Kurt Helin


Stephen Curry on if he’d leave Golden State: “Hopefully not”


On Monday, it was reported Stephen Curry had no interest in bolting Golden State when he becomes a free agent in 2017 – “As I am thinking right now, free agency isn’t really appealing to me because I love where I’m at.”

Tuesday Curry took fans’ questions on Facebook and said the same thing (the answer to this questions starts at the 2:30 mark).

“Hopefully not. Hopefully everything works out and I can finish my career here. I’ve probably got like 10 good years left.”

What did you think he would say? He just won a title, and he certainly wouldn’t want to start up the rumor mill for no reason.

Curry is on ]a steal of a deal right now. He will make $11.4 million next season — the 54th highest paid player in the league (according to ESPN’s Marc Stein). The reason is when his contract extension came up, he was still battling the ankle injuries that plagued his early career — nobody was sure if he would get past that and be a steady player. It was a fair deal at the time; he got some security, and the Warriors bet on their star blossoming and having him at well under market value. Golden State won that bet.

Curry is obviously a max player come 2017, and the Warriors will back up the Brinks truck.

Why do max guys leave? Because they see a better chance of winning elsewhere. Including LeBron James (it was part of his decision, a younger core around him). The summer of 2017 is a long way off, but it’s nearly impossible to imagine Curry will look at the Warriors’ roster and think he needs to get out of there to win.

In the summer of 2017 Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard, and Derrick Rose all could be free agents, and all of them are more likely to look around than Curry (at least as it seems now). In that environment, you can Curry re-signing with Golden State within minutes of the July 1 free-agent window opening. Well, so long as a lockout doesn’t ruin all of the fun.

(Hat tip Hoops Rumors)

Metta World Peace says he knows nothing of talks with Lakers

'Quelli Che Il Calcio' Tv Show - April 19th, 2015

It’s an eye-catching story because we’re talking Metta World Peace — a player it’s hard to stop watching, at times because of the train wreck — but the fact is teams have “casual conversations” with potential camp invites and veterans working out at their facilities all the time. It rarely amounts to anything.

While NBA twitter buzzed Monday about the news the Lakers and World Peace’s people had talked possible contract, MWP himself was oblivious. Here is what he told TMZ when asked about the talks.

“I didn’t hear that… I got four kids, so I didn’t hear nothin’.”

First, as a father myself, that is totally understandable. Children never let you focus on one thing, or even pay attention to things you want to follow. Like your NBA career.

Second, these casual conversations likely were between someone with the Lakers and someone helping represent World Peace, and who knows who initiated the talks. It’s not uncommon for a player to be out of the loop on these, unless they push their agent for details. Also, it benefits one side of that equation more to leak news of the talks, if you want to follow the bread crumbs.

That said, World Peace said he would “absolutely” love to play for the Lakers again. He’s not worried about the level of play after having been away from the NBA for a season (and having been waived by the Knicks the season before that).

“Basketball is an easy sport… a lot of professionals, they are okay. They aren’t nothing special.”

Vintage World Peace. For selfish reasons, I’d love to have him back in the league. I just can’t think of a logical reason the Lakers would do it.

Clippers’ owner Steve Ballmer says steps that led to $250,000 DeAndre Jordan fine were “inadvertent”

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Seven

There are times it’s clear that Steve Ballmer, though unquestionably passionate, still is on the NBA owner learning curve. There have been a few stumbles, to put it kindly.

The latest: Apparently offering DeAndre Jordan a $200,000 a year Lexus endorsement if he re-signed with the Clippers. A day after that, Jordan said he would sign with Dallas. Four days later he started to change his mind and shifted back to the Clippers, and while that likely had nothing to do with the Lexus deal, it still earned Ballmer and the Clippers a $250,000 fine.

Ballmer said this was not intentional, in a memo he sent to Clippers personnel and obtained by Dan Woike of the Orange County Register.

Today, the NBA announced it has fined the Team for violating NBA rules in our presentation to DeAndre Jordan on July 2. The League’s investigation concluded that the presentation of a potential thrid-party opportunity had no impact on DeAndre’s decision to re-sign, and having been a part of the process, I can attest to this fact.

As we, and the basketball world observed, DJ ultimately chose to stay with the Clippers because he felt it was his best opportunity to win a championship, and because of his desire to remain part of the Clippers family.

As I shared with everyone on day one of purchasing the Team, being part of the Clippers family means operating with the highest integrity. We believed we were doing this the right way, and any circumvention was inadvertent. In our effort to support our players in every way possible, we as an organization must be diligent in complying with the CBA.

