D'Angelo Russell is now an Eastern Conference All-Star, albeit as an injury replacement as a member of the Brooklyn Nets. Just a short time ago, Russell was a top pick for the Los Angeles Lakers before a trade sent him to New York.
Russell is producing for the Nets, although whether he’s doing it at an All-Star level is up for some debate. Meanwhile, things are a bit tumultuous back in his old home of LA.
Trade rumors have plagued the young bucks on the Lakers all season long, and just because the trade deadline has passed doesn’t mean guys like Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, or Josh Hart can relax.
For that, Russell is glad. Talking to Bleacher Report this week, the Nets guard said that he was happy that he didn’t have to go through what the youngsters in Los Angeles are dealing with.
“I can’t imagine what they’re trying to block out,” Russell says. Later, he adds: “If [the Lakers] didn’t let me go then, they were gonna let me go now, and I’d be going through what they’re going through. Best thing that happened in my career.”
It’s certainly true that Russell would likely be part of a package or a superstar offer if he were still with the Lakers today. Whether LA will be able to pull off a trade with the guys they have now is another question altogether.
In any case, no young player wants to know that they aren’t wanted, or feel inferior, or be seen as merely an asset. Being in LA is great for LeBron James, but it doesn’t seem all that beneficial to younger players. It seems like Russell has found a home in Brooklyn and is happy to be part of a burgeoning young core with the Nets.
Dwight Howard played in just nine games for the Washington Wizards last season due to injury, mostly his chronic back issues. Howard also will be 34 years old before next season starts. Because of that, the offseason market for Howard as a free agent would be somewhere between frigid and “I just stuck my hand in liquid nitrogen.”
Not shockingly, Howard has decided to take the money on the table — “just” $5.6 million, but that still buys a lot of Skittles — and has opted into his deal with the Wizards, reports Zach Lowe of ESPN.
The Wizards are still searching for their next general manager after Ernie Grunfeld was (finally!) let go near the end of last season. Maybe Tommy Sheppard gets hired from in house, maybe owner Ted Leonsis decides to go outside the organization, but there seems to be no rush to make a decision.
That GM walks into one of the toughest jobs in the NBA because of how hamstrung the roster is. John Wall will make $38.2 million next season and may not play (or only play the end of the season) because of a torn Achilles. Bradley Beal will make $27.1 million and the team needs to decide whether to extend him (he can get a supermax extension if he makes an All-NBA team, and he’s on the bubble for that) or trade him and rebuild. Ian Mahinmi will make $15.5 million. There are decisions to be made on players such as Tomas Satoransky and Sam Dekkar.
And that GM will have Dwight Howard. Good luck with that.
The saga of Patrick Beverley vs. Kevin Durant continues. The two have gone back and forth, and Beverley has gotten the best of a Durant, at least more than most would expect. The series is split between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers heading into Thursday night’s Game 3 matchup, and there is much at stake in L.A.
In an effort to curb Beverley’s comfortability with Durant, the Warriors sent in a tape to the NBA league office complaining about purported illegal defense by the Clippers guard. That’s according to a report from Fox Sports’ Nick Wright.
Speaking on “First Thing’s First”, Wright said the Warriors wanted the NBA to see the tape before tip for Game 3.
Via Fox Sports:
The Warriors team — the organization — sent the NBA a bunch of clips leading up to Game 3 of what they think is Patrick Beverley holding, clutching, grabbing… pushing.
For some this may be too rich coming from the Golden State organization. The team has made a living getting away with moving screens as a major part of their offense for years, and indeed on split cuts they certainly seem to grab a lot of jersey as a means to get some momentum started. Remember, this is the team with Andrew Bogut on it.
That said, teams sending tapes to the league office happens almost as often as a Kardashian is annoying. It’s a daily thing, and in the playoffs teams ramp that up. What the Warriors did is not unusual.
This kind of in-your-face play is something that happens during every single NBA game, and if you had to be defended by a NBA player you would be surprised by how much physical contact they get away with that is not called as a foul.
Are the Warriors whining or are they simply trying to get a leg up on their competition? We will have to wait until these teams go after each other again on Thursday to see how — or if — the referees officiate Beverley differently.
Ben Simmons did not perform well in Game 1 against the Brooklyn Nets. The Philadelphia 76ers star posted a stat line of just eight points with seven rebounds, three blocks, and three steals.
More concerning was Simmons’ apparent lack of desire to shoot. He seemed to fade in the big moments of the game, and scorn came swiftly for him social media after the 76ers loss. Philly fans even booed the Sixers on the court, which angered Simmons.
But Game 3 is upon us, although Joel Embiid is not playing, and the series has shifted back to New York. As expected, fans in Brooklyn are doing their best to troll the Sixers.
We will see how Simmons responds after all of the back and forth about booing, not to mention his whole thing with Jared Dudley. If Simmons wants to be a star, now is the time to step up for his team with Embiid out.
The Philadelphia 76ers will be without Joel Embiid on Thursday night as they take on the Brooklyn Nets in Game 3 of their first round series.
Embiid is battling left knee soreness and although he had a statistically-important performance as the Sixers took Game 2, it was obvious he was in some kind of reduced state of ability.
Veteran center Greg Monroe will start in Embiid’s place, but it will be hard for the Sixers to match Embiid’s production. The Cameroonian star is Philadelphia’s best player, and the 76ers are a hot and cold team.
Not having Embiid on the floor will seriously alter how they respond to the spunky Nets, who already took Game 1 from the higher-seeded Sixers.
The fact that Embiid needs to rest is also drawing some ire from folks on social media. The question is why Embiid did not rest earlier in the series — or even the end of the regular season when he was in and out of the lineup — and prepare for the coming playoff run?
However things go on Thursday, folks around the league will have their eyes glued to the injury report to see updates on Embiid’s status.