Rip Hamilton is living in basketball limbo.
He hasn’t been playing, sat down by his coach. The Pistons are trying to find someone to trade for him but Hamilton but he is owed $25 million over the next two seasons. Guaranteed.
At that price nobody is interested in making a trade, reports Ken Berger at CBSSports.com.
There were reports that Boston or Dallas would want him, but you know why those two franchises are near the top of the league? They make smart player-personnel choices. Well, Boston does. Dallas already signed Brendan Haywood to the “vastly overpaid role player” spot on the roster, so they’re good. Heading into new, unknown financial waters with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, no smart team is taking on $25 million for a nice role player (which is what Rip is now, at age 32 he is not the scorer to be feared he once was).
The problem for Rip is, the Pistons sat him Jan. 12 against the Memphis Grizzlies (because the rumored three-team Carmelo Anthony trade was about to go through) and the team is a solid 5-5 without him. That includes knocking off the Magic and Mavericks, plus putting a real scare into the Heat on Friday. They are playing their best ball of the season. Sure, playing .500 is not getting them to the playoffs but for this season’s Pistons it is a huge step up. And if you learned just one thing from Bull Durham it’s that you don’t mess with a streak.
The Pistons could buy him out. (Dallas, Boston and others would have interest in a free agent Hamilton at a league minimum). However until the ownership sale to Tom Gores goes through there is no chance of that happening. And with all the stops and starts in that process we could have peace in the Middle East first.
Rip is too good to be sitting out Pistons games with the “stomach flu.” Detroit under John Kuester has gone away from running Hamilton off picks for catch-and-shoots and doing some of the things he can still do (the way Boston uses Ray Allen, for example).
But with the team playing well Kuester has no reason to change.
So Rip lives in basketball limbo.
Philadelphia had its chance. It got the ball with 27.5 seconds left in a tie game in Atlanta, a chance for Jimmy Butler to ice another game and… nothing. The Sixers had a shot clock violation after a scrambled play (watch the video above).
That left 3.5 seconds for Trae Young, and that’s all the time he needed.
Young’s floater has improved over the course of the season, and he was quick enough to get in a position where Butler could not block his shot. And he drained it.
The combination of a Sixers team that looked flat coming off their win over the Celtics, combined with Young’s energy was too much. Atlanta has played better since the All-Star break and teams sleep on them at their own peril.
Boban Marjanovic was 0-of-6 from three in his career before Saturday night. Then this happened.
Boban is just fun. Basketball should be fun.
I don’t know what’s going to happen with his free agency this summer, but you can bet the fans in Philly want him to stick around.
Lonzo Ball has played in just 99 games through his first two NBA seasons, 60 percent of the possible games. His rookie season, it was shoulder and knee issues that sidelined him for 30 games.
This past season, he went down on Jan. 19 with a sprained ankle against the Rockets, a severe one that also had a bone bruise, which slowed the healing. Ball has been shut down for the season because of it.
The Lakers are concerned that his Big Baller Brand shoes may have contributed to the ankle issues, something Ball confirmed the Lakers talked to him about in an ESPN story by Ramona Shelburne and Paula Lavigne.
[The January injury] marked his third separate ankle injury, which left the Lakers searching for what could be the root issue of his troubles — including asking about his Big Baller Brand shoes.
“Yeah, they talked to me,” Lonzo Ball told ESPN two weeks ago. “They asked me about it, and I told ’em, ‘I feel comfortable. If I wasn’t comfortable, I wouldn’t play in ’em. If I didn’t play in [his signature BBB shoes], I’d play in Kobe [Bryant’s signature Nike shoe]. I work out in [LeBron James’ signature Nike shoe], but that’s because they’re heavier.”
Lonzo also said he told the Lakers he was open to making adjustments — “just minor things,” he said — to his Big Baller Brand shoes if needed.
There are trainers around the league who believe a lot of foot and ankle issues in the NBA are about poorly designed or ill-fitting shoes (that can include major, trusted brands, but the player wears something that does not fit his needs).
Whether the ZO2 is part of the problem or not is impossible to say from the outside.
However, Ball recently severed some ties with the Big Baller Brand over the business manager’s handling of his money. Ball also deleted pictures of himself wearing Big Baller Brand gear from his Instagram. What does that mean? We’re not going to speculate here, but take your own best guess.
Malcolm Brogdon is out for the remainder of the regular season, likely the first round of the playoffs, and maybe longer with a plantar fascia tear. Nikola Mirotic is out likely through the end of the regular season (and maybe a little longer) with a thumb fracture. The injury bug that the Bucks avoided much of the season is catching up with them.
And Pau Gasol can now be added to the list, according to ESPN’s Malika Andrews.
Gasol is going to play a limited role for Milwaukee, but his depth along the front line would have been helpful as the Bucks try to rest guys and get right for the postseason.
If these injuries — particularly Brogdon, who is an important glue piece for them — lingers into the second round of the playoffs for Milwaukee, it could mean an earlier end to the season than they hoped.