Morning shootaround — July 22


VIDEO: Daily Zap for games played July 21

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Carter says LeBron made own decision | Jefferson excited about Hornets’ roster | Report: Turner, Celtics reach deal | Report: Van Gundy reassures Smith of Detroit future

No. 1: Carter: LeBron wasn’t pushed to pick Cavs – When LeBron James‘ letter was posted on SI.com detailing why he was returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers as a free agent, some skeptics emerged about why he made that choice. Was it made to make his various handlers and such happy? Was it done to make Clevelander’s happy and restore his legacy and standing in his home state? James’ longtime business partner, Maverick Carter, spoke on an ESPN.com podcast and explained that James’ decision was exactly that — his decision:

Maverick Carter, LeBron James’ business partner, says he didn’t push James to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, nor did anyone else in the NBA superstar’s inner circle.

“This was a decision that LeBron made in his heart,” Carter told ESPN.com’s Jason Whitlock on the Real Talk podcast. “We didn’t push him to do it. We don’t push him to do anything. If he asks our opinion or what did we think about the pros and the cons, we help him think through it. We don’t push him.”

James decided to return to the Cavaliers on July 11 after spending four years with the Miami Heat. He opted out of his contract with Miami and signed a two-year deal to return to Cleveland, where he spent his first seven seasons in the NBA.

“Listen,” Carter said, “LeBron’s a 29-year-old man with lots of money, got a wife, two kids, one on the way. He makes his own decisions. He doesn’t need anyone pushing him any way, and a guy like that, you’re not going to push him either way. We’ll help him think through things and help him see through things, but he makes his own decision in his heart. Because, ultimately, he has to live with it. I’m not the one who has to show up and play games for any team.”

He also said that James and Dwyane Wade will be “friends for life” and that James told Wade before the Sports Illustrated article was released of his decision. Carter did not know exactly when James told Wade.

“Their friendship goes beyond basketball,” Carter said. “It’s bigger than basketball.”

He also said that he, as well as James, has nothing but good things to say about the Heat or their management.

“The Heat run a first-class organization,” Carter said. “They have one of the best organizations in all of sports. Just being around that organization, I think LeBron learned a ton about what it takes to be a championship organization and how it works.”

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No. 2: Jefferson a big fan of Hornets’ offseason — There’s no doubt last season was a successful one for Charlotte Bobcats, what with it reaching the playoffs for just the second time in its existence and amassing 43 wins, too. Now that their name has been changed back to the Hornets, Charlotte is looking to take that fresh look and add it to a team that boasts an All-NBA Third Team center in Al Jefferson and rise even higher. Jefferson has been plenty impressed by Charlotte’s offseason moves — particularly adding Lance Stephenson — and talked with BasketballInsiders.com’s Alex Kennedy about that and more:

We just need to continue to build off of what we what we did last year,” Jefferson told Basketball Insiders. “We know that if we play defense and focus on defense, we will have a chance to win. That’s one of the things that I did last year that I’ve never done before, just really buying in to the defensive end. I believe us finishing sixth in the NBA in defense was the reason why we had the success we had. We just have to continue to build off that.”

Much of Charlotte’s core has been brought back, but they’ve also made some key additions this summer including Lance Stephenson, Marvin Williams, Noah Vonleh and P.J. Hairston. Jefferson loves the moves and can’t wait to take the court with his new teammates.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Jefferson said. “I told them how I felt when the season went over well. They did everything they said they were going to do [this summer]. I think we have got better.”

“I think Lance is the type of guy we need on our team,” Jefferson said. “[He’ll] bring that aggressiveness on defense, he’s a playmaker, he can shoot it and he knows what it takes to win. He’s got deep into the playoffs every year for the past couple years. I’m really excited to have him.”

Jefferson is also thrilled to see Charlotte adding more quality young players like Vonleh and Hairston. He recently made his way to Las Vegas to be around the Hornets’ summer league team and give the players some guidance, and he plans to continue leading the youngsters when the season starts. So far, he likes what he sees.

“I like them guys, they play with a lot of energy and I see a lot of good shooters out there,” Jefferson said of the Hornets’ summer league squad. “We need to get more rebounds, but I know it’s been a long couple weeks for these guys. I’m satisfied.

It means a lot, not only just for the Charlotte Hornets but the whole NBA, having a bunch of us [veterans] all around the league come out and support the young guys. Ten years ago, I was one of them young guys playing here. It’s come a long a way. It’s been a while since I’ve been here and to see the fans that come out to support the young talent and the NBA, it’s amazing. It just shows you how big it’s getting.”

