Well, there is, but we don’t really talk about it. Basketball is an emotional game. Well, it is if you care. So not for Andray Blatche most nights. But if you are invested — as any professional player should be — there will be wild emotional highs (we all remember Michael Jordan hugging the trophy in tears). The flip side of that is devastating emotional lows. For all the talk of keeping an even keel, there are times the game takes an emotional toll.
But players don’t want to be seen that way. They need a swagger. They think of themselves as invincible. They like that image.
What Erik Spoelstra told the media in Miami after the Heat suffered another difficult loss to an elite team shattered that image. They should be down, the Heat blew another big first half lead. They have lost four in a row. They lost a game a lot of people were pointing to as big for this team. They missed another shot at the end of the game.
But Spoelstra told the press — as reported by our own Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel on twitter — that some of the players were in tears after the loss.
I can understand some players were crying after a loss. Maybe it’s a little immature, but at least they are invested. At least they care. That matters.
But telling the press? Oh, that was your mistake, Spoelstra. This was a regular season game. Say they were in tears after being eliminated from the playoffs is one thing, but to spill that after a regular season loss is a mistake. You may have been trying to pass along the message that they cared, but that will not be the perception. Tweens crying over not getting Justin Bieber concert tickets will be the perception. Your heat will look soft. Which, on top of playing soft makes them look, well, soft. Like a Nerf ball soft.
And, it keeps the Heat soap opera going.
Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma trolling now ad for Wish shopping app
For three seasons, Briante Weber has bounced around the fringes of the NBA. The defensive-minded point guard has played in short stints (often 10-day contracts) for the Grizzlies, Heat, Warriors, Hornets, and last season he got in 13 games for the Rockets (plus five in Memphis). He’s spent most of his career in the G-League, working for his chance to get in the door.
Miami is bringing him into training camp, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
Guard Briante Weber has agreed to a partially guaranteed deal to return to the Miami Heat, league sources tell Yahoo.
There is roster space in Miami if Webber blows them away. Miami has 12 fully guaranteed roster spots and, with Webber, two partially-guaranteed deals (Malik Newman, who was undrafted out of Kansas, is the other).
Rather than a potential rebuild — or another “Russell Westbrook vs. The World” season — the Oklahoma City Thunder were one of the big winners of the off-season when Paul George agreed to re-sign with the team. They also moved on from Carmelo Anthony, will get Andre Roberson back from injury, and added Dennis Schroder to give them a shot creator off the bench.
“I’m very, very excited. Paul has been an unbelievable teammate, obviously a great friend. I’m very, very excited that he is back and we’re ready to make some noise. We are just going to take it one day at a time. I think our team has a lot of great, young talent. We have one goal now and that is winning a championship.”
While it’s hard to envision the Thunder reaching that goal (as constructed), the Thunder could well be the three or four seed in the West and have home court in the first round of the playoffs. While the margin for error in the West will be minuscule (with 12 teams having a shot at the eight playoff spots), with the Thunder’s strong top-10 defense and two stars who can take over games nightly, they should be one of the more consistent regular season teams in the West.
Either way, the Thunder are a lot more interesting with George than without. It’s going to be a good season for the Thunder.
PBT Extra: Carmelo Anthony officially a Houston Rocket now — this can work
Did the Houston Rockets get better this summer? The conventional wisdom is no, they will miss the switchable defense and versatility of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute against the NBA’s other elite teams.
But with Carmelo Anthony officially signing with the Rockets on Monday, don’t expect a big step back, something I cover in this latest PBT Extra.
The Rockets had the second-best offense in the NBA last season (almost tied with the Warriors) and ‘Melo can enhance that — he can still punish switches in the post, he has a catch-and-shoot game, and while he may not be as efficient as he once was, the man can get buckets. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, expect Mike D’Antoni to find him minutes while Chris Paul and James Harden rest where he can be an offensive focal point.