Job No. 1 for the New Orleans Hornets: Keep Chris Paul.
Okay, maybe “find an owner to keep the team in town” is above that on the to-do list. But that is outside GM Dell Demps job description, he’s just trying to build a winner people will want to come see
Which brings us back to Paul, who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent after next season. Demps wants to talk to him about an extension, according to the Associated Press. Well, except for that little lockout thing getting in the way. But when he can he’s going to talk to him.
But Paul’s next move will likely hinge on seeing Demps and the Hornets continue to make moves to make the team better not just save money. Demps told the Times-Picayune he wants to be aggressive in free agency. Well, as much as a team without an owner can be.
But Demps knows he’s going to have to show Paul long-term potential for the Hornets.
“If the right situation presents itself, we won’t hesitate,’’ Demps said during Wednesday’s news conference at the New Orleans Arena. “I don’t feel like our hands are tied. You can make trades now as long as your team is not in the playoffs. We need to figure what opportunities are going to arise. We don’t want to think too quickly.’’
Demps identified re-signing power forward Carl Landry and the return of injured forward David West as vital. West, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in March, can opt of his contract by June 30.
Keeping West, Paul’s pick-and-pop partner will be key.
But that all circles back to ownership (currently the NBA, which means the other 29 owners) and when Demps has to spend. Or not spend. How tied are his hands?
All that is beyond what Demps can control. He’d just like to talk extension. Someday.
D'Angelo Russell wants to play with Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns’ Timberwolves were reportedly interested in Russell last summer.
Why did Russell join the Warriors instead of Minnesota?
Russell, via Chris Hine of the Minneapolis StarTribune:
“I thought the opportunity here was amazing … ” Russell said after Warriors shootaround Friday. “It was definitely something I was considering very strongly. But then when this opportunity came, the weather is way better, so that helped me.”
“I did my first winter in New York and that was tough,” Russell said. “So to get the opportunity to go somewhere where it’s warm again, I think that played a major part in my plan.”
I don’t blame him one bit.
Russell grew up in Kentucky then finished high school in Florida. He spent his first couple NBA seasons with the Lakers.
He also played collegiately at Ohio State and a a couple years for the Nets. In other words, he spent enough time in cold-weather locations to know how miserable they can be.
This is an issue that will always hinder teams like the Timberwolves. It doesn’t mean they can’t attract free agents. It’s just a disadvantage.
There will always be players who don’t have multiple max offers. Minnesota can separate itself with money, playing time and other considerations.
But good for Russell for playing himself out of that group and earning a max contract in the Bay Area.
Kyrie Irving missed the Nets’ win over the Bulls on Saturday.
He’s not healthy enough to play the Pacers tonight.
Nets public relations:
Kyrie Irving (right shoulder impingement) is OUT.
Brooklyn (5-7) lags behinds Indiana (7-6) in the Eastern Conference’s middle morass. The Nets must try to catch up in the playoff race without their best player.
But it’s a long season. Brooklyn has plenty of time to gain ground. Spencer Dinwiddie is capable in relief, and the unselfish Nets can create ball movement while Dinwiddie rests.
I’m more concerned about next week. A segment of Brooklyn’s schedule:
- Nov. 24 at Knicks
- Nov. 25 at Cavaliers
- Nov. 27 at Celtics
That’s the team Irving spurned in free agency, the team Irving requested a trade from and the team Irving just left after pledging to re-sign. Those are juicy matchups. Hopefully, Irving is healthy enough to play in all three.
Ray Allen left the Celtics on bad terms in 2012. He finished his career with the Heat in 2014.
But Allen apparently could have come back with Boston in 2016… if Kevin Durant signed there first.
Allen, via Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston:
“I had a conversation with (Ainge) and I told him this was my last-ditch effort. I would’ve went back,” Allen said on WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni & Fauria” radio show.
“This was when Kevin Durant was a free agent. He was thinking about going to Boston. And I said, ‘Hey, if you guys land Kevin, I would certainly look at lacing them back up one more time and try to make something good happen here in Boston.’ “
This is a fascinating “what if?” – for the Celtics on the court and for Allen’s legacy in Boston.
But it also probably didn’t come close to happening. Durant said his top two choices in 2016 free agency were the Warriors and Thunder. Even Allen himself said he never neared a comeback.
Still, it’s interesting – after all the animosity – Allen even spoke to Celtics president Danny Ainge about returning.
Remember Luigi Datome? He spent a couple seasons with the Pistons and Celtics.
He makes an appearance in this wild video featuring Fenerbahce coach Zeljko Obradovic (warning: profanity):
A partial transcript the best I could muster:
YOU’RE GOOD GUYS. IN YOUR EYES, YOU’RE GOOD GUYS. F— YOU, EVERYBODY! F— YOU, OK!
F— YOU, GIGI DATOME. OK? SHAME ON YOU. AND YOU…
Festivus isn’t for another month, but someone is already ready for the airing of grievances.