Author: Kurt Helin

Rudy Gay, Pete D'Alessandro, Michael Malone

Tuesday And-1 Links: Rudy Gay, Kings not really talking next contract right now

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• Rudy Gay said there is no real progress on him talking next contract with the Sacramento Kings. I expect he goes to free agency, but they have until July 1 to figure out an extension if both sides are open to it. That said, Gay is getting a pay cut (he will make $19.3 million this season).

• Damian Lillard admitted he was getting gassed in games by the end of the playoffs last year, so he upped his diet and conditioning this offseason.

One cigar at a time was not enough for Michael Jordan as he watched the Ryder Cup.

• Josh Smith promises this year he’s going to play more in the post and around the basket, saying he’s going to stop shooting threes. I’ll believe it when I see it.

• The Suns’ Isaiah Thomas is playing through a sore wrist at the start of camp, but he hasn’t missed any time.

• Ben McLemore knows how to photobomb.

• However, on the court Kings coach Mike Malone said McLeMore needs to work on his “jump shot, his ball-handling, his passing decisions and becoming a better defender this year.” Oh, so that’s all.

• Here’s an update on efforts to bring the NBA back to Seattle. Which is to say nothing is imminent. (I hear the most likely options are either after the new TV deal kicks in the owners decide to expand, or one of the teams in desperate need of a new arena fails to make progress on that front.)

• If you didn’t read the best NBA writer in the business Lee Jenkins writing on Erik Spoelstra, go do it right now.

• This cracked me up:

• The Hornets’ Lance Stephenson has a new music video out, one which I can’t run here so please follow the link.

• Earl Watson has retired from the NBA to join the Spurs’ D-League coaching staff. He’s one of the better, brighter guys around the league to talk Xs and Os with, great hire.

• The Bucks rookie forward Damien Inglis (drafted No. 31 and given two years guaranteed) will miss probably all of training camp trying to recover from his fractured foot.

• The Kings have reached a deal with Uber to put the popular ride sharing service in their team app for game nights. At least if you have an iPhone. According to the Kings fans with iOS mobile devices will be able to access Uber in the “Going to the Game” or “Transportation” section of the Kings app starting opening night. The Android version will be available in mid-November. Good idea.

• Pau Gasol is not exactly known for his singing, but he is recording a Christmas song for UNICEF.

• Remember last season the report that some Miami Heat players had been caught up in a Real Estate scam? Last week a man with a history of real estate fraud pled guilty to a multi-million dollar investment scam involving three former Miami Heat players and the team itself.

• Gustavo Ayon inked a two-year deal with Real Madrid. Got to go where the money is.

• Finally, learn how to make a tasty steak sandwich with Matt Barnes.

Former NBA player, current TNT analyst Kenny Smith gets reality show with family

Kenny Smith

Well, we now we know what show promos TNT is going to beat us over the head with during the next playoffs (following in the footsteps of “The Closer” and “Franklin & Bash)…

Kenny “The Jet” Smith — a nine-year NBA veteran who won two rings with the Rockets in the ‘90s and is now part of the brilliant “Inside the NBA” show on TNT — is getting his own reality show with his family. The show will air on TBS starting next spring. To point out what most of you know, TBS and TNT are both owned by Turner Broadcasting (which also runs NBATV).

Sure, we’d all rather have cameras follow Charles Barkley around and record the details of his life, but he is too smart to let that go public.

Smith is married to Gwendolyn Osborne-Smith, who is one of the prize-showing ladies on the game show The Price is Right, and has been since 2005. She’s had some other acting gigs including in “Any Given Sunday.”

Together they have five children, ages 2 to 20, all of whom will be part of the show.

I don’t know. I thought JaVale McGee was ripe for this kind of thing with the show he and his mother had (along with others) on the Oprah Winfrey Network, but that was pretty much unwatchable. This… I don’t know. I’m not much of a realty TV guy (outside of Top Chef, which is brilliant).

At least it should lead to some good ribbing of Smith on Inside The NBA. Barkley and Shaq should have a field day with it.

Mike Miller points to him being amnestied as start of LeBron James leaving Miami

San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat - Game 7

LeBron James sold his summer as him going home, that he wanted to return to Cleveland. Certainly that was a big part of his decision.

However, also he had come to question the Miami Heat’s ownership’s commitment to fielding the best team. LeBron said if Miami had won the 2014 title it would have been much harder for him to leave, but he felt part of the reason they didn’t was they didn’t put the best possible product on the court.

