Delonte West is trying to make it back to the NBA.
He has been out of the league for two seasons and a comeback will involve two parts — proving that he still has it on the court (he’s only about to turn 31); then proving he’s not going to be a distraction off it.
All of it starts in Las Vegas.
As has been rumored, West is on the Clippers Summer League roster announced Monday (possibly thanks to Doc Rivers, who coached West back in Boston). With all due respect to Jon Brockman and DeAndre Liggins, West is about the only interesting thing on the Clippers roster in Vegas as Reggie Bullock (quad injury) and C.J. Wilcox (shoulder) will not be on the team.
West was last in the NBA in 2012 with Dallas and he played well, averaging 9.6 points a game, hitting 35.5 percent from three and having a PER right at the league average of 15.3. West can do a number of things on the offensive end: penetrate, dish, knock down open looks, plus he is a solid defender. If he still can do those things teams will notice.
But that’s only half of it. Dallas, arguably the most player-friendly organization in the league, didn’t want him back due to the distractions and challenges. 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), and who has had a host of other incidents large and small. West has to show all that is behind him.
West started to try and reclaim his image and his life in an open interview with Slate where he discussed being perceived as a person he is not. He has battled a bipolar disorder, but a lot of things rumored to have happened didn’t (nobody reasonable around the league buys the LeBron rumor, but it refuses to die). Vegas is the next step in that.
The question is will that be enough?
Report: Lakers working toward buyout with Jose Calderon; Warriors, Rockets interested
The Lakers took on the salary of Jose Calderon this year so they could get a couple second-round picks from the Bulls (Chicago got him from New York in the Derrick Rose trade), but even with the previous regime in Los Angeles the aging point guard was never part of the future.
Sources told ESPN that it’s not yet a certainty Calderon will secure his release from the Lakers in the coming days, but the sides are indeed discussing the options as Wednesday’s playoff eligibility deadline nears….
Sources say that Calderon, if he winds up hitting the open market, would instantly become a target for both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.
Cleveland may also have interest if their plan to land Deron Williams when he is bought out by Dallas goes awry.
Calderon, 35, was not part of the Lakers’ regular rotation, playing in just 24 games. He can still knock down a shot if he has space and can set his feet, and he still has a high hoops IQ and can see the floor, but his athleticism has faded, and that can leave him exposed. Particularly on defense.
Players are being waived now so they clear in time for teams to sign them by March 1, after that said players are not eligible for playoff rosters.
There are better players to hit the waiver wire in the coming days — D-Will, Andrew Bogut, Matt Barnes — but Calderon is going to land somewhere. He’d be a solid third point guard and veteran presence for a playoff run.
Marquese Chriss blocks Bobby Portis, who gets testy (video)
The time off during the All-Star break did Dwyane Wade some good.
The Bulls guard turned back the clock on Friday night, leading the Bulls with 23 points and topping it off with this dunk that proved to be the dagger, sealing a Chicago win. The Suns were convinced Wade was going to run the shot clock way down before making his move and they lollygagged into position — so he just blew past everyone for the poster slam.
With a couple of minutes left to go in the second quarter, Isaiah Thomas made the steal when DeMar DeRozan lost the ball on a drive, and Thomas was off to the races. Trying to prevent a lay-up, Carroll decided to foul Thomas far from the basket, but did so with a forearm shove that sent Thomas sprawling on the ground.