million number.

What Lowry has are options.

Jeopardy uses “crying Jordan” meme for question

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You know a meme has jumped the shark when it appears on Jeopardy. (Also, the phrase “jump the shark” has jumped the shark.)

The “crying Jordan” meme reached that level this week when Alex Trebek asked a question about it.

This in no way means we should stop using the crying Jordan meme — even if it bothers MJ himself, and it does — because it’s still funny.

Charles Barkley on new schedule: “These poor babies can’t play back-to-back games”

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Training camp hasn’t even opened yet, but Charles Barkley is already in midseason “get off my lawn” form.

Barkley — the man who can’t stand jump shooting teams, or analytics, or LeBron James asking for better players, or your newfangled technology — went off on another tedious rant at an SMU event Wednesday, this time about the NBA’s decision to start the season a little earlier and have fewer back-to-backs and eliminate four-games-in-five-nights.

Ugh. Like a lot of former players — and a lot of non-athletes, for that matter — Barkley is convinced his peak as a player coincided with the greatest era of basketball ever. Things were never better than the way they did it in his day.

Which means facts — like pointing to the studies that show players both are less likely to be injured and play better and more efficiently when rested — don’t matter. Barkley did it, so players now should have to do it. Who cares if all these packed in games can shorten their careers?

Then again, maybe a few days off would have helped Barkley in the second half of his career.

B.J. Armstrong, former Jordan-era Bull turned agent, told me last year that if teams and players knew in his day what they know now about rest and injury, you would have seen stars like MJ rest. Over time we learn more information, and the smart people and organizations adjust.

Barkley will make far more headlines over the course of the season, he gets paid to be brash, say whatever pops into head, and be generally draw attention to himself. It makes him entertaining, and that’s what Inside the NBA is about. But I will defer to Steve Kerr’s comments from last playoffs on all these old “get off my lawn” players.

“The game gets worse as time goes on. Players are less talented than they used to be. The guys in the 50s would’ve destroyed everybody. It’s weird how human evolution goes in reverse in sports. Players get weaker, smaller, less skilled. I don’t know. I can’t explain it.”

For a couple grand, Warriors fans can have Larry O’Brien Trophy visit their suite

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There’s so much money floating around the Bay Area right now thanks to another tech boom, this price almost seems low.

If you have a suite for the Golden State Warriors home games this season — and those are pretty much sold out, the Warriors draw big from the Silicon Valley crowd — you can have the NBA championship Larry O’Brien Trophy visit your suite. All for just a couple grand. From Gilbert Lee, via ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

The best part is it includes champagne… do you get to spray each other with it as you hold up the trophy? Now that would be perfect (goggles included, of course).

Have an issue with this? Why? To the victor goes the spoils. The Warriors may be able to sell this package for years.

Sixers new “Spirit of 76” court is fire

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First, the Sixers nailed the Nike “statement” jersey.

Now, they have announced a new “Spirit of 76” promotion, with seven tribute nights this season honoring the history of the franchise and of the Philadelphia area (and there is plenty of history to honor).

The best part — the “Spirit of 76” court with the bell logo.

Here is the promo vid

I just hope the Sixers team can live up to all the hype.