Author: Kurt Helin

2014 USA Basketball Showcase

Andre Drummond with the one hand power alley-oop (VIDEO)


Andre Drummond still seems like a guy likely to get cut from Team USA. But he is not going to go quietly.

Drummond had 12 points and five rebounds off the bench in Team USA’s rout of the Dominican Republic Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. That included finishing this alley-oop from DeMar DeRozan with authority.

Detroit’s Drummond is not making Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s job any easier. Drummond, DeMarcus Cousins and Mason Plumlee are battling for two spots. At most, it could be one. Cousins seems to be pretty much a lock, which means Plumlee and Drummond are just trying to get to Spain on the World Cup roster. Like I said, no easy decisions left for Coach K and the way the USA just outclassed the Dominican Republic doesn’t make it easier.

Report: Nike gets chance to match 10-year, $265 million offer to Kevin Durant from Under Armour

Oklahoma City Thunder v Brooklyn Nets

When Kevin Durant signed his first shoe contract with Nike, he actually took a reported $20 million less than adidas offered because Durant love Nike’s shoes and wanted to wear them, maybe someday have his own line.

It’s not that way with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation representing him.

Under Armour wants into the basketball shoe market badly and needs a big name endorser to lead the brand, and Durant could be that guy. They have made an over the top offer of at leaf $26.5 million a season — now Nike has to decide whether to match it, reports Darren Rovell of ESPN.

Kevin Durant’s representation Roc Nation Sports informed Nike on Wednesday that he has a deal on the table with Under Armour worth between $265 million and $285 million over 10 years, sources told…

Nike, which saw its signature business related to the Oklahoma City Thunder forward grow to roughly $175 million at retail last season, will have the right to match, which is a condition of Durant’s current contract with the brand. Durant can still choose Nike if it doesn’t match but can’t legally choose Under Armour if Nike does.

Under Armour threw other incentives at KD, according to the report from building a community center built named after his mother to some company stock. Nike reportedly offered just north of $20 million a year to Durant, now it has to decide whether or not to match Under Armour.

To me this is the bigger takeaway from this: How much influence Roc Nation seems to have here. Durant was seen as a loyal Nike guy and now he’s on the precipice of leaving the brand to jump to a company better known for football gear and compression pants. It would be a cold business move.

Come the summer of 2016, would Roc Nation and Under Armour (based out of Baltimore, near Washington D.C.) have a big influence on Durant on where he should sign next?

KD’s world is changing fast, and whatever happens between Nike and Under Arrmour we know this — Durant is going to get paid. A lot.

DeMar DeRozan leads Team USA in scoring, could well stick with team (VIDEO)

Dominican Republic v United States

Among the things overshadowed by Paul George’s injury at the Team USA’s showcase game in Las Vegas was the fact DeMar DeRozan led his team in scoring. He didn’t play at all against Brazil, but he was back to putting up points again in Team USA’s rout of the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.

DeRozan lead Team USA with 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting.

He did it in transition. He did it knocking down midrange jumpers. He did it getting to the rim in the halfcourt. DeRozan can flat out score.

Which is part of what makes Mike Krzyzewski and staff’s job so tough right now — there are no easy cuts here. Four guys have to go, but two guys who stood out on Wednesday — DeRozan and Andre Drummond — didn’t play last Saturday in Chicago against Brazil. It’s hard to get much of a read out of the Dominican game because the USA just so badly outclassed them (the DR team really missed Al Horford) but DeRozan was making plays.

You can make a very good case for keeping DeRozan, but if he stays somebody good has to go.

Wednesday And-1 links: Youths who entered Ray Allen’s home charged with trespassing

2014 NBA Finals - Practice Day And Media Availability

Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. These are my notes from 35,000 feet on my way to a Martha’s Vineyard vacation….

• Seven teenagers who entered Ray Allen’s Miami area home while his wife and children were asleep upstairs have been charged with trespassing. The teens had been at a party at a neighbor’s house, thought Allen and his family were gone, according to the police. That led the police and some media members to call it “silly prank,” which led to a statement from Ray Allen’s family:

“The suggestion that anyone can unlawfully enter into someone’s locked home and then into an occupied bedroom in the middle of the night without consequences is unsettling, regardless of the stated or actual reason for such unlawful entry.”

