When the Sacramento Kings dropped the news that they were voiding the contract of recently-signed free agent center Chuck Hayes, it was depressing for multiple reasons, not the least of which was legitimate concern for the health of Hayes himself.
But after seeking a second opinion and getting clearance to play, the story, for now, ends happily for Hayes. He’s back with the Kings, and for slightly more money than he was originally offered.
Still, it’s a little embarrassing for the Kings organization that their medical staff came to a rather serious conclusion that was later determined to be false. Some might even say the team flat out failed in their diagnosis, and failed miserably by going so far as to void the contract as a result.
Not surprisingly, the team’s general manager, Geoff Petrie, tried to put a more positive spin on the situation.
It is a profound pleasure to announce the signing of Chuck Hayes to a new multi-year contract. Chuck’s abilities and potential contribution have been previously described in great detail and remain unchanged. There is a much larger human story contained in the ongoing series of events which have encompassed the last eight days that go beyond basketball. It should be embraced. Some undoubtedly will seek to find some element of failure in this. There is no failure here. Chuck’s story and return has been so much more about caring, support, hope, faith, prayer, and a livable redemption. These values represent a larger part of the oxygen of life. The travails and then the triumph of the human spirit is what transpired here. There should be inspiration in this for everyone, especially at this time of the year. In closing, I want to wish everyone a wonderful holiday with their families, friends, and loved ones, and to all a good night.”
And a happy holiday to you, sir!
No one isn’t happy that this turned out the way it did for Hayes. But putting holiday pleasantries and positivity aside for a moment, it needs to me noted that the mistake the Kings organization made here was enormous, and Petrie’s statement that “there is no failure here” is just plain false.
Report: Wizards willing to discuss John Wall, Bradley Beal trades
As the Washington Wizards’ season spirals, the franchise has started to deliver teams an impression that every player on their roster — including All-Star guards John Wall and Bradley Beal — is available to discuss in trade scenarios, league sources told ESPN.
Washington’s preference remains to reshape the team around Wall and Beal, but poor play among key teammates is limiting their trade value and paralyzing the Wizards’ efforts to make meaningful changes to a roster that no longer appears functional together, league sources said.
In other words: The Wizards are finally acting rationally. There’s no good-enough reason they should have refused to discuss Wall and Beal trades before. That doesn’t mean Washington should have traded Wall or Beal. They’re good players, and the inertia of NBA trades discussions would have made a trade unlikely. For the same reason, trading those stars now remains unlikely. But what was the advantage of not even considering trading those two? Maybe the Wizards would have gotten an offer so good, they would have taken it. There’s almost no downside to discussing trades, especially after setting a tone to players that trade talks are inevitable and not a reflection of a player’s importance to the franchise.
But, under Ernie Grunfeld, Washington has been far more reactionary to proactive. Considering dealing Wall or Beal now – when every Wizard’s trade value has sunk due to the team’s collective stink – is too typical of this stale regime.
Wall’s value is extremely low relative to his star status. His super-max extension kicks in next year and pays him $42,728,000 per season through age 32. That is a terrifyingly large contract for someone who already appears to be slowing down. Trading for Wall now could trigger a huge trade bonus that gives him a big raise this season, too.
Beal remains an elite trade chip. He’s just 25 and locked in the following two seasons at a reasonable $27,922,396 per year. But he hasn’t looked as sharp on the court this season, lowering his value.
Washington’s other planned top players – Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre – have also underwhelmed. Porter is on an unappealing max contract, and Oubre is headed toward restricted free agency next summer. There’s only moderate reason to trade for either now.
So, dealing Wall or Beal could be the Wizards’ way out of their jam.
Or a way into an even bigger jam.
Report: Warriors aren’t interested in Carmelo Anthony
The most logical place for Anthony to land appears to be the Los Angeles Lakers, a team of former stars now lumped around LeBron James. But the Lakers haven’t seemed eager to do so, nor has anyone else.
Jokes around the league about where Anthony could go have been plenty, and one of the most popular refrains is that Carmelo should go to the Golden State Warriors to get his first ring. It’s a ridiculous supposition on its face, but after the Warriors signed DeMarcus Cousins, it oddly doesn’t seem completely out of the question.
However, according to The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears, Golden State is not considering Carmelo.
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green believes there is an NBA team out there for his old USA Basketball teammate that will be a better fit. Anthony previously turned down the Miami Heat and also the Portland Trail Blazers twice, sources said. As for Green’s Warriors, a source said the two-time defending champs have no interest despite having a roster spot open.
“Of course, he can still play in this league,” Green said. “There is no doubt in my mind.
“He’s still Melo.”
