Kurt Helin

LaMarcus Aldridge

LaMarcus Aldridge says free agency left him “mentally drained”

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Changing companies is stressful. Moving cities is stressful.

In that sense, it’s understandable that LaMarcus Aldridge found the free agent process he went through this summer taxing. He had big decisions to make about his career and lifestyle he wanted to lead. I wouldn’t know, but I imagine being wined and dined all over the country so you could sign an $80 million contract would ease some of that stress. But maybe not.

Either way, Aldridge opened up to the San Antonio Express-News about the adjustment to his new life.

“I don’t like change,” Aldridge said. “That’s been a little bit difficult for me, trying to get used to a new city. I got lost like twice yesterday. That’s not fun.

“In the end, it should be great for me. Right now, it’s been tough because everything is so new.”

Aldridge, who turned 30 on July 19, has spent most of the summer decompressing from a stressful free agency chase that left him – in his own words – “mentally drained.”

On the court, I think Aldridge will adjust very quickly and fit in — it may take a little while, but he and Tim Duncan will play well off each other. In an offense that allows players a lot of freedom, guys like Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, and Danny Green will make things easier. Aldridge said he expect to get better looks, and he will, plus he will help create those for others. He will like the Spurs cerebral game (which is not terribly structured compared to the micro-control some coaches demand).

When we talk about player changing teams, that’s usually all we think about — how will it work on the court? That and the money. We tend to ignore the fact these are human beings with families and changing teams means a host of challenging life changes as well. Aldridge may have willingly took those on this summer by agreeing to play for Gregg Popovich and the Spurs, but that doesn’t make the transition easier.

It only makes sense for Aldridge to be drained and struggling to adjust. I just have a feeling that by Halloween he’ll be past all that and focused on the game.

 

 

NBA rookies imitating animal noises? We got that video.

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Welcome to the dead of the off-season, when we bring you posts such as…

NBA rookies imitating animal noises.

Well done Lang Whitaker.

Glen Davis says Doc Rivers has changed as a coach, DeAndre Jordan should get more touches

Glen Davis
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Big Baby is still available.

Glen Davis is still out there on the free agent market, the Clippers and Bucks have reportedly had conversations with him. Or, he could just go play overseas.

But with no imminent deal, he was very honest when he appeared on the “Gio and Jones” show on CBS Sports Radio in the morning, with Gregg Giannotti and Brian Jones. He talked about Donald Sterling and playing for the Clippers, but maybe the most interesting thing is how Doc Rivers has had to coach Clippers differently than he did the Celtics.

“I think he’s changed as a coach. In Boston, I think when you have players like Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, so experienced and understanding of policing. He has to do more coaching with these guys, with Blake (Griffin) and DeAndre (Jordan) and Chris (Paul). Kind of walk them through the process of understanding championship basketball. You got to kind of change your tone and the way you talk to these younger guys. So he’s changed for the betterment of the team so he can get everybody on the same page.”

Is Davis saying anything here we didn’t already know? Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan (as well as the rest of the Clippers) are talented but inexperienced. Rivers was hired in part to take them to the next level, and he has to play to their personalities rather than what Boston needed. Coaching is not one size fits all.

Which brings us to when Davis discussed the Jordan/Paul dynamic, and why Jordan was unhappy enough with the Clippers to agree to play for Dallas (before changing his mind).

It was a false reality,” Davis said of the reports of a CP3/Jordan feud. “It was like they had problems, but they didn’t have problems. We can hang out, have a good time off the court, it just some players rub each other the wrong way. I think that’s what it was and they never really talked about it until DeAndre said ‘I’m going to go to Dallas….’

“I thought D’Andre needed more attention, because he’s a guy who dominates on both sides of the ball. He doesn’t have no plays run for him, and he gets every rebound, how about we give him some confidence? Throw him a couple bones down there and see if he can get us a bucket. He can’t shoot free throws, but he’s getting people in the bonus, he’s making things happen out there. So you gotta show him some love because he’s a vital player.”

Davis said the Paul/Jordan dynamic was part of the problem in the Houston series, when it all started to come to a head as the Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead and were eliminated.

It’s one of the things the Clippers need to sort out if they are ging to be serious title contenders next season. On paper, they fixed the depth problem, but chemistry remains the question. And it’s one the Clippers can’t answer until the playoffs.

NBA impersonator Brandon Armstrong takes on Joey Crawford

Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors
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Is there anyone in the NBA more ripe for parody than Joey Crawford?

The legendary ref gets the Brandon Armstrong treatment, the guy who has already impersonated Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, James Harden and others. But this one may be the best.

I bet even Crawford finds it funny.

Toni Kukoc returns to Bulls as special advisor to owner

KUKOC
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Scottie Pippen as been a special advisor to President & COO Michael Reinsdorf for three years.

Now he has a new running mate in one of his old running mates — Toni Kukoc. The Bulls made the announcement this week.

“You only have to be around Toni for a few minutes to appreciate his personality, passion, and professionalism and recognize the contributions he will make to our team in his new role,” Reinsdorf said in a released statement. “Toni will work across the organization and his duties will be wide-ranging. He will bring valuable perspective that comes with experience to many areas, whether it is relating to the international players on our team or sharing what it means to be a Chicago Bull when talking to partners and fans. Toni will be a strong representative of both the team’s legacy and its future.”

“It is a thrill and an honor to again be a part of the team that helped define my basketball career here in the United States and in Chicago,” Kukoc said in his statement. “The Bulls have become my extended family, and I am really looking forward to the future and being a Bull for life.”

Kukoc was the sixth man for the Bulls second back-to-back-to-back title run from 1996-98 (he won Sixth Man of the Year in 1996). He’s a Bulls legend.

The only interesting thing here is that when Pippen and Kukoc were teammates there was a lot of tension between them. Kukoc was then GM Jerry Krause’s golden boy, and that led to issues between Kukoc and the locker room power structure of Michael Jordan and Pippen. Kukoc was considered Jordan’s whipping boy.

Going on 20 years later, you would think everyone is mature enough to have moved past all that.