Things did not really end all that great for Robin Lopez in Phoenix. He was injured. Marcin Gortat took his job. He wasn’t a natural fit with the Suns up-tempo style.
He sounds a lot more comfortable in New Orleans, at least from what he told the Associated Press.
“With the exception of Phoenix, in college and high school I always played with low-scoring successful teams,” Lopez said on Thursday morning while working out at the Hornets’ training center. “That is something I can definitely get accustomed to here.”
The Hornets are going to be a defense first team. That’s their coach Monty Williams, who worked on that mentality last year. That’s their personnel, with Anthony Davis and Lopez as their big men.
Lopez is in recovery after knee surgery, but he should be back during training camp. He says he is looking forward to playing with the young gold medal winning first rounder.
“From what I’ve seen of him, he’s fantastic,” Lopez said of Davis, who was the star of Kentucky’s 2012 national title team. “He’s got great timing, long athletic. I don’t think I’m too bad of a defensive player, so we make a heck of a tandem down there on the defensive end. Hopefully we can kind of close down some lanes.”
The Hornets have some guys who can play. They may start the season slow but once they start to find an offensive groove, once guys like Lopez and Davis get comfortable, by the time we get after the All-Star break they are going to be a better team. The kind of team you want to watch.
The Rockets leaned heavily on Carmelo Anthony then promptly declared him unplayable. Anthony remains in limbo with Houston, on the roster but no longer part of the team. It seemed he might be finished in the NBA.
But he might get another chance soon.
Sam Amick of The Athletic:
According to two sources with knowledge of Anthony’s situation, the exiled 10-time All-Star who remains on the Houston Rockets roster has multiple options available and is expected to pick one before the Feb. 7 trade deadline. There is no clarity as to whether he would be traded in these scenarios or waived and subsequently signed, but there are strong signs that he will play in the NBA again.
These options can’t be great. Otherwise, why wouldn’t Anthony have joined his new team already? My only guess is he’s waiting for a better offer.
Anthony has been most commonly linked to the Lakers. But that’s seemingly due more to his friendship with LeBron James than the Lakers wanting him. That said, LeBron’s voice carries a lot of weight in Los Angeles.
It’s tough to find a team that would actually benefit from acquiring Anthony. He looks washed up.
But if someone wants him and he wants to keep playing, he should go for it. He doesn’t owe it to anyone else to retire so we feel better about his legacy. It’s his life, not ours.
Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen received a raise as part of the team deciding he deserved additional compensation after moving up from an assistant position.
Of course, what Boylen probably didn’t expect when he took the head job was to literally be in a more vulnerable position on the floor.
During Thursday night’s game against the Denver Nuggets, Boylen was it standing on the sidelines in front of his bench when an errant pass from Nikola Jokic sent Torrey Craig hurdling into Boylen.
Everyone appeared to be okay after the collision, but even still it feels like with the way things have gone for Boylen in Chicago, this could only happen to him.
Kyrie Irving made headlines on Wednesday night when he won the game for the Boston Celtics against the Toronto Raptors, then proceeded to call LeBron James to apologize about how he treated the Los Angeles Lakers star when the two were on the Cleveland Cavaliers together.
To many, the move seemed like a quick maturation of Irving as well as a surprising about face by the shifty point guard. Even LeBron thought that Irving calling him was out of character, saying as much to media on Wednesday.
However, some saw Irving’s comments and actions a little bit differently. Speaking on Inside the NBA on TNT on Thursday, Charles Barkley said that he felt Irving’s conversation with LeBron was actually a swipe at his current Celtics teammates.
To be fair, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst expressed a similar sentiment to Barkley’s on “The Jump” on Thursday, and I have to side with both of them. Their explanation of Irving’s comments make more sense than some kind of overnight maturation on the part of the Celtics star.
Irving is a very good player but he’s also a transparent marketer. His flat earth comments, his commercial that became a terrible movie … it’s all about his personal brand. Part of that is shifting blame away from himself as Boston — currently fifth in the East — continues to struggle.
I don’t think Irving is magically more mature. If anything, his apology is a self-serving attempt at comparing himself to LeBron and by association, the rest of the Celtics as the flotsam that has traditionally consisted the Cavaliers roster.
That’s really not a fair view of either side, and I don’t trust much of what comes out of Irving’s comments beyond their obvious marketing value.
Russell Westbrook seems like a pretty intense guy. The Oklahoma City Thunder point guard has won an MVP not by being a pushover, but by pushing past opponents for triple doubles.
We have really rounded out Westbrook as a individual over the past couple of years, particularly after Kevin Durant decamped Oklahoma City for the Golden State Warriors. Part of that has been seeing Westbrook as a father, which we got more of on a Thursday before the Thunder took on the Los Angeles Lakers.
Before the game, Westbrook was seen on the floor hanging out with his son, Noah, and generally having a good time.
The result was, admittedly, extremely cute.
Noah Westbrook will be draft eligible in 2036. Set your calendars, I guess.