March 2021 Basketball Wiretap

Lou Williams Considered Retirement Following Trade

Mar 31, 2021 1:11 AM

Lou Williams said he considered retiring after getting traded from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Atlanta Hawks.

Williams eventually joined the Hawks on Tuesday night.

"It hurts. I had a lot of investment there. We had some success. We were gearing up for another deep run, a championship run. That was my mentality. I thought I would finish the season there," said Williams on Tuesday.

Williams added that he feels like he can help the Hawks make the playoffs.

The team is currently sixth in the Eastern Conference.

"I feel like I can help this team do some things. I don't want to look back and say I retired prematurely, be asking myself what could have been or what I could've done. This is an opportunity to finish out the season with this team and go from there."

ESPN

Tags: Lou Williams, Atlanta Hawks, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Rick Carlisle On Zion Williamson: 'A Shaquille O'Neal-Type Force' With Point Guard Skills

Mar 28, 2021 12:09 PM

Rick Carlisle compared Zion Williamson to Shaquille O'Neal following the Dallas Mavericks' 112-103 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Williamson scored 38 points on 13-of-20 shooting, while adding six rebounds and five assists.

Williamson also took 18 free throws in the game.

"He's an unusual force and obviously a great player ... it presents huge challenges for the defense and for officials. He is just creating collisions out there. This is a Shaquille O'Neal-type force of nature with a point guard skill set," said Carlisle.

Williamson also became the first player since O'Neal in 1995-96 to have four straight games of scoring at least 25 points with over 65% shooting.

Williamson added that his focus was only on making the right plays.

"I want to make the best play that's going to help us win. Sometimes, that's knowing when to shoot it and when not to shoot it. When to make the pass and when not to make the pass. I just want to win. It's as simple as that."

Andrew Lopez/ESPN

Tags: Zion Williamson, Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Pelicans, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Thunder To Shut Down Al Horford For Rest Of Season

Mar 27, 2021 7:36 PM

The Oklahoma City Thunder will shut down Al Horford for the rest of the season, sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The 34-year-old Horford will train with the team, but will no longer be active in games.

The team will instead focus on playing their younger players.

Sam Presti will work with Horford on a trade over this offseason.

Horford has two years and $53 million left on his deal. 

Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN

Tags: Al Horford, Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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James Harden After 44-Point Game: 'I Feel Like I Am The MVP'

Mar 27, 2021 12:37 PM

James Harden said he felt like he was the MVP of this season following his 44-point game against the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

"Do I feel like I belong in it? I feel like I am the MVP. I mean, it's just that simple. I don't want to be speaking individually on myself. I am just going to leave it at that," said Harden.

Harden is averaging 25.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 11.5 assists in 30 games with the Nets.

The Nets are 24-7 with Harden on the floor.

"Numbers are showing it for itself, and we're winning. That's all I can say," Harden added about his MVP case.

Harden currently has the fifth best odds at +900 to win the MVP at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill.

No player traded during a season has won the MVP for that same season in league history.  

Malika Andrews ESPN Staff Writer

Tags: James Harden, Brooklyn Nets, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Giannis Antetokounmpo After Bucks Win: 'I Just Like Being Under The Radar'

Mar 21, 2021 12:29 PM

Giannis Antetokounmpo said he liked how the Milwaukee Bucks were going under the radar following their 120-113 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.

It the team's 11th win in their last 12 games.

"I kind of like to be under the radar and we just come in, enjoy one another, enjoy playing basketball and we're just getting the job done. But, yeah, there's gonna be times they're gonna talk about us, there's gonna be times they're not gonna talk about us, but personally, as I said, I just like being under the radar," said Antetokounmpo.

Antetokounmpo had 26 points and 15 assists in the game.

The game also featured P.J. Tucker's debut with the team. Tucker went scoreless, but added three rebounds and a block.

"You can hear him even when he's on the bench, but out there on the court it's really fun. You love a guy that communicates in that way. He's loud, very clear and distinctive and makes the game a lot easier," said Jrue Holiday of Tucker's presence. 

Eric Woodyard/ESPN

Tags: Giannis Antetokounmpo, P.J. Tucker, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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P.J. Tucker Expected To Make Bucks Debut On Saturday

Mar 20, 2021 1:23 AM

P.J. Tucker is set to make his Milwaukee Bucks debut on Saturday, according to Mike Budenholzer.

The 35-year-old Tucker described his excitement of joining the Bucks, setting the bar at winning a title.

"My main goal is to win a championship. That's easy. That's the only reason I'm here. I feel like we've got a chance to win a championship and do something special," said Tucker.

Tucker, who hasn't played since March 3rd, said that he was rejuvenated by the trade.

"Man, you have no idea. It's gave me that boost and 15 years in, you look for anything."

Eric Woodyard/ESPN

Tags: P.J. Tucker, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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LeBron James Joins Fenway Sports Group As Partner

Mar 17, 2021 1:51 AM

LeBron James joined Fenway Sports Group as a partner, giving him an ownership stake in its subsidiaries that includes the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool FC, and NESN.

James previously had a 2% ownership stake in Liverpool.

The Red Sox are currently valued at $3 billion.

FSG also received a $750 million investment from RedBird Capital Partners.

