Ray Allen had the chance to complete the circle.
One of the best pure shooters the game has ever seen, he walked away from the NBA when LeBron James left Miami to go to Cleveland. Allen stayed in Miami to live and golf, but he took a step back from the NBA.
That said, his phone kept ringing. He told Dan Patrick on Friday that, yes, the Cavaliers did call. He also said his last call came from the Milwaukee Bucks — the team where Allen started his NBA career. He could have completed, the circle, but decided against it.
This week, Allen made his retirement official. Next stop, the Hall of Fame.
The worst kept secret around the NBA is that Philadelphia is willing to trade Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel. Well, either that or that Rudy Gay wants out of Sacramento. Or that the Greenhouse Tavern is the best place to eat near the Q in Cleveland.
One team that could be interested in Noel, is the Toronto Raptors, although they are not making any rapid moves to pull the trigger, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
The Raptors are among the teams that have expressed interest in Philadelphia’s very available Nerlens Noel, but sources say Toronto’s initial preference in the wake of losing Jared Sullinger (foot) to injury is to give more minutes to various younger players (such as rookies Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl) so they get first crack at filling the void.
T0ronto wants to add at the four spot and Noel might fit next to the more traditional big Jonas Valanciunas.
Toronto can be patient, they are 3-1, have been good enough defensively, and have been pretty good on the glass this season — sixth in offensive rebounding percentage, 11th in defensive.
But this is something to watch. Philadelphia has a crowded frontcourt — if and when everyone gets healthy — and Brett Brown is just trying to figure out where all the pieces fit. Can Noel and Joel Embiid play well together? Embiid and Okafor? (Probably not.) Where does Dario Saric fit in? And we haven’t even touched on Ben Simmons yet. There will be some weeding out, but Bryan Colangelo is going to want something of real quality in return. The days of the Sixers stockpiling picks is over.
It’s early in the season, but this week we learned a few things in the NBA. Although we may have known a few were coming.
In this latest PBT Extra I talk about the Warriors, the Cavaliers, and the red-hot DeMar DeRozan and what we found out about them this week.
Next season, Nike takes over for Adidas as the official manufacturer of NBA uniforms.
That’s not going to mean radical changes to the traditional game day jerseys — the Lakers and Celtics aren’t suddenly getting a new look — although what happens with the Christmas Day, All-Star Game, and other specialty jerseys should be interesting.
The Sixers’ new unis leaked at a recent event and were bouncing around Twitter (hat tip to The Sporting News).
A few thoughts:
• No, they are not that much different. That’s not going to happen.
• On the white jersey, you can see the ad the Sixers sold for their jerseys next year to StubHub.
• The one noticeable difference: You see the Nike swoosh on the jersey and shorts, while Adidas never got that kind of placement. It was clearly part of the massive deal that Nike signed to take over the rights.
Before the draft, Brandon Ingram was compared to Kevin Durant — a skinny but skilled scorer at the college level. That comparison was radically unfair to Ingram (like Ben Simmons to LeBron James), implying a level of expectations that is simply not likely — Durant is the best pure scorer in the game (unless that’s his teammate). Ingram may turn out to be very good, an All-Star level player, but to mention him with Durant is to put the bar too high.
But Durant is willing to help him get there.
Durant got a closeup look at Ingram when both were in Las Vegas this summer — Durant with Team USA, Ingram with the USA select team, and speaking at shootaround before the Warriors play the Lakers Friday, Durant told Mark Medina of the Orange County Register he’d be happy to help Ingram grow.
“I’ve seen the skills. I’ve seen the length, the effort and the competitiveness. He looks like a quiet, reserved and nonchalant kid. But when he steps in between the lines, he just wants to play,” Durant said. “I have nothing but good things to say and nothing but support for him. I’ll be here no matter what, trying to encourage him and helping him out through the process.”
Durant has already given Ingram some advice.
“He was telling me to be patient and not rush everything,” the Lakers’ No. 2 draft pick said. “When guys like him tell me that, I believe in him. He’s putting on weight and is doing great in this league.”
Putting on weight, developing his game, finding how that game fits into the NBA will take time. Ingram’s getting about 17 minutes a night off the bench for the Lakers and is showing flashes, but has work to do to get his shot consistent (especially from three). Ingram has to put in the work, the Lakers — and Lakers’ fans — need to be patient. It’s a process.
And Durant will pitch in when asked.