Kurt Helin

USA Basketball Men's National Team Training Camp

Kevin Love says re-signing with Cleveland was “a pretty easy choice”

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Remember back in May and June — while the Cavaliers were still trying to battle through the playoffs without him — rumors were swirling that Kevin Love was unhappy and going to bolt from Cleveland and LeBron James.

He didn’t. Nor did he opt-in for a one-year deal where he could try to cash in on the flood of TV money entering the system next summer. He took a five-year max deal under the current cap (it’s worth $110 million, and he can opt out after four), and told Fox Sports Ohio it wasn’t a hard call.

“It’s always what I had in mind,” said Love about re-signing. “In order to be happy, win and also make money doing what I love, it all came to place and always made sense to be here….

“It made it a pretty easy choice.”

Love also talked about how close he is with Lebron, Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson, and that’s part of what made him want to stay.

Love was never likely to leave — he wanted to get paid and Cleveland could offer more than any other team, plus if he bolted after one season he’d look like he cared far more about his personal stats than a chance to win. That’s bad for the Kevin Love brand. The good news is by signing the deal under the current salary cap, as it spikes over the next two seasons that deal becomes very movable should either side be unhappy.

Things are going to be different for Love this season, and we’re not just talking about that new hairstyle (under/over on him changing it is Christmas). With Irving out to start the season, he is going to get more touches, and likely in his preferred spots on the floor. How long that lasts after Irving returns is one of the questions the Cavs need to answer this season.

Even at age 38, Vince Carter has mad hops

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Clippers
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Just a few days ago we were talking about Vince Carter throwing down the greatest in-game dunk in history — clearing 7’2″ Fredric Weis during the 2000 Olympics.

That was 23-year-old, high-flying Carter. What kind of springs does he have left at 38? Pretty darn good ones.

Carter’s role with the Grizzlies is not that of high-flying dunking machine (that’s Zach Randolph… er, wait), rather Carter is there to provide three-point shooting and veteran stability off the bench. Things he’s done well in the twilight of his career.

But with those hops he’s going to turn back the clock at least once this season — and that’s going to be awesome.

Steve Kerr takes leave of absence from Warriors due to back issues

Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings
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While the rest of the Warriors were celebrating their NBA title this summer (and playing a little golf), Steve Kerr did something decidedly less fun — he had had back surgeries. Plural. Two of them to deal with issues that were likely exacerbated by a career where throughout his youth he had to up and down a hardwood court all the time.

Those surgeries left him in enough pain and limited in action that Kerr is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the Warriors to deal with it, the team announced Thursday.

Luke Walton takes over as the Warriors’ interim coach (so the Warriors go from the guy who looks like an old skateboarder to the guy who looks like an old surfer). Alvin Gentry had been the guy in the seat to the left of Kerr last season, but he took the head coaching job in New Orleans this season.

There is no timetable the Warriors would give on Kerr’s return.

“At this point, the most important thing is to make sure Steve is healthy, completely recovered and ready for not only the rigors of a long NBA season, but day-to-day life in general,” Warriors General Manager Bob Myers said in a statement. “We don’t anticipate the recovery process will be long-term, but as of today we don’t know the exact timeframe. We’ll evaluate his progress daily and provide updates as necessary.”

“After the first two days of training camp, I realized I need to take a step back and focus on my rehabilitation in order to be ready for the grind of another NBA season,” said Kerr in his statement. “As I noted last week, my summer was difficult and no fun due to the multiple back surgeries. At this point, I simply want to get healthy and back to my normal daily routine on and off the court.”

The Warriors have their system in place and everybody back from last season’s title team, so this should not be a huge setback. They still have Stephen Curry, and he can still knock down threes.

But Kerr was the master of pushing the right buttons with this team last season and if Walton can’t do that you have to wonder if it costs them a couple wins in a very tight West.

Dorell Wright’s advice to brother Delon: Avoid card games on planes

Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers
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Dorell Wright spent the past 11 seasons in the NBA (he is playing in China this season). He was drafted by Miami and played for Golden State, Philadelphia, and Portland as well. He knows his way around the Association.

His younger brother Delon Wright is entering his rookie season with the Toronto Raptors.

Dorrell penned an open letter to his brother for the Players’ Tribune offering advice on navigating the NBA, on and off the court — the stuff they’re not going to cover in the rookie symposium.

First, run away from the card games on the team plane. Don’t play. Don’t sit down at that table. And if you do play, put a limit on your buy-in. Pick a number, and if you lose it, get up. Guys will talk trash and try to keep you in….

Second, get ready to hear lots of trash talk from the fans. Some places are worse than others. Golden State is going to be live this year because they’re the defending champs. I love playing there. Madison Square Garden is always crazy. And in Philly, there’s this guy behind the Sixers bench who writes down all your stats on a dry-erase board if you’re struggling. He’s hilarious, so don’t take that too personally. When I was traded to Philly in 2012, he was the first guy I asked about. I wanted to make sure he was still a season-ticket holder.

Dorell was clearly having fun with this, but as the letter went on the advice got more serious.

What they don’t tell you is that it’s not just the availability of money that adds temptation, but time. You have all this free time to buy, buy, buy. Really, free time is the root of the trouble you can find as a pro. That’s the hardest thing about the adjustment you’re about to make. When I was at prep school before jumping to the NBA, I had a strict schedule. Be at school at 7:30. Breakfast. Assembly. Class all day, then basketball. Afterwards, it was study hall and maybe one more chance to sneak in some gym time. Most of your days in college were basically planned for you, too.

In the NBA, on non-game days, you’re there at 8 a.m. to get your extra work in and then practice with the team. That takes maybe four hours, tops. Now you’ve got the rest of the day to yourself. You’ll need to learn how to manage your time.

That is sage advice. These are young men with money, time, and people hanging out on the periphery not looking out for their best interests. It’s easy to lose track of the fact this is a job — one you can lose quickly if you don’t respect it.

Go read the entire piece, it’s worth the effort.

 

 

Mikhail Prokhorov lead Nets players in drills at camp Wednesday

Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets
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It sounds like something from an Onion article — NBA’s latest craze: working out with Russian oligarch.

But that’s what happened at Nets training camp on Wednesday, where team owner Mikhail Prokhorov was demonstrating Tescao drills (which I’ll admit, I was not familiar with but are pretty amusing to watch.

Things you’re not going to see Jim Buss do include….

The New York Post’s Tim Bontemps put up a few more on his Instagram account, and again Prokhorov was far better than his employees at these drills.

This is an example of what Mikhail Prokhorov is doing right now at Nets practice:

A video posted by Tim Bontemps (@timbontemps) on

The players aren't quite as good:

A video posted by Tim Bontemps (@timbontemps) on

More Prokhorov and RHJ

A video posted by Tim Bontemps (@timbontemps) on