Author: Kurt Helin

Boris Diaw, Dwyane Wade

Boris Diaw gets his insurance, will play for France in World Cup

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The San Antonio Spurs were able to keep Manu Ginobili out of the FIBA World Cup this summer — when he started trying to train for it he felt pain where the stress fracture was in his leg, so they shut him down. Rightfully.

But Boris Diaw is going to play.

He was being held up by insurance issues with the French national team — they didn’t have enough of it — but that has been taken care of, the French team said, reports Project Spurs.

“The matter is settled. It is being finalized, it is a matter of hours,” said Thursday the national technical director Patrick Beesley.

Diaw is the captain of the French team but had sat out an exhibition game recently due to the insurance situation.

The Spurs wanted that insurance because they just re-signed Diaw this summer to a three-year, $22.5 million deal. Diaw is key to what they do on offense, his versatility as a ball handling forward who can score or facilitate and always seems to make the right play flummoxed the Heat defense in the playoffs. Chris Bosh called him crafty and one of the harder guys to guard in the league.

Diaw’s game fits well internationally. He will play in three exhibitions before the World Cup comes at the end of the month.

Tony Parker will not be playing for France, having decided to take the summer off to rest.

Report: Raptors add Jordan Hamilton for wing depth, one year contract

via YouTube screen capture

The Toronto Raptors have a nice starting group at the wing, with the improving DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross (at least the Raptors are baking on them improving). Behind them you can play Lou Williams at the two and you have James Johnson and Landry Fields.

Now you can add Jordan Hamilton to the mix.

He has signed a one-year deal with the Raptors, reports the well connected Shams Charania of Real GM. This is likely a minimum contract one-year deal, and I’m curious how much of it is guaranteed.

That said, Hamilton is nice pickup at that price and in that role. He can score, although he does almost all of that from the perimeter last season in Denver and Houston, and not always efficiently — last season 52.7 percent of his shots were threes while 16.5 percent were at the rim. Hamilton shot a decent 35.4 percent on threes, and he did a good job limiting his long twos last season.

The problem is he doesn’t bring any defense to go with those points.

He’s not a difference maker for the Raptors, but in a limited role off the bench for a minimum salary this is a decent pick up.

NBA denies it asked Raptors to remove Drake to avoid fine


We’re talking about $25,000 here. To you and me, that’s a lot of money. To an NBA team, that’s nothing. A slap on the wrist. At best.

So the idea that the Raptors would have dropped Drake as their “Global Ambassador” after they threw a big press conference to promote him last year, all over $25,000, was crazy. Drake is tied to the team as they try to rebrand it, his popularity and being a Toronto native make him a great fit as spokesman for the team.

The idea the Raptors would drop him is crazy that the league didn’t even ask, according to league spokesman Tim Frank, speaking to the National Post.

“As the Raptors’ global ambassador, Drake must follow our anti-tampering rules,” Tim Frank, the league’s senior vice-president of basketball communications, said in an email to The Canadian Press on Wednesday. “At no point did we suggest his title be removed but we were clear that as long as he acted as a representative of the team, he is subject to the league’s rules.”

When you go back to the original story where this rumor started, the tone of it is to make the Raptors as the poor, picked on victims of a secretive NBA agenda. Frankly, it was kind of sad. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if the writer (or sources trying to sell this same sad story) would exaggerate what the league actually told Toronto.

The NBA likes having big name celebrities like Drake associated with it. The agenda would be to get his face in front of more people talking about the league, not less.

Was the fine silly? Sure. But I don’t have the space here right now to list all the silly fines the NBA hands out because someone violated the letter of its laws. And this did violate the letter of the league’s bylaws. And the Raptors are probably good with that, part of the reason to have Drake on the masthead is to recruit players. Just not directly in public.

The fact is the NBA is fond of Tim Leiweke, the president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment and the guy who helped bring in Drake to the Raptor family. Leiweke is a guy who dreams big and pushes the big picture. He was part of getting Los Angeles’ Staples Center (and the very successful LA Live center around it so many other teams want to mimic) built. He came closer to bringing the NFL back to Los Angeles than anyone.

Heck, the NBA gave him and Toronto an All-Star Game. There is love there.

More than that Raptors fans, you have a good team, an improving team that could be top four in the East and make it past the first round of the playoffs. A team that plays hard and is entertaining. Savor that, enjoy it. Don’t get sucked into a “woe is us” mentality. You’re better than that.

Paul George bought all his old 24 gear, donated it to his high school

via Twitter

Paul George is switching numbers when he returns, he will go to No. 13. So then we can all call him PG-13. It’s all about the marketing.

Because of when he applied (and the fact he is likely out for all of next season) George was not required to buy all the old 24 gear on the marketplace. But he did anyway.

Then he donated it to his high school, Pete Knight High School in Palmdale, California (an hour north of Los Angeles). Darren Rovel of ESPN first noticed it and’s All Ball blog collected some of the tweets from the high school that got the gear, and from George himself.

Well done Paul George. Classy move.

Now recover so you get back on the court.

Jason Collins says he is leaning toward retirement

Brooklyn Nets v Los Angeles Lakers

What Jason Collins did last season was important because in the 22 games and 172 minutes he played the second half of last season, he helped change perceptions and start a conversation. He was the first openly gay player on a major professional sports team in the United States. That matters more than basketball.

But in terms of just basketball, Collins days may be done.

The Nets didn’t bring him in to score (which is good, he had 25 total points on 24 shots), they brought him in to do the little things — set a big screen, be physical inside and not be afraid to pick up fouls, rebound, be a veteran and professional presence in the locker room. He did all that fairly well. But the Nets had found their identity going smaller (with Kevin Garnett at the five) and that left Collins on the bench many nights and playing a very limited role. No team really has a big role for him anymore.

Collins basketball days may be behind him and he’s realizing it, reports Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group, who caught up with Collins and heard him speak in San Francisco.

“I used to be able to jump and touch the top of the white square behind the rim with ease,” Collins, 35, told the crowd of nearly 600 Monday night at San Francisco’s Castro Theatre for the Commonwealth Club’s latest Inforum conversation.

“As the years go by, you watch your hand go lower and lower on that square. Father Time is undefeated against us all. … I’m really grateful for my Stanford degree now. On the other hand, I can still dunk.”

As noted in the article, Collins can make more money now on the speaking circuit and with his Nike contract than he can on the court.

Collins was a fringe NBA player by the point in his career that he came out — and that revaluation didn’t help him land jobs, some teams were concerned about the distraction. The Nets took a chance because they had a need they thought he could fill, but even then he didn’t get many minutes. It’s possible he gets another mid-season call from a team or teams that are interested, but it’s not likely.

But Collins will still be around the NBA. He spoke at the recent rookie orientation about LGBT issues (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) and that showed why he is needed on the speaking circuit.

While discussing the need for a change in locker-room language, a player’s question let him know how much work remains to be done.

“I had to explain what LGBT stands for,” Collins said.