Jeff Hornacek is going to go small next year. Apparently.
The Phoenix Suns already have third team All-NBA player Goran Dragic under contract and have promised to match any offer for Eric Bledsoe (which has yet to come). Behind them they have promising rookie Tyler Ennis, breakout star Gerald Green, and Archie Goodwin.
And pretty soon Isaiah Thomas.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports broke the story and Sam Amick of the USA Today adds details
The Kings didn’t have a lot of leverage in this sign-and-trade because they had no intention of matching the offer. While the Kings brain trust was divided on Thomas’ worth, the people with the power were done with him — they didn’t want him to start and Thomas is tired of feeling jerked around in Sacramento. The era of the Pizza Guy ads are done and that makes me sad.
For the Suns, getting Thomas at basically $7 million a year is a good deal — he is small and lightning quick, he averaged 20 points a game with a very efficient .574 true shooting percentage because he can get to the rim and he knocks down shots. He’s not helping on defense much, to be fair. Now the Suns have some real trade assets available if they want. In the short term, they go small and it’s going to be entertaining to watch the Suns. (Plus they still have cap space and are expected to make a run at Luol Deng and others. They need to replace what Channing Frye brought.)
The Kings… this is confusing, honestly. If you have doubts about Thomas’ ceiling I can understand that but that is still a fair price considering the production. Thomas has done nothing but beat out every guy brought in to take his job, and somehow that pissed off someone in Sacramento, I guess. Their off-season has been haphazard, not sure what they are trying to build.
Without question, some kneeling/raised fist protests of the National Anthem are coming to the NBA once preseason games start in a couple of weeks. Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers has already come out saying “there’s no more American thing to do than to protest.” Teams are discussing the need for social change.
While the NBA has a rule that players must stand for the anthem, the NBA and players’ union are already discussing exactly how and if that rule should be enforced.
While some players will kneel, Russell Westbrook will not be among them. Probably. Here’s is what he told Fred Katz of the Norman Transcript.
Obviously, Westbrook is leaving himself some wiggle room here. Also, if there is one NBA star you can expect to be blunt about the situation when talking to the media, it’s Westbrook (when he feels like opening up to the media, anyway).
I expect few if any of the NBA’s top stars — the guys with the biggest international brands — will join the protests. However, there certainly will be players taking part. For a league that sees itself as progressive — and has a more politically progressive fan base compared to other American sports — how the league handles this will be watched.
Tributes have poured in all over the NBA world since Kevin Garnett announced his retirement on Friday afternoon — from other players, commissioner Adam Silver and media members who covered him. Garnett and Tom Thibodeau have a lengthy history together: Thibodeau coached Garnett in Boston as an assistant under Doc Rivers, and they won a championship in 2008. This spring, Thibodeau took over as head coach and president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team that drafted Garnett, saw his best years and saw him end his career. Thibodeau released a heartfelt statement on Saturday congratulating Garnett:
“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank Kevin for all of his great accomplishments and contributions to the NBA, the Minnesota Timberwolves organization, and for me personally with the Boston Celtics. Kevin combined great talent with a relentless drive and intelligence. I will always cherish the memories of the way in which he led the Celtics to the 2008 NBA Championship. His willingness to sacrifice and his unselfishness led us to that title. Kevin will always be remembered for the way in which he played the game. His fierce competitiveness, his unequalled passion for the game, and the many ways in which he cared about this team was truly special. KG is without question the all-time best player to wear a Minnesota Timberwolves jersey, and he is also one of the best to ever play this game.”
It’s a shame that Thibodeau didn’t get to coach Garnett again in Minnesota, but the team is in good hands with Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.
The Indiana Pacers have been a franchise for 50 years — 10 in the ABA and 40 in the NBA. To celebrate this anniversary, they’ve unveiled a new patch that they will wear on their uniforms this season. You can check it out below:
It looks pretty sleek, combining the Pacers’ logo with the zero in “50.” It’s subtle and well-designed.
This summer, three of this generation’s defining NBA players, and three of the greatest players of all time, called it a career: Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett. The latter two in particular had a lot in common, as psychotic competitors and polarizing personalities. They had many memorable battles over the years, including the Lakers-Celtics Finals in 2008 and 2010 (they each won one) and the playoffs in 2003 and 2004, when Garnett was in Minnesota. On Saturday afternoon, a day after Garnett officially announced his retirement, Kobe paid tribute to him with a tweet.
The next time they’ll be together is 2021, when they go into the Hall of Fame together.