Nichols asked Harden about a comment Antetokounmpo made during the 2020 NBA All-Star Game draft as he selected his team against LeBron James. When the TNT crew pressed Antetokounmpo about choosing Kemba Walker over Harden, he said “I want someone who will pass the ball” with a chuckle. Harden didn’t hold back when Nichols asked him about it.
Rachel Nichols: Giannis makes a joke on the air about ‘I want to take someone who can pass, I’m taking Kemba Walker instead of James Harden.’ James Harden: I averaged more assists than him (Walker) I think. RN: You ranked 10th in assists going into the all-star break, and Kemba ranked 36th in assists going into the all-star break. JH: I don’t see what the joke is. But I didn’t even see it, I don’t pay attention to stuff like that. I just know that none of them can mess with me.
James Harden: When it’s all said and done, they will appreciate it more. But I wish I was 7-feet, and could run and just dunk. That takes no skill at all. I have to actually learn how to play basketball and how to have skill. I’ll take that every day.
August 5, 2021 | 11:03 am EDT Update
Adrian Wojnarowski: Free agent F Ishmail Wainright has agreed to a two-year deal with the Toronto Raptors, his agents Deirunas Visockas and Jim Tanner of @Tandem Sports tell ESPN. Wainright has played in Europe since finishing his four-year career at Baylor in 2017, and has showed the ability to impact an NBA team with his defensive versatility.
Two other names (Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal) might be slightly more alluring, but the one significant player nearly everyone expects to be on the move this summer is Simmons, as we’ve already documented ad infinitum since The Pass. The fit with Joel Embiid seems questionable at best and both Simmons and his team would probably be better off with a new arrangement.
Luka Doncic’s disappointment with Slovenia’s loss to France in the second Olympic Games semifinal was more than obvious in the finale with the Dallas Mavericks superstar also expressing his frustration on his way to the locker room. After the end of the game, Doncic was shouting “FIBA is probably happy” while walking through the media mixed zone per ’15min’. He was also reported to shout “FIBA happened” while Slovenia big man Ziga Dimec was being asked questions about the game.
Slovenia had several complaints with the officiating and particularly with a play halfway through the fourth period and the score tied at 78 where Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot blocked Jaka Blazic’s layup attempt. Blazic protested that it was a goaltending violation and he received a technical foul.
“Probably one of the best blocks I’ve seen,” said France center Rudy Gobert — perhaps the best shot-blocker in the world these days. “Being able to grind for 40 minutes and win an Olympic game on that block, it’s just amazing. This is why you play the game. This is why you work hard, why you sacrifice time from your families, to come here and try to accomplish something and be part of those moments.”
August 5, 2021 | 10:25 am EDT Update
Marc Stein: Numerous teams had free-agent interest in Nicolas Batum after his redemptive season with the Clippers … Golden State and Dallas prime among them. Realistically no one was luring him away from Clipperland as well as he played.
If Randle continues to play as well as he did this season, the Knicks will get him at a discount, even if he stays around to make $29.5 million in the last year of his deal, which is reportedly a player option. It also allows the Knicks to put more talent around him. They passed on retaining cap space for next summer with their deals this month and are already hovering around the expected cap number, according to Spotrac. They’ll also be able to offer RJ Barrett an extension after the 2021-22 season, which will kick in after the summer of 2023.