Kurt Helin

2015 BET Awards - Red Carpet

Paul Pierce bounces first pitch to plate at Dodger Stadium (VIDEO)

3 Comments

Bounce passes are less effective in baseball.

Newest Clipper Paul Pierce threw out the first pitch at the Dodger game Tuesday night and… Clayton Kershaw’s job is safe.

Nicolas Batum responds to Toronto rumor in hysterical fashion

Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers
5 Comments

The report gained traction early Tuesday: Nicolas Batum is a free agent next summer and is already eyeing Toronto as a possible new destination. Batum is the former Blazer traded this summer to Charlotte, one of the lucky players about to hit the free agent market just as the system floods with money from the new television deal next summer. Toronto is a diverse, exciting city and an interesting team in the East…

Stop. Just stop. At least that’s what Batum took to Twitter to say Tuesday in classic fashion.

First things first, and with all due respect to Colin Jost and Michael Che, who certainly had their moments, I miss Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler on the Weekend Update desk.

As for Batum, I can tell you where he will land next summer — whichever team offers him the most money.

Charlotte can, in theory, do that as they have his Bird rights, but Batum isn’t going to get maxed out, so it’s a question of what teams are willing to offer. A lot of that could depend on how this season goes in Charlotte — Batum is a quality wing rotation player, a guy who can be a key contributor on the right team. With drive and kick guys like Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin on the Hornets’ roster, he should get the chance to show off his three-point stroke. He could be at the heart of a bubble playoff team in Charlotte.

However, trying to predict the chaos that will be free agency next summer is a fool’s errand. Batum could end up in Toronto, Charlotte, or 28 other destinations. He no doubt has his favorite spots and places he’d like to be — Toronto may well be one of them — but it all comes down to the money. It’s always the money.

Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr to undergo back surgery

Steve Kerr
1 Comment

How bad is Steve Kerr’s back problem? The Warriors’ coach was just in Lake Tahoe for the American Century Celebrity Golf Classic and he couldn’t get out on the links. And he doesn’t miss a chance to golf.

To remedy this issue he’s going to undergo the knife Tuesday, reports CSNBayArea.com’s Monte Poole.

The Warriors’ head coach told CSNBayArea.com’s Monte Poole that he will undergo back surgery on Tuesday in Los Angeles to address a herniated disk. Kerr has been dealing with the issue for a few months…

Kerr told Poole that he’ll “be out for the summer.”

He’ll be fine by this fall, when the Warriors open training camp in defense of their NBA title.

Report: Knicks, Lakers, Wizards still interested in Kevin Seraphin

Washington Wizards v Charlotte Hornets
9 Comments

The best big man still truly available on the free agent market? (Tristan Thompson isn’t truly available to anybody but Cleveland.)

Kevin Seraphin.

He’s a respectable NBA backup center who thought he could find a starting role but learned the hard way that’s not happening. Last season with the Wizards he averaged 15 minutes a night, scored 6.6 points on 51.3 percent shooting, grabbed 3.3 boards and was reliable. He doesn’t have much shooting range, and in the past there have been issues with fouls and turnovers. Still, he can give a team quality minutes.

He’s likely going to do that next season somewhere on a short, veteran minimum kind of deal. Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops lists the most recent possibilities.

The Mavericks, Suns, and Spurs have in the past expressed some interest.

The smart money has him landing in Washington, where he would play behind Marcin Gortat in the rotation again.

The Knicks and Lakers don’t make a lot of sense. The Knicks have Robin Lopez and Kyle O’Quinn, so there are not minutes to be had. The Lakers have Roy Hibbert and Robert Sacre under contract, plus they are bringing in rookie Robert Upshaw and to see if he can make the roster.

Unfortunately for Seraphin, the music has stopped and he doesn’t have a chair. Or leverage. Or many options. Someone will grab him before the season starts, but he’s going to have to show an improved game to get more run (then eventually, more money).

Former NBA All-Star Vin Baker training to be Starbucks manager

Vin Baker
10 Comments

Vin Baker was in Las Vegas for NBA Summer League, working as an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks. He was also there networking — what really goes on in Las Vegas, between scouts, GMs, coaches and the media. In Baker’s case, he was working to find an NBA assistant coaching job.

That didn’t seem to pan out, so he’s going to his fall back — owning a Starbucks.

Which means learning how to run a Starbucks. He is going through training on that now, something he talked about with Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal.

The world’s tallest, and perhaps most famous, barista is stationed behind a busy coffee counter. His smile and easy-going style welcome customers looking for their Starbucks fix as they fastbreak to work or South County’s beaches….

This is Vin Baker’s world these days. This is the same Baker who grew up in Old Saybrook, Conn., and went on to become one of New England’s all-time great collegiate basketball players at the University of Hartford. It’s the same Baker who won Olympic gold in 2000, played in four NBA All-Star Games and spent 13 years in the pros, including parts of two seasons with the Celtics.

It’s also the same Baker who battled alcoholism toward the end of his career. That addiction, plus a series of financial missteps ranging from a failed restaurant to simply too many hands dipping into his gold-plated cookie jar, combined to wipe out nearly $100 million in earnings.

Now 43, newly married and with four children, Baker is training to manage a Starbucks franchise.

Baker has experience and perspective that a lot of young NBA players could benefit from (at least those who would listen). But getting a foot in the door in the NBA is not easy, even for former All-Star players.

Whether owning or managing a Starbucks, what matters is that Baker is sober — four years now — and on a path that works for him. If you choose to view this as another athlete who blew through their money, ask yourself if you were an instant millionaire at 20, with a lot of other perks thrown at you, how mature would your decisions have been?

I’ll see this as a case of redemption, of a guy who got his life back and under control. I’d love to see him back around the NBA, but if not in a Starbucks works, too.