I honestly don’t know where a good basketball fit for Carmelo is anymore, largely because of his attitude about himself. It’s not clear that Carmelo can be the type of player he used to be on offense, and defense is sort of out of the question. While he did take to shooting more 3-pointers with the Rockets this season, he needs to go into full Vince Carter mode in order to stay on an NBA floor. That seems unlikely moving forward.
All this leaves us with the same question: If Golden State isn’t interested in Anthony, who is?
We’ll just have to wait and see.
Watch the Nets’ hype video for their Biggie Smalls-inspired ‘City’ jerseys
Each night in the NBA there is a lot of action, a lot to unpack. Which is why every weekday morning during the NBA season we bring you three things you need to know out of the night before, to keep you up on all the big happenings around the NBA.
1) Warriors drop third straight game on road trip and Steve Kerr is blunt: “This is the real NBA…. We’ve been in this dream. So now we’re faced with real adversity.” This is not serious illness the Warriors have come down with, it’s just a little fall cold. Come April, when the chance to threepeat is on the line, the Warriors will be the Warriors again. Don’t doubt that.
With that, the Warriors went 0-3 on a road trip for the first time with Steve Kerr as coach, and they are 2-5 in their last seven. In those seven games, the Warriors are allowing 112.7 points per 100 possessions, the second worst defense in the league during that stretch. On the other end of the floor, the ball is sticking on offense.
“I’ve had a dream run for four-and-a-half years,” Kerr said. “We’ve had such a charmed existence the last four seasons. So, yeah, of course, this is the toughest stretch we’ve been in. This is the real NBA. We haven’t been in the real NBA the last few years. We’ve been in this dream. So now we’re faced with real adversity. We’ve got to get out of it ourselves.”
The Warriors' nightmare week Monday: OT loss vs Clippers, Draymond blow up Tuesday: Draymond suspension, narrow win over Hawks Wednesday: Curry announced out 10 more days Thursday: Loss vs Rockets Friday: Draymond out with toe sprain Saturday: Loss vs Mavs Sunday: Loss vs Spurs
How do they change this around? Get healthy — Curry was playing back closer to his MVP level before the groin injury, just putting him back in the lineup will spark the offense and the team. Green’s return will help the defense. Durant and Thompson will find their shot at some point. Beyond that, the Warriors just need to get out of their own heads. While everyone around the NBA can talk about how they are on a cakewalk to a title, the reality is they are going to have to work for it. There are good teams in their way.
That said, we aren’t even to Thanksgiving yet. If the NBA season is a marathon, we are just 5.1 miles into it. It is far too early to think the Warriors are in any real trouble, or more unlikely, that they are going to make a trade and break things up (ownership said that is not happening). The Warriors will be the Warriors again when it matters. Right now, they are facing some adversity, and that’s probably good for them looking ahead towards the playoffs (better to be tested than not).
2) When LeBron James is good, the Lakers are good. Sunday he dropped 51 on the Heat and the Lakers looked dangerous again. Last Wednesday night on national television, LeBron James had one of those “just reminding you I’m the best player on the planet” games dropping 44 on the Timberwolves, and the Lakers looked the best they have all season in a win. Saturday night, LeBron had a pedestrian 22 and did not dominate the game the same way, and the Lakers lost to the Orlando Magic.
Sunday LeBron was back to his dominant ways, dropping 51 on his old team in Miami, getting Los Angeles another win.
Looking at the splits, two things happen in the Lakers’ wins. First, he is a more efficient shooter. For example, he shoots 32.5 percent from three in Laker losses, but 44.6 percent in victories. Or, his true shooting percentage jumps from a good 58 in losses to an insane 64.8 in wins. The second big change is his defense, and the team defense, is more dialed in for Laker wins. LeBron’s defensive rating is 115.6 in losses, and is 101.8 percent in wins.
It’s not just LeBron that has keyed the Lakers’ improved play of late, much of that comes from better team defense overall. But he is the catalyst of the offense, and when LeBron dials it up the Lakers dangerous.
3) He’s no Jennifer Hudson — Heat’s Josh Richardson ejected for throwing his shoe into crowd. When Jennifer Hudson throws a shoe — her shoe, someone else’s shoe, any shoe she can find — on The Voice, it’s a sign of respect. A compliment.
That is not how it came off when Josh Richardson threw his shoe into the crowd Sunday. Richardson — who is having a breakout season in Miami — was frustrated. Very frustrated with the foul calls (he felt he didn’t get one on a dunk attempt, then with his shoe off he fouled LeBron), with the team not winning, with a knot in his shoelace that would not come out, and with Erik Spoelstra subbing him out to get the shoe fixed and to calm down. So Richardson launched his shoe into the crowd.
That’s an automatic ejection. Richardson can break out the checkbook, too, a $25k fine is coming.
But if he wants, Richardson can just tell the league office he was offering LeBron a compliment by throwing his Nikes into the crowd. Not going to work, but he can try.