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PBT Mailbag: Where does DeMarcus Cousins land after Warriors?

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Submit your questions to the mailbag by e-mailing pbtmailbag@gmail.com.

This week’s mailbag is smack in the middle of summer, with not much to talk about save for Donald Trump literally being racist toward LeBron James. And here I thought August was going to be relaxing.

I was heartened by the response that fans, the league, and players had to Trump’s tweet about James this past week. It was an excellent reminder that the stupid just need to scream louder as their soapbox gets cut lower and lower.

Meanwhile, as James funds the education of real human beings, Trump is moving forward with the SPACE FORCE which sounds like it was a CW Saturday morning cartoon show from 1999 that got cancelled after one season. I mean, it’s definitely cool that LeBron could both physically and culturally dunk on that guy, but the fact that we even have to write stories about this is insane.

Put it this way: Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought my name would be on the NBC Sports masthead. Having to write stories about the guy from Home Alone 2 insulting the best NBA player of all time while under that masthead induces an emotion that is completely beyond description.

The mantra in the NBA is always about just making it to the start of the season come fall, but I’m not sure if that can save us this time, guys.

Let’s get to your questions.

Eliot

Where does Boogie end up in 2019? No way he fits into the Golden State system. So where does he end up?
Toronto?(Beavertails & salmon jerky) Orlando?(unlimited touches) Clippers?(big market & BIG BALLMAR BUCKS) DA KNICKS?(Dolan craves star power players)

Who wants this coach killer 20 techs a season immature whiner? Hint: he cant play for his fav coach in Malone. Nuggets already have an adult at center. Time for Cuz to think about “chess move” to China. Checkmate!

This reads as though a Sacramento Kings fan, drunk on stashed bottles of Pliny the Elder and Alizé, decided to write me an e-mail. Bolstered by their sixth-straight viewing of Lady Bird, they decided to fire off an e-mail that is only tangentially related to the NBA and underwritten with the faintest understanding of the last 10 years of NBA transactions.

Frankly, I love it.

The idea that DeMarcus Cousins is a volatile player while on the basketball court is nothing new. It’s been proven over the course of his career, and according to ESPN he has accumulated 118 technical fouls in his eight years in the league. But what so many fans seem to get wrong is the idea that they can discount who Cousins is because of his emotional outbursts.

Look, I get it. My best friend is a Kings fan, and that poor bastard was always going off about how Cousins was making a fool of himself and in some cases, even putting the team in danger of being non-competitive. I mostly thought he was being sarcastic, but I digress. I mean, the guy let Meyers Leonard be his foil for years. It takes a special kind of dummy to be the best center in the NBA while also letting a backup big man get under your skin like that.

The real issue with Cousins in 2019 will not be his demeanor, nor has it ever been. Teams in the NBA want to win and they are always willing to pay players with potential character issues if they believe doing so will get them closer to that goal. Cousins will have an interesting time finding a suitor next season largely because of his torn Achilles.

But no matter the case, even if Cousins looks middling in his return late in the year for Warriors, some team with a massive amount of cap space next year — likely one who does not typically sign big-time free agents — well throw a truckload of money at him. That’s just sort of how it works.

Meanwhile, Eliot, I have to assume you are a Kings fan. I’m sorry your cool billionaire owner turned out to be such a goober.

Lee

Do you see the Mavericks topping 40 wins?

Westgate released their odds for the 2018-19 NBA season and the Dallas Mavericks were at a STRONG at 34.5 wins. That feels about right, even with Dirk Nowitzki returning to help mentor some of this young roster. The real problem is not that Dallas is relying on an aging Nowitzki to get them through, it’s that they are still so incredibly young.

Even with Luka Doncic and Dennis Smith Jr. in the bag, it takes a special kind of talent to move a roster with young lottery picks up the playoff standings. That’s to say nothing of the idea that the West has become significantly more difficult. It’s not just about LeBron. It’s about all these teams out West continuing to mesh together after 2016.

At this point, the best outcome for Dallas is that nobody gets seriously injured and DeAndre Jordan plays above the slowly declining output we’ve seen from him lately. The Mavericks aren’t winning 40 games but it’s fun watching The Cubes spend nearly nine figures to do it.

