Tag: Kawhi Leonard

Kyle Anderson

Spurs’ Kyle Anderson named Summer League MVP; leads All Summer League team


The Spurs are an organization with the infrastructure and patience to develop players. Kawhi Leonard is exhibit A, and they are paying him max money now after bringing him along.

Then there is Kyle Anderson.

The 30th pick a year ago, a guy who spent time in the D-League and got in just 33 games in his rookie season, was named the NBA Las Vegas Summer League MVP on Sunday by a vote of the media.

Anderson has averaged 22 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.3 steals in leading The Spurs to a 5-1 record and the Summer League Championship Game (played Monday at 9 .m. Eastern against the Suns).

“He’s put in a ton of work…” Spurs coach Becky Hammon said, naming a series of other Spurs shooting and training staff he had spent time with. “Over the summer I’ve seen him in the gym a lot. He knows our system the best. He knows those conversations coaches have had with him and what’s expected of him and he’s absolutely stepped up.”

What was expected of him was to step up and be a leader on this Summer League team.

“I think he’s great,” Hammon said of his leadership skills after a recent close Spurs win. “The last defensive possession he’s the one who rallied everyone on the court, he’s the one who’s speaking, he’s the one being more demonstrative in a leadership role — and that’s really what we want to see from him in this setting. It was nice to see him take ownership of the situation.”

With a veteran team ready to win now, Anderson is going to need this MVP level of play just to crack the rotation. He could and should get some minutes behind Kawhi Leonard, but he’s going to need to play well to keep those minutes. At least in Las Vegas, he looks like he can.

Here is the entire list of the Las Vegas All-NBA Summer League teams:

All-NBA Summer League First Team
Kyle Anderson (San Antonio)
Seth Curry (New Orleans)
Doug McDermott (Chicago)
Norman Powell (Toronto)
T.J. Warren (Phoenix)

All-NBA Summer League Second Team
Larry Drew II (New Orleans)
Emmanuel Mudiay (Denver)
Dwight Powell (Dallas)
Noah Vonleh (Portland)
Alan Williams (Houston)

Giannis Antetokounmpo: “I want to play for the Milwaukee Bucks forever”

Giannis Antetokounmpo

If a team can provide security (in the form of a longer contract) and a chance to win, players now are often choosing that over jumping to a bigger market. Kevin Love, Kawhi Leonard, Marc Gasol, Draymond Green, and Jimmy Buttler led the list of big-name free agents who chose to stay put this summer rather than test the waters elsewhere.

Milwaukee should be able to provide that for Giannis Antetokounmpo in a couple of years when it’s time to extend his rookie contract. They certainly will be able to offer the most money, and the Bucks look like a young team with a lot of potential — Jabari Parker, Greg Monroe, Michael Carter-Williams, John Henson and on down the list.

Antetokounmpo does a blog for EuroHoops.com and wrote about if he might ever bolt Milwaukee.

The Bucks and John Hammond chose me in the draft, got me in the NBA, kept me in the team with a role from my very first season and they are my basketball family. Not only that, but already at this young age, they have enough faith in me as a leader and they are doing everything in order to develop all of my potential. From my side, I feel that I want to be playing in the Bucks. I’m not talking about my next contract. The way I feel now, I want to keep playing for the Milwaukee Bucks for the next 20 years!

You never know how life turns out. Three years ago I was thinking that I might be playing for Filathlitikos forever! All of a sudden, the draft emerged, the NBA, the Bucks and everything that followed. I don’t know how I’ll be feeling and thinking in 2, 3 or more years. Right now I feel like I want to play for the Milwaukee Bucks forever…

I’m a guy who doesn’t really care about glamour and big markets. I like to be home all day. I get up in the morning, I take a shower and I go to practice. When I’m finished, the only thing that’s on my mind is to go back home and spend time with my family. I usually feel that I prefer to hide from people.

He went on to say the one thing that will impact his decision is the quality of team the Bucks have.

Antetokounmpo will be up for an extension next summer, and you can be certain the Bucks will offer a max deal and he will take it. Considering his family and background, he is going to take the security — not just for himself, but for his family for generations — of the huge deal.

Might he move down the line? Sure. Predicting anything in the NBA beyond three or four years borders on the impossible. But in the short term, he’s going to stay a Buck.

Rumor: Sense around league is Kevin Durant likely to stay in Oklahoma City

Miami Heat v Oklahoma City Thunder

LeBron James. Kawhi Leonard. Kevin Love. Marc Gasol. DeAndre Jordan. Draymond Green. Jimmy Butler. Dwyane Wade. Brook Lopez. Goran Dragic. Danny Green.

Every one of those top free agents this summer re-signed with their own team — security and taking the cash on the table were the themes of the summer. Even the restricted guys (Leonard, Green and Butler) didn’t meet with other teams, they were never really on the market. LaMarcus Aldridge was the outlier, bolting Portland to contend in San Antonio.

What does that portend heading into the much-discussed free agent summer of 2016, when the salary cap spikes and every team will be flush with cash?

Don’t bet on Kevin Durant leaving OKC.

Executives around the league expect him to stay put, reports Ken Berger at CBSSports.com.

