The small-market, historically-terrible Sacramento Kings can only realistically add talent to improve the roster in one of two ways.
They can either draft it (which hasn’t worked out all that well), or they can trade for players of questionable talent with unfavorable contract situations in hopes that they see a career resurgence with the Kings.
That last part did work out in Sacramento’s favor, when they dealt for Rudy Gay last season — an inefficient scorer who seemed to find his way with the Kings, and opted in for the final year of his contract (for $19.3 million) to play there for at least one more season.
Sacramento has had its eyes on a similar reclamation project in Josh Smith, but it appears as though the interest there in getting a deal done is one-sided for now.
From Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press (via Matt Watson at Detroit Bad Boys):
The Sacramento Kings made another run at Detroit Pistons forward Josh Smith during this week’s league meetings in Las Vegas, but they were rebuffed again.
A person with firsthand knowledge of the situation confirmed ESPN’s Marc Stein’s report that the Kings were interested in Smith. Another source said Thursday morning that there are “no legs” to the report — suggesting that nothing was imminent. …
The Kings believed that the Pistons would get rid of Smith without seeking valuable assets in return, but the Pistons have been adamant that that’s not the case, and they are prepared to bring him back for his second season in Detroit.
Sacramento was looking to send nothing of value in return for Smith, which almost seems fair when considering he’s guaranteed $40.5 million over the next three seasons.
But there’s a new regime in Detroit with Stan Van Gundy acting as head coach and president of basketball operations, and he obviously wants to see if he can properly utilize Smith’s talents before shipping him out in exchange for nothing more than financial flexibility.
As of tomorrow, training camps around the league open, and all the focus goes to the 2016-17 season.
For fun, let’s look back one more time at last season — the 50 top circus shots of last season.
Stephen Curry driving the lane and throwing up prayers once he draws contact (and hitting them), there is Russell Westbrook throwing the inbounds pass off an opponent’s back, and so much more. Enjoy. Then let’s get on with next season.
Kevin Garnett intimidates people. In the machismo-fueled world of professional sports nobody comfortably admits they were intimidated, but in the wake of Garnett announcing his retirement, a number of players stepped forward to say exactly that. And that KG trashed talked them fearlessly.
Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams found a way to avoid that — tell KG he didn’t speak English.
Adams was lucky, KG had a reputation for going harder at foreign-born players with his trash talk and intimidation. Then again Adams is not the kind of guy prone to be intimidated.
Athletes are injecting themselves into the needed national conversation about race, violence, and policing in this nation. That has taken some very public forms, including LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony speaking at the ESPYs, and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem and leading others to do so. Some NBA players likely will follow Kaepernick’s lead.
Pistons coach/GM Stan Van Gundy likes seeing players speak out.
A couple of his Detroit players — Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris — said they backed the 49ers quarterback. Here is what the never shy Van Gundy said about all of it, via Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
“I’m encouraged by the fact of what some of those guys stood up and did at the ESPYs and had a conversation,” Van Gundy said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we have guys that not only see the problem, but want to try to do something about it…
“To me, in some ways, (police brutality is) just the most visible to focus on and it goes to deeper inequities in our criminal justice system, our education system so there’s so much to focus on,” Van Gundy said. “I think it’s great that we have players that want to be part of that conversation, and a lot of players that want to go beyond the conversation and be part of the solution.”
Van Gundy has been telling his players part of that solution is to vote.
The players union and NBA sent out a release saying they wanted to work together to create positive change, but details are still vague on what that might be. The only thing we know for sure as we head into the NBA season — with as divided a nation and election as anyone can remember as a backdrop — is that some NBA players are going to try and keep the conversation going.
It was the last game of the group stage of the 2000 Olympic basketball tournament at the Sydney Olympics, the USA was taking on France, another USA win on its way to another gold medal.
But what we all remember is this one play — Vince Carter dunking over the 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.
Best. Dunk. Ever.
Weis was never the same.
In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.
Hat tip to nitramy at NBA Reddit.