Lowry and DeRozan are best friends, and their budding romance has been a sentimental point for fans in Toronto and abroad.
But life goes on, and the Raptors again are one of the teams expected to challenge for an Eastern Conference Finals appearance. That hasn’t kept Lowry from doing the same handshake routine he used to do with DeRozan before games this season.
The only difference? DeRozan isn’t there to help dap up Lowry.
Then, the Rockets determined he couldn’t play for them at all.
It’s a steep drop from major contributor to exile. There was apparently no middle ground for Anthony and Houston, which finally acknowledged the forward is finished with the team.
Anthony averaged 29.4 minutes per game with Houston. The last time someone received so much playing time and lasted fewer than 15 games with a team before getting waived during a season? Dennis Rodman with the Mavericks in 2000.
Rodman, then 38, signed with Dallas in February. He got ejected from two games and suspended for another. He twice challenged then-NBA commissioner David Stern to a fight, even saying the two should be naked for the brawl. Then, Rodman accused Mavericks owner Mark Cuban of being too chummy with his players. Dallas went 3-9 with Rodman playing 32.4 minutes per game before waiving him in March. The Mavericks (40-42) missed the playoffs by four games.
At least it wasn’t that bad for Anthony and the Rockets.
But Anthony’s tenure in Houston still shows fragility.
Anthony is barely a year removed from literally laughing at the idea of coming off the bench. He struggled with accepting a buyout because of how it’d look. He still has outdated ideas about who he is as a player.
Though Anthony accepted a reserve role with the Rockets, he still received major minutes and took plenty of shots. Houston didn’t waste time trying to coax him into a narrower role. The Rockets just paid deference to Anthony’s future-Hall of Fame status, maybe internally considered his friendship with Chris Paul and cut bait.
Anthony just isn’t good enough anymore. He’s a defensive liability with poor all-around production. Even his scoring has become substandard. There’s nothing to hang his hat on.
Anthony now joins the list of former stars who seemingly got jobs based on prior accomplishments then quickly proved they could no longer hack it. But even by that standard, Houston moved on historically quickly.
Here’s everyone who made at least five-time All-Star teams then lasted fewer than 30 games in a stint with a team:
Where Anthony goes from here is unclear. It’s easier to find teams that don’t want him than do. Tracy McGrady called on him to retire.
If Anthony finds a new team, Houston could waive him or trade him there. If not, it’d be more cost-efficient for the Rockets to trade him – with a sweetener like cash or draft considerations – than waive him, which would lock in a luxury-taxable cap hit.
The bad news for Anthony: Most of the stints in the above chart came during the player’s final season.
Houston gave him a heck of a shot with no shortage of playing time. Then promptly gave up on him. It’s hard to get past the absurdity of that.
But the Rockets will try.
Kevin Durant on relationship with Draymond Green: ‘Don’t ask me about that again’ (video)
Still, it’ll be impossible to look beyond the Green-Durant dynamic until Golden State wins like it did before. In Green’s first game back from suspension, that didn’t come close to happening.
2) The Clippers are winning. That’s important beyond even underlying factors like how they’re playing.
L.A. has won three straight – beating the Bucks in overtime, Warriors in overtime and Spurs 116-111 last night. Against quality competition like that, racking up victories is crucial. Even if the Clippers stumble or have injury issues later, those three wins could be vital come playoff-seeding time.
At 9-5, the Clippers are tied for fourth in the Western Conference. But that’s just two games ahead of 12th. There’s no separation early in the West race, and there might not be margin for error all season.
Other teams will come around – like San Antonio. In a 1-5 stretch, the Spurs have been outscored by 61 without Rudy Gay and have outscored opponents by 24 with him. He was +14 in 25 minutes last night. As he gets healthier, San Antonio should improve.
But the Clippers don’t need to wait on anything. They’re deep and play hard. Lou Williams hits big shots. They’re ready to win right now.
3) The Nuggets avoided complete doom and gloom. After a 9-1 start, Denver had lost four straight. Jamal Murray violated team rules, and Nuggets coach Michael Malone pulled him from the starting lineup. But Denver still cruised to a feel-good 138-93 win over the Hawks.
Monte Morris started and played steadily. Murray was good off the bench. It probably didn’t matter much. The Nuggets likely would have beaten Atlanta with an injured Isaiah Thomas at point guard.
But Denver – especially star Nikola Jokic – still seems like a team that can get too down on itself when things aren’t going well. Momentum snowballs, even when it starts against the Hawks.
Draymond Green reportedly told Kevin Durant: ‘We don’t need you. We won without you. Leave’
Green called Durant a “bitch” multiple times, sources said. In a summarized version, sources said Green shouted, “You’re a bitch and you know you’re a bitch.” The rhetoric, sources said, continued even when Kerr attempted to direct the team’s attention to his whiteboard.
Green blurted to Durant something along the lines of, “We don’t need you. We won without you. Leave,” sources said.
Wow. That’s pretty darned harsh. And if Durant walked away say saying “That’s why I’m out“… wow.
This would explain why Green’s teammates supported his suspension. He clearly went too far, as even he expected a fine. But this was quite the way to carry on.
When Green and Durant bickered last year in a similar, though less heated, incident, it was claimed Green was using “reverse psychology” to motivate Durant. I was never convinced whether that was accurate or cooked up after the fact to cover for Green’s misbehavior. Will we hear a similar explanation this time?