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Robert Horry said Hakeem Olajuwon was the best big man



Robert Horry is one of the greatest winners in NBA history. Players are lucky enough to be a part of a championship roster at just one time in their career. Horry is a seven-time NBA champion and played with some of the greatest teams in the 90s and early 2000s. Recently, Horry sat down with Matt Barnes in an interview and discussed the greatest big man he ever played with. 

To begin his championship run as a player, Horry won back-to-back titles with the Houston Rockets. He was then traded from the Suns to the Lakers, where he won three straight championships in their dominant playoff run. Horry played for the Spurs in the final chapter of his NBA career, winning another two titles with San Antonio.

The 52-year-old has played with some of the greatest big men in NBA history. When asked who is #1, Horry did not hesitate to say Hakeem Olajuwon from the Houston Rockets.

Robert Horry says Hakeem Olajuwon was the best big man he ever played with in his career

In a recent interview with Matt Barnes on All The Smoke, Robert Horry was put on the spot. He said the common denominator on all the dominant teams he played for was having a great big man. Horry played with Hakeem Olajuwon in Houston, Shaquille O’Neal in LA, and Tim Duncan in San Antonio.

He then said that those three players are three of the best big men in NBA history. Barnes asked him to rank those players and Horry was quick with his answer. Horry said “Dream number one by far” referring to Hakeem Olajuwon. His patented move is the dream shake, hence his nickname, “The Dream”.

Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Duncan are two of the greatest big men of all time. However, in Horry’s eyes, Hakeem Olajuwon is #1. The Rocket’s big man won MVP and an NBA championship in the same season. He’s also the NBA’s all-time leader in career blocks with 3, 830. That’s 541 more than the next closest.

That is likely a record that will stand for a long time and may never be broken. The only active player on the all-time blocks list is Milwaukee’s Brook Lope with 1, 723. He ranks 28th all-time.

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Celtics sign center Neemias Queta to a two-way contract




The Boston Celtics are signing free agent center Neemias Queta to a two-way contract, per sources. Queta, 24, was waived by the Sacramento Kings earlier this week. The 7-footer had re-signed with the Kings on a one-year contract in August. Queta was selected 39th overall by Sacramento in the 2021 NBA Draft out of Utah State University.

After signing a two-way contract, the Portuguese hooper appeared in 15 games off the bench with the Kings in his rookie 2021-22 season. Queta averaged 3.0 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 8.0 minutes per game while shooting 44.7% from the field and 64.7% at the foul line.

Referring to multiple NBA betting sites, the Boston Celtics hold second-shortest odds behind the Denver Nuggets to win next season’s 2024 championship. Sportsbooks are still showing great odds for the Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers.

In Sacramento’s 109-108 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 10, 2022, the center recorded a career-high 11 points and five rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench. Queta finished 4-of-7 (57.1%) shooting from the floor and 3-of-4 (75%) at the line.

The Utah State product became the first Portuguese player to score points in the NBA. With the Stockton Kings, Sacramento’s G League affiliate, the center averaged 16.4 points, 7.9 boards, 1.8 assists, 1.9 blocks, and 28.2 minutes per game in 14 starts.

Boston Celtics sign center Neemias Queta to a two-way contract; the 7-footer is set to join guards J.D. Davison and Jay Scrubb as Boston’s two-way players

In the 2022-23 season, Queta made only five appearances off the bench with the Sacramento Kings. The Portugal native averaged 2.4 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 5.8 minutes per game while shooting 66.7% from the field.

Furthermore, the center made 29 starts with Stockton in the 2022-23 G League season. Queta averaged career highs of 16.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game.

Additionally, he shot career bests of 68% from the floor and 80.3% at the line. He finished as runner-up for the G League MVP award and also earned All-NBA G League and All-Defensive G League honors.

Queta is now set to join guards J.D. Davison and Jay Scrubb as the Boston Celtics’ two-way signees. Under the league’s new collective bargaining agreement, NBA teams can sign a maximum of three two-way players.

The former King will spend time next season with the Maine Celtics, Boston’s G League affiliate.

