Kurt Helin

DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan: playing in Dallas “like any other road game”


Nov. 11 is going to be must-watch NBA television. First, LaMarcus Aldridge returns to Portland as a member of the Spurs, and I bet he gets a warm reception.

Then later that night, DeAndre Jordan leads the Clippers into Dallas — and that reception is going to be a little different. It’s going to rain boos like a hurricane. Of course, you remember this summer Jordan said he was going to play for the Mavericks, then had second thoughts and ultimately re-signed with the Clippers. That has led to Chandler Parsons saying Jordan wasn’t ready to be a franchise player. Mavs owner Mark Cuban wanted nothing to do with Jordan’s twitter apology.

So is Jordan worried about going to Dallas in November? Not so much, he told Ben Blotch of the Los Angeles Times.

Sure it will. Like In-‘n-Out is just another hamburger.

Some things stand out, and you can be sure this game is going to stand out. Jordan ultimately made the best decision for himself (and happened to make more money in the process), but that doesn’t mean Mavs fans have to be happy about it. And they are going to let Jordan know how they feel in no uncertain terms.

Klay Thompson on Bucks not drafting him: “I thank God every day”

Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Awards 2015 - Arrivals
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Klay Thompson almost didn’t fall to the Warriors with the 11th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Milwaukee had the No. 10 pick and were thinking shooting, but they entered a three-team trade with Sacramento and Charlotte — the Bucks drafted Jimmer Fredette and sent him to the Kings with John Salmons and ultimately got out of it Tobias Harris, Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston, and Beno Udrih.

Thompson was drafted by the Warriors at No. 11 and the rest is history — they eventually moved Monte Ellis to make room for the Stephen Curry/Klay Thompson backcourt that just won the Warriors an NBA title.

Is Thompson happy the Bucks didn’t snap him up? Via Diamond Leung of the Bay Area Group.

Some Bucks fans are about to go all Col. Nathan Jessep on this news, but the reality is what did you expect him to say after just winning a title? He’s in a city where it never snows, has great food that isn’t deep fried, he’s closer to his father (based in LA), and he’s on a team set up to contend for the next five years at least (that’s as far as you can see into the NBA future, if even that far). You can’t blame the guy for being happy where he landed.

Bucks fans, win a title in five years and everyone will be saying the same thing about Milwaukee.

Pierce accepts smaller role, questions if Kobe can

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce is not going to see heavy minutes with the Clippers — he may even come off the bench behind Wesley Johnson (I think that’s a terrible idea, but that’s a different topic for another day). He’ll play some three and some four, but at age 38 when the season starts, what he’s going to do most is rest. The premise is simple, what matters is a healthy Pierce when the Clippers enter the playoffs.

Pierce said again he’s good with that on the Fred Roggin Show on the Beast 980 in Los Angeles — and then took a little shot at Kobe Bryant.

If your audio player isn’t working, here’s the quote:

“That will be tough on some guys in L.A. to take on that role *cough* Kobe *cough* I mean, you know, but um, we get older.”

Kobe is willing to play fewer minutes; he understands that at age 37 coming off a few major injuries he’s got to take care of himself. Byron Scott threw himself on the sword for overplaying Kobe last season, but the dynamic between Kobe and Lakers’ coaches means he deserves some of this blame too. But that’s beside the point.

Pierce is joking about something plenty of people around the NBA are wondering:

Can Kobe accept a smaller role? To take the ball out of his hands for stretches so D'Angelo Russell can learn through mistakes? To let the offense run through Jordan Clarkson? Can he be a real mentor to the next generation of Lakers?

Expect the superior Clippers team to take a lot of shots at the Lakers this season. They are the better team, and they are going to make sure everyone in LA knows it.

Anthony Bennett clears waivers; Raptors likely destination

Minnesota Timberwolves v Utah Jazz

Anthony Bennett is going to be on an NBA roster this season — likely back in his native Canada.

But no team wanted to pay him $5.8 million to be on their roster this season. Maybe more importantly, no team wanted to decide by Oct. 31 if they were going to pay him $7.3 million next season. So he has cleared waivers and is now a free agent, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

That makes him a free agent. Portland and Philadelphia have interest in him, but Toronto appears to be the frontrunner to land him.

The Raptors have 14 guaranteed contracts on the books, they can add one more. This will be a league minimum deal (or very close to it).

Bennett becomes the first No. 1 pick ever not to make it to the third year of his rookie contract before being released. The usual reaction is to call him a bust, but the reality is this was the Cavaliers’ mistake on draft night — most teams had Bennett in the 7-12 range on their boards (a few had him much lower), but the Cavaliers rolled the dice and took him with the top pick. That’s on them, not him.

That said, it’s too early to completely give up on him. Bennett is just 22 and entering his third NBA season, and while he’s never going to be a star it is possible he could develop into a solid rotation player. He’s shown flashes of quality play before — he did for team Canada this summer at FIBA Americas — but he hasn’t been able to sustain that into the NBA regular season. He also battled injuries, which impacted his conditioning.

If that’s behind him, he’s worth a roll of the dice on a minimum deal. Toronto has Patrick Patterson and Luis Scola at the four, there are minutes to be had if Bennett can earn them.

This summer, Canadian national team coach and Blazers assistant Jay Triano gave Bennett excellent advice — simplify the game, find a thing or two you’re good at and focus on just that. Bennett can rebound, he can run the floor, and if Toronto can bring him along this “bust” can help them. If not, no big cost.

Pacers announce dates for games with Hickory uniforms

George Hill Poses for Photos in Hickory Uniform

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Pacers will debut their new Hickory Huskers uniforms Nov. 6 at home against Miami.

Team officials announced Tuesday that they will be worn 10 times this season. Indiana is making the change to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the movie “Hoosiers.”

Indiana also will wear the uniforms for home games Dec. 23 against Sacramento, Jan. 26 against the Los Angeles Clippers, Feb. 24 against New York, March 15 against Boston and April 10 against Brooklyn and at road games Nov. 29 at the Los Angeles Lakers, Dec. 30 at Chicago, Jan. 13 at Boston and April 3 at New York.

Indiana also will have honorees at each home game including Crispus Attucks state championship teams from 1955, 1956 and 1959 and, of course, the “Milan Miracle” team of 1954.