Kurt Helin

Report: Nene reaches deal to join Houston Rockets


With Dwight Howard gone and Mike D’Antoni in as coach, Clint Capella is going to get the start — and put up numbers — for the Rockets at center.

The question has been who plays behind him besides rookie Chinanu Onuaku. It looks like the answer is Nene, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

The biggest question is how many games the Rockets will get out of Nene — he has missed at least 15 games (and usually much more) in each of the last five NBA seasons. He has to be on a maintenance program (limited minutes, no back-to-backs) and hope that limits the time he misses due to injury. Also, the lingering issues have limited his effectiveness when he is on the court.

When healthy he’s a good passer on offense and can knock down midrange shots, plus protect the rim. He’s not great at those things anymore, but he’d make a good backup, especially at the price the Rockets just got him for. It’s a solid pickup. They just can’t expect too much.

Video shows Lakers’ Nick Young holding firework that bursts


LOS ANGELES (AP) —  It looks like Los Angeles Lakers guard Nick Young hasn’t learned much about fireworks safety from New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.

TMZ Sports has posted a Snapchat video of Young holding up a firework in his hand as it explodes. TMZ says the video was taken at a Fourth of July party, and Young wasn’t injured.

The Lakers say they have no comment on it. Young’s agent hasn’t responded to a request for comment.

Pierre-Paul is featured in a public service announcement produced by the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission about fireworks safety and released last week. He shows off his mangled right hand in the video. Part of Pierre-Paul’s hand had to be amputated last year following a fireworks accident.

(PBT note: If the Lakers can’t find a trade partner for Young this summer, expect him to be waived and stretched before the season starts.)

Report: Dallas trading former slam dunk contest champion Jeremy Evans to Indiana

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Jeremy Evans can leap out of the building. That’s how he won the Slam Dunk Contest a few years back.

However, his game has never evolved much beyond that. That leaping ability gets him some highlight blocks and a few buckets around the rim, but he struggles to defend fours (too thin, gets muscled) and can’t space the floor on offense. Then he missed a chunk of last season after a shoulder injury.

The Mavericks wanted to move on, so Indiana will roll the dice on Evans, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Evans is on a minimum deal, so Indiana isn’t taking much of a risk.

That said, with Myles Turner, Thaddeus Young, and Paul George along the front line (with some depth behind them), it’s hard to imagine Evans getting much run. He’s going to have to take a leap forward now or he will be playing overseas soon.

Charles Barkley ‘disappointed’ Kevin Durant chose to chase ring with Warriors


Charles Barkley slamming a current player for something he did? We’ve seen it before. We saw it again Wednesday.

Barkley, the crossover star and TNT analyst, went on the Mike and Mike show on ESPN Radio and said this about Durant’s move:

“Kevin is a terrific player, he’s a good kid. But just disappointed with the fact that he weakened another team and he’s gonna kind of gravy train on a terrific Warriors team. Just disappointed from a competitive standpoint. Because just like it meant more to LeBron to win one in Cleveland, it would mean more to Kevin to win one in Oklahoma than it would be in Golden State.”

Plenty of people feel that way. Here’s where the hypocrisy comes in for Barkley: When his relationship soured with the Suns around 1995, he demanded a trade — to a contender. Specifically, he told the Suns to trade him to one of a few teams (and was very public about it) or he would retire.  The Suns relented and sent him to the Houston Rockets with Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. One of the few teams considered any kind of threat to Jordan’s Bulls.

Charles Barkley went ring hunting.

Now he calls Durant out for the same thing. We as fans can’t say “rings are all that matter” then question why a guy would make a move that makes it more likely he gets a ring.

Barkley then goes on to speak some truth — the entire “rings” argument and culture rings hollow. Championships are not the only or even best measure of a player.

“We develop this thing where you keep telling these guys, ‘Hey man, if you don’t win a championship you’re a bum.’ I don’t feel like a bum,” he said. “I’m pretty sure Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone and John Stockton — we think we’re pretty damn good. We could have played with some of those other guys and kind of cheated our way to a championship. But there is this thing that started with this new generation where these guys feel so much pressure. Everybody wants to win.”

Dwight Howard says he’s motivated after last season, wants to bring title to Atlanta


The Atlanta Hawks lost Al Horford at center and replaced him with Dwight Howard. Few see that as an upgrade.

Of course, Howard doesn’t see it that way. In an interview with the Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Howard talked about taking the Hawks back closer to the 60-win, conference finals team of a couple of years ago.

“I want to do whatever I can to bring a championship home,” Howard said Tuesday from Philips Arena while attending a Dream game. “I know it’s not going to be easy. I’ve worked extremely hard this summer, every summer. I’m very motivated. I’m really (ticked) off about last season. I’m looking forward to coming back with a different mentality.”

Why was Howard angry last season?

“Losing,” he said. “A lot of people see me with smiles and all that stuff and think I don’t care but I hate losing. I hate seeing other people stand up on the podium and hold up that trophy and I worked so hard for it. That’s the main thing.”

I don’t doubt Howard means that. Of course, he said something similar at every stop on the tour of his career, and let’s just say things have not lived up to the hype.

As always with Howard there are two key questions. First, can he stay healthy? Second, will he buy into the Hawks’ team first concept? Will Howard focus on defense and rebounding, then willingly move the ball on offense rather than demand a bunch of post touches that drag down the Hawks’ ball movement? He’s saying the right things, but he’s said that before.