Kurt Helin

Andrea Bargnani

Andrea Bargnani says he would have played “for free” to prove himself with Nets

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It’s hyperbole when someone says “I would do my job for free.” I don’t care how much you love your job — there are chefs that live to cook, but take the money out of the equation and they will become bankers or barristas to pay the bills and cook at home. To use another easy example, I absolutely love my job, but I would not do it for free. I’ve got bills to pay just like everyone else.

So when the Nets new stretch four Andrea Bargnani says he would play for free, we all know that’s not literally true.

But I understand the sentiment that he feels he has a lot to prove after some rough times with the Knicks, where he played just 71 games the last two seasons (after a poor trade to bring him in from Toronto).

Bargnani talked about it with Italian newspaper il Fatto Quotidiano, as translated by Nets Daily.

“I would have done it for free because the money at this time does not matter,” said Bargnani who’s made $72 million in his NBA career…  “I just hope I can have a decent playing time, scoring as many points and exceed goals,” he told interviewer Malcom Pagani . “I do not think I was lucky (last year). Luck is good health that allows you to prove your talent at the right time. The rest is the work. I made risky choices, indeed extremely risky and I intend to continue to take risks. I accept all the criticism, it is living in a beautiful dream, I know myself. “

Bargnani will get his chance to prove himself. The Nets are going to start Thaddeus Young at the four, but behind him is a couple of guys who are looking for another chance to prove themselves — Thomas Robinson and Bargnani. Maybe a little Bojan Bogdanovic gets mixed in, depending on the rotation.

That said, don’t we know who Andrea Bargnani is at this point? What is he going to prove? After nine NBA seasons and with him set to turn 30 next season, he’s pretty much established. He hasn’t played more than 42 games in a season for four years. While he can catch and shoot the three ball (36.6 percent last season) he doesn’t strike fear in teams when he puts the ball on the floor (he often settles for midrange jumpers, more than half his shots were from 10 feet out to the arc last season, and he shot 45 percent on those). His defense is terrible.

We’ll see how much he can contribute in Brooklyn. But it’s safe to say he will not be giving them back any paychecks.

Cavaliers’ Mozgov can’t sign an extension this summer, wouldn’t want one anyway

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six
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It all started with a good story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about big men getting paid. Big men always get overpaid a little in the NBA because: 1) You still need them; 2) There is a limited supply of good ones.

That story told Cavaliers fans it would make no sense for Timofey Mozgov to sign an extension to his current $4.9 million deal as he enters the last year of his contract (the Cavaliers just picked up the option on next season).

True. But he couldn’t sign one anyway, notes former Nets assistant GM and twitter sensation Bobby Marks.

There is actually nobody on the Cavaliers eligible for a contract extension.

But the point that Mozgov wouldn’t sign one even if he could is valid. Mozgov is making $4.9 million and the most that the Cavaliers could offer in a contract extension is $5.4 million a year as a starting point (a 7.5 percent raise). As arguably the best free agent center on the free agent market next summer, Mozgov will command probably closer to $13 million a year, Marks estimates. Even if that number drops a little over the course of the season, we’re talking about a deal more than double what he could get an extension. Even if he wants to stay a Cavalier, it makes more sense to become a free agent and re-sign than it does to sign an extension.

Unless we’re talking rookie contracts (where the rules are different), contract extensions are very rare in the new CBA. It doesn’t make sense for most players, because they cannot be for the max number of years (why Kevin Durant will not sign one) and raises are limited. Extensions do happen, Danilo Gallinari reached a deal for one with the Nuggets this summer, but they are the exception, not the rule under the new CBA.

Mozgov is going to be an in-demand man next summer.

Morris twins lawyers seek to send case back to grand jury

Phoenix Suns Media Day
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Twins Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris were both playing for the Suns last season when they were charged with aggravated assault tied to an incident outside a recreation basketball game last January. (Marcus has since been traded to Detroit, and Markieff may not be happy about that.)

The Morris twins have denied any involvement in the attack, or even knowing the victim.

While a grand jury said there was enough evidence to go to trial, the twins’ attorneys want the case to go back to that grand jury, reports the Arizona Republic.

The defense attorneys for Marcus and Markieff Morris have asked a Maricopa County Superior Court judge to return the case to a grand jury because they say prosecutors falsely presented information that led to an indictment on charges of aggravated assault.

Prosecutors presented “false and misleading evidence” and withheld information vital to the case, the Morris twins’ attorneys said in motion to return the case to a grand jury to determine whether there is probable cause to indict the NBA players.

Prosecutors allege the twins and three others people beat up Erik Hood following a recreational basketball tournament in the Phoenix area last Jan. 24. According to reports the twins thought Hood was sending “inappropriate” text messages to their mother. According to prosecutors, another member of the group started the attack and, when Hood tried to run to his car but fell to the ground, the twins reportedly joined in repeatedly punching and kicking Hood.

Hood has a  suffered a broken nose among other injuries.

TheMorris twins have denied taking part in the attack.

The judge can send this back to the grand jury or on to trial.

Mavericks’ coach Rick Carlisle says team will err on side of caution with Wesley Matthews return

New York Knicks v Portland Trail Blazers
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Players have bounced back from a torn Achilles, as Wesley Matthews is trying to do in Dallas this season. That said, history is not kind to them. Those players often are never quite as explosive, their efficiency tends to take a big dip.

And the worst case scenario is what happened to Kobe Bryant — another injury.

Which is why Dallas is going to take it slow and easy with Matthews, something coach Rick Carlisle told the official Dallas Website.

“You know, we’ve done research on it,” Carlisle said while speaking on Matthews’ injury. “We’ve talked to his people, and we talked to the doctor that did the surgery. Casey has all that information. He’s definitely on track for a full recovery, but we’re going to be erring on the side of being conservative and cautioned. I think the most important thing is that he makes a full recovery, because we’re signing him to a four-year deal. The first year is more about making sure that he’s right and getting him out there on the right terms, and from there we want him to make a full recovery and continue to get better.”

Thinking long-term is the smart approach, the only one the Mavericks should consider. The only fair one to Matthews.

Consider this a reminder that this next season in Dallas is not about a quick rebuild to contention, but hopefully taking some steps in that direction. Like getting Matthews healthy, seeing what Deron Williams has left, and seeing if guys like Maurice Ndour can develop into useful players.

Just making the playoffs should be the goal in Dallas. And that may be too lofty a goal. But what really matters is sticking with the path.

Kobe Bryant’s popularity in China knows no bounds

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Thank you Guangzhou #rise #muse

A photo posted by Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) on

Kobe Bryant is Beatles during the British Invasion level popular in China.

The Associated Press

A decade ago, before other stars had recognized the market, Kobe was putting in the time there. Sure, he won titles and that helped, but he started going over to the country every year before it was fashionable. He set up a personal charity just in China. He showed a commitment to the country; he was not just some guy flying in to hawk shoes.

The result is his popularity is enormous. During the 2008 Olympics in Beijing LeBron James and other Team USA members — men used to being treated like rock stars — were taken aback by Kobe’s popularity in the country.

In the end, that means Kobe can hawk a lot of shoes in China. And other products as well.