What’s Next For Kyle Lowry?: As the Toronto Raptors cleared out their lockers and did their requisite exit interviews with the team and the media, a common questions was asked of virtually everyone. ‘Is Kyle Lowry Going To Be Back Next Season?’
The short answer on Toronto’s unrestricted free agent is very likely.
The long answer is it depends on who else comes calling.
Lowry both publicly and privately has said he likes the situation in Toronto and that he’d like to be back. Privately, Raptors president Masai Ujiri has told staffers that re-signing Lowry is a top priority and that the team will meet the expected asking price, said to be in the $10 to $12 million per year range.
The problem for Toronto and for Lowry is that the Raptors won’t be the only team calling.
»In Related: 2014-2015 NBA Free Agent List.
Lowry is said to be on the LA Lakers wish list of free agents and there has been more than a few hints that Lowry could be on the HEAT radar if Miami’s Big Three follows through on the expected plan to opt out and create a little cap room for the HEAT in exchange for new long-term deals.
Lowry, who really came into his own this season, looks to have no shortage of free agent suitors and will find his resolve and commitment tested. While the emotions of a postseason run and arguably his best season as a pro are still fresh in the process, the Raptors look like the frontrunners mainly because no one else is really at the table yet.
Lowry’s teammates seemed fairly confident that Lowry was coming back, suggesting that the subject has been covered in detail to the point that they all responded like it was a forgone conclusion.
Lowry for some time has looked for a team to call his own and a situation where he could really connect with his teammates; he found that this year in Toronto. Privately, Lowry has said that means a lot to him as he weighs his future.
»In Related: Top 50 Highest Paid Players In The NBA.
Lowry has struggled to find stability in his career and that’s made him somewhat tough to deal with. He has butted heads with coaches and been stubborn with teammates. Some close to Lowry point to his marriage this past summer as a turning point for him as a person, and that all season he has been more of a leader and been more focused on buying in than looking for a way out . The results on the floor speak for themselves.
The stability that seems possible in Toronto is attractive and given that the Raptors can and likely will have the most money to offer, it seems likely that Lowry is back in Toronto next season, although it’s far from the lock that Raptors fan are hoping for. Not because he wants out, but because there are some high profile teams that could put real offers on the table and make the 28-year old Lowry pause.
»In Related:>Toronto Raptors Team Salary.
Lowry has unfortunately seen the harsh side of the NBA, having been traded twice in his eight seasons. That tends to make players more business focused in their decision making process. Lowry also hasn’t had that huge star-level payday some of his All-Star caliber peers have gotten and at 28, this is his shot, meaning money will matter over almost everything.
The prevailing thought is the Lowry will be back with Toronto next season; however, it’s not a lock. There are other teams that are going to try and tempt him out of Toronto, which is the unfortunate part of unrestricted free agency for the Raptors.
Can Anyone Turn Down The Lakers?: Here is the problem with the LA Lakers head coaching search – their star isn’t nearly as bright as it once was. Signing on as the next Laker head coach may come with more misery than success, especially in the short term. And for coaches that have to prove something, like the flurry of college names being kicked around, coaching the Lakers could be an extremely tough job.
The Lakers were planning on letting former head coach Mike D’Antoni coach out his final contract year. They had kicked around coaching candidates and decided that they needed to understand their team before making a long-term commitment to a new head coach. Not willing to be the bridge or the band-aid, however you’d like to frame it, D’Antoni resigned, putting the Lakers in the market for a new coach a little earlier than they had hoped.
»In Related:LA Lakers Team Salary.
The Lakers plan to be extremely thorough in their search. They have reached out to the likes of UConn head coach Kevin Ollie, who is expected to interview, mainly out of curiosity and respect. The Lakers are linked to North Carolina’s Roy Williams, although he is not expected to leave UNC.
League sources said the Lakers made their usual run at Duke Head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who is not leaving Duke. During the National Championship game, the Lakers interest in Kentucky coach John Calipari was leaked. Coach Cal immediately shot down the idea, although several people involved have said had Coach Cal wanted the job it would have been his.
Some veteran coaches with NBA experience are said to have logged their interest in interviewing including former Nuggets coach George Karl and former Memphis coach Lionel Hollins.
The Lakers have a tough sell in front of them; their roster is a huge unknown. They have free agency this summer, but may have eyes on free agency next summer and who is coaching the team may impact that. Clearly the Lakers are looking for that “one-size fits all” candidate. A coach that can develop the younger guys the Lakers have to infuse the roster with, but also have enough coaching credibility to keep star guard Kobe Bryant from going postal and chasing away would-be free agents.
