Kurt Helin

Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich

Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard rest for Spurs Monday vs. Sixers


All the news in Philadelphia Monday has been off the court.

That includes with the visiting San Antonio Spurs.

Going up against the team with the worst record in the league, a couple of key Spurs would sit out, the team announced.

This was not a back-to-back situation, but the Spurs are off until Wednesday (and a much tougher test with the Raptors), so Pop got a star a rest and didn’t push his other star. Somehow I doubt it costs them in the end (although credit the Sixers with the fact they play hard every game).

PBT Podcast: We take your Twitter questions on Wade, Lakers, Clippers, more

Dwyane Wade
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We wanted to get you all involved in the PBT Podcast. Well, that and we can be a little lazy at times. So we asked for your questions on Twitter.

In this latest edition of the ProBasketballTalk Podcast Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman first break down the latest news around the league (note that this was recorded a couple hours before the Sixers’ front office shakeup, so obviously that will be saved for another date). But then we get into the listener’s questions on Twitter about the future for Dwyane Wade in Miami, the Lakers’ plans, are the Clippers picked on too much, George Karl and more.

Listen to the podcast below or you can listen and subscribe via iTunes.


PBT Extra: Why Cavaliers slide, Rockets climb in power rankings

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As they do every Monday, the ProBasketballTalk Power Rankings hit the street (well… the Internet street), and there were a few changes Jenna Corrado wanted to ask me about.

For one, the Cavaliers have lost three straight, so they slid down to fifth. Is that cause for concern? LeBron James has been concerned enough to call team meetings and discuss focus, energy, and defense. But once they get Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert back, a lot of those problems go away.

The Rockets have played better of late. They are 4-1 in their last five games, which has been all about an improved offense — the Rockets are scoring 7.7 points per 100 than their season average in this stretch. And expect it to continue for a little while as Houston’s next six games are against teams below .500. However, after that we will see if this is a mirage or if the Rockets have turned a corner.

Trust the process? Sixers hire Jerry Colangelo to lead basketball operations

Jerry Colangelo, Josh Harris

This doesn’t mean “the process” — stockpiling draft picks and being bad to get good — has completely changed. But things are going to look a little different in Philadelphia now.

At a press conference Monday majority owner Joshua Harris said he wants the process to move a bit more quickly. So he made a move.

Jerry Colangelo, the man who spent the past decade as the chairman of USA Basketball, has been hired as “Special Advisor to the Managing General Partner and Chairman of Basketball Operations,” the team announced. What that means is he’s got the owner’s ear and is above GM Sam Hinkie in the pecking order. His voice has vinal say.

“Jerry Colangelo is one of the most respected people in basketball and we are excited to add his five decades of knowledge, relationships and experience to help drive our organization forward,” Harris said in a released statement.

This is a smart move, but it’s as much about perception as reality.

Bringing in Colangelo looks good — to the minority owners for the Sixers tired of losing who had been vocal (off the record) in their complaints, to the fans tired of a plan they don’t see working out yet, and to agents around the league who (unless the money was better than other options) tried to steer clients away from Philly (one of the reasons no vets on the roster). Colangelo is respected around the league.

However, the changes may not be as deep as some are expecting. Starting with, it is not expected that Hinkie is going anywhere anytime soon, both according to sources I heard from and other reports around the league. Colangelo’s voice will be in the mix, and he will have the final say.

“(Hinkie) is in the position where he’ll make the call on the final decision, but that’s after a lot of collaboration with us,” Colangelo said at the press conference.

It is possible Hinkie doesn’t like being bumped down the pecking order and slides out in six months or more, or not depending on how he works with Colangelo. But he’s not out the door right now.

Also, coach Brett Brown — who has gotten this roster to play hard and has done as good a job as could be expected — is going anywhere either. From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

What all this means is don’t expect a 180, a radical shift of plans — the process will continue. As it should, just modified. With all the draft picks the Sixers have lined up the next couple seasons, the best thing that can happen to them is some lottery luck and smart drafting. Top free agents are not going to want suddenly to come to Philly, not until a foundation of young talent is put in place and given a little time to solidify. They need to get and develop that talent.

But it sounds like there will be some changes, at his press conference Colangelo threw a little shade at Hinkie.

“There seems to be a void of leadership, player wise,” Colangelo said. Meaning expect some vets to be brought in and paid a little.

Some of those stockpiled assets may be moved to make way for viable, somewhat established NBA players. That’s not a bad idea.

LeBron James signs lifetime deal with Nike

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Nike dominates the basketball shoe market — to the tune of 95 percent of the market. That is based on Nike not letting its best properties get away, such as the massive deals they have with Michael Jordan.

No active players sells more shoes than LeBron James, more than $340 million in 2014 — expected to top $400 million this year. With that Nike locked him up.

Nike and LeBron James have reached a lifetime deal with LeBron, the company confirmed to CNBC (Darren Rovell of ESPN was first). This is officially the first lifetime deal the company has ever handed out, although Jordan has one in practice if not words.

How much money is LeBron going to make off this? No official word, but boatloads. From Rovell.

A source close to the deal told ESPN that it easily surpasses the 10-year, $300 million deal Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant signed with the world’s largest shoe and apparel brand last summer.

Smart move by both sides. LeBron makes Nike a lot of money and his shoes will sell in the USA and overseas (specifically China) for decades, so lock him up. LeBron is seeing his time in the NBA is finite — he’s being challenged on the court and in marketing deals by Stephen Curry now — and he cashed in while he could.

(Curry’s new Under Armour shoes are reportedly selling well, but are still a fraction of LeBron’s sales.)

There have been 13 LeBron signature shoes through Nike. You can count on a lot more coming now.