Kurt Helin

Allen Iverson

Report: Allen Iverson on push to have Sixers hire him, “I am a basketball genius”

27 Comments

We’re talking about Allen Iverson watching practice? I mean, listen, we’re talking about practice, not a game, not a game, not a game, we talking about practice.

Although that’s what assistant GMs often do — watch their team practice, watch a college team practice, watch an obscure European team practice. The job isn’t quite as glamorous as some fans believe.

Former Philadelphia 76ers coach Larry Brown has been lobbying Sixers GM Sam Hinkie to hire Iverson as an assistant GM, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Iverson thinks that’s an excellent idea, saying he brings a particular skill set to the table.

“I may not know everything about physical talent or anything like that, but I have a sharp mind when it comes to that look, being able to look into somebody’s eyes to tell if they are going to be in the foxhole with you tonight or if they are not,” Iverson said Thursday night. “To me, I am a basketball genius and I really believe that, so at any capacity I could help this franchise, that is what I am going to do, whatever they ask me to do.”

Iverson said he couldn’t help with this year’s draft as he hasn’t watched any college basketball — but he would in the future if hired. He also said it was up to the organization.

“Don’t put any pressure on the franchise to make a move or anything like that,” he said. “If it happens, that is what God wants. If it doesn’t, I am still going to be here right with them, riding with them.”

Iverson turned 40 recently and has struggled with life after basketball. And at times during basketball.

I could see the organization hiring Iverson in sort of an ambassador role, but not as a guy who is part of the decision-making process. Regardless of what you think of Hinkie’s rebuilding plans for the organization, injecting Iverson into a role in the front office seems flawed.

New Clipper Lance Stephenson: “I’m very good in the locker room”

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 3:  Lance Stephenson #1 of the Charlotte Hornets stands on the court during a game against the Indiana Pacers on April 3, 2015 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)
9 Comments

Lance Stephenson came to blows with teammate Evan Turner on the eve of the playoffs in Indiana, then Stephenson went out and became a meme by blowing in LeBron’s ear. In part due to chemistry concerns, the Pacers didn’t chase him too hard in free agency, so Stephenson went to Charlotte where he clashed with what had been a rock-solid veteran locker room.

The Clippers are counting on Chris Paul, Doc Rivers and their strong locker room to change that trend. They think they can get Stephenson to play nice and return to Indiana form on the court.

Except there’s nothing to worry about off the court. At least if you ask Stephenson.

He’s a dream in the locker room, at least that’s what he said at his introductory press conference with the Clippers, as reported by Arash Markazi of ESPN.

“I’m going to work hard this season to get those rumors out,” Stephenson said as he was formally introduced as a Clipper at a news conference at the team’s training facility on Thursday. “That’s not the issue. I’m very good in the locker room. You can ask all the players that I’ve played with. You can ask the coaches. I’m very good in the locker room.

“When I’m on the court I got that type of energy where it looks like I’m yelling at somebody. But when I talk to my teammates it amps them and makes them work harder. I want to take that [negative] title off my name because that’s not me. I’m a good locker room guy.”

There’s no reason to get into a debate if he had some locker room issues in the past — he did — because this is his reality now:

He better not have any in Los Angeles if he wants to get paid in this league.

He’s got two years, $18.4 million left on his contract, but the second year of that is a team option. If he flames out off the court — or can’t produce on it — the Clippers can just decline the final year of that deal. And if that happens Stephenson is going to find himself near the bottom of the NBA pecking order.

Los Angeles isn’t Stephenson’s last chance, we all know in sports guys with potential get a lot of chances. But the road back to where he wants to be — and a decent payday by NBA standards — is a long and winding one if L.A. doesn’t work out.

If one thing can motivate behavioral changes, it’s cold hard cash. We’ll see if it works in this case.

