When talking about Dion Waiters, too often the focus is on what he doesn’t do well — shot selection — and the guys the Cavaliers could have drafted instead (Damian Lillard, Andre Drummond, Harrison Barnes).
What Oklahoma City sees is a guy who can fit in their rotation — if he can accept a bench role and work more off the ball (his catch-and-shoot numbers are not bad). He averaged 12.7 points a game for them last season.
And if he will come in at a fair price. That’s what the two sides are talking about now, a contract extension that would keep Waiters with the Thunder, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Waiters, 23, has been enthusiastic about working toward a deal with the Thunder, eager to compete on a contender and comfortable with his growth in a strong atmosphere for player development.
As part of the NBA’s 2012 draft class, Waiters is eligible to extend his deal. Waiters’ agent, Rob Pelinka, and Thunder general manager Sam Presti have met and had ongoing discussions on the deal over the past several weeks, league sources said.
He’s got the Kevin Durant seal of approval.
An extension at a fair price also could also be a good financial deal for a Thunder team looking to spend big the next two summers to retain Durant and Russell Westbrook. Former Nets executive Bobby Marks noted on Twitter Waiters’ cap hold is $12.8 million, if they can bring him in for less than that number they have a little more flexibility.
Look for a few teams to come in with extensions for players that may not have lived up to expectations or blown people out of the water, but who are solid rotation players the franchises would love to lock up at a good price. Waiters is one of those guys.
Miami is going to be a lot better than some people realize. At least during the regular season.
While the Bulls are adjusting to a new coach and the Wizards’ old coach is learning new tricks on offense, Miami is loaded this season. They start Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside, then bring Josh McRoberts and Justise Winslow among others off the bench.
The bold prediction from the Twitterverse for this PBT Extra with Jenna Corrado is the Heat win more games than the Bulls. It will be close, but I can see that happening.
Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich talked about it recently — he is harder on Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili than other guys on the team. He knows if he calls out his stars in practice or film sessions, it sends a message and the other players fall in line.
That’s not how things typically go in the NBA’s star system. Elite players get deference. Now Carmelo Anthony wants Derek Fisher and the Knicks coaching staff to act more like the Spurs’ and not shy away from calling him out, he told Ian Begley at ESPN.
“Call it out in the film session so everybody can see that and hear that. By them doing that, it kind of forces me to be at the top level of my game on both ends of the court,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ 94-88 preseason victory over the Sixers on Monday. “I think it brings the best out of me and if you bring the best out of me, I think it will bring the best out of everyone on the team.”
If they’re going to call him out every time ‘Melo misses a defensive assignment or stops the ball on offense, it could lead to some long film sessions for the Knicks.
Easy jokes aside, this is what Knicks’ fans should want their star player to say — lead by example. Fisher has publicly praised Anthony’s efforts on both ends of the court through the preseason, and Anthony has said he feels healthy (which is a big start after he missed half the season with a knee injury last season). But praising in public and being harder on him in private is not a bad way to go.
It’s been a pretty good preseason for New York; now we’ll see if they can carry that over once the games matter.
It’s gotta be the hair! Jeremy Lin is averaging 14 points a game on 52.8 percent shooting through four preseason games with the Hornets.
With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out for the season, Lin is going to get a lot of run this season in Charlotte, but what kind of year is he going to have? Sixth Man of the Year? That’s the question in this PBT Extra with Jenna Corrado.
Also Hornets fans, Jeremy Lamb may well start for you, but I’m not sure I’d say that’s a good thing.
Lamar Odom remains hospitalized, fighting for his life, after an apparent weekend of partying at a brothel in Nevada has left him in critical condition. He’s reportedly improving, but the next couple of days reportedly will be crucial.
When it comes to medical decisions for him — and there will be big ones ahead, he may well have long-term brain damage from this — it is Khloe Kardashian who will be in charge, reports CNN.
Reality television star Khloe Kardashian will make medical decisions for the former NBA star, a source close to Kardashian said Wednesday. The couple’s divorce has not been finalized, the source told CNN.
Yes, the Kardashians have reportedly still had episodes talking about Odom’s reaching out to Khloe (I have not seen said episodes), but she has also been by his bed in Las Vegas and certainly will have his best interests at heart. We all understand rallying to the side of people in our lives who are in need — even people with whom we have differences.
When Odom started dating Khloe, he willingly stepped into the bright spotlight that follows the reality-TV star and her family. Odom wanted a higher profile, something bigger than just being a basketball star, and the Kardashians offered that. Odom wanted all of it and believed he was ready for it.
He was not. His vulnerabilities — part of what made him “real” and popular with teammates — were broadcast much wider than he really could grasp. The scrutiny and online punches that came his way were not something he handled well. The pending divorce hit him hard, another loss in a life that was full of them for Odom.
The Kardashians are not to blame for where Odom is right now, but his being part of their lives and their shows — a reality they are comfortable in — was another factor among many. Like everything else with Odom, this chapter of his life is complicated.