One might imagine the Bucks are set at the point guard position, especially after making a midseason trade for Michael Carter-Williams and Tyler Ennis. There are some NBA officials, though, who contend the Bucks aren’t totally sold on Carter-Williams, just like they weren’t completely sold on Brandon Knight, whom they dealt to Phoenix in the deal in February.
August 3, 2015 | 2:26 pm EDT Update
Q: The Knicks drafted Kristaps Porzingis, a guy who is a couple years away from being able to help you win night in and night out. Then there’s Carmelo Anthony, who is 31 and here for another four years. How does he fit in because it seems like they are looking at a future that might not fit within his window? Walt Frazier: I’m sure Melo wasn’t happy. His future is now. You know, he’s not getting younger. This is going to be a pivotal season for him to see really how he fits into the Knick plans and how this is going to go from here. Will he ask out, you know what I mean, if he sees that this is not happening? Because right now the Knicks, [it’s] going to be tough to make the playoffs. They are a few years away and Melo knows that his days are numbered, so stay tuned.
Q: What did you see, if anything, that was different about the Knicks’ offense during the summer league compared to what you saw last season? Walt Frazier: Sometimes in summer league they weren’t using the triangle and they seemed to have better continuity. When they go to the triangle they seem to be more methodical, apprehensive. So that’s what the coaching staff has got to work out. Q: Do you think that sticking solely with the triangle, as the Knicks did last year, would work if they weren’t as methodical or do you think it’s wise to work in some pick and roll to speed things up? Walt Frazier: You’ve got to have versatility, especially with the guys that they have. They’re not as adept as the guys Jackson has had in the past. If that’s not working, you’ve got to go to Plan B.
August 3, 2015 | 1:36 pm EDT Update
Reggie Brown, the agent for undrafted Kansas forward Cliff Alexander, in a very good story on SBNation on his winding path to the NBA after one season in Lawrence. Alexander had hoped to go late in the first round or early in the second, but would not agree to play overseas for a year in exchange for being selected. “I don’t speak up that often, but I felt I needed to clear the air. I wish someone had just asked me for clarification before everyone immediately jumped to negative assumptions. A couple people sometimes ruin it for everyone else. I’ve got no hard feelings, but I do see why some guys are more skeptical about opening up when this type of thing happens.”
I’ve read some of the interviews you’ve done since the hire and you’ve expressed your gratitude to Becky for opening the door. Becky is clearly deserving in her own right, but all due respect, you’re a Hall of Famer. Shouldn’t this have happened for you a long time ago? Nancy Lieberman: Sometimes things are not on our time frame. And what I know with my career and my life, and the older you are, you hope you have more wisdom and perspective. People can say what they want out of respect for me and my career. I’ve got 40 years in. And relationships that are long and deep. But sometimes life is not on my timing. It’s about when the right time opens itself up to you. I’m happy — this is not a political line for Becky Hammon, ’cause Becky and I are friends, and have been for many, many years. She is a brilliant, brilliant player, and she has incredible qualities to be a brilliant coach.
The league would not put the resources it has put into Africa over the last few years if it didn’t view it as a growth area. But that does not mean expansion, as is still the dream among many in Europe. There could be regular-season games in the future, but not until there are more arenas on the continent with the bells and whistles the league requires — suites, signage, you know the drill. (Saturday’s game was played in Ellis Park Arena, which seats 5,000.)
There were some empty seats at Saturday’s game; the English newspaper The Guardian speculated that some fans may have taken in the Soweto Derby soccer match which drew a sellout 94,000 in the nearby suburb. There is support for more games, including NBA regular-season games. But the talk has to be followed by construction cranes.
August 3, 2015 | 1:33 pm EDT Update
Yes, Ray Allen cleaned out his closets this summer and gave away some of his shoes, leading fans on an Instagram-driven scavenger hunt around Hartford. But don’t read into it. He still has lots of shoes, and he’s not yet retired. “I haven’t said anything about that and I won’t officially retire,” Allen said Saturday during a break in his basketball camp for kids at East Granby High. “Because if something came to the table, contractually and situational-ly, I want to be able to take a strong look at it. I don’t want to be that guy that says he’s retiring and then is coming back.”
So he is saying the Trail Blazers didn’t ever have faith and confidence in him? Man, I’m not sure that’s fair. It seemed to me the Trail Blazer organization loved Matthews, if not recently at least in earlier front-office regimes. Most people from the franchise sung his praises as a player, a person and a leader. And at the money he’s going to be making in Dallas, he better heal quickly and play very well. The higher your salary, the more scrutiny you face. Matthews, if things don’t go perfectly, might find out the Mavericks’ faith and confidence in him can fade.
August 3, 2015 | 10:51 am EDT Update
Adidas has made a big play for the biggest basketball sneaker free agent of the summer of 2015. The company has submitted a bid of $200 million over 13 years to sign Houston Rockets guard James Harden, sources told ESPN.com. Nike, whose deal with Harden recently expired, has until the end of next week to match the deal or lose him.
With incentives, if the deal is consummated, Harden could very well make more from Adidas in the coming years than the Rockets. Harden signed an $80 million contract extension with Houston in 2012 that goes through the 2017-18 season.
There’s also international hope for Harden, as the Rockets already are very popular in China thanks to former player Yao Ming. Sources say part of what Adidas is willing to pay has to do with the potential for the masses to embrace Harden on a even greater scale if the Rockets can make more of a splash in the playoffs in the coming years.
August 3, 2015 | 8:26 am EDT Update
On Saturday night, there were rumors about Denver releasing him. However at this point there are just rumors. Until now, the player’s side has no knowledge for this matter and the Nuggets hasn’t informed them about those kind of intentions. According to Eurohoops sources, the Nuggets’ plan when they aquired Papanikolaou was to keep him in their roster and take their decision about him during Eurobasket, probably at the end of the tournament. That was their intention and that’s why they didn’t try to use his contract as a trade asset.
Billy King and Lionel Hollins were in South Africa and are headed out on much-delayed vacations. It would appear from that and from Mikhail Prokhorov’s video that the Nets are done other than some training camp invites. They have 17 players under contract, including Earl Clark who reportedly would like the Nets to waive him so he can move on, perhaps overseas.
Veterans with four or more years of service are at a clear disadvantage when it comes to preparing for training camp. The current rules state that only rookies and minimum players with three years or less in the league can be reimbursed for travel, meals and lodging for the four weeks leading up to camp. If you are Reggie Williams of the San Antonio Spurs and have six years of service in the NBA, then you are on your own dime getting prepared for training camp.
Ask any front office executive what is the worst part of their job and the majority will tell you it’s cutting a player during training camp. There is nothing worse than releasing a player from a job they love. In my 20 years with the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets, I was the unfortunate participant in many of those roster cuts. Releasing Williams in 2006 is the one that still haunts me to this day. Williams had worked vigorously to get back on the basketball court, but his injuries wouldn’t allow him to get back to a high level. After Williams was released, I knew that his professional basketball career was over.
The common misconception is that players who sign non-guaranteed contracts to participate in training camp will receive a salary. They don’t. Like summer league, players will receive roughly $127 in per diem, hotel and all travel expenses to take part. The one added bonus is that players are eligible to receive $2,000 in camp compensation per week for roughly four weeks.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver and then deputy commissioner Mark Tatum took to a stage in New York to read off 60 names. As Alexander waited more than three hours, the party slowly dissipated. That’s when reality set in. His name wasn’t going to be called. “It blindsided me,” Alexander told SB Nation. “I was disappointed, but I always play with a chip on my shoulder. Now I’m playing with a bunch of chips on my shoulder.”