Kurt Helin

Sacramento Kings v Denver Nuggets

Ty Lawson on coming to Houston: “It’s definitely a breath of fresh air”

5 Comments

It’s the single biggest question about Houston’s key offseason acquisition, Ty Lawson:

It a change of scenery and a fresh start what he needs to conquer his personal demons?

This is a man who had two DUIs inside of seven months and just got out of a rehab facility. He has baggage. But some around the point guard said he would change in a new situation and on a winning team where he had responsibility. Houston provides that opportunity.

Lawson also is the kind of dynamic playmaker the Rockets needed to help out James Harden, who had to carry a ridiculous load in Houston last season. Lawson echoed that saying the move to Houston is what he needed, he told Fox News 26.

“Oh yeah for sure,” Lawson said. “I was like before I even came to the team I was talking to James. I was like ‘man get me over there.’ I’ll be that piece to (help) get over the hump. It’s definitely a breath of fresh air….

“I feel like last year watching the playoffs, they definitely need another playmaker,” Lawson said. “You could tell James got a little bit tired. He had to come down and score and make passes every time on the court. So I just want to relieve a little bit of pressure for him the best way I can.”

For Lawson personally I hope this move and this situation are what he needs to get his life in order.

He certainly brings some shot creation and up-tempo play that the Rockets could use. His skill set bumps the Rockets up to true contender status. However, it’s going to take some experimentation by Kevin McHale to find lineups that will keep Houston in the top 10 defensively — playing Lawson and Harden together could supercharge the offense but creates defensive holes. Dwight Howard covers some of that, but not all.

McHale has time to figure it all out — Houston should be a lock as a playoff team and win plenty of games. But they are going to need to be better just to get back to where they were last season in a stacked West.

 

Wizards expect Tomas Satoransky to join them in summer of 2016

FC Barcelona v Olympiacos Piraeus - Turkish Airlines Euroleague Play Off
Leave a comment

Back in 2012, PBT got a first-hand look at Tomas Satoransky at Adidas Eurocamp and came away impressed:

“Satoransky ran the point and played off the ball equally well, and whipped the ball around the perimeter with confidence, always looking to create the best shot for his teammates. When it was his turn to score, he showcased a smooth stroke from the outside, and was able to put the ball on the floor and finish in traffic, as well.”

Washington drafted him in the second round that year (No. 32) and he has gotten some seasoning playing overseas, including for FC Barcelona.

But it looks like Satoransky will join the Wizards next summer to become John Wall’s backup, reports the Washington Post.

Wizards officials met with Satoransky, 23, earlier this month when his native Czech Republic played against Marcin Gortat’s Polish national team in preparation for the upcoming EuroBasket tournament and Washington expects him to join the team next summer, according to a person with knowledge of the situation…

Satoransky is now entering the second and final year of his contract with FC Barcelona in the Spanish League. He has started 42 of 71 games for Barcelona, one of the top clubs in the second-best league in the world, at point guard last season, averaging 8.1 points and 3.3 assists in 20.3 minutes. He shot 54.2 percent from the floor, including 43.5 percent from beyond the arc, and 83.9 percent from the free throw line.

It will be interesting to see how Randy Wittman and Washington uses a 6’7″ point/combo guard, there is a lot of potential there. But we’re a year away from seeing any of it. Just something to watch for next summer.

Kosta Koufos pumped to play for George Karl in Sacramento

Portland Trail Blazers v Memphis Grizzlies - Game One
8 Comments

Well, there’s one.

We’ll see how the relationship between DeMarcus Cousins and George Karl plays out this season, now that they’ve smoked the peace pipe (or whatever they did when they met). We’ll see how the relationship between George Karl and Rajon Rondo goes as well. Or if the Kings’ players all bond together over their hatred of Karl and that unifies them. Whatever works.

But at least one Sacramento King is pumped to be playing for George Karl: Kosta Koufos. The big man was on SiriusXM NBA Radio and talked about coming to the Kings.

It will be interesting to see how Karl balances the minutes between the veteran but slower Koufos and the raw but athletic Willie Cauley-Stein, and how that balance evolves over the course of the season.

As for the Kings, Karl himself called them “combustible.” I think that’s perfect. Combustible mixtures can become jet fuel, or they can blow up. If feels like the Kings could do either.

Carmelo Anthony goes to Cuba to talk soccer. And it’s worth watching.

Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Awards 2015 - Arrivals
1 Comment

The USA and Cuba are normalizing relations, the borders to the island nation are opening up, and we are getting our first quality looks inside that country since “the revolution.” It’s a chance for us to start to understand a culture and its people, rather than simply watch politicians demonize them because of the ruler’s political system.

Carmelo Anthony has teamed up with VICE SPORTS for a series of videos — called “The Clubhouse,” looking at the intersection of sports and culture — and in the first one ‘Melo heads to Cuba to talk about how soccer has caught on with the youth of that nation. For years, when you thought of sports in Cuba you thought baseball and boxing, but a younger generation has started playing soccer in the streets, and the popularity is growing.

It’s a well done, interesting piece worth watching. We should warn you, there is a little NSFW language in it.

Will Miami make a run at Kevin Durant?

Kevin Durant
17 Comments

Kevin Durant isn’t going to talk about the rumors swirling around his free agency, and he doesn’t want you to believe what “sources” say about his plans. That’s fair, Durant doesn’t know for sure what he will do next summer yet, why would anyone else?

But if you’re the GM of a team, especially one that has a semi-legitimate shot to land him, you have to plan for taking a run at Durant. There are only a handful of true franchise changing players in the league and when they become free agents — even if it is most likely they don’t move — you have to be ready. The reward is too great not to take the risk.

Enter Pat Riley and the Miami Heat.

They may be a long shot to land KD — would he want to follow LeBron James’ path? — but there is no better big game hunter in the league than Pat Riley. Zach Lowe at Grantland says expect Riley to at least take his best shot at Durant.

One star changes everything, and Riley gets stars. Next summer, Miami could open up nearly $40 million in cap room, and as much as $45 million if it moves McRoberts for extra cap space. That’s a ton, but if Whiteside has even a solid season, it’s not enough to bring back both Whiteside and Wade while signing an outside star; the Heat will not have full Bird rights on Whiteside, meaning they will have to dip into cap space to re-sign him.

Consider one example: Durant’s max salary for 2016-17 will be about $25 million, leaving $15 million or $20 million to split between Wade and Whiteside. That won’t do it, unless Wade takes a massive hometown discount. (By the way: Rail against the Durant rumor mill if you want, but you’re kidding yourselves if you don’t think Riley will set Miami up to make a run at him.)

Miami will be a fascinating team this season — they could be the second best team in the East, they could be sixth, they are hard to read — but they are not ready to compete with Cleveland. They need more talent. Obviously, Durant would be that guy.

Before the people from OKC start emailing/commenting, I’ll try to be clear once again — this does not mean Durant is going to the Heat, or even leaving the Thunder. It is just an example of how a number of teams — the Wizards, Lakers, Knicks, and the list goes on — are lining up to take a run at KD. That means some financial jockeying for some these squads.