Stephen Curry has dipped his foot in the political waters – hoping North Carolina changes its anti-LGBT law and promoting relatively benign programs with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Now, the Warriors star is taking a more direct stance in the upcoming presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Anthony Slater of Bay Area News Group:
Curry is far from the first NBA player to endorse a presidential candidate. Several players fundraised for Obama. But this is a major step for Curry, who admits he’s not quite used to his non-basketball opinions carrying such weight.
Trump certainly enabled this stance. If you like Clinton’s policy plans, if you’re willing to look past her ethical transgressions, Trump not being an acceptable alternative makes it far more acceptable to endorse her.
Victor Oladipo expects NBA players to protest the national anthem this season.
It probably won’t be Stephen Curry, who says he’s unlikely to follow Colin Kaepernick’s lead in kneeling. It also probably won’t be Nick Young, who said he’s considering sitting but appears likely to be waived.
How about Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert?
In his new song, “His Story,” Shumpert – a talented musician – raps (hat tip: Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com):
You best believe I’m going to take me a knee for the anthem
Newsflash: Songs can be fiction, and that’s OK. Singers often take personas that don’t match reality. Johnny Cash didn’t actually shoot a man in Reno just to watch him die. So, just because Shumpert the rapper says he’ll kneel doesn’t mean Shumpert the basketball player actually will.
But I’d be surprised if Shumpert put this out without intending to follow through.
J.R. Smith is rumored to want $15 million per year from the Cavaliers, and they’ve reportedly offered $10 million annually.
So, he remains unsigned with training camp approaching.
Adam Caparell of Complex:
He has no idea when he’ll sign with the Cavaliers—“Soon, I hope,” he says. Cleveland is realistically the only team Smith can sign with for the money he’s looking for. So what’s the hold up?
“Well, obviously we’re not where we want to be at from a personal standpoint,” says Smith. “But it’s more than just numbers. I don’t want to feel like I’m taking advantage of the Cavs for everything they’ve done for me, and I don’t want them to feel like I’m taking advantage of them. It’s more of a mutual respect thing.”
This is why Smith has an agent – and a good one, at that. It might be uncouth to publicly say you want to take advantage of your employer, but Rich Paul can do it for Smith in negotiations.
Smith is by far the best player Cleveland, a championship contender, can sign now. Sharing an agent with LeBron James also helps. But the Cavaliers know no other team is positioned to make a comparable offer.
Both sides have leverage – and both should work it. The Cavs sure took advantage of Smith last year when he made the mistake of opting out. He shouldn’t worry about returning the favor – even if he feels he should present of a kinder public face.
Brian Wright is the higher-ranking addition, but former Pelicans coach Monty Williams is the big name in the Spurs’ latest batch of hires.
Though Williams joining San Antonio was known, his front-office position comes as a slight surprise.
The San Antonio Spurs today announced multiple additions and promotions to the basketball operations staff. Brian Wright joins the organization as assistant general manager while Monty Williams comes on as vice president of basketball operations. Phil Cullen joins the Spurs staff as director of basketball strategy and Pat Sund has been named pro personnel scout/Austin Spurs assistant general manager. Nick Repole joins the Silver and Black as director of basketball of basketball information systems while Landry Fields has been named a college scout.
It’s impossible not to root for Williams, who has shown so much grace and strength following the sudden death of his wife. He’ll do well in San Antonio, and the Spurs’ track record suggests their other hires will as well.
No Tim Duncan on that list – yet.
The Pistons will probably use their final regular-season roster spot on a third point guard behind Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith – Ray McCallum, Lorenzo Brown or Trey Freeman.
But in case Detroit wants another big man…
Nikola Jovanovic signed a contract with the Detroit Pistons.
Jovanovic went undrafted out of USC this year, and he’s most likely destined for the Pistons’ D-League affiliate. Not only would Jovanovic have to prove he’s far more NBA-ready than most realize, shooting guards Michael Gbinije or Darrun Hilliard would have to prove capable of being the third point guard or Stan Van Gundy would have to be comfortable with just two point guards. The odds are against each of those scenarios individually, let alone a combination of them.
At 6-foot-11, Jovanovic used his size and skill to make a difference inside in college. But neither trait stands out enough to translate to the NBA with his subpar athleticism.