Kurt Helin

Dwight howard
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Chandler Parsons on Dwight Howard to Mavericks idea: “Why not come here?”

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Chandler Parsons went the full John Calipari in recruiting Dwight Howard to Houston a few years back. It worked. Well, the recruiting part worked, the fit with Howard on the Rockets has been a mess. But Parsons helped land the big fish.

Will he do that again trying to lure Dwight Howard to Dallas this summer?

Maybe. There’s a lot of questions here — including will free agent to be Parsons stay in Dallas himself — but he said in his exit interview it was possible. Here is the quote, via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“I think he can still dominate the game. I think he can still be a great player in this league. And I think he’s going to leave Houston, so why not come here?”

While critics on Twitter shred Howard, he still has value on the court. Howard averaged  13.7 points and 11.8 rebounds a game this season, shooting 62 percent, and he has been the only Rocket playing defense for stretches of the season.

As always, this question ultimately comes down to money. And years.

Howard and his agent are reportedly letting it be known he wants max money (or close to it), which under the spiked salary cap this season will be in the $30 million range. That reportedly has Mark Cuban and the Mavericks saying “too rich for my blood” and staying away.

More interesting than the amount may be the years — how long will teams be willing to be committed to Howard, with his history of back issues (not to mention franchise culture clashes his last couple stops)? Will a team commit to four years but at a lower per-year sum? Three years? Two?

I could see something in the two-years, $40 million range, but maybe a GM who strikes out elsewhere comes in over the top.

What Howard can ultimately get is one of the most interesting questions of the off-season. In last year’s market Howard may have struggled to find anything near what he expected, but this year in a market where two-thirds of the teams will have space for a max salary and it’s a thin elite free agent class? It’s unpredictable.

And Dallas is not out of the question.

Report: Lakers’ priority in new coach is free agent recruiter

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak speaks to reporters at team headquarters in El Segundo, Calif., Friday, April 15, 2016. With Kobe Bryant's $25 million salary, ravenous shot selection and dominant personality gone from the basketball team after 20 years, Kupchak says he will meet with head coach Byron Scott and owner Jim Buss in a few days to discuss their options for the Lakers, which finished with the NBA's second-worst record at 17-65 in Bryant's farewell season. (AP Photo/Greg Beacham)
Associated Press
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Byron Scott’s job the past two seasons was to put Kobe Bryant in the spotlight and help guide his career to as graceful an ending as possible. He was there to help sell NBA history and nostalgia, then after that try to develop young players and win a few games.

Lakers management — specifically executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak — decided Scott did not have the skillset they wanted to move the franchise into its next phase.

What is that skillset? Recruiter, according to a report by Sean Deveney in the Sporting News.

The Lakers are looking for a coach. But more than Xs and Os, more than establishing a style of play and seeking a developer of young players, the Lakers are looking for a new, “recruiter-in-chief,” as one source said…

“That appears to be the No. 1 priority,” a league source told Sporting News. “It’s not just finding a guy to work with what’s on the roster. They need a coach who can pitch players.”

That’s one reason Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie has become an especially intriguing candidate. Ollie played with 11 different NBA teams in his 13-year career, and developed a reputation for his knowledge of the game and his likeability as a teammate and mentor for younger players. Of course, Ollie’s last NBA stop was Oklahoma City, where he was a teammate to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

If true, this fits with the narrative that the Lakers are not looking for a multi-year, patient rebuilding effort. They want to bring in talent that can win sooner rather than later to go with the young core of D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance.

It also begs a question: Why did the Lakers wait so long to let Scott go and start the coaching search process?

By the time they did, the two biggest name and best free agent recruiting coaches on the market — both of whom had some interest in the Lakers’ job. In Brooks case, that interest was mutual. But by the time Scott was let go Thibodeau had all the power in Minnesota and Brooks had signed to coach John Wall in Washington.

The guy at the top of the list now for the Lakers is Luke Walton. Is he a recruiter? Ettore Messina of the Spurs?

This coaching hire is important for the Lakers after a series of misfires — Mike Brown, Mike D’Antoni, Scott. The Lakers need a clear vision of what they want in a coach and what direction they want him to take the team. It’s hard from the outside right now to see where that exists.

State of Knicks fandom summed up in one film: “Porzingod”

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That. Is. Brilliant.

First, where can I get a painting of Kristaps Porzingas with a halo and holding a unicorn? I need that in my home.

This is a fantastic film by brothers Tyler and Conor Byrne, satirizing the level of hope Knicks fans have invested in Kristaps Porzingis. Just like the best satire this is over-the-top just enough to be funny while still hitting the mark.

