Author: Kurt Helin

Atlanta Hawks v Milwaukee Bucks

Report: Hawks sign Shelvin Mack to three-year, $7.3 million deal


Jeff Teague is the starting point guard in Atlanta and the Hawks are counting on Dennis Schroder to grow into the No. 2 role, ideally starting next season (in Las Vegas they had him working on running a team properly and being a defensive pest). He’s raw but talented.

The Hawks need a little security to back that up and have turned to Shelvin Mack, bringing back their own restricted free agent, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Restricted free-agent guard Shelvin Mack has reached agreement on a three-year, $7.3 million deal to return to the Atlanta Hawks, a league source told Yahoo Sports…. The deal includes a team option in the third year, a source said.

Mack was solid last season for the Hawks. He’s a bit streaky as a shooter (remember he got hot in Game 5 against the Pacers in the playoffs and dropped 20) but what he brought was consistency in running the team — he’s a deft passer plus he doesn’t turn the ball over — and a real sense of professionalism. He could be trusted.

Schroder isn’t there yet, this is a nice insurance policy at a fair price until that happens.

In other Atlanta Hawks news, they officially signed rookie Adreian Payne to his contract. He showed some potential at Summer League as a shooting big as he adapts to the NBA game.

Report: Will Cherry drawing interest from Cavaliers, Raptors

Miami Heat v Cleveland Cavaliers

One of my favorite little duels of Summer League was when Will Cherry and Casper Ware went mano-a-mano for a lengthy stretch of a Cavaliers vs. Sixers game in Las Vegas. These are two very quick, undersized point guards who want the ball in their hands and were trying hard to make an impression, trying to catch on as a third point guard in a league where carrying that guard is becoming more common.

Cherry was hard to miss even for a guy generously listed as 6’0” — on a team with Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett he was the aggressor with the ball, never fearing to attack or take a shot. He was a gunner. He averaged 12.8 points a game but shot a very nice 52 percent doing so. The former Montana star played a few games in the D-League for the Canton Charge last season but made an impression in Las Vegas.

Enough that he is getting looks from Cleveland and Toronto, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

My guess is Cherry ends up with a make-good contract heading into training camp.

For a team looking for a third point guard who can come in and be a spark, put up points, be a fan favorite, and work hard in practice a guy like Cherry (or Ware) can be a good fit. Not on every roster, but there are spots he could work in the league and Cleveland could be one of them.

Report: Lakers finally offer coaching position to Byron Scott, deal expected soon

Cleveland Cavaliers coach Scott gives instructions to his team during their NBA basketball game against New York Knicks in New York

The Lakers fired Mike D’Antoni back on April 30 and since then watched most of the NBA playoffs, the Spurs win the Finals, the NBA Draft, LeBron James go home, the rest of the heart of free agency, and Summer League all go by while they waited.

After all that they decided to go with the guy who was the favorite from April 30th on, the guy that Kobe Bryant wanted from the start.

The Lakers have offered their coaching position to Byron Scott, first reported by Chris Broussard of ESPN. (Since then multiple reports close to the Lakers confirmed this.)

A deal is expected soon, at least in the next couple days.

Other coaches considered and that the Lakers reached out to included George Karl, Lionel Hollins, Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis, Kevin Ollie and others.

Scott is a former Laker with rings from the Showtime era — the Lakers can sell this as a “return to family” — and has long been a Buss family favorite.

But he’s in a bit of a placeholder position as the Lakers try to rebuild by attracting stars — the Lakers don’t know what kind of team they want to be long term, which is a hard spot to put a coach in.

As a coach Scott guided the Nets to back-to-back NBA Finals, but after that had down-and-up-and-down tenures in New Orleans (with Chris Paul) and Cleveland after LeBron James left in 2010. Scott sees himself as a developer of young talent, which is what the Lakers need, although Scott (like most coaches would) has had far more success with veteran rosters.

Dirk Nowitzki plays baseball (VIDEO)

Dirk Nowitzki

That is one big strike zone.

Dirk Nowitzki didn’t exactly grow up playing baseball, but he’s adapted to all things Texas and America (or a lot of them anyway) including the “national pastime” (which I think is really football, but that’s another discussion for another time).

Nowitzki got together other celebrities such as Tony Romo and Jason Terry for a charity baseball game to raise money for the Heroes Foundation and the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation.

You can see Nowitzki get hitting advice from a mascot… and actually take it.

What matters is a fun time was had by all and the money went to a good cause. And 50 Cent didn’t throw out the first pitch.

Report: Francisco Garcia looking at options, including return to Rockets

Francisco Garcia

Francisco Garcia didn’t contribute that much to the Rockets last season, in part due to injuries and in part due to the fact he doesn’t provide much except hitting threes (65 percent of his shots were from beyond the arc and he his 35 percent of those). Still he opted out of the second hear of his contract in Houston to see what free agency might hold for him.

It looks now like he will make a choice soon… and it could return to Houston.

There has been interest from Utah but the Rockets have had talks with Garcia, his agent Aaron Goodwin told the Houston Chronicle.

“We’ve talked about him,” Goodwin said of conversations with the Rockets. “Francisco is just looking for the opportunity to continue to play toward a championship. We’re looking through his options, seeing what would be the best opportunities for him. He definitely has interest in the Rockets.”

Garcia opted out of a veteran minimum contract and will get the exact same deal now, the only question is where. There’s a comfort level there for both sides and for Garcia he gets to play on a quality team that will win a lot of games in a hotly contested West.

The Rockets have the roster space with a number of non-guaranteed deals, however there is time and another team could step in and tempt Garcia with a situation he likes better. Probably not, though.