Morning Shootaround — July 22


VIDEO: Paul Pierce talks about joining the Clippers

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Pierce still has work to do | Harden beats Curry | Seth Curry gets crowned | Report: Players to study healthcare for retired players

No. 1: Pierce still has work to do As he enters the 17th season of his NBA career, Paul Pierce has pretty much seen and done it all, from winning a title to playing for a rebuilding team. But with his career entering its likely twilight, Pierce signed with the Los Angeles Clippers to play in his hometown, with the coach (Doc Rivers) with whom he experienced his greatest success, to play for a team that he hopes to lead over the hump, writes NBA.com’s Ian Thompsen

Paul Pierce was watching the Clippers on TV last May as they lost Game 7 of their Western conference semifinal. Pierce’s own team, the Wizards, had been knocked out of the Eastern conference playoffs two days before.

“I already knew I was either going to go home and play for the Clippers or come back to Washington,” says Pierce, who opted out of his Wizards contract to become a free agent. “So I watched the Clippers closely.”

He watched, horrified, as they surrendered a 3-1 series lead over Houston. Worst of all was a Game 6 loss in Los Angeles in which the Rockets scored 51 of the last 71 points.

“No way — if I was in that locker room — I would have allowed that to happen,” Pierce says. “You picture yourself being that voice or being that guy on the court that can help in those situations. I think I fill a pretty big need for them.”

So his career ends where it began. Pierce starred at Inglewood High School, one mile west of the Fabulous Forum where the Lakers played. He had grown up idolizing Magic Johnson and hating Larry Bird. He could not have imagined how his loyalties would change during 15 years as a Celtic, and that his preference ultimately would be to return home to play for the Lakers’ nearest enemy.

There was a time, three decades ago, when pro basketball was saved by the rivalry of Boston and Los Angeles. Pierce has grown up to straddle the NBA’s dueling capitals.

“I’m trying to cement my legacy in both,” he says. “If I could win the first Clippers’ championship here, that would be pretty much storybook.”

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No. 2: Harden beats Curry After months of discussion and debate, Stephen Curry ran away with the 2015 NBA Most Valuable Player Award, as voted on by NBA media. But last night on the first annual NBA Player’s Association “Players’ Awards,” the voting shook out differently. As Jonathan Feigan writes in the Houston Chronicle, the players voted for James Harden over Curry as the NBA Players’ Choice MVP

Following a season in which Curry won nearly everything there was to win, Harden was the choice of NBA players as the winner of the first NBA Players Choice Award for MVP announced on Tuesday, edging Curry, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook.

Though other details about the voting were not released, Harden was said on the tape-delayed BET broadcast to have won by one vote.

“I want to thank God, thank my mom, my family and friends for all the support, the continuous support,” Harden said. “I want to thank BET for this beautiful event. To the NBA Players Association, (executive director) Michele Roberts for giving players a voice to speak their minds, and then just the players, the peers, I appreciate this vote. It means a lot and I’m really thankful for it.”

Curry was the NBA’s official regular-season Most Valuable Player award, taking 100 of the 130 first-place media votes, with Harden second with 25 first-place votes. Curry defeated Harden’s Rockets in the Western Conference Finals and helped lead the Golden State Warriors to the NBA championship. But Harden’s selection was surprising because of the results when many of the other award winners were announced.

Curry had been named the league’s ‘Top Clutch Performer,’ taking the award over Harden, James and Westbrook. He had also made the winner of the ‘Hardest to Guard Award,’ winning over Harden, James and Westbrook.

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No. 3: Seth Curry gets crowned Stephen Curry was a lottery pick who worked his way into becoming the NBA MVP. His younger brother, Seth Curry, has had a more circuitous route, spending most of his pro career bouncing around the D-League. Yet in the recently finished Samsung NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Seth looked like Steph, averaging 24.3 ppg for the New Orleans Pelicans summer squad. His big performance was rewarded yesterday, when Seth Curry inked a two-year deal with the Sacramento Kings

The Kings will look for perimeter shooting from the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Curry.

