John Calipari just shows up to watch the more important game so far in the NBA season — a game everybody wanted to have tickets for — and the rumors start flying.
Calipari to the Cavs. Of course, last week it was Calipari to the Bulls. That’s not going to be the last rumor either.
Why Calipari is simple — he has ties to LeBron James. Every team that wants LeBron and needs a leg up in the recruiting process is going to be linked to the Calipari.
Except the Knicks. They made their coaching call two years ago when they signed Mike D’Antoni out from under Chicago.
Josh Alper breaks it down at NBCNewYork.com.
Vinny Del Negro’s keycard wasn’t even deactivated before the rumors of John Calipari’s interest in the Bulls coaching job started to pop up. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports wrote that Calipari was intrigued by the thought of reuniting with his former Memphis charge Derrick Rose in Chicago. Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com then reported that multiple sources have told him that Calipari has long dreamed of coaching LeBron James who, as you’re surely aware, is a free agent this summer.
That last point, in and of itself, isn’t particularly notable. Plenty of coaches would like to coach the King. What is notable is that both Calipari and James are very close to William Wesley, a.k.a. “Worldwide Wes” a.k.a. one of the biggest behind the scenes power brokers in the NBA. What’s more, Calipari is repped by CAA, the same agency that represents other free agents in waiting Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.
So if Calipari goes to Cleveland or Chicago, he’s doing so to coach LeBron — and that leaves the Knicks on the outside looking in at the free agent they covet above all others.
Most likely, Calipari returns to Kentucky. This is great leverage he has created in contract talks that are underway. But if you’re in the mood to speculate while you wait for July 1, Calipari makes a great topic.
The Hawks’ rebuild got going with big John Collins. Though they’re reportedly eying Luka Doncic with the No. 3 pick, they could easily draft another big – Jaren Jackson Jr., Mohamed Bamba, Marvin Bagley or Wendell Carter.
And then there’s veteran center Dewayne Dedmon.
He no longer fits in Atlanta (never did, really). But he’s not bypassing a chance to earn $6.3 million.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
There just wasn’t going to be that much money for the 28-year-old Dedmon in a tight market this summer.
Dedmon is a good defender, and he developed his ball skills – as a 3-point shooter and passer – in Atlanta last season. The Hawks could look to trade him. Maybe, in a deal primarily about his expiring contract, he adds extra value to the other team due to his playing ability.
If Atlanta doesn’t move him, Dedmon will be a fine player on a likely tanking team. At least he’s not good enough to subvert the Hawks’ tank, especially with the new lottery format.
Nick Young will say and do nearly anything for attention.
Empowered by the Warriors’ championship, he swung for the fences when asked about Canada passing marijuana legalization.
Young, via TMZ:
“I want people to pass cocaine,” the NBA star told TMZ Sports outside 1 OAK on Tuesday night … “Everybody needs to do cocaine!”
Predictably, that caused a bit of an uproar. Then, Young backtracked:
Too late, Nick. People are already asking questions you don’t want asked.
The 76ers have too many 2018 draft picks – Nos. 10, 26, 38, 39, 56 and 60.
Philadelphia already has 11 players under contract for next season. Plus, the 76ers have the space to add premier players. There just isn’t room for everyone on the roster.
So, Philadelphia unloaded one of those selections.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
This is good return for the 76ers, who everyone knew had to trade a draft pick. The rebuilding Bulls could easily land a higher second-round pick than No. 39 next year.
Why do the Lakers want an extra second-rounder this year? Second-round picks don’t count against the cap until signed, and they can always slightly sweeten a trade offer. They’re helpful for a team with big plans and little wiggle room.
The Knicks have the No. 8 pick, and tomorrow’s draft will be the most important part of their offseason.
Will they also have cap space to add talent in free agency? That hinges on Enes Kanter‘s player option.
If Kanter opts out, New York will have even more room to operate thanks to Kyle O'Quinn declining his $4,256,250 player option.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
The Knicks expected this for a while, and they’re probably not disappointed. Steve Mills and Scott Perry want to put their stamp on the franchise. O’Quinn is a leftover from the Phil Jackson era and a reminder of the recent tumult in New York.
O’Quinn’s combination of block percentage (6.1) and defensive-rebounding percentage (27.8) was unmatched last season. He just really struck a nice balance between contesting shots and remaining in position on the glass. He’s also a smooth mid-range shooter with an improved ability to distribute.
How much is that player worth?
It’ll be a tight market, especially for bigs. For his sake, I hope the 28-year-old O’Quinn already has assurances from other teams. He might get a similar salary or, more likely, a larger overall guarantee on a multi-year deal. But it’s also possible he comes out behind by testing free agency.