Kurt Helin

Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Awards 2015 - Arrivals

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

1 Comment

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.

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

Tristan Thompson

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?