C.J. Miles and Raja Bell are not thrilled with Ty Corbin

2 Comments

Ty Corbin did a lot of things right in his first full season as the Utah Jazz’s head coach. Even though the Jazz were swept in convincing fashion by the Spurs in the 1st round, the team did make the playoffs the year after Hall-of-Fame coach Jerry Sloan left mid-season and superstar point guard Deron Williams was traded at the deadline, which is no mean feat, especially considering that Derrick Favors, the centerpiece of the trade that sent Williams to New Jersey, appears to be making good progress under Corbin.

Still, not every Jazz player was thrilled with Corbin at the end of the season. Brian T. Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune has the story:

Raja Bell

Bell does not expect to return to Jazz next year.

Bell hopes the Jazz do the right thing and move him before the 2012-13 season. He was open to it before the trade deadline but never asked for trade.

Bell said Corbin was “unprofessional” at the end of the season. According to Bell, Corbin made things personal by playing everyone in the playoffs except for him and it was obvious.

Bell said if he’s still on Jazz at the start of next season “we’ll cross that bridge” then.

C.J. Miles

Miles said the team was put off by Al Jefferson’s pre-Game 4 comments about no one beating the Spurs in the playoffs and San Antonio being better than Utah.

Miles loves the Jazz, the team’s fans and thinks Corbin will evolve. But he never knew what was expected of him this year.

Miles said communication was much better with former coach Jerry Sloan, and Corbin has struggled relaying his message to team.

Miles: “I don’t even remember us naming a captain, but they wanted leadership.”

Miles wanted to play in Game 4 but said he wasn’t allowed to.

The 35-year old Bell, who has always been a role player, probably wouldn’t have done much to prevent the sweep in anybody’s wildest imagination, but the fact that he was the only player not to get on the court for the Jazz does seem to show that Corbin doesn’t have much of a personal relationship with him. Miles is just 25, but he’s also a role player on the court for the Jazz, so it wouldn’t seem like he would have much leverage if he forced the Jazz to choose between him and their coach.

Miles is an unrestricted free agent this summer, and Bell’s 3.5 million dollar contract expires after the 2012-13 season.

Bob Myers says he initially told DeMarcus Cousins’ agent Warriors couldn’t afford center

Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Leave a comment

If the Warriors signed someone to a salary greater than the $5,337,000 taxpayer mid-level exception or acquired someone in a sign-and-trade, they would have been hard-capped at $129,817,000 this season.

That was obviously untenable for Golden State with its star-studded roster.

So, the idea of the Warriors adding DeMarcus Cousins seemed far-fetched – even to Golden State general manager Bob Myers.

Myers, as transcribed by Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area:

“It was early in the morning — I spoke to his agent. We had been preserving our taxpayer mid-level exception for somebody that might fall through the cracks and not get paid in a very tight free agency market,” Myers explained to Greg Papa and Bonta Hill on 95.7 The Game. “But mostly we were thinking wings. I figured if something like that were to happen it would happen July 8th, 9th, 10th.

“But we got the call and I just said, ‘Look. We don’t have anything more,’ because we’ve talked about other high-level free agents and the thought from their agent was, ‘Can you do a sign-and-trade? Can you get to a bigger number?’ And I kind of said, ‘Look, our roster is what it is. To move that many pieces around, to create $10 million in room, or $15 (million), it’s just prohibitive, I don’t want to waste your time.’

“So I thought that’s where the conversation was going … and I said to him, ‘We don’t have the money that you’re probably commanding out there.’ And this is the moment it became real — he said, ‘We understand what you have.’ And I said, ‘Well we only have the taxpayer mid-level.’ And then when he said, ‘I know,’ that’s when I knew it was real.

“They were very serious about it and they never really wavered.”

We’ve seen free agency from Cousins’ perspective. It’s interesting to blend Golden State’s into the story.

The Warriors are always eying stars. Their ambition might be unmatched. That not even they forecasted the possibility of signing Cousins – who accepted the taxpayer mid-level exception – speaks to just how much colder than expected his market was.

DeAndre Ayton draws himself dunking on Joel Embiid on trading card (photo)

Elsa/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Joel Embiid issued a warning to pundits after the Suns drafted Deandre Ayton No. 1 overall: “Don’t compare Ayton to me either… I play DEFENSE.”

Ayton envisioned a response to the 76ers star while drawing on a trading card:

Embiid:

I’m impressed with Ayton’s artistic skills.

I’d be even more impressed if he dunks on Embiid, who does play quality defense – so far a hole in Ayton’s game.

Dwight Howard’s trainer: ‘He wants to evolve into Anthony Davis, into Kevin Durant, but his own version of that’

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
5 Comments

In 2015, Dwight Howard said he wanted to play 20 seasons in the NBA. He also later admitted he considered retiring the same year.

After that career crossroads, Howard is back on the longevity track.

Entering his 15th season, the 32-year-old Wizards center is focused on getting into shape and developing his game.

Justin Zormelo, via Candace Buckner of The Washington Post:

“He wants to evolve into Anthony Davis, into Kevin Durant,” Zormelo says, “but his own version of that.”

This sounds silly at first. Durant and Davis are far more skilled than Howard. But those superstars provide reasonable goals for Howard.

Durant – who has expanded his game the other way, going outside to inside – shows how to blend playing different styles. Davis provides an example of how to work off the ball as a modern big man.

Howard shouldn’t want to lose his strengths as an elite rebounder and interior defender, but he can move in the direction of Durant and Davis.

After getting pretty big with the Hawks, Howard slimmed down with the Hornets and excelled in transition. He also improved significantly as a ball-handler, allowing him to put even more pressure on the defense in advantage situations and attack with face-ups.

Howard hasn’t shown proficiency as an outside shooter, but that could be his next step. The concern: Howard falls in love with shooting the way he did with post-ups, and he takes too many inefficient shots.

But there’s still something encouraging about someone working so hard to improve this far into his career.

Of course, on-court improvement won’t be enough for Howard. He has quietly produced or near star level in Atlanta and Charlotte. The problems came in the locker room. Howard’s attitude must improve, too.

Maybe it’ll all come together for him, and he’ll thrive through the rest of his 30s. He’s saying all the right things.

But we’ve also been here before.

Carmelo Anthony writes thank-you note to Oklahoma City: ‘I wanted nothing more than to make it work here’

J Pat Carter/Getty Images
5 Comments

After last season, Carmelo Anthony summed up his time with the Thunder: “It wasn’t no strategy to me being here.” He waived his no-trade clause to facilitate a trade to and buyout from the Hawks, allowing him to join the Rockets – his preferred destination ever since his time with the Knicks was ending.

But he’s leaving Oklahoma City emphasizing the positive.

Erik Horne of The Oklahoman:

This is a nice letter, especially for someone who was there only one year. Thunder fans are extremely supportive, and I believe Anthony truly wanted it to work in Oklahoma City. He changed his game plenty to complement Russell Westbrook and Paul George.

It just wasn’t enough.

Of course, there’s more to the story. That’s self-evident in Anthony choosing to leave the Thunder rather than trying to solve their problems next season in a less-rushed situation.

But this isn’t an analysis of Anthony’s Oklahoma City tenure. It’s a thank-you note that seems pretty genuine and heartfelt – right until it’s signed “STAYME7o,” which is par for the course for Anthony.