Kurt Helin

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers

DeAndre Jordan: No rift, dissension in locker room


Problems? What problems?

During the DeAndre Jordan flip-flop drama this summer, reports surfaced about tension in the Clippers locker room — Chris Paul wasn’t dishing out enough high fives, and Jordan didn’t feel involved enough in the offense. He reportedly felt he was the third wheel behind CP3 and Blake Griffin.

Now, like every other aspect of this deal, the Clippers are trying to play down the drama. Here is what the Clippers said on their media day Friday at UC Irvine, via the Los Angeles Times, starting with Jordan.

“I think that there was forced tension because of everything we all heard that we said about each other, which was not true at all,” Jordan said at Clippers’ media day on Friday. “It was just the outside, and we never asked each other about it.

Blake Griffin added:
“There’s one thing that I will say about this situation: There’s never really been a tension. There’s never been a moment where I felt, like, ‘Oh man, this isn’t good. I don’t feel comfortable in this situation.’

“I tell people this all the time: The person I’m closest with in life is my brother, and my brother and I bump heads all the time. Growing up, we used to fight, but that didn’t mean that we don’t love each other and that doesn’t mean we weren’t always there for each other. I’d take a bullet for my brother.”

Okay, but the tension — or whatever you want to call it — was real enough that Jordan said he would play for the Dallas Mavericks. If everything were puppy dogs and rainbows in the Clipper locker room (and with the pecking order), we would not have had all the drama this summer. That doesn’t mean that things were bad, or that DJ and CP3 don’t get along, but there was something going on.

But the Clippers have put that behind them. They will not have to talk about it again… until they struggle at some point this season. Then watch the rumors fly again.

Chandler Parsons says plane emoji tweet that started war wasn’t about DeAndre Jordan

Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks
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Remember the emoji “war” from this summer?

Reports had started to leak out about DeAndre Jordan changing his mind. He had verbally committed to the Mavericks but as the end of the moratorium was coming and it was time to officially sign Jordan was leaning toward going back to the Clippers (which he eventually did).

That’s when Mavericks lead recruiter Chandler Parsons tweeted this:

It was taken as a sign he was on a plane to Houston (where Jordan lives) to talk him into staying with the Mavs. It also led to a series of emoji responses from the Clippers players, such as:

Then it just started to get funny.

The funny thing is, Parsons said in a radio interview on KRLD-FM it was a big misunderstanding. Here’s his comments as transcribed bySportsDayDFW.com (hat tip Dan Devine at Ball Don’t Lie):

You know what’s funny? Actually, when I tweeted that plane emoji, I was leaving LA and going to Vegas for my girlfriend’s birthday. I wasn’t even going to Houston. I didn’t even think about it initially, then it started blowing up, and obviously the timing of it was perfect and then it just kind of took off with J.J. [Redick] tweeting the car and [Chris Paul] and everybody — I saw the Dodgers, the Warriors, Kobe, MJ, everybody started tweeting it so that was more funny than ever. At that point, it was already over and he was going back to the Clippers, so might as well make light of it.

Oh. Well then, in the words of Emily Litella, never mind.

Bulls’ Dunleavy out 8-10 weeks after back surgery

Los Angeles Clippers v Chicago Bulls

It is the big question for the Chicago Bulls this season: With a more reasonable minutes distribution under Fred Hoiberg, can the team stay healthier?

This is not a good start.

Starting small forward Mike Dunleavy is out 8-10 weeks following back surgery, the Bulls announced late Friday. Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com confirmed the report. Here is what the Bulls said in their press release.

Bulls forward Mike Dunleavy successfully underwent a low back microdiscectomy procedure earlier today at Rush University Medical Center. Dunleavy had experienced some occasional back discomfort over the summer which had recently worsened. Conservative measures failed to satisfactorily resolve his symptoms, therefore, the decision was made to perform the surgery. The timing is unfortunate, but it was imperative that all conservative measures were exhausted prior to making this decision.

Based on the Bulls’ announced timeline, this means a return around Thanksgiving.

Dunleavy — who signed a three-year extension with the Bulls this summer — and his ability to hit the three is key to the floor spacing for the Bulls. Expect this to thrust second-year man Doug McDermott into the spotlight in Chicago.

This is not how the Bulls wanted the Hoiberg era to begin, but if they can keep the other key players healthy and get Dunleavy back it’s far from a devastating blow. It’s just going to make it a rougher start to the season.

NBA’s global reach to be displayed again in preseason

Beyond Sport United 2015
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MIAMI (AP) — In less than six months, Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens will be on the sideline in six different countries.

He’s perhaps the best current example of the NBA’s international reach.

