Individually it’s easy to defend the choices the Chicago Bulls made this summer. While he’s a shadow of his old self and overpaid, Rajon Rondo may have been the best point guard on the market when they signed him. When a star like Dwyane Wade falls in your lap, you take advantage. But when you step back there seems to be no overall plan in Chicago.
Which is why it shouldn’t be a shock that Wade, Rondo, and Jimmy Butler are having a public argument. Of course, on Friday everyone played the row down, but nobody said they had any regrets either. This is a mess, and it all goes back to the big picture — or lack thereof — in Chicago.
I talk about all of this and the likely fallout in this latest PBT Extra.
Report: Matt Barnes to turn self in soon to NYPD for New York nightclub fight
NBA player Matt Barnes is expected to soon turn himself in on misdemeanor assault charges for allegedly assaulting a woman during a brawl at a Chelsea nightclub, police sources said Friday.
The Dec. 5 free-for-all happened at hotspot Avenue on 10th Ave. and involved Barnes, fellow Sacramento King DeMarcus Cousins and other patrons, including a woman whose argument with Barnes sparked the melee….
Police however said only Barnes, 36, is going to be charged. He is expected to travel to the city shortly, possibly as soon as next week.
Barnes likely will not have to appear in court after that, and in the majority of these criminal cases it is pled out quickly. However, the civil trial could go on for some time.
Former NBA player, NC State basketball star Charles Shackleford found dead
KINSTON, N.C. (AP) — Police in North Carolina say former North Carolina State basketball star Charles Shackleford has been found dead in his home. He was 50.
Kinston police spokesman Woody Spencer said Shackleford’s body was found there Friday. The cause of death hasn’t been determined and an investigation is underway. Spencer didn’t say what circumstances led authorities to the home.
The 6-foot-10 Shackleford averaged 13.7 points and 7.8 rebounds a game in three seasons at N.C. State.
He played six seasons in the NBA for New Jersey, Philadelphia, Minnesota and Charlotte, averaging 5.4 points and 4.8 rebounds for his career. Online records show he also spent three years playing in Turkey and Greece.
Three things we learned Thursday: Knicks, Bulls battle for NBA title of “most off-court drama”
Midway through the season, maybe that question should have been “Which team will have the most off-the-court drama at midseason?”
Usually, the Knicks would run away with this. Phil Jackson has — rightly and finally — decided he needs to build this team aroundKristaps Porzingis, and that KP and Carmelo Anthony are on different career paths. So Jackson has started his mind games to get Anthony to waive his no-trade clause and be happy going out of town. Except Anthony isn’t going to take a deal to go to Orlando or Phoenix, he wants to play with his banana boat buddies on a contender. Which basically means the Cavaliers and the Clippers (the Celtics have been mentioned as well). Except the Cavaliers are not interested in a Kevin Love for ‘Melo swap because they are not stupid. That leaves the Clippers, who would have the exact same reaction if Jackson came looking for Blake Griffin. However, a trade involvingJamal Crawford, Austin Rivers, and J.J. Redick might interest Doc Rivers. Here’s where this gets interesting: If Redick is part of the deal I don’t think the Clippers get better — people underestimate how important his shooting and spacing is to that team. His 3&D game fits better with Chris Paul‘s drives, DeAndre Jordan‘s rim runs, and Blake Griffin overall. Lose Redick and Crawford and I think the Clippers get worse. If the Clippers could figure out a way to add Anthony to their core four then — if healthy, always the caveat with this team — they might make things interesting for the Spurs and Warriors. The questions are, would Doc Rivers really trade his son, and does Phil Jackson want Anthony out of town so bad he’d settle for a Crawford/Rivers/pieces to make the salaries workd?
Rondo likely is not all wrong here (at least if you talk to people around the team), but how he delivered it will ensure he is gone soon enough (if not moved by the trade deadline, look for a buy out right after). He was already on his way out of the rotation because guys such as Jerian Grant were playing better and Rondo is a shell of his pre-injury self, this just made it official. Wade and Butler ultimately win this war because they are the better players and Butler is the franchise’s best player and future. But this is going to make Friday’s shootaround interesting. The chemistry and fit of this team on and off the court is a mess, and as with all things Bulls the problems point right back to the front office. But they are likely not going anywhere, as Sean Highkin of The Athletic told us in a recent PBT Podcast. Which ultimately will mean the Bulls will keep on being the Bulls.
2) The All-Star Game reserves were announced, and Joel Embiid leads your list of snubs. The coaches have voted (they pick this group), and here are your All-Star Game bench players for 2017’s game in New Orleans in a couple of weeks.
The biggest snub has to be Joel Embiid. The fans voted him in as a starter, and even the people not voting for him have to admit he’d be fun in this setting. However, as I wrote the other day, you have to remember who was casting the ballots: Coaches. What do coaches value? Guys who play every day, guys who have improved over their careers, and guys with high hoops IQ and subtlety to their games. That’s Millsap, it’s not Embiid. But Embiid still had a great sense of humor about it.
He will be out 6-8 weeks. This is a blow, Kanter was mentioned in Sixth Man of the Year awards talks midseason because the Thunder are 5.5 points per 100 possessions better on offense when he is on the court. Over his last 10 games, he’s averaged 17.2 points a night on 57.4 percent shooting. The Thunder don’t have anyone nearly as good to replace him, but look for more Steven Adams, as well as Joffrey Lauvergne to get some run.
One other side note: The Thunder are currently on pace to win 49 games, if this injury knocks that down to 46 wins on the season, could it cost Russell Westbrook the MVP award because the Thunder didn’t get to or near 50 wins (while James Harden‘s Rockets will be pushing 60 wins)? Way, way too early to say, just throwing it out there.
Suns’ Eric Bledsoe is throwing it down hard, Kenneth Faried is too late to stop him (VIDEO)
Eric Bledsoe is one of the guys who could make a case for being an All-Star Game snub. He had to know he wasn’t going to make it, playing on one of the worst teams in the West makes it far less likely he’d be selected, but he is averaging 21 points and 6.2 assists per game with a PER of 21.6.
And he’s making plays like this.
Coming off a high (and moving screen) from Jared Dudley he’s got a path to the basket and he takes it, getting there with a head of steam. Denver’s Kenneth Faried sees it and tries to get there, but is far too late to do anything but be in the picture.