Tag: Kemba Walker

Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers

Nicolas Batum responds to Toronto rumor in hysterical fashion


The report gained traction early Tuesday: Nicolas Batum is a free agent next summer and is already eyeing Toronto as a possible new destination. Batum is the former Blazer traded this summer to Charlotte, one of the lucky players about to hit the free agent market just as the system floods with money from the new television deal next summer. Toronto is a diverse, exciting city and an interesting team in the East…

Stop. Just stop. At least that’s what Batum took to Twitter to say Tuesday in classic fashion.

First things first, and with all due respect to Colin Jost and Michael Che, who certainly had their moments, I miss Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler on the Weekend Update desk.

As for Batum, I can tell you where he will land next summer — whichever team offers him the most money.

Charlotte can, in theory, do that as they have his Bird rights, but Batum isn’t going to get maxed out, so it’s a question of what teams are willing to offer. A lot of that could depend on how this season goes in Charlotte — Batum is a quality wing rotation player, a guy who can be a key contributor on the right team. With drive and kick guys like Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin on the Hornets’ roster, he should get the chance to show off his three-point stroke. He could be at the heart of a bubble playoff team in Charlotte.

However, trying to predict the chaos that will be free agency next summer is a fool’s errand. Batum could end up in Toronto, Charlotte, or 28 other destinations. He no doubt has his favorite spots and places he’d like to be — Toronto may well be one of them — but it all comes down to the money. It’s always the money.

Lance Stephenson: “Definitely it hurt me” that Michael Jordan traded him

Lance Stephenson

The Lance Stephenson era in Charlotte was a disaster. He went from shooting 49.1 percent his last season in Indiana to 37.6 percent in Charlotte. His defense wasn’t the same. As a good snapshot, his PER fell from 14.6 in Indy to a “he should be in the D-League” 8.8. He was being shopped by the middle of last season.

He landed this summer in a potentially great spot with the Los Angeles Clippers, but that doesn’t make getting traded by Michael Jordan any fun.

Stephenson talked about that and much more with Bleacher Report’s Jared Zwerling in a fantastic interview worth reading.

“Yeah, definitely it hurt me (getting traded by Jordan). I felt like I could’ve done more for the organization, I felt like we had pieces, and we just couldn’t get over that hump. There were a lot of injuries, a lot of things that just held us back from having a successful season….

“(Jordan) was communicating with me, telling me to keep a positive head even though I had a rough year. This was one of the roughest seasons—injuries, not getting my spot back. I felt like I could help this squad, but it just didn’t go the way I planned it to go. It’s a good learning experience and it really humbled me, because when you have high expectations, you feel like you’re that guy. It made me feel like, “Hey, you’ve got to keep working. Never stop grinding. Don’t take this stuff for granted because playing basketball is a blessing and you’re getting paid for it.”

Stephenson said that he and Kemba Walker didn’t blend well because they were too similar in style, both wanted the ball in their hands. That could be an issue with Chris Paul on the floor for the Clippers, but you could see Stephenson leading the second unit with the ball in his hands more.

The real question is off the court with Stephenson — how will he impact the chemistry of a team trying to get that right now after DeAndre Jordan’s free agency and what that brought to the surface. Stephenson continues to say his off-the-court issues are overblown.

“You can ask any of the guys that I played with. When I’m on the floor, I want to win. They know how I am. If I yell at them, it’s just because I want to win. They’re not looking at me like, “Lance is an assh–e.” Some people are intimidated to come up to me because of the way I play.”

I expect we will see a bounce-back season from Stephenson, he will be key to the Clippers’ improved bench. And if he gets the chance to blow in LeBron James’ ear in the playoffs again, that would mean the Clippers are in the Finals, and they will be good with it.

Jeremy Lin indicates he’ll sign with Hornets

Los Angeles Lakers v Charlotte Hornets

Update: Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Yup, that’s a bargain. Look past the fit concerns. At that price, the Hornets did well to get Lin. They can figure out the rest from there.


The fantasy of Jeremy Lin running pick-and-rolls with DeAndre Jordan in Dallas as Dirk Nowitzki, Wesley Matthews and Chandler Parsons spread the floor is falling apart.

It appears Lin is no longer holding out hope for that great fit with the Mavericks.

The former Lakers point guard posted on Instagram:

Lets goooooo!! #BuzzCity

A photo posted by Jeremy Lin (@jlin7) on

The Hornets have their $5,464,000 mid-level exception to spend. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lin got all of it.

Lin will back up Kemba Walker, though he doesn’t seem to be the best fit.

Charlotte doesn’t run. Charlotte doesn’t have strong pick-and-roll finishers. Charlotte doesn’t space the floor to facilitate pick-and-rolls.

Maybe Lin provides a different dimension, but I don’t think the Hornets are positioned to enough from him.

On the other hand, I’m not sure they could have gotten anyone better. So, from a pure value standpoint, maybe Lin will be worth his contract.