Delonte West can’t attend White House ceremony, goes on Twitter rant against media

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Wow, there hasn’t really been a lot of Delonte West news this year, has there? Things have been pretty quiet. Yup, guess he’s put all that drama behi… oh. OK, maybe not.

So first off, a pretty good quote from West, who it turns out thanks to his weapons charge from several years ago, you know, the one where he had a bunch of weaponry stuffed in a guitar case strapped to his back on the highway while he was riding a three-wheeled motorcycle, that one, can’t attend the White House on Monday along with his Mavericks teammates who are celebrating their championship. (Well, kind of. The former Mavericks won’t be there, and considering how much of an impact J.J. Barea and Tyson Chandler had to do with last year’s playoffs… that’s a little weird. But whatever, this happens every year.)

From the Star-Telegram:

“I’m banned from going to the White House, so I’m not going to make it,’’ West said after tonight’s 96-81 win over the New Orleans Hornets. “But I’m going home to D.C., I’m just not allowed to go to the White House.

“That’s what happens when you make bad decisions in your life. You can’t go to the White House.’’

via Full-Court Press: West wont be going to the White House.

Oh, well that’s a pretty mature and reasonable thing to say. Good on Delonte for taking responsibility for his actions. I guess he’s put all that nonsense behind him, can more effectively manage his condition, and we can all move on.

Oh. No. 

West went on a Twitter rampage Saturday night, after apparently someone in the locker room was asking questions that didn’t pertain to basketball. The tweets have since been deleted, but Mavs Moneyball captured them. They’re explicit, so consider yourself warned. Part one, and part two.

For those of you keeping score:

  • He says he has to sleep in his car because he can’t get apartment complexes in Dallas to approve him because of things they read on the internet.
  • He says he is, in fact, not our (expletive) side show.
  • Most notably, he pins the media’s portrayal of his little armed excursion on the fact that he’s making the league minimum: “Since that incident… went from starting on a 60+(win) team, supposed to make 5-8 (million) a year… now makin (league minimum). “
  • Then he starts talking about how the league minimum of $800,000 isn’t really all that much because of lawyer fees, agent fees, league fines, escrow, and his divorce settlement.
  • And finally he takes a pretty nasty shot at a media member who’s fairly respected by pretty much anyone who’s ever met him.

He then went back and apologized to the Mavericks for making it sound like he wasn’t appreciative of his contract, and said he would play for free if he had to.

Then on Saturday morning, West was back at it again. Apparently part of it has to do with someone asking about the thing about being banned and how he felt it made him come across as arrogant, when in fact he’s remorseful over his decisions. West apparently was just sad because he felt he could have made the president laugh. West did follow up by saying he doesn’t blame all the media, just a handful. For what it’s worth, the media member in question, who didn’t write the offending article, I might add, said that he wished West nothing but the best, and was clearly hurt by the comments.

So there’s that.

OK, look, I’m a media member. And the only thing worse than someone who partakes in the often-times blatantly agenda-driven pieces of media that come out, especially in sports, is someone who decides to get all holier than thou on everyone else in the industry. But this situation is really unfortunate on all sides.

West doesn’t deserve to be treated as a side show, particularly because one of the primary causes of his long-term behavior is a pretty serious mental condition that is extremely difficult to live with. West struggles with being bipolar. If you’ve had any experience with it, you know how hard that is for someone to deal with who isn’t being asked questions about their behavior all the time. And the reality is that it’s easy to make jokes about him, without considering how serious his problems are. We’re removed from athletes and rarely do we ever actually treat them as fully formed, three-dimensional, flesh and blood and mind and soul individuals, instead of cardboard cutouts on a television screen. Bloggers get nailed with that accusation more than any.

But you can be empathetic to West’s condition and what he’s gone through in his life and still say “Come on, man.” First off, no one wins with him taking this to Twitter. None. He has an agent. All he has to do is have that agent call the writer to express his thoughts. If he wants to instead set the record straight on how he feels about the White House trip, but doesn’t want to go to the same writer, he can have his pick. Most national writers are going to be all ears for an interview with a player of that nature. He’s got a better chance of having his thoughts considered in a full feature than blasting them out in 140 characters.