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No. 3: Report: Celtics, Turner agree to deal — Former No. 2 overall pick Evan Turner was dealt from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Indiana Pacers at the trade deadline to try and deepen the Pacers’ bench in hopes of a Finals run. The marriage between Turner and Indiana never fully meshed and, as the playoffs wore on, Turner was stuck on the bench. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald has more on Turner’s deal and why he picked Boston over other suitors:

In a marriage of two sides hoping to raise their station, the Celtics yesterday reached agreement on a contract with free agent swingman Evan Turner.

The Herald first reported the deal, noting that, according to sources, the 2010 second-overall NBA draft pick will receive a portion of the Celts’ mid-level exception. Turner’s representative, David Falk, acknowledged the agreement last night. Terms were not confirmed, but sources say Turner will have the opportunity to cash in when the NBA’s salary cap rises significantly, as expected in 2016.

The sides had been in discussion nearly every day since July 1. Turner, traded from Philadelphia to Indiana in February, became an unrestricted free agent when the Pacers declined to extend him the $8.7-million qualifying offer.

“There’s tremendous upside in the opportunity for both sides,” said Falk. “I think the Celtics got an old-school Celtic-type player who’s very, very talented, has a very high basketball IQ and is highly motivated to prove to people that he’s not the player who ended the year in Indiana.

“I think he was probably the most undervalued free agent on the market. Evan was in a dramatically different situation the day before the deadline than he was when he finished the year. He didn’t get a lot of playing time in Indiana unfortunately.

“But that’s history. There’s nothing we can do to change that. This is a situation where he can come and grow as a player. I think Brad (Stevens) realizes he’s a multi-dimensional player.”

Turner played at Ohio State for Stevens’ former Butler boss, Thad Matta, and coaching appears to have played a major role in Turner’s decision.

“There are teams that offered him one-year deals. There are teams that offered him multi-year deals,” said Falk. “But I think the deal here is secondary to the environment.

“Boston all along has been probably our No. 1 destination. I felt what Evan needed was to kind of replicate the relationship that he had with coach Brett Brown in Philadelphia. … We were really looking mostly for an environment more than geography.”

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No. 3: Report: Van Gundy assures Smith he’ll likely be with Pistons next season — The latest news about Josh Smith being in trade talks lines up with the last bit of news we heard out of Detroit, which was that Pistons coach/president Stan Van Gundy expected more in any trade for the versatile forward. The Kings had been hot on Smith’s trail, according to multiple reports, but Van Gundy recently told Smith that he expects him to be on Detroit’s roster next season. Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski has more:

Detroit Pistons president and coach Stan Van Gundy reached out to forward Josh Smith to tell him that reports of the franchise engaging in substantive trade talks with Sacramento centered on Smith have been inaccurate and – barring an unexpected turn of events – Smith will be in training camp with the Pistons this fall, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Sacramento had made calls about Smith in June, but Detroit never heard an offer that remotely interested them and never seriously engaged in discussions, sources told Yahoo Sports.

Since his hiring in the spring, Van Gundy has had productive discussions with Smith and sources say that Smith has been enthusiastic about moving forward with Van Gundy as coach.

Smith could return to a frontcourt that includes forward Greg Monroe, who is a restricted free agent this summer. The Pistons have been willing to engage teams in sign-and-trade scenarios for Monroe, but those talks have gained little traction, sources said.

***

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Warriors teammates Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green have been added to the U.S. Select Team roster, as was Jazz point guard Trey BurkeInteresting fact about Jan Vesely, who is to play in the Turkish league next season … Ex-Lakers and Nets guard Sasha Vujacic has hopes of returning to the NBA this season … Bucks point guard Brandon Knight is excited about new coach Jason Kidd and rookie Jabari Parker

ICYMI of The Night: The Starters look back on all the best plays from a thrilling Las Vegas Summer League …


VIDEO: The Starters pick their top 10 plays from Summer League

32 Comments

  1. what the Bull(s) says:

    Pacers messed up big time… rondo should get traded for omer asik. kevin love go the rockets, okc or lakers.

  2. Kome the Black Dumba says:

    Even if Love sign with Cavs, I don’t see them as a contender. Love’s game is good but don’t you think he played similar to Bosh? Obviously Love’s statwise is better but Bosh’s stat was good with he’s with the raps.

    IMHO, Cavs still needs bench(Mike a great pickup) and at least 2 decent bigs to make it to the finals. Same with what Wizards did with gortat and nene.

  3. Whom says:

    Two #3 bullet points btw.