Michael

By now we all know Neil Olshey messed up the glorious summer when the Blazers had actual cap space. He obviously didn’t get fired for those mistakes, but my question is if he were to do something similar in two years when those contracts expire, would he finally get the axe or a parade through Blazer offices?

I wrote about the idea of Olshey getting the axe at length earlier this week and a lot of it applies to this question. Specifically, it seems how Olshey has angled the team is to simply wait out the rest of the Western Conference and some of the bad contracts he signed in the summer of 2016.

The problem with that strategy is that Olshey might just wind up alienating Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, or both. We already know that Lillard wants to be competitive, or at least wants to see some kind of strategy moving forward. He had an entire meeting with team owner Paul Allen about it. And to be sure, there is no way that “wait two years” can be the external plan Olshey tries to sell to Lillard. He’d flip.

Olshey is signed through the 2020-2021 season, although if he fails to make a move after next summer I think we can seriously talk about him getting the boot a little bit early. What has gone unsaid during this offseason in Portland is that Allen has to be on board with this cap-saving, luxury-tax ducking strategy otherwise Olshey would already be gone. That’s especially worrying if everyone up the ladder in Rip City — not just Olshey — is willing to risk seriously pissing off Lillard and/or McCollum.

There have been very few Blazers general managers who have been able to bring in a major player via a trade successfully. Even less have signed big name free agents to complete a roster that wants to contend. The smart betting money is on Olshey being gone in a couple of years, before he gets a chance to burn that potential cap space.

Mel

What do the San Antonio Spurs need to do to win another championship?

I mean, the first couple weren’t that hard to get, were they? All the Spurs had to do was hire the best coach in NBA history, draft one of the best centers in the NBA has ever seen, have that center get hurt, draft another center who is an all-time NBA great, then get lucky with more international prospects than is reasonable over a 20-year span, culminating in a win over so many hall of fame players in the playoffs it’s hard to even count. They can do all that again, right? Especially in an era where NBA players have more control over where they would like to play. NBA players love San Antonio! At least that’s what I hear. Plus, it’s not like that coach is going to leave the team and retire soon, yeah?

Don’t worry. It’ll all shake out. You’ve already got the formula. Just do that again.

Khalid

Why is Jimmer Fredette not in NBA?

Because he’s bad at basketball and he already got his shot during a time of expanding usage of the 3-point shooting in the NBA.

Ryan

I’m going to try to predict how the Cavaliers will use their roster: They’ll focus their efforts with Love and JR Smith as their dominant players. Kyle Korver will be an additional 3-point weapon besides Love. Larry Nance Jr. will dominate the paint and Rodney Hood will be an additional ball handler. Does this sound like a possibility?

This all sounds great! It’s going to be a wild ride to 28 wins.

Submit your questions to the mailbag by e-mailing pbtmailbag@gmail.com.

Bob Bass, former GM in San Antonio and Charlotte, dead at 89

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Bob Bass, the former San Antonio and Charlotte general manager who was an integral part of the front office for most of the Spurs’ first 20 years in South Texas, has died. He was 89.

Bass’ death was confirmed by the club Saturday in a statement from coach Gregg Popovich. The San Antonio Express-News reported that Bass died Friday at home in San Antonio after a series of strokes.

“Over the course of four decades, Bob Bass had a huge impact in both the ABA and NBA,” Popovich said in a statement released by the team. “BB was a true pioneer in the world of professional basketball. His knowledge, passion and dedication to the game were inspiring. We send our condolences to the entire Bass family.”

After getting hired as coach during the Spurs’ second season in San Antonio in 1974-75, Bass joined the front office as general manager when the club moved from the ABA to the NBA in 1976.

The two-time NBA Executive of the Year spent 20 seasons with the Spurs in various roles – returning three times as coach – before going to Charlotte as the GM in 1994. He spent nine seasons with the Hornets. Bass coached his alma mater of Oklahoma Baptist from 1952-1967, first joined the ABA as coach of the Denver Rockets in 1967-1968. He went back to college at Texas Tech from 1969-1971, then back to the ABA with the Floridians in 1971-1972 and the Memphis Tams in 1973-1974 before landing with the Spurs.

Bass had a 311-300 career regular-season coaching record in the ABA and NBA.

 

What is Jamal Crawford looking for in a new home? “Fit”

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It’s a little surprising Jamal Crawford is still available as a free agent. Yes, he is 38, and his skills and his efficiency have slipped in recent years, but the man can still get buckets off the bench and averaged 10.3 points per game last season in Minnesota.

