This is about as much of a surprise as Tom Cruise burning through another marriage.
The Clippers top July 1 free agent priority will be signing star forward Blake Griffin to a max extension to his rookie deal. And it sounds like that is going to happen no problem, reports Ramona Shelburne at ESPNLosAngeles.com.
The Clippers remain confident they will be able to sign Griffin to a five-year maximum extension in July. Sources with knowledge of the talks say they have gone smoothly so far and neither side anticipates any problems getting the extension done and agreed upon by July 1. Don’t expect much fanfare from Griffin though. He’ll likely just walk into the Clippers’ practice the facility the next day the way Kevin Durant did in Oklahoma City a few years ago.
There was never any question Griffin was going to sign an extension to his rookie deal. He wants to get paid, and he gets to do it in a major market with all the endorsement and marketing advantages that come with it. Plus, the team seems to be building a winner around him (they need to re-sign Chris Paul next summer, too, and that may be the bigger question mark).
And if you know Griffin, you know he is pretty soft spoken. He’ll take this in stride.
Griffin will be in Las Vegas after July 4 trying to earn a spot in London on the U.S. Olympic team. By then he should have a new, much richer contract signed.
• In one other Clippers note, the Clippers are not expected to make offers to retain crowd favorite Reggie Evans as well as Kenyon Martin. Both will be unrestricted free agents.
Chris Paul feels great starring for the Thunder.
So great, he might even take on extra workload.
Paul – who helped Team USA win gold medals in 2008 and 2012 but didn’t compete in 2016 – said he’s “very serious” about playing the 2020 Olympics. Paul:
I’m excited about the opportunity. My wife is sort of calling the shots on this one. She said she wants to go to Tokyo.
I’ve been blessed and fortunate to play in 2008. I had no kids then. In 2012, my wife couldn’t come, because, four days after the gold medal game, she had my daughter.
We often hear about players missing international tournaments due to personal reasons. But that can go both ways. Paul might compete due to personal reasons.
Paul faces steep and deep competition for making the team at point guard: Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Kyle Lowry, Russell Westbrook, Kemba Walker, Mike Conley, Malcolm Brogdon, Derrick White. Trae Young didn’t even make the list of finalists.
USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said players who’ve previously represented the U.S. will get favorable consideration. So, that’ll help Paul.
If he plays, Paul – who turns 35 in May – would be Team USA’s third-oldest Olympian:
Age for Team USA’s first game or, in 2020, first game of the tournament
John Beilein gave the Cavaliers problems mentally.
Did he also give them problems physically – especially Dylan Windler, who’s missing his entire rookie year?
Shams Charania, Jason Lloyd and Joe Vardon of The Athletic:
Warning signs for Beilein could be traced to the Cavs’ Summer League schedule, when the rookie coach ran a collection of (mostly) G Leaguers and non-roster invites through extended practices, multiple times a day. This is precisely what Beilein would have done at Michigan, especially with an entirely new batch of players, this early in a season calendar. But players not only complained about the work, they also were drilled in games by opponents who were clearly well-rested. And this was in Summer League.
There was at least one player, though, involved in those early summer workouts under Beilein who was expecting to make a major contribution to the Cavs this season. Rookie Dylan Windler, a late first rounder, was supposed to compete with Cedi Osman for minutes on the wing. But he never played a game this season because of a stress injury in his left leg — which could be traced back at least in part to being overworked during the summer.
Would Windler have missed the season under a different coach? It’s impossible to say. Counterfactuals are complex.
But there was legitimate reason to be concerned with Beilein’s approach. Teams have learned the importance of rest. Fatigued players are more susceptible to injury.
Beilein’s longest college season was 41 games. He coached 54 games in Cleveland – and left with much of the season remaining.
Handling the grind of the NBA season was always going to be an adjustment for the long-time college coach. It probably got understated amid concern about him relating interpersonally to his players.
The Cavaliers needed practice time. They needed work to develop. That’s clearly what Beilein prioritized.
But they also needed to limit the physical toll, and it’s reasonable to question whether Beilein did enough there. Even if he was learning that the NBA is more marathon than sprint, the several months Beilein coaches the Cavs were enough to cause issues.
Chase Buford, who coaches the Bucks’ minor-league affiliate, went on an epic rant after the Wisconsin Herd’s latest loss. He singled out referee Matt Rafferty as a “f—ing clown” and said the officials were “bad and biased and unfair and illegal and cheating.”
Ryan Rodig of WFRV-TV:
G League release:
Wisconsin Herd head coach Chase Buford has been suspended for two games without pay for a direct and extended public attack on the integrity and credibility of the game officials.
I can’t recall an NBA coach ever getting suspended for something he said during a press conference.
I also can’t recall an NBA coach ever saying something so inflammatory during a press conference.
In 2005, then-NBA commissioner David Stern threatened to ban Jeff Van Gundy from the NBA after the then-Rockets coach criticized officiating. That incident still led to just a $100,000 fine. Twice as large as any previous fine for a coach. But still just a fine, nonetheless.
The public memorial for Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant featured several unforgettable moments, including:
But I can’t overstate how well done the entire event was, how heartfelt the speakers and performers were. If you missed it yesterday and are in the right headspace, it’s worth watching to get a more complete understanding of Kobe and Gianna.