First Cup: Wednesday
August, 27, 2014
By Nick Borges
- Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune: But Glen Taylor said he never expected Love’s offensive skills to develop as much as they have in the past 2½ years and he was reluctant then to guarantee Love more than $80 million because of an injury history that at the time included a broken hand and suspect knees. Since then, Love played only 18 games during the 2012-13 season after he broke that same left hand not once, but twice in fewer than three months. “The only thing I still have a question mark about is his health,” Taylor said. “I had that concern then. I still have that concern, and Cleveland should have that concern, too: if he can keep his health. If they sign him to a five-year contract like they’re thinking about, that’s a big contract on a guy who’s had some times when he has missed games.” Taylor then questioned more than Love’s health. He questioned how he’ll fit in Cleveland alongside superstar LeBron James and guard Kyrie Irving. “I question Kevin if this is going to be the best deal for him,” Taylor said. “I think he’ll be the third player on a team. I don’t think he’ll get a lot of credit if they do really well. I think he’ll get the blame if they don’t do well. He’ll have to learn to handle that. He’s around a couple guys who are awful good. Now I’m not saying Kevin isn’t good. I think where he maybe got away with some stuff not playing defense on our team, I’m not sure how it’s going to work in Cleveland. I guess they will ask him to play more defense.”
- Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times: Mike Krzyzewski is done asking Derrick Rose how he feels. The Team USA coach made that evident Monday night before Tuesday’s 101-71 win over Slovenia in the final exhibition game at the Gran Canaria Arena in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. "I asked [Rose on Monday], and he said, ‘I feel great,’ " Krzyzewski told reporters. "He did everything. He’s full-go. I think there’s a part of him that’s like, ‘Quit asking me how I feel. I’m good.’ So I’m not going to ask him anymore." You’d hope someone would because while FIBA World Cup tournament play doesn’t start until Saturday, Rose continued to look like a guy whose game never made it through customs. Coming off the bench behind Kyrie Irving for a second straight game, Rose looked unsure with the ball, evident in three turnovers in his 20 minutes. He was a pedestrian 3-for-6 from the free-throw line, missed an uncontested layup and seemed passive on offense (0-for-3) and inconsistent on defense (minus-4 in the plus/minus category). He wasn’t the player who first showed up to Las Vegas last month, wowing teammates and coaches on both sides of the ball. But for now, Rose gets a free pass.
- Bob Finnan of The News-Herald: Because Kevin Love’s No. 42 was retired with the Cavaliers, he will become just the fourth player in franchise history to wear No. 0 (the others are Lari Ketner, Jeff McInnis and C.J. Miles). "All respects to Nate Thurmond,” he said. “I really appreciate him and pay my homage to him for having the conversation of allowing me to wear the No. 42. But I thought this was a chance for me to one, start fresh, and two, pick a new number that would suit me. So I went all the way back to my grass roots and my first number I ever played with.” Love was more of an inside player early in his career. Last year, 36 percent of his field-goal attempts were from behind the arc. “I just think that’s where the game is going,” he said. “You’re seeing that European influence over the past 10 to 15 years in the NBA. I always looked at that type of player, No. 41, Dirk Nowitzki. I loved his game. He was able to rebound, was able to shoot the ball and be able (to play with his) back to the basket. I knew I’d be a better commodity for any team in any system if I was as tall as I am and also being able to play inside and outside. I just mentioned I can fit any system, and I think I will fit in (Cavaliers coach David) Blatt’s.”
- Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman: On Tuesday afternoon, the Thunder traded its third-string center to Philadelphia for a $1.25 million trade exception. OKC also received a 2015 second-round pick in the deal, but it is heavily protected -- a phantom pick -- and will likely never make its way into OKC's hands. With Steven Adams' emergence last season and the first round selection of Mitch McGary in this past June's draft, Thabeet became expendable. Behind Adams and incumbent starter Kendrick Perkins, Scott Brooks has become increasingly more comfortable going small, meaning Nick Collison, McGary and even Serge Ibaka can play center at times. So it was a numbers game for Thabeet, with his departure opening up a roster spot and a bit more financial flexibility heading into the season. Thabeet was due $1.25 million next season, a contract that would have been guaranteed on Sept. 1. OKC is now around $2.9 million under the luxury tax, with its roster at 14.
- Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel: Carlos Delfino still will be owed $3.25 million but the Clippers may be able to use a "stretch provision" to delay some of the salary cap hit, the newspaper reported. It's uncertain if the deal could mark the end of Delfino's NBA career, given the serious nature of the foot injury he suffered during the 2013 playoffs when he was with the Houston Rockets. He will turn 32 years old Friday. Delfino worked tirelessly over the past few months with Bucks trainer Scott Barthlama, but a league source said the bone has not healed properly and the Argentine player might be out for another season.
- Howie KKussoy of the New York Post: Iman Shumpert has spent the summer working on a lot of little things, honing different elements of his offensive arsenal, in preparation for what he expects to be a bigger role in the Knicks offense. Having spent the majority of his young career playing in Mike Woodson’s perimeter-heavy attack, Shumpert said he believes the switch to Derek Fisher’s triangle offense finally will allow him to be properly utilized on the offensive end. "There’s constant action going on," Shumpert said. "I think I’ll be able to capitalize off that and I’ll be able to use my athleticism a lot more than standing in the corner." After tearing his ACL during the 2012 playoffs, missing much of the following season and spraining his MCL in the same knee last season, Shumpert said the biggest focus of his offseason training has been strengthening his left knee back to the level it was during his breakout rookie season.
- Marc Narducci of The Philadelphia Inquirer: In other Sixers news, Hinkie said that rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams, who underwent right-shoulder surgery May 6, was shooting and "working out hard" but had not been cleared for five-on-five contact. Hinkie said he was happy with the progress of center Nerlens Noel, who missed all of last season while recovering from anterior cruciate ligament surgery but played with the Sixers in the summer. It's too early to tell whether Embiid will play this season, Hinkie said. Embiid had surgery June 20 for a stress fracture in his right foot. As they were with Noel, the Sixers will likely be cautious with Embiid, who tweeted Tuesday that he signed his NBA contract, although the team had not released the information.