Kurt Helin

Tristan Thompson

Report: Thompson would sign for 3-years, $53 million, Cavs not moving


Tristan Thompson isn’t getting his five-year, max contract from the Cavaliers — so instead he wants a three-year max deal.

Not sure that the Cavaliers will go for this, but Thompson’s aggressive agent Rich Paul apparently wanted to try to spin the story his way with this leak Thursday to Chris Broussard of ESPN:

Great deal? I’m not so sure about that — Thompson isn’t lowering his financial demands, only the number of years. Former Nets executive and Twitter star Bobby Marks put it well.

For the Cavaliers, who are concerned about the steep luxury tax hit that would come with signing Thompson to the max — as well as the fact he’s not worth more than guys such as Draymond Green, nor the same as Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler — this does not alleviate those concerns.

Cleveland doesn’t seem to be biting.

Cleveland has a five-year, $80 million offer on the table — that’s $16 million a year on average — and they are not willing to go higher for the reserve power forward. They aren’t getting pressured by LeBron James. The Cavs are holding their ground. Unlike my colleague Dan Feldman here at PBT, I’m not in the camp that thinks the Cavaliers are okay signing him to a max deal, even with the television money coming in. I’m far from sold he’s the kind of irreplaceable player you throw max money at, and I think that’s the kind of contract they regret in a few years.

The question soon becomes, is Thompson willing to play for the qualifying offer of $6.7 million to be an unrestricted free agent next summer? Is he ready to bet that the flood of television cash in the market will net him a max salary in 2016 that makes up the difference in money he gave up this season?

Video to get you pumped for NBA 2K16 release Friday

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Training camps open and real NBA basketball (or at least the training camp version of it) tips off next week.

But this Friday NBA 2K16 drops, so you can snap it up then spend your weekend trying to lead the Sixers to the title (well, in between watching football games). To get you pumped for the release, here is a little video courtesy the fine folks at 2K Sports. Enjoy.

Paul George not thrilled about playing power forward

2015 IPL 500 Festival Parade - 2015 Indy 500
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The NBA is going small, looking for floor spacing, and with their roster changes this past summer the Indiana Pacers are joining that trend. Which is why coach Frank Vogel is strongly considering Paul George as the Pacers’ starting power forward.

George doesn’t like that idea.

In two separate interviews, George clearly expressed displeasure at the idea. First, look what he told Candice Buckner of the Indy Star.

Here is what he told Sam Amick of the USA Today:

“Um, you know it’s, uh, I was open for – to try it out,” George said via phone while promoting his place on the cover of the NBA 2K16 mobile app. “It’s definitely a change. It’s something new. We’ll see how it goes. As the season goes, it might be better for me to just be at my regular position. But I told them I was open to the situation and (we’ll) see where it goes.”

I hope George does keep an open mind, because I think this could be good for him and the Pacers.

George is strong and physical enough to defend most of the fours in the East (it’s the West where the four is overloaded with talent), and on offense is ability to spread the floor with his shot will open things up for a Pacers offense that wants to play more up tempo.

Look at the top teams in the NBA — particularly the last two champions in San Antonio and Golden State — and what you see is versatility. They can go small, they can go larger, they can adjust to attack the weaknesses of their opponents (particularly in the playoffs). The Pacers can move that way, but it requires George being okay with playing some four.

Report: World Peace agrees to deal with Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs - Game One

All summer long Metta World Peace has been working out at the Lakers facility, and he formed a bond with second-year player (but a rookie in practice) Julius Randle. The Lakers watched the workouts and saw World-Peace the mentor — as strange as that sounds. What matters is that Randle was listening to him.

So, as had been long rumored, the Lakers are giving World Peace a one-year deal and a chance to make the team, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Free-agent forward Metta World Peace has reached agreement on a one-year, non-guaranteed deal to return to the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources told Yahoo Sports….

World Peace is expected to make the roster and play a role as a small forward off the bench, and a veteran extension of coach Byron Scott in the young Lakers locker room.

I would hold off on the assumption he makes the roster, although he certainly has a chance. The Lakers have some decisions to make. They have 12 guaranteed contracts on the books right now (although in theory they could buy out someone like Robert Sacre), and can only carry 15. The Lakers signed veteran Brazilian point guard Marcelo Huertas‘ to a non-guaranteed deal, but I’d expect him to make the cut. If Huertas and MWP make the roster, the Lakers have one roster spot for young talents Jabari Brown, Tarik Black, Michael Frazier and Jonathan Holmes to fight over (again, unless there is a buyout of an existing deal).

If MWP makes the roster, Lakers fans should not expect quality production out of him — there was a reason he’s been out of the league for more than a season. The Knicks waived him in 2014 because he isn’t near the same defender he once was, and his offensive game has slipped (he shot just 31 percent from three for them). Last season he played in Italy where he averaged 13.3 points a game, but at age 35 he’s not bouncing back to have NBA rotation player level contributions.

But that’s not why the Lakers want him. He seems to have the ear of Randle.

Why that requires a roster spot, and he can’t be brought in as an assistant coach or consultant I don’t get. Yes, listening to players is different from a coach, but that’s not the relationship Randle and World Peace have formed, so it doesn’t matter the title for MWP now?

The rebuilding Lakers keep stocking up on veterans. It’s an interesting mix.

Doc Rivers: Jordan chose “substance and character”

Clayton Kershaw's 3rd Annual PingPong4Purpose

You can view this as more fuel on the fire for Nov. 11.

Or, a continuing playground spat between kindergarteners.

The reality is it’s a little of both.

In case you forgot, Nov. 11 is when DeAndre Jordan and the Los Angeles Clippers stop in Dallas to face the Mavericks. You know what happened this summer, Jordan said he was going to Dallas then, days later, had second thoughts and right before the deadline and decided to stay with the Clippers. That has led to verbal slings and arrows being shot between the two franchises all summer. Chandler Parsons says Jordan wasn’t ready to be a franchise player. Cuban wanted nothing to do with Jordan’s twitter apology. Doc Rivers said he thought Cuban should have handled things more maturely, and on Wednesday Cuban said Rivers’ “professional life was over if he didn’t get DJ.”

Speaking to Dan Woikie of the Orange County Register, Rivers fired back at Cuban.

“I’ll say this. I’m so grateful to work for a team owned by Steve Ballmer, someone who stands for character and substance and who is so loyal,” Rivers said. “He is someone who I know will stand with me, even when things aren’t always going our way. I think what happened with D.J. was he decided to choose substance and character over smoke and mirrors.”

So I guess we’re not moving on from this spat yet, even though every principle involved says they have moved on. It’s like dealing with my elementary school age daughters.

I will add this.

Ballmer the owner still is going through a tough learning curve, and everything isn’t puppies and rainbows in Clippers camp. Cuban may be a shoot-from-the-hip owner, but he is one of the best in the NBA — when Cuban took over the Mavericks they made Donald Sterling’s Clippers look big spending and well run. Cuban spent money and turned the Mavericks around into a first-class organization and one of the stronger franchises in the NBA. It’s a place players want to go, and they won a title. You don’t have to like Cuban’s style, but he’s been good for the Mavericks. And I would argue very good for the league.

I’d like to think this will be the last of the fight, but my guess is it continues until Nov. 11.