He turned down an $4.5 million player option and is still waiting for a contract. What is he looking for? He talked about it with Percy Allen of the Seattle Times, in a story about the amazing pro-am Crawford runs in Seattle every summer.

The three-time Sixth Man of the Year is an unrestricted free agent, which he said is equally worrisome and exciting…

“Fit is first and foremost when I’m thinking about where I’ll play next,” said Crawford, who wants to play another 2-3 years. “Last year, I may have made the mistake of not thinking fit all the way through.

“You look at my career, when the fit was right, I contributed on the court. … I know people that care for me want me to win (an NBA title), but I don’t know if my career will be defined by that.”

Crawford’s name was rumored with contenders such as Golden State and Houston, but nothing came of any of it. At this point Crawford is not going to be able to be as picky about fit, he may have to look at any offers that come in.

Most teams’ rosters are set, and at this point in the summer most teams are happy with their rosters, or at least have talked themselves into being happy with it. Crawford may be a guy who gets a call a couple weeks into training camp, or a week or two into the season, when a team realizes its bench was not as impressive as it thought. There are teams he could still help, even if those teams don’t realize it yet.

Scout on Rodney Hood: ‘Cleveland can get him for a song and dance at this point’

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Rodney Hood is the best free agent still available.

Hood’s problem is he’s a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer for him. No team was interested enough in his skills — after last season when the Jazz traded him away to Cleveland and he struggled to get off the Cavs’ bench — to come in over the top with an offer the Cavs wouldn’t match, so teams never tied up their money with an offer. He still has no contract in front of him to sign.

Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz, talking to a scout, asked about the Cavaliers (the scout agrees with those of us in the “why didn’t they just start the rebuild now?” camp) and Hood in particular.

“Cleveland can get him for a song and dance at this point. I don’t think anyone else wants him, which is surprising because I really liked him in Utah. Utah just let him fly. I was impressed with how he came back in the Finals as an ‘I’ll show you’ game.

“I always liked him. He’ll be good in Cleveland because Cleveland’s going to be bad, and they’ll need his scoring. Who else are they going to go to? He’ll get quality minutes on that roster. How could he not? I’m not sure how tough he is, though. He can put up big scoring numbers on a bad team.”

It’s incredible how far Hood’s stock fell in one season. Heading into last season he expected to be the go-to scorer of the Utah Jazz (Donovan Mitchell became that guy). By the end of the season he barely got off the bench in Cleveland (and in one case would not get off the bench), although once put into the Finals he showed by Tyronn Lue should have gone to him earlier.

Hood’s options at this point are to play for the $3.4 million qualifying offer and become a free agent next summer, or work out a deal with the Cavaliers for a couple of seasons at a number he likes.

 

Baron Davis vs. Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis in Big3 championship showdown next Friday

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The Big3 finals are set — and there are a lot of names NBA fans will know.

On one side is Cuttino Mobley, Corey Maggette, Glen “Big Baby” Davis, and Chris “The Birdman” Andersen of top-ranked Power. They are coached by former NBA assistant coach and Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman — and they had to sweat out their semi-finals win.

On the other side are DerMarr Johnson, Baron Davis, Drew Gooden, and Andre Emmett of 3’s Company, the three seed, who are coached by Lakers’ legend and NBA/WNBA coach Michael Cooper. Emmett got them to the finals.

Power and 3’s Company will face off to decide the Big3 title next Friday night in Brooklyn (live on Fox at 8 p.m. Eastern). The semi-finals drew a record crowd in Dallas, and the league has seen its ratings climb on its regular live Friday night slot (they drew 1.47 million viewers this past Friday, roughly the same as an NBA regular season game). All of that has to make Ice Cube happy.

It will be an interesting matchup. Power has been the team to beat all season, with a balanced scoring attack led by Maggette, who has the second most points in the league (behind the legendary Ricky Davis, a player beloved by NBA Twitter, with good reason). In the clutch though Power has looked to Big Baby and his power game inside.

However, Emmett — the former Texas Tech standout from when Bobby Knight coached the team, who was a second-round NBA draft pick and has spent most of his career overseas — may well be the MVP of the league. He is capable of taking over the one-game Finals and making the upset a reality.