This morning’s headlines:
- Jefferson’s departure tied to Wade’s arrival
- Bradley gets respect as one of league’s best defenders
- A celebration of Dirk
- The Ben Simmons scouting report
Jefferson’s departure tied to Wade’s arrival — On Saturday, the Cavs traded Richard Jefferson and Kay Felder to Atlanta in order to both clear roster space and lower their luxury tax bill. Jefferson was a unifying voice in the Cleveland locker room and a guy who made some key contributions to the Cavs’ 2016 championship. But as Jason Lloyd writes in The Athletic, he was also the latest guy affected by Dwyane Wade‘s arrival in Cleveland.
The number of players impacted by Dwyane Wade’s arrival in Cleveland continues to grow. It’s up to one-third of the roster now, including some hurt feelings that may need soothing in the coming days and weeks. The most dramatic effect of Wade’s arrival is Jefferson, who is expected to be dealt Saturday to Atlanta along with Kay Felder and $3 million in cash in order to save nearly $13 million in luxury taxes.
The deal was agreed to on Friday but isn’t official until the trade call with the league, which is expected to take place Saturday. Since the trade wasn’t completed before tipoff of Friday’s preseason finale against the Magic, both Jefferson and Felder elected to sit on the bench in uniform, although both were informed prior to the game they wouldn’t play. Both players remained in the locker room for the second half.
Jefferson emerged after the game but didn’t talk to reporters on his way out of the arena.
“He’s going to be just fine. He lives a great life,” said Frye, Jefferson’s closest friend on the team. “He’s not dying, guys.”
The final tally on Wade’s arrival: J.R. Smith lost his starting spot, which moved Kevin Love to center to get more 3-point shooting on the floor, which bumped Tristan Thompson to the bench, which pushed Frye out of the rotation. And now Jefferson, a key piece in the rotation the last two years who was guarding Kevin Durant in the Finals four months ago, is gone.
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Bradley gets respect as one of league’s best defenders — There was a bit of an uproar among his fellow players when Avery Bradley wasn’t selected to one of the All-Defensive teams last season. With Bradley now in Detroit, the Free Press’ Vince Ellis followed up with some of those guys and found out that the respect for Bradley’s defensive prowess runs deep.
The Free Press spoke with several NBA stars during the preseason and the disgust is still there.
And the consensus is the Detroit Pistons are better with Bradley, whom they acquired this off-season.
Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker rolled his eyes when asked about the Bradley snub.
“That’s ridiculous. He’s probably, if not the best, one of the best on-ball defenders in our league,” said Walker, who will lead the Hornets against the Pistons on Wednesday night in both teams’ season opener.
“He’s one of those guys where, ‘Damn, you got to play against him tonight?’ He’s like the perfect defender. When you teach defense, he’s the guy that would like to learn from.
“He knows the coverages, he knows the plays. His body position. He’s just a great on-ball defender. He’s hungry and a lot of defense is about pride and wanting to do it. He’s that guy. He wants to play defense, he loves to play defense. He’s really good at it.”
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A celebration of Dirk — As he enters his 20th season and maybe makes a run at No. 5 on the all-time scoring list, there’s a lot to say about Dirk Nowitzki. The Dallas Morning News‘ Eddie Sefko goes long with 20 reasons to love the best European player in NBA history…
11. The flu game: When you have LeBron James and Dwyane Wade poking fun at you for having the flu, you know you’re in their heads. Nowitzki was running a 102-degree temperature before Game 4 in the 2011 Finals with the Mavericks down 2-1. He mustered the energy to post 21 points and 11 rebounds, including key baskets down the stretch to seal the win. “That one sticks out,” Terry said. “Dirk was in here with a 104 temperature. He was sweating profusely. We didn’t think he was going to suit up. He didn’t even shoot around and then showed up to the game and had a phenomenal performance. I think that’s one that I’ll say goes down in history as one of the greatest performances. Everybody talks about [Michael] Jordan’s flu game, but Dirk’s was just as bad and meant just as much.”
2. That one-legged magic: It’s hard to remember exactly when Nowitzki started incorporating the one-legged fadeaway shot to his arsenal. Probably around the time he realized he could no longer post up and spin to the rim because his quickness abandoned him. So the one-legged shot was born. And it’s been copied by so many peers, but as usual, it’s never as good as the original.
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The Ben Simmons scouting report — The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Keith Pompey breaks down the good and bad of Ben Simmons‘ game as the 2016 No. 1 pick gets ready to finally make his NBA debut…
At 6-foot-10 and 240 pounds, he’ll be one of the biggest point guards – if not the biggest – in NBA history. He’s fleet-footed, hard to stop at the rim, capable of guarding almost anybody, and a highlight pass just waiting to happen.
The 21-year-old’s jump shot does need some work. Simmons is often ineffective without the ball, and he sometimes sags off players too much on defense. Still, opposing coaches marvel at his potential. They say that, with some work, he’ll have a chance to become one of the game’s greats.
“Oh my God, I don’t want to see that for the next 15 years,” Memphis Grizzlies coach David Fizdale said after Simmons finished with six points, nine assists, seven rebounds, one block, and one turnover in the Oct. 4 preseason opener against his team.
“That kid, they are not talking about him enough – the way he moves with the ball, his ability to see the floor, the way he can get places on the floor. I think once he gets confidence in the shot, where you really have to close out on him to the three, wow, he is a big-time talent.”
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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: C.J. McCollum takes responsibility for the eight steps that got him suspended for the Blazers’ first game of the season … There’s a place on Tyronn Lue‘s coaching staff for Kendrick Perkins if he wants it … Khem Birch earned a roster spot with the Magic after three seasons in the D-League and abroad … and Russell Westbrook and Nick Collison have set a new standard for basketball-related Halloween costumes.