Kurt Helin

San Antonio Spurs v Portland Trail Blazers

Duncan says he plans to ride Aldridge’s coattails

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San Antonio landing LaMarcus Aldridge was the best move of the summer. It took brilliant cap machinations, but the Spurs not only made themselves one of the favorites to win it all next season, but they also secured the team’s future into the post Tim Duncan era.

There were some questions out there — how would Duncan and Aldridge work together? Both prefer to operate from the left block, and at last check there is only one of those on the court. They have some similarities of game. How would the two blend?

Duncan, speaking to the fantastic Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report, said not to worry (hat tip Eye on Basketball).

“I’m not worried about him benefiting my game; I’m going to worry about me benefiting his. I’m going to let him do his thing and just see where I can fit in and help. I’m going to ride his coattails and I’m going to push him.”

Aldridge has said he’s not worried about meshing with Duncan, so they started off agreeing on something. For me, there are two key reasons Spurs fans should not be concerned (and the rest of the NBA should be):

1) That Gregg Popovich guy is a pretty good coach. I think he’ll be able to put players in positions where they can succeed.

2) Duncan’s leadership style has always been unselfish and bending toward the practical — let’s do what works and what wins, not what’s best for my numbers. Aldridge will need to adapt to that some, but Duncan isn’t going to freak out about his numbers if Aldridge is getting more touches.

The only question anyone should have about the Spurs is health — they have the depth to keep guys fresh, but you never know. Of course, the same is true of every other contender.

Rookie Bogut had to wear diaper, sing Australian anthem

Golden State Warriors Travel Home
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NBA rookie hazing rituals tend to border on the embarrassing — guys having to use My Little Ponies backpacks all season — and a little physical labor, like getting donuts or carrying bags for the vets.

However, Golden State’s Andrew Bogut, speaking to GQ Australia, recounted a pretty embarrassing one.

Bogut: Once I had to dance in a nappy – a diaper – and I had to sing one song of my choice in front of the whole team.

Q: A 7-foot tall center in a diaper? Oof. What song did you choose?

Bogut: I did the Australian national anthem.  It was an easy one. I could pretty much make up words, they had no idea what I was saying.

I am glad I didn’t see this, because I could never have unseen it.


German fans’ standing O for Nowitzki after final game


Dirk Nowitzki was in tears.

His German team was playing in Munich in what was a win-or-go-home game against Spain — and the Germans fell 77-76.

After the game had ended, the German crowd gave Nowitzki a standing ovation, which you can see above.

It was a rough game for Nowitzki — five games in six days is a lot to ask of the 37-year-old. He had 10 points on 3-of-6 shooting.

Nowitzki is, for my money, the best European player ever in the NBA, and he has as unguardable a shot as the league has ever seen. He carried the German national team for years. The pictures and video of when he took the Larry O’Brien trophy back to Germany in 2011 showed just how much that nation worshiped him.

Now the national team leader role falls more to Dennis Schroder (who missed a free throw with three seconds left that could have tied the game).

With the win, Spain advances to the knockout round, having finished second in Group B, the “group of death.”


Blazers’ Miller sues to recover money lost in Ponzi scheme

Milwaukee Bucks v Cleveland Cavaliers

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Former Cleveland Cavaliers and current Portland Trail Blazers forward Mike Miller has filed a lawsuit aimed at recovering what remains of $1.7 million he said he lost in a Ponzi scheme.

The Argus Leader reports (http://argusne.ws/1JZl3cx ) Miller seeks to recover his investment in RAHFCO Hedge Funds.

In 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint saying Randy Hansen of Sioux Falls, the public face of RAHFCO, and Vincent Puma of New Jersey concocted phony account statements that misrepresented their trading.

Authorities say RAHFCO promised huge returns to new investors and used their deposits to pay off others.

Miller’s lawyer says his client has recouped a “substantial amount” of his $1.7 million, but sued Puma for the rest Sept. 4.

Puma’s former attorney wasn’t aware of the lawsuit and no number was listed at Puma’s home.

Report: Knicks “getting closer” to talking ‘Melo trade

New York Knicks v Miami Heat

Does having 31-year-old Carmelo Anthony — and the four-years, $101 million remaining on the contract he signed last summer — at the center of the rebuilding Knicks roster make much sense? I bet the business operations people at Madison Square Garden say yes — he still sells tickets/jerseys/ is at the heart of their marketing. Basketball wise, if the team can jumpstart the rebuilding with what would come back in a trade, it would have to be considered. Also, would ‘Melo himself be open to moving to a team where he can chase a ring?

The Knicks may be coming around to the idea of trading the guy with the name on the top of the marquee, reports Zach Lowe at Grantland (in a throw away line in a post talking about the trade market for Markieff Morris).

The Kings and Knicks should take a look, even though neither has movable assets that would interest Phoenix — unless the Knicks are ready to engage in Carmelo Anthony trade talks. (They’re not there, yet. But they’re getting closer.)

Two things have to happen for the Knicks even to open the door to trading Anthony, and neither is likely before next summer.

First, Knicks owner James Dolan has to sign off on it. Phil Jackson is paid $12 million a year to keep the meddling owner at arm’s length from basketball operations and decision-making — but there is no way Dolan wouldn’t be part of this discussion. Anthony, for all his flaws, is the guy Dolan wanted. He’s the guy people pay to see play. Is Dolan ready to jettison his star and fully embrace the rebuild around Kristaps Porzingis (without a lot of picks in the near future)?

Second, Anthony would need to waive his no-trade clause, and I can think of tens of millions of reasons he would choose to wait on that, all because of his 15 percent trade kicker.

I think Anthony is a Knick for another season. In part because the Knicks want to be respectable this season — they went out and got Robin Lopez and Arron Afflalo for a reason.

Where it gets interesting is next summer — the salary cap spikes, two-thirds of the NBA has max salary cap space they want to fill, there aren’t nearly enough free agents worth that money, and suddenly an Anthony trade becomes more attractive. Plus, he gets more of his trade kicker dollars.

So getting closer sounds about right. By next summer, it might be very close.