Andrew Wiggins knows what is coming. And for a rookie he has done a very good job of staying on message.
“I let my agent and my support system handle that, I just love playing the game of basketball and I know the NBA is a business,” Wiggins said to a handful of media members including PBT in Las Vegas for the final days of NBA Summer League.
Back then the deal was still in the negotiations/rumor phase, now it is agreed to — Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a first round pick for Kevin Love — and the two sides (plus the Philadelphia 76ers, moving Thaddeus Young to Minnesota for Anthony Bennett) are just waiting for Wiggins 30-day moratorium after signing his rookie deal to be up Aug. 23.
“Whatever happens is out of my control,” he said. “I’m not worrying about it right now.”
Surrounded by more than a dozen reporters and nine television cameras at a promotional event at his former grade school in suburban Toronto, Wiggins acknowledged that life as a first overall pick has brought him extra attention.
“There’s more eyes on me, more criticizing, stuff like that,” he said.
What else is he going to say? He’s handled this entire situation as gracefully as one could.
Wiggins is going from playing for a potential contender to a rebuilding team in Minnesota — one with some nice young talent in himself, Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine, Chase Budinger, Gorgui Dieng and Nikola Pekovic. Still, that is a team with a lot of growing and building still to do. And Wiggins just keeps saying the right things about just wanting to play basketball.
On the bright side, being from Toronto, the Minneapolis winters shouldn’t be a shock to the system.
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.