After leaving Duke in 2013, Curry wasn’t drafted. He has spent most of his pro career in the NBA Development League, where he has been an All-Star twice. He has appeared in four NBA games: one with Memphis and one with Cleveland in 2013-14 and two with Phoenix last season. He had 10-day contracts with those teams.

Curry is the second player to strike a deal with the Kings since the end of summer league. On Monday, the Kings and forward Quincy Acy agreed to a two-year contract with a second-year player option.

Acy played with the Kings during the 2013-14 season after coming from Toronto in the Rudy Gay trade. The Kings dealt him to New York last August, and he averaged 5.9 points and 4.4 rebounds in 68 games with the Knicks.

The Kings will have 13 players on guaranteed contracts once the additions of Curry, Acy and Caron Butler become official. Eric Moreland’s deal becomes guaranteed Aug. 1. Second-year guard David Stockton’s contract does not become guaranteed unless he is on the Kings’ roster after Jan. 10.

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No. 4: Report: Players to study healthcare for retired players At a recent meeting of the NBA Player’s Association, the executive committee has decided to set aside some money as they study a plan to provide healthcare to retired players. As Ken Berger writes for CBS Sports, there are no concrete plans, but the players are interested in studying the idea

At its summer meeting in Las Vegas on Monday, union leaders agreed that they liked the concept of funding retired players’ medical costs, but no vote was taken on whether to go forward with the plan. The executive committee, led by president Chris Paul of the Clippers, voted to set aside an undisclosed sum of the shortfall check the union is due to receive from the NBA to fund the initiative if it is acted upon.

The issue will be discussed further at the union’s All-Star meeting in Toronto.

Since the players’ negotiated salaries for the 2014-15 season came in below their 50-51 percent negotiated guarantee, the union will receive the entire escrow fund of approximately $200 million plus the amount of the shortfall — estimated to be $57 million, according to a league source. The committee did not vote on how to divide the shortfall money — evenly among all the players or prorated based on their salaries, sources said.

It is expected that the players also will receive shortfall checks after the next two seasons as league revenues continue to rise higher than expected. With the infusion of the NBA’s $24 billion TV deal beginning in 2016, commissioner Adam Silver said last week that the amount of the shortfall due the players in 2017 could approach $500 million.

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: New Wizards signee Jared Dudley will miss 3-4 months following back surgery … The Pelicans have added veteran leadership by signing Kendrick Perkins to a one-year deal … The Hornets have reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with former UNC star Tyler Hansbrough … The Rockets have re-signed K.J. McDaniels … The Celtics signed second-round pick Jordan Mickey to a four-year dealBaron Davis is trying to launch an NBA comeback

25 Comments

  1. Doug Rogers says:

    I think Lebron James is a true superstar, however, I don’t think the Cavaliers will win the big one with four players on the offensive end of the floor standing around watching Lebron do his thing. I still believe in team ball and that a more balanced approach on the offensive end of the floor will lead to a championship for the Cavaliers. With Love and Irving back healthy, the Cavaliers should be more balanced and have a better chance to win it all. The talent is there, so less see if they can put it all together.

  2. Real facts says:

    I can’t wait to see the Spurs next year. I think that is who lebron will lose to next.

  3. Joshua says:

    Well, the professionals got it right. Harden was the true MVP. Without him the Rockets don’t even make it to the playoffs, but without Curry the Warriors would still make it to the playoffs as a 7 or 8 seed. I love Curry, but Harden was the MVP. The actual players who faced him and know the game at a level that most fans don’t have spoken.

  4. M. Dalgart says:

    LeBron’s efforts in the Playoffs, should definitely award him the MVP. When you consider that Love, Irving was injured, and unable to play, LeBron single handed kept the Cavs competitive vs Warriors, and almost pulled it off.
    Yes, LeBron should truly be awarded the MVP for his awesome individual efforts in the NBA Finals.

  5. harriethehawk says:

    Doc Rivers is only giving his Flippers one more season to shape up. And Paul Peirce, all that trash your talking. It will be your last year too if the Flippers don’t win. These new team player introduction media conferences are so predictable. Everyone glamorizes their team.