    Lebron made the most intelligent of decisions by going back to Cleveland, not for Ohio, NBA fans, critics, or for anyone else but himself. He created a great storyline, a monumental narrative. He has saved face and mended the hostility between he and his beloved home and some of his haters. He has the ability to sign the highest contracts possible. But the biggest upside to all this is that he is basically the unofficial front office for this team (even having more power then the owner). He knew when going back the kind of pull he’d get, one even he couldn’t get anywhere else, and that was what led him ultimately to this decision. He made an incredible business and PR move, one that even some of the greatest business men have to applaud. He has a potential great future beyond playing basketball and onto it’s business side if he could turn such resentment into new found appreciation while still filling his wallet and gaining more and more power while he’s at it. There was absolutely nothing he lost in this, only a 100% nearly guaranteed profit.

    • Carlo says:

      Correct.

      And I’ll add that any possible failure by Cavs will be put onto the FO and/or the coach (expecially the last one, being “a rookie” in NBA), for obviously LBJ can’t be wrong.

  4. Ryan says:

    The Utah Curse.

    People leave Jazz and go onto greatness. Corbin doesn’t get contract, and wins the Summer League Trophy!

  5. ...MN says:

    Robert 1959 – Where are you getting this 1M per year figure? I’m sure they can pay them MORE but that seems absurd.

  6. Al Jefferson isn’t gonna like his teammates when they start taking all his shots and touches from him.

  7. Robert1959 says:

    James, Anthony, Love and other NBA “Stars” had a chance to change the way NBA Players negotiate contracts (with or without an agent) in the future. The current NBA “Collective Bargain Agreement” – should be torn-up and re-written before it expires as a sign of “good will”. The $83million salary cap per team in unacceptable. The owners are paying the players and coaches less than 1 million dollars per game per team. The owners did it to themselves when they agreed to pay Donald Sterling 2 billion dollars over his original 27 million dollar investment.

    The NBAPA should be in discussions right know with their lawyers creating a new “Collective Bargain Agreement” strategy (raise the salary level to 1 million dollars per game for “Star” NBA Players). The NBA is a global marketplace (cable TV, internet, etc.) and the NBA “Star” Players are the main event.

    Over the next 10 years (820 games) James, Anthony, Love and other NBA “Star” Players had a chance to be the 1st “Billion Dollar” NBA Players. How?

    *Playing Basketball – James, Anthony, Love and other NBA “Star” Players should not play for less than 1 million dollars per game – 82 games per season = $82 million annually.

    *Endorsements (shoes, etc.) – James, Anthony, Love and other NBA “Star” Players should not wear anybody’s shoes for less than – 1 million dollars per game = $82 million annually.

    *Over 10 years James, Anthony, Love and other NBA “Star” Players can make – $1,640,000,000 each just for playing basketball and wearing sneakers.

    If the NBA does not raise the salary level for “Star” NBA Players to $1million dollars per game James, Anthony and Love should look at how the ABA forced the NBA into competitive bargaining by using the European League. For example “Star” NBA Players should treat the Euro league like soccer teams (clubs). I would negotiate to play 100 games split between 4 Euro teams (25 games each). I would charge each team $1million dollars per game which amounts to over $100,000,000 million dollars US. My fee for wearing anybody’s sneakers (Nike, Addidas, Reebok, etc.) is $1million dollars per game.

    Donald Sterling (2 billion dollars) still made more money than James, Anthony, Love and other NBA “Star” Players without playing a game or exposing the Euro League. How crazy is that…

    • Brendan says:

      with current revenue sharing and current collective bargaining not all teams turn a profit each year. selling a team that is in the second biggest market with a return investment of money from over 30 years ago is much different from modern nba teams making a profit on a yearly basis and still being able to reward the players with this overwhelming compensation you suggest and besides as you laid out the real superstars make there money from endorsements which while deserving is truly more than anyone can spend in a lifetime (sorry AI). so in my opinion what you suggest would truly ruin the league driving prices higher while simultaneously giving a huge advantage to the big market teams. some teams with current revenue streams just couldn’t afford to put up a competitive team and the current revenue sharing programs that were negotiated in the current cba is already extremely harsh to the big market teams. which in my opinion the lakers and knicks shouldn’t have to pay more for the other teams to be able to compete than they already have to. so the nets organization didn’t make more money then any of there players because they posted huge losses

  8. Jbland says:

    Cavaliers don”t need Kevin Love, they come a dime a dozen. However Wiggins a number 1 pick, young player that got at least 17 years to play, and immediately contrubute to winning. You do the math.

    • Trelos says:

      This kinda thing is hilarious… While I could honestly care less either way, and actually believe the Cavaliers should keep Wiggins over Love, to say that Love is a dime a dozen is just sheer stupid. In his last 3 full years of basketball he averaged 24ppg, and 13.7rpg while shooting over 38% from downtown, on a bad team. So tell me, how many 6’10 players out there have experience playing at PF and C, rebound everything that comes their way, averages 1.4 points for every shot taken (Jordan and Kobe averaged 1.31 and 1.30 respectively FYI) and can stretch your floor at the 4 or 5.

