Author: Kurt Helin

Chicago Bulls v Denver Nuggets

Brian Shaw wants Ty Lawson to watch Peyton Manning practice, lead team


Ty Lawson is a leader for the Denver Nuggets.

As a water bug of a point guard he is a great fit for their up-tempo offense (the Nuggets were top five in the league in pace last season). He is quick, he can be fearsome in transition, he can knock down the three. He fits what the Nuggets do and he has the temperament to be a leader. It’s just a process.

This season coach Brian Shaw is asking even more of Lawson and more of a Nuggets team that should be healthy and a playoff threat in the West. He needs Lawson to lead that.

Sort of like Peyton Manning does down the street in Denver with the Broncos. As a learning experience, Shaw wants to take Lawson to watch Manning practice, something the coach said at media day, reported by Matt Moore at Eye on Basketball.

“One thing I wanted to do with him,” Shaw said, “and still may do before we get too heavy into is I want to take him to a Broncos practice so he can see Peyton Manning and how he directs traffic, and how everybody falls in line behind him. But they only do that because they know the work ethic that he has and the time he puts in, and they respect that.”

Lawson is good with that and a step ahead of the coach.

“I’ve met Peyton before,” Lawson said, “but I definitely just want to see how he runs his team. To see whether he’s yelling and screaming the whole time, or if he’s just talking. What his tone is when he’s talking to players. I want to see what his mindset is during practice.”

Manning yells now and again, but his leadership is rooted more in the combination of detailed preparation and then an ability to read a defense and put the team in a position to succeed. Players trust him to make the right call, the right read, and to choose the right option. Manning has proven he can do that.

Leading veterans is easier and the Nuggets get Danilo Gallinari back from injury and acquired Arron Afflalo in a trade — you can plug those two in and instantly get guys who will buy into the team concept. They will follow a leader they can trust. Lawson will not have to yell as much, he just needs to prove he can be that guy that makes the right read.

Rajon Rondo says he didn’t hurt hand at trampoline park, hopes to stay with Celtics

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo sat behind a table, with GM Danny Ainge to his right, at the Boston Celtics media day on Monday — and that’s all Rondo can do for most of training camp (and maybe the start of the season) after breaking his left hand last Thursday. Rondo tried to talk about how he wants to remain a Celtic long term.

But some wanted to talk about that broken hand… reports had surfaced that Rondo had been at a trampoline park with his kids not long before he reported the broken hand. With Rondo’s explanation being he broke his hand in the shower, there were doubts and rumors.

Rondo tried to shoot those down rumors down Monday, reports A. Sherrod Blakely of

He went to a trampoline park on Tuesday and admitted that he did do some jumping and learned a few trips. His daughter’s birthday was on Wednesday and they saw Lion King and he later played softball. On Thursday, he returned to another trampoline park to let his kids burn off some steam for about 45 minutes, adding that he didn’t do any jumping that day.

“That night, [I] went home and that’s when the incident happened,” he said. “It didn’t happen at the trampoline place.”

Rondo was backed up by the trampoline park co-owner, reports The owner said Rondo didn’t jump on Thursday and left uninjured.

Rondo and Ainge tried to quickly dispel the broken hand talk and move on to discussing Rondo’s future in Boston. Few players have popped up in more trade rumors than Rondo the past few years, and Ainge has left his options open (particularly after drafting Marcus Smart last June), but Rondo said he wants to stay in Boston, reports the Boston Globe.

“The fans, the people here, make me want to stay,” said Rondo. “The organization has been great. I can’t say enough about Danny and [majority owner] Wyc [Grousbeck]. When I walk down the street, the fans embrace me from Day 1. Even when we won a championship, people don’t just appreciate us winning. It’s more of a thank you. It’s a love for the game. These people here know the game and they care for it. They know when you’re not playing as hard as you can. The love I get is kind of overwhelming in Boston. Why wouldn’t I want to stay here?”

Well, because the Celtics are rebuilding and he might be able to win more quickly elsewhere.

But we all know it comes down to money. In a marketplace where Eric Bledsoe gets five-years, $70 million, isn’t Rondo a max guy?

“I think a four-time All-Star by the time he’s 27 years old would qualify for max based on what we’ve seen in the marketplace,” Ainge said. “If I were Rajon and I were Rajon’s agent [Bill Duffy], I would definitely say that. But since I’m negotiating against him, I’ll withhold.”

You don’t say that as a GM unless you plan to offer that kind of money.

