Kurt Helin

PBT Extra: Can any team threaten Cleveland in the East?


So long as LeBron James is not wearing some kind of cast, as long as he is physically upright and able to play, it’s nearly impossible to imagine any team in the East keeping Cleveland from another trip to the Finals. It’s boring but true.

But who else should we be watching in the East?

In this PBT Extra video, I talk about Boston and Toronto battling for the two seed, plus I see Detroit and Indiana as teams to keep an eye on sliding up the ladder in the conference. Just not as a threat to the Cavs. No team is.

Andrew Bogut on Kevin Durant move: “I think the deal was done long before the summer”


When Kevin Durant started meeting with free agent suitors on July 1, was his mind already made up to head to Golden State?

Durant has said that was not the case. He was intrigued by what Golden State was doing, he liked their system, but he didn’t have his decision made. Not everybody believes him. To put it kindly.

Andrew Bogut — the center now in Dallas because Golden State needed to clear out cap space for Durant — is one of them, he thought the deal was lined up long before free agency began. He’s also not bitter. Here is what Bogut told Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

That’s part of the business. I think the deal was done long before the summer. I think it was done — obviously, K.D. didn’t make his concrete decision, but I think our organization knew for a while what was going to happen. That’s just a part of it. Andre [Iguodala] and I knew it was one of us that was going to go, and it was me. That’s part of the business. I have no gripes about it. You get a Hall of Famer — he’s going to be a Hall of Famer — in K.D. If I’m the GM, I do the same deal. That’s just the reality of the business.

Whether the Warriors were sure it was going to happen or just thought it was a possibility, they were right to get everything lined up to make it happen should Durant make the call. If they don’t do the prep work, they will lose out.

As for Bogut, far more than fans players see things like Durant’s choice and the fallout from it as part of the NBA business. No hard feelings. He gets to make his decision. While others may not love the fallout of said decision, in Bogut’s case he’s still getting paid $11 million this year to play basketball. Things are not bad.

This year’s Christmas Day jerseys look like last year’s. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.


We liked the NBA’s Christmas Day games jerseys from Adidas last year — clean designs with the team’s name in script across the front.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

That was apparently the motto this year as UniWatch leaked the new designs and they look familiar.

I like the look.

This is the final season of Adidas as the NBA’s uniform manufacturer, it goes to Nike starting next season. With that, expect a new design and some new touches for the Christmas Day and All-Star Games in 2018.

But this season, at least Adidas is leaving with a nice touch.

LeBron James on Donald Trump: “That’s not locker room talk. That’s trash talk.”

Getty Images

Add LeBron James to the long list of athletes who have stepped forward to say what Donald Trump called locker room talk is anything but.

While the Republican presidential nominee apologized for graphic, lewd, wildly inappropriate comments from a hot mic on Access Hollywood 11 years ago, he tried to move past the incident calling it “locker room talk.” When asked about that Wednesday, LeBron shot the idea down.

“We don’t disrespect women in no shape or fashion in our locker room. That never comes up… What goes on in our locker room is sporting events that happened the night before, about family, about strategies that we may have that night, about a highlight that made it happen— if it was a home run in the bottom of the ninth or it was an alley-oop dunk from a player the night before— that’s what happens in our locker room. What that guy was saying, I don’t know what that is. That’s trash talk.””

Yes, LeBron did endorse Hillary Clinton.

That doesn’t mean he’s wrong. Locker rooms are not the most wholesome, tolerant of environments, but the vast majority of athletes in all sports I’ve encountered seem to grasp the line where sexual assault would start — and Trump’s comments crossed those lines. I’ve never heard those kinds of comments in a locker room before.

But as with so much of this election, people will believe what they want to believe about a candidate and convince themselves they are right (and that most people agree with them). The whole election just has me sad for America.

Rumor: Celtics have real interest in Gordon Hayward in free agency next summer


There are some big names on the free agent radar next summer — Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Kyle Lowry, and the list goes on and on — but the guy front offices not only like and think they might land is someone off a lot of fans’ radar:

Gordon Hayward.

Utah’s star wing is a borderline All-NBA level player expected to be at the heart of a breakout Jazz team (once he recovers from the broken finger that will sideline him around six weeks). Among the teams with an eye on him, his old college coach from Butler who has built a quality team in Boston — Brad Stevens. From the brilliant Zach Lowe of ESPN.

There is probably more buzz surrounding Hayward’s impending free agency than about Paul, Griffin, Kyle Lowry and other starrier names. Hayward is 26, in the meat of his prime, killing it at the thinnest position in the league. Utah waited for Charlotte to max him out last time around, and Hayward has a long memory. The Jazz have a ton of guys to pay, and if they down enough beers (just kidding, it’s Utah!), they might convince themselves they have the wing depth to withstand Hayward bolting. His beloved college coach runs a rising team with an easy roadmap to max cap space — and real interest in Hayward, per several league sources.

But if Utah makes a leap, the smart money is on Hayward sticking. The Jazz can offer a winning young core, an extra fifth season, and if the new CBA breaks right for them, a little more cash than home teams can dangle under the current deal.

Utah was ready to make the leap a year ago, but injuries derailed that plan. This year should be different because adding veterans that fit the system — George Hill, Joe Johnson, Boris Diaw — should help keep the Jazz afloat until Hayward returns.

If Hayward decides to look around next summer, there will be a long line of teams outside his door. And not just guys from Boston. He will have plenty of options.