Kurt Helin

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat

Hassan Whiteside, Draymond Green spar on twitter over small ball

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Golden State won its NBA title this year going small — Draymond Green at the five was not something the Cavaliers had an answer for. The two years prior, the Miami Heat won a couple of titles playing Chris Bosh at the five, spacing the floor with his jumpers.

Small ball works. Not for everyone — Green allows the Warriors to go small and not get hurt defensively — but it has proven to work with the right lineups.

Just don’t tell Miami center Hassan Whiteside that.

The Warriors Draymond Green saw that tweet and fired back.

Then they exchanged a couple more barbs.

Whiteside may want to note that the Warriors beat the Memphis Grizzlies to get to the Finals, and last I checked Marc Gasol was pretty good at scoring inside. Same with Zach Randolph. Didn’t do them any good. To be fair, part of it is the Warriors are versatile — they can go small, play bigger, and they remain very effective on both ends of the floor. But their core identity is smaller and faster.

For two years prior, even Whiteside’s own team leaned small to win — Chris Bosh as the five and LeBron James at the four for long stretches. It’s what created matchup problems for opponents. It’s what worked.

There will always be a place for a skilled big man in the game, but the old basketball adage “tall and good beats small and good” doesn’t always ring true anymore. Not if you have the right smalls.

Why is Carlos Boozer still available? One exec says think defense.

Carlos Boozer
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Last season, Carlos Boozer averaged 11.8 points a game and shot 49.9 percent from the floor for the Lakers. He added 6.8 rebounds a night. He had a PER of 16.8, above the league average. His numbers are not gaudy, but you can see him as a scoring big off the bench who can run the pick-and-pop well.

So why is he still available as a free agent late in August? Defense, one exec told Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops.

“What Boozer scores on the offensive end, he quickly gives back on defense,” one NBA general manager told SheridanHoops.

No doubt. Boozer’s defensive lapses are obvious and frustrated Tom Thibodeau to no end, then had Byron Scott shaking his head at points last season in LA (of course, a lot of things with those Lakers should have had Scott shaking his head).

However, if a team can get Boozer for the bi-annual exception ($2.8 million) and use him as a scoring big man off the bench, isn’t he better than a lot of guys who have already inked deals? The guy can put up points.

Which is to say, if he stays in shape someone is going to come calling, likely early in training camp if not before. Of course, if he’s waiting for a contender, or even a playoff team, to call, he needs to be patient. Maybe very patient.

If not, there’s always China.

Stephen Curry on if he’d leave Golden State: “Hopefully not”

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On Monday, it was reported Stephen Curry had no interest in bolting Golden State when he becomes a free agent in 2017 – “As I am thinking right now, free agency isn’t really appealing to me because I love where I’m at.”

Tuesday Curry took fans’ questions on Facebook and said the same thing (the answer to this questions starts at the 2:30 mark).

“Hopefully not. Hopefully everything works out and I can finish my career here. I’ve probably got like 10 good years left.”

What did you think he would say? He just won a title, and he certainly wouldn’t want to start up the rumor mill for no reason.

Curry is on ]a steal of a deal right now. He will make $11.4 million next season — the 54th highest paid player in the league (according to ESPN’s Marc Stein). The reason is when his contract extension came up, he was still battling the ankle injuries that plagued his early career — nobody was sure if he would get past that and be a steady player. It was a fair deal at the time; he got some security, and the Warriors bet on their star blossoming and having him at well under market value. Golden State won that bet.

Curry is obviously a max player come 2017, and the Warriors will back up the Brinks truck.

Why do max guys leave? Because they see a better chance of winning elsewhere. Including LeBron James (it was part of his decision, a younger core around him). The summer of 2017 is a long way off, but it’s nearly impossible to imagine Curry will look at the Warriors’ roster and think he needs to get out of there to win.

In the summer of 2017 Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard, and Derrick Rose all could be free agents, and all of them are more likely to look around than Curry (at least as it seems now). In that environment, you can Curry re-signing with Golden State within minutes of the July 1 free-agent window opening. Well, so long as a lockout doesn’t ruin all of the fun.

(Hat tip Hoops Rumors)

Metta World Peace says he knows nothing of talks with Lakers

'Quelli Che Il Calcio' Tv Show - April 19th, 2015
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It’s an eye-catching story because we’re talking Metta World Peace — a player it’s hard to stop watching, at times because of the train wreck — but the fact is teams have “casual conversations” with potential camp invites and veterans working out at their facilities all the time. It rarely amounts to anything.

While NBA twitter buzzed Monday about the news the Lakers and World Peace’s people had talked possible contract, MWP himself was oblivious. Here is what he told TMZ when asked about the talks.

“I didn’t hear that… I got four kids, so I didn’t hear nothin’.”

First, as a father myself, that is totally understandable. Children never let you focus on one thing, or even pay attention to things you want to follow. Like your NBA career.

Second, these casual conversations likely were between someone with the Lakers and someone helping represent World Peace, and who knows who initiated the talks. It’s not uncommon for a player to be out of the loop on these, unless they push their agent for details. Also, it benefits one side of that equation more to leak news of the talks, if you want to follow the bread crumbs.

That said, World Peace said he would “absolutely” love to play for the Lakers again. He’s not worried about the level of play after having been away from the NBA for a season (and having been waived by the Knicks the season before that).

“Basketball is an easy sport… a lot of professionals, they are okay. They aren’t nothing special.”

Vintage World Peace. For selfish reasons, I’d love to have him back in the league. I just can’t think of a logical reason the Lakers would do it.

Clippers’ owner Steve Ballmer says steps that led to $250,000 DeAndre Jordan fine were “inadvertent”

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Seven
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There are times it’s clear that Steve Ballmer, though unquestionably passionate, still is on the NBA owner learning curve. There have been a few stumbles, to put it kindly.

The latest: Apparently offering DeAndre Jordan a $200,000 a year Lexus endorsement if he re-signed with the Clippers. A day after that, Jordan said he would sign with Dallas. Four days later he started to change his mind and shifted back to the Clippers, and while that likely had nothing to do with the Lexus deal, it still earned Ballmer and the Clippers a $250,000 fine.

Ballmer said this was not intentional, in a memo he sent to Clippers personnel and obtained by Dan Woike of the Orange County Register.

Today, the NBA announced it has fined the Team for violating NBA rules in our presentation to DeAndre Jordan on July 2. The League’s investigation concluded that the presentation of a potential thrid-party opportunity had no impact on DeAndre’s decision to re-sign, and having been a part of the process, I can attest to this fact.

As we, and the basketball world observed, DJ ultimately chose to stay with the Clippers because he felt it was his best opportunity to win a championship, and because of his desire to remain part of the Clippers family.

As I shared with everyone on day one of purchasing the Team, being part of the Clippers family means operating with the highest integrity. We believed we were doing this the right way, and any circumvention was inadvertent. In our effort to support our players in every way possible, we as an organization must be diligent in complying with the CBA.

Did he plan to break the rules and get fined? Obviously not, even though Ballmer probably has $250,000 in the folds of his couch. Did he just not know how to dance along that edge? Now we’re getting somewhere.

Large market teams try to use endorsement potential as a recruiting tool — the Lakers and Knicks have for years. It’s just clearly less effective now, in a world shrunk by social media. LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Monroe spurned LA and NYC this summer to sign in San Antonio and Milwaukee, because they could win there. You build your brand as a player on the game’s biggest stages — specifically the playoffs and Finals — and what stars want to see is how they get on that stage.

It’s what the Clippers should sell the hardest — they are title contenders.