The Lakers have a check book that is hard to say no to, but they also have a cloud of uncertainty about their future that makes them slightly less attractive than in years past. Factor in a massively passionate fan base and media market that’s impossible to hide in and you get a combination of issues that some coaches simply don’t want to be a part of.
The Lakers can calm a lot of worries with a hefty long-term contract, but the issues facing the Lakers this summer make this a much harder sell than they had planned for.
The Lakers plan to be thorough in their process, but there may be a reality to face in this equation – the coach the Lakers may want, may not want them at this point in their situation and choosing the wrong guy could have unintended consequences going forward.
The Lakers are one of the highest profile jobs in coaching, with that comes great temptation to be the guy that rights the ships and returns the franchise to glory. It also comes with unbearable scrutiny, second-guessing and pressure that few coaches are ready to handle.
The Lakers can make is financially worth it for any coach they want to back the Brinks truck up for, the question remains can anyone say no to the Lakers?
There was a time when that seemed impossible. However, today the Lakers may not be the dream scenario they once were.
Six Things You Need To Read: Here are the six things you may have missed on the flurry of the week.
- Studs and Duds from Week 3 of the NBA Playoffs.
- Chicago Can’t Afford to Sell Off Thibodeau.
- What’s Next for the Memphis Grizzlies?
- Is It The End For Mark Jackson In Golden State?
- Predicting The 2014 NBA Playoffs – 2nd Round.
- Best Postseason Duo In The NBA Playoffs.
More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @AlexKennedyNBA, @TheRocketGuy, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @SusanBible @TommyBeer, @JabariDavisNBA , @NateDuncanNBA , @MokeHamilton , @JCameratoNBA and @YannisNBA.
Mavs Guard Devin Harris on Personal Leave from Team
Guard Devin Harris will take an indefinite leave from the Dallas Mavericks after the tragic death of his brother, Bruce.
“I was with him yesterday and just encouraged him that when he’s ready to come on back,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I don’t know when that will be. He can take as long as he needs.”
Source: Tim MacMahon of ESPN
NBA PM: Patrick Beverley Set the Tone for Clippers in Season Opener
Patrick Beverley set the tone for the L.A. Clippers with his aggressive defense in their season opener.
“The LA Clippers are going to the Western Conference Finals. Guaranteed.”
That bold statement was made by Charles Barkley during TNT’s coverage of last night’s matchup between the Lakers and Clippers.
While Barkley may have had his hot take canon primed and in mid-season form, that should not overshadow the fact that the Los Angeles Clippers put together a strong showing in their first regular season game since the departure of Chris Paul.
Blake Griffin logged 29 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, two steals and knocked down three of his six three-point attempts. Griffin was aggressive and showed no hesitation on his jumper, which seemed to open up lanes for him to drive to the basket (where he is most effective). DeAndre Jordan was fantastic as well, contributing 14 points, 24 rebounds, one assist and one steal.
While the Clippers lost some significant contributors from last season, including J.J. Redick, Luc Mbah a Moute and Jamal Crawford, the team had some returning and new players show that they are capable of filling the void.
Milos Teodosic was just 2-9 from the field, but knocked down two three-pointers and looked comfortable and effective running the team’s offense. Danilo Gallinarni shot just 3-13 from the field but looked healthy and spry, displaying the kind of mobility that is necessary to play the small forward position. His ability to act as a secondary playmaker wasn’t on full display, but there were moments where it was apparent that he could be a big help in generating open looks for his teammates. Lou Williams also looked good in his Clippers debut, scoring in a variety of ways off the bench and contributing six assists as well. Wesley Johnson continues to look confident and aggressive, a continuation from his preseason performances, and is starting to knock down the open shots his teammates are creating for him (which has been a problem for him in the past).
While the Clippers looked solid in their opening act without Paul, it should be noted that the Lakers are a young team overall and their defense has been a major problem for the last few seasons. While the Lakers have added some promising young talent over the offseason, like most young teams, they are going to struggle to slow down veteran teams with potent offenses. It would be a mistake to think the Clippers can replicate this sort of offensive performance every night, especially against the better defensive teams in the league. However, perhaps the most promising part of the Clippers’ season debut was the fact that they seemed to feed off of and embrace the gritty demeanor and style of play that Patrick Beverley brings to the court each and every night.
