Author: Kurt Helin

Philadelphia 76ers v Los Angeles Clippers

Clippers waive Jordan Farmar, clearing way for Austin Rivers, likely others


Jordan Farmar, a backup for Chris Paul at the point for the Clippers, has been officially waived, it was announced on Friday.

This was expected, it was part of a house cleaning for the Clippers that included Austin Rivers joining the team — he will become the first son to play for his coach father in NBA history — and likely others players down the line. Austin Rivers was not with the team at shootaround but is expected to be available Friday night when the Clippers face the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Farmar is now an unrestricted free agent, he didn’t play particularly well as a backup to CP3 — scored 4.6 points a game on 38 percent shooting, had a PER of 10 — but it is possible another team picks him up.

The thing is, Austin Rivers is not really much of an upgrade. Certainly not one that would require sending out Reggie Bullock and Chris Douglas-Roberts plus a pick to get the trade done. While a lot of nepotism questions were raised, Sam Amick of the USA Today posted another rumor.

That really applies more to Farmar than CDR, but in both cases this was about trying to improve the chemistry and clearing space on the roster for future moves. That said, giving up a nice trade chip in Reggie Bullock to bring in a new backup point guard playing less than 15 minutes a night really the smart move here?

The Clippers are looking to bring in other players being waived as well. Tayshaun Prince’s name has come up and he is not alone.

If you have chemistry issues, do you want to introduce the big personality and unrepentant gunner on the court to the mix in Robinson?

The Clippers are looking for something because this team is not what they hoped it would be coming into the season — a true contender.

Kawhi Leonard returns to Spurs lineup Friday vs. Trail Blazers

Kawhi Leonard

A torn ligament in his hand has sidelined Kawhi Leonard for the past 15 games. In that time the Spurs went 7-8, with the 18th ranked defense in the NBA. What that has improved recently the Spurs offense continues to struggle, scoring at a pretty pedestrian rate.

San Antonio is better than any team in the league at having guys step up, fill a role and they keep on winning. But some guys bring things harder to replace, and Leonard’s athleticism and defense is that for the Spurs.

Which is why they are excited to have the reigning Finals MVP back on Friday night when the Spurs face the Trail Blazers.

The last game Leonard played was against Portland, where he scored 21 points and had nine rebounds. He averaged more than 15 points a game but more than that, was key to their defense on the perimeter and adding a jolt of athleticism to their offense.

Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $225,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Friday’s NBA games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $25,000. Starts at 7pm ET on FridayHere’s the FanDuel link.

The Spurs are 24-16, which is only good enough for the seven seed in the West, and there are rumblings that they just do not look like the driven Spurs that won the title last season. Maybe not yet, but they have all the same players back. Write them off at your own risk, just know other teams around the league are not.

Milwaukee Bucks’ Larry Sanders suspended at least 10 games for drug violation

Larry Sanders

Last season, the Bucks Larry Sanders was suspended five games for violating the league’s drug policy — five games being the suspension you get for testing positive for marijuana use three separate times.

Now, Sanders has tested positive and will be suspended again.

This time the league has handed down at least 10-game suspension for Sanders for again failing a drug test. The suspension will begin next Monday and could go on longer than 10 games, it will remain until “he is in full compliance with his treatment program” according to the league report.

Sanders has been away from the team “for personal reasons” since before Christmas. There were rumors that he told Bucks officials he didn’t want to play basketball anymore, however Sanders and his agent denied that.

Sanders opened up about his downward spiral the past couple seasons recently. He’s an introspective and smart player, one who comes from a family with an abusive father. Clearly all this has left some scars.

I would be surprised if we see Sanders back on the court this season (especially in a Bucks uniform). Hopefully this time away will give him a chance to get his life on the path he really wants.

Watch Kobe Bryant set career high with 17 assists

Kobe Bryant, Tristan Thompson, LeBron James

The myth is Kobe Bryant is a ball hog who will not pass. Like most myths while there may be a little truth in the story it has gotten wildly blown out of proportion. Kobe is a willing passer if he trusts his teammates — there are times he doesn’t trust anyone more than he trusts himself, even if he is double-covered and 25 feet from the basket. But when teammates earn his trust Kobe is a smart passer anticipating the defense.

Kobe has started to trust his teammates more as this season has moved on — he’s had to. His body won’t let him carry the same load it used to.

Thursday night against the Cavaliers Kobe’s teammates rewarded that trust by knocking down seeming everything. Kobe finished with a career high 17 points and looked good doing it.

It just wasn’t enough to beat LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

LeBron James misses alley-oop dunk, Kobe thinks it’s funny (VIDEO)

Kobe Bryant, LeBron James

The spring is back in LeBron James’ legs. So much so that against the Lakers he overshot an alley-oop dunk and slammed it off the back of the rim and missed.

Kobe Bryant and LeBron had a good laugh at that one.

LeBron had the last laugh, he had 36 points and his Cavaliers snapped their six-game losing streak at the expense of the Lakers.