This is just salt in the wound of Oklahoma City fans.
The Warriors’ Andre Iguodala was on The Breakfast Club on Power 105.1 in New York and was talking hoops, and then started talking about the Oklahoma City Thunder. Transcription via Anthony Slater of the Oklahoman.
“Now that we got KD, I can say it: They were the best team last year in the league in the playoffs,” Iguodala said. “They were better than us. They were better than Cleveland. They were the best team in the playoffs. They should’ve won a championship.”
Why didn’t they?
“I mean, we just hawked them down,” Iguodala said. “But they were better than us. They played us better than anyone. They played us better than Cleveland. Some of the stuff they was doing, it’s like…oh, man. We gotta play perfect.”
Not a ton but more times than they wanted to admit, the Warriors got bailed out during the regular season because Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson would just get unstoppably red hot and shoot them to a win on a rough night. A night they probably should have lost. That happened again in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals against Oklahoma City — the Thunder played great ball, but Thompson just could not miss from three.
It also reinforces the fact the Warriors didn’t just add a superstar to their roster, they also cut their main competition in the West off at the knees.
The Clippers have added a third point guard to the roster — behind Chris Paul and Austin Rivers — in 11-year NBA veteran Raymond Felton.
Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times broke the story.
Solid might overstate it slightly, although he is comparable to Austin Rivers. Last season Felton averaged 27 minutes a game and started 31 for the Mavericks, averaging 9.5 points and 3.6 assists per game.
The challenge is he’s not a good shooter — 28.2 percent from three last season — and his numbers are in steady decline in recent seasons. In the past there have been conditioning questions, which has led to defensive problems in the past. There may be slightly better fits on the market.
However, on a one-year minimum deal, this isn’t a bad contract for the Clippers
Can you imagine Manu Ginobili ending his career in a Sixers uniform?
Neither could the San Antonio Spurs — but they had to pay Ginobili a massive one-year, $14 million contract to have the legendary Argentinian finish his career in San Antonio. The two sides formally reached and signed a deal on Thursday, a story broken by Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports and since confirmed by the Spurs and Ginobili himself.
Here is the initial report:
Four-time NBA champion Manu Ginobili has signed a one-year, $14 million deal to return to the San Antonio Spurs, league sources told The Vertical.
Both sides had been discussing terms and completed the deal Thursday, sources said. Ginobili, 38, opted out of his $2.9 million contract in June to become a free agent.
Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical had the more interesting details.
The Spurs first offer to Ginobili was for a little more than $3 million. At the urging of coach Brett Brown — who had been an assistant with the Spurs — the Sixers offered Ginobili a two-year deal with at least $16 million guaranteed in the first season, Wojnarowski reports. The Spurs want veterans who know how to win in their young locker room. That forced the Spurs to up their offer — Ginobili would give the Spurs a hometown discount, but not a $13 million one. The Spurs got their man, but it’s part of the reason they couldn’t match the Piston’s offer sheet for Boban Marjanovic.
Ginobili does still bring value on the court as a playmaker off the bench. Last season he averaged 9.6 points and 3.1 assists per game, in what felt like a bounce-back season. Ginobili will play for Argentina this summer at the Rio Olympics.
He does realize it’s Summer League, right?
The NBA world has been in Las Vegas the past week for Summer League, a series of exhibition games where teams look at their just-drafted rookies, guys they might consider for the final couple roster spots/camp invites, and mostly guys who will spend next season in Europe or the D-League.
The outcomes of the actual games mean about as much as the color of your toothbrush — Summer League is an evaluation tool. Nothing more. It’s not important and top players — such as highly drafted rookies — are often pulled by teams after a few games.
Don’t tell that to Hall of Famer and former NBA coach Isiah Thomas. The Sixers sat No. 1 pick Ben Simmons on Wednesday night, and Thomas was on the NBA TV broadcast. Here is what Thomas said, the video is above (via Eye on Basketball):
“He should be playing tonight. You got people coming into the building, they want to see him play. He’s a rookie. He’s taking selfies and signing autographs, I mean you 19 — earn your money. Get out on the floor and play.”
I don’t think we can say this enough: It’s Summer League. It doesn’t matter. I get the old school “I always compete” mentality, but this is not when Ben Simmons earns his money — he earns it when the games start in October. The real games. The ones count for something. That’s when he needs to always compete. What matters in Las Vegas is he got in a little run with better competition than he saw at LSU, the coaches got to evaluate him in that setting, learn some things, work with him on others.
What matters most for Simmons at Summer League? Staying healthy. Between the Utah and Las Vegas leagues Simmons played in five games this summer. That’s plenty.
Summer League has become a draw for hardcore fans of the game, it’s become a surprisingly large spectacle and event. Which is awesome. But let’s not confuse the games with something that has real meaning beyond an evaluation tool.
Adam Silver has said he doesn’t think the move of Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors is good for the NBA, as Silver has made “competitive balance” one of his priorities. Dallas owner Mark Cuban thinks KD as a villain on the Warriors is going to be good for business. But Silver said the situation that helped form the Warriors is something the league should look at through the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which the owners/players union are already discussing.
Wanda Durant came to the defense of her son and set Silver straight.
Silver was at the ESPYs last night and spoke to Joe Varden of Cleveland.com.
“The one thing I have learned, I was just talking to Kevin Durant’s mom, every situation is different,” Silver told cleveland.com on the red carpet in Los Angeles prior to the ESPYS Wednesday. “This was a team in Golden State where they have three all-stars who were all drafted. A team that’s under the cap. And one free agent, who also happens to be a superstar, makes a decision to go to that team. It’s very different than if multiple players from different teams had come together and said let’s all land on yet a completely different team.
“Every situation is unique, and these players have difficult decisions to make,” Silver said. “Of course they want to win. I’m sure it was very difficult for him to leave the Oklahoma City community. Look at the incredible things he’s done there over the years. So these decisions are always difficult, and these are young men. It’s a lot of responsibility.”
Kevin Durant’s mom is his best publicist and enforcer. Apparently. Of course it helps that she’s right.
Silver went on to say he still wants to see CBA changes. Silver speaks for the majority of owners, who want changes to limit superteams and flatten out the talent pool (which the current CBA has done, five different champs the past six seasons). The problem is what changes get made? The confluence of events — the new television deal spiking the salary cap, Stephen Curry being on a below-market contract because of past ankle issues, and much more — that had to come together for Durant to make this move were a fluke, not something easily predicted and preventable.
Some owners will want a hard cap, but no way the players would go for that and it would lead to a lengthy lockout. Same goes for a “franchise player tag.” The best move might be to remove the max salary restrictions while keeping the cap as is — no way a team could get Curry and Durant at the same time when each would command at least $45 million — but the rank-and-file NBA players wouldn’t want that because the money they make now would suddenly go to the top five percent of players. There are no easy answers or this would already be done.
Maybe Silver should just consult Wanda Durant on this.