  6. omenghon says:

    I agree with the selection of Harden as season MVP. James Harden almost single handidly carried the Rockets to reach the playoffs during the regular season. He had to endure the absence of Dwight Howard almost half the season. And their starting point guard Patrick Beverly. They may have acquired a good player in Josh Smith but it came on the latter part of the season.
    Congratulations to James Harden. You deserve it.

  7. OverseasNBAFan says:

    Nice consolation prize for Harden its about the only thing he could win is an unofficial award like this, cause he and the rockets were dominated by the dubs all regular season and totally choked in the playoffs again.. He now holds the record for most turnovers by single player in a game in playoff history, what was it 12 or 13 TOs? yeah that’s your players MVP.
    Ohh and Curry winning the “Most Clutch Performer” award, we all know Curry is clutch but he rarely had a chance to really show it this year, most of the regular season he and their starters sat out the whole 4th quarter in almost 20 games.
    You’d think the player awards would show more logic in their selections.. not seeing that here!

  8. lechone says:

    and lebron single handily failed in the finals..hahaha. 😛

  9. Teamflow12 says:

    What’s hard to believe is Steph Curry didn’t even receive 1 vote for Finals MVP, tell me how this is possible, voters need to be fined!!!

  10. juancho says:

    hello harden fans,,,,,, steph curry is better than harden ok,,, steph curry is the 2015 nba most valuable player ok,,,no one else to be broke steph curry record,,,

  11. SD-Stang says:

    Kyre did the Heavy Lifting for the Cavs to get them to the Playoffs without him the Cavs would have been lucky to be an eight seed. He doesn’t get enough credit for what he did last season. On the side of Steph people are really putting Logs on the Fire don’t be surprised if Golden State comes out beating people by 30 next season after all the “they got lucky” “Andre didn’t deserve it” “Steph wasn’t the real MVP” talk. Lets not forget they had the best record they made adjustments when playing teams that many thought would give them trouble such as Memphis they also made adjustments when playing the Cavs. They were well coached and deserved the title this year They will be right back in the hunt next year if anything they will be better because of the experience.

      • kai says:

        can’t help but forsee spurs v warriors western finals. won’t that be delightful? Sorry Paul Pierce, but not this year! Clippers only chance is if spurs/warriors aren’t healthy; no lies. Doc is a joke. Clips peaked. Jordan can’t hit free throws. Dis-interested in basketball much? Clips got talent but lack ability to put desire before ego. Gonna need a better coach/organization. Coaching is too important. Which is why Kerr v Pops sounds most likely. San Antonio in 7. Spurs v Cavs finals rematch plz. Lebron with healthy and maybe finally clicking cavs? Spurs v Cavs, yes plz cheese plllizza.

  12. thor says:

    Steph Curry is light years beyond everyone else in this league. Not since Magic Johnson has there been such a singular galvanizing talent. He will continue to lead the Warriors to great heights for years to come while everyone else struggles with finding someone else to talk about.

  13. RP says:

    Harden and Curry are great players – but it’s crazy that anyone other than Lebron is named MVP. Lebron is head and shoulders better than any other player and his value to his team is off the charts.

    • Da Truth says:

      You are right…..but….. Curry out performed James in the regular season, that is why they call it the KIA ‘performance’ award.

      As for Harden, he is not as good as Curry, close but not as good. Curry brought home a championship ring and also beat the Rockets pretty good along the way.

    • tainamo says:

      Steph makes his teammates good players. LeBron? IDK!

  14. Filipino Idiot says:

    Doc Rivers is a very overrated coach.

  15. l0l says:

    well deserved mvp for harden. he shud’ve been nba’s mvp too. this dude single handly caried the rockets to conf finals lol

  16. en. says:

    I would love to see harden vs curry 1 on 1

    • Marcus says:

      I know cause both of them can’t play defense. Wouldn’t that be joyful to see two players shoot around wooooh !