Kurt Helin

Denver Nuggets vs Houston Rockets

Corey Brewer excited to reunite with Ty Lawson, spark Houston

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Back in 2012-13, when the Denver Nuggets were racking up 57 wins under George Karl, Ty Lawson and Corey Brewer meshed well together. When those two shared the court the Nuggets played at a fast 100.5 possessions per game (that’s the Warriors pace from last season) and the team scored 108.3 points per 100 possessions (that would have been third best in the NBA).

You can see why Brewer is pumped to be playing with Lawson again.

They are teammates in Houston and Brewer told James Herbert of CBSSports.com’s Eye on Basketball expects they can recapture that magic.

“I had some good years in Denver with Ty so I know how to play with him and I love the way he plays because he plays fast like I do and he’s going to push the pace, push the tempo. That’s what we need here. That’s what we like to do. We like to run.”

But before that can happen, Ty Lawson needs to get past his personal battle with alcohol, which has led to two DUI arrests this year. Brewer clearly subscribes to the theory that put on a contender with a lot on the line, Lawson will get his life back in order.

“Yeah he’s going to be able to do a lot. You got to think about the different guys he’s going to play with. Denver had some good players, they didn’t have James Harden or Dwight Howard. It’s very different when you play with guys like that.”

For Lawson’s sake, I hope so. It may not be that simple, but I hope so.

Lawson and Brewer did generate offense together, but they also didn’t get a lot of stops — they outscored opponents by just two points per 48 minutes because the defense wasn’t good. It will be interesting to see how Kevin McHale mixes and matches with them to keep the defense solid.

No doubt, however, that the Lawson/Brewer punch can put some points on the board while James Harden rests his beard on the sidelines. The Rockets need that.

Raptors officially unveil new uniforms, yes there is a Drake-inspired one

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The Toronto Raptors have a new logo and now new uniforms for next season, something everyone knew, but they officially announced Monday. Here are the home and away looks.

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I could talk about how they have the colors of the Canadian flag still, or how they have a maple leaf and “we the north” on them, or how the player names on the back will be arched rather than straight across, but that’s not what you care about. Here is what you wanted — the black-and-gold Drake inspired alternates.

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I’m no fashion critic, but they’re not bad. From the official press release.

Raptors Global Ambassador Drake unveiled a Cory Joseph alternate black jersey with gold and white trim during his OVOFest concert tonight at Toronto’s Molson Canadian Amphitheatre.

If you’re not a fan of Drake or these alternates, I would suggest avoiding a lot of the All-Star Game next February from Toronto. It’s going to be a Drake-fest.

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

Andrea Bargnani
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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.