Tweet of the Day: Former NBA’er Reacts to Bynum News

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Earlier today the Cleveland Cavaliers announced they have suspended center Andrew Bynum indefinitely for “conduct detrimental to the team.”

During the offseason much attention was directed to where Bynum would end up signing after spending the previous year rehabbing an injury with the Philadelphia 76ers. Several teams were rumored as a possible landing spot, however, he ultimately picked Cleveland in the latter part of the summer.

Minutes after the Cavaliers made its announcement, rumors quickly began to spread about why he was suspended.

Yahoo Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski revealed the reason behind the suspension. He said Bynum has lost interest in basketball and even went further to say that he’s never enjoyed playing it at all.

In these situations most players tend to keep quiet to avoid any negative attention. In this case, they did keep quiet. The only player to speak about the news was Utah Jazz forward Brandon Rush and he was more confused than anything.


Former NBA’er Kenny Anderson, who spent over a decade in the league, spoke about the Bynum situation.




Where will this go from here? Who knows.

There’s been reports the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat would be possible suitors for him. The problem (and it’s a rather large one) is that he doesn’t like basketball.

The Cavs are reportedly trying to trade Bynum, but so far its been unsuccessful. If that fails, it’s likely he’ll be released before Jan. 7, that way Cleveland will save $6 million with his non-guaranteed contract.

Retirement may be his final decision. News spread this evening that he’s been contemplating it for several weeks now. And at this point, with the entire league knowing about his mental approach to the game, who’s really eager to sign him?

It’s too bad, the natural ability he has isn’t being used to the fullest. Millions of people would do anything to live the life that he does. And many young basketball players practise each day but will never be as talented.

All of you with Bynum on your fantasy team, it’s not looking good.

This is an unfortunate situation, but ultimately it’s Bynum’s decision to make.

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Brett Poirier is a contributor to Sheridan Hoops.

Cavaliers Indefinitely Suspend Andrew Bynum

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Andrew_Bynum_CavsCleveland Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum was suspended indefinitely Saturday morning for “conduct detrimental to the team.”

The announcement was made by Cavs GM Chris Grant in a news release that also said Bynum did not travel with the team Friday night for Saturday afternoon’s game at Boston.

Bynum will not participate in any team activities until further notice.

The timing of the suspension could dramatically impact Cleveland’s payroll. Bynum signed a two-year, $24.5 million contract with the Cavaliers in the offseason, but “only” the first $6 million is guaranteed.

On Jan. 10, all contracts become fully guaranteed for the remainder of the season. If the Cavaliers waive Bynum by Jan. 7, they will save themselves $6 million this season and $12.5 million next season, for which they hold an option.

Whether or not Bynum is reinstated, Grant likely will hold onto him as long as possible because his contract and its immediate $6 million savings this season could be a valuable trade chip.

As usual, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski already has chimed in via Twitter with this from a league source: ”He doesn’t want to play basketball anymore. He never liked it that much in first place.”

The fact that Bynum has even played this season has been somewhat surprising. He missed all of last season with the Philadelphia 76ers due to chronic knee issues, never taking the court while making $16.9 million. He had a setback during rehab when he hurt a knee while bowling and also was seen dancing at a nightclub.

Bynum, 26, is averaging 8.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 20 minutes this season, primarily as a starter. He has shown brief flashes of his once-dominant play and has two 20-10 games.

A week ago, Bynum had 19 points and seven rebounds in a loss to Chicago. He followed that with an 0-of-11 vs. Detroit on Monday and just four points in Thursday’s double-overtime loss to Atlanta.

Bynum was an All-Star in 2012, his last season with the Los Angeles Lakers, with whom he won championships as the starting center alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. He was dealt to Philadelphia as part of the huge four-team trade that brought Dwight Orlando from Orlando to LA.

Expected to contend for a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, the Cavs are 10-18 and have had all sorts of personnel issues this season.

Top overall draft pick Anthony Bennett has struggled mightily and has heard boos at home games. A players meeting devolved into a shouting match between Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters.

