Kurt Helin

Brooklyn Nets v Portland Trail Blazers

Pistons’ Steve Blake out with concussion

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Steve Blake is going to have a role with the Pistons early in the season, backing up Reggie Jackson at the point. That role will shrink when Brandon Jennings returns, but we’re a ways away from that point, but that’s why the Pistons got him this summer — insurance..

We’re also a little bit away from seeing Blake on the court as he has been sidelined due to a concussion, reports Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.

The protocol has him being symptom free through increasing levels of physical activity, with the results reviewed by a league neurologist. In season, you might worry about a team trying to cut the corners, but during training camp, not so much.

Bake averaged 19 minutes a game off the bench in Portland last season, he’s still a threat from three but provides the kind of play you’d expect from a 35-year-old the rest of the time. The more you see of Blake, the more trouble the Pistons’ backcourt is in.

Report: Channing Frye available via trade. Cheap.

Orlando Magic Media Day
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On paper, the Orlando Magic are counting on Channing Frye to stretch the floor, complement Aaron Gordon at that spot, and provide some of that veteran presence the Magic are counting on if they are going to make the playoffs.

The reality is he can be had in a trade. Cheap.

From Zach Lowe of Grantland, in a post about how Tristan Thompson gave up his leverage and the Cavaliers’ options.

The corpse of Brendan Haywood left behind a $10.5 million trade exception, and the Cavs can trade a future first-rounder that would almost certainly become a 2018 pick.3 That’s enough to start talks for someone like Davis once he becomes trade-eligible on December 15, or even Markieff Morris if he pipes up again. Sources around the league say Channing Frye is available now for very little, though Magic officials deny it. Other names will hit the market, but while the salary of someone like Kenneth Faried doesn’t quite fit the exception, how much would Denver really demand to dump J.J. Hickson into it?

The reality is Frye fits a role in the NBA, but mostly as a stretch five off the bench. He’s no starter at the four because he can’t defend that spot, but in a limited role off the bench — playing pick-and-pop near the top of the key where he can set up for his best shot — he has value.

Right now, no team has stepped forward to grab him. Just wait. Teams are an injury — or a dose of reality about a guy they thought was improving — from calling Orlando to gauge a price.

Keep Frye on your trade watch list.

LeBron James: “There’s no room for guns”

LeBron James
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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James said “there’s no room for guns” as he decried the latest tragedy involving a child being killed in Cleveland.

James said he was at home with his three kids Thursday when he learned about the death of a 5-month-girl in a drive-by shooting – the third fatal shooting of a child in the city in four weeks – and “it automatically hit me.” James initially reacted with several posts on Twitter, calling for calm and change.

The NBA star, who has never shied away from political issues, spoke after practice Friday about the need for stricter national gun laws.

James didn’t hear President Barack Obama’s impassioned speech following the mass shooting at an Oregon community college campus, but “I know what I see. I know how I feel.”

James believes some of the educational work he does with his family’s foundation can help curb violence.

Will Andre Roberson keep starting job over Dion Waiters for Thunder?

Los Angeles Clippers v Oklahoma City Thunder
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Three out of the five starting spots on the Oklahoma City Thunder are no brainers — Russell Westbrook at the point, Kevin Durant at the three, and Serge Ibaka at the four. At center, the question for new coach Billy Donovan is pretty clear cut: Does he want the offense of Enes Kanter or the defense of Steven Adams?

Then there is the two-guard spot.

Many fans and some pundits thought Dion Waiters would be the Thunder’s starting two guard, with Anthony Morrow behind him and Andre Roberson getting the call when stops were needed. But Roberson started 65 games last season (being handed the role after Thabo Sefolosha was traded) and that may not change. New coach Billy Donovan didn’t say anything directly, but check out his comments and the reaction over at Daily Thunder.

Billy Donovan was asked what he’s looking for in a starting 2-guard and he might’ve, possibly, maybe showed his hand a bit. “The one thing for us, the defensive identity, trying to create some of that. There’s going to be some things that are new and different, trying to create a defensive identity. I think the versatility and flexibility of the roster helps, when you have a lot of different people that could slide over to a 2-guard spot.”

So… I guess that means something? Andre Roberson by category is the “defensive” guy, so it would seem that things are trending his way. And there’s also the fact that yesterday Russell Westbrook was asked about Roberson guarding him, and he said he didn’t really know about that because Roberson is always on his team. HMMMMM.

Yes, HMMMM indeed.

Roberson doesn’t bring much offense to the table. He was basically a spot up three-point shooter when Westbrook controlled the offense. The problem was, Roberson wasn’t any good at it — he shot 24.7 percent from three overall and 31.9 percent from the corners. That lack of offense is why he played fewer than 20 minutes a night despite starting, but it’s something he reportedly worked on this summer.

He does bring defense — because of his length (6’11” wingspan) he can guard the two or the three and does both well. That’s the kind of versatility Donovan is talking about.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Donovan does what Brooks did last season — start Roberson but give Waiters and Morrow more minutes off the bench (depending on needs and matchups that game).

Traded Tiago Splitter sees Spurs as ” the favorites to win the title”

Los Angeles Clippers v San Antonio Spurs-Game Six
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Tiago Splitter has a championship ring, one he earned as the starting center for the San Antonio Spurs two seasons ago. He fit well next to Tim Duncan and in the Spurs ball-movement offense.

But to get LaMarcus Aldridge the Spurs had to clear some cap space, so Splitter was traded to Atlanta (where former Spurs’ assistant Mike Budenholzer runs a similar offense, so Splitter will fit right in). He wasn’t happy about it, but in speaking to Lange Green at Basketball Insiders he also doesn’t blame San Antonio.

“It’s a great squad,” Splitter told Basketball Insiders of his old unit in San Antonio. “On paper they are the favorites to win the title. They have David West. They have LaMarcus Aldridge. Of course, Tim [Duncan]. Just a great frontcourt over there. They are a very talented team. Of course you have to see how things work out for them on the practical side of the game, but on the interior they have a great team.”

 

It’s a business, and Splitter knows that. He is a quality NBA big man, but Aldridge is an elite player and a clear upgrade for the Spurs. Aldridge is their best isolation player now, a guy the Spurs can throw the ball to and say “get us a bucket.” They made the smart move and Splitter gets it.

That Spurs front line is will need to adjust a little — both Duncan and Aldridge prefer to be on the left block — but it’s up there with the best in the NBA. And they are serious title contenders, if Tony Parker can hold it together.