Chauncey Billups says Ty Lawson no leader, Nuggets need to trade him

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They’re trying, Chauncey. They’re trying.

Turns out Chauncey Billups — the former NBA All-Star and Denver Nugget point guard, now an analyst with ESPN — is no Ty Lawson fan. Not that there are a lot of them in Denver right now. Billups was on 104.3 The Fan in Denver  Thursday and said it was time for the Nuggets to move on from the Lawson era (hat tip Eye on Basketball for the transcription):

I mean, well, one, Ty, he has not demonstrated what you want from the leader of your team and a guy who they’ve handed the keys to. He’s not demonstrated the kind of leadership that you want. And you have a young kid named [Emmanuel] Mudiay coming in who I think has a chance to be a star in this league. Right now the best player on the team is Ty Lawson. As a young player in the league, you come in 19-20 years old, you oftentimes try to emulate some of the actions on the floor and off the floor of the best player because that’s one day what you want to be. So I think just from the standpoint of the welfare of Mudiay and the well-being and the growth of Mudiay, you have to get Ty Lawson and you have to move him along.

The point about wanting good examples for Emmanuel Mudiay is a good one — and Lawson’s video after the Nuggets drafted Mudiay is a perfect example of why Denver would want to move him. Lawson had issues such as being late to a practice after the All-Star break, plus Denver had hoped he would be a leader and instead they had real chemistry issues with him in that role last year.

The problem is, Denver has tried to trade him. There just isn’t much of a market right now.

There were talks with the Dallas Mavericks, but those fizzled out, and Dallas now has Deron Williams in house. Denver has shopped Lawson around (as well as other players, they are ready for a roster shakeup) but have not found a deal worth their liking. The challenge is the league is deep with point guards right now so the options are limited — and the teams looking for point guards know that. It’s simple economics, there is more supply than demand.

But expect Denver to try hard to find Lawson a new home before the season starts. Something that would make Denver native Billups happy.

Chris Paul on 2020 Olympics: My wife wants to go to Tokyo

Chris Paul
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Chris Paul feels great starring for the Thunder.

So great, he might even take on extra workload.

Paul – who helped Team USA win gold medals in 2008 and 2012 but didn’t compete in 2016 – said he’s “very serious” about playing the 2020 Olympics. Paul:

I’m excited about the opportunity. My wife is sort of calling the shots on this one. She said she wants to go to Tokyo.

I’ve been blessed and fortunate to play in 2008. I had no kids then. In 2012, my wife couldn’t come, because, four days after the gold medal game, she had my daughter.

We often hear about players missing international tournaments due to personal reasons. But that can go both ways. Paul might compete due to personal reasons.

Paul faces steep and deep competition for making the team at point guard: Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Kyle Lowry, Russell Westbrook, Kemba Walker, Mike Conley, Malcolm Brogdon, Derrick White. Trae Young didn’t even make the list of finalists.

USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said players who’ve previously represented the U.S. will get favorable consideration. So, that’ll help Paul.

If he plays, Paul – who turns 35 in May – would be Team USA’s third-oldest Olympian:

Chris Paul

Age for Team USA’s first game or, in 2020, first game of the tournament

Did John Beilein’s methods lead to Dylan Windler’s season-ending injury?

Former Cavaliers coach John Beilein and Dylan Windler
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John Beilein gave the Cavaliers problems mentally.

Did he also give them problems physically – especially Dylan Windler, who’s missing his entire rookie year?

Shams Charania, Jason Lloyd and Joe Vardon of The Athletic:

Warning signs for Beilein could be traced to the Cavs’ Summer League schedule, when the rookie coach ran a collection of (mostly) G Leaguers and non-roster invites through extended practices, multiple times a day. This is precisely what Beilein would have done at Michigan, especially with an entirely new batch of players, this early in a season calendar. But players not only complained about the work, they also were drilled in games by opponents who were clearly well-rested. And this was in Summer League.

There was at least one player, though, involved in those early summer workouts under Beilein who was expecting to make a major contribution to the Cavs this season. Rookie Dylan Windler, a late first rounder, was supposed to compete with Cedi Osman for minutes on the wing. But he never played a game this season because of a stress injury in his left leg — which could be traced back at least in part to being overworked during the summer.

Would Windler have missed the season under a different coach? It’s impossible to say. Counterfactuals are complex.

But there was legitimate reason to be concerned with Beilein’s approach. Teams have learned the importance of rest. Fatigued players are more susceptible to injury.

Beilein’s longest college season was 41 games. He coached 54 games in Cleveland – and left with much of the season remaining.

Handling the grind of the NBA season was always going to be an adjustment for the long-time college coach. It probably got understated amid concern about him relating interpersonally to his players.

The Cavaliers needed practice time. They needed work to develop. That’s clearly what Beilein prioritized.

But they also needed to limit the physical toll, and it’s reasonable to question whether Beilein did enough there. Even if he was learning that the NBA is more marathon than sprint, the several months Beilein coaches the Cavs were enough to cause issues.

Bucks’ minor-league coach suspended two games for rant (video)

Bucks minor-league coach Chase Buford
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Chase Buford, who coaches the Bucks’ minor-league affiliate, went on an epic rant after the Wisconsin Herd’s latest loss. He singled out referee Matt Rafferty as a “f—ing clown” and said the officials were “bad and biased and unfair and illegal and cheating.”

Ryan Rodig of WFRV-TV:

G League release:

Wisconsin Herd head coach Chase Buford has been suspended for two games without pay for a direct and extended public attack on the integrity and credibility of the game officials.

I can’t recall an NBA coach ever getting suspended for something he said during a press conference.

I also can’t recall an NBA coach ever saying something so inflammatory during a press conference.

In 2005, then-NBA commissioner David Stern threatened to ban Jeff Van Gundy from the NBA after the then-Rockets coach criticized officiating. That incident still led to just a $100,000 fine. Twice as large as any previous fine for a coach. But still just a fine, nonetheless.

Watch entire Kobe Bryant memorial service (video)

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The public memorial for Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant featured several unforgettable moments, including:

But I can’t overstate how well done the entire event was, how heartfelt the speakers and performers were. If you missed it yesterday and are in the right headspace, it’s worth watching to get a more complete understanding of Kobe and Gianna.