NBA

Doc Rivers appears to be the first NBA figure to stand with Daryl Morey.

The Los Angeles Clippers head coach spoke with reporters on Tuesday and said Morey “was right in saying that” but there are consequences to every action.

“It’s a tough issue, clearly, and that’s what it is,” said Rivers. Doc Rivers confirmed today that LOU WILLIAMS IS TO READY TO GO. And that he supports Daryl Morey.

"I didn't pay much attenton to it other than what Morey said and he was right in saying that HEY LOU YOU READY TO GO? LET'S GO! but there's consequences to every action as well." pic.twitter.com/MV1ExNZSNG
— SportsbyBrooks (@SportsbyBrooks) October 16, 2019

There it is. Someone from the NBA finally said it: Morey was right, but there are consequences, as we have seen. This is the statement Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich and LeBron James should have said. Instead, Kerr feigned ignorance on the subject, Popovich defended Adam Silver, and LeBron blamed Morey for not thinking of the players. From the way he helped guide the Clippers through the Donald Sterling audio tapes to his handling of player personalities and political issues and his recognition of big moments, Rivers has long shown he is an excellent leader. He failed to disappoint once again.

The Chinese government won’t put up with this sort of thing. And LeBron James darn well knows it.

The NBA star suggested Monday it’s better to just shut up and keep your head down than risk offending the rulers of China. Even a seven-word message on Twitter from an NBA general manager can get under their skin, as James and the NBA learned last week.

“So many people could have been harmed, not only physically or financially, but emotionally and spiritually,” James told reporters Monday. “Just be careful what we tweet, what we say and what we do. We do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative things that come with that too.”

Such fear has revealed a mini-clash of civilizations in an increasingly globalized world, all started by a tweet and driven by a fundamental question about political power:

Why would the world’s most populous country – an economic superpower – get this offended about a since-deleted message posted on social media by a single American sports administrator who isn’t even familiar to most American sports fans?

After all, millions of Americans see revolting messages on social media every day. They deal with it and move on. By contrast, nuclear-armed China practically threatened to shut down the NBA’s business there after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey temporarily posted an image on Twitter Oct. 4 that said, “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.”

Is that really all it takes to hurt the feelings of the ruling Communist Party in China?

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports is reporting that Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic has switched agents and will now be represented by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports:

Nurkic was previously represented by Aylton Tesch of Dynasty Sports. Paul famously represents LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and John Wall among others. Paul was in the news frequently over the past few months as Davis reportedly tried to force his way out of New Orleans to the Lakers.

Houston Rockets forward Gerald Green could be sidelined for the entire season, as his foot injury is worse than initially expected, according to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Rockets fear that Gerald Green's broken foot is worse than initially expected and fear he'll miss the season, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. — Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 15, 2019

Houston Rockets forward Gerald Green could be sidelined for the entire season, as his foot injury is worse than initially expected, according to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Rockets fear that Gerald Green's broken foot is worse than initially expected and fear he'll miss the season, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. — Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 15, 2019

Initial reports indicated that Green might be out of commission for two months. Now, though, it sounds like the 33-year-old will miss a substantial amount of time.

Green threw down a put-back dunk in last week’s preseason game against the Toronto Raptors. However, a few plays later, he started to limp, which led to his exit from the game.

This is obviously a tough break for Houston, as Green is a gifted player. The former No. 18 overall pick made 73 appearances with the Rockets last regular season, racking up averages of 9.2 points on 40.0 percent shooting from the field (35.4 percent from beyond the arc) and 2.5 rebounds in 20.2 minutes per outing.

Ben McLemore and Gary Clark will likely see an uptick in their usage rates with Green sidelined. Danuel House and Eric Gordon could get a bit more playing time as well.

The Rockets will be back in preseason action on Wednesday night, when they’ll serve as hosts to the San Antonio Spurs. Tip-off inside the Toyota Center is set for 8:00 p.m. ET.

Is Shawn Marion a Hall of Famer? It’s complicated.

On the surface, he’s not your typical Hall of Fame candidate. Marion made his mark as the second or third-best player on exciting teams that never truly won before eventually winning his lone championship as a role player. He received MVP votes just twice – in 2004-05 when he finished 14th and 2005-06 when he finished 10th – which just so happen to come in years when his teammate, Steve Nash, actually won the award.

His career averages of 15.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists don’t exactly overpower the senses. He never once finished in the top 10 in scoring and despite the reputation as a versatile defender, never once made an All-Defence team.