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Lakers, Jarred Vanderbilt agree to a four-year, $48 million extension




The Los Angeles Lakers and forward Jarred Vanderbilt have agreed to a four-year, $48 million contract extension, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul and agent Erika Ruiz announced on Friday. His new deal is set to begin in the 2024-25 season. Vanderbilt, 24, is slated to earn $4.64 million in 2023-24.

For his upcoming contract, he’s projected to make $10.71 million in 2024-25, $11.57 million in 2025-26, and $12.42 million in 2026-27. The deal also includes a $13.28 million player option for 2027-28. As a matter of fact, he’s eligible to receive up to 140% of the average NBA salary.

According to a few NBA betting sites, the Los Angeles Lakers hold sixth-shortest odds to win next season’s 2024 championship. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns.

Vanderbilt was selected 41st overall by the Orlando Magic in the 2018 NBA Draft out of the University of Kentucky. The 6-foot-8 wing was then immediately traded to the Denver Nuggets.

Moreover, in 17 games off the bench with Denver in the 2018-19 season, Vanderbilt averaged 1.4 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 4.1 minutes per game. Plus, he shot 47.4% from the floor and 60% at the foul line.

Los Angeles Lakers, Jarred Vanderbilt have agreed to a four-year, $48 million extension; new deal begins in 2024-25 and includes a $13.28 million player option for 2027-28

After nine appearances with the Nuggets in the 2019-20 season, the Western Conference contender traded Jarred Vanderbilt to the Minnesota Timberwolves in February 2020.

He made 67 starts in 74 games played with the Timberwolves in the 2021-22 season. Also, he averaged a then-career-high 6.9 points, a career-high 8.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and a career-best 1.3 steals per game.

In Minnesota’s 141-123 win over the Houston Rockets on Jan. 9, 2022, the forward recorded career highs of 21 points and 19 rebounds in 32 minutes as a starter. Along with logging four assists, two steals, and two blocks, Vanderbilt shot 10-of-14 (71.4%) from the field.

In July 2022, the Timberwolves traded Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Leandro Bolmaro, Walker Kessler, and five first-round draft picks (2023, 2025-27, 2029) to the Utah Jazz for center Rudy Gobert.

Last season, the wing appeared in 52 games with the Utah Jazz and 26 with the Lakers. The Texas native averaged a career-high 7.9 points, 7.5 boards, a career-best 2.4 assists, and 1.1 steals per contest.

Vanderbilt is the fifth member of last season’s Lakers team to receive a multi-year extension this offseason, joining Rui Hachimura, D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, and Anthony Davis

As part of a three-team trade in February 2023, the Jazz traded Vanderbilt and Beasley to the Lakers; Los Angeles traded a 2024 second-round draft pick to Minnesota; and the Lakers traded Damian Jones, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Russell Westbrook, and a 2027 first-round draft pick to Utah.

Of course, Westbrook is now with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Additionally, the Timberwolves sent D’Angelo Russell to the Lakers, and the Jazz dealt Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Mike Conley, a 2025 second-round draft pick, and a 2026 second-round draft pick to Minnesota.

Vanderbilt started 24 regular-season games and was in the starting lineup for 13 of Los Angeles’ 15 playoff games. During the first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs, he recorded a playoff career-high 15 points in Game 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Besides Vanderbilt, the Lakers agreed to contract extensions with four other players this offseason — Anthony Davis (three years, $177.13 million), D’Angelo Russell (two years, $36 million), Austin Reaves (four years, $53.83 million), and Rui Hachimura (three years, $51 million).

Furthermore, Los Angeles added Jaxson Hayes (two years, $4.63 million), Taurean Prince (one year, $4.5 million), Gabe Vincent (three years, $33 million), Cam Reddish (two years, $4.63 million), and Christian Wood (two years, $5.75 million).

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‘I didn’t like working with him’




Stephen A. Smith revealed why he forced Max Kellerman off ESPN’s First Take in an interview on Hot 97 in September 2021. The sports television personality and journalist told radio hosts Ebro Darden and Peter Rosenberg, “Yes, I did [want him off the show].”

Smith went on to explain that it was never personal. Rather, it was a professional business decision.