This sounds like one of those case where the youth didn’t have the intent to steal, but entering a house is technically breaking and entering (even using the force to open an unlocked door can meet the legal definition of breaking and entering). Trespassing, some community service sounds like a good compromise.
• Pros who have been working out together in Indiana: Victor Oladipo, Dwyane Wade, Tyler Zeller, Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, Udonis Haslem and Josh McRoberts.
• If you didn’t read the New York Times profile of LeBron James’ agent Rich Paul, go do it now.
• If you want to see some trailers of the STARZ show LeBron James is producing loosely based on his life (in the Entourage/Wahlberg sense), here you go.
• How well do Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook really fit together? Hint, really well.
How much fun would it be to shoot threes against Stephen Curry?
• A really interesting breakdown of the Clippers cap situation.
• Lance Thomas has received a training camp contract with the Thunder.
• Gal Mekel — the Dallas Mavericks backup point guard who plays for the Israeli national team — dropped a triple-double on. Montenegro in EuroBasket qualifiers with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
• Tony Mitchell has a deal with Aquila Basket Trento in Italy for next season.
• Toney Douglas signed to play in China next season.
• Finally, John Black has been the Lakers’ V.P. of Public Relations for many a moon, and that means more road trips with the team than he or anyone wants to count. He’s also a guy who knows his food. So, when Mike Trudell put together a breakdown of the Lakers schedule, he also got Black to give up some of his favorite road restaurant spots.

Atlanta – Rathbun’s
Boston – Toscano (also Pizzeria Regina…best pizza in America)
Chicago – Gibsons
Cleveland – Blue Point Grill
Dallas – Javier’s
Indianapolis – St. Elmo’s
Minneapolis – Tie between Murray’s and J.D. Hoyt’s
New Orleans – Nola
Philadelphia – Davio’s
Portland – Higgins
Toronto – Sotto Sotto
Washington – Café Milano

Should NBA coaches get NFL style challenge flags?

2013 NBA Finals - Game One

I know you’re convinced that Joey Crawford, Bennett Salvatore and Tony Brothers all have it in for your team. (It doesn’t really matter what your team is, every fan base thinks that.) Here’s the thing: by and large the referees get the calls right in a fast moving game where the calls are split second. They do a good job.

But they also miss some calls.

The NBA has instituted and expanded instant replay. Referees can look at whether a shot was a two or a three, whether or not a foul was flagrant, then the league gives officials expanded powers in the final minutes of each half to look at a variety of calls that could impact a game. But is that enough?

Should a coach a couple times a game be able to have the referees review a call?

Think of it like an NFL system where a couple times a game Gregg Popovich or Jason Kidd be able to challenge a call, maybe lose a timeout if they are wrong?

Stephen Curry thinks so and said so at an NBA 2K15 roundtable on Tuesday, as reported by the Washington Post.

“Obviously refs are human and they miss calls,” he Curry said at a roundtable discussion called “NBA 2K15 Unsensored” on Tuesday. “To be able to make sure they got the right one — maybe give the coach a little flag like they do in football and he gets two or three challenges a game to make sure they get the right call, especially in pivotal situations.”

Kevin Durant disagrees.

“I wouldn’t like to see anything changed because I like how the game is played,” the Oklahoma City Thunder star said. “I think it’s perfect how it is. … If you give coach the right to challenge calls … it would take some purity out of the game, I think.”

I like this idea, but I think there needs to be a punishment for being wrong such as losing a timeout, otherwise coaches will use it instead of a timeout to try and break a run by the other team. “Hey, we just gave up 10 in a row, rather than blow a timeout I’m going to challenge that otherwise obvious out of bounds call.”

That said, I think the coaches should have a chance to pick a couple plays for review.

It also would be nice if the NBA referees became consistent with the calls they made off those reviews. Some seem to change crew to crew, day to day. Just ask Doc Rivers.