Kurt Helin

Harrison Barnes

Warriors’ Harrison Barnes out at least another week

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Win streak or no, the Warriors were always going to be cautious bringing Harrison Barnes back from his ankle injury. He’s too valuable to rush his return.

And that return is, at least, another week away after he was evaluated Sunday, “interim” coach Luke Walton told Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com.

“He won’t play this week,” Walton said after practice. “It’s nice to have the schedule that we have right now. With only two games the whole week, it would be a good chance for him to get some more rest and we’ll re-evaluate him at the end of the week.”

Barnes is not only a starter for the Warriors but also he is an important cog in their deadly small-ball lineups. The Warriors are 5.8 points per 100 possessions better when Barnes is on the floor than off, plus he provides good defense and a lot of versatility (which is how the Warriors thrive).

Barnes rolled his ankle back on Nov. 27. Media members saw part of Barnes post-practice workout Monday, which included him dunking. He’s probably not that far away, but there is no reason to rush him back in December. However, I’d be surprised if he’s out for the Christmas Day showdown with Cleveland.


Report: Sixers talking to Shane Battier, Elton Brand about joining team

Shane Battier

One of the numerous criticisms of the Sixers bad-to-get-good process under GM Sam Hinkie was that they didn’t pay a couple of well-respected veterans to round out the roster to help teach the young players what it takes to be a professional. Critics pointed to Minnesota with Kevin Garnett, Andre Miller and Tayshaun Prince as an example of how to bring along youth the right way. The impact of these imaginary vets has been overblown — a couple of older guys in the locker room would not have kept Jahlil Okafor off TMZ — but it can show young players the level of dedication and commitment needed to thrive (or even stick) in the league.

Now that Jerry Colangelo is in the big chair in Philadelphia, suddenly the Sixers are talking to veterans, reports David Aldridge of NBA.com.

Other sources said the Sixers are talking to former star Elton Brand and NBA veteran Shane Battier about joining the organization, hoping to bring in guys with sterling reputations to serve as role models for the young players.

“Josh definitely wants to pick up the pace, but some of the people in the organization just don’t get it,” a league source said over the weekend.

There is only so much they should pick up the pace — and they certainly don’t want to make any moves this season that would have them winning a lot more games. The Sixers likely will have three and maybe four first round picks (depending on how the lottery balls bounce for the Lakers). They have Dario Saric who should come over from Europe in the next couple years. There are going to be a lot of young players with potential if Sam Hinke drafts well, the Sixers shouldn’t don’t want to throw that young talent away for mid-level veterans that win them 30 games. They are invested in the process and can’t pull out now.

But if it’s good PR to bring in Battier this season — and he certainly could be a good locker room mentor — then go ahead. Next summer spend some money wisely on leaders and young players with potential who can be poached (restricted free agents). Spend some money and assets, but don’t blow up the process. Patience will pay off.

Gregg Popovich disgusted but not surprised by Rajon Rondo slur


It’s hard to find anyone who is surprised at the homophobic slur thrown by Rajon Rondo at referee Bill Kennedy. That word gets thrown around entirely too casually in NBA locker rooms (and around professional sports all together).

Gregg Popovich summed it up beautifully, asked about the incident by Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post.

“Why would I be surprised? You see it all the time. It’s unfortunate, it’s disgusting, because Billy is a great guy, and has been a class act on and off the court. As far as anybody’s sexual orientation, it’s nobody’s business. It just shows ignorance to act in a derogatory way toward anybody in the LGBT community. It doesn’t make sense. But surprised, of course not. He showed a lot of courage.”

Rondo issued a statement on Twitter about the incident saying, “I did not mean to offend or disrespect anyone.” Of course, if you call anyone a “M***** F******* F*****” you absolutely did intend to offend and disrespect them, that’s the point of choosing those words. Heat of the moment or not.

Popovich speaks for a lot of us on this one.

PBT Podcast: Talking Warriors’ loss, Rondo’s slur, All-Star votes

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The Warriors lost, they need to hire Jerry Colangelo to right the ship.

Okay, maybe that’s a small overreaction. But in this latest edition of NBCSports.com’s ProBasketballTalk Podcast Kurt Helin and Sean Highkin talk about all the latest news around the NBA. That starts with Golden State and its first loss of the season at the hands of Milwaukee. Can the Warriors still get to 72 wins? Do they want to?

After that the duo discusses Rajon Rondo‘s slur (this was recorded before his “apology” came down), the new Memphis Grizzlies’ lineup, and who we would pick for our All-Star ballot.

As always, you can listen to the podcast below, or you can listen and subscribe via iTunes.

PBT Extra: Rajon Rondo’s only one-game suspension bad look for NBA


If you want to be seen as a progressive league, you have to walk the walk.

The NBA didn’t in the case of Rajon Rondo‘s use of a gay slur to referee Bill Kennedy, who has since come out as gay. This is a terrible look for the league, and the one-game suspension Rondo was given now looks soft. Adam Silver and team missed the mark here. For too long they have let players and coaches get away with what at times can be verbal abuse of referees — we don’t want to take the emotion out of the game, and players will get mad with officials, but there needs to be a line.

Rondo crossed it and got what amounted to a slap on the wrist.

For a league very concerned about its image — remember it was words that got Donald Sterling in hot water, not decades of wretched ownership — they missed the mark on this one. But now they can’t go back and change it.