Wednesday And-1 links: Who has the better Eurostep, Wade or Ginobili?

2 Comments

Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like Texans love barbecue.

Who has the better Eurostep move, Dwyane Wade or Manu Ginobili?

• Sarah Mensah, Portland’s COO and a team employee for 19 years, has resigned, tweets Joe Freeman of the Oregonian. She had been an ally of former team president Larry Miller, who left the organization last summer to take a job with Nike. Both Miller and Mensah had been opposed to the hiring of Neil Olshey as the Trail Blazers GM after last season. So, guess who is winning the power struggle? Point is, however, that there are a lot of changes at the top of the organization, we’ll see if this leads to some stability of direction in team building and on the court.

• While we are talking front office changes, the Denver Nuggets announced they have promoted Pete D’Alessandro to Vice President of Basketball Operations and Mike Bratz to Director of Player Personnel.

• The Lakers will be without Steve Blake at least two more weeks due to his strained abdomen.

Great breakdown of the slipped pick-and-roll the Pacers used to beat the Lakers on Tuesday night.

• Lots of Pau Gasol trade buzz, although you might want to have a seat and relax on that, it’s not happening soon if it does. Complicating matters Gasol has a trade kicker in his contract, but it’s not as big as some have reported — $1.3 million for this season and next total.

• The Celtics need to do a better job defending the three.

Why we watch and cheer Steve Novak.

• Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle benched Darren Collison to start the game Tuesday night, but afterwards said Collison is still the team’s starter (because he doesn’t have any other good options)

Doug Collins is praising Kwame Brown’s defense.

• The Lakers bench just got less interesting to watch — the team assigned backup center and cheering machine Robert Sacre to the D-League.

• More leaks out of Virginia Beach on how they are moving closer to a getting a new stadium approved, one where they will try to lure the Sacramento Kings to play in. Virginia Beach should totally use tax dollars to get in bed with the Maloofs, they are totally trustworthy — just ask Kings fans.

Rumor: Bulls’ belief in Zach LaVine waning

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Zach LaVine was the centerpiece in the Bulls’ return for trading a star. Chicago was reportedly willing to match a max offer sheet for LaVine in restricted free agency.

But maybe the Bulls have at least somewhat soured on him.

Nick Friedell of ESPN:

I don’t know why the Bulls would be down on LaVine now. I also don’t know why they were so high on him the first place.

LaVine is a good 3-point shooter and impressive dunker. But, despite his athleticism, his all-around contributions are lacking. He also hasn’t looked completely over his February 2017 ACL tear.

This leak could just be strategy. Instead of trying to scare off teams with the threat of matching any offer to LaVine, Chicago could be trying to dissuade suitors by projecting its own reluctance.

The Bulls don’t want to overpay LaVine. But they also don’t want to lose him for nothing.

Will anyone make a hard push for the 23-year-old? He surely wants a lucrative long-term contract, whether he re-signs directly with Chicago or gets an offer sheet. But, if the Bulls aren’t sold on him, I’m not sure any team will is.

LaVine’s qualifying offer will be $4,333,932. That might wind up his next salary.

PBT Extra: Grading the top of the NBA Draft

Leave a comment

The Phoenix Suns got it right at the top of the draft — they took Deandre Ayton.

But what of their move to trade for Mikal Bridges, the No. 10 pick, surrendering a valuable pick and the potential of Zhaire Smith for what should be a solid “3&D” wing to go with their athletic stars?

How did the Kings do at No. 2? What about Dallas’ big trade up to land Luka Doncic at three, or the Atlanta bet on Trae Young?

In this PBT Extra, I grade the top 10 picks in the draft, from the moves I like (I think Dallas did well) to ones I’m not sold on (sorry Chicago).

 

Have questions leading up to free agency? Submit your questions via e-mail for our PBT Mailbag feature. Drop us a line at pbtmailbag@gmail.com.

Lakers’ recruiting pitch for Paul George leaks

AP Photo/R Brent Smith
5 Comments

LeBron James doesn’t want elaborate pitches in free agency.

Paul George never said that, though.

So, the Lakers are apparently planning to put some showbiz into their recruitment.

Robin Lundberg of Sports Illustrated, citing a “Hollywood source,” revealed a Lakers pitch for George. The direction:

Less Morgan Freeman/Denzel Washington, and more Jamie Foxx. A bit more edge an attitude to their voice, and a bit less aspirational

The text:

When you were just a kid

In your room
Dreaming from Palmdale

We were dreaming too.

While you dreamt, we built – built for your arrival

And while we dreamt, you built too
Becoming one of the world’s greatest.

Life’s most powerful dream are the one we realize ourselves.

The ones that turn us into legends.
That kid from Palmdale always knew it
Now the world will, too

Who wrote this, noted storyteller Kobe Bryant?

My bigger question: Did or did not the Lakers, who’ve gone to great lengths to make their interest in George known, want this to leak before the official start of free agency?

Report: No divide between Chris Paul and Rockets over contract

AP Photo/David J. Phillip
3 Comments

That rumor of tension between Chris Paul and the Rockets over his contract?

Sam Amick of USA Today:

As for the recent report from Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard that there are rising tensions between the two sides because Paul wants the full max and isn’t sure if he’ll get it, two people with knowledge of the situation refuted the idea there is any friction between the sides.

Remember, everyone who leaks something has an agenda. But I find this report far more credible than the initial rumor.

Paul’s max projects to be about $205 million over five years. That’s a lot to commit to a 33-year-old, but Paul took a discount to facilitate an opt-in-and-trade to Houston last year. He expects to be made whole.

Until Broussard’s report, all indications were the Rockets would appease him. Barring more information, that should remain the expectation.