Author: Kurt Helin

Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors

Report: Shawn Marion meets with Larry Bird, Pacers on Monday


When Paul George went down with a horrific leg injury playing for Team USA, leaving him out for next season, Indiana’s question heading into next season went from “can they get back to contending?” to “should they tank and try to get a high lottery pick?”

Still, they need to get someone to fill Paul’s role on the team and one of the first names to come up was Shawn Marion.

The Cavaliers were considered the front runners but can only offer a minimum contract, and frankly Marion deserves a little more than that after his past season. The Pacers can offer a little bit more and made their pitch Monday, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

What the Cavaliers can offer is winning, once the Kevin Love trade goes through they are legitimate title contenders for the foreseeable future.

What the Pacers can offer is a little more money. With George out the Pacers applied for the disabled player exception, which would allow them to sign a player for up to $5.3 million. Except Indiana is not going to offer that much. Even if the Pacers waive their unguaranteed contracts they are about $2.5 million below the luxury tax line that the team is not going to cross. They are not going to offer more.

That’s about a little more than a million more than the Cavs (Cleveland is just $1.7 million under the cap as is). For a 15-year veteran who has $133 million in career earnings, is that enough reason not to go for the team that is a contender?

That’s why the Cavaliers are considered the front runners. We’ll see what Marion decides soon.

And-1 Links: Paul George changes his number to 13. PG-13. Get it?

Miami Heat v Indiana Pacers - Game 5

Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

The rumors are true, when he comes back in 2015 Paul George will change his number to 13. Yes, PG-13. Personally not really loving it but there you are.

• If you read one thing today it should be James Herbert’s interview with Patrick Patterson at CBS’ Eye on Basketball. For example he was at the Drake OVO show where Drake tried to recruit Kevin Durant and got fined for it:

“Ha, that was funny. It was cool. I know Drake, the whole OVO crew, Toronto, Canada, they would love to have Kevin Durant there. It’d be a great piece to this culture that we’re trying to create in order to win and be successful. I’d love it if Kevin Durant came, I’m not going to say I wouldn’t. That’d be a great piece, that’d be a great player to have. I thought it was fun, it was entertaining, the fans loved it. Kevin probably loved it as well, I think I saw a tweet about him saying, “Shout out to Drake, I love the 6,” something like that. It was definitely entertaining. It was a smart move on Drake’s part.”

• Also a great read on Josh Howard’s attempted return to the NBA.

• Your non-update update of the day on Ray Allen: He says not to trust sources, when he makes a decision he will make it public.

• Most traditional NBA centers put up better numbers when paired with a stretch four.

• Free agents Malcolm Lee and Chris Singleton worked out in Las Vegas on Monday for a number of teams, trying to get to a training camp, ideally with a team that has a roster spot or two open.

• David Stern was reportedly afraid to ask Bill Russell to Stern’s Hall of Fame induction.

• Stan Van Gundy likes the moves the Pistons made this summer (that he executed, so he better like them) to bring in more shooting and depth. And he says he expects these guys to play hard every possession.

“Yeah, for two reasons,” he said. “The people we added all play very hard and very competitively, but I also think that’s the value of depth and balance. Our guys are going to push each other. There will be competition for playing time.”

• Cleveland has signed undrafted center Alex Kirk to a partially guaranteed contract.

• Lance Stephenson posted this on Instagram saying he thinks he can be a professional model. I’ll leave that call up to you.

• RIP Robin Williams.

• Renaldo Balkman is working to get back to the NBA, says he wants one more shot.

• Khris Middleton milks a cow.

• MarShon Brooks has decided to take the bigger payday overseas and has signed with Olimpia Milano for next season.

• Thunder prospect Tibor Pleiss has signed to play with FC Barcelona next season.

• Finally, if you enjoyed the Charles Barkley/James Harden Foot Locker commercial, here are the outtakes.

Andrew Wiggins on trade for Kevin Love: “Whatever happens is out of my control”

2014 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

Andrew Wiggins knows what is coming. And for a rookie he has done a very good job of staying on message.

“I let my agent and my support system handle that, I just love playing the game of basketball and I know the NBA is a business,” Wiggins said to a handful of media members including PBT in Las Vegas for the final days of NBA Summer League.

Back then the deal was still in the negotiations/rumor phase, now it is agreed to — Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a first round pick for Kevin Love — and the two sides (plus the Philadelphia 76ers, moving Thaddeus Young to Minnesota for Anthony Bennett) are just waiting for Wiggins 30-day moratorium after signing his rookie deal to be up Aug. 23.

He’s still saying basically the same things now, according to the Associated Press.

“Whatever happens is out of my control,” he said. “I’m not worrying about it right now.”