Most league execs informally polled here at Summer League expect Durant to stay in Oklahoma City when he hits the market next summer. There are only a handful of teams that can legitimately think they’re an option. The Lakers, the Mavs and the Wizards (in Durant’s hometown) are in the mix, for starters. The Knicks? I mean, I guess, in theory.

I will say I’ve heard there is some pressure within Durant’s circle to consider the Knicks, but will they have a roster that he wants to come to?

Oklahoma City has always been the frontrunners, and the owner has signed off on paying the tax this year to show his commitment to winning (that came with matching the Blazers’ Enes Kanter offer). Durant likes the city, the team is a legit title contender, and as we have seen this year the lure of a big market alone is not near enough to draw a superstar.

The NBA season between now and Durant’s decision is a lifetime, and a lot of things could change. But it’s good to be in front of the race now, and Oklahoma City is that.

Stan Van Gundy says Pistons will now talk contract extension with Andre Drummond

Andre Drummond

The Detroit Pistons had some success near the end of the season with the Reggie Jackson/Andre Drummond pick and roll. This summer they locked up half that duo, paying Jackson more money than anyone else was going to.

Now they will turn their attention to Drummond.

Drummond is eligible for a contract extension this summer (it has to be signed by Oct. 31), and he’s a clear max player, he should get in the five-year, $90 million range of Damian Lillard and others. The Pistons are going to start talking to him about it, GM and coach Stan Van Gundy told Terry Foster of the Detroit News.

Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said the team will begin contract extension talks with center Andre Drummond in the next couple of weeks, with hopes of locking him up to a long-term contract — likely a maximum contract extension.

Here’s the rub: Van Gundy and the Pistons don’t want Drummond to sign that deal. At least not right now.

They want him to do what Kawhi Leonard did for the Spurs — wait a year, giving the Pistons more cap flexibility next summer. He’d still get the same max money, and the Pistons aren’t about to let him go, it’s simply about team building.

If Drummond signs this summer, he will count about $21 million against the cap in 2016-17. If he doesn’t sign then he becomes a restricted free agent and he’d count $8.1 million against the cap. That is a savings of nearly $13 million and the Pistons could use that to upgrade the talent around Drummond.

Here is the potential downside for Drummond. He will be a max player if he stays healthy. If he injures himself, the Pistons are under no obligation to give him a max deal. He could lose millions.

As we have seen this summer, NBA players like security. With good reason. This is Drummond’s chance to go from wealthy to “my family is set up for generations” money and why would you risk not locking that in right now?

Only because the other things you want in your NBA career — the chance to win and compete for rings — is more likely if he waits a year.

It’s not an easy choice. Drummond is a franchise cornerstone player, and if he wants a max deal right now he will get it. The Pistons will pay that man his money. They’d just like him to wait a little before signing on the dotted line.

Nominees for first ever NBPA “Players Awards” are out

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Five

Michele Roberts is giving the players what they want as the new executive director of the National Basketball Players Association  (the NBA players’ union). She knows she needs their loyalty during the looming 2017 lockout, so she’s trying to build up good will now. She’s doing the little things that resonate with players. Like questioning why there are media in the locker rooms before games. Or pushing back against the owners on the age limit.

Or giving the players their own chance to vote on the big NBA awards (most postseason awards, such as MVP or Rookie of the Year, are voted on by the media).

The first ever “Players’ Awards” will take place July 19 at the Rio hotel in Las Vegas (and be broadcast on BET July 21). Every NBA player was given the opportunity to vote in a variety of categories, and Thursday the list of nominees was released.

Here they are:

Best Rookie
Jordan Clarkson
Zach LaVine
Elfrid Payton
Andrew Wiggins

Best Defender
Tony Allen
Jimmy Butler
Anthony Davis
DeAndre Jordan

Global Impact Player
Pau Gasol
Kyrie Irving
Dirk Nowitzki
Tony Parker

Clutch Performer:
Stephen Curry
James Harden
LeBron James
Russell Westbrook

Coach You Most Want to Play For
Mike Budenholzer
Rick Carlisle
Steve Kerr
Greg Popovich

Hardest to Guard
Stephen Curry
James Harden
LeBron James
Russell Westbrook

Best Home Court Advantage
AT&T Center (San Antonio)
Chesapeake Energy Arena (Oklahoma City)
Moda Center (Portland)
Oracle Arena (Golden State)

Player You Secretly Wish was On Your Team:
Stephen Curry
Anthony Davis
Tim Duncan
LeBron James

Most Valuable Player:
Stephen Curry
James Harden
LeBron James
Russell Westbrook

That list looks pretty similar to the media awards, upon first glance. Save for no Kawhi Leonard or Draymond Green as best defenders. Also, no LeBron James or Kobe Bryant in the category naming the players with the greatest global impact?

Whether you think these awards are more fair or accurate than the traditional media ones largely will depend on whether your guy wins in his category. For example, don’t be shocked if James Harden wins the Players Award MVP, so if you were a Harden guy you will think the players got it right after the media screwed it up.

I’ll just say this: Don’t think they are less biased than the media. Players have a lot of agendas — they will vote for guys with the same agent, AAU buddies, their friends, and on down the line. There is plenty of bias to go around.