And yet, Basketball-Reference.com’s trusty Hall of Fame calculator – which takes into account all sorts of factors including All-Star appearances, championships, how often a player shows up on league leaderboards and a player’s peak, among others – gives Marion a 76% of eventually making it.

So what gives? What makes Marion’s case compelling that goes beyond the bullet points and back of the basketball card? Let’s dive into the Matrix.
Prime years with the Phoenix Suns

We’ll dive into what the championship with Dallas means in a bit, but there’s no denying that Marion’s time in Phoenix stands front and centre when it comes to his candidacy.

All four of his All-Star selections came in a Suns jersey with the first in 2002-03, two years before Nash’s arrival ushered in the “7 Seconds or Less” era. There’s somewhat of a popular misconception that Marion’s entire time in Phoenix was spent riding shotgun alongside a two-time MVP, that Marion was more a product of a system than a truly great player on his own merits.
Did you know that of Marion’s eight full seasons in Phoenix, just three were spent alongside Nash?

Though he may have never truly received top billing in his pre-Nash days in the desert – a distinction that belonged first to Jason Kidd and later Stephon Marbury – it was Marion that served as the Suns best player before the arrival of the point guard that changed everything in the Valley of the Sun. Following his rookie season, Marion led the Suns in win shares each of the next four seasons during which time he ranked seventh in the NBA behind only Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Tracy McGrady.

Think about that for a minute. Before Marion even reached his prime, he was already lurking beneath the surface as a borderline superstar, outperforming all but the very brightest of stars.

Duke officials said outside investigators spent five months looking into attorney Michael Avenatti’s claims that Nike funneled money to players, including former Blue Devils star Zion Williamson, to steer them toward college basketball programs it sponsored and found no evidence supporting his allegations.

Duke said it found no proof that Williamson, the 2019 ACC Player of the Year as a freshman and the No. 1 pick by the New Orleans Pelicans in June’s NBA draft, received improper benefits that would have made him ineligible to play for the Blue Devils last season.

“As soon as Duke was made aware of any allegation that might have affected Zion Williamson’s eligibility, we conducted a thorough and objective investigation which was directed by individuals outside the athletics department,” Duke spokesman Michael Schoenfeld told the News & Observer, which was first to report results of the investigation. “We found no evidence to support any allegation. Zion thrived as both a student and an athlete at Duke, and always conducted himself with integrity and purpose.”

In a statement to ESPN on Friday, Avenatti said the people conducting Duke’s outside investigation never contacted him.

Is Shawn Marion a Hall of Famer? It’s complicated.

On the surface, he’s not your typical Hall of Fame candidate. Marion made his mark as the second or third-best player on exciting teams that never truly won before eventually winning his lone championship as a role player. He received MVP votes just twice – in 2004-05 when he finished 14th and 2005-06 when he finished 10th – which just so happen to come in years when his teammate, Steve Nash, actually won the award.

His career averages of 15.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists don’t exactly overpower the senses. He never once finished in the top 10 in scoring and despite the reputation as a versatile defender, never once made an All-Defence team.

And yet, Basketball-Reference.com’s trusty Hall of Fame calculator – which takes into account all sorts of factors including All-Star appearances, championships, how often a player shows up on league leaderboards and a player’s peak, among others – gives Marion a 76% of eventually making it.

So what gives? What makes Marion’s case compelling that goes beyond the bullet points and back of the basketball card? Let’s dive into the Matrix.
Prime years with the Phoenix Suns

We’ll dive into what the championship with Dallas means in a bit, but there’s no denying that Marion’s time in Phoenix stands front and centre when it comes to his candidacy.

All four of his All-Star selections came in a Suns jersey with the first in 2002-03, two years before Nash’s arrival ushered in the “7 Seconds or Less” era. There’s somewhat of a popular misconception that Marion’s entire time in Phoenix was spent riding shotgun alongside a two-time MVP, that Marion was more a product of a system than a truly great player on his own merits.
Did you know that of Marion’s eight full seasons in Phoenix, just three were spent alongside Nash?

Though he may have never truly received top billing in his pre-Nash days in the desert – a distinction that belonged first to Jason Kidd and later Stephon Marbury – it was Marion that served as the Suns best player before the arrival of the point guard that changed everything in the Valley of the Sun. Following his rookie season, Marion led the Suns in win shares each of the next four seasons during which time he ranked seventh in the NBA behind only Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Tracy McGrady.

Think about that for a minute. Before Marion even reached his prime, he was already lurking beneath the surface as a borderline superstar, outperforming all but the very brightest of stars.

