Does Josh Smith have the weight of Atlanta’s expectations on his shoulders? I think Matt Ryan does, not so sure about Josh Smith.
But heading into the final year of his contract he does have the weight of the Hawks on his shoulders… well his shoulders and Al Horford’s shoulders and Jeff Teague’s shoulders. But he’s got part of it.
Still, a shoe commercial talking Hawks and Atlanta. That’s something you don’t see every day, so good on adidas for this one.
Are Rockets trying to push Mike D’Antoni out the door?
After a slow start to the season, by the end the Houston Rockets had found their groove and were the second best team in the West. That still wasn’t good enough to get by the Warriors dynasty. That has led to some soul searching in Houston.
And some changes to the assistant coaching staff. First came the news Jeff Bzdelik would not return in his defensive coordinator role. Then on Friday, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle put out a series of Tweets talking about the other coaching changes coming.
Cho had been with the Rockets for a decade. Roland worked closely with James Harden, among others.
This is a near total overhaul of Mike D’Antoni’s staff, which has led to speculation the Rockets are trying to push their coach out the door, reports Marc Stein of the New York Times.
New owner Tilman Fertitta told @Jonathan_Feigen earlier this month he intends to keep Mike D'Antoni as Houston's coach, but the flurry of changes imposed on D'Antoni's staff has some in the coaching community wondering if the Rockets are trying to nudge D'Antoni toward the exit https://t.co/aeTgeUpkHx
D'Antoni, for his part, has said in numerous interviews that he remains hopeful of securing a multi-year extension from the Rockets after a three-season run in which Houston has been widely regarded as the league's second-best team. MDA has only one season left on his contract
D’Antoni has done an excellent job — and adapted his style — to coach these Rockets into being contenders. He is part of the reason this franchise is a contender. The Rockets have fallen short the last two seasons not because of D’Antoni, but rather because of the Warriors. Golden State is an all-time dynasty level team, they are beating everybody.
This feels like the East in recent years when coaches lost jobs and teams were broken up because they could not get past LeBron James‘ teams when the issue was really LeBron is one of the game’s all-time greats.
There could be other dynamics at play in Houston, but the challenge there is not the coach. If Tilman Fertitta is frustrated his team fell short again, he should start by looking in the mirror at the cost-cutting moves his team made this season to get under the tax line. That put a ceiling on this team more than anything D’Antoni did.
NBA makes it official, moves up free agency six hours to 6 p.m. June 30 (Eastern)
I’d like to think this means we’ll all be able to go to bed at a reasonable hour on June 30. I also know better.
There is a frenzy of activity right as free agency opens (Tampering? There is no tampering in the NBA…), which traditionally has been as the clock turns to July 1 in New York, right at midnight. Things got so active that a lot of agents and players made sure they were in Los Angeles, even if they didn’t live there in the offseason, just so things started at the more reasonable hour of 9 p.m.
Now the NBA has made the rumors official: Free agency will begin at 6 p.m. Eastern on June 30. Six hours earlier than before.
This was done as an agreement between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association.
This is going to be a wild July with a lot of big-name free agents — Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler — and maybe a third of the players in the league on the market, plus there are a lot more teams with cap space to spend this season. It’s going to be a frenzy.
Now we know what time the wild times start.
Why does Kevin Durant respond on social media? “I’m qualified to talk about basketball”
Every NBA player gets ripped on social media, even the guys who are not on social media. Most of the time players just ignore it, the way they ignore fans yelling stuff courtside or distant family asking them for money.
“Because I have social media,” Durant said Friday… “I mean, I’m a human being with a social media account. I could see if I ventured off into like politics, culinary arts or music and gave my input, but I’m sticking to something that I know. You know what I’m saying? This is all I know. I’m actually talking about stuff that I know. I’m qualified to talk about basketball.
“So when I respond to something, especially if it’s about me personally, of course I’m going to tell you if you wrong about it. When I’m on the training table getting treatment on my calf and I see a tweet that come by and I disagree — I don’t talk to people because I’m worried about what they say, it’s just that I’m interested. So if you talking about in-game or the NBA Finals, they’re the same to me, you know what I’m saying?”
Why does Kevin Durant use social media to join the conversation about himself? “I’m qualified.” His full answer. pic.twitter.com/xFPntIrw4t
The Lakers landing Kyrie Irving in free agency this summer might be their best realistic option. It’s far, far from a lock — the Knicks, and yes Celtics, will make their pitch, too — but reuniting the pair that won a title in Cleveland is on the Lakers’ radar. (Insert your own, “you know who should coach this team” Tyronn Lue joke here.)
Fueling the speculation, LeBron James and Irving were seen hanging out together at a club in Los Angeles recently. Then Friday, this happened: Cuffthelegend posted this on Instagram and LeBron liked it.
LeBron liking all these videos of Kyrie on Instagram is like a lonely dude liking all his ex’a pics
— Lifelong Association Football and Liverpool FC Fan (@norlingshea) May 24, 2019
Two thoughts on Irving and the Lakers:
• Multiple reports say Irving is open to it. Irving also has a strong relationship with Kevin Durant, and Boston still plans to trade for Anthony Davis and then try to re-sign Irving (even if Boston fans are done with Kyrie). The only person who knows which way Irving is leaning right now is Irving, and there’s a good chance he changes his mind in the next five weeks anyway.
• If the Lakers are going to land a star free agent this summer, it will be because LeBron was an active recruiter. These elite players have options, and the Laker front office is not inspiring confidence of late, it will be on LeBron to win guys over.