Kurt Helin

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Here’s today’s update of Joel Embiid looking good working out in mostly empty gyms


All this video lacked is a metal folding chair for Joel Embiid to show his moves off against.

The good news for Sixers fans is that Embiid has been putting in the work, looks in shape, and appears to be ready to go come the fall when training camp opens. Finally, Philadelphia will get to see what he can do next to Nerlens Noel, with Ben Simmons passing him the ball. Hopefully, after missing two seasons with foot injuries, he is ready to go.

But for now, this daily update of Embiid working out against meaningless competition comes from Embiid himself.

Devin Booker says he hopes to spend entire career in Phoenix


In reality, it is highly unlikely Devin Booker will spend his entire career wearing a Phoenix Suns’ uniform. At some point, it likely will make sense for them to consider trading him, and if they don’t there is a good chance at some point he will leave as a free agent. That is the way of the NBA — Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan are anomalies.

But nobody wants to talk about that.

So when SLAM asked Booker about the future, of course he said he hopes to spend his entire career in Phoenix — he wants to go into the Suns’ “Ring of Honor.”

“Definitely,” he answers, without hesitation. “I love it in Phoenix and I want to be one of those guys that gets drafted by one team and stays there the whole time. You know, they turn around the franchise, and they get love for that in that city like they’re the mayor…People still wear Steve Nash jerseys here. That’s definitely something I want to be.”

Booker averaged 13.8 points per game for the Suns last season, shot 34 percent from three, and looked like one of the better rookies in the NBA last season. He’s going to be a quality two guard in the NBA. He tore up Summer League in Las Vegas, averaging 26 points per game, then he went on to work out with the USA Select Team that practiced against the Olympians in Vegas. Through it all, you could see Booker’s game grow and improve.

There’s a lot to like, and a lot of reasons for Suns fans to be optimistic about what Booker will bring to the franchise for years to come. The question is what Suns’ management will put around him to help get the Suns back into the playoffs after six straight seasons on the bench for the postseason.


Add Tracy McGrady to list of former players “highly disapointed” Durant chose Warriors


Tracy McGrady would also like you to get off his lawn.

McGrady — the former NBA All-Star, legendary dunker, and current ESPN commentator — became roughly the 10,486,345th person to come out against Kevin Durant choosing to join the 73-win Golden State Warriors to form a new superteam. He was asked about it by Complex Magazine.

I was disappointed in the move to Golden State. I wasn’t disappointed that he left, I mean he’s a free agent, he’s able to go wherever he wants. But I just think having a team now coming off a championship run and you have the champs down 3-1, and they come back and defeat you. I just think as a competitor, you would come back and try to dethrone them with the same team.

You’re playing with a top-five point guard in Russell Westbrook. I mean to me, I think OKC is a championship-caliber team. They displayed that; they just had a major collapse in the Western Conference Finals against Golden State. But I was highly disappointed that he chose Golden State to go and play for the other team. I wanted him to stay in OKC.

A lot of people did. Former players love to talk about this — Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller said the same thing.

Durant doesn’t care.

“I respect the hell out of (Barkley and Miller), they can say whatever they want to about me,” Durant said at a Team USA practice in Las Vegas, long before McGrady made his comments — but the same sentiment applies. “I went to do something that I wanted to do. They had their careers, they did what they wanted to do. I respect the hell out of Reggie Miller and Charles Barkley, they were hell of players, they’re two guys I look up to, so I can’t control how they think or how they feel. Or anyone else for that matter. I’m excited about the future….

“Those guys have a big voice in our game, they have a megaphone. If Charles Barkley says it it must be true. If Reggie Miller  says it it must be true. They have such a big platform and people respect them, so it seems bigger than it is. I got support, I got my family around me, they love me, they support me no matter what I do — I could be playing tennis right now and retire from the game of basketball and they would love me. I think about that.”

Durant chose his path. As was his right. And there is not one simple, easy answer as to why he chose the Bay Area. Like you or I making a major life decision about changing jobs, there are a lot of factors that go into it — corporate culture, co-workers, lifestyle outside the company, a need for change, weather, family, and much more. We like simple answers, but life doesn’t work that way.

Durant also knows when we look back at his legacy the first note will be the number of rings he won, and there will be no asterisk next to that number.

Former Bull B.J. Armstrong tells LeBron only way to catch Jordan is to ditch comparisons

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LeBron James said his motivation is chasing “the ghost played in Chicago” — Michael Jordan.

As it should be. LeBron will go down as one of the all-time NBA greats — he’s arguably the most physically gifted player the game has ever seen, and he’s already turned that into three rings (including ending Cleveland’s 52-year title drought) plus is a four-time MVP. LeBron should see chasing (arguably) the greatest player in NBA history as his goal. He should chase Jordan’s legacy the way Tom Brady should chase Joe Montana’s (and the next great QB will chase Brady).

Former Jordan teammate now turned agent B.J. Armstrong had some advice for LeBron as told to Chris Broussard of ESPN: The only way to truly catch Jordan is to abandon trying to be Jordan.

“Chasing a ghost is in make-believe land,” Armstrong told ESPN.com in a telephone conversation. “That’s far-out, that’s unattainable, that’s something you can’t achieve. This ain’t no ghost. If you want to do it, there’s a blueprint. It’s possible. There’s only one way to get there. It’s not possible for him to do what Jordan did because the circumstances are different, everything is different. What is possible for him is to be bigger than every situation that’s put in front of him, to dominate every situation that’s in front of him….

“This is to LeBron James: If you want to be the best, get rid of the comparisons,” Armstrong said. “Get rid of all the comparisons that are out there. That’s what Michael Jordan did. Jordan realized that in order to be the best, you had to get rid of all the comparisons.

“When you compared Jordan to somebody else, it made him more and more upset. That was with guys who played before him, guys he was playing against and guys in the future. He got upset every time [the media] got on TV and started comparing him to other people.”

There is a simple Zen-like truth here: The only way to approach a legacy of true greatness is to do it your way, in your time, not to be someone else.

I think LeBron is doing that. There will never be another Jordan, not simply on the court but more in the confluence of being the first global superstar where the brand — both his own and Nike — lifted himself and the game to levels of popularity it had never reached before (or sense). It can’t be done the same way, not in this fragmented media market, not in this era of social media and the 24-7 sports news cycle. Fans of a certain age have mythologized Jordan, but in reality, Twitter would have eviscerated him for playing baseball (actually, Twitter would have painted him as a guy who could never win the big one when the Pistons were beating him for years at the start of his career).

LeBron needs to be LeBron. If he wants to joke around some and have fun on the court at times, then have fun — this is a game. Because he doesn’t wear his competitiveness on his sleeve like Jordan doesn’t mean he will not do anything it takes to win. Because he doesn’t treat teammates with contempt (hello, punching Steve Kerr) doesn’t mean he’s not driven. There is more than one way to lead, more than one way to be a great player.

LeBron shouldn’t try to fit in Jordan’s mold; he should create his own.

Watch Brooklyn Nets Top 10 plays of last season

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It wasn’t a pretty season for the Brooklyn Nets.

But there were highlights, beyond the fact Ronde Hollis-Jefferson looks like a player. So we bring them to you (courtesy the fine folks at NBA.com).