Last night’s game was the NBA debut for rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, who many predict will develop into a star player. Unfortunately for Ball, his opening night matchup came against Beverley, who earned a spot on the 2017 All-Defensive First Team. Beverley repeatedly guarded Ball past half court, pushed him around and did everything he could to throw him off of his game. He held Ball to three points, nine rebounds and four assists in 29 minutes of action.
Beverley, like every NBA player, has heard the hype and noise surrounding Ball and his future in the league (most of it from his outspoken father, LaVar).
“I just had to set the tone,” Beverley said. “I told him after the game that due to all the riffraff his dad brings, that he’s going to get a lot of people coming at him. I let him know that after the game. What a better way to start than spending 94 feet guarding him tonight — welcome the young guy to the NBA.”
Beverley is one of the more aggressive defenders in the NBA and is known for trying to get under the skin of his opponents, so Lonzo may not face this level of intensity in every game. But based on Beverley’s comments, it’s clear that he expects other players around the league to defend Lonzo aggressively as well.
Snoop Dogg, the rapper and passionate Lakers fan, summed up the issue for Ball arguably better than anyone else has so far.
“His father put him in the lion’s den with pork chop drawers on,” said Snoop.
For his part, Lonzo complimented Beverley on his aggressive defense.
“[Beverley] plays hard. He knows his job. He does it very well,” said Ball. “He gets under people’s skin and plays defense and does what he can to help his team win.”
Beverley set the tone for the Clippers, who looked crisp and confident throughout the game. Griffin’s three-point shot looks like it could finally be a reliable part of his offensive arsenal. Jordan was very active on the glass, pulling down 24 rebounds (possibly inspired in part by his commitment to donate $100 per rebound this season to help the effort to rebuild his hometown of Houston after the damage inflicted by Hurricane Harvey). The rest of the supporting cast played with the sort of cohesion and confidence that takes at least a few weeks into the season to develop. Again, the Clippers’ performance could have stemmed primarily from the Lakers’ shaky defense, but it was encouraging to see the team play with such force and confidence in the absence of Paul.
The Western Conference is extremely talented and deep, so it’s unlikely that the Clippers will make it to the Western Conference Finals as Barkley predicted. However, challenging for a spot in the playoffs and perhaps even doing some damage once there seems to be in the realm of possibility. This is especially the case considering how much of an impact Beverley had Thursday night, both defensively and in setting the tone for the rest of his new teammates.
Morris Bringing Leadership To Celtics
Marcus Morris chats with Basketball Insiders for a one-on-one exclusive.
Returning just one starter from last year’s top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics underwent wholesale changes this past offseason.
Gordon Hayward signed a super max contract. Danny Ainge pried Kyrie Irving away from the Cleveland Cavaliers in a blockbuster deal. Jayson Tatum was selected with the third overall pick in the NBA Draft.
In early July, though, there was an under-the-radar trade executed that hasn’t been mentioned much. Surprisingly, Celtics guard Avery Bradley was sent to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Marcus Morris, a heady wing with size and versatility to add to a revamped core of players.
Bradley was a mainstay with the franchise for seven years and played a vital role as a part of Brad Stevens’ system, but Boston decided to move in a different direction. As for the man they got in return, he’s thrilled to be there.
“It makes me feel good,” Morris told Basketball Insiders of Ainge dealing one of his best former players for him. “It makes you feel wanted.
“This is my first time since I’ve been in the NBA I’ve been on a team with a bunch of guys that [are] All-Stars. With the maturity of the team being this high and having them high expectations on us, I’m excited to get the season going and see how far we can take this.”
The Detroit Pistons likely wanted to keep him, but the organization clearly felt Bradley’s skill set was too good to pass up. For Morris, he insisted there was no indication that his old team would send him away, but he hasn’t been bashful about talking up his new home.
“Had no idea that I was gonna be a Boston Celtic, but I’m ready for the challenge, you know?” Morris said. “I’m excited. Boston, being a Celtic—it’s something that growing up you don’t really see happening, but when it happens it’s an amazing thing.
“It’s like playing for the Patriots, you know what I mean? One of the most heralded teams and most heralded franchises, and Boston is one of those.”
Entering the seventh season of his career, Morris has remained a steady part of the league. During his time in Detroit, he started nearly every game for the Pistons and found a comfort zone that he believes will carry over in Boston.