In Bynum’s absence, Anderson Varejao likely will start with Tyler Zeller – who has played just 139 minutes this season after a solid rookie campaign – assuming the backup role.

Fantasy Spin: Saturday, December 28, 2013

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I was curious to see how the Thunder would react to the news of the loss of Russell Westbrook/OKC for the next few weeks. The Bobcats did their best, but could not stop Kevin Durant/OKC once he found his outside shot. Durant is the best I’ve even seen at making short range shots after driving to the hoop. When his outside jumper is working no defense can stop him. In the nightcap, Stephen Curry/GSW almost had a triple-double in the first half and Golden State rolled to an easy win over the Suns. Kyrie Irving/CLE and the Cavs visit the Boston Celtics for an early afternoon game. The rest of the action starts at 7:00 EST. Here is today’s Fantasy Spin.

Author of Unauthorized Kevin Durant Biography Seeks Support


(When Kevin Durant switched agents, joining Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and bidding adieu to Rob Pelinka and Landmark Sports, author Brad Graham lost a lifeline for the traditional publication of his 250-page book on Kevin Durant: “The Backpack Baller: The Fantastical Basketball Voyage of Kevin Durant.” Undeterred, Graham, 32, is crowd-funding his book through a Kickstarter campaign that ends Dec. 31. You can show your support by clicking through to the Kickstarter page, or you can simply read on and enjoy. Everyone needs a little boost now and then, and there are three days left for you, my loyal readers, to help Mr. Graham’s project become a success. Good luck, Brad.-CS)

TheBackpackBaller_BookTeaserIt’s fair to say that I enjoyed a pretty standard NBA drenched childhood.

Baptized in the holy broadcast waters that were blessed by Michael Jordan, I later considered my bright red ‘Nique jersey (with the word “Atlanta” in place of the name “Wilkins”) to be my Sunday best — my friends, who often wore their purple and gold tinted glasses, often disagreed.

So while homework tried to play zone defense on my life, my formative years were defined by my ability to ruin VHS tapes (purchased legally and recorded without the expressed written consent of the NBA) as often as I wore out my shoes (due to countless hours spent on a homemade court).

Without realizing it at the time, my high school experience was a non-stop basketball clinic. The teacher’s words became noise as I received my education from trading cards and traded players; from video games and video-taped re-runs; from sneakers and sneaking in an extra game; from snapbacks and snapped ankles; from monthly magazines and a month’s wait for new merchandise.

But this post isn’t about what has been, it’s about what’s to come, specifically, my most recent project: Kevin Durant’s first 25 years (1988 – 2013) in 250 lavishly designed pages.

Entitled “The Backpack Baller: The Fantastical Basketball Voyage of Kevin Durant,” my first book — after eight years producing NBA magazines — takes both a forensic and satellite view of KD’s on-court conquests as well as his off-court challenges. Exploring his devotion to the game, the brilliance of his rise, and his current cultural standing, The Backpack Baller is neatly broken up into a series of essays, magazine-style features, and interviews.

Earlier this year, a number of literary agents had a hard time understanding their role, given the book was more in need of a distribution deal than development. With almost 10 years publishing industry experience, producing a world-class coffee-table book wasn’t the problem, but securing the funding to finish, print, bind and distribute the book would be, hence the KickStarter campaign.

Thus crowd-funding became the quickest and simplest method to help make the project a reality. And that’s what the book’s editor, Brian Duff — a talented writer/editorial surgeon — and I are attempting to achieve with The Backpack Baller: a rethink of the modern athlete biography, in outcome and process.

Jay-ZIn case you’re wondering, yes, Kevin Durant knows all about the book — he has for some time.

Also in the know: senior people at NIKE, folks at NBA headquarters, staff at the Thunder… Okay, so the story is: over the years I had been working with the team at Goodwin Sports Management before Kevin left their representation and signed with Rob Pelinka’s Landmark Sports agency.

