Kurt Helin

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Can Jeremy Lin thrive in Charlotte?


It’s gotta be the hair! Jeremy Lin is averaging 14 points a game on 52.8 percent shooting through four preseason games with the Hornets.

With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out for the season, Lin is going to get a lot of run this season in Charlotte, but what kind of year is he going to have? Sixth Man of the Year? That’s the question in this PBT Extra with Jenna Corrado.

Also Hornets fans, Jeremy Lamb may well start for you, but I’m not sure I’d say that’s a good thing.

Report: Khloe Kardashian to make medical decisions for Lamar Odom

AXE Music "One Night Only" Concert Series Featuring Weezer

Lamar Odom remains hospitalized, fighting for his life, after an apparent weekend of partying at a brothel in Nevada has left him in critical condition. He’s reportedly improving, but the next couple of days reportedly will be crucial.

When it comes to medical decisions for him — and there will be big ones ahead, he may well have long-term brain damage from this — it is Khloe Kardashian who will be in charge, reports CNN.

Reality television star Khloe Kardashian will make medical decisions for the former NBA star, a source close to Kardashian said Wednesday. The couple’s divorce has not been finalized, the source told CNN.

Yes, the Kardashians have reportedly still had episodes talking about Odom’s reaching out to Khloe (I have not seen said episodes), but she has also been by his bed in Las Vegas and certainly will have his best interests at heart. We all understand rallying to the side of people in our lives who are in need — even people with whom we have differences.

When Odom started dating Khloe, he willingly stepped into the bright spotlight that follows the reality-TV star and her family. Odom wanted a higher profile, something bigger than just being a basketball star, and the Kardashians offered that. Odom wanted all of it and believed he was ready for it.

He was not. His vulnerabilities — part of what made him “real” and popular with teammates — were broadcast much wider than he really could grasp. The scrutiny and online punches that came his way were not something he handled well. The pending divorce hit him hard, another loss in a life that was full of them for Odom.

The Kardashians are not to blame for where Odom is right now, but his being part of their lives and their shows — a reality they are comfortable in — was another factor among many. Like everything else with Odom, this chapter of his life is complicated.

Check out Jeremy Lin’s cameo from “Fresh off the Boat”

Jeremy Lin
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Jeremy Lin did more this offseason than get a spiky new hair style.

He also took the time to poke fun at Pretty in Pink during a cameo for ABC’s new comedy Fresh Off the Boat (which has won critical acclaim but is still searching for an audience). The episode aired this week. One can’t get enough Lin talking John Hughes movies.

Lin has had a strong preseason for the Hornets, and with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out for the season he’s going to get plenty of run in games that matter as well. We’ll see what he does with it.

(Hat tip Eye on Basketball)

Greg Monroe talks about how Bucks landed him as free agent

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For the year before Greg Monroe officially became a free agent on July 1, it was assumed by many around the league he would become a Knick. The Lakers were expected to make a pitch, but the smart money was on the Knicks — Monroe’s agent David Falk was Michael Jordan’s agent, a guy with a strong relationship with Phil Jackson.

Then the Milwaukee Bucks surprised everyone and won the chase. Quickly. Monroe announced he would be a Buck and the league did a double take.

How did that happen? Monroe said it had a lot to do with owner Marc Lasry, in a discussion with Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

“That meeting is something I will never forget,” Monroe said. “They made a great presentation to me….”

But none of (the new arena or other parts of the pitch) made the real difference. It was Lasry, the veteran deal-maker and renowned high-stakes poker player, who made the sell with his confidence. Despite never having done a free-agent pitch before, Lasry showed why he’s become one of the Bucks’ strong assets.

Kidd spoke and discussed how he’d use Monroe. General manager John Hammond went over plans and discussed the franchise’s planned moves — the Bucks were closing in on a deal to re-sign Khris Middleton to a new contract that night. But it was Lasry who made the biggest push….

“He was very down to earth, but also passionate, and he connected with Greg,” Falk said. “We didn’t need parades or balloons; this was a business decision. Marc treated it that way. What they had already put in place was strong, and he sold that.”

It was a harsh lesson to the big market teams of the league — if the money is the same (Monroe had multiple max offers), what matters to younger players is the fit and if the team can win. Monroe can own a home and live in New York or Los Angeles in the off-season, but in Milwaukee he saw a chance for success on the court.

The Bucks pitch focused on that fit, on stability (something Monroe never felt in Detroit), and on how he can be a cornerstone part of a team on a trajectory to be a real threat in the East in a few years. That — and again, max money — made a fit.

If everything goes according to the Bucks’ plan, they should have little trouble keeping him after he opts out in three years.


Rajon Rondo may have been joking about relationship with George Karl

Rajon Rondo

“It’s not been going too well. We got into a couple arguments the last couple of days. Hopefully, we continue to talk, and it will get better.”

That’s what Rajon Rondo said about his relationship with George Karl in an interview with Cowbell Kingdom after the Kings beat the Lakers in a Las Vegas preseason game Tuesday.

But was he joking around?

That’s the claim of people close to Rondo and the team — and they very may well be right. I saw the video (you can watch it below), and it didn’t sound that way to me, but I know from talking to him Rondo has a very dry sense of humor and I very well may have misread his intent.

There are three possibilities here.

1) He was serious. Rondo and Karl are both strong-willed people and this certainly would not be the first time Rondo had a rocky relationship with his coach. It’s not hard to believe this is true.

2) He was joking. As I noted above, Rondo has a very dry sense of humor with a deadpan delivery that can get lost in translation. People who cover the team said this was a joke and not a new one.

When I reached out to people around the Kings I was told without hesitation that he was joking and that things are good between Karl and Rondo. And Karl and the rest of the team, for that matter. This may well be the case.

3) He was being passive aggressive. Plenty of times when you hear an NBA player (or a guy in any sport) say he was joking about something, it was really a combo of him using a joke to express what he is really thinking.

You can decide for yourself what you think is the truth, but I am willing to admit that my first reading of the quote in the video could be wrong.