Kurt Helin

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How things change: In 2011, Chris Paul told Warriors, Celtics he would not re-sign with them


NBA superstars on the move this summer has sparked talk of how hard it is for smaller market teams to land them. Plenty of teams were scared off of going in for Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, or Paul George because they got word through agents and back channels that the player would not re-sign with them when their contracts were up. Why do you think the Suns wouldn’t put Josh Jackson in a trade offer for Irving?

However, it should be noted, what teams are on that “will not go there” list changes. A lot.

Consider Chris Paul leaving the then New Orleans Hornets in 2011 and told the Warriors and Celtics forget it, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said his latest podcast.

“When Chris Paul was in New Orleans, there were two teams (Golden State and Boston) that wanted to be aggressive in trading for him and he said ‘I will not re-sign with you.'”

The lesson here is simply that things change. Small market teams can draw stars, big market teams can repel them.

Remember, back in 2011 the Celtics were running into the brick wall LeBron James and friends in Miami, and they were a couple years away from starting a rebuild. The Warriors were still a well below .500 team where David Lee and Monta Ellis were the scoring leaders. Neither of these teams were what we think of them now — Kevin Durant would not have left OKC for that Warriors team.

Things change. Things evolve. Everyone will complain next year about the advantages the Lakers have if they land a superstar free agent, but they couldn’t get a meeting with Durant and had an embarrassing one with LaMarcus Aldridge in recent years. Los Angeles — and Miami and New York and other markets — have advantages, but it is more than location and brand, it’s having quality on the roster. Minnesota will become a free agent destination in the coming years, and it’s not because players want to be closer to the nation’s best hotdish. It’s because they want to win, and they want to play with Karl-Anthony Towns.

Paul went to a Clippers team that, on paper, should have done better than it did. Injuries and one collapse (against Houston) derailed it. However, for Paul it seemed the smart call. This summer CP3 pushed and was traded to Houston, another team that would have been off his radar in 2011.

It’s the way things evolve.

Watch Kristaps Porzingis, Lauri Markkanen, the best dunks from EuroBasket

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The best news from EuroBasket 2017 for NBA teams? Nobody has suffered a serious injury.

However, there have been highlights.

As the round of 16 gets underway this weekend, here are the best dunks from EuroBasket so far. Enjoy.

Stephen Curry just trying to live in moment, not think about legacy. Too much.

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Stephen Curry: Two-time NBA champion, two-time MVP, four-time All-NBA, and maybe the most popular player on the planet right now (if not, certainly top three).

Turning 30 next year, it would be easy for Curry to start thinking about legacy — and he has. He admitted that to Gerald Flores of Complex. But Curry is trying to live in the moment.

“A lot of the younger generation who are watching the game now don’t remember seeing Michael play. Even the younger, younger generation don’t even know who Kobe is on the court,” Curry said. “This is my time to do me and get the most out of the game that I can. It goes with that off-the-court impression of being able to inspire kids to want to be like me when they grow up…That’s the goal for sure and there’s a huge opportunity to make that happen….

“I live in the moment, man. I know none of this is guaranteed. It sounds cliché, but you have to appreciate every day in this business. Injuries can happen. There’s beef and drama all around the NBA that you really can’t foresee down the road. You’ve really just got to enjoy the process. For me, that’s worked. I really don’t get too far ahead of myself. This is a tough industry to navigate through and you kind of have to be in the moment.”

Curry is popular in part because he — and his game — are relatable. We can marvel at LeBron James, but none of us will know what it is like to be born 6’9″ and fast as the wind, with a gift for vision on the court (not that LeBron doesn’t put in the work, he does and then some). We draw inspiration from Jordan and Kobe, but few want to make the sacrifices in the rest of our lives necessary for that level of commitment. But Curry, you can imagine yourself as that guy.

Curry gets that.

“But I think most of it is because the way I play is something that most people can try to emulate. I’m not a high-flyer going above the rim or anything. For the average basketball player, no matter what level you are or what age you are, everybody loves to shoot, and they love to shoot from way out. I’m pretty sure that has a little bit to do with it. How much fun I have on the court when I’m playing is some of it too. I like to play the game with a smile and that’s genuinely how much I appreciate the game.”

That smile, that joy of the sport, that has spread through the culture of the Warriors. It’s why Kevin Durant came west. And it’s why would admire Curry — we as fans constantly say “this is a game, ” and Curry treats it like that. He savors the moments. That is part of why crowds in Asia and America flock to him.

Avery Bradley on getting traded: “I knew I was going somewhere”

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Danny Ainge completely revamped a 53-win team this summer. It is a big gamble.  One of those moves was trading starter and defensive stopper Avery Bradley to Detroit for Marcus Morris. For the Celtics it was a move to clear cap space, making way for the signing of Gordon Hayward.

For Bradley, this is a fresh start.

During a break at his youth camp in Vancouver (you remember, the city that used to have an NBA team, the one where the nickname Grizzlies made sense) Bradley told Bleacher Report that this trade was not a surprise to him.

“Not from me because you know, I’m eight years in the NBA and it’s the business, man. Anything is possible, anything can happen at any time. … I wasn’t shocked that it happened, you know what I mean? I knew it was a possibility; it was something that we spoke about. Obviously, you can’t read the future and know what team, but I knew I was going somewhere.”

That team is Detroit, where he is an upgrade on the wing over Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (because Bradley is a much bigger threat to hit a three and is just a better offensive player). Bradley sees this as an opportunity to impress and maybe stay in Detroit.

“I feel like anything is possible. Where we’re able to buy into what Stan is trying to do, we have a lot of talent. If we’re able to put that all together and everybody buys in, we can have a special year. Especially with a coach like Stan Van Gundy; he’s special and he really knows his stuff.

I want to help bring more leadership to help this team and just bring that hard-working mentality to the team, and I feel like if I’m able to accomplish that, I feel like anything is possible for our team this year.”

It’s going to be an interesting market for Bradley next summer. A few summers ago quality “3&D” wings were getting paid big bucks, but the market will not be flush with cash next year, and a number of other guys of that ilk — Danny Green, Gary Harris, even Caldwell-Pope — will be free agents. That said, with a good season Bradley will be at the top of the list, and Van Gundy has said the Pistons will pay to keep him.

The Pistons have the potential to be a solid playoff team in the East if guys take a step forward. Bradley and his leadership could help with that — and that will earn him some money next summer, too.

Knicks reportedly could add Trey Burke, Jarrett Jack for camp

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The Knicks have the aging veteran Ramon Sessions, the rookie Frank Ntilikina, and the wildly overpaid Ron Baker to play the point this season, all on guaranteed deals. Not thrilling options, but that’s your point guard core (with maybe some Chasson Randle in the mix, too, although his salary is not guaranteed until the first day of training camp, Sept. 26).

But they could add another guard for training camp and Ian Begley of ESPN threw out some interesting names.

Jack is a good veteran but is coming off multiple knee surgeries, the latest of which was last March after he had gotten a 10-day contract with the Pelicans. Burke washed out in Washington as a backup point guard after he had not panned out for Utah, either.

The Knicks are fairly set at both guard spots — Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee will split the bulk of the time at the two — but they are looking for guys for camp. New York has 14 guaranteed roster spots, if Randle is there when camp opens it’s 15 and there are no more openings.