“Just continue to be consistent, continue to build on my last past couple of years,” Morris said of his personal goals. “I really felt like I carved my spot in the NBA the last two years—averaging 14 a year and helping my team get to the playoffs one of those years, so I really think I’ve carved a niche in this league.”
The success has come thanks to his versatility and the NBA’s current direction pointing towards that type of game. All of a sudden, not having a defined position makes a player more valuable, something Morris is thankful for as he continues to bring a little bit of everything to the table.
“For guys like me, it’s great,” Morris said. “Coming into the league, I had this ‘tweener’ thing on my back and now it’s like [freaking] great to be a ‘tweener’ at this time. I’m actually happy that it’s switching to my position and guys that can do multiple things are being utilized more in this league.”
Putting the ball in the basket has come fairly easy for Morris, who averaged 14.1 points per game on 42.6 percent from the field over 159 games with Detroit. He’s able to stretch the floor and provide solid spacing offensively, and he envisions doing more than that for this Celtics group.
“And leadership,” Morris said. “I’m not too much of a vocal guy, but I’m a passionate guy on the court. I think that’ll rub off on guys. I love scoring. I love shooting the ball. But that’s not the only thing I do.
“I’ve been a tough defender around this league for the last past years and I’m really looking forward to hanging my hat on that again and just doing whatever it takes for my team to get to that next level.”
Stevens is aware of the impact Morris can bring in the locker room and on the floor. When he returns from a sore knee to make his debut for Boston, that’ll show through his play.
“He’s a guy that can stretch the floor at the four,” Stevens said. “He’s a guy that can guard two through four. He’s tough. He’s smart. He works the right way. We’ll be better with Marcus Morris for sure. The versatility is a very important part of what we want to be.
“Whether he is starting in a couple of weeks or whether he’s coming off the bench, at the end of the day he’s gonna be a critical, critical part of our team.”
While he’s waited to come back, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum have stepped up in his absence. With Hayward likely sidelined for the rest of the season, that success will have to be sustained. Morris is a big believer in this promising duo and sees how grounded they are to make that happen.
“They’re mature guys for their age,” Morris said. “Jaylen, I think he’s 20. He’s definitely a lot more mature than I thought. Jayson, too. He’s way more mature than your average 19-year-old.
“At the end of the day, it’s just basketball. I think those guys, they’re ready for the challenge. They love the game. They always in the gym, so I think it’ll be easy for ‘em.”
Part of Morris’ role is guiding those two and the other younger pieces that Boston has as they try and establish themselves as professionals. He’s kind of a coach per se, which is somewhat fitting considering what he did this summer.
Most basketball fans are aware of “The Basketball Tournament” that takes nationwide. For those that aren’t, it’s a single-elimination competition between 64 teams in which the champion receives a $2 million prize. Morris was the head coach of Team FOE—standing for Family Over Everything.
Along with his fellow Kansas alums, including his brother Markieff and Thomas Robinson, Morris coached his team to the final game. Team FOE was in front most of the game but ultimately fell to Boeheim’s Army, a squad filled with former Syracuse Orangemen.
“I was on my way man,” Morris said of coming close. “I actually liked it. I’m a smart guy. Me and basketball stuff, I can put it together real well. I was kinda upset we lost in the fashion that we lost, but we’ll be back next year.
“I’m a smart player,” he said regarding a potential future on the sidelines. “I know the game really well. Coaching comes easy for some guys and I’m just one of those guys.”
You could hear “Coach Morris” down the line, but for now and for years to come, Marcus is focused on his first year with Boston. It’s a team that surely has the talent to be the top team in the East it’s pegged to be. Stevens is a basketball savant with great leadership.
Even without an All-Star like Hayward and a 0-2 start, the Celtics should still be a force to be reckoned with. There’s an even greater demand for them to achieve their potential, especially knowing eyes will be on them, but Morris welcomes the challenge.
“Man, it’s pressure on every team,” Morris said. “It ain’t like it’s just all on the Boston Celtics. It’s pressure on every team. What’s a game without pressure anyway?
“Pressure makes it the best thing. That’s what we need to do anyway. I enjoy the pressure. Me personally.”
Shouldering the load won’t be easy, but if it comes down to it, Morris will be swimming instead of sinking. When all is said and done, he shares the same aspirations as most players do—raising the Larry O’Brien trophy in the summer.
“I want to the win the championship,” Morris said. “You put this type of team together to get to those positions. I’m looking to be playing in June and trying to get to a championship.”