Paul Pierce has one year remaining on his contract with the Wizards, but it’s a player option, which means he can walk away from it to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
If he were to do that, it has been speculated that he would end up with the Clippers.
Nothing has been decided on Pierce’s end, but L.A. reportedly remains interested if Pierce chooses to make himself available.
From Robert Morales of InsideSoCal.com:
The Clippers remain interested in bringing small forward Paul Pierce to Los Angeles, a league source told us today, but that Pierce would first have to opt out of his current contract with the Washington Wizards, which he can do.
The Clippers believe they’re close to championship contention, but will need to add the proper pieces to the roster to get over that hump — a job Doc Rivers admitted wouldn’t be easy.
L.A. is already in a difficult position from a salary cap perspective, and that won’t change anytime soon if the team can get DeAndre Jordan to re-sign on a max contract that Rivers has already said will be offered.
Bringing in someone like Pierce on something resembling a minimum deal would be huge for L.A., both because of his prior relationship with Rivers while the two were together in Boston, and because of just how effective he can still be in some of the postseason’s biggest moments.
But Washington has been good to Pierce, so it’s unclear if he’s truly interested in bolting the Wizards just yet.
This year’s Cavaliers team is far more talented than the one LeBron James took to the Finals back in 2007, especially on the offensive end of the floor; Kyrie Irving essentially makes that true all by himself.
But throughout Cleveland’s run to this point in the postseason, James is still spending too much of his time trying to score out of plays where he ends up in isolation. And according to the numbers, it appears as though it’s a trend that needs to stop.
From NBA.com’s SportVU Finals preview:
LeBron James has been the individual isolation leader in the playoffs with 192 in 14 games, which is more than the total for every team in the playoffs apart from Houston who totaled 210. James has only shot 37% on shots out of an isolation, and while dominant near the basket shot a total of just 4/24 from beyond the arc.
That’s way too much isolation, especially when the results look like this.
Irving will need to play a more prominent role in helping to facilitate the offense in the matchup against the Warriors to help James avoid being placed in these situations. And, James should be made aware of what’s happening, and what the numbers reflect, in order to be in a position to improve things himself.
If he does insist on attacking this way (or if head coach David Blatt continues to run sets where this is the end result), LeBron needs to force the issue with strong drives all the way to the basket, instead of settling for long jumpers outside — especially those from three-point distance, though he’s been relatively brutal from midrange, as well.
The NBA has a strict set of guidelines for how it deals with players who have been diagnosed with a concussion.
But for the protocol to even begin, that diagnosis has to take place first.
As we’ve seen in two recent cases with the Golden State Warriors, getting that pronouncement to be made is a difficult proposition. Both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were cleared to return to play after taking hits to the head, because the symptoms of a concussion weren’t yet present.
Doctors will tell you that there are times when a concussion won’t be fully evident until several hours later; in Thompson’s case, he wasn’t officially diagnosed until days later. This is obviously troubling from a safety standpoint, so the NBA Players Association has hired neurologists to see if more needs to be done to protect its players.
From the Associated Press:
The union has hired neurologists to examine the policy and determine whether any changes are needed to prevent players from playing with an undiagnosed concussion. …
[Union head Michele Roberts] is not convinced that players shouldn’t be held out longer out of caution after being hit in the head. While stressing that she is a lawyer, not a doctor, and that she will wait to hear what the medical experts tell her, she also said one player being allowed back in a game with a concussion is too many.
“That number is sufficient to make us all look at whether we want to risk a player’s health for a game,” she said. “To say it happens so rarely or doesn’t happen frequently enough to change the rules is not enough. We’re talking potentially about someone’s life. I don’t think we should play an odds game when it comes to a player’s life.”
There should probably be a lower threshold than “concussion” for players being held out of action after taking a hit to the head that requires a locker room examination. It makes sense for the union to do what it can to pursue a more reasonable solution than the one currently in place.
In case you’ve ever wondered who the best player was to wear each jersey number in NBA history, the fine folks at Mitchell & Ness have got you covered.
This interesting graphic shows exactly that, although there are plenty of decisions that fans will surely feel the need to debate.
First, there are 14 numbers that have never been worn in the NBA. Second, we decided that any player who ever wore the number was eligible to be the best at that number. For example, Karl Malone wore #32 in Utah for 18 seasons before he moved to Los Angeles to wear #11, so when picking #11 we considered The Mailman and his amazing career.
LeBron James didn’t make the cut, and neither did Larry Bird — but, then again, with Michael Jordan, Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sharing those same uniform numbers, it didn’t seem possible.
While some tough decisions caused the unfortunate omission of some all-time greats, others — like Dennis Rodman, thanks to his unique number choices — made the list more than once.
Emmanuel Mudiay has a solid overall skill set, but is a bit of a mystery to teams as the NBA Draft approaches.
Mudiay chose to play in China last season after facing eligibility issues as a freshman at SMU. But an ankle injury limited him to only nine games during the regular season (and a couple of playoff appearances), so the sample size is unusually small for teams considering selecting him with a high lottery pick.
Mudiay will get the chance to make his case to a few of those teams at the top of the draft board with in-person workouts in the coming weeks.
From Adam Zagoria of SNY.TV:
Larry Brown says Emmanuel Mudiay is expected to work out for the Lakers, Sixers and Knicks, the teams picking 2, 3 and 4 in the NBA Draft.
A second source told SNY.tv that the order of the workouts will go Lakers first, Knicks second and then the
Sixers last. Mudiay has been working out in New York, including at House of Sports in Ardsley to prepare for NBA workouts.
“Emmanuel Mudiay is going to make everyone on his team better,” Brown, the former Knicks and current SMU coach, told The 4 Quarters Podcast on Monday.
It’s difficult to see Mudiay impressing enough to cause the Lakers to pass on Karl-Anthony Towns or Jahlil Okafor at two, but the Sixers at three and the Knicks at four are both reasonable candidates that could be convinced.
Our mock draft has D’Angelo Russell at three and Justise Winslow at four, but things will remain fluid until June 25 is upon us.