David Blatt on LeBron James bench actions: He “always put the team’s success beyond his”

Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four
21 Comments

Whether because he was focused on doing everything he could to win, or because he doesn’t respect David Blatt (or a little both), LeBron James came off as dismissive of his coach at times this season. LeBron said all the right things, but his actions told a different story. In the Finals LeBron was chirping when Blatt would make a decision he didn’t like, he made Blatt redraw one inbound play, he talked to assistant Tyronn Lue at critical moments more than Blatt. If you don’t think his teammates don’t notice all that, you’re kidding yourself.

So how does Blatt feel about all this?

Blatt was basically asked this during his press conference Thursday, and gave an answer that shows he knows where the power lies, as reported by Joe Vardon of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“He is our best player,” Blatt said of James. “He’s the league’s best player. He’s a winner. He’s a proven champion. I think it’s important that he feels empowered and at the same time that he knows that he’s very much a part of this team. And I think he’s exhibited that, and always put the team’s success beyond his.”

And…

“Now if he has felt that he has what to say and wants to impose his will in terms of influencing in a positive way on those around him, that’s a good thing,” Blatt said. “That’s a good thing for all, and I certainly encourage that and certainly respected the fact that LeBron’s heart was in the right place.”

 

The Cavaliers say that the Blatt and LeBron relationship is all good now, that the stories are just selling sensationalism.

To me, it all feels a Détente. LeBron thinks he can work with this, at least for now. Plus, if Blatt gets axed this summer, after coaching a team in the NBA Finals in his first year in the NBA (something he admitted was a steep learning curve), the blood is all on LeBron’s hands. And that’s not his style.

Rather, the Cavaliers will upgrade the roster, and see if Blatt and LeBron can take this team one more step next season.

Andre Iguodala thought LeBron James would get Finals MVP

cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwq1zwvlnwnknzqzntdkmgvmnze0zmmzmjliowy5mwu51
12 Comments

If I’d had a Finals MVP vote, I would have cast it for LeBron James. I would have been in the minority, but to me he was clear and away the best player in the series — heck, it’s not even an interesting series without him. We’ve already laid out LeBron’s case.

Andre Iguodala — who won the trophy — was with me. From Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group.

Iguodala was not a terrible choice. He would have been third on my list — Stephen Curry was ahead of him for me — but Iguodala was a great narrative. And so long as you let media members vote, the guy with the story will always win.

Doc Rivers: If you knew the trades Donald Sterling killed “you would fall off your chair”

File of Clippers owner Sterling sitting as he watches team play Knicks in NBA game in Los Angeles
26 Comments

Clippers GM Doc Rivers has some work to do, because his offseason moves last summer tied the hands of Doc Rivers the coach come the playoffs. This is a team on the cusp, it just needs a couple pieces to be a scary contender.

Now Rivers feels he can go out and do that. He can follow his vision for team building. (Whether Lance Stephenson should be part of that vision is another question.)

Owner Steve Ballmer is writing the checks and giving Rivers freedom on the basketball side that owner Donald Sterling did not before. Here is what Rivers told the Los Angeles institution that is Fred Roggin (on the Beast 980 sports talk) about life under Sterling.

“This is really only my third year but you can make a case this is our second year if you know what I’m saying. If I someday wrote a book and told you a couple of the trades we had in the first year that we didn’t do because of other reasons, you would fall off your chair.”

Rivers should sit down with Mike Dunleavy and Elgin Baylor over some beers and swap stories on how Sterling killed smart plays, or let great free agents go, or just generally cut his basketball people off at the knees.

It never hurts to remember what a terrible sports team owner Donald Sterling was. He was (and is) and worse human being, but he was a wretched owner. Sterling killed trades that might cost the billionaire a little money, or traded away players he liked. Remember, one time his courtside seats, Sterling heckled Baron Davis — and Davis was his starting point guard.

And when you’ve got a person like Sterling as the owner who has a voice on roster moves, well, you get what you exepct.

Now, let’s move on from talking about him and start complaining about the Clippers new logo. As if that’s a real problem.