Kurt Helin

Memphis Grizzlies v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Three

Wesley Matthews says Trail Blazers never made him an offer, “I was pissed off”

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Wesley Matthews brings his “3&D” game — and his ruptured Achilles still on the mend — to Dallas next season.

Matthews had been a vital part of Portland’s success the past few seasons. So much so that when he injured his Achilles last season the team went from everybody’s favorite dark horse contender in the West to the team that still got the four seed and made Adam Silver and the NBA rethink rewarding division winners. It wasn’t just his on the court play, his leadership in the locker room was huge in Portland.

Which is why he thought they would try to keep him, but they didn’t Matthews told Jason Quick and the Oregonian. And that ticked him off.

He had hoped he could return to the city that had embraced him, to the team with players he considered brothers, to the franchise where he grew into one of the NBA’s most well-rounded and respected shooting guards. But in the end, after five seasons, the feeling was not mutual. He was greeted with silence. No phone call. No text messages. The Blazers never made an offer.

“I was pissed off,” Matthews said. “I felt disrespected….”

The only chance the Blazers would pursue Matthews, top executive Neil Olshey later explained, was if free agent LaMarcus Aldridge chose to return, maintaining Portland as a playoff-caliber team. When Aldridge chose San Antonio, the Blazers decided to rebuild. Paying big money to a 29-year-old shooting guard coming off major surgery didn’t make long-term sense.

For Portland, this makes total sense. Once Aldridge chose to go home to Texas they needed to strip the entire thing down and make Damian Lillard the focus of a rebuild. And if Blazers owner Paul Allen is hesitant about paying big money to injured players, it’s hard to blame him (Greg Oden, Brandon Roy).

That Portland never made a phone call means by July 1 Olshey knew Aldridge was long gone.

Matthews makes sense for Dallas, a team that when it first contacted Matthews thought it might get the pieces this summer to give Dirk Nowitzki one more run at a ring. While that didn’t work out (in dramatic fashion), Cuban pitched Matthews as being a cornerstone of the future in Dallas. That sold Matthews, he told the Oregonian in this fantastic story detailing his summer recruitment.

History of players coming back from an Achilles injury suggests this is going to be a challenging season for Matthews. Even if he can stay healthy — which is not always easy, see Kobe Bryant for example — it’s an adjustment learning what your body can and can’t do the same way. His game will need to adapt.

Where Matthews really may start to pay off for Dallas is next summer — he’s the kind of person and player other guys want on their team. Having him in house is a good recruiting tool when Mark Cuban and the Mavericks knock on the doors of the next big free agents.

Report: Rockets sign Chuck Hayes to one-year deal

Toronto Raptors v New York Knicks
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Chuck Hayes spent the first six years of his NBA career in Houston, never giving them many points but instead giving them good defense in the post, strength on the glass, and hustle everywhere on the court.

Now he’s back.

After a down year in Toronto, Hayes is heading to Houston to help round out a deep front court, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

The Rockets are close to rounding out their roster, but don’t expect them to be spending much to do it, notes former Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks.

Teammates love Hayes and love playing with him, which is why this is a good pickup for Houston. All Hayes does is work hard and do the little things — battles on the boards, sets hard screens, and play physical defense. He is a consummate professional.

He’s also one that has battled injuries and had a couple down seasons in a row.

That said, it’s a low-risk move for Houston to help round out a strong frontcourt already. Dwight Howard and probably Terrence Jones will start, behind them is the underrated Donatas Motiejunas, plus youngsters Clint Capela and Montrezl Harrell. This could mean fewer minutes for Capela and Harrell, but there should be chances for everyone.

This is simply another solid addition to a title contending team.

Anthony Davis excited to get running in Alvin Gentry’s offense

Golden State Warriors v New Orleans Pelicans - Game Four
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Anthony Davis said he has spent a chunk of his summer working his conditioning.

The reason is Alvin Gentry and his up-tempo offense is coming to New Orleans.

The Pelicans had a top 10 offense last season, but they were bottom five in pace of play. With Gentry coming in — the guy in charge of the Clippers then Warriors offenses the past two seasons, the top two offenses in the NBA last season — the tempo of everything is about to speed up.

And Davis is pumped about it, he told the Associated Press.

“I definitely love his playing style,” Davis said. “My teammates, they have a lot of confidence in coach Gentry. I think that’s why everybody’s coming back.

“In order for us to be that contender that we want to be, we have to have a lot of chemistry, which we have from the past few years,” Davis added. “So it’s good that everybody’s going to come back and we’re going to be able to have that chemistry ready for coach’s new system.”

The Pelicans grabbed the eighth seed last season and did that despite starting point guard Jrue Holiday missing half the season, plus guys such as Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon missing 21 games each. If the Pelicans stay healthy, they get better.

Throw in the bump that will come with Gentry’s offense, and the Pelicans should take a step forward.

How big a step will depend on the other end of the floor — the Pelicans were a bottom 10 NBA defense last season. Despite having Omer Asik and Davis patrolling the paint. If Gentry gets them playing well on that end, well, the West picks up another dangerous team.

Chris Kaman has new reality show, to air on Mark Cuban’s network

Philadelphia 76ers v Los Angeles Lakers
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That is a clip of the reality show… well, let’s stop right there. Chris Kaman’s reality is not like anyone else in the NBA’s. When he first signed his deal last summer with Portland, he asked how the pig hunting in the area was. In Dallas, he tried to bond with Dirk Nowitzki by taking him hunting. He may own more guns than some small nations.

That makes for good reality television, so Kaman put together the “Exploring Kaman” Web reality show. It’s something Kaman himself described this way:

“I think someone who would watch this would think there is something wrong with me and something wrong with my friends.”

The show has been picked up by Mark Cuban’s AXS TV, and the network will run six episodes, reports CSNNW.com. Here is how the press release describes it.

Throughout the six-week run, the series gives viewers a front-row seat on this one-of-a-kind adventure, as the NBA big man and his buddies catch a 20-pound tuna in Cabo San Lucas; romance local senoritas… with disastrous results; and deal with bruised egos, clogged toilets, and more, as they attempt to reel in a 1,000-pound marlin while keeping their friendship—and sanity—intact. With his witty personality and passion for fishing, Kaman is the perfect guide for this immensely entertaining journey that is as heartfelt as it is hilarious.

Cuban likes people who just speak their mind, even if all those people do is spout nonsense.

What might have been a better reality show is the first 10 days of the Mavericks’ free agency this year.

Report: Veteran point guard Andre Miller reaches one-year deal with Timberwolves

Shabazz Napier, Andre Miller
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Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns are about to be finishing alley-oops from the best lob passer in the game — this is going to be fun to watch.

They already had Kevin Garnett, now the Timberwolves are about to add another veteran to their locker room, a guy who can help guide a talented but young core.

Minnesota has reached a deal with veteran point guard Andre Miller, something first reported by Shams Charania of Real GM and confirmed by Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

Former Brooklyn Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks notes this is not much of a cap hit for the Timberwolves, as the NBA pitches in on all veteran minimum deals.

This is a smart pickup for the Timberwolves. Miller split time between the Wizards and Kings last season (the fact that the Kings didn’t retain him should be a sign George Karl doesn’t have sway over personnel decisions). Even at age 39 Miller provides some good play on the court (with the Kings under Karl he averaged 5.7 points and 4.7 assists per game). His game is the definition of crafty.

Ricky Rubio will be the starter opening night at the point for Minnesota, but behind him are two talented but young players — Zach LaVine and Tyus Jones (the latter of which looked pretty good at Summer League). Miller can both provide some stability in that rotation and be a mentor to the younger players.