Some professions are blockbusters, while others are just about saving money.
This was the last. The Celtics saved a few million dollars — and freed up a roster spot for a potential transfer down the line — by trading Noah Vonleh for Spurs on Thursday. Spurs got cash considerations and a second-round pick that likely won’t be passed on (meaningfully).
Spurs waived Gorgui Dieng to create the roster spot to make the swap, then also waived Vonleh, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported. Vonleh is now a free agent.
Why did the Celtics do this? Vonleh was out of rotation and taking his $1.2 million salary off the books will save the team $7 million once the luxury tax and his escalators are factored in, as noted by Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston.
Boston remains $23 million over the tax line with an estimated tax bill of $59 million. The Celtics will send money to Spurs to cover the cost of taking over Vonleh’s contract.
Boston also now has an open roster spot that could help facilitate a future trade. Not that one is likely the Celtics won’t pick up another player’s fee – especially once penalty tax is taken into account – for anything less than a player who can be a valuable part of the rotation in the playoffs. There are not many players and they are expensive. It’s possible that Brad Stevens will find a deal he likes and make a trade at the deadline, but what you see is more than likely what you get with the Celtics.
At 38, Andre Iguodala doesn’t play the same role for the Warriors as when they won their first Curry-era title, when Iguodala won Finals MVP. But he still plays a role – one they could use with players in and out of the lineup due to injury.
Iguodala will make his season debut on Saturday night when the Heat host the Orlando Magic, he announced on his Point Forward podcast. Iguodala has been out so far with a hip injury.
The timing couldn’t be much better for the Warriors. Curry and Andrew Wiggins remain out through injury (although both are set to return), and actors James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and JaMychal Green are also short on time at the moment.
Iguodala said this 19th will be his last NBA season, a career that has seen him enter the league and become one of Philadelphia’s top scorers and become one of the main players in the Warriors’ title races (he has four rings with the team, the only others with as many are Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green). He wants to leave the game on his own terms, and the Warriors are helping him do that.
But for now, they need him on the pitch.
There was a time when a torn Achilles meant the end of an athlete’s career. Not anymore. Medical science and recovery techniques have advanced dramatically over the past few decades, and athletes — especially NBA players — can get back on the court and be their true selves again.
Kevin Durant has become the poster child for that – he was crumpled on the court in Toronto in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals, this season he’s back in the MVP conversation for the Nets. Alex Schiffer has a brilliant story about it at The Athletic, explaining how Durant inspires other athletes at this ill-fated club. It also contains the story of how Kobe Bryant contacted Durant when KD suffered his injury – and said about the most Kobe thing ever.
“Don’t be f****** crybaby,” Durant said of Bryant’s post. “Everything will be fine. You will come back and be who you are.
Bryant stayed on Durant for a few days afterward and discussed who to work with and some physical therapy. But Durant said Bryant’s advice was just that — advice. Durant went on his own from there.
“When my mind was spinning all over the place, it was good to hear it,” Durant said. “Especially him who went through it later in his career.”
Each player will take a different path, but everyone needs support and hearing from one of the greatest players of all time who has ever been in your shoes must be an emotional boost. Check out Durant’s full story for inspiration, it’s the best thing you’ll read today.
Kemba Walker spent the last the offseason is working on the health of his knees and work to convince the teams that there was still plenty in the tank. The Mavericks were desperate for some depth at point guard so they took a chance on the former All-Star.
Despite some great moments, it didn’t work out. Walker had an unsecured contract and the Mavericks will waive it rather than resume his contract for the remainder of the season. Several reports confirm this:
Sources: The Mavs waive Kemba Walker, whose salary would have become guaranteed on Saturday. Two-way G McKinley Wright IV gained minutes and the Mavs also want to clear the way for rookie Jaden Hardy to get some playing time. Walker had a 32-point game for the Mavs and was the ultimate pro.
—Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) January 6, 2023
Marc Stein confirmed this in his newsletter.
The move would open up the Mavericks’ 15th spot for a possible 10-day contract signing – with Walker also eligible to re-sign to a 10-day contract – or perhaps allow them to welcome an additional player into a deal before the Date. February 9 trading limit. During his six-week stint as a Maverick, Walker appeared in just nine games, averaging 8.0 points in 16.0 minutes per game.
Walker is a free agent and will continue to seek a landing spot for the NBA, but given his long history of knee issues and playing at 32, the UConn legend may struggle to find a role. on a national level. That said, any young team looking for a mentor and accomplished veteran professional could do a lot worse than bring in Walker.
The Trail Blazers turned heads by taking out Shaedon Sharpe with the No. 7 pick in the last NBA draft, it was a gamble on his athleticism (a gamble that has paid off so far, he scores in averages 7.9 points per game and is promising).
This athleticism will be showcased on All-Star weekend as Shape has agreed to enter the NBA All-Star Saturday Night Dunk Contest, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Portland Trail Blazers sensational rookie Shaedon Sharpe has signed up to participate in the NBA Slam Dunk contest during All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City, sources say @TheAthletic @Stadium. A terrific athlete, Sharpe is averaging 7.9 points and 19.7 minutes per night.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 6, 2023
Salt Lake City fans — and fans watching/streaming worldwide — are ready for a show.
Shaedon Sharpe has signed up for the 2023 NBA Dunk Contest.
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) January 6, 2023
The Dunk Contest is part of the Saturday night All-Star festivities — along with the Skills Challenge and 3-Point Contest — during All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City this year. Weekend activities begin February 17, with the Dunk Contest on February 18 and the real All-Star Game on February 19 (fan voting for the All-Star Game is still open).