There were all sorts of whispers (and in some corners, some very loud talking) last season about how Dwyane Wade is getting old and starting to slip.
I’m not sure why — his points per game dropped three to 22.1, but he set up teammates more and turn the ball over less, and his PER went up. He missed a few games due to injury, but that happens. Let’s put it this way: Is a guy who averaged 22.8 points per game in the playoffs on a knee that needed surgery after the season really looking old and diminished?
“You know what I’ve decided,” Wade said recently. “I’ve just decided not to comment on it any more.”
Well, except for the part where he told you how much that talk pissed off the 30-year-old, who missed 16 of 66 games due to a variety of injuries.
“Any time someone questions you, it’s going to bother you if you have any kind of competitive nature,” Wade said. “It fuels you. You want to see what you’re made of in a sense. You want to come back and not only answer the bell, but do a little bit more than expected.”
Wade’s style of play — few sacrifice their body like him — leads to him getting little nagging injuries over the course of the season. Which for the Heat means they are going to rest him more, they are not playing for February. But to suggest that means he is slowing down is a leap it would be a mistake to make. When healthy, or even close enough to get on the court, he can dominate games. Just because he chose to defer to LeBron James more last season doesn’t mean he’s fading. Make that call at your own risk.
Draymond’s pitch to Cousins: “I’m pretty sure me and you are going to fight”
Good thing Draymond Green found his calling in basketball because if he had to make a living as a salesman he’d be living on Nissin Top Ramen. At best.
Everyone has heard the story already: After not getting any serious offers the first 24 hours of free agency, DeMarcus Cousins took matters into his own hands and called up Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors and pitched his services. The Warriors jumped at the chance and signed Cousins to a one-year, $5.3 million contract. And then the NBA freaked out.
“Draymond probably had the worst pitch,” he said while chuckling. “He was like, ‘Cous, I’m pretty sure me and you are going to fight.’ I’m like, ‘Draymond, Come on. Whoa. Whoa.’ But Draymond, that’s my guy. I respect him as a player, I respect him as a competitor. He’s one of the top in this business and just his approach to every game, I want that guy on my team every day. So, we talked, we kind of communicated about what we both wanted, which was winning games. He openly said he knows I wouldn’t get as many touches and I don’t give a, I don’t care. And the same thing for me. It’s about winning the games. I think me and Draymond will mesh well.”
Cousins also was amused by the backlash to his signing.
“But, it’s just kind of funny because before the whole thing started, I was just kind of wasted. I was damaged goods, not a winner, just everything negative. And soon as it happens, it’s like, ‘He’s too damn good to [be a Warrior].’ So, it’s just kind of funny how the narrative switches right away when things don’t go the way they expect it to.”
If you want more insight into Cousins’ thinking (and don’t mind some NSFW language) check out this trailer from the upcoming SHOWTIME Sports documentary about Cousins’ decision this summer.
Michael Beasley reportedly joins Lakers on one-year contract
Beasley is another eccentric guy for the Lakers’ collection. Remember when he changed teams from Minnesota to Phoenix and rather than move his stuff he just had a big estate sale and sold it all? Beasley by himself isn’t a distraction at this point, but all of those personalities in one locker room and… I do not envy Luke Walton right now.
Beasley had a solid offensive campaign for the Knicks last season, averaging 13.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists playing more than 22 minutes a night (he also started 30 games for them). He can attack off the dribble and score, gets to the line, and shot 39.5 percent from three — the man has embraced his role as a scorer off the bench and he can get the Lakers some buckets.
He’s also going to give up a lot of buckets because he does not play defense (he did rebound a little better last year, but that’s only when the guy missed despite his lack of D).
How Walton fits all this together remains to be seen. Beasley played 93 percent of his minutes last season at the four, where the Lakers will start Brandon Ingram but also rotate LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma through. Guys are versitle and basketball is evolving to being positionless, but that’s a lot of guys eating up minutes for similar roles.
At the price they are paying, this is a decent signing by the Lakers. Beasley will get them points if he stays healthy (he did play 74 games last season). I’m sure Magic/Pelinka will sell this as “adding another veteran playmaker to our roster,” and they will ignore all the baggage that comes with it. All those guys are on one-year contracts, the Lakers are looking farther down the road at much bigger targets than the new guys in the locker room.
But man, that Laker locker room this season is going to be a piece of work.
PBT Extra: Carmelo Anthony will be a Rocket, but will he accept new role?
How smoothly things go this season with him is another question entirely, something I get into a little in this latest PBT Extra. However, after a three-team trade involving Atlanta, Oklahoma City, and Philadelphia was agreed to in principle, it’s just a matter of time. Anthony is being traded to the Hawks, who will waive him, making him a free agent.
Then he signs with James Harden, Chris Paul, and the rest of the Rockets. Oklahoma City gets Dennis Schroder, another guy who will have to accept a new role. Philly adds some shooting. Watch the video above for a breakdown.
Dallas who? Yogi Ferrell reportedly quickly agrees to new contract with Sacramento
Yogi Ferrell has been a solid backup point guard for the Mavericks the past couple of years, and this summer he wanted to re-sign with them — but he did so on a bad contract for him. He didn’t take the one-year qualifying offer for $2.9 million on the table, instead agreeing to a $2.5 million contract with a team option for $2.7 million the next year — he took less money and gave Dallas all the power.
That’s more money, but we do not yet know if the second year is fully guaranteed.
In Sacramento, Ferrell will come off the bench behind De'Aaron Fox at the point, and he should get plenty of run. Guys like Buddy Hield will love playing with him, and Ferrell is not big, but he is durable (he played all 82 games last season in Dallas).
This is a solid signing by the Kings, and for Ferrell it appears to be a better deal.
Dallas has had more than one player back out of a deal with them. It’s unlucky.