Kurt Helin

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Two

Jason Terry says James Harden recruited him to stay with Rockets

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It’s official now, Jason Terry will be back with the Houston Rockets next season. Terry himself confirmed it in a text to FOX 26 Sports in Houston.

That was expected, what was more interesting is why he’s back — James Harden was recruiting him hard.

“No question, he was all over me,” Terry said. “(Harden) basically wasn’t letting me go anywhere. That was tough for me knowing how important I am to his growth and his development.

“You’re not the main guy, but the main guy needs you. It makes it a lot easier to come back.”

Terry said he had an offer from the Pelicans as well, an up-and-coming team where he could have provided a veteran presence for new coach Alvin Gentry.

But the Rockets made it to the Western Conference Finals last season and then added Ty Lawson to that mix. The top of the West is a crowded place — the Warriors, Clippers, Spurs, and Thunder also are contenders — but the Rockets will be right there.

Sounds like Terry wanted to be a part of that. Well, once he was pushed into it.

Report: Former Laker, Net Darius Morris out a few months with injured foot

Brooklyn Nets v Cleveland Cavaliers
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Darius Morris spent last season, his fourth, at the end of the Nets bench; he played less than 300 minutes. It was not expected he would be asked back to Brooklyn, and he struggled to find an offer from another NBA team. It looked like he was headed overseas.

But now that’s on hold, too.

David Pick had the news.

That’s unfortunate, it will make it harder for him to land a deal mid-season overseas. He will find one there, or play in the D-League, as he tries to find his way back into the league. But he’s got some work to do before that happens.

Shaq would take Jordan over LeBron in hypothetical one-on-one matchup

Michael Jordan, LeBron James
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Ask Michael Jordan, and he’ll say at his peak “no question” he could beat LeBron James in a game of one-on-one.

Ask LeBron and he will bet on himself.

If either of those answers feels like a surprise, then you were probably caught off guard by the ending of the movie “Titanic.”

What we need is a neutral third party to weigh in on this meaningless debate… how about Shaquille O’Neal? Is there a better arbiter of the ludicrous? Shaq was in France eating butter-laden foods and was asked about the hypothetical matchup, as reported by the Agence France-Presse (hat tip Dan Devine of Ball Don’t Lie):

O’Neal, visiting Hong Kong to promote an energy drink, faced both Jordan and James in their prime and when asked who would win a hypothetical match-up, he didn’t hesitate.

“Mike,” said O’Neal, winner of four NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers (2000-2002) and the Miami Heat (2006). “I think you have to go with a young Jordan every time.” […]

“It would be an interesting game,” said O’Neal. “Young LeBron was more like (Lakers Hall of Famer) Magic Johnson. He was sort of like Magic with Jordan’s abilities. He liked to pass, and he liked to get it up.

“But Mike was Mike. He was just special, like no one else. He always did things no one else could do, and things you couldn’t compare to anyone else. So he was special, and he’d win.”

What both men do well, but Jordan did better than anyone, is hit difficult, contested shots. Sort of like Stephen Curry of late, Jordan was a guy who made bad shots look good. LeBron would be a bull that even Jordan would struggle to stop.

It would be fun to see. After that, just beat each other up in the comments over who would win, because everyones’ opinions matter as much as Shaq’s.

Australia qualifies for 2016 Olympics behind double-double from Andrew Bogut

Andrew Bogut
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In the hours leading up to the second game between Australia and New Zealand — a game with an Olympic bid hanging in the balance — Andrew Bogut’s back was bothering him so much he struggled to get out of bed.

He found a way to the court Tuesday then scored 10 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, blocked two shots and led Australia to an 89-79 win that qualifies them for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Australia and New Zealand played a home-and-home series to decide the FIBA Oceanic area title and with it a spot in the Olympics, and the Boomers won both legs of the series by a cumulative score of 22 points.

In the second game Cavaliers point guard Matthew Dellavedova had 14 points, Bulls forward Cameron Bairstow had 10, and Spurs guard Patty Mills added nine for Australia.

The Boomers are the third team to qualify for Rio. The USA qualified by winning the World Cup last summer in Spain. Brazil is in as the host nation.

Bogut has a long history of back (and other) injuries, which is why nobody should be shocked if the Warriors reach a contract extension with Festus Ezeli. They need to be thinking long-term about the center spot on their roster.

Report: Knicks interested in trade for Clippers’ Jamal Crawford

Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Clippers
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The Clippers both see a value in former Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford and realize that he remains their best trade chip. That’s why he was shopped around at the draft and early in free agency.

The fact the Clippers went out and got Lance Stephenson this summer adds to their wing depth and, in theory, makes Crawford more expendable. At least if you believe in bounce-back Lance. Crawford has been frustrated by what he sees written on the wall, but the Clippers are not just going to give him away so there has been no deal.

Who wants Crawford? How about the Knicks, reports Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.

On the surface you can see the logic there for the Knicks, adding that kind of scoring depth gives them a boost, and for a bubble playoff team in the East that could be enough to put them over the hump. Maybe. It certainly makes it an interesting discussion. For the Clippers, the question is who would they want off the Knicks roster? And do they trust Stephenson to be their sixth man on the wing?

All that may not matter — making this deal happen is very difficult.

The Knicks renounced their trade exception from the J.R. Smith deal this summer to get under the salary cap and go after Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez. That means the Knicks have to send salary back to the Clippers in this deal. And they don’t have players that work for that under the cap. Former Nets exec and Twitter star Bobby Marks laid it out well:

Calderon may make some sense for the Clippers if they do not trust Austin Rivers — and based on past performance they should not trust Austin Rivers. (Clips fans, do not let a couple decent playoff games cloud your judgment.) But making this deal happen is challenging at best. The two sides likely have to wait until the guys signed this summer can be added to the deal, which means December at the earliest. Even then, I wouldn’t bet on it.