Stevens’ itinerary: He was an assistant for the NBA’s game in South Africa in August, will take his Celtics to Italy and Spain for preseason matchups in October, and his club will head to Mexico in December for a regular-season contest against Sacramento. So those, combined with the normal locales in the U.S. and Canada, means Stevens will get a real feel for the game’s global following.

“We’re very focused on the health of 30 franchises,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said this summer, “and continuing to build our fan base outside of the United States.”

The league has long placed importance on growing the game in markets outside North America are to them, and this year’s lineup for the Global Games – with NBA teams heading to six different countries, plus welcoming clubs from Turkey, Israel and Brazil to the U.S. for preseason games – probably will only enhance those efforts.

And for the teams going abroad – the Celtics, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Charlotte Hornets and the Orlando Magic will in the preseason – it’s a good chance for some bonding.

“I believe that you can have good moments together,” Stevens said Friday at the Celtics’ media day. “I think the more dinners you eat together, the more flights you take together, the more time you spend together, the more places you travel to are all positives.”

Miami has long valued its international flavor. The city is a Latin American business gateway, the Heat have a star in Dwyane Wade wearing shoes made by Chinese company Li Ning, have a starting point guard from Slovenia in Goran Dragic, and have a Filipino-American coach in Erik Spoelstra.

The Heat aren’t going overseas this preseason. If Spoelstra had his way, they would be.

“I love it,” Spoelstra said. “I’m all for it. If we could do it every year, I’d do it every year. … Stay tuned, we’re going to try to go somewhere next year.”

The league tries to accommodate the teams that will be traveling more in the preseason by allowing them to start camp early; the four heading abroad in this year’s preseason all had media day – the prelude to camp – on Friday, while the rest of the league will get started on Monday.

How much the NBA teams will actually benefit basketball-wise from this year’s trips, if at all, remains to be seen.

“I’m not sure,” said Orlando coach Scott Skiles, whose team faces Brazilian team Flamengo in Rio de Janeiro on Oct. 17. “I guess one thing, if I could wish something it was that we were playing an NBA team. Nothing against Flamengo or anybody. I’m not sure of the area where we’re staying or how much we’ll be able to leave the area. So I don’t know.”

Clippers coach Doc Rivers, whose team plays Charlotte in the Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Shanghai on Oct. 11 and 14, said he would rather have taken his team to Brazil – for the simple reason that he’s already seen China. But both teams figure to be a big draw; Clippers guard Chris Paul has drawn huge crowds in China in the past, and Hornets owner Michael Jordan still has enormous popularity there.

“More people play basketball in China,” Clippers forward Blake Griffin said, “than play basketball here.”

Stevens said the experience of traveling abroad as a team – he’s been part of overseas trips as a player and coach before – can be “a little overrated.” Still, the Celtics will probably see sellout crowds in all the faraway lands that they’ll visit – a testament to both the lure of a 17-time-champion franchise and the NBA brand.

“At the end of the day, we usually pointed to it as a real positive if we had a really good team,” Stevens said. “So I don’t know how much difference it really made. I think that’s probably the case if you go through the annals of the people that have taken their teams over. If you’ve got a really good team, you’ve got a really good team. But I think it does help you get to know each other better.”

NBA Global Games Schedule


Oct. 6, Boston vs. Olimpia Milano at Milan, Italy

Oct. 8, Boston vs. Real Madrid at Madrid, Spain

Oct. 11, L.A. Clippers vs. Charlotte at Shenzhen, China

Oct. 14, Charlotte vs. L.A. Clippers at Shanghai, China

Oct. 17, Orlando vs. Flamengo at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Regular Season

Dec. 3, Boston vs. Sacramento at Mexico City

Jan. 14, Toronto vs. Orlando at London

Friday is 15th anniversary of greatest dunk ever


For my money, that is the greatest dunk ever.

Vintage Vince Carter, at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, leaping and dunking over 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.

Friday is the 15th anniversary of that dunk and ESPN did a great story commemorating it, including Carter talking about trying to recreate the moment.

So one day, in Toronto, where he had gathered then-rookie Mo Peterson and a few other teammates after practice, Carter got a ball, lined up his tall teammates and tried to jump over them as he did so easily over 7-foot-2 France center Frédéric Weis in Sydney. He’d try it again and again — each time with a different result than the original.

“We’d mess around in practice, and I’d try to jump over them,” Carter said. “I’d trip over guys or fall.

“I just could never do it the same.”

Carter’s legendary dunk happened in the final game of group play. The USA would face France again in the Gold Medal game, and while there were no dunks this spectacular the USA did beat France and capture the gold.

Vince Carter
Vince Carter