Surrounded by more than a dozen reporters and nine television cameras at a promotional event at his former grade school in suburban Toronto, Wiggins acknowledged that life as a first overall pick has brought him extra attention.

“There’s more eyes on me, more criticizing, stuff like that,” he said.

What else is he going to say? He’s handled this entire situation as gracefully as one could.

Wiggins is going from playing for a potential contender to a rebuilding team in Minnesota — one with some nice young talent in himself, Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine, Chase Budinger, Gorgui Dieng and Nikola Pekovic. Still, that is a team with a lot of growing and building still to do. And Wiggins just keeps saying the right things about just wanting to play basketball.

On the bright side, being from Toronto, the Minneapolis winters shouldn’t be a shock to the system.

Manu Ginobili thinks he might play another season after this one

Manu Ginobili

Manu Ginobili is under contract for one more year, at $7 million. The Spurs want him back badly enough that they aren’t letting him play for Argentina in the World Cup this summer as he comes off a stress fracture in his leg.

But what about the year after that?

The Spurs will have Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter and coach Gregg Popovich back under contract, and whether Tim Duncan is back or not depends on how Tim Duncan feels in a year.

Ginobili thinks he might want to be back, he said in an interview with Argentinian publication La Nación (the same interview where he said his national team playing days are over), as translated by J. Gomez at Pounding the Rock.

“I know I’ll play the upcoming season. If I feel like I did this past season, I’ll keep going for sure. If I feel like I did the season before, I don’t know. More than age, what matters the most is my health and the mental aspect. Basketball-wise, I’m in a perfect situation. I’m with a team that takes great care of me, in which I have my role and I’m not asked to do too much. I’m a leader to my teammates. And I feel respected enough to not have to prove myself every day. So if I feel like I did last season, I’ll keep playing.”

I think this is how the Spurs are playing it, too. See what Duncan wants to do, how the season goes, how everyone feels when its over then make a call. When the time comes, with Parker and Leonard under contract it will not be a complete tear-down rebuild (even if they do something like trade Parker it would be for quality assets in return). The Spurs will keep right on being the Spurs, even if they take a step back in talent the foundation will not change.

And if they keep the band together for one more year, it’s likely Ginobili is part of that.

Report: Jordan, Hornets to bid to host 2017 or ’18 All-Star Game

early morning sunrise over charlotte city skyline downtown

Michael Jordan is working hard to turn around both the franchise and the market in Charlotte. Former owner George Shinn stomped on that market then moved the team to New Orleans, and when Robert Johnson resurrected the franchise he didn’t do much to help its reputation in the community and he named the team after himself (the Bobcats).

Michael Jordan is starting to change that.

Getting back the Hornets nickname was one step, putting a competitive basketball team on the court that made the playoffs last season then went out and got Lance Stephenson this summer was the next.

Now how about hosting an All-Star game? Charlotte is going to make a bid for one of the next two that are available, reports the Charlotte Observer.

The Charlotte Hornets plan to formally submit a bid Tuesday to host either the 2017 or 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend, a source close to the process said Monday…

While it’s been no secret the Hornets are interested in hosting the annual mid-February event at Time Warner Cable Arena, there are potential complications. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said during a March visit to Charlotte that an All-Star bid would be contingent on the city agreeing to various upgrades to the arena.

“It’s part of the understanding here that the building remain state of the art,” Silver said in March. “Nothing dramatic is needed. But certainly an upgrade to the scoreboard, some things with the suites and the lighting.”

The 2015 All-Star Game is in New York/Brooklyn, followed by Toronto in 2016. It is thought that if this year’s ASG goes well it will return to New York in the near future but with the venues reversed (next year Brooklyn hosts the Friday and Saturday events, the main All-Star Game Sunday is at Madison Square Garden).

Charlotte could fit into that mix. This also puts a little pressure on everyone involved with the arena in Charlotte to get the upgrades done.

People have ripped into Jordan the owner, but Roland Lazenby, author of the new Michael Jordan: The Life biography that came out this year, put an interesting spin on that in an interview with PBT saying this is like his playing career where he’s figuring things out quickly.

“He goes to Charlotte and some of his draft picks are called into question. But as time goes on, everybody looks back at Michael the owner, or Michael the executive, and they see that his learning curve is and they see his worth ethic is much more than they realized. He has gone into Charlotte — which is the Chernobyl of the NBA, the old Hornets with George Shinn trashed the place, then the roll out of the Bobcats, which was a horrible roll out, and thanks to that Charlotte was a horrible market.

“I’m sure you saw some of those crowds with Charlotte playing Miami (in the first round of the 2014 playoffs), that place was packed again. It was like the old Hornets. The longer people look at Jordan the owner the more they are going to realize he is there and he is doing a lot better. He is making something happen. People have underestimated him again.”