Did he plan to break the rules and get fined? Obviously not, even though Ballmer probably has $250,000 in the folds of his couch. Did he just not know how to dance along that edge? Now we’re getting somewhere.

Large market teams try to use endorsement potential as a recruiting tool — the Lakers and Knicks have for years. It’s just clearly less effective now, in a world shrunk by social media. LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Monroe spurned LA and NYC this summer to sign in San Antonio and Milwaukee, because they could win there. You build your brand as a player on the game’s biggest stages — specifically the playoffs and Finals — and what stars want to see is how they get on that stage.

It’s what the Clippers should sell the hardest — they are title contenders.

Lakers’ coaches liked how D’Angelo Russell handled himself, pressure in Summer League

2015 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

Nobody was under the pressure D’Angelo Russell was in Las Vegas at the NBA Summer League. Not Karl-Anthony Towns, not Kristaps Porzingis, not anybody. It comes with being the highest Lakers’ draft pick since James Worthy — in Russell’s first game, they had to open the top level of the Thomas & Mack Center for the first time in Summer League history (the Lakers were playing Towns’ Timberwolves, but this was a Lakers’ crowd). The crowds for Lakers games were huge all through Summer League, plus camera crews were popping up around Russell off the court as well. Welcome to the Lakers’ spotlight.

Which made his struggles at Summer League seem more pronounced. He looked slow while the game was moving fast. He averaged 11.8 points per game on 37.7 percent shooting, 11.8 percent from three. He had 3.2 assists and 5.2 turnovers per game. The fact this is that Summer League should be about learning — you can’t read much into his numbers, it’s about development — seemed lost on people. Lakers’ nation is not known for its patience.

But the Lakers’ coaching staff liked the big picture things they saw, Holly McKenzie wrote for Complex Magazine.

The biggest positive that the Lakers coaching staff took from his experience in Vegas was watching how he reacted to adversity. Rather than getting flustered or frustrated with those around him, he paid attention to things he needed to improve on as well as the ways the NBA game is different than college. Russell was the same player to his teammates during practice sessions whether the team had won or lost its previous game.

“It is rare any time you have a rookie [with] so much confidence,” Madsen says. “Most rookies enter the league so timid, really nervous. They were ‘the man’ in college and now going to the NBA, you’re dealing with grown men, you’re dealing with superstars. You’re dealing with financial endorsements that are massive. The pressure is that much higher. D’Angelo’s confidence never wavered and his love of the game never wavered.”

That is a good sign. When I spoke about Russell’s play with someone who saw a lot of him in college, he talked about how Russell took a little bit to adjust to the speed of the collegiate game as well. But once he got his mind around it, he played well enough to get drafted No. 2 — the lesson was to give him time.

The Lakers will do just that. They will sell the Kobe Bryant farewell tour (maybe) this season as the young potential future core — Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle — start to adapt to the NBA game. They will have good veteran mentors like Kobe, Brandon Bass, and Lou Williams.

What should matter more Lakers fans is how Russell looks next summer in Las Vegas — has he improved dramatically, has his mind and body caught up with the speed of the game? If Russell is still struggling a year from now, then there should be concern. Right now, he looks like a player learning, sometimes the hard way.

Report: NBA says Michael Jordan can’t decide who gets Air Jordan shoe deal

Michael Jordan

This ties into why Clippers offering DeAndre Jordan a $200,000 a year sponsorship with Lexus led to a $250,000 fine

Michael Jordan’s Air Jordan shoe brand through Nike dominates the market — 58 percent of basketball shoes sold last year were Jordans. That 13 times more than LeBron James, who has the best selling shoe among active players. Nike owns 95.5 percent of the basketball shoe market (according to Forbes).

One of the NBA’s concerns with Michael Jordan as the owner of the Charlotte Hornets is that he could supplement players’ salaries with shoe deals. So the NBA cut that option off, reports Darren Rovell of ESPN.

This isn’t just a Jordan rule, pretty much any NBA owner could pull off something similar (at least Ballmer didn’t offer a Microsoft endorsement). The rule is there for a reason.

The Jordan brand is well managed and not hurting in the least. It still has deals with Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Carmelo Anthony and nearly two dozen more current and former NBA players. There are Hornets — Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller — on that list.

In fact, Kidd-Gilchrist just took what could be seen as a below-market $52 million contract extension to stay in Charlotte. Not that there was any quid pro quo here, but the NBA wants to avoid that appearance.

It’s easy to understand the NBA’s concern — if Jordan could say “I’ll pay you a couple hundred thousand extra to wear my shoes” it would be an unfair recruiting advantage. So they are trying to tie his hands.

Not that it is impacting shoe sales, or how much Jordan rakes in from Nike.