Dan Feldman

Robert Casillas/The Daily Breeze via AP

Metta World Peace: ‘I could have averaged 15 or 20 on the Lakers if I played, easily’

3 Comments

Metta World Peace said he could play a couple more seasons.

At a high level, too.

World Peace, in a Q&A with Ian Begley of ESPN:

Q: Are you still planning to play next season?

A: Absolutely. The NBA is always on the front burner.

Q: Are you talking with teams right now?

A. I’m waiting for teams. I can still play. I can play, it’s not even a question man. But, you know, sometimes you don’t get in the game man. What are you going to do? I’m not going to be upset, I’m going to support. So if I don’t play, like this year on the Lakers I could have averaged 15 or 20 on the Lakers if I played, easily. But you know, I’ll be supportive (if I don’t play).

If – beyond winning, developing younger players and everything else – the Lakers were totally committed to World Peace averaging 15-20 points per game, he could do it. But that obviously never would be the priority, so it’s practically meaningless.

World Peace produced ugly performances in his limited minutes, which – correctly – never earned him a bigger role. At age 36, he’s unlikely to play better next year.

I was shocked the Lakers signed World Peace last season. It’s unsurprising he remains a free agent now.

World Peace had an impressive 16-year NBA career, and he should be proud of it. I tend to think he knows it’s likely over and is just trying to get attention.

Report: Russell Westbrook’s agent, Thunder in ‘serious talks’ on contract extension

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 24:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder reacts in the first half against the Golden State Warriors in game four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 24, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
J Pat Carter/Getty Images
3 Comments

The Thunder reportedly want to extend Russell Westbrook‘s contract and then sign Blake Griffin.

They’re closing in on step one of their post-Kevin Durant plan.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Thad Foucher of Wasserman Media Group, the agent for Oklahoma City superstar Russell Westbrook, is engaged in serious talks with the Thunder on a contract renegotiation that could secure Westbrook through the 2018-19 season in Oklahoma City, league sources told The Vertical.

No deal has been finalized for the five-time All-Star guard, but there’s momentum toward a three-year, $85 million-plus maximum contract renegotiation agreement, league sources told The Vertical.

The proposed deal would include a player option on the third year, which would clear the way for Westbrook to return to free agency in 2018.

Because they have enough cap space, the Thunder can renegotiate Westbrook’s 2016-17 salary from $17,769,374 to his max of $26,540,100. In exchange, they’ll want something in return – him delaying free agency. This could work out for both sides.

With a max renegotiation-and-extension, Westbrook would earn:

  • 2016-17: $26,540,100
  • 2017-18: $28,530,608
  • 2018-19: $30,670,403 (player option)
  • Total: $85,741,111

A key number: Westbrook’s raises. If he gets 7.5% (as reflected above), the Thunder can’t trade him for six months. If he gets 4.5% or less, they could trade him immediately.

Westbrook would be delaying free agency only one year. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for Oklahoma City to leverage this extension into a better trade return if it fears losing Westbrook in a year. Considering the team’s likely decline without Durant, it’s certainly possible Westbrook would still bolt in 2018.

He’ll be a 10-year veteran then and, based on the last few Collective Bargaining Agreements, eligible for a higher max salary. This could be as much about money as loyalty for Westbrook.

Likewise, it could be as much about trade leverage as devotion to Westbrook for the Thunder.

Report: Knicks sign point guard Chasson Randle

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 21: Chasson Randle #5 of the Stanford Cardinal in action against the UNLV Rebels during the first half of a game in the Coaches vs Cancer Classic men's basketball tournament at Barclays Center on November 21, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Rich Schultz /Getty Images
5 Comments

The Knicks need a third point guard behind Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings.

Most teams carry a third point guard, anyway. Rose’s and Jennings’ injury histories demand depth at the position. Courtney Lee and Justin Holiday can’t comfortably slide to the 1 from shooting guard, and Sasha Vujacic – closer to a combo guard – isn’t that effective at his best position.

Enter Chasson Randle.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

Randle went undrafted out of Stanford last year. But he played well overseas and for the Knicks in summer league. His comfort with a triangle offense, speed and ball-handling ability should help him competently run New York’s offense. His 6-foot-2 frame is an issue, especially defensively.

He’ll compete with Ron Baker and J.P. Tokoto – two other players presumably with partially guaranteed salaries – for the final regular-season roster spot. Baker must adjust after primarily playing shooting guard at Wichita State, but he has point guard skills (and size). Tokoto is it a disadvantage as a wing.

Andrew Wiggins nearly completes 540 dunk (video)

14 Comments

Much to our dismay, Andrew Wiggins didn’t compete in the dunk contest.

Look what he left in the tank.

Wiggins nearly threw down a 540-degree dunk:

👀. #CrazyExplosive

A video posted by Andrew Wiggins (@22wiggins) on

Either Wiggins missed (most likely) or he’s building anticipation for an incredible follow-up video.

But even if he missed, this is quite impressive. With more tries, Wiggins could clearly finish a legit 540 (which has been too commonly embellished into a 720 attempt).

Victor Oladipo made what was called a 540 in the 2015 dunk contest, but I’m not even sure it was a 360 – though, again, Oladipo made it:

 

Sam Mitchell: How Timberwolves fired me, Milt Newton upset Kevin Garnett

MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 17:  Kevin Garnett #21 of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks on during a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on November 17, 2015 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice:  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
4 Comments

Kevin Garnett endorsed Sam Mitchell as Timberwolves coach.

Minnesota fired Mitchell (and general Milton Newton), anyway.

How does that impact Garnett’s decision whether or not to retire?

Mitchel on SiriusXM NBA Radio (hat tip: Zach Harper of CBSSports.com)”

Last time I talked to him, he hadn’t made up his mind yet.

And I just think a lot of things – the way last year ended with the owner at the very last minute. And people don’t understand this. We all felt pretty good about us – myself and Milt Newton and the staff, coaching staff – we felt pretty good about us coming back. We felt like we did a good enough job to at least earn us a couple of years, a year or two, to try to see if we could keep that thing rolling.

And I just think KG was just so hurt by the way things happened. I haven’t talked about it, but to get a call, for people to send you messages as if you were going to be back and your staff was going to be back – and we had everything going in the right direction – and to get a phone call two hours before your last game basically saying, “I’ve changed my mind, and I’m going in a different direction,” it just kind of knocked us all for a loop.

We’ve all recovered from it and moved on, but if you know Kevin, Kevin is very sensitive, and he’s very loyal. And there was a lot of people in that organization that was let go, and the way it was done just left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouth and especially his. And to be honest with you, I don’t know how he’s going to deal with that, because Kevin takes that stuff personal. It’s going to be interesting to see ultimately what he decides to do.

And it’s a shame that, if he doesn’t come back and play, that his last year in Minnesota ended the way it did.

It’s self-serving and unfair for Mitchell to present this to the public. If Mitchell’s ouster is so important to Garnett, let Garnett say that. Now, Garnett would look disloyal if he returns.

Still, it’s possible the coaching situation could factor into Garnett’s decision.

Garnett certainly hasn’t gotten what he bargained for when he returned to Minnesota. He wanted to play for Flip Saunders then maybe own the team with Saunders. Sadly, Saunders died in October.

Mitchell might have provided something meaningful to Garnett. They’re friends and former teammates. As Mitchell said, Garnett is loyal (though it’s worth noting new Timberwolves president/coach Tom Thibodeau was a Celtics assistant when Garnett played in Boston).

But, at most, this is surely one of numerous factors Garnett is weighing. And that’s at most.