Tag: Washington Wizards

James Harden

Report: Nike will not match $200 million offer, James Harden to sign with Adidas


This was the only hint you needed: James Harden was playing in the Drew League playoffs last weekend in Los Angeles and his girlfriend (apparently) Khloe Kardashian showed up to watch him ball — fully decked out in Adidas gear.

Harden had gotten a reported 13-year, $200 million offer from Adidas to become the face of that brand and, after much deliberation, Nike has decided not to match it. TMZ was first with this story.

Our Nike sources tell us the company has decided it won’t try to top the $200 million deal Adidas offered Harden last week. As we’ve reported … Nike had concerns about sinking that much dough into just ONE player, when it has several other superstars to sign.

Harden has yet to officially accept Adidas’ 13-year deal, but the writing is on the wall … or on Khloe’s back. She was sporting Adidas gear at his Drew League game this weekend.

Nike still has LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, plus a number of stars under the Air Jordan brand — Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Kawhi Leonard, and Russell Westbrook, to name a few.

But they had missed out on Stephen Curry (he signed with Under Armour) and there was reported concern the company didn’t want to lose another big name and would match. Turns out, they are not that worried.

Harden becomes the biggest star in the Adidas NBA universe, replacing Derrick Rose (his struggles to stay on the court hurt sales). Adidas can’t get his signature shoe to market fast enough. They also have John Wall, Damian Lillard and others under contract. However, Harden’s teammate in Houston Dwight Howard is rumored to be leaving the brand soon

The question is will the Harden signing move the needle on shoe sales? Nike has incredible customer loyalty and a product people love and trust, which is why they still have 90 percent of the basketball shoe market. It’s not just the Jordan name.

But Adidas needs some star power to start chipping away at Nike’s dominance (especially after Nike outbid them for the NBA apparel contract), and Harden with his beard is a good start.

Report: Wizards willing to trade Garrett Temple to Jazz

Washington Wizards v Utah Jazz

The Jazz are reportedly interested in Wizards guard Garrett Temple to replace Dante Exum, who tore his ACL.

Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today:

The Wizards probably don’t need much to deal Temple, who’s behind John Wall and Ramon Sessions on the depth chart. In fact, Washington might be OK just dumping Temple’s $1,100,602 salary.

The Jazz could use Temple, because Exum showed a low-usage, defense-first point guard works in Utah. The Jazz’s strength is a Gordon Hayward-Derrick Favors-Rudy Gobert frontline. Alec Burks, Rodney Hood and Joe Ingles can handle the ball at shooting guard.

Most teams don’t have the luxury of relying on a limited point guard like Temple. Utah does. Washington doesn’t – at least not much beyond his role as a third point guard. That’s why a trade would make sense for both sides.

Roy Hibbert says he’s up for the ‘challenge’ of playing with Kobe Bryant

Roy Hibbert, Kobe Bryant

Roy Hibbert’s mental fragility has been no secret.

Kobe Bryant torments his teammates, and two players – Jared Dudley and Jordan Hill – recently discussed how playing with Kobe isn’t for everybody.

Now, Hibbert and Kobe both play for the Lakers. How will that go?

Baxter Holmes of ESPN:

Hibbert has already witnessed Bryant’s brashness first-hand. The center broke his nose while fouling Bryant in an early 2012 game. Not long after, Hibbert said on a podcast that he talked to Bryant “expecting a little sympathy, and I got none from Kobe.”

But Hibbert says he and Bryant have since cleared the air, and that he’s “excited” to play alongside him.

“Just being able to play with a great [and] being pushed by somebody that has done it and won five championships. I’m up for a challenge,” Hibbert says. “People tell me a lot of different things, how he’ll respect me, and I feel like if I go about my business, I can get it done.”

“So,” Hibbert says before taking a long pause, “it’ll be a challenge. But I’m up for it. I’m not going to speculate on other people and how they interacted with him and their relationships, but I feel like if I put my best foot forward in practices and in games, I don’t feel like there will be any tension. And I’m the type of person that will be like, ‘Hey, if I did something, let’s talk it out,’ as opposed to just going back and forth every day.”

Kobe has gotten more patient with his teammates, but that doesn’t make him patient with his teammates.

