Kurt Helin

Milwaukee Bucks v Houston Rockets

Summer League standout Alan Williams signs to play in China next season


Reason 1,564,352 I’m not a scout: I saw Alan Williams of UC Santa Barbara a couple times live the last few seasons (I have Long Beach State season tickets — Go Beach!) and I was not blown away. He was good, but I never saw him and thought he looked NBA read. I was not alone, Williams went undrafted this past June.

But he looked fantastic in Las Vegas at the NBA Summer League, where he averaged 20.5 points per game on 50 percent shooting, plus he grabbed 11.5 rebounds a game for the Rockets. After that I thought an NBA team would give him a shot.

But no. Instead, he is taking the cash in China, reports Shams Charania of Real GM.

Never knock a man looking for the big paycheck.

It’s worth noting that the season in China ends in February or March (depending on how deep a team goes into the playoffs), meaning he could get picked up by a team and get some run in the NBA late next season. After he cashes some healthy checks from overseas.

Canada beats USA at Pan Am games; Kentucky-bound Jamal Murray looks good

Men's basketball, Semi final round action,

First things first: Canada beat the USA in basketball at the Pan American games, 111-108 in overtime. This is not a big deal, both nations sent second or third tier squads to this event for some experience. The Canadians sent some NBA players — Andrew Nicholson (31 points against the USA) and Anthony Bennett (18). The USA’s best player has been Bobby Brown, who has spent a little time in the NBA but played last year in China.

Canada is closing the gap with the USA on the court, they sent the better team to this tournament, but they are still well back when both teams bring their A-listers.

The guy who has turned heads at the Pan Am Games for Canada is Kentucky bound Jamal Murray, who had 22 against the Americans. You can see his highlights above. Right now Draft Express has him as a bubble lottery pick, but don’t be shocked if he climbs that ladder higher by the time we get to the draft itself. Murray and Skal Labissiere will make the Wildcats title contenders once again (Rob Dauster at CollegeBasketballTalk has them No. 3 in his way-too-early poll for next season).

Top 10 dunks of the NBA Summer League (VIDEO)

D-League v Atlanta Hawks

Okay, this will be our last look back at the highlights of Summer League. Probably.

But nothing is complete until you look at the best dunks.

Hard for me to decide is Jonathon Simmons or Jordan Clarkson had the best one.

Antoine Walker talks about how he went through $108 million in career earnings

Detroit Pistons v Miami Heat  - Game 4

The story of the professional athlete burning through ridiculous amounts of money and ending up bankrupt borders on a cliché. It happens too often, not as often as critics may like to think, but plenty.

However, few blew through money like Antoine Walker.

Walker earned $108 million over the course of his 12-year, All-Star NBA career. He blew through all of it. He had to sell his championship ring due to bankruptcy. There may even be a documentary about it.

Walker talked to CNN money about blowing through the money.

As with many other sports stars, instant wealth meant instant luxury for Walker. Instead of thinking about the future, he spent lavishly on cars, jewelry and homes. “I created a very expensive lifestyle. That’s how you lose your wealth real bad at the beginning,” Walker said.

Given his humble beginnings, Walker wanted his friends and family to enjoy his riches as well. He estimates he helped about 30 people move to “better situations.” He gave cash to many of them — often without holding them accountable.

“I gave them whatever they wanted and spoiled them. You can’t do that,” Walker said. “It ended up being an open ATM throughout my career.”

Walker had a serious gambling problem as well, which has long been rumored to be the big reason his fortune disappeared. However, he said the real issue was the collapse of Walker Ventures, his Chicago real estate firm, during the great recession.

“We got caught in the recession. We had a ton of undeveloped real estate. It went bad. The banks wanted their money back,” he said.

Walker now works to get young athletes to take better care of their money than he did. The best agents try to do this as well, with varying degrees of success. But any athlete can have trouble — Tim Duncan is suing his former financial advisor.

Report: With no trade market now, Nene likely to be with Wizards at start of season

Washington Wizards v Indiana Pacers

With the Wizards having success going small in the playoffs — Paul Pierce was the four at key moments — Washington management decided to check the trade market for Nene this summer. Which was all good with many Wizards fans — in DC Nene became the scapegoat for last season, especially after an Al Horford putback cost them game five against the Hawks (Washington lost in six).

Turns out, there wasn’t much of a market.

Meaning expect Nene to be a Wizard at the start of next season, reports CSNWashington’s J. Michael.

CSNwashington.com reported earlier this offseason that Nene, who is entering the final year of a deal that pays him $13 million, didn’t draw any interest in the trade market and isn’t likely to be moved before the start of the 2015-16 season. If he is eventually moved with that expiring deal, that’s more likely to happen near the February trade deadline but if they allow his size to leave they’ll want size in return. Being injury-prone is a recurring issue, but the Wizards like him, and they’ll need him to get past the Chicago Bulls or Cleveland Cavaliers in the postseason.

J. Michael also sticks up for Nene against the heat he took in the nation’s capital. On that final play of Game 5, Michael notes Nene did leave Horford, but only because first Paul Pierce on the switch was beaten by Dennis Schroeder driving the lane, then when John Wall recovered and blocked the shot off the glass. After leaving Horford, Nene went over to body up Paul Millsap, who after setting the pick had beaten Pierce badly and was in great rebounding position. The real issue was that Pierce chased the ball then didn’t help the helper — Nene got Pierce’s man, Pierce needed to put a body on Horford. Didn’t happen. But if Nene had stuck right with his man then Millsap gets the tip for the win. The Wizard defense was not exactly on a string, the only guy who did what he was supposed to was Bradley Beal, who didn’t leave Kyle Kover.

Michael took a bigger picture view as well.

How quickly those forget that the culture in D.C. changed when the 7-foot Brazilian arrived in a trade with the Denver Nuggets and JaVale McGee and the circus that surrounded him was shipped away for good.

Nene was part of the much-needed culture change that has allowed Wall to flourish of late. Washington isn’t thinking conference finals without part of what Nene brought.

Think of it this way, a guy with more holes in his game in Rajon Rondo came into the league and landed in Boston, where veterans like Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and others taught him how to be a professional and play on the game’s biggest stages. Wall landed on a team with Gilbert Arenas, McGee, and Andray Blatche. Reverse those situations and how are those two point guards different?

All that said, expect to hear Nene’s name come up in a lot of trade rumors as we work our way into next season.