Author: Kurt Helin


Lance Stephenson shows he’s on fire, ready for Charlotte (Instagram)


Interesting (and pretty well done) bit of photoshop work Lance Stephenson put out over the weekend, with his Pacers jersey burning away into a Hornets one.

Stephenson is essentially getting a two-year trial in Charlotte — clean up the attitude and off-the-court/on the court (stop blowing in LeBron’s ear) and find ways to be more efficient consistently on it (he led the league in triple-doubles but was fully capable of games where he was gunning too much as well) and he’s going to get paid big time.

Plus, with Stephenson adding shot creation to Al Jefferson and a struggling offense should improve.

Do that and nobody will mock your photoshop on Instagram.

(Hat tip to Zach Harper at Eye on Basketball)

Donatas Motiejunas doesn’t think Rockets should have paid Chandler Parsons James Harden money

Oklahoma City Thunder v Houston Rockets

James Harden signed what was then a max contract extension with the Rockets back on Halloween of 2012. That netted him $13.7 million last season, and he will make $14.7 million next year.

However, the salary cap has risen quickly in recent years, so guys getting max extensions this year can make a little more — Chandler Parsons is also going to make $14.7 million next season, for example.

Rockets big man Donatas Motiejunas thinks Houston couldn’t match Parsons without ticking off Harden… and there may well be something to that. Here is what Motiejunas told Lithuanian basketball reporter Simonas Baranauskas (hat tip James Herbert at CBS’s Eye on Basketball).

Just to make sure we are accurate, Parsons will make $728,844 less than Harden this year.

It’s an interesting argument put forward by the Rocket big man, but it falls apart here: If Chris Bosh had signed with the Rockets (as they had thought would happen) then the Rockets were going to match Parsons. Harden would have been third for sure with Parsons right on his heels… and if the Rockets were winning he wouldn’t have really cared about the money.

I think what Rockets GM Daryl Morey said was the truth for him — Parsons is a good player but not the start they wanted to pay $14.7 million to and lock them into that big three. There’s some logic there.

But the Rockets bet big this summer and lost depth with Parsons (if last year’s Ariza comes to Houston that spot will be okay, but that’s an if), Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin all gone. Parsons is not an easily replaceable piece and the Rockets don’t look to be a better team then a year ago.

Dwyane Wade makes one-handed football catch of Brandon Marshall pass (VIDEO)

Miami Heat Media Day

@btm15 and myself having a lil fun after our camp this past week.. I’m not saying I could play in the NFL.. I’m just saying the boy wasn’t bad in his day..#havingalilfunatthesametimegivingback #Bears

Apparently Dwyane Wade can play a little football.

Wade’s youth camp he puts on in his native Chicago was this past week and the Bears’ Brandon Marshall was there, too. Marshall threw the kind of “behind the receiver going over the middle” pass that Marshall would want to strangle his quarterback over because he would have been rocked for it, but Wade makes a nice little play on the ball.

9Hat tip to That NBA Lottery Pick.)

Report: Lakers, Byron Scott agree to four-year, $17 million deal to coach team

Cleveland Cavaliers  v Miami Heat

Byron Scott is in a tough position as the Lakers coach. Right now he is essentially a placeholder.

But a well-paid placeholder as the Lakers and Scott have reached a deal, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to terms on a four-year, $17 million contract with Byron Scott to be their next head coach, sources told ESPN. The Lakers hold a team option on the final year of the deal.

The buzz around the league the debate was over years, not dollars. The Lakers are trying to figure out who their next star will be and then once they get that what system best fits that star. That system may or may not be something you want Scott to coach, but they didn’t want a long-term committment to him in case they need to go another direction. The Lakers preferred a two-year deal, Scott likely wanted four, this is a compromise.

Our own Brett Pollakoff detailed why the Lakers ultimately settled for Scott (if you’re the leading candidate yet it took three months before they picked you, they settled). For one thing, this is the guy Kobe Bryant wanted. Still, it’s not going to be easy for Scott. The Lakers are going to spend the next couple years working to get another superstar or two, the guy or guys to be face of the franchise after Kobe Bryant steps away. Until then they do not want to commit to a specific style of play or format, they want to be flexible. Scott has to be that guy, hold the fort until we get the stars in place and know who we want to be.

That’s not how the Lakers will sell it. They will sell “he’s part of the family.” They will sell player development and defense as his skills, even though at his last couple stays those things never really surfaced.

But the Lakers got their man. Kobe’s man. A guy who has been to the Finals as a coach (even though his star player ran him off after that), a guy with rings as a Lakers player, a guy who is part of the family. That is what they can sell.

Kevin Love trade talk: He doesn’t want to opt in to deal, Cavs may live with that

Kevin Love

I’ll stick by what I have said before: If I were the Cleveland Cavaliers (or Golden State Warriors or Chicago Bulls) I would demand that Kevin Love opt-in to the last year of his contract if I am going to trade all those assets for him. It’s what Chris Paul did for the Clippers (then he used that leverage for a year to get what he wanted with the organization, such as Doc Rivers). I wouldn’t want to risk a Dwight Howard situation. Sure, the max contract the Cavs could offer, plus winning while playing with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, means Love would likely re-sign, but I would want more security.

However, the rumors are out there that Love does not want to opt in — he wants to be a free agent in 2015. He wants to hear the pitches and make his choice.

Cleveland can live with that, reports Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer.

Talking to some NBA executives, (Love opting-in) could be a problem. One executive explained how the best move for Love may be to come to the Cavs on the current deal — no changes. He becomes a free agent in 2015, then signs a five-year deal for the maximum (could be more than $100 million) to stay here….

I’m hearing Love will not pick up his option — that he would prefer to go to the Cavs on his current deal, then presumably enjoy being successful playing with LeBron James. Remember, he also has done a commercial with Kyrie Irving. He sees marketing possibilities in Cleveland — along with a chance to win big.

I’m hearing the Cavs realize they may have to accept Love’s current deal and gamble on him enjoying playing in Cleveland and with James. Then they will try to sign him for a maximum deal in 2015. So don’t be shocked if a deal is made with his contract situation staying the same.

It will not happen until at least late August now (Andrew Wiggins cannot be traded until Aug. 23), it may not happen until closer to training camps opening, but it feels like a Love to Cleveland deal will get done. Other teams have lined up to jump in.

That’s a gamble by Cleveland. Yes, Love likely re-signs in Cleveland if he goes there, but there is a risk — Dwight Howard’s people made it sound like he would re-sign with the Lakers at first, then the season went sideways and so did Howard. If Love wants to be courted by other teams (like Howard, like Carmelo Anthony this summer) there is a risk he finds another pitch/location compelling.

But Cleveland is in the win-now, risk-taking mode with LeBron there. If LeBron wants Love, you go get him, whatever the costs and risks.