Kurt Helin

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The Matt Bonner era in San Antonio appears to be over


It’s the end of an era in San Antonio.

No, we’re not talking that Tim Duncan guy. We’re talking about Matt Bonner.

Bonner has spent the past 10 seasons mostly coming off the Spurs bench as a floor-stretching big. Because of his outgoing personality he was a fan favorite, plus the man knows his sandwiches. However, with the makeup of the team shifting, his time in San Antonio appears to be at an end, he told Concord News Radio, as transcribed by NBC News 4 in San Antonio.

“Currently they haven’t signed me. Unless something changes going into the season, I’m probably not going to be with the Spurs.”

The Spurs have 14 guaranteed contracts on the roster, plus a few partial guarantees as they head into camp. They also are well over the salary cap line and are not likely to add another player.

Another team may give him a shot, though likely not at the start of camp. While on the older side at age 36, he’s a big who shot 44.1 percent from three last season (and he took almost 60 percent of his shots from beyond the arc). That skill has value in the league. When some team faces an injury to their front line, or realizes they need more floor spacing, Boner’s phone could ring.

But it will be strange not seeing him at the end of the Spurs bench.

How long would it take LeBron to become the best team handball player in the world?

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“You’re talking about another sport with running and jumping, changing direction and throwing a ball into a net?” U.S. men’s basketball team guard Kyle Lowry said. “Yeah, I think we could figure it out. How much do they make?”The USA is not competing in Team Handball in the Rio Olympics. We didn’t qualify. More accurately, we didn’t qualify for the qualifiers.

Team Handball — you can watch it streaming at NBCOlympics.com — sort of looks like indoor soccer if you could use your hands to carry the small ball. There are a lot of designed plays, the best players are tall and quick with good leaping ability, can change direction quickly, and have good footwork. It’s something where the USA has athletes who would excel at the sport, but they gravitate toward other sports. Particularly basketball.

Which led the Washington Post to ask the USA Team Handball national coach how long it would take a freak athlete like LeBron to master the sport and become the best in the world.

“Maybe six months,” U.S. national team Coach Javier Garcia-Cuesta said. “This is just a hypothetical. He has everything. When you see him playing, your mouth drops.”

Stars of other countries were more skeptical.

Denmark’s Mikkel Hansen is pretty much the LeBron James of handball. He was named the International Handball Federation’s world player of the year for the second time last year. This year, he won the equivalent of the MVP in the French league. He would be the right man to ask: Could James be as good as him?

“It’s difficult to talk about that,” Hansen said, laughing. “I admire LeBron James very much. I’m a big basketball fan. The way he sees the court, his vision for the game, is very impressive. There you would have a good start. And physically, he is amazing. But you also need to throw the ball. So, yeah. Maybe.”

Many NBA players would be able to become very good Team Handball players if they put their mind to it. Of course that, not going to happen, and Kyle Lowry laid out why.

“You’re talking about another sport with running and jumping, changing direction and throwing a ball into a net?” U.S. men’s basketball team guard Kyle Lowry said. “Yeah, I think we could figure it out. How much do they make?”


Andrew Bogut says Mark Cuban has been supportive of his playing in Olympics

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Mark Cuban is not a fan of NBA players taking part in massive international basketball tournaments for their country. More accurately, Cuban is not a fan of NBA players participating in massive international basketball tournaments of which the NBA owners — who certainly do risk injury to their highly-paid players — do not see any profit.

But that’s a macro level concern for Cuban. On a micro level, he’s very supportive of his players.

Here’s what the never shy Andrew Bogut — the Mavericks new center is playing for Australia in Rio — said about Cuban, via Michael Lee of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

“If it wasn’t right, I’d put my hand up and I’m on a flight back home. It was good enough to play,” Bogut said, adding that Cuban “has been great. We have a great relationship via email and via text. The whole thing was, if you feel like you’re 100 percent, and you feel like your knee is a go, we’re going to support you. I couldn’t ask for a better organization to give me that confidence.”

While the Mavericks have had a rough time landing top free agents in recent years, it’s not because players don’t like and respect Cuban — they love him. He has turned it into an organization guys are willing to come to (people forget what a disaster it was when he took over that franchise).

Part of the reason is he shows he cares on a personal level.

Cuban has encouraged Dirk Nowitzki and other Mavs players to represent their country, he understands that draw. His concern is simply that he is taking a risk — players he will pay this next season regardless could get injured — yet he and the other owners get no compensation for that. He’d rather see the NBA run a World Cup style event as opposed to FIBA.  Which is not a bad idea.

Bogut and his Aussie buddies will give the United States its first real test today in Rio. This should be interesting.


Sixers coach says he plans to play Ben Simmons at the point some

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Last season, Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd figured out he needs to play Giannis Antetokounmpo some as a point forward, that’s when they were at their best.

Sixers coach Brett Brown isn’t going to wait around to try the same experiment — he is going to play rookie Ben Simmons at the point forward some this season.

Brown was at Eagles training camp and spoke to reporters about it, as reported by Thacover2.com (hat tip Zach Harper at CBS):

“I can’t wait for the season to begin and all over the place I’m very, very excited to start our season,” Brown said. “I think [Simmons] is going to have some taste of [point guard] for sure. He’ll dictate that himself when he rebounds and leads the break. I’ve said it many times, I think the NBA point guard is the hardest position in the NBA.

“He’s never played point guard, let alone NBA point guard, so what do you think he’s going to be? He has a real good chance to be that. I think initially we’re going to play him in different positions and that [point guard] will certainly be one of them. I believe he’s an elite passer. He has the mentality to do that first—and in a 6-foot-10 frame that weighs 240, 250 pounds, at 20 years old. That’s a great package to work with to play multiple positions.

“He’s going to be a facilitator. You’re going to see [Simmons] making plays. The ball will be in his hands and you can call what position you want. He’s certainly going to have the ball in his hands a lot, and everybody will certainly be reaping the benefits of that and truly enjoy playing with him. What we will say is we will give him the ball as much as we can.”

Simmons showed at Summer League he has a gift for passing — he finds the open man and makes passes both simple and spectacular. He also showed much of his game needs to catch up with his passing skills.

Brown realizes eventually Simmons is going to play a lot of point forward in Philly, so they may as well start young. Point guard has been a real issue for Philadelphia for a few seasons now, which is why this summer GM Bryan Colangelo brought in veterans Jerryd Bayless and Sergio Rodriguez to stabilize the position.

But Simmons is the future playmaker/facilitator on this team. He’s got to have the ball in his hands. Starting from day one.

Watch Milwaukee Bucks Top 10 plays from last season


Last season was a disappointment for the Milwaukee Bucks.

But this is still a team loaded with explosive young talent — led by Giannis Antetokounmpo — so you know they put together some impressive highlights.

The fine folks at NBA.com put together a Top 10 highlight package for Milwaukee from last season. Take a break from watching the Olympics for a few minutes and check it out.