Author: Dan Feldman

Kevin Garnett

Don’t give Kevin Garnett any puppies


Kevin Garnett on the growth of the young Timberwolves:

It’s almost like putting a bunch of puppies in a box and shaking it up and watching the puppies go at it a little bit.

You can listen to Garnett say that with a laugh that sounds fine until you realize what he just said:

Report: LaMarcus Aldridge disliked Portland lifestyle, attention Damian Lillard received

LaMarcus Aldridge

In April, Ramona Shelburne reported LaMarcus Aldridge was more likely to leave the Trail Blazers than most people realized.

Blazers fans met the report with skepticism and resentment. Two words particularly irked them: “It’s Portland.” They dismissed the Los Angeles-based Shelburne as big-city biased, unable to understand the beauty of Portland like Aldridge did.

Except Aldridge, as we all know, left the Trail Blazers for the Spurs.

And its seems Portland’s environment factored, as did Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Privately, Aldridge never made much of a secret about his dislike for the lifestyle and climate of Portland and the Pacific Northwest. As an organization, the Blazers could do nothing about it.

Aldridge loathed driving around Portland and seeing those Lillard billboards that adidas had mounted for him – even when the Blazers made Aldridge the centerpiece of every franchise marketing investment.

Throughout the final, formal meeting in late June, it became clear that Aldridge hadn’t let completely let go of years-old issues with the way he believed ex-Blazers Brandon Roy and Greg Oden had overshadowed him in his early years. This was part of Aldridge’s personality that everyone surrounding him understood – that the teams recruiting him had researched and debated internally on how to navigate in the recruiting process.

Leaving that meeting in Dallas in late June, perhaps little was more telling than the fact Aldridge never raised one particular name: Damian Lillard. Ultimately, this was the enigma of LaMarcus Aldridge. He wanted talent around him, but never too much that it might lessen his own marquee. Pleasing Aldridge was never easy, and nobody knew that better than the Portland Trail Blazers.

Aldridge didn’t sign with the Spurs for any one reason.

Going home to Texas played a part. Leaving Portland, regardless of the destination, probably factored, too.

He wanted to play for a winner, and San Antonio offers that. But once Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili retire, Aldridge has at least a chance to be the face of the franchise. It’s more likely he overcomes the private Kawhi Leonard than the endorsement-rich Lillard. The Spurs are good, but not too good at the top (at least in perception, because Leonard is great).

I doubt those were deal-breakers, though.

If Wesley Matthews stayed healthy and the Trail Blazers continued to win, maybe Aldridge would’ve re-signed. I don’t think his dislike of the city trumped all other factors.

But even if it did, that’s totally fine. Aldridge is entitled to assess Portland and Lillard’s stature however he pleases.

Some NBA players surely like Portland. It’s a big and diverse league.

Many NBA players want to play with Lillard, too. Few can credibly claim to warrant a higher spot in the pecking order, and only a subset of that group actually cares.

Aldridge – the Trail Blazers’ franchise player for years – just happens to be someone who cares about things Portland couldn’t offer.

Pacers’ Myles Turner out at least four weeks

Myles Turner, Channing Frye
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Myles Turner‘s fractured thumb – its significant.

Pacers release:

Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner sustained a chip fracture in his left thumb during the first half of Wednesday night’s game at Boston.

He is consulting with the Pacers’ medical staff regarding the next steps in repair and recovery. He is expected to miss at least four weeks.

The rookie has looked good so far this season, scoring six points on 55% shooting in 16 minutes per game. One of his best attributes is decisiveness. When Turner gets the ball, he makes a move.

Hopefully, this absence doesn’t sap any of that aggressiveness.

Indiana will have to rely a little more on Ian Mahinmi, Jordan Hill and Lavoy Allen without Turner. The Pacers might play a little smaller a little more often, too, but they had been trending the other direction.

Report: Kings more likely to fire George Karl than trade DeMarcus Cousins

Boston Celtics v Sacramento Kings

When DeMarcus Cousins and George Karl feuded last summer, Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé reportedly didn’t want to trade Cousins but considered firing Karl.

You think this latest spat changes anything?

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:

Sources close to Kings ownership say it’s far more likely that Karl is removed as coach than Cousins being traded.

Ranadivé has shown a willingness to fly through coaches, employing Michael Malone, Tyrone Corbin and Karl just last season.

Cousins is the franchise player, an All-NBA talent who’s just 25 and signed until 2018.

Karl is more easily replaced than Cousins, and it’s not even close.

But if the Kings dump Karl, they’ll get nothing in return and have to pay him. Trading Cousins will yield favorable assets – maybe even a package more valuable than Cousins, though that seems highly unlikely.

The ideal scenario is Cousins and Karl learning to coexist. Kings general manager Vlade Divac says Karl will get the rest of the season to make that happen, and Sacramento might be on its way.

If things go south between Cousins and Karl again, though, there’s little doubt whom the Kings will choose.

Kyrie Irving’s Uncle Drew returns (video)


Kyrie Irving‘s famed character, Uncle Drew, is back.

This time, Ray Allen, Baron Davis and J.B. Smoove join him.

Considering Irving was recovering from injury when this commercial was filmed, I’m not sure he’s playing that differently from how he looks.