      How many are there in the league?
      How many in the last 10, 20, 30 years?
      How many in the history of basketball?

      How many of those are in the Hall of Fame?

      Saying the Cav’s should keep Wiggins over Love is an opinion, and one I agree with. Saying a player like Kevin Love is a dime a dozen if proof your father should have pulled out.

  9. Give me a break, the Celtics are a llottery bound team for several more years aat least. Rondo is overrated, he couldn’t even help his team last season. He needs stars around him. Evan Turner, he’s a huge bust and will never amount toto anything except filling a rroster spot and making millions for his timid play on the court. And danny ainge, please, he wouldn’t know how to run a team if the perfect solution slapped him in tthe face!

  10. Jeff Green should start as PF, and put swingman Evan Turner play the SF. Also green need to put some muscle on.

  11. KDfan says:

    LBJ and more justifications on the “Second Decision”……….more to come………

  12. Bill says:

    As a life long CELTICS fan, I like the pick-up of EVAN TURNER. Now the question is who do they let go?? How about Kieth Bogans, Victor Favariti, Gerald Wallace, Joel Anthony, Jared Bayless is already gone to Milwaukee. I think this could be a pretty good team without the above named players.

  13. pffff what a drama for my dear C’s…..with all those nice names and good players on the FA list, we decide to take Evan Turner??? U gotta be kidding me!!!

    Probably the most undervalued free agent on the market??? Who’s buying that?? You cannot hype this move man c’mon!!

  14. Doug Rogers says:

    It’s obvious that the Celtics are not through making moves to upgrade their team. So far, so good. They need to find a viable, reliable rim protector in order to get to a more competitive state. They are quicker and more athletic than last year’s team and should be better. Losing Hump hurt because they need people who can bankg and rebound.

  15. the pacers f**ked up last year by trading granger away

    • Eddy Griff says:

      How?? what has granger done the last few seasons??? and what did he do when they pushed the heat to 7 the previous season???? its clearly Paul George’s team. they play the same position, so who would you keep??????

      • tom says:

        Granger was a glue guy for Indy; after he was dealt the chemistry in the lockeroom collapsed. He didn’t have to play; obviously it’s George’s team, but each team need a veteran who brings calm between and during games. He was the most experienced Indy guy in the locker, he had a real impact on their minds.

      • Eddy Griff says:

        Is david west not a vet? Scola? Even George hill. Those guys can do it fine. I dont see how the loss of a guy who was barely playing and at times appeared unhappy because he had a reduced role affected the pacers and makes a horrible team by trading him away. Yes the “locker room incident” happened while he was gonna but it did involve lance stephenson and its likely it still would have happened even if granger was there. plus the pacers still made it to the conference finals just like the previous year. and besides that, roy hibbert wasnt playing worth a quater in the playoffs. is that also because they traded granger??

  16. randomguy says:

    Really? The Pistons gonna keep Josh Smith? That is such a terrible move. Unless no-one was offering them anything, shipping him off should be their number one priority. Monroe is still young and on a rookie contract, Drummond is still young and has potential to grow and having such a logjam in the frontcourt is bad for their development. Smith is not only overpaid, he is just a bad player because he doesn’t acknowledge his faults and limits. His constant terrible shot selection and unfounded belief in his 3 point shooting ability are the reason why he is not a star. Even though he is a skilled and athletic player who is quite a good defender, he is not a centerpiece to build around and so for a rebuilding team like the Pistons, he is a terrible fit, even if they didn’t have other frontcourt prospects sharing his position. Even just cutting him would benefit them more long term, at least it would free up minutes and not force them to use their terrible Smith+Drummond+Monroe lineup.

    • PistonsFan93 says:

      My thoughts exactly my friend. When that so called “J Smoove” chump signed with my team, I thought for sure that would help. But man was I wrong. I don’t get it. How do all these so called good players drop out of favor like that? Ben Gordon was a waste of time for sure. He was good on the Bulls was when he went to Detroit, heck- I forgot about him. Josh Smith is a good player. But you are absolutely right. Maybe some good players just don’t fit with certain teams. Freaking Drummond grabbing almost 10+ rebounds every game and Josh Smith does nothing. And the fact they paid him that much? Some owners are just downright stupid. We need to just let J Smoove to man. It would save us frustration and disappointment.

      • Symosky says:

        Uh, Monroe is a restricted free agent, so he’s not on a rookie deal anymore. That’s why he’s a restricted free agent..

  17. OldCelt says:

    What is it with Danny Ainge and guards who can’t shoot from anywhere further than 12 feet? Plus, its like 18 people under contract now… sheesh.