The short film stars John Leguizamo (who was awesome in “Chef” by the way) and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

KP, no pressure on you kid.

(Hat tip Eye on Basketball)

 

There are 10 million reasons Dario Saric may not be a Sixer next season

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26:  Dario Saric of Croatia (R) shakes hands with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being drafted with the #12 overall pick by the Orlando Magic during the 2014 NBA Draft at Barclays Center on June 26, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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The Philadelphia 76ers front office has said it expects Dario Saric to be in a Sixers uniform next season.

Saric himself has said repeatedly he plans to come over and wants to start playing in the NBA.

Maybe. But I can think of 10 million reasons or more he might stay overseas for one more season. Money talks, and staying would mean a lot of it.

Saric was drafted 12th by the Orlando Magic in 2014 and instantly traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for Elfrid Payton. Saric then resigned in Europe to continue to develop his game for a couple seasons.

What that means is if he comes over next season his is subject to the 2014 rookie scale. If he waits one more season he can negotiate any deal he can with the Sixers as a free agent — the method both Nicola Mirotic and Tiago Splitter used to get bigger first contracts.

John Smallwood tried to explain it at at the Philadephia Daily News, but we will use our own Dan Feldman’s more accurate numbers:

2016-17: $2,318,280
2017-18: $2,422,560
2018-19: $2,526,840 (team option)
2019-20: $3,481,986 (team option)

For those of you counting at home, that’s about $4.7 million guaranteed. After that point, the Sixers could offer a contract extension beyond this deal, but he would be locked in for the rookie scale that fourth year.

If he waits a season, he can negotiate any deal he can get when he comes to the NBA.

In comparison, however, by waiting out his full rookie scale playing in Europe for three years, Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic negotiated a 3-year deal worth $16.6 million last summer.

And remember, Mirotic was the 23rd pick in the draft and signed this deal with the Bulls before the salary cap spike that will come the next two years in the NBA thanks to the new national television deal. Conservatively, if Saric waits a season he should be able to well $20 million over three years from the Sixers.

That’s more than $11 million more in guaranteed money (at least, these are conservative estimates) for staying in Europe one more season. (The counter argument is how fast Saric can get to the fifth season, waiting a year delays that a year, so if you think he’s a max or near max guy in five years then he can take less now and more than make it up on the back end. But that strikes me as a foolish gamble.)

I’ll believe Saric passes that up to be a Sixer next season when I see it. Maybe he will, but that’s a lot of cash to leave on the table.

 

Kings unveil well done new logos; part of rebranding of franchise

Kings logos
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There is a lot of rebranding going on with the Sacramento Kings.

Some of that they are trying to make happen on the court, which will start when they bring in a new coach (results pending on that part).

However, more may be happening off the court with the team about to move into an impressive new building in downtown Sacramento. Part of that was the unveiling of the new team logos on Tuesday.

I like the new logos (you can see them above), which are both retro and updated, and it’s a clean look.

The Kings are a franchise that could use an image change. There was a time a little more than a decade ago when they were near the NBA mountaintop, but it’s been a steady slide since then — including the team almost moving out of town. There were questionable management decisions first by the former owners the Maloofs (as their personal fortunes dwindled), then by the new owner Vivek Ranadive, who has had a rough learning curve on the job. On the court, there has been a parade of coaches but no playoffs for a decade. The building they were in felt old. The word dysfunction seemed to fit too many moves and decisions.

The Kings see this summer as a fresh new start. The logos are part of that, and it’s a good first step.

The new building in downtown Sacramento should be a big leap regarding image. I’ve been fortunate to tour the facility (more details to follow on that another day), and it feels like another thing the Kings have gotten right. It’s an indoor building but with as much outdoor feel as they can get thanks to massive windows (which retract to allow in the night air for certain events in the right conditions). The sightlines are great, it feels open and spacious. Most importantly, it feels very Sacramento — from the food options through the environmentally friendly touches. It’s also a modern NBA building — the team’s training facilities and medical facilities will be in the same building complex.

All that leaves is the on-the-court issues to fix. That may be the hardest part, and it’s not going to happen quickly, even with DeMarcus Cousins under contract. The jury is still out on how this will go. The Kings are in the midst of a coaching search, which should inform a lot of decisions that follow. The good news is that hands-on owner Ranadive is letting Divac and the basketball people make the decision without interference. Whatever you think of Divac the GM, this is a change and a step in the right direction. The next one will be to stick with one coach and one style of play for multiple years, let some continuity develop.

That all takes time. In the short term, the logos are here and look sharp.