Amid all the bluster — oh, and there was blizzard of bluster, with Steve Ballmer acting like a hype man — there were some actual bits of news out of the Ballmer scream fest Monday. Or to be more accurate, some reaffirmation of things we already knew.
Ballmer got up in front of the fans, and later in a press conference with the media and said a few things of note, as reported by Arash Markazi of ESPN and Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times.
First things first — for the millionth time he is not moving the Clippers out of Los Angeles to Seattle.
Also, there are no plans to change the Clipper name (which fits in Los Angeles, where there are tall ships and great sailing communities).
As for management style, Ballmer said several times his goal was to let the basketball people — meaning Doc Rivers to start — will make the basketball decisions. His goal is to have good staff and support them in doing their jobs, not to tell them how to do it.
That last part is huge. If you look at the consistently strong organizations in the NBA and pro sports in general that’s how they are run. How often do you see Peter Holt telling Gregg Popovich what to do? Hire good people and let them do what they do.
Along those lines, Ballmer said he would talk extension with Rivers but that was not going to be rushed.
As I have said before, Ballmer may have come off at this rally like a hype man, but the fact is that after the energy drain of Donald Sterling the whirlwind and optimism of Ballmer is going to be a huge boost for the franchise. It’s a good day to be a Clippers fan.
Heat power forward Josh McRoberts has missed 165 games over the last three years due to injury.
So, the 30-year-old sure isn’t turning down a guaranteed $6,021,175 salary.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:
Any long shot chance of Josh McRoberts voiding his Heat contract was eliminated Tuesday when agent Mike Conley told The Miami Herald that McRoberts will exercise his opt-in and return to the Heat for $6.021 million next season.
Miami will have major cap space this summer with Chris Bosh coming off the books. At this point, McRoberts’ salary is just an impediment to even more room to add an impact player.
The Heat could again try trading McRoberts, but they’ll likely have to attach a positive asset just to dump him. They could also waive and stretch him.
But if his salary doesn’t come between Miami and a big-time free agent this summer, perhaps McRoberts returns for one last chance at helping the Heat on the floor with his passing and outside shooting.
Celtics’ coach Brad Steven is already one of the best in the NBA. His out of time out plays are brilliant, and his Boston team’s flow of ball and player movement is among the best in the league.
It’s those things that were giving the Cavaliers trouble in the first half of Game 4 Tuesday, and ultimately prompted this comment from Tyronn Lue.
“We’re just focused on Boston. The stuff they’re running, it’s harder to defend than Golden State’s [offense] for me.”
Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle asked Mike Brown about that.
You can certainly make the case that the Celtics have a wider variety in their offense, and that with Isaiah Thomas out the rather balanced, anyone can score nature of the Celtics is challenging to defend for a team with inconsistent help defense like the Cavaliers.
But Boston is running these sets with Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown and Kelly Olynyk. Golden State will use ball and player movement to create space for Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. Which is to say, Golden State is tougher to defend because the space they need to make you pay is much smaller. And even if you do everything right the Warriors may just score anyway.
I get what Lue was trying to say, but don’t give the Warriors more motivation.
The Raptors promoted Jeff Weltman, still working under Masai Ujiri, to general manager last year.
That paid off for Toronto when the Magic hired Weltman as their new president.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
The Magic have their own and the Lakers’ second-round picks next year. Even the lower of those two selections could be somewhat value.
In other words, Weltman’s already-difficult job is getting even harder simply by Orlando hiring him.
LeBron James has discussed chasing Michael Jordan’s “ghost,” motivating himself by trying surpass Jordan as the greatest player in NBA history.
Just 27 points behind Jordan for the all-time playoff scoring lead – a record he could break in Cavaliers-Celtics Game 5 tonight – LeBron is again discussing that pursuit.
LeBron, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
“It’s just a personal goal of mine,” James said Thursday before Cavs shootaround in preparation of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics. “It has nothing to do with passing the rings, passing the points, passing MVPs. It’s just my personal goal to keep me motivated — that’s all.”
“You guys are going to have the conversations about who is greatest of all time and things of that nature,” James said. “It doesn’t matter to me. At the end of the day, it’s so funny that the conversation is always talked about in the NBA about who is the greatest but it’s never talked about in the NFL about who is the greatest quarterback. It’s just like: [Dan] Marino, [John] Elway, [Peyton] Manning and [Tom] Brady. All great quarterbacks, you know — and it should be the same for us.
Jordan or LeBron? Save your hot takes. LeBron just burnt them all.
The greatest quarterback of all time is never debated? Claiming that is now the hottest take in the entire realm of the Jordan-LeBron debate.