Quote of the Day: Steve Kerr jokes Popovich should quit coaching if he can’t win title with new roster


“You look at what San Antonio did getting Aldridge, I mean if they don’t win the whole thing next year it’s clearly the coach’s fault. I mean if Pop can’t win the whole thing with that roster then he has no business coaching in this league.”

—Golden State coach Steve Kerr, on NBA TV during the Warriors’ Summer League game, talking about the Western Conference.

You have to love the relationship between Gregg Popovich and Kerr (remember Kerr played for Popovich and picked up a couple rings in San Antonio, 1999 and 2003). They love to take little, friendly, locker-room style shots at each other.

A lot of people want to know who is better now, the Spurs after adding LaMarcus Aldridge or the reigning champion Warriors. My first thought is, it’s best not to leave the Clippers and Thunder out of the discussion of who can win the West. I will say with this likely being Tim Duncan’s last year I think the Spurs will be very hungry.

(Hat tip NBA Reddit)


Report: Blazers acquire Magic forward Moe Harkless for future second-rounder


Since the offseason began, the Blazers have been collecting young players on cheap rookie deals from other teams: first Noah Vonleh, then Mason Plumlee, and now Moe Harkless, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski:

After a promising first two seasons in the league (including a 2013-14 season in which he shot 38.3 percent from three-point range), Harkless largely fell out of the rotation in Orlando last season. He had a down season statistically last year, and it’s clear the Magic don’t have much use for him going forward after bringing back Tobias Harris on a max deal and investing a No. 4 pick in Aaron Gordon last year. But he’s only 22 and still has upside at both ends of the floor. As the Blazers enter their rebuild without LaMarcus Aldridge, they could do a lot worse than to take fliers on young players like Harkless and hope some of them pan out.

Nets sign Andrea Bargnani


Saturday night, it seemed all but certain that former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani was headed to the Kings. Then, like a much more inconsequential version of DeAndre Jordan’s change of heart with Dallas, the Nets came in out of nowhere to steal him away. The team officially announced the signing on Thursday:

The New York Post‘s Tim Bontemps reports that Bargnani’s deal is a one-year contract for the minimum, plus a player option for 2016-17:

And ESPN.com’s Marc Stein has the most incredible deal of all — Bargnani actually turned down more money from the Kings to take the Nets’ offer.

This is incredible on a number of levels. First, there was a bidding war for Andrea Bargnani in 2015. Second, he’s now added to the list of players who have turned down bigger offers from the Kings this summer to play for less money elsewhere, joining Monta Ellis and Wesley Matthews. This time, they dodged a bullet.

Stan Van Gundy says Pistons will now talk contract extension with 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.

Damian Lillard says he respects LaMarcus Aldridge’s decision to leave for San Antonio


Now that four of five starters are gone, the Portland Trail Blazers are unequivocally Damian Lillard’s team. He’s signed a five-year, $120 million extension that keeps him in Rip City until the 2021 season, and he’s now the longest-tenured Blazer, going into his fourth NBA season. When LaMarcus Aldridge left last week to sign with the Spurs, there was talk that the four-time All-Star power forward resented Lillard’s visibility as the face of the franchise. But Lillard said on Saturday that there are no hard feelings between them, and they’re on good terms:

From Yahoo’s Marc Spears:

Aldridge told Lillard he was leaving Portland before his final decision to sign with San Antonio became public.

“We basically exchanged texts about how much admiration we have for each other,” said Lillard, who signed a five-year, $120 million extension with the Blazers this week. “That change wasn’t about me. I did express that I wanted him to be back. I told him I respected his decision. I respected that he told me before the news broke and I saw it on TV.”

Was there anything more that Lillard or the Blazers could have done to keep Aldridge?

“I’m not sure there is,” Lillard said. “I think he needed a change and wanted to go some place where he felt he had a better chance to win.”

It’s hard to knock Aldridge’s decision. Going to San Antonio clearly wasn’t about the money, since the Blazers had the ability to offer him an extra year and around $30 million more than any other team. Aldridge wanted to be closer to his family in Texas, and he wanted to go where he had the best chance of winning. It’s hard to find a better organization to that end than the Spurs.

Lillard’s new-look Blazers will be young and full of upside, but they probably won’t win very many games next season.