James has spoken about his desire to own an NBA team after he retires. 

Jeff Passan/ESPN

Tags: LeBron James, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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NBA Draft Now 'More Meaningful In Origin Markets', 'Never Meant Less In Destination Markets'

Mar 16, 2021 3:36 PM

In a piece by Kirk Goldsberry on ESPN, he writes how the NBA has splintered into a select number of teams that can build via the draft, free agency and trades, and those that really can only use the draft to build a competitive team.

"Draft picks have never been more meaningful in origin markets and never never meant less in the destination markets," wrote Goldsberry. "As a result, the precious few teams that can reliably retain top talent are emptying their cupboards to extract unhappy superstars in mega-trades."

The split has created an environment in which teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets have each traded away nearly entire control of their draft over a seven-year period in exchange for one of the league's superstars. Those deals have widely been lauded for both the teams receiving the superstar and the team trading them away. For destination market teams, the draft has been devalued while it has never been more critical for the teams who don't have the option of free agency or trades to acquire a superstar. 

"It's really starting to feel like, depending on the nature of your market, you only have access to one, two or three of those legs," said Goldsberry on The Lowe Post. 

Kirk Goldsberry/ESPN

Tags: NBA, NBA NBA Draft, NBA Draft General, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Eec: Being In Glamour Market Is Necessary But Not Sufficient To Becoming Superteam

Mar 16, 2021 3:03 PM

Between 1969 and 2010, only seven of the 41 Finals MVPs won the award after changing teams. But the free agency departure of LeBron James from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Miami Heat has changed the landscape of the league in terms of star players changing teams and eight of the past 10 Finals MVPs have won the award after changing teams.

There are currently 17 active players who have been named First-Team All-NBA at least once in their careers. More than half of them are currently playing in New York or Los Angeles, writes Kirk Goldsberry

"One of the bright young executives in one of these really well run small market teams, not San Antonio, gave me this line and I'm going to use it to counter this straw man argument," said Goldsberry on The Lowe Post Podcast. "Being in a glamour market like New York or Los Angeles is necessary but not sufficient to becoming a superteam destination.

"That's a quotable. Put that on the back of a cocktail napkin. What nerd told you this?" replied Zach Lowe.

"I can't reveal my sources here. But I think it's a great point," said Goldsberry.

Goldberry's position is that teams in big markets are on the receiving end of superstar movement and it rarely flows in the other direction with smaller market teams reliant on the draft.

"I think the market does a lot of work in this story," added Goldsberry. "If you're in Los Angeles, it's kind of easier to build a championship team in Los Angeles than in Memphis or Orlando."

Kirk Goldsberry/ESPN

Tags: NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Caris LeVert Expresses 'Level Of Gratefulness' After Pacers Debut

Mar 14, 2021 12:24 PM

Caris LeVert finished with 13 points and 6 rebounds in his Indiana Pacers debut, a 122-111 win over the Phoenix Suns.

"A month and a half ago, two months ago, I didn't even know if I knew I was even gonna be out here, especially this soon, just with everything that happened, so it's definitely a level of gratefulness and just happy to be on the court," LeVert said after the game. 

It was LeVert's first game since January 12th, before a small mass was discovered on his kidney after his trade to the Pacers.

Nate Bjorkgren said that his team responded to LeVert's energy.

"Absolutely, he energized our team, and his character level is so high. He's such a good person. He's been a great teammate throughout this entire time that he's been out, so our guys were very happy to have him back out there on the court."

Eric Woodyard/ESPN

Tags: Caris LeVert, Brooklyn Nets, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Billy Donovan To Insert Tomas Satoransky, Thaddeus Young Into Starting Lineup

Darnell Mayberry/The Athletic

RJ Barrett After Career-High 32 Points: 'Just Trying To Be More Consistent'

Alex Smith/SNY

Warriors Send Scout To Australia To Monitor Justinian Jessup

Olgun Uluc/ESPN

Daryl Morey: I'm Worried About Winning, Not Worried About How

Tom Haberstroh/TrueHoop

Warriors Feel 'Responsibility' To Stephen Curry To Maximize Title Window

Marcus White/NBC Sports

Knicks Looking To At Least Double Home Attendance By End Of Season

Marc Berman/New York Post

Yuta Watanabe Has Top-Selling Jersey In Japan, Raptors Most Popular Team

Blake Murphy/The Athletic

Rockets Won't Pursue Strategy Of 'The Process'

Jonathan Feigen/Houston Chronicle

Donovan Mitchell Says Referee Calls Are 'Getting Out Of Hand' Against Jazz

Tim Bontemps/ESPN

LeBron James To Sit Out First Game Of Season Versus Kings On Wednesday

Shams Charania/The Athletic

James Harden Hopes Love, Appreciation He Showed To Houston 'Can Be Returned'

Malika Andrews/ESPN

Nate McMillan To Take Over As Interim Coach Of Hawks

Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN

Spurs To Admit Around 3,200 Fans Starting March 12th

San Antonio Spurs

Kawhi Leonard After Bucks' Loss: 'Our Pace Has Pretty Much Slowed Down'

Ohm Youngmisuk/ESPN

Joakim Noah Retiring From Basketball

Shams Charania/The Athletic