New Hornets General Manager Dell Demps comes from the San Antonio organization, where among his duties was to be general manager for the Spurs D-League team the Austin Toros.
As such, he got a good look at Mustafa Shakur, the former Arizona point guard who lit it up for the Tulsa 66ers last season – 19.3 points and 6.9 assists per game. If you like your stats advanced, he had a PER of 22.
Those re the kind of numbers that should get you noticed. It did – Shakur has signed a partially guaranteed deal with the Hornets and Demps next season.
Point guard minutes with the Hornets are not going to be easy to come by. Chris Paul will get the lion’s share, with Marco Belinelli behind him. Still, Shakur is getting his shot, and that’s all he can ask for.
Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Luc Mbah a Moute didn’t travel with the Rockets to Orlando for the NBA’s resumption at Disney World.
Westbrook says he tested positive for coronavirus:
It’s good that Westbrook is feeling well. And, once he had coronavirus, it’s good he tested positive before the team departed. He can quarantine in the comfort of his own home rather than a hotel room. He didn’t risk spreading coronavirus during the flight.
When will he join the Rockets? That’s tough to say. He must clear coronavirus first, and it’s unclear how long he has had it. Then, upon arrival at Disney World, he faces an in-room quarantine. The length of that can vary.
With Harden as the centerpiece, Houston has built its secondary attack around Westbrook’s aggressive style. The Rockets’ unique center-less approach is a direct response to Westbrook’s minus outside shooting. Empowered by spacing later in the season, Westbrook has really thrived.
He’d be a huge loss. Houston could go from a championship-contending wildcard to one-man show – or less.
This revelation also raises questions about Harden and Mbah a Moute, whose late arrivals haven’t been publicly explained.
Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard and 76ers star Joel Embiid expressed doubt about players following the NBA’s protocols in the bubble.
See Rockets forward Bruno Caboclo.
Tim MacMahon of ESPN:
Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
Players first arriving at Disney World is one of the most perilous times in the NBA’s plan. A player leaving his initial quarantine with coronavirus could undermine the whole operation.
The league has no practical choice but to be strict.
James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Luc Mbah a Moute didn’t arrive with the rest of the Rockets in Orlando. This makes four players who are behind in their ability to build chemistry and train with their teammates. At least Caboclo is just four days away from being four days away – major progress for him.
Houston has already clinched a playoff spot. But there’s some danger of slipping to the No. 7 seed and facing the powerful Clippers in the first round. So while they don’t have the most urgency for the seeding games, the Rockets are playing for something in the seeding games.
Missouri U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley sent out a press release complaining about the NBA’s list of approved social-justice messages for jerseys.
ESPN NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski replied to the email, “F— you.” (Wojnarowski did not censor the first word.)
Wojnarowski apologized. ESPN condemned his behavior and, according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, suspended him two weeks.
Several NBA players have publicly supported Wojnarowski:
Lakers star LeBron James:
Clippers guard Lou Williams:
Clippers guard Patrick Beverley:
Nuggets guard Jamal Murray:
Heat big Bam Adebayo:
Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie:
Kings forward Harrison Barnes:
Pacers center Myles Turner:
Grizzlies forward Anthony Tolliver:
Wizards wing Troy Brown Jr.:
Trail Blazers guard Jaylen Adams:
LeBron’s message is particularly notable.
Obviously, he’s the NBA’s biggest star. His words carry weight.
Wojnarowski also has a long history of harshly criticizing LeBron. Here are just a few examples.
But if he can get over The Letter from Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, LeBron can probably get past anything written about him.
Still rounding out their roster for the NBA restart in Orlando, the Brooklyn Nets have reached out to bring back veteran forward Lance Thomas.
Thomas, who went through training camp with Brooklyn but was cut right before the season, will sign as a substitute player for Brooklyn, reports Alex Smith with SNY.TV.
Thomas is an eight-year NBA veteran who spent the last four of that with the Knicks. He can play the three or a floor-spacing small four, with New York using him more as a power forward in recent years. He’s averaged 5.2 points per game in his career and is known more as a good player to have in the locker room and guy who can soak up 15-20 minutes a night and not hurt a team. Brooklyn had Thomas in at training camp and liked his fit, but they didn’t have a roster spot for him.
They do now. Three Nets players — Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan, and Taurean Prince — tested positive for the coronavirus and will not be at the Orlando restart. Wilson Chandler opted out of playing. All four of them can be replaced by substitute players for the remainder of this season, so the Nets signed Jamal Crawford, Michael Beasley, and Donta Hall. Thomas rounds becomes the fourth member of that group. (Note: The Nets cannot sign players to substitute for Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant because they are out due to injury; substitute players are only for players missing due to coronavirus issues.)
Thomas will be a free agent this offseason.
Lance Thomas and Brooklyn enter the bubble in Orlando as the seven seed in the East.