Tag: Portland Trail Blazers

Memphis Grizzlies v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Three

LaMarcus Aldridge says meetings with Gregg Popovich went like coach’s in-game interviews


Gregg Popovich really wanted LaMarcus Aldridge on the Spurs — he flew back out to Los Angeles for a second interview, a lunch with the big man. I’d say “he never does that,” but he obviously will for the right big man. It worked, Aldridge signed with the Spurs.

So what was it like to sit and talk with Popovich?

Pretty much like his television interviews, Aldridge told Marc Stein of ESPN in a SportsCenter interview, as transcribed by Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News (hat tip Eye on Basketball):

Popovich is who he is. There are moments, days when he feels more like opening up, or gets on thoughtful discussions of his interests outside basketball (wine the best known among them), but he’s not Doc Rivers.

Stein also asked Aldridge about leaving Portland and his comments last year that he wanted to be the “best Blazer ever.” Aldridge said that was not some PR line (hat tip to Blazersedge for the transcription).

It was tough. I did want to be the best Blazer ever. It wasn’t some hoax or me just trying to, you know, sweet-talk the city. I did. But I felt like they were kind of in that middle role where they kind of wanted to make a change, kind of go a different direction. You know they definitely told me that they wanted me back, but kind of I felt like we both were kind of in that limbo. They wanted to go young. Damian is a great talent. He’s going to be an All-Star for many years to come.

It sounds like Aldridge had an idea he was moving on for a while, even while saying all the right things about the Blazers.

Report: Deron Williams agrees to buyout with Nets, will sign two-year deal with Dallas


The Mavericks have their point guard.

The Brooklyn Nets are going to save some money.

Deron Williams has agreed to terms of a buyout with the Brooklyn Nets and will sign a new two-year deal with his hometown Dallas Mavericks, something first reported by David Aldridge of NBA.com and TNT.

The Brooklyn Nets and point guard Deron Williams, considered joined at the hip just three years ago in a marriage that announced Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s determination to spend whatever it took to build a contending team quickly, divorced for good on Friday, with the team and Williams reaching agreement on a buyout of the remaining two years and $43 million on his contract.

The deal allows Williams, once he clears waivers, to sign a deal with his hometown Dallas Mavericks—the team he almost went to in free agency in 2012 before agreeing to stay in Brooklyn on a five-year, $98 million max deal.

Marc Stein and Mike Mazzeo of ESPN have the figures on the deals.

It’s win-win. Or at least about as close to win-win as things could happen considering how bad William’s contract was ($43 million left over two years). Williams gives up a little money but gets out of Brooklyn, which he wanted.

For the Nets, they save serious cash and this deal is believed to get them below the luxury tax line. That’s both smart business and really necessary if he is going to find a buyer for all or part of the team (as has been rumored for more than a year, although he has denied it).

For Dallas, they will be in the hunt for a playoff spot in the West now. They lost DeAndre Jordan but with a likely starting five of Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons, Wesley Matthews (once fully healthy after his Achilles surgery), Zaza Pachulia and now Williams, they can compete with Utah, Sacramento, the Lakers and other teams in the West that think they can jump into the playoff picture. (Oklahoma City will make that leap now that they are healthy.)

Brook Lopez welcomes brother Robin to New York with personal roast

Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez

I know I tease my brother (he’s earned it). That’s just kind of how guys are with each other.

Brook Lopez was already in New York when he re-signed this summer with the Brooklyn Nets. Now he will be joined in New York by his brother Robin Lopez, who signed with the Knicks.

Two brothers, both now in New York.

Brook welcomed Robin to the Big Apple with some serious roasting on WFAN (hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie for the transcription).

Q. Did you help recruit your brother to the Knicks?

A. I did help recruit my brother to the Knicks, but as a non-Knicks supporter I helped recruit him there. I think he’s going to be a detriment to them, absolutely.

Q. You have always gotten the better of him in head-to-head matchups, so maybe that’s another reason, right?

A. Right, absolutely. I’m kind of the Robin Lopez Kryptonite, and there’s a lot of Robin Lopez Kryptonite in the world.

Q. Will you guys consider living together here in New York City?

A. I’ve been telling a few people I’m going to, first off, charge him rent definitely. I’m going to kind of go the Harry Potter route, like the Dursleys kept Harry Potter under the staircase in the cupboard. Something like that….

Q. Is there anything that Robin Lopez does better than you?

A. He loses better than I do. I know that. That came to me right away.

That is awesome. And well done with the Harry Potter reference as well.

Brook and Robin are pretty tight; the twins played their high school and college ball (Stanford) together. This is all in good fun. Not like Robin and those mascots.

Now, they both likely miss the playoffs together in New York. That’s another real bonding experience.

Reports: Pelicans signing Luke Babbitt and Alonzo Gee

Minnesota Timberwolves v New Orleans Pelicans
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The Pelicans, coming off a breakthrough playoff appearance, are keeping the band together.

They’ve re-signed Omer Asik, Alexis Ajinca and Dante Cunningham.

Add Luke Babbitt to the list – with Alonzo Gee joining him in New Orleans.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

These are only slightly above minimum contracts – or maybe even minimum deals with generous rounding. So, don’t expect either player to move the needle too much. Everything starts and ends with Anthony Davis.

But Babbitt has a chance to contribute as a stretch four in Alvin Gentry’s spread offense. That would mean more minutes for Davis at center, another plus.

Gee provides length on defense, which could help New Orleans switch more often (a la Gentry’s old team, the Warriors).

Report: Deron Williams talking buyout with Nets so he can join Mavericks

Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets- Game Four

The Nets wanted out from under the contracts of Joe Johnson and Deron Williams this summer, but D-Will was always going to be the harder to deal. Williams is set to make $43 million over the next two years, which is a lot of money for an erratic 13 points and 6.6 assists per game (his per-game averages last year).

So the Nets may just buy him out.

Then he would go home and sign with the Dallas Mavericks.

That according to Marc Stein at ESPN.

Former All-Star point guard Deron Williams is in talks with the Brooklyn Nets about securing his potential release this offseason to clear the way for Williams to sign with his hometown Dallas Mavericks, according to league sources….

A buyout, if Williams’ representatives and the Nets can come to terms, would be Brooklyn’s preference compared to outright waiving the 31-year-old. The Nets have been adamant since the end of the season that they do not want to simply release Williams via the stretch provision, even though it would allow them to pay out his remaining salary over the next five seasons and reduce their luxury-tax bill, as long as such a measure is executed before the Aug. 31 deadline….

Sources say the Mavericks, by contrast, are very motivated to sign Williams after being spurned in free agency by DeAndre Jordan, provided Williams can extricate himself from the Nets and get to the open market.

Nets GM Billy King previously said there was no chance the Nets would buy out Williams. Apparently he meant no chance until there was zero chance he could trade Williams. Just buying out Williams would still leave the Nets with a pretty hefty salary cap hit they are trying to avoid (they are close to the repeater tax)  so waiving and stretching out his contract (spreading the salary cap hit over five years at more like $8.6 million rather than $21 million this year) is certainly a possibility.

Back in 2012 Williams chose Brooklyn over Dallas when it was time to renew his deal. However, he grew up in Dallas, and as an added draw his former Jazz teammate Wesley Matthews is now a Maverick player. Dallas certainly needs a point guard, and Williams would be an upgrade over Devin Harris and J.J. Barea.

This makes some sense for both sides. The Nets get out from under some salary and can start to rebuild. The Mavericks can be a little better, more respectable and maybe a playoff team in the West (maybe, the West remains stacked).

It’s something to watch. Brooklyn will do what it takes to get out from under this contract.