Author: Dan Feldman

Stephen A. Smith: ‘Kevin Durant is the one that’s lying’


Stephen A. Smith had the first and last words in his backandforth with Kevin Durant, but the ESPN commentator is still going.

Smith actually makes some good points in that video, at least if you can look past the vague threats. He doesn’t need to speak to Durant to report on Durant, and Durant doesn’t necessarily know which of his friends and family talks to Smith.

But Smith is dead wrong about Durant ending this by signing a contract extension. The largest extension Durant could sign is three years, $69,887,423 ($23,295,808 per season). If he waits until the offseason to re-sign, his max contract projects to be five years, $144,536,025 ( $28,907,205 per season). I don’t know whether Durant wants to stay in Oklahoma, but even if he does, an extension is not a real consideration.

Second-rounder Andrew Harrison going to D-League rather than signing with Grizzlies

Memphis Grizzlies v Charlotte Hornets Clippers

I thought the Tyler HarveyJordan Sibert dichotomy illustrated how second-rounders who declined the required tender were letting their undrafted peers gain an advantage.

This example might be even more telling.

The Harrison twins, Andrew and Aaron, left Kentucky early for the NBA draft. Andrew was selected No. 44 and went to the Grizzlies in a draft-night trade. Aaron went undrafted and signed with the Hornets.

Now, Andrew has put himself in a seemingly worse position than his brother.

Chris Herrington of the Memphis Commercial Appeal:

Memphis had to offer Andrew the required tender – a one-year contract, surely unguaranteed at the minimum – to keep his rights. By rejecting that, he’s subjecting himself to a D-League salary of about $30,000.

By comparison, Aaron has a $70,000 guarantee from Charlotte. If he makes the regular-season roster, he’ll get even more.

Plus, if Aaron gets waived, he’ll be an NBA free agent. He can look for a job with any team. Andrew can sign only with the Grizzlies, who probably need to commit their final roster spot to Ryan Hollins for center depth.

I’m sure Andrew was happy to get drafted, and Aaron was probably disappointed he wasn’t. But Andrew, by allowing the Grizzlies to stash him, has reversed their fortunes.

Ty Lawson implies Chris Paul isn’t elite

Chris Paul, Ty Lawson

Whenever I’ve written about Chris Paul being an elite point guard, someone will write:

How can he be elite if he has never reached even the conference finals?

That internet commenter might be Ty Lawson.

Lawson, via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

“I don’t think you’ve ever seen so many good point guards in one conference at one time in the league ever,” Lawson told Yahoo Sports. “But you’ve got to win. If you want to be an elite PG in this league, you’ve got to win. You’ve got to be in the conference finals, the NBA Finals. If you’re not winning, you’ll always be a second-tier, or third-tier point guard.”

Lawson doesn’t name Paul, and I’m not even sure Lawson realized his criteria for being elite eliminated Paul.

But that’s part of the reason it’s such a dumb argument.

Playoff success is a team accomplishment. Sure, it’s influenced by individuals. But, as good as Paul is, he can’t singlehandedly take a team to the conference finals – especially not in the loaded Western Conference.

Paul’s résumé would be more impressive if he’d had more playoff success, but a lack of it doesn’t invalidate his other accomplishments. I’m not sure how anyone could watch Paul play repeatedly and not think he’s elite.