Kurt Helin

Getty Images

Serge Ibaka thanks fans of Oklahoma City on Instagram

1 Comment

Serge Ibaka felt his role was getting squeezed in Oklahoma City with the emergence of Steven Adams and Enes Kanter. He’s got a bigger role now — in Orlando. He was traded on draft night, and now Frank Vogel has Ibaka, Aaron Gordon, and Nikola Vucevic to move around the chess board (the question there are the guards).

Ibaka spent seven seasons in Oklahoma City, made the NBA All-Defensive team three times, led the league in blocks four times, and over that time developed a three point shot that turned him into one of the best fours in the NBA.

On his way out the door, Ibaka did the classy thing and thanked the Oklahoma City fans and organization.

Derrick Rose says all the right things when introduced as newest Knick


If you know the history of Derrick Rose, you know the fact he nailed a press conference is no small thing. Throughout his career, he has phrased things that left a different impression than what he meant, or said things that were left open to interpretation by others. It created mini-firestorms in Chicago — and since Rose is not a social media guy nor is he particularly concerned with people think of him, sometimes those fires were unchecked. This has been particularly true through his years of injuries — he was never malicious or mean, just a little verbally clumsy.

Not Friday, when he was introduced as a Knick.

Rose hit all the right notes.

There are a lot of questions about this move for New York. Can Rose stay healthy? Can Kristaps Porzingis handle more time at the five with Robin Lopez gone? Can two notorious ball stoppers like Rose and Carmelo Anthony co-exist in Jeff Hornacek’s offense? How much will the Knicks’ miss Lopez’s screens (he was the best at setting them by a mile)? Where does the rim protection come from? We could go on, but you get the idea.

That said, Rose is certainly an upgrade at the point. The Knicks got better in the short term and could be a playoff team next season in the East. Contract-year Rose could turn a few heads.

Celtics GM Danny Ainge isn’t worried about fan reaction to Celtics draft


WALTHAM, Mass. (AP) — Celtics general manager Danny Ainge’s biggest regret from draft night is that he didn’t go out and face the boos from the Boston fans personally.

Ainge said he had no regrets about drafting California forward Jaylen Brown with the No. 3 overall pick Thursday night. But the fans wanted someone else – like Providence guard Kris Dunn. And they were also hoping that the Celtics would trade some of their record eight picks for an established NBA star.

Ainge said he was busy getting ready for the next pick when owner Wyc Grousbeck got an unpleasant reception from the several thousand fans at the TD Garden draft party. Otherwise, he would have welcomed the chance to explain himself.

Ainge said he would have enjoyed being booed, saying, “It’s what I love about Boston.”

LeBron’s iconic Cleveland/Nike banner to come down during Republican National Convention

Getty Images

During the NBA Finals, the beautifully redone town square in the middle of downtown Cleveland was still blocked off from pedestrians. The streets around the Quicken Loan Arnea were torn up and soon will get a fresh layer of asphalt and a new paint job. Everywhere you look, downtown Cleveland is getting cleaned up and spruced up.

It’s amazing how local politicians can find money for these things when their more powerful and influential friends are coming to town — the Republican National Convention is coming to Cleveland this July.

One other change, the iconic, football field-sized LeBron James Cleveland banner near the arena, a huge Nike ad on the Sherwood Williams building, is coming down during the convention, reports newsnet5.com (hat tip Eye on Basketball).

Officials said a red, white, and blue proclamation was made for the spot on the Sherwin Williams headquarters where LeBron now stands, arms up, over the city. Early Monday it was unclear whether the Cavs sign would stay since Cleveland won the NBA championship with James chosen as MVP.

Hopeful speculation was out that it might stay if enough RNC-goers want their picture with the king. But later in the day, Sherwin Williams confirmed that LeBron is coming down for the RNC. But it said the banner is going to stay up for the time being so that fans could see it with the words “Champions” added.

To be clear, this is one thing you can’t blame on Donald Trump — this was not a decision that the RNC was involved in making.

There was an online petition to leave it up, but it had about as much influence as most online petitions.

LeBron’s banner will be back up before the Cavaliers tip-off defense of their title next fall.

Report: Timberwolves make Ricky Rubio available via trade

Getty Images

This is about more than the Timberwolves drafting and keeping Kris Dunn with the No. 5 pick on Thursday night. I like Dunn’s game, but he’s a rookie and not ready to run the point on a playoff team. Maybe he can be the point guard of the future in Minnesota — he certainly defends like a Thibodeau guy — but like all rookies there is a steep learning curve coming.

That doesn’t mean the Timberwolves are keeping Ricky Rubio around. From Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

There’s a lot of Rubio backlash out there because he didn’t live up to the hype of the 16-year-old version of himself, but he’s still a quality starting point guard in the NBA. He’s still a gifted passer. He is one of the best defensive ones in the league. He lacks a jump shot of any note, but he was healthy last season and averaged 10.1 points, 8.7 assists, 2.1 steals just 2.5 turnovers a game (not bad considering how much the ball was in his hands).

Here’s the thing: The Timberwolves may want to consider moving Rubio, but they should be in no rush. Wait until they get a quality offer back. What’s the worst thing that happens, you play them together? Here’s Thibodeau on that, via the Associated Press’ Jon Krawczynski.

“They have good size, they have good toughness,” Thibodeau said. “It’s a different look. I think you’re seeing more and more of that now where you have two point guards on the floor. They’re both capable of playing off each other.”

We’ll see. There is zero reason for Minnesota to make a quick decision here. Maybe seeing Dunn play an actual NBA game or two first would be a wise idea. The Timberwolves have options and if they want to test the market for Rubio they can do it on their terms, dealing from a position of strength.