There may be no coach harder on point guards than Larry Brown.
Monday night D.J. Augustin was freed from that yoke — Brown was out and Paul Silas was in. It seemed to make Augustin a new player — one who attacked, drained jumpers, scored 27 points and had no turnovers.
Augustin was having fun, not thinking just playing, and it showed. All the Bobcats were having fun — the ball was moving and they were off and running to a big lead, then they hung on at the end to win 105-100.
Silas shook up the roster. DeSagana Diop get a lot of minutes in the middle, while Gerald Henderson and Matt Carrol got more run (and Brown favorite Dominic McGuire sat).
The new Bobcats were faster, four possessions a game faster. A pace more reminiscent of the Toronto Raptors or Indiana Pacers.
The Bobcat bench played a lot faster in the second quarter when they went on a 24-2 run that gave the Bobcats a 23 point lead. A run that was fueled by turnovers and sloppy play by the Pistons — but the running Bobcats were able to take advantage of it. Stephen Jackson had 23 points and was 4 of 7 from deep. Tyrus Thomas also was part of that, playing well
The Bobcats were up 23 and controlled most of the game until the fourth quarter, when the Pistons made their run. Chris Wilcox — yes, Chris Wilcox — was a key part of that with seven fourth quarter points. Charlie Villanueva had seven in the fourth quarter as well, on his way to 25 and the Bobcats had no answer for him.
All is not right with the Bobcats — they still turned the ball over on 24.5 percent of their trips down the court (almost one-in-our trips down the court) and their defense was nowhere near last year’s level. When you can’t stop Villanueva you have problems.
But for one night, let the Bobcats have heir fun. And the win.
The first rule of NBA ownership: Don’t talk about NBA ownership.
Or the business you do as an owner until it becomes official, even if by then everyone else has known for days and already moved on from the topic.
Monday was an expensive day for two of the NBA’s owners of teams in Texas. Mark Cuban was fined $50,000 for leaking information from the league’s Board of Governor’s meeting about the new coach’s challenge — even though everybody knew what was going to happen — before the meeting officially ended. Tim MacMahon of ESPN reported this story and had maybe the best quote of the summer to go with it.
The NBA office fined Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban $50,000 after he admitted to leaking information from last week’s Board of Governors meeting to a reporter, sources told ESPN…
“I appreciate the irony of your reporting on a fine that someone should, but won’t, get fined for leaking to you,” Cuban told ESPN.
Sources said Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive expressed concern that information about the vote to allow coaches’ challenges was being reported while the meeting was still in session. Cuban immediately admitted that he had leaked the information, sources said.
Well played, Cuban.
This is a letter of the law fine, but was it a big deal that this got out? The vote was all but assured, a formality, but Cuban gets fined for telling people? Thanks, Vivek.
From the same “is this really a big deal” file we have the fine Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta got on Monday, $25,000 for talking about the Russell Westbrook trade before it was official. Even though everybody was talking about it. From Mark Stein of the New York Times.
Here is the oh-so-damaging quote:
Again, I get Fertitta crossed the official line because the trade had not gone through yet, but does that line really need to exist in these cases? It feels like the silly hat thing at the NBA Draft.
Damaging or even interesting information was not divulged in either case. The fines were not steep because of it, but the NBA’s process of what is and is not allowed around trades and free agency — and the odd Board of Governors meeting — seems behind the times.
The Memphis Grizzlies don’t want to just waive veteran Andre Iguodala, they want to get something back in return. That is just turning out to be challenging.
The Clippers and Rockets are still interested, but both teams are at a stalemate, something Shams Charania of The Athletic broke down in a new video.
The story in a nutshell:
• The Rockets are interested, but Iguodala’s $17.2 million would take the team deep into the luxury tax (Houston is currently just shy of the tax line). Charania says any deal likely would involve a sign-and-trade, which implies Iman Shumpert, probably with a draft pick attached.
• The only Clippers’ salary that lines up cleanly is Mo Harkless (with some other players), but Los Angeles doesn’t want to give him up.
Memphis can afford to be patient and say they will just bring Iguodala into training camp, that they are willing to start the season with him.
This may take some time to get done and could ultimately involve a third team. Maybe Dallas gets back in the conversation, or other teams look at their roster and decide they want the veteran wing. This also could be something that drags into training camp, there are no easy answers lined up or the deal would be done already.
From the moment the Warriors acquired D'Angelo Russell in a sign-and-trade deal that cleared the path for Kevin Durant to go to Brooklyn, speculation about fit and an eventual trade cropped up. Does Russell’s game really fit with Stephen Curry and, eventually, Klay Thompson‘s, in a three-guard lineup? If not, how fast will they trade him? February at the trade deadline? Next summer?
From the start the Warriors have shot down the idea that they just planned to trade Russell, and on Monday Warriors GM Bob Myers repeated the same thing.
The Warriors plan has been to play Russell and Curry next to each other — they got an All-Star guard to soak up the minutes until Thompson can return (likely sometime after the All-Star break, if at all next season). Maybe the fit works, maybe it doesn’t, but the Warriors aren’t putting limitations or preconceived notions on the possibilities.
If it doesn’t work out, the trade option will still be there.
The Warriors do not head into this season the same juggernaut to be feared, but sleep on them at your own risk. As Meyers said, they believe they have a team that can compete with anyone.
Just a few weeks after winning a championship, the Raptors look finished as championship contenders.
In an unprecedented exit, superstar Kawhi Leonard left. Danny Green – an underrated contributor – followed him from Toronto.
The Raptors can remain good with Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. But with Lowry ($34,996,296), Gasol ($25,595,700) and Ibaka ($23,271,604) older players on expiring contracts, this iteration of the team will likely be short-lived. Toronto’s obvious path is rebuilding around Siakam.
Will the Raptors get a head start on that by dealing those veterans for assets that can help more down the road?
Josh Lewenberg of TSN:
As for veterans Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka – who are all on expiring deals – the Raptors have no intention of moving them, at least not before the season, according to sources.
This is perfectly fine.
The Raptors might be less-equipped in a few years by not getting value for those veterans now.
But Toronto deserves a victory lap. There’s value in Raptors fans enjoying these championship players – especially Lowry. This team should still make the playoffs, and even moderate winning will make this prolonged title celebration more satisfying.