Brian Scalabrine: ‘I’m coming home’

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LeBron James, as told to Sports Illustrated:

Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.

Remember when I was sitting up there at the Boys & Girls Club in 2010? I was thinking, This is really tough. I could feel it. I was leaving something I had spent a long time creating. If I had to do it all over again, I’d obviously do things differently, but I’d still have left. Miami, for me, has been almost like college for other kids. These past four years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better player and a better man. I learned from a franchise that had been where I wanted to go. I will always think of Miami as my second home. Without the experiences I had there, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today.

In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.

I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.

That’s old news. Here’s the real story:

Brian Scalabrine, as told to CSN New England:

Before anyone cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid raised in Enumclaw, Washington.  It’s where I walked.  It’s where I ran.  It’s where I did a paper route at age six.  It’s always held a special place in my heart. From the moment I signed with the Celtics, I knew this was my new home. Most of the people are just like me.  They work hard, they play hard, and the passion they have for their sports team is unlike anywhere in the world. I had passion for my team just like the fans.  I guess I was kind of like the fans except I had a courtside seat for free and if we were up by 20 with less than two minutes to play I would get to go into the game.  Where was I – the great American city of Boston.  In Boston, people’s passion can be overwhelming.  But it drove me.  The Celtics hadn’t won a championship since the Larry Bird era of the 80s, so I wanted to give them hope when I could.  I wanted to inspire them when I could.  My relationship with Boston became bigger than basketball.  I didn’t realize that when I left Boston in free agency four years ago.  I do now.

Remember when I spurned the Celtics and signed with the Chicago Bulls in 2010?  Actually I begged Ainge to keep me and he wished me the best of luck.  I was thinking, “This is really tough.”  I could feel it.  I left something I had spent five years creating.  I haven’t paid for a meal since 2008.  What if all of this goes away? But if I had to do it all over again, I’d probably still have left.  Chicago, for me, has always been like graduate school.  I myself had always considered getting my MBA at Northwestern.  These past four years helped bolster my resume to showcase the well-rounded individual I am.  I’m a better player, a better coach, a better broadcaster, and a better Mamba.  I’ve learned a great deal in my time spent with four franchises…actually five if you count my stint in Italy because of the lockout. What was the purpose of the lockout again?   I will always think of Chicago as my third home and Oakland probably as my fourth home…but not like downtown Oakland, more like the suburbs.  Without the experiences I’ve had in these places, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today.

In Boston, nothing is given.  Remember in the movie The Departed when Francis Costello said, “No one gives it to you.  You have to take it.”  That was a great scene and a great Boston movie.

I’m ready to accept the Scallenge. Boston, I’m coming home.

I can’t imagine a better way for Scalabrine, who was fired demoted by Mark Jackson as a Warriors assistant last year, to announce he’s become a Celtics analyst.

What a story!

They’re going to have to update the 30 for 30 with this latest twist in the Scalabrine saga.

Tyronn Lue doesn’t hold back with retort to heckling Pacers’ fan

Associated Press
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It’s a part of the NBA experience that most fans don’t get to hear — some fans courtside heckling opposing players and coaches, and those guys occasionally firing back. We only tend to hear about it when things cross a line.

Sometimes the interactions are just funny, such as this one passed along by J. Michael of the Indy Star.

Well played, Lue.

Although is Cleveland really a city at the forefront of fashion? Well, I suppose if you went to college in Nebraska…

Report: Pelicans picked up Alvin Gentry’s option for next season before sweep

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Last summer the buzz was all over the league: Pelicans GM Dell Demps and coach Alvin Gentry were given a “playoffs or bust” mandate by management. If the Pelicans were not in the postseason — and just barely getting in and then blown out in the first round might be good enough — there was going to be a housecleaning.

The Pelicans made the playoffs as the six seed with 48 wins despite losing DeMarcus Cousins to a torn Achilles midway through the season.

That alone was good enough to get Gentry another season in New Orleans, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

As noted, this happened before the Pelicans swept the Trail Blazers out of the first round and into a summer of re-evaluation. This option season is the last of Gentry’s original deal with the Pelicans.

Gentry has the Pelicans playing fast, using the elite defense of Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday to get stops, and right now Davis is leading an offense that is just getting it done, with guys such as Nikola Mirotic stepping up. Gentry has earned another year, and a shot to integrate Cousins into this style and level of play, to see where that could take New Orleans next season.

It will be interesting to see if Demps can add more shooting and versatility with a capped out roster.

Report: Suns talk to Jason Kidd, Vinny Del Negro about coaching job

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Mike Budenholzer is out (and may be thinking New York). Suns’ interim coach Jay Triano and former Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale are still in the mix.

The Suns also have reached out to Jason Kidd — who was let go by the Bucks mid-season — and former Bulls and Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro, reports Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic.

This is still early in a lengthy search process, there is a long way to go before anyone gets offered this job.

Kidd now lives in Phoenix. He’s considered a smart coach but one who falls in and out of love with players fast, pushes hard for the players he wants (and against those he doesn’t), and didn’t utilize the talent on the Bucks to its best advantage. The Suns have to ask if he is the right guy for a rebuild. He can coach, he’s going to get another chance, but do the Suns want to give it to him?

Mentioning Del Negro will lead to howls from the Suns’ fanbase, but to be fair he gets a bit of a bad rap as a coach. Del Negro won 53.3 percent of his games as a coach, and only one team he coached ever finished below .500. He’s had some success developing players, starting with Derrick Rose. All that said, there are reasons Suns’ fans are right to howl: simplistic offenses, a heavy reliance on pick-and-roll sets, and remember he broke the confidence of DeAndre Jordan (Doc Rivers had to build it back up).

Phoenix fired Earl Watson just three games into the season and are looking to replace him. The new coach will have a very good young scorer in Devin Booker on the roster and after that a lot of young question marks. This is a development job where the Suns need to hire a guy who can put in a system, then bring in more talent and stay out of the new coach’s way. We’ll see if the Suns can do that.

Hours after game-winning tip, restaurant told Giannis Antetokounmpo he had to wait

Associated Press
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Giannis Antetokounmpo was the toast of Milwaukee Sunday night: With the game on the line after a Boston comeback, he tipped in a missed Malcolm Brogdon lay-up that proved to be the game winner. (Jayson Tatum was in good position for Boston, he tried to move Antetokounmpo out of his rebounding spot, it just didn’t matter.)

Well, you would have thought Antetokounmpo was the toast of the town, but when he went to BelAir Cantina (a chainlet of Mexican restaurants in the area) he was told he had to wait. And wait. To the point he eventually left.

As you might imagine, the 6’11” Antetokounmpo walking into a restaurant a couple hours after tying up the series with the Celtics drew fast attention on social media. So did the fact he couldn’t get service.

First, good on Antetokounmpo for not pulling the “do you know who I am?” line. He was reportedly unassuming and just left after a while. No hard feelings, his girlfriend later tweeted this out.

As for BelAir Cantina, I kinda get it — I worked my way through college as a waiter and bartender. The restaurant got slammed, everyone working there was in the weeds, and things fall through the cracks. It happens.

But when the 6’11” toast of the town walks in, he cannot slip through the cracks. Cannot. Rather than social media posts about him not getting served and walking out, there would have been pictures all over of him eating the lamb barbacoa or whatever. It’s good for business. If you give the man a little special treatment after the game, nobody is going to complain (except the people who were going to complain about everything anyway… in that sense working in a restaurant was good preparation for me to use Twitter someday).