The conference finals in the NBA playoffs may be right around the corner, but those teams that are no longer fighting for the Larry O’Brien trophy are more interested in their own immediate futures.
The NBA combine was of particular interest on Thursday and Friday, and the two New York teams also had some of their own issues to worry about. With that in mind, let’s dig into some of the latest rumors around the Association.
Zach LaVine Boosting His Stock
There are millions of dollars at stake for the prospects in every NBA draft, and an impressive performance at the combine could certainly help or hurt a player’s respective stock.
Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports filled fans in on one player in particular who improved his standing in the eyes of the league’s front offices:
Zach LaVine averaged 9.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists a night in his freshman season at UCLA, and while those numbers don’t exactly jump off the page, his athleticism and upside has NBA teams buzzing.
Look for LaVine to provide serious energy off the bench in his rookie season.
He can hit from behind the three-point line, but he is most dangerous attacking the rim. Throw in the fact that he can finish with some awe-inspiring dunks, and home fans will quickly fall in love with his game. A team that needs scoring sources, such as the Chicago Bulls, Memphis Grizzlies or even Indiana Pacers, could certainly use someone with LaVine’s skill set off the bench.
If nothing else, he can be a spark plug.
Shaun Livingston Heading Elsewhere?
The Brooklyn Nets’ season ended in disappointment and blown fourth-quarter leads against the Miami Heat, and now they may be losing guard Shaun Livingston to free agency.
ESPN’s Marc Stein pointed out the details:
The Nets want to hang onto their reborn guard but aren’t projected to have more to offer in free agency than the taxpayer mid-level exception. Sources close to the situation say Livingston, bound for free agency again at 28, is a virtual lock to attract offers in free agency that can trump the hamstrung Nets’ best pitch financially.
Livingston is one of the few relatively young assets Brooklyn had at its disposal this season, but money talks in the NBA. It is difficult to imagine him taking less money to remain on the Nets, especially since this may be his last chance to command serious dollars on the free-agency market.
Knicks Short Steve Kerr
Steve Kerr spurned the New York Knicks to take the head coaching job for the Golden State Warriors, and Ian O’Connor of ESPN New York shares one possible reason why:
Kerr gave his explanation, though, via Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:
It just felt like the right move on many levels. They have a good young team. The location is ideal. My daughter goes to Cal and plays volleyball. My oldest son is in college in San Diego and our youngest is a junior in high school. It’s just a short flight for them.
Still, Kerr’s contract with Golden State was for five years and $25 million, which is significantly more than New York offered. Money like that is hard to ignore.
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