Chris Paul’s golf course trash talk to J.R. Smith: ‘Way to be yourself, shooting bad shots’


J.R. Smith has spent much of this summer focused on golf, both following the PGA Tour in person by attending events in multiple states, as well as playing the game quite a bit himself.

Smith plays with other NBA players from time to time, of course, and things can get heated out there with some of them, to the point where trash talk creeps into the competition.

Not surprisingly, Chris Paul — one of basketball’s most fiery competitors — takes things seriously when playing against Smith, and isn’t afraid to take personal shots.

From Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report:

B/R: Do you have a usual foursome?

JRS: When I go to L.A., I’ll play with CP [Chris Paul], his brother [C.J.] and his dad [Charles]. We play all the time. In Charlotte, I’ll play with Steph [Stephen Curry]. When I’m around [New York], I’ll play with John [Starks] and Herb [Williams]. And then, of course, I play with my brother [Chris]. He started [golfing] when he was 11 years old. He’s got golf trophies and everything. He doesn’t play as much as me, but when he does, he’s good.

B/R: What are CP and Steph’s golf games like?

JRS: CP is all right. He needs to work on it because he doesn’t play as much as I do. But Steph is unbelievable. Steph and Ray Allen. I haven’t played with Ray yet.

B/R: Is there trash-talking between you guys?

JRS: Not so much with Steph, but CP, hell yeah. CP is like, when I hit a bad shot, “Way to be yourself, shooting bad shots.” If he hits a bad shot, I don’t really say too much because he doesn’t play as much.

Smith, of course, is known as an inefficient shooter who has demonstrated questionable shot selection on a fairly consistent basis — though he’s been known to get hot at times.

Report: Charlie Villanueva weighing offers from Clippers, Mavericks


Charlie Villanueva, who has very publicly been documenting his free agency, might be on the verge of an NBA contract.

Five years ago, Villanueva signed a five-year, $37.7 million contract with the Pistons. It didn’t go so hot. From his final year with the Bucks through five years in Detroit, his scoring average dropped from 16.2 to 11.9 to 11.1 to 7.0 to 6.8 to 4.6.

Villanueva’s decline made it seem his time in the league might be finished.

But apparently, he has options.

Shams Charania of RealGM:

The Clippers, who’ve already signed Ekpe Udoh and Chris Douglas-Roberts, have 13 players with guaranteed contracts plus DeAndre Liggins on a non-guaranteed deal. They’re also reportedly interested in Ray Allen and Hedo Turkoglu, so they wouldn’t have room for both and Villanueva. But they also have just three bigs – Spencer Hawes, Glen Davis and Udoh – behind Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

With guaranteed contracts alone, the Mavericks already have the regular-season limit of 15 players. They also have Ivan Johnson and Eric Griffin on partial guarantees. What they don’t have: a stretch big besides Dirk Nowitzki. Dallas has made a habit lately of buying low on talented players and then putting them in position to succeed, and Villanueva fits the bill. But I don’t see how the Mavericks have room for him.

My advice to Villanueva: Join whichever team offers a higher guarantee. If the guarantees are equal – or maybe even close – go to Los Angeles. The Clippers offer a much better chance of making the team.

Report: Bulls interested in Ray Allen, too


Ray Allen has plenty of options for next season. Just the ones we know about:

There are certainly other interested teams – including the Bulls.

Sam Smith of

The Bulls are believed to be among almost a dozen teams to have contacted Allen and his representatives.

Smith probably has more autonomy than most writers for official team sites, but that is really not the space to be speculating. I’d be surprised if the Bulls allow Smith to publish an article on their interest in Allen if that interest does not exist.

And the interest would make sense.

As Smith notes, nearly every NBA is or should covet Allen. In Chicago, he’d provide a nice offensive-minded counterpoint to Jimmy Butler, who regressed to 28 percent 3-point shooting. If Butler gets back to the 38 percent he shot two years, his defense gives him the clear edge. But if not, Allen could be a major help.

The Bulls’ offense has stagnated too often under Tom Thibodeau, and a floor spacer like Allen could do wonders – especially if Derrick Rose is healthy.

Alas, I’m not sure the Bulls have a better chance than these other teams of signing Allen. But their hat is in the ring.

Clippers to sign DeAndre Liggins, will probably add another player first


The Clippers surrendered a first-round pick and took a cap hit for each of the next five seasons to dump Jared Dudley and replace him with veterans.

First up, Hedo Turkoglu and Chris Douglas-Roberts.

The Clippers also want to add Ray Allen, but another player is third on the docket – DeAndre Liggins.

Shams Charania of RealGM:

It sounds as if DeAndre Liggins is an Exhibit 9 candidate.

An Exhibit 9 can be negotiated into a one-year, unguaranteed minimum contract. It allows a team to waive an injured player before the season and pay him just $6,000. Typically, an injured player’s contract becomes guaranteed until he’s healthy or the season ends, whichever comes first. (This refers to playing-related injuries only.)

However, teams can’t utilize Exhibit 9s until they already have 14 players without Exhibit 9s.

Douglas-Roberts and Turkoglu would give the Clippers 13 players. Maybe they’ll wait for Allen to add a 14th player, but there’s no guarantee he signs anywhere before training camp begins. Ekpe Udoh is another possibility for Player 14.

If Liggins, a formidable perimeter defender who played one game for the Heat last season following ugly domestic-violence charges, has an Exhibit 9, the Clippers can just later waive him to make room for Allen if need be. And if Allen doesn’t choose the Clippers, Liggins might have a decent chance to make the team.

Report: Spurs working out free agent big man Earl Clark


Earl Clark had his best professional season as a member of the Lakers in 2013, and while his averages of 7.3 points and 5.5 rebounds may not seem all that exciting, he regularly exceeded those numbers in his 36 appearances in the team’s starting lineup.

It was enough to get Clark a free agent deal with the Cavaliers the following summer, but he underperformed in his short time there, before Cleveland sent him to the Sixers in the midseason deal for Spencer Hawes. Philadelphia subsequently waived Clark, who finished the year on a 10-day contract with the Knicks.

It’s far from how Clark expected things to go, just one year removed from performing so well in Los Angeles. He’ll likely have options next season, and the Spurs appear to be the first to take a long look at what Clark may still have to offer.

From Sean Deveney of Sporting News:

Free-agent forward Earl Clark, who followed up a breakthrough year with the Lakers by bouncing between the Cavaliers and Knicks last year, will be working out this week for the defending champion Spurs, a source told Sporting News. Clark is in San Antonio today and will be there through Wednesday. …

The Spurs potentially have open roster spots, depending on how they handle team options, and they are reportedly considering pursuing guard Ray Allen, who might retire.

The Spurs currently have 14 players signed to guaranteed contracts for next season, with Aron Baynes likely to be the 15th, though he is a restricted free agent.

In addition to Allen, San Antonio is looking at Gustavo Ayon, as well.

Clark is going to have to show not only that he can play, but also that he’s a right fit from a personality standpoint in order for the Spurs to bother with clearing a spot for him on the roster.