Kurt Helin

PBT Extra Free Agency Preview: Plenty of potential, plenty of risk in class of centers

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One could argue that the center position is the deepest (or, at least second deepest) position in the 2016 free agent class.

But these are not lock guys that are available; there is a lot of risk and reward here. Not with Andre Drummond at center, but he’s not leaving Detroit.

But there is with Hassan Whiteside, a guy who has never earned $1 million a season and is about to make $22 million a year. There’s always a risk when a guy who scrapped to get paid finally gets the big check. With Pau Gasol there is the risk of age, with Joakim Noahwho is destined for the Knicks — it is age and health.

But the biggest gamble of all may be Dwight Howard.

I break it all down in this latest PBT Extra, including a suggestion for Howard.

PBT Extra Free Agency Preview: After Al Horford, power forward class drops off

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Al Horford is the second best free agent available on the market this summer, behind some guy named Durant.

But after the versatile forward from Atlanta — who may be on the move if the Hawks balk at offering him a five-year max deal — the quality drops off quickly. Well, Dirk Nowitzki is quality, but he’s not leaving Dallas.

Ryan Anderson has health questions, and his skills are in decline. Then you get into nice rotation players off the bench such as the Jareds — Sullinger and Dudley.

I break it all down in this latest PBT Extra.

NBA says it does not endorse proposed changes to North Carolina “bathroom bill,” All-Star Game still up in air


Before the NBA Finals tipped off, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that he hoped that modifications to North Carolina’s HB2 — the “bathroom bill” — would come from the state legislature and not force him and the league to make a decision about moving the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte because of it.

He then said there was a point this summer when the league would have to make a decision about the future of that game.

There are proposed changes to the bill being floated, but the league said they did not go far enough.

“We have been engaged in dialogue with numerous groups at the city and state levels, but we do not endorse the version of the bill that we understand is currently before the legislature,” the NBA and Charlotte Hornets said in a combined statement. “We remain committed to our guiding principles of inclusion, mutual respect and equal protections for all. We continue to believe that constructive engagement with all sides is the right path forward. There has been no new decision made regarding the 2017 NBA All-Star Game.”

Earlier this year North Carolina’s legislature approved HB2, which restricts transgender bathroom use (you have to use the bathroom for the gender with which you were born) and preempted anti-discrimination ordinances put in by Charlotte and other North Carolina cities that tried to block discrimination against gays and lesbians. The bill was a political ploy in an election year. The law led to a business backlash — PayPal, Deutsche Bank, and others have pulled plans for expansion in the state off the table — as well as a social one, including things such as Bruce Springsteen canceling a concert in the state. The NBA was part of that.

The changes being floated among Republican lawmakers would create a new official document that would officially recognize someone’s gender reassignment, serving as an alternative birth certificate for people coming from a state that does not allow changes to birth certificates. That has been roundly rejected by members of the LBGT community.

It was always unlikely there would be meaningful changes to the bill in an election year.

The buzz All-Star weekend was that the NBA had just a couple of options if it wanted to move the 2017 game. One of those is rumored to be Orlando, where a mass shooting of 49 people at a gay nightclub horrified the nation, plus brought attention to and galvanized the LBGT community in that state (and beyond). If the NBA were to make a statement on inclusively and support, that could be the destination.

PBT Extra Free Agency Preview: LeBron, Durant headline strong small forward class

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Small forward is the marquee free agent class of 2016.

LeBron James isn’t leaving Cleveland (yet), but Kevin Durant is next in line and he is taking meetings with a variety of teams — he probably stays in Oklahoma City, but nothing is set in stone.

After that come a number of players who could help teams — Nicolas Batum, Harrison Barnes, Chandler Parsons, Luol Deng and others. In this latest PBT Extra I talk about the top five at the is position and who could land where. Including Durant.

Report: Brooklyn Nets to make run at Jeremy Lin in free agency

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The Brooklyn Nets need a point guard, they just waived their best one from last season in Jarrett Jack.

The Brooklyn Nets need to sell tickets and increase local viewship on their broadcasts.

One guy who might help in both those areas? Jeremy Lin. And the Nets are going to go hard after him, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.

If you want another connection, new Nets coach Kenny Atkinson was an assistant to Mike D’Antoni with the Knicks back in the Linsanity days.

While Lin’s numbers last season were similar to previous years, he looked more comfortable on the court in Charlotte. He averaged 11.7 points and three assists per game mostly in a sixth-man role for the Hornets — he had the ball in his hands more than in Houston or Los Angeles, which allowed him to play to his strengths of attacking and creating.

In Brooklyn, with Brook Lopez as his pick-and-roll partner, Lin could do some damage and have a good season. Add a couple of shooters around them and the Nets will not suck (which should be their goal after last season).

Lin has other options. Charlotte would like to retain him, but it will be difficult because they have several key free agents and have rightly prioritized re-signing Nicolas Batum. When other teams strike out on Mike Conley Lin will get calls.

Wherever Lin lands, he’s going to make a whole lot more than the $2.2 million he had to settle for a year ago.