Kurt Helin

Vince Carter wants to play two more seasons in NBA

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Even at age 39 by the end of last season, Vince Carter was a solid contributor for the Grizzlies (in what was a difficult season due to injuries all over that roster). He gave them 6.8 points per night, shot 34.9 percent from three (where he took almost half his shots), played pretty good defense, and for 13 minutes a night he was a replacement level player (not bad off the bench for an inexpensive $4 million a season).

Carter will play his 19th NBA season with the Grizzlies this season, and could have a larger role with the team. He told ESPN he wants to do a 20th season after that.

“We know No. 19 is definitely going to go down. I’m shooting for 20, and we’ll go from there after that.”

Why does he keep coming back?

“Love for the game. Nothing else. I just love to play. It’s not out of me yet. When I don’t want to play and don’t want to put the work in, that’s when I step away from the game, but right now I still love it.”

For a lot of guys, the time to hang it up is not because of their play on the court – the games are always fun — it’s when they are no longer willing to put in the time in the weight room and gym to get their bodies ready for the season that they walk away. If Carter still loves the prep part getting ready for the season, then good for him. He should play as long as his mind and body are able.

Based on the way he played last season, I could see him playing two more years. That said, his contract is only guaranteed for $2 million through the middle of the season — it is possible the Grizzlies move him as trade bait, or waive him themselves to create space for another wing. However, Memphis doesn’t have a lot of depth there, if they let Carter go they need a wing replacement.

 

Lopez brothers correct Star Wars mistake, give Chewbacca a medal

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It’s one of those often-debated topics among Star Wars fanatics: Why didn’t Chewbacca get a medal in the ceremony at the end of the original Star Wars (“A New Hope”)? Was he not in all the battles Han Solo was in? Did he not have a role in blowing up the Death Star? George Lucas once said that Wookies don’t care about medals. Right. Sounds to me like false bravado after the fact.

Brothers Robin Lopez and Brook Lopez were at Disneyland (which now owns the Star Wars rights) and decided to fix that.

Now, can the Lopez brothers just give Chewie a hug, because in the latest Star Wars movie (“The Force Awakens”) Leia hugs Rey instead of Chewbacca in the immediate aftermath of the murder of the Wookie’s best friend Han Solo.

Stephen Curry: “74 (wins) isn’t really a goal”

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Last season the Warriors made a conscious effort to set a record for most wins in a season — Draymond Green and Stephen Curry in particular pushed for that goal (certainly more than the coaching staff). The players wanted it, the team went after it and got it. Then they didn’t win a title. Whether the push impacted that or not (likely not that much if at all, other factors like Green’s suspension and LeBron’s dominance were bigger factors), however, there is a perception that part of the reason the Warriors couldn’t get over the hump in the Finals was they put too much into the regular season.

So with Kevin Durant in the Bay Area now, are the Warriors going for 74? Curry was asked that in a media event during his ongoing China tour and his answer was posted on the Warriors’ Twitter account.

“74 (wins) isn’t really a goal. If it happens, it happens. All of our energy will be spent on getting ourselves ready for a championship run. We want to have a great regular season obviously, we don’t want to have any slip-ups, but I don’t think coming into the season with the goal of 74 is a good focus. It’s about winning a championship.”

The Warriors are not going to get to 74, or likely over 70 wins this season. For one thing, the addition of Durant and the subtraction of Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes and others is going to mean some transition time at the start of the season. Also, just too many things need to go right in terms of health and breaks — all of which seemed to fall the Warriors’ way in the regular season last year. That’s probably not happening again. Finally, the players aren’t going to want it and push for it.

But win 60+ games, get the top seed in the West, and head into the playoffs healthy? Those are good goals for the Warriors, and ones that get them on the path to another title run.

Happy birthday Dennis Scott, here is a look at some highlights

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For a young generation of NBA fans, Dennis Scott is the guy in the suit on NBA TV breaking down games. He’s good at that.

But Dennis Scott the player had about as sweet a shooting stroke as you will ever see. There’s a reason the guy made 1,214 threes in his career (in an era when the shot was not nearly as prevalent as it is today) and he shot 39.7 percent from deep for his career.

Scott turns 48 today, happy birthday sir. As a treat for all of us, we’ve got some Scott highlights to show.

Pau Gasol admits he almost signed with Spurs two seasons ago

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This summer, Pau Gasol signed with the San Antonio Spurs, sliding into the spot vacated by Tim Duncan.

Two years ago, he almost slid into a spot next to Tim Duncan.

During the free agency run of 2014 the buzz around the league was that Gasol was headed to Chicago or San Antonio (nobody thought he would stay with the Lakers after issues he had with Mike D’Antoni). Gasol chose Chicago, which at the time made them look like a real threat in the East (injuries to Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah over the past couple years meant the Bulls were not much of a threat to anybody).

In a recent press event in Spain, Gasol admitted he almost chose the Spurs two years ago, translation via Eurohoops.net.

“Two years ago I declined the option of going to the Spurs. Now it was the right time to go to San Antonio”, explained the Spaniard: “Popovich has he told me that I will contribute a lot and along with LaMarcus Aldridge, without Tim Duncan any more, I will be one of the leaders of the team in the front line”.

Two years later, you have to wonder if Gasol regrets choosing the Bulls? He’d never admit it publicly, and there was no way to predict everything that would happen with the Bulls, but someday he may look back on that decision and wonder “what if?”

While everyone is understandably touting the Warriors in the West this season, should they slip the Spurs are right behind them. This is a team that won a franchise-best 67 games last season with Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge leading the way. Gasol brings them improved offensive skills at the five, although they will miss Duncan quarterbacking the defense. Heading into the season the Spurs are, at worst, the third best team in the NBA and serious title contenders.

And you know Popovich is going to put Gasol in positions that make the Spaniard look five years younger. Because that always seems to happen with the Spurs veterans.