Anthony Davis might not be “Taco Tuesday” material … ’cause the Lakers superstar is admitting LeBron James told him he’s not FUN enough for his weekly ritual!!

The NBA 2K20 cover athlete was invited over to LBJ’s L.A. mansion for the epic mealtime back in July … joining in on the craze that’s gone insanely viral. Seriously, the King’s even trying to trademark the phrase, it’s been THAT popular.

The Nets had nothing. Now, they have everything. At least on paper.

Not long ago, Brooklyn was lousy, old, deep into the luxury tax and without its own first-round pick for years to come. Several lost seasons obviously loomed.

But the Nets made the most of those losing years. They drafted well with their limited picks, acquired more where they could and identified players off the scrap heap. Importantly, they instilled a culture of hard work and development.

The rise was slow, but given the circumstances, quicker than expected. Brooklyn made the playoffs last season.

The Nets parlayed that moderate success into a monumental offseason, luring Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in free agency. Those stars vault Brooklyn onto a whole new level. It’ll probably take until 2020-21 when Durant recovers from his torn Achilles, but the Nets are primed to enter the thick of the championship chase.

Most teams must strip their roster to spare parts to open the cap space for two max players. Remarkably, Brooklyn didn’t.

The Nets still have a huge chunk of the young players who helped establish the culture that attracted Durant and Irving. Caris LeVert (No. 35 on our list of 50 best players in 5 years), Jarrett Allen (No. 44 on our list of 50 best players in 5 years), Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, Rodions Kurucs and Dzanan Musa all return.

As if James Harden wasn’t unstoppable enough.

Harden’s step-back three has become probably the most unstoppable shot in the NBA. Now video has gone viral in NBA circles of Harden working on a one-legged, step-back three. Think Dirk Nowitzki’s one-legged jumper, but from three and with a little more side-to-side to it. (You can see the video above.) Harden talked to Tim MacMahon of ESPN about it.

“I’m not sure; it’s something that I work on,” Harden said when asked if he’ll use the one-legged, step-back 3 this season. “But you know how Mike [Jordan] has his fadeaway and Dirk [Nowitzki] has his one-leg and [Kareem Abdul-Jabbar] had the sky hook, I want my step-back to be one of those moves that last forever. So when I travel around the world and I see little kids that [say], ‘Hey James, I got a step-back!’ — I love to see that.

Caris LeVert is staying with the Brooklyn Nets on a three-year, $52.5 million extension according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. He posted about his excitement over the new deal on Twitter shortly after it was reported.

In conjunction with the final year on his rookie contract, this new deal will keep LeVert with the Nets through the 2022-23 season, aligning his free agency with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan four summers from now.

With those three in place, signing LeVert to an extension now was crucial. Irving and Durant will make close to their maximums on their new deals, and Jordan will average nearly $10 million per season on his. A pricey contract for LeVert would have vaulted them into luxury tax territory before even considering new deals for role players such as Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris.

That contract almost certainly would have come in free agency next season, as there are no established superstars on the unrestricted market.

Boston Celtics big man Enes Kanter recently hosted a basketball clinic in New York, where the cameras of Spectrum News were able to catch up with the 27-year-old.

Kanter was asked about his thoughts on fellow former Knick Carmelo Anthony and the latter’s apparent inability to secure an offer from any team in the league at the moment. According to the 6-foot-11 center, having faced Melo many times in the past, he believes that the 10-time All-Star still deserves a place in the NBA.

“Like a nightmare,” Enes Kanter describes his experience of guarding Anthony in the past. “Definitely, because still, he can score the ball anytime. He can get 22 to 25 [points] every game. So I think he’s definitely a very special player. I feel like he still belongs in the NBA. He should definitely be in the NBA.”

Despite both having had the opportunity to dawn the Knicks uniform at one point in their respective careers, these two never became teammates in New York. As a matter of fact, Kanter was sent to the Knicks as part of the deal that brought Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the summer of 2017.

Marvin Bagley can do more than make buckets. The Kings’ young big man can spit some rhymes, too.

Bagley released his first album Saturday, titled “BIG JREAMS.” And, no he didn’t misspell “dream.” Bagley explained the title to one fan Saturday morning.

The album includes 14 songs, and Bagley tweeted a preview on Wednesday.

There is “internal belief” within the Miami Heat organization that they could get John Wall back to his previous All-Star level should they trade for the point guard as part of a package for Bradley Beal, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

Wall is likely to be out for this season as he recovers from an Achilles injury.