OAKLAND — Kevin Durant said during the Finals he felt LeBron James‘ decision to go to Miami — leaving a team he wasn’t sure could win a title to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh — helped lay a foundation for Durant to come to Golden State. In the eyes of players, LeBron took charge of his destiny and made it happen, for Durant he felt he was taking the next step down that path.
Does that mean LeBron regrets starting the super team trend?
“I don’t believe I’ve played for a super team,” LeBron said after his Game 5 loss. “I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe we’re a super team here. So, no, I don’t really, I don’t.”
When those words came out of LeBron’s mouth, heads in the media room popped up from our phones and laptops like startled antelope at the watering hole, and then we all looked quizzically at each other as if “did I just hear that right?” Then we put our heads down and Tweeted out the quote.
One would need an incredibly high standard to think LeBron has not played for a super team — the two titles in Miami were with a stacked team. These Cavaliers have LeBron, two other current All-Stars, and a veteran bench filled with former All-Stars and guys who now fit their role well. He’s never played on a team as good as Jordan’s Bulls or the Showtime Lakers were in their eras, yet by almost any definition these Cavaliers are a super team, they just ran into what may go down as an all-time great team.
Which is why LeBron seemed a little perplexed through the rest of his press conference, as he seemed to be trying to think through how to make these Cavaliers take the next step forward. With this team basically capped out and without much flexibility, it’s not going to be easy.
The Wizards look like they solved their backup-point-guard problems with Tim Frazier.
But they also looked like they solved their backup-point-guard problems with Trey Burke and then Brandon Jennings last year – and look how that turned out.
So, even after trading for Frazier, Washington is still trying to increase stability behind John Wall.
The Wizards added some depth to their backcourt on Thursday by signing veteran guard Donald Sloan to a one-year deal, CSN’s Chris Miller confirmed on Thursday night.
The 29-year-old Sloan has played for the Hawks, New Orleans Hornets, Cavaliers, Pacers and Nets in a five-year NBA career. He spent last season in China.
Sloan isn’t much of a scorer, and he’s only a decent distributor. But he makes up for it with all-around adequacy, highlighted by his rebounding for his position.
The veteran will compete with second-year Sheldon Mac, whose salary is just $50,000 guaranteed, to be Washington’s third point guard.
Nigel Hayes became a cult hero at Wisconsin for bringing a “BROKE COLLEGE ATHLETE ANYTHING HELPS” sign to GameDay and soliciting Venmo donations, challenging the stenographer in a press conference and “accidentally” calling a stenographer beautiful in front of a hot mic.
After going undrafted, Hayes and his colorful personality are headed to New York, where Knicks fans are starving for fun.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Could Hayes stick into the regular season? The Knicks have just 14 players with guaranteed salaries, leaving one more spot for a player on an standard contract. Chasson Randle has an unguaranteed salary that becomes partially guaranteed around the time training camp opens. The Knicks could also sign other players, though they’re down to just minimum exceptions.
Hayes – a 6-foot-8 forward – has a chance, but he’s most likely ticketed to New York’s minor-league affiliate after being waived by the parent club.
The Rookie of the Year race is wide open heading into next season.
It’s that way every year — if you had predicted Malcolm Brogdon was going to win a year ago, you would have been laughed out of the building — but this coming season has a lot of talent at the top of the board who could win. Lonzo Ball, Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, Jayson Tatum all have a real shot — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Who is the better favorite? Depends on where you do your betting.
The William Hill’s Nevada sportsbook (which works with a number of Las Vegas casinos, such as the SLS), has this (hat tip ESPN):
Lonzo Ball 9-5
Ben Simmons 5-2
Dennis Smith Jr. 4-1
Markelle Fultz 13-2
De'Aaron Fox 8-1
Jayson Tatum 8-1
The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas has Simmons as the betting line favorite at 9-4
The online betting site Bovda.lv has this line
Lonzo Ball 9-4
Dennis Smith 3-1
Ben Simmons 5-1
Jayson Tatum 5-1
Markelle Fultz 8-1
Traditionally, Rookie of the Year goes to a guy who has the ball in his hands, is aggressive, and puts up raw numbers. It celebrates scorers.
This year a whole lot of guys can fit that bill, more than are mentioned here. It’s going to be a wild ride.
The NBA season is coming… and that means NBA 2K18 also coming.
To whet the appetite of you gamers out there, check out the first trailer for the upcoming game, with music by Mobb Deep.
You can pre-order the game now.