Ricky Rubio with half-court alley-oop to Andrew Wiggins (VIDEO)

Timberwolves New Players

Sure, they were playing about as much defense as a Summer League game during the Timberwolves “Dunks After Dark” event in Mankato, Minnesota, Monday night. Still, the Ricky Rubio to Andrew Wiggins half-court alley-oop was fun to see — and something everyone hopes to see more of.

“Dunks After Dark” was kind of a college midnight madness style event designed to get the fans excited and put on a little show before training camp opens for the Timberwolves. Well, at least the stars went out and put on a show.

Minnesota should be an entertaining squad to watch this season. Not very good, but entertaining.

(Hat Tip

Cleveland Cavaliers now huge draw, expensive ticket at home, on road

Cleveland Cavaliers Media Day

People want to see LeBron James, Kevin Love and the new look Cleveland Cavaliers. That’s demand.

There are a limited supply of tickets to see this team. Ergo…

At home and especially on the road the Cavaliers have become one of the most expensive and hottest selling tickets in town. And you wondered why Dan Gilbert swallowed his ego and apologized to LeBron for the letter (let alone the massive jump in his franchise value).

About the home games, the Cavaliers didn’t raise ticket prices (good on them) but they will now sell out every game, their CEO told CSNBC.

“The appetite for Cavs anything has grown exponentially,” Cleveland Cavs CEO Len Komoroski told CNBC, adding that his team is working on giving fans as much connection as possible to the four-time MVP.

The Cavs’ season-ticket allotment of 12,000 seats sold out by 10 p.m. on July 11—less than half a day after James told Sports Illustrated, “I’m Coming Home…”

In the secondary ticket market, however, prices are rising across the board. At Stubhub, Cleveland Cavalier transactions are up 4,150 percent year over year, with an average ticket price of $184—almost $100 more than last season.

The demand for seats at Quicken Loan Arena is so high they are going to a lottery system for the single game seats.

And demand on the road is even higher.

According to secondary ticket marketer TickPick it will cost and average of $411.77 to get a seat for a Cavaliers game on the road, far and away the most of any team. Second place on the list goes to the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant and you can get to see them for a “mere” $280.44.

(Rounding out the top five road draws according to TickPick are the Chicago Bulls at $261.46, the Oklahoma City Thunder at $249.09, then the New York Knicks at $247.66. In case your curious, the bottom five draws are the Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Timberwolves, and dead last is the Utah Jazz.)

On top of all that, you can be sure that the top selling jersey for the start of the season will be LeBron in the wine and gold.

Mark Cuban’s response: Daryl Morey has some Donald Trump in him

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban and Daryl Morey are doing their best to build up a Mavericks/Rockets rivalry.

Over the summer Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban questioned Morey, the Rockets’ GM, and his approach to chemistry and team building, saying he was just trying to slap some stars together. This weekend Morey fired back saying if Cuban loved team chemistry so much why did he break up his 2011 championship team for cap space?

You knew local media were going to ask Cuban for a response and you know Cuban can’t turn down that kind of bait, so… Bryan Gutierrez of Mavs Outsider take it away.

“The only reason I’m even responding is because I respect and like Daryl, who’s smart. He’s got some Donald Trump in him where he doesn’t really understand media all that well, but he’s a smart guy and one of the smartest general managers in the league. So we can have some fun going back and forth….

“Like I said, I’m only doing this because I like and respect Daryl, but he kind of got it started when he called us about Dirk after Dwight. Then he got it started again when, what did he say, he said ‘We develop stars; we don’t sign them.’ Yet he signed Dwight and traded for Harden. I don’t know who the Rockets have developed that’s on his roster right now. If you throw the punches, I just don’t think he realized he threw them, so I had some fun responding.”

The Trump shot is low. To be fair, Morey has way better hair.

Like I said, Cuban and Morey are doing their best to build up a Mavericks/Rockets rivalry. Trumped up or not (pun intended).

Cuban can feel emboldened because the Mavs certainly had the better free agency summer which has led myself (and a number of others) to predict the Mavericks will finish higher in the standings than the Rockets (barring major injuries).

But the Mavericks’ window is maybe the next couple of years (and with the Thunder, Clippers and Spurs out West it’s not much of an open window at all). The Rockets have two cornerstone pieces in Dwight Howard and James Harden, but they have to get the right system then players to fit that system around them. They are not going to get there this year, but they have some of the harder parts of the foundation to get.

Which really only means we’re going to get this back and forth for a little while.