Kurt Helin

Los Angeles Clippers v Oklahoma City Thunder

Looks like Donovan to keep Andre Roberson, Steven Adams as starters

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Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.

But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start  Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.

There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.

Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….

Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.

Yes, that means the Thunder signed Enes Kanter to a $70 million max deal this summer (matching Portland) to come off the bench.

This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.

If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88

Harry Gallatin
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The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.

Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.

Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Rumor: Jimmy Butler doesn’t like Derrick Rose’s work ethic

Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler
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Are you having fun yet, Fred Hoiberg?

The Bulls have the potential to be the second-best team in the East and the biggest threat in that conference to Cleveland, but they are going to have to stay healthy and avoid distractions.

However, distractions find the Bulls.

The latest comes from a report by Joe Crowley in the Chicago Sun-Times, another in the line of reports of tension between Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose.

It was provided Wednesday, as a former member of the Bulls said in a phone interview, “Personally, the two are great. Professionally is where they have a difference of opinion.’’

According to the source, Butler considers Rose a friend, but “doesn’t have a lot of respect for his work ethic.’’ In Butler’s mind, Rose was considered the face of the franchise, and if the face of the franchise wasn’t busting his butt in practice every day, especially last season, what was the message to the rest of the team?

 

Expect the denials in 3..2..1…

It should be noted, that while I have heard plenty of critiques and complaints about Rose before, work ethic has never been one of them. Whether it was on the court or doing rehab, he put in the work.

As noted before, this is far from the first time a report of tension between Butler and Rose has surfaced. And as they have before, both men will deny any issues. But this is a lot of smoke for no fire (especially since this report is based on the comments of a former Bulls player).

The Bulls may be transitioning from Rose’s team to Butler’s team — unless Rose has a comeback this year to 80 percent or more of his MVP year — and those do not always go smoothly. There are egos on the line, agents and others whispering in the players’ ears, and all of it can just build into a massive storm. Hoiberg has praised Butler’s work ethic during camp, and Butler has talked openly of trying to be more of a leader now that he has a five-year. $95 million contract in his back pocket, all of which may be fuel on the fire.

If there are issues, it falls to Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah to shut it down early and make sure it doesn’t infect the team as a whole.

 

Gordon Hayward goes behind Jordan Clarkson’s back with dribble

Gordon Hayward, Nick Young
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Utah’s Gordon Hayward abused the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson on this play.

First, Hayward reads and steals Clarkson’s poor feed into the post intended for Kobe Bryant, then going up the sideline he takes his dribble behind Clarkson’s back to keep going. It all ends in a Rudy Gobert dunk.

Three quick takeaways here:

1) Gordon Hayward is a lot better than many fans realize. He can lead this team.

2) It’s still all about the development with Clarkson, and that’s going to mean some hard lessons.

3) Hayward may have the best hair in the NBA, even if it’s going a bit Macklemore.

(Hat tip reddit)

Could Tristan Thompson’s holdout last months? Windhorst says yes.

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”

That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.

Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:

“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”

Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.

And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.