Kurt Helin

Pelicans to bring Robert Sacre, Chris Copeland into training camp

2 Comments

The New Orleans Pelicans already have 15 guaranteed contracts on the books for next season, the max number they can carry into the season.

They also have depth questions along the front line. Anthony Davis is still a flat-out stud — everyone seemed to think he had a down season last go around, he averaged 24.3 points and 10.3 rebounds a game with a PER of 25 (ninth best in the NBA). So yes, he sucked (read that again, but do it sarcastically, as intended). After that things thin out. They have players such as Omer Asik, Cheick Diallo, Alexis Ajinca, and Kendrick Perkins. I hope to see some Davis at center Solomon Hill as a small ball four lineups, but that will be an experiment too. It’s fair to question the quality of their depth up front.

Which is why the Pelicans are going to make training camp interesting.

Robert Sacre or Chris Copeland would need to play surprisingly well for the Pelicans to eat the contract of Terrence Jones or Alonzo Gee and put them on the roster. The two new additions are auditioning for other jobs more than necessarily landing one in New Orleans.

But the Pelicans are looking for guys that fit along their front line, this is a team that wants to get back on the trajectory we thought we saw a couple of seasons ago.

Report: Thunder reach deal to bring in Ronnie Price as backup point guard

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Oklahoma City is set at starting point guard, they feel comfortable trusting that to Russell Westbrook.

But when he sits things get interesting. Second-year guard Cameron Payne was going to get a heavy load, but last month he had surgery for a Jones fracture in his foot. The Thunder needed depth at the spot.

Enter Ronnie Price, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Price is a solid journeyman who will be a great fit in the locker room, is athletic, defends well, and plays hard. He’s just not a great shooter — last season in Phoenix 65 percent of his shots were from three, and hit just 31.3 percent of them.

For the price and expected role, this is a great fit. Price isn’t going to demand a lot of time on the court, and when he’s called upon he will be ready to go.

NBA schedule is out, here are some highlights

13 Comments

The NBA schedule is out for next season.

There are 1230 games over the course of an NBA season, and technically they all count the same. However, some you want to make sure you watch more than others. Here are a few highlights from this season’s schedule.

Opening night, Oct. 25: New York at Cleveland. Carmelo Anthony and crew get to watch LeBron James hoist the first championship banner to go up in Cleveland in 52 years.

Opening night, Oct. 25: San Antonio at Golden State. The other opening night game is Kevin Durant’s first official one in Warriors uniform. These are likely the two top teams in the West next season, and both come in with different looks (Tim Duncan is out, and Pau Gasol is in for the Spurs).

Oct. 27: Boston at Chicago. Al Horford in a Celtics uniform vs. Dwyane Wade in a Bulls uniform.

Oct. 27: San Antonio at Sacramento. The Spurs will be in town for the Kings’ first regular season home game in their new arena.

Oct. 28: Cleveland at Toronto. A rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals, with the Raptors trying to prove last season’s playoff success was no fluke.

Nov. 3: Oklahoma City at Golden State. The first time Durant takes on Russell Westbrook and the rest of his former team.

Nov. 10: Chicago at Miami. Wade returns to South Beach wearing a Bulls uniform. Expect Heat fans to boo him, after they show up in the second quarter.

Dec. 9: Toronto at Boston. These may well be the second and third best teams in the East (Indiana might have something to say about that), and all their meetings should be interesting.

Dec. 25, Christmas Day: This is the NBA’s unofficial second opening night, and they have stacked it with the biggest names and brands. The games in order are:

Boston at New York
Golden State at Cleveland
Chicago at San Antonio
Minnesota at Oklahoma City
L.A. Clippers at L.A. Lakers

Jan. 13, Boston at Atlanta. It’s almost halfway through the season before Horford makes his return to Atlanta wearing Celtics’ green.

Jan. 16, MLK Day: This is one of the NBA’s other big holidays, and they lined up four quality games:

Atlanta at New York
New Orleans at Indiana
Cleveland at Golden State
Oklahoma City at L.A. Clippers

Jan. 19: Minnesota at L.A. Clippers. The Timberwolves are one of the up-and-coming teams in the West. The Clippers are a team trying one more time to win with a lineup that hasn’t gotten out of the second round. This is an excellent mid-season measuring stick for both.

Feb 11: Golden State at Oklahoma City. Kevin Durant returns to OKC wearing a Warriors uniform and playing the villain.

March 11: Golden State at San Antonio. These still are likely the two top teams in the West, and they face off late in the season.

April 12: The final night of the NBA season, and a few of these matchups could have playoff implications.

Detroit at Orlando
Toronto at Cleveland
Milwaukee at Boston
Dallas at Memphis
Minnesota at Houston
San Antonio at Utah
New Orleans at Portland

LeBron makes it official, signs three-year, $100 million deal to stay with Cavaliers

23 Comments

LeBron James said he was staying in Cleveland after the Cavaliers won the franchise’s first NBA title. The only question was for how many years and on what kind of contract, there were a lot of options.

We have the answer — LeBron is about to be the highest paid player in the NBA. Brian Windhorst of ESPN broke the story.

LeBron himself later confirmed the signing.

We don’t know officially if and when LeBron has an option in this deal.

Only two other players in NBA history have made $30 million or more in a season: Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

LeBron has earned being the highest paid player in the league, and the Cavaliers have a core around him — Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, etc. — that will have them contending for a title every season. With LeBron, the Cavaliers remain the clear favorites in the Eastern Conference.

Report: Celtics still have “high level of interest” in Nerlens Noel, but not close to deal

Associated Press
17 Comments

There is still a sense around the league that the Sixers will want to move a big man, likely Nerlens Noel. Philadelphia’s dream future is Joel Embiid at the five and Ben Simmons as a point-forward at the four, surrounded by quality shooters. Plus they want to fit Dario Saric in that mix. With Noel and Jahlil Okafor having value, a lot of other teams expect the Sixers to pull the trigger on a deal. Eventually.

The Celtics are still interested in Noel, but that doesn’t mean anything is about to happen, reports A. Sherrod Blakely at CSNNE.com.

Noel has not asked for a trade, but multiple league sources told CSNNE.com that he is “very open” to being traded if the Sixers decide to make that decision.

Another league source contacted by CSNNE.com on Thursday morning indicated that the Celtics still have a high level of interest in Noel but no deal is imminent.

Safe to say Noel would be good with a trade to his hometown.

Most likely the Celtics will head into training camp expecting to start Al Horford at Center and Amir Johnson at the four. Noel would allow Horford to move to the four spot and provide some rim protection at the five. You can see why Boston is interested.

The question is the cost.

Right now the Sixers are getting crap offers for their bigs because everyone around the league knows they want to move one — GM Bryan Colangelo said as much. You can bet Celtics GM Danny Ainge — known as a tough negotiator — is one of the guys trying to steal Noel on the cheap. Colangelo isn’t going to do that, he wants a decent return. And so things are stalled. For now.

When Noel eventually does move, don’t be shocked if Boston is the destination.