Because the result is that West comes across as someone upset because he’s only making $300,000 after those expenses this year, that he’s someone who was unfairly victimized by the media when what brought about the criticism was a series of decisions on his part. It’s not that that’s who West is. His attempts Sunday morning to clarify show that. He’s not blaming everyone in the media. He was just sad and upset as being portrayed as someone who didn’t care about the trip to the White House. But it’s these brash events where he lashes out that allow for people to take an overly simplistic, undeveloped view of him and to crack jokes, instead of considering the full weight of both what he’s chosen to share about his life and his condition.

No one wins in this. Especially not West.

NBA’s minor league to offer $125,000 salaries to not-yet-draft-eligible 18-year-olds

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The NBA will lower its age limit to 18, effectively ending the one-and-done era.

Eventually.

In the meantime, the best option for most top players leaving high school is college basketball. But while the NBA takes its time changing a rule (that it never should have implemented in the first place), the NBA’s minor league will offer an alternative route.

G League release:

The NBA G League today announced a Select Contract as part of a comprehensive professional path that will be available, beginning with the 2019-20 season, to elite prospects who are eligible to play in the NBA G League but not yet eligible for the NBA.  The contracts, which will include robust programmatic opportunities for development, are for elite players who are at least 18 years old and will pay $125,000 for the five-month season.

NBA G League Select Contracts are designed for year-round professional growth and will include opportunities for basketball development, life skills mentorship and academic scholarship.  These offerings are slated to include basketball workouts during the summer months through existing NBA infrastructure like NBA Summer League and NBA Academies, year-round education programs designed to increase players’ ability to personally and professionally manage their careers, and a scholarship program for athletes who want to pursue higher education after their playing days.  Additionally, the NBA G League will further enhance player experience through existing partner relationships and NBA player development programming.

The $125,000 salary is nice and a sizeable jump from the standard minor-league salary, which these players were already eligible to receive. Select Contract players can also sign endorsements and receive loans from agents while remaining eligible to play, unlike in the NCAA.

But it’s not as if college basketball players aren’t compensated. Though their compensation is limited by the NCAA cartel, players still get tuition, room and board and cost-of-living expenses. And of course many get under-the-table money, too. The value of that compensation – particularly the tuition – varies by person.

Access to NBA infrastructure could swing some players, but that also comes with risk. Older professionals could expose younger, even more talented, players. Experience and physical advancement matter.

So does the stage. Top college-basketball players are nationally recognized stars who appear regular on television and are revered on campus. Minor-league players are relatively anonymous and play in mid-sized cities away from much fanfare.

There’s still plenty to sort out, and the details could affect how many players enter this new program out of high school. But it’s nice they have another option.

It’d be far better if they could just declare for the NBA draft if they feel they’re ready.

Anthony Davis challenging Michael Jordan as best opening-game player on record

AP Photo/Michael Wyke
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Anthony Davis called himself the NBA’s best player.

He sure backed it up last night.

Davis posted a 32-16-8-3-3 to lead the Pelicans to a 19-point win over the Rockets, considered by many to be the NBA’s second-best team. The performance immediately vaults Davis to the forefront of any MVP discussions.

But for him, it was just par for the course. Davis has repeatedly dazzled in season openers. When 18-6-2-3 qualifies as the dud, you know Davis is doing something right.

Davis’ box scores in New Orleans’ first game each season:

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That makes Davis’ average season-opener game score 24.1, one of the best ever. Only Michael Jordan has a higher mark on record (since 1983, as far back as Basketball-Reference records go; minimum: three games).

Here are the leaders:

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Obviously, Davis cares more about how he finishes than starts. The Pelicans have made the playoffs only twice with him, getting swept in the first round in 2015 and falling in the second round last season.

But it should be clear by now: Davis comes to play as soon as the season tips.

PBT Extra: Boston can be team to dethrone Golden State Warriors

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I’ve heard it from friends. I’ve seen it on NBA Twitter. I’ve debated it with sports talk radio hosts.

“This NBA season is already decided, nobody has a chance against the Warriors.”

Not true.

Boston has a shot, as I get into in this PBT Extra.

Absolutely the Warriors are the odds-on favorites to win it all, if healthy they should three-peat. They were my pick. But I believe Boston has a legitimate shot to dethrone the Warriors — they have the wing athletes, the switchability on defense, the scoring, the versatility. A Boston/Golden State Finals is going six or seven games… if we get there. It’s just day two of a long season.

But I believe in Boston.