Will Kobe take a different approach with Hibbert? Maybe. If Kobe wants to make the playoffs, the Lakers need major contributions from Hibbert. His rim protection alone could transform what had been a lousy defense.

But I have plenty of doubt this relationship will work.

I’m reminded of the scorpion-and-frog fable. A scorpion wants to cross a river, but he can’t swim. So, he asks a frog to carry him across the water. The frog says no, fearing the scorpion will sting him. The scorpion assures the frog that he wont, because if he did, they’d both drown during passage. The frog relents, and the scorpion hops on his back. As they reach the middle of the river, the scorpion stings the frog, who begins to sink. The frog asks the scorpion why he did that, knowing it will kill them both.

“I couldn’t help it,” the scorpion says. “It’s in my nature.”

For Hibbert and Kobe to mesh, at least one will have to change his nature. That’s far from impossible, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Report: Jazz interested in Wizards’ Garrett Temple after Dante Exum injury

Washington Wizards v Utah Jazz

Garrett Temple is the Wizards’ third point guard behind John Wall and Ramon Sessions.

In other words, Temple is a luxury in Washington.

The Jazz – who just lost Dante Exum to a torn ACL – might view him as more of a necessity.

Jody Genessy of the Deseret News:

The Jazz are interested in pursuing a trade for Wizards guard Garrett Temple, the Deseret News has been informed.

Jazz coach Quin Snyder is pushing for the deal, according to the source

Snyder and Temple established a good relationship when the guard was with the San Antonio Spurs at the end of the 2009-10 season.

J. Michael of CSN Washington:

Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey was also a San Antonio assistant general manager when Temple played there.

The 6-foot-6 Temple uses his size to defend the backcourt well. If he can repeat the best 3-point shooting season of his career – 37.5% on 4.3 attempts per 36 minutes – Temple might be nearly as good as a healthy Exum right now. Exum (20) is much, much more valuable than Temple (28) because of his age, but immediate production is a different story.

Temple could battle Trey Burke for the starting job, raising Utah’s floor at point guard. The Burke-Temple combination would also prevent the Jazz from having to rely on the unproven Bryce Cotton or Raul Neto in the rotation.

Acquiring Temple shouldn’t really set Utah back long-term, either. He’s on the final year of a minimum contract. Plus, he’s not good enough for Washington to command a significant return. Utah, through Exum, has the luxury of knowing a low-usage, defense-first point guard works behind the Gordon Hayward-Derrick Favors-Rudy Gobert frontcourt. Don’t mistake that for believing Temple is a gem.

With a payroll of $81,485,782, the Wizards aren’t really in jeopardy of surpassing the luxury-tax line ($84,740,000) or their hard cap ($88,740,000). But  – probably more importantly – dumping Temple’s $1,100,602 salary would keep a little more money in owner Ted Leonsis’ pockets. Plus, that’d give Washington just 14 players with guaranteed salaries, opening the flexibility of a vacant roster spot.

Report: Team USA changed mind on Trey Burke minicamp invitation, asks Michael Carter-Williams instead

BBVA Compass Rising Stars Practice

Trey Burke was reportedly set to be invited to Team USA’s minicamp.

But he didn’t appear on the list of 34 players  expected to attend the camp.

What gives?

Jody Genessy of the Deseret News:

Marc Stein of ESPN, who originally reported Burke’s invitation:

Attending the minicamp is the first step in making the 2016 Olympic roster, but this late swap probably won’t matter. It seems unlikely Burke or Michael Carter-Williams would pass enough of these point guards to reach Rio:

  • Stephen Curry
  • Chris Paul
  • Russell Westbrook
  • Kyrie Irving
  • John Wall
  • Mike Conley

For what it’s worth, Carter-Williams deserved the invitation over Burke. Carter-Williams’ length and defensive versatility provides a dimension those other point guards don’t possess. Burke is just a (far) lesser version of Paul and Irving. When it comes to long shots, the more variance, the better. Carter-Williams’ style provides more variance.

Because neither player had much of an Olympic chance, Burke misses only the experience of playing with these other great players. That could have been useful, especially with him in line to start for the Dante Exum-less Jazz this season.

At least Burke won’t risk injury in Las Vegas next week – though that matters only if you believe Burke won’t be playing basketball elsewhere instead.