The Lakers had another Summer League game Wednesday night, playing the Philadelphia 76ers, and they had a special guest in the stands Cavaliers superstar LeBron James.
None of your young players emerged as a franchise pillar or star last season. Does that make your job tougher, from a player-personnel standpoint?
First off, there are very few guys who shine after one or 2 seasons. Only the elite guys do. But I kind of like it this way. We’re built like you learn from your mistakes. When you’re not a superstar, you have a chip on your shoulder because it makes them hungrier to get better.
So I kind of like the progression. I like slow progression. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Mikhail Prokhorov has told us ‘patience, patience.’ I have the same message. We’re gonna be patient with them. They made some progress, but now to make that next step is harder. I’m looking two, three, sometimes development is four years down the road. That’s when hopefully we’ll see these guys, really. You’ll be talking about ‘man, that guy’s a heckuva player.’
You finished with the NBA’s worst record last season. What kind of progress did you see as a team internally that people on the outside may have missed?
I thought we improved defensively when we put Rondae in the starting lineup and we inserted Caris obviously Bojan [Bogdanovic] was traded. So all of the sudden we go from 30th defensive team to, after the All-Star game we were eighth in defensive efficiency. So I was proud of that. It’s not like the coaches did anything, but Caris and Rondae being a part of that defensive improvement I think is very important.
The Golden State Warriors and free agent swingman Nick Young have agreed to a one-year deal worth $5.2 million, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The deal adds more depth to the defending champions, who already re-signed the core pieces to their title-winning team this summer.
Young, known best by his nickname Swaggy P, averaged 13.2 points on 40-percent three-point shooting for the Los Angeles Lakers last season. He projects to fit well alongside a cast of selfless, personable Warriors players who thrive on court spacing and hitting three-pointers.
So why talk about it now? It’s happening when it’s happening because that’s what feels right, Bird says. So even though I understand there are people who think I should have done it sooner, it wasn’t right for me at the time. I have to be true to that. It’s my journey.
Talk about a power couple in sports! Bird recently won Olympic gold in Rio with the U.S. women’s basketball team (her fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal), and Rapinoe is part of the defending World Cup champion U.S. women’s soccer team. Both of them are two of the biggest names in their sport in the United States.
It is interesting what Bird said about people already knowing. Frankly, I was surprised to see she wasn’t publicly out already. Still, her story and being out will help countless people continue their journey to self-acceptance, and it’s wonderful to see her take this step.
Head over to ESPNW for the full article and interview with Bird, in which she talks about almost coming out a year about, but says she chickened out.
Las Vegas Summer League’s single elimination tournament continues on Thursday with eight more games on the slate. Eight teams that had byes in the first round will all play as the home team in Round 2. The winners from each of Wednesday’s Round 1 advanced to face a team with a bye.
Waiters had reportedly been deciding between the Heat, the New York Knicks, and the Los Angeles Lakers. Last season, Waiters averaged 15.8 points on 42.4 percent shooting, bouncing back from two subpar seasons with the Cavaliers and the Thunder.
Now, the Heat will have retained almost all of the roster that went 30-11 in the season’s second half, reversing their 11-30 first half record. While Miami probably isn’t a 55-win team the rate they were winning at during the final 41 games they are still led by one of the league’s sharpest coaches and surrounded by a lovable mismatch of talents that worked beautifully during February and March last year.
It’s a little strange that Waiters fits into that group, given how much his career had turned into a punchline for Twitter users. But the Heat have found ways to use him effectively, and that shouldn’t change for a player who’s still just 25 years old.
A former employee of the Atlanta Hawks is suing the basketball organization and another employee for treating entertainers and politicians visiting the Hawks differently based on race, according to a lawsuit filed this week.
Samuel Hayes, a former Security Operations Manager for the club, claims in the suit that there were different sets of security protocol for black and non-black entertainers who visited Philips Arena. Hayes said the protocol, when enforced differently, was to the detriment of black entertainers. Hayes also claimed he was fired because of his race.