Author: Dan Feldman

2015 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

D’Angelo Russell: ‘This Lakers squad will most definitely be a playoff team’


Lakers rookie D'Angelo Russell has repeatedly shown this offseason how much he has to learn.

He struggled through summer league.

He drew Kobe Bryant‘s attention by calling Tracy McGrady maybe the greatest of all time – and then doubled down by calling Lakers fans spoiled. He wasn’t necessarily wrong, but it might not have been the smartest thing to say.

Now, he’s taking the opposite approach – saying something it’s fine for him to say but is almost certainly wrong.

Russell, via Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders:

“Expectations are high,” Russell says, “but this Lakers squad will most definitely be a playoff team.”

This is taking the comments of general manager Mitch Kupchak – who said the team was capable of making the playoffs – to the next level.

Most definitely? There’s something to be said for confidence, but I think we’ll all have a good laugh over this quote in a few months.

Report: Warriors tried to sign Stephen Curry’s brother, Seth Curry, this offseason

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six

Seth Curry rejected overtures from the Pelicans and signed a guaranteed contract with the Kings.

But those weren’t the only teams to pursue Stephen Curry‘s brother.

Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated:

The Kings made the strongest offer on July 21—the day after Summer League ended—but not the only one. The Pelicans, Hornets and Warriors jumped in as well. “I didn’t want to go to Golden State,” Seth says. “I didn’t want to go back in Steph’s shadow.”

Seth’s father, Dell Curry, played for the Hornets. So, Charlotte would have presented a similar drawback. Though Dell obviously isn’t still playing, Charlotte fans would make the comparison.

It would have been interesting to see the brothers play together in Golden State, though I certainly understand why Seth avoided it.

It’s not unheard of for an NBA team to sign a player’s brother just to appease the better player, but that wouldn’t be the case here. Seth has proven himself in the D-League as someone worthy of an NBA opportunity. In search of another shooter, the Warriors have added Chris Babb, Ian Clark and Jarell Eddie this offseason. Seth would have fit right in.

But Seth has an easier path to playing time in Sacramento – plus that guaranteed contract. I doubt Golden State, facing the luxury tax, would have offered that.

The less-intriguing choice was probably the right choice.

What happens to the NBA teams without a D-League affiliate now?

Fort Wayne Mad Ants v Santa Cruz Warriors - 2015 D-League Finals Game Two
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Last season, 17 NBA teams had their own D-League affiliates.

That meant the NBA’s other 13 teams shared one D-League team – the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

Well, the Pacers just bought the Mad Ants, leaving each of the 19 D-League teams with its own single affiliate. (The Raptors bought an expansion D-League franchise).

So now what about the 11 NBA teams without a D-League affiliate – Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers and Washington Wizards? Can they still send players to the D-League?

NBA release:

With the acquisition, the NBA D-League’s flexible assignment system which was instituted prior to the 2014-15 season will continue to enable the 11 independent NBA teams to assign players to the NBA D-League for development or rehabilitation from injury.  Upon receipt of an assignment from an independent NBA team, the NBA D-League will identify any NBA D-League team willing to accept the assigned player.  The assigning independent NBA team will then choose the destination for assignment between those teams.  If no NBA D-League team is willing to accept the assigned player, he will be assigned to one of the hybrid affiliate teams pursuant to a lottery. The 19 NBA teams with single affiliations will be able to assign players to their NBA D-League partners.

Expect to see plenty of cooperation – the San Antonio Spurs-affiliated Austin Spurs taking assignment players from Mike Budenholzer’s Hawks, the Boston Celtics-affiliated Main Red Claws taking assignment players from Doc Rivers’ Clippers, etc.

The Spurs have an advantage the Celtics don’t, though. Because the Spurs own their D-League affiliate, they’ll never be forced to take an assignment player they don’t want.

The NBA teams that own a D-League team: Cleveland Cavaliers (Canton Charge), Golden State Warriors (Santa Cruz Warriors), Indiana Pacers (Fort Wayne Mad Ants), Los Angeles Lakers (L.A. D-Fenders), New York Knicks (Westchester Knicks), Oklahoma City Thunder (Oklahoma City Blue), Philadelphia 76ers (Delaware 87ers), San Antonio Spurs (Austin Spurs), Utah Jazz (Idaho Stampede) and Toronto Raptors (Raptors 905).

The NBA teams with a D-League affiliate it doesn’t own, or hybrid affiliations: Boston Celtics (Maine Red Claws), Detroit Pistons (Grand Rapids Drive), Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley Vipers), Memphis Grizzlies (Iowa Energy), Miami Heat (Sioux Falls Skyforce), Orlando Magic (Erie BayHawks), Phoenix Suns (Bakersfield Jam), Sacramento Kings (Reno Bighorns).

The Dallas Mavericks (Texas Legends) have a one-to-one affiliation. It’s unclear how they’ll be treated, but it seems they’d be in the lottery for assignment players.