Kwame Brown signs deal with Michael Jordan's Bobcats

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kwame brown.jpgKwame Brown and Michael Jordan are together again.

Bet you didn’t see that coming. But Brown has signed a one-year deal at the veteran’s minimum to play for the Charlotte Bobcats next season, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. He had played the last two seasons with the Pistons.

Michael Jordan gets credit in most people’s thinking for ruining Kwame, the former No. 1 overall pick. That is true only in this sense — he drafted him No. 1. It was not the pressure and yelling of Jordan that did it.

Kwame was never ready to be taken that high, to have that kind of expectations placed upon him. Some guys were ready out of high school, guys like Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett and LeBron James came in as much (or more) swagger than game. They loved the game, believed in themselves and wanted the challenge.

Kwame Brwon simply was not mentally built like that. He was not ready for the setbacks — where KG reacted to every setback by setting his jaw and fighting to overcoming it, Kwame wilted. That was not Jordan’s intense style, it was Kwame. He took it personally. Everyone had advice for him — from fatherly to screaming — that first year in the NBA and it overwhelmed.

He was not ready to be on his own. He didn’t even know how to take his suits to the dry cleaner — I’m not kidding. Read this great old article from the Washington Post about Brown’s rookie season (rediscovered by our own Matt Moore). Brown was a fantastic physical specimen who knew how to say the right things, but was not really ready. Isiah Thomas saw it where Michael Jordan did not.

Brown can still do a couple things well — he’s a good defensive rebounder, and if you ask him to play man-up defense on another big body (ala Yao Ming or Shaquille O’Neal) he can be surprisingly effective. On offense, there is not much. But Phil Jackson got the most out of him because he understood the limitations and used him within that. Larry Brown can do the same thing.

Just don’t blame Jordan for Kwame. Blame Kwame for the cake throwing all you want, however.

Report: NBA referees will live-tweet Warriors, Sixers games next week

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The one rule of Twitter is something that NBA officials are apparently willing to sidestep. That rule?

Never tweet.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, NBA referees will tweet from their official Twitter account during NBA games this season and hold back-and-forth conversations with fans about calls during games.

It seems like something that would immediately go wrong, but officials have done this before. They held Twitter conversations during last season’s Finals and they apparently feel as though they went well enough to do this sort of thing again.

Via ESPN:

This season, the NBA league office has agreed to work in collaboration with the referee union on this project. As part of the deal, the tweeting referees will have access to the league’s replay center in Secaucus, New Jersey, just like the officials who are on duty that evening, so they can have all the angles available to answer questions.

The union and the NBA plan a series of these games over the next few months, including some playoff games.

You will be able to tweet at @OfficialNBARefs or use #RefWatchParty during Monday’s game between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers, or Wednesday’s matchup between the San Antonio Spurs and Philadelphia 76ers.

It’ll be interesting to monitor this thing and see where it goes. Even the most inane opinions can be shot down by the twittersphere so watching actual NBA referees try to defend themselves against the hordes could get wild.

Raptors’ Pascal Siakam beats Suns with incredible drive at the buzzer

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Pascal Siakam has been an important part of the Toronto Raptors organization for a couple of seasons now. Siakam has been a target in requested trades with the Raptors, but general manager Masai Ujiri wants to hang on to the burgeoning Cameroonian forward.

That’s probably wise.

As time wound down in Thursday night’s game between the Raptors and Phoenix Suns, Siakam found himself with the ball at the top of the arc and the game on the line. Siakam had Mikal Bridges isolated up top, and wound up going to his left to score the game-winning shot as time expired.

Via Twitter:

Siakam finished the game with just 10 points but grabbed 12 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks.

Raptors are now just a half-game back of the Milwaukee Bucks with a record of 34-13.

Raptors promo Kawhi Leonard for ASG with faux-vintage action figure commercial

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The Toronto Raptors have been pushing Kawhi Leonard for the All-Star Game since 2018. The angle the team has decided to take is with Leonard being a “man of action” as opposed to a man of words.

Teams come up with some pretty good ideas about how to promote their star players for the All-Star Game. The Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum did the Vote for Pedro dance from “Napoleon Dynamite” to ask people to vote for buddy Damian Lillard.

The Raptors took a shot at a viral video of their own this week by releasing a fake 1990s-style action figure commercial for Leonard.

The result was pretty good:

At least with a Kawhi Leonard action figure you wouldn’t need to have a speaker and a button that plays catch phrases on it.

Reports: Mavericks, Dennis Smith Jr. could look to reconcile differences

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Things might not be over between Dennis Smith Jr. and the Dallas Mavericks.

The sophomore guard and the Mavericks have apparently been on the outs with each other as the season approaches the midway point. It was rumored that Smith was on the trading block, and that several teams were interested in his services.

But reports on Thursday surfaced saying Dallas and Smith could be heading for a reconciliation, and that conversations between the two sides have been positive as of late.

Via Twitter and ESPN:

The Mavs have shopped Smith, 21, throughout the season but haven’t received any offers that have tempted them to pull the trigger on trading a player whom the Dallas front office still believes has potential to develop into a star, sources said.

“Plan A is still to fix this,” a team source told ESPN.

Smith has not been that good this season, but his advanced numbers suggest that he is on a slow rise upward. It perhaps isn’t the jump Mavericks fans were looking for in the second season for a Top 10 pick, but if they can salvage their relationship it’s probably best for both sides at this juncture.