The July whirlwind strengthened Brooklyn’s position. The cap fell far below projections. Teams that spent big in the summer of 2016 were staring down tax payments in 2018 and beyond. Many would need to shed money, and the Nets stood as one of only a couple realistic dumping grounds. They could execute one last, ultra-predatory version of the [DeMarre] Carroll deal — and snare a better pick.
The Nets instead played their last flexibility chip on [Allen] Crabbe — and extracted zero picks for saving the taxed-to-oblivion Blazers almost $45 million. They undid what most executives considered a lucky break in Portland matching Brooklyn’s offer sheet for Crabbe a year ago. “Would we have liked a pick?” [Nets General Manager Sean] Marks asked. “Sure. But this is what it took.”
Carroll can supply shooting at power forward; if he plays well, he could usurp [Rondae] Hollis-Jefferson’s starting spot. As of now, there will be a fierce competition between five players — [D’Angelo] Russell, [Jeremy] Lin, Crabbe, [Caris] LeVert and Carroll — for three starting jobs. (The bet here is on the Lin-LeVert-Crabbe trio, with LeVert’s grip the shakiest.)
That is a good problem for a team that gave too many minutes to fringe players. Flaws aside, Crabbe and Russell are legitimate rotation guys. Shifting sub-replacement-level minutes to borderline starters can have an explosive compound effect. Wagering on Crabbe also shows the Nets feel some pressure to improve.
We need to show progress,” [Nets Head Coach Kenny] Atkinson said, “out of respect for ownership.”
Source: Zach Lowe of ESPN
Tyronn Lue: Cavs Can’t Get Satisfied with One Win
Down 0-2 in the Eastern Conference finals heading into Saturday’s Game 3, Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue had desperation on his side as his team played with a have-to-have-it edge in their 116-86 blowout of the Boston Celtics.
Now Lue is tasked with distilling that same sense of urgency for 48 hours heading into Monday’s Game 4 (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). “We know what it takes,” Lue said after the Cavs’ film session on Sunday. “We did it before. We’ve got a lot of veterans, a veteran crew and they know what it takes to win. We can’t get satisfied with just one win. It’s just one; we’ve got to come out [Monday] night and duplicate it again.”
Source: Dave McMenamin of ESPN
Luka Doncic to Make Decision on NBA Draft ‘Soon’
Eight months after helping Slovenia to its first European Championship, Luka Doncic added a Euroleague title to his ever-growing mantel, which now also includes the Euroleague MVP and Euroleague Final Four MVP awards.
When asked by ESPN following Sunday’s victory what his next move is, Doncic said: “I will tell about all at the right time. Right now I just want to celebrate with my team. Soon I will tell.”
Source: Jonathan Givony of ESPN
D’Antoni on Rockets Blow Out Loss: We Played ‘Soft’
Coach Mike D’Antoni used the most damning four-letter word in the NBA vernacular — “soft” — to describe the Houston Rockets’ performance in the most lopsided playoff loss in franchise history.
The Golden State Warriors routed the top-seeded Rockets 126-85 at Oracle Arena in Sunday’s Game 3 to regain the series lead in the Western Conference finals.
Source: Tim MacMahon of ESPN