It’s amazing how many people want Pau Gasol to be something he’s not.
He is not a traditional, back-to-the-basket, power game center (and some Lakers fans criticized him for it). He doesn’t have a big ego and demand the ball, he gently reminds guys he’d like to touch the ball more (he gets criticized for that, too). He is not a black swan, he’s often a white one.
He’s not Kevin Garnett punching guys in the, um, family jewels, Phil Jackson told the Daily News.
“Pau knows who he is,” Jackson said. “He’s tenacious. I like him to be aggressive offensively. He’s always a willing passer. The one thing I’m on him about is getting that first rebound. Don’t let them knock it out of your hands. Don’t let them knock it away.
“Otherwise, all this talk about how aggressive he is or how aggressive he isn’t falls on deaf ears. He totally gets it. He is who he is. We’re not going to make him into (Boston’s Kevin) Garnett. He’s not going to go around and punch guys in the (groin).
“He’s too nice of a guy. This is an intelligent person who understands what this game is about. We’ve been to the Finals three years in a row, so that’s part of it.”
Gasol is one of the few classic intellectuals in the NBA. If you want to discuss the works of José Saramago, he’s your guy (although he prefers non-fiction).
He’s not overly aggressive by nature, but also knows when he needs to be and turn it on. And he’s got a couple nice rings to prove it.
Jackson, for all his poking at Gasol, knows people and how to motivate them. And he knows needling Gasol through the media washing off his target. So he’ll just needle KG instead. Classic Phil.
When Stephen Curry lost a golf bet to his father, Dell, at the American Century Championships over the weekend in Lake Tahoe, Curry jumped in the lake. Literally.
So did his caddy.
That caddy is no run-of-the-mill duffer, that is Bryant Barr — Curry’s roommate and teammate from Davidson. The two (and their wives) are still close friends.
And Curry still owes Barr a dinner from a game of H-O-R-S-E game back in college.
Barr explained it all to the NBC Golf team that covered the event over the weekend. Check out the great video above.
By the way, Ray Allen came in tied for third at the championship.
After the Warriors won the championship, David West said they dealt with internal issues so shocking, people would trip if they learned the details.
Golden State head coach Steve Kerr and assistant coach Ron Adams didn’t go along with that narrative. Now, another Warriors assistant is explaining more clearly just what the heck West was talking about.
Mike Brown on The Full 48 podcast, as transcribed by Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area:
“There’s no deep, dark secret,” the Warriors assistant coach said. “We had our ups and downs throughout the course of the year, just like any other team. We were able to get through them.
“Steve (Kerr) asked David or talked to David about it, and David was like, ‘I was joking (laughter). I just wanted to stir the pot a little bit.’ And he sure enough did. There’s nothing to it.”
That settles it.
Unless that’s what they want us to believe…
The Spurs were running low on small forwards. Kawhi Leonard remains in limbo, and San Antonio let Kyle Anderson leave for the Grizzlies.
Enter Dante Cunningham.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
This is probably a minimum contract. The Spurs still have whatever of the mid-level exception they didn’t give Marco Belinelli or the bi-annual exception. But that’s not way more than the minimum ($2,176,260) for Cunningham, who has nine years experience – and probably couldn’t command more, anyway.
Unlike Rudy Gay, Belinelli, Davis Bertans and Bryn Forbes, Cunningham is San Antonio’s first free-agent signing this summer who didn’t previously play for the team. He’s a combo forward who will likely be needed more at small forward. He can handle larger small forwards, and Belinelli can play the three against smaller opposing small forwards in a platoon.
Cunningham is a solid defender in the right matchup, and he holds his own as a 3-point shooter. The Spurs should use him well.
Of course, the Spurs must first determine what to do about Leonard before fitting in more pliable pieces like Cunningham.
The Lakers reportedly believe someone in Lonzo Ball‘s camp leaked his knee injury to depress his trade value and keep him in Los Angeles.
So, of course, speculation turned to his media-savvy father who has a major financial interest in maintaining footing in the Los Angeles market.
LaVar Ball, via TMZ:
“I don’t leak nothing. I always say what’s on my mind, so you don’t never see me saying, ‘I think I should say this now and let it leak.’ I don’t do that.”
It would be more in-character for LaVar just to announce Lonzo’s knee injury or – especially now that the Lakers are publicly acknowledging Lonzo’s need for surgery – brag now about his maneuvering. So, maybe he wasn’t behind this.
But it still could have been someone else in Lonzo’s camp, with or without LaVar’s knowledge.
The Balls don’t need to apologize if they disclosed Lonzo’s injury. It’s his knee. He can say what he wants about it, however it affects the Lakers.
But these accusations and subsequent denials certainly don’t signal a strong relationship between the team and player.