After building a relationship with the people near Rob, KD forgot to consider the still unfinished book deal when he jumped over to Jay Z’s RocNation Sports. It was there I ran into a major roadblock as RocNation were, somewhat unsurprisingly, unresponsive to my many attempts to conduct conversations about the project.

Luckily, the NBA and the Thunder’s Communications staff, respectively, have been nothing but receptive in helping me gain access to Kevin. This may be an unofficial biography, but KD has read the raw manuscript and has since seen the nearly completed book — and he’s been supportive of the project. So rather than wait for a publishing house to give me the green light (or RocNation to return my calls), I’ve opted for crowd-funding.

As far as the process behind writing the book goes, I’ve spoken with KD’s childhood friends (eg: Michael Beasley, Ty Lawson), his biggest rivals (LeBron James), legends of the game (Dominique Wilkins) and both current (Russell Westbrook) and former teammates (Jeff Green).

Additionally, people from NIKE and USA Basketball have also given me insight to be able to paint a rich and full picture. I’ve also had conversations with journalists, bloggers, international media members and those who cover the Thunder on a daily basis. I’ve spent years reading just about every print and online article ever published about the man… but most importantly, I’ve had numerous chats with Kevin — on the phone, via email and in person — since 2006 (when I saw KD play in person at the 2006 Coaches vs. Cancer 2K Classic inside Madison Square Garden).

220px-ErnestHemingwayAs anyone who has ever attempted to write a book knows, the medium, above all else, requires time. Time for research, time for editing and time for history to help with context.

Yet time is what I’m running out of as the KickStarter clock counts down to midnight of Dec. 31. But before we get into how you can help, the most common questions I’ve been asked about The Backpack Baller is: Why K.D, and why now?

The (very) short answer to the first question is simple enough: Because he has been able to do what no other hooper in history has (the book will obviously explain this in great detail)… while the second part is based on how approachable KD has been — from the time he arrived at the University of Texas until now.

That coupled with my influences (Scoop Jackson, the FreeDarko collective, ESPN’s TrueHoop troop, Bill Simmons and the Grantland group, silver screen Auteurs like Wes Anderson and Darren Aronofsky, select Hip Hop artists and countless other publication and graphic designers, to name a few) and publishing industry experience, I knew I could deliver an outcome that was both fresh and timely.

Now for the salesperson’s pitch…

The book, which is 90 percent complete, needs backers to help bring it to life. The best part? Electing to go the KickStarter route has meant every backer gets to choose their own reward tier while becoming part of the project. For instance, $35 will secure you a hardcover, First Edition copy of the book. This also includes you getting your name plus hometown printed in the book as one of “Kevin’s Army.”

Besides Luc Longley’s “Runnin’ With The Bulls”, no Australian has ever produced an NBA based book before, so this could be literary history in the making.

australia flagGrowing up on the other side of the planet, I never imagined that I’d ever have the opportunity to meet, let alone interview or produce work centered on the biggest names in the NBA. In many regards, this Kevin Durant book is proof that the sports media world is flat and the NBA is a global currency.

And if you’re still not convinced, there’s the Ben Osborne edited excerpt in SLAM 174 (Paul George cover) which can be enjoyed here, or the Baller Mind Frame Chapter 16 excerpt which can be viewed here:

Lastly, I’ve been following Chris Sheridan’s site ever since he broke away from ESPN (but not because he broke away from ESPN), so to be given this opportunity, after I reached out to Chris, is a huge honor for me — as both an aspiring author and as someone who respects Chris’ thinking and writing. Thanks to Chris and to you, his readers, and huge thanks for taking the time to find out a little about my 250-page Kevin Durant book.

Any support you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Brad Graham can be reached on Twitter or via e-mail.


10 Fast Facts from Last Night’s Games — LeBron Passes Larry Bird and Gary Payton on All-Time Scoring List

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lebronAfter two days with limited action, the NBA returned with a heavy slate of games featuring 18 teams in the pursuit of the postseason. There was an injury to a rising star, a breakout performance by an embattled player, and a meeting between two of the Western Conference’s hottest young teams.

Here’s everything that you need to know about last night’s action.