We are in full NBA Preview mode over here at Ringer HQ. Last week was Warriors Week, when we kicked the tires on the latest-model superteam, with pieces on Klay, Steph, KD, Harry Barnes, Ayesha, and more. This is Banana Boat Week. But we don’t want to lose sight of the other stories percolating in this embryonic NBA season. So for the sake of basketball and blogging, let’s do the news-and-notes thing, shall we?
Dwyane Wade Was Really Serious About Cleveland. Seriously.
In July, in an act reminiscent of the 2014 “Dan Gilbert is flying to Miami” sensation, Cleveland radio host Joe Lull slid this FlightAware link across the TL and slowly backed out of the room. It was like that moment in Jason Bourne when Nicki Parsons gives Bourne an encrypted thumb drive that literally had “ENCRYPTED” written on it. The implication of Lull’s info was that Wade was on a flight from Fort Lauderdale to Cleveland and presumably not opting back in with the Heat, presumably so he could join LeBron James and the Cavaliers. Presumably. According to this profile in Slam from Wednesday, Lull wasn’t totally left of center; Wade would’ve joined Cleveland, but he “didn’t fit there.”
“For me, it’s as simple as, I got a deal in Miami for $41 million, I got a deal in Chicago for $47 million,” Wade says. “It didn’t come down to the money. I thought about Cleveland, but I didn’t fit there. You don’t just do something because, Oh, I could win the ring there. I have three rings. I don’t need to chase the ring. This is what I wanted to do. I couldn’t fight it. If you fight it, you’re gonna always be like, You shoulda, or, What could’ve — I don’t like to live my life like that.”
Wade wanted to be loved and respected. It was all about Chicago. It didn’t come down to the money. Even though he listed the figures for both offers in the same breath. And he would’ve had to eat a massive pay cut for the Cavs to be a realistic option.
Speaking of opting out …
Kyle Lowry Is Gonna Opt Out
The Raptors guard plans to pass on a $12 million salary in 2017–18 and test the marketplace, along with point guards like Chris Paul and Steph Curry (even though Curry already rubbished away the idea that he’d be signing with anyone but the Warriors in free agency, so really that just leaves Paul).
Over at The Vertical, Woj says Lowry would prefer to get a new five-year deal in Toronto rather than go elsewhere — and he should get it, in theory. Lowry brought the Raptors agonizingly close to the NBA Finals last year, and he won a gold medal this summer, and DeMar DeRozan just signed a five-year, $139 million extension in July; it’s only right. Plus, president-GM–public motivational speaker Masai Ujiri said Lowry “has been at the forefront of the Raptors movement.” I’m pretty sure Kanye West has said similar things about Big Sean, and he’s still like, around, you know? Being rich and doing stuff.
Paul George Says, “There Is No Spoon”
The Indiana Pacers ran an up-tempo offense against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night, scoring 58 points in the paint and attempting 34 3-pointers in a 113–96 win. After the game, Paul George said it could be like that all the time:
“Everything was just free flow and we’re still trying to figure that out. We’ve been so used to a set or calling of plays and now we’re getting that freedom. I think that’s going to take some time, but once we get it, we could easily be a 115-point team a night.”
Ordinarily I’d say, Chill, my guy, it was just a win over the Pelicans, or, Y’all averaged only 102.2 points per game last season; this is a mite optimistic, Paul. But new head coach Nate McMillan is giving the team breathing room to improvise, Jeff Teague at the 1 is a vast improvement over George Hill, and odds have it this will be the year that Myles Turner Figures It Out, so.
Jeff Withey: Fucked Up in the Game
I Cannot Believe Twitter Is Free, Part 1937924712397:
Utah Jazz center Jeff Withey, sick of being accused of cheating on his ex-fiancée, Playmate Kennedy Summers, went on a very polite tweetstorm Wednesday night after being (in Withey’s view, unjustly) #BLOOPED several times in the past few months.
It is the best thing you never knew you desperately needed.
The best part? HE RETWEETED A BIBLE ACCOUNT RIGHT AFTERWARD.
Russell Westbrook Dunking: Still the Same Thing As Drugs
During an exhibition game against FC Barcelona, Westbrook, once again, attacked the rim like it said some sideways shit about his mother.
What is “preseason”? The hell do you mean “relax”?
The Grizzlies Are Going to Bench Zach Randolph Again
Head coach David Fizdale started JaMychal Green over Randolph in the Memphis Grizzlies’ Monday-night exhibition game against the Orlando Magic, and Fizdale says that’s likely to continue.
Z-Bo has graciously accepted his off-the-bench role.
For the record, former head coach Dave Joerger tried this for 15 games last season and it didn’t stick, so for now let’s just see where this goes.
And while we’re at it, let’s start digging into Marquee Players Demoted to Off-The-Bench Roles.
All New Sixth-Man Team
G Brandon Knight
F Zach Randolph
… That’s actually all we have so far. But check back later. This is definitely going to be a thing.