That started with them amnestying Mike Miller the previous summer, a move that save the Heat $17 million in salary and luxury tax, but hurt their wing depth and removed one of LeBron’s best friends on the team.

Speaking to Chris Haynes of Miller said his exit was the first crack in the wall for LeBron in Miami.

“LeBron thought it was an unnecessary change,” Miller revealed to Northeast Ohio Media Group. “I’m not saying I would have been a difference-maker. San Antonio was unbelievable last year and there are a lot of things that go into a season, but it was difficult for LeBron.

“It was difficult for all of us. It was difficult for me. I had to uproot my family and move again. It was tough. I think he was disappointed because he understands legacies and he understands what he wants to do in life. That’s what makes him special.”

There was some logic to what Miami did, Miller hadn’t played more than 59 games in the past four seasons, at times it seemed like his body was held together by duct tape. When he played he fit great, but that’s $17 million in savings we’re talking about. So the Heat pulled the trigger.

But it frustrated LeBron because it was a move about money not winning. Then Miller played 82 games for the Grizzlies. LeBron saw Dwyane Wade’s minutes decline and the need for wing shooting remain, and his busy was playing in the land of great barbecue, not with him. LeBron expressed frustration with an owner he saw as not willing to spend to win.

From there the dominoes started falling. LeBron made his decision, and after he did he called Miller and recruited him. It worked, like it did with Kevin Love and everyone else not named Ray Allen (at least so far, he could still chose to join mid-season or whenever).

But Miller seems to have been the first big domino in that sequence.

Quote of the Day: Nick Young thinks he can win MVP. Or sixth man. Or….


The NBA is just more fun with Nick Young in it. Like when he said his there’s no tattoos on his right arm because that’s just for buckets. Or he makes the rookies call him special names.

Swaggy P was not the center of attention at Lakers’ media day (that Kobe Bryant guy is back and a lot of people wanted to talk to him) but Young was vintage Young, as you can see from the quote above. The Defensive Player of the Year comment actually had me laughing.

If as expected Lakers’ coach Byron Scott goes with the veterans to start (Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Carlos Boozer) the Lakers will be a lot more fun to watch when the bench unit of Young, Jeremy Lin and Julius Randle are on the floor. They won’t be able to stop anybody, but they’ll be entertaining. Which is about the most Lakers’ fans can hope for out of their team this year.

And if you’re going to see Young out and about in LA and shout out to him, well…

Brian Shaw wants Ty Lawson to watch Peyton Manning practice, lead team

Chicago Bulls v Denver Nuggets

Ty Lawson is a leader for the Denver Nuggets.

As a water bug of a point guard he is a great fit for their up-tempo offense (the Nuggets were top five in the league in pace last season). He is quick, he can be fearsome in transition, he can knock down the three. He fits what the Nuggets do and he has the temperament to be a leader. It’s just a process.

This season coach Brian Shaw is asking even more of Lawson and more of a Nuggets team that should be healthy and a playoff threat in the West. He needs Lawson to lead that.

Sort of like Peyton Manning does down the street in Denver with the Broncos. As a learning experience, Shaw wants to take Lawson to watch Manning practice, something the coach said at media day, reported by Matt Moore at Eye on Basketball.

“One thing I wanted to do with him,” Shaw said, “and still may do before we get too heavy into is I want to take him to a Broncos practice so he can see Peyton Manning and how he directs traffic, and how everybody falls in line behind him. But they only do that because they know the work ethic that he has and the time he puts in, and they respect that.”

Lawson is good with that and a step ahead of the coach.

“I’ve met Peyton before,” Lawson said, “but I definitely just want to see how he runs his team. To see whether he’s yelling and screaming the whole time, or if he’s just talking. What his tone is when he’s talking to players. I want to see what his mindset is during practice.”

Manning yells now and again, but his leadership is rooted more in the combination of detailed preparation and then an ability to read a defense and put the team in a position to succeed. Players trust him to make the right call, the right read, and to choose the right option. Manning has proven he can do that.

Leading veterans is easier and the Nuggets get Danilo Gallinari back from injury and acquired Arron Afflalo in a trade — you can plug those two in and instantly get guys who will buy into the team concept. They will follow a leader they can trust. Lawson will not have to yell as much, he just needs to prove he can be that guy that makes the right read.