Kurt Helin

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Andre Iguodala thought LeBron James would get Finals MVP

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If I’d had a Finals MVP vote, I would have cast it for LeBron James. I would have been in the minority, but to me he was clear and away the best player in the series — heck, it’s not even an interesting series without him. We’ve already laid out LeBron’s case.

Andre Iguodala — who won the trophy — was with me. From Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group.

Iguodala was not a terrible choice. He would have been third on my list — Stephen Curry was ahead of him for me — but Iguodala was a great narrative. And so long as you let media members vote, the guy with the story will always win.

Doc Rivers: If you knew the trades Donald Sterling killed “you would fall off your chair”

File of Clippers owner Sterling sitting as he watches team play Knicks in NBA game in Los Angeles
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Clippers GM Doc Rivers has some work to do, because his offseason moves last summer tied the hands of Doc Rivers the coach come the playoffs. This is a team on the cusp, it just needs a couple pieces to be a scary contender.

Now Rivers feels he can go out and do that. He can follow his vision for team building. (Whether Lance Stephenson should be part of that vision is another question.)

Owner Steve Ballmer is writing the checks and giving Rivers freedom on the basketball side that owner Donald Sterling did not before. Here is what Rivers told the Los Angeles institution that is Fred Roggin (on the Beast 980 sports talk) about life under Sterling.

“This is really only my third year but you can make a case this is our second year if you know what I’m saying. If I someday wrote a book and told you a couple of the trades we had in the first year that we didn’t do because of other reasons, you would fall off your chair.”

Rivers should sit down with Mike Dunleavy and Elgin Baylor over some beers and swap stories on how Sterling killed smart plays, or let great free agents go, or just generally cut his basketball people off at the knees.

It never hurts to remember what a terrible sports team owner Donald Sterling was. He was (and is) and worse human being, but he was a wretched owner. Sterling killed trades that might cost the billionaire a little money, or traded away players he liked. Remember, one time his courtside seats, Sterling heckled Baron Davis — and Davis was his starting point guard.

And when you’ve got a person like Sterling as the owner who has a voice on roster moves, well, you get what you exepct.

Now, let’s move on from talking about him and start complaining about the Clippers new logo. As if that’s a real problem.

 

 

Phil Jackson congratulates Warriors, doesn’t mention three pointers

Phil Jackson
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Knicks’ Grand Poobah Phil Jackson did the classy thing Thursday, congratulating the Golden State Warriors on winning the NBA championship.

Steve Kerr is of course mentioned because he was a player for Jackson back with the Chicago Bulls back in the Jordan era.

Of course, the Warriors won the title with a historic playoff barrage of three-point shots, which should answer Jackson’s last question.

(For the record, Jackson’s point was that that you needed penetration to open up the three, you shouldn’t just gun from the arc. Which is, of course, correct. But to suggest that’s what analytics calls for shows a shallow grasp of the concepts. The point is to value the three because of the benefits it provides. The best teams in the playoffs like the Warriors and Rockets (and the Spurs a year ago, and the Heat before that) don’t hunt threes, they value them and make them a priority, but they fit in with what are basic basketball principles. I think Jackson realizes that, but he can be a cranky old man at times.)

Draymond Green celebrates title with one massive bottle of champagne

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If you’ve put up a triple-double in an NBA championship deciding game, you deserve to celebrate with a 15-litre bottle of champagne.

So you go, Draymond Green.

David Lee and Festus Ezeli also were in on this, I mean you can’t expect Green to finish that by himself.

This may be becoming a thing, Dirk Nowitzki was doing this back in 2011.

(Hat tip to the fantastic Dan Devine at Ball Don’t Lie.)

Report: Clippers are “exploring” going after Paul Pierce. If he opts out.

Washington Wizards v Indiana Pacers
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The Clippers feel they need some roster upgrades — at the three and in terms of depth — if they are going to take the final step to compete for an NBA title with the core of Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, and DeAndre Jordan. (They need to keep Jordan this summer, too.)

Team president Doc Rivers added Lance Stephenson via trade, but it’s bad news if Stephenson is starting. The Clips want to land another starting three this summer.

Like maybe Paul Pierce? That long-standing rumor still has legs, as reported most recently by Arash Markazi of ESPN.

One of the options the Clippers are exploring, according to sources, is Paul Pierce, who could sign a mini-midlevel exception of $3.37 million for up to three years if he declines his $5.5 million player option with Washington. Players don’t normally turn down money but it’s essentially a $1 million difference this season for Pierce, 37, to return home and be reunited with Rivers, who was his coach in Boston for nine seasons, including the 2007-08 championship.

The Clippers are also exploring trade options for Jamal Crawford, according to sources, and one possibility is trading Crawford and C.J. Wilcox, the team’s 2014 first round pick, to the Denver Nuggets for Wilson Chandler. The Clippers inquired about Chandler last season but nothing materialized.

Denver certainly is trying to shake up its roster and Chandler is a name that has been rumored to be on the move.

But the Pierce rumor has had long legs. He reportedly wanted to come to Los Angeles last summer, but Rivers used his full mid-level exception on Spencer Hawes — who was just shipped out in the Stephenson deal. Will Doc Rivers get a do-over on last summer’s mistake?

Pierce may choose not to leave Washington — he liked the young team, and in the East it is an easier path to the Finals than in the deep West.

But if he bolts, he may head back to his home in L.A., for one more run at a ring with his favorite coach.