“It wasn’t really about asking him to be off the show, it was about the fact that I knew that we, together, as far as I was concerned, was not a great partnership anymore, and that was something that needed to change,” he said.

“The reason why I’m unapologetic about my position, No. 1, is that it’s no knock against him professionally, his work ethic, and all of that other stuff, his talent. It’s not like I wanted the guy to be fired. I knew there were landing spots for him available at this network that would generate just as much, if not more revenue for him and all of that other stuff.

“We don’t have a bad relationship. I think he’s a real good guy. I appreciate what he did for the show. We were number one for five years. We stayed number one, and I appreciate that.”

Smith explained the importance of “keeping things fresh” on First Take and maintaining “chemistry.” Although Smith said things were cool between him and Kellerman, that doesn’t seem to be the case right now in 2023.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith says he “didn’t like working with” Max Kellerman on First Take, reveals they haven’t spoken since Kellerman’s departure in September 2021

Since that interview, other details have emerged on ESPN making that change on the morning show. Two years later, the sports journalist is still telling his side of the story.

During a recent episode of “The Joe Budden Podcast,” Smith was asked what he would say to the viewers who say they saw the tension between him and Kellerman before his departure from the show.

“I heard some of it. I would take full responsibility for that. It was totally my fault and the reason it was my fault is because I didn’t like working with him. It’s just that damn simple. I didn’t like it. I thought the show was stale. I thought that we had flatlined when it came to the public at large. I didn’t want to go from No. 1 to No. 2. when Skip [Bayless] left. I wasn’t having that. That s—t wasn’t gonna happen.”

Go to the 2:04:01 mark in the YouTube video below for Smith’s latest interview.

“I had mad respect for him [Kellerman] from the standpoint of white dude, highly intelligent, Ivy League–educated from Columbia [University]. Smart as a whip. Can talk his ass off. Can talk about anything. I get all that. But you weren’t an athlete, and you weren’t a journalist. And the absence of the two components left people wondering, ‘Why should we listen to you?’

“O.K., well you might have had that figured out on SportsNation or you might have had figured it out on another show, but on this show, if you looked at the content emanating from the social stratosphere, meaning YouTube and other components used to measure, one is cache, Q ratings, focus groups, all of these different things.”

Stephen A. Smith didn’t feel higher ratings were possible with Kellerman, believes him and Max never worked well together

Did Stephen A. Smith feel like he was carrying the show alone? That appears to be true.

“It was like I was damn near doing the show by myself because we were oceans apart in terms of cache,” Smith mentioned. “Well, how are you oceans apart from me if you’re sitting across from me for five days a week for the whole two hours? Because one of us is resonating, and one of us is not in that platform.

“I was like, ‘Look, this is what it is.’ And we had a number of conversations, one-on-one many, many times. I know this audience, I know what they need, etc, etc. At some point, you’re gonna do what you need to do, or you don’t, and if you don’t do what you need to do, I’m gonna get somebody who will. That’s me. I made no qualms about it.

“I didn’t have the authority to let him go. So what I did was, I’ve been very consistent, very honest, there’s no personal. We weren’t enemies, to be real we haven’t spoken since, other than ‘hi and bye’ or if I had to go on the show when they were doing the morning show, I would get interviewed.

“But there’s been no conversations since. And that’s fine with me. That’s no problem because it wasn’t like we were boys or anything like that. But at the end of the day, it was all business to me. It was about, ‘Look, man, I’m trying to win and I don’t believe I can with you.’ That doesn’t mean it’s your fault. It means we don’t work.”

Did Smith make contradictory statements?

Additionally, it seems strange in the September 2021 radio interview that Stephen A. Smith said he didn’t have a bad relationship with Kellerman, and he thought he was a “real good guy.” Because afterwards, they stopped talking to each other as often as they did on First Take. Sure, they went their own separate ways.

However, Stephen A. Smith also said the two were never “buds.” Co-workers can be great friends, so Smith’s latest interview probably confused viewers. Maybe Smith deserves the benefit of the doubt. For a live debate show, chemistry between co-hosts is crucial. The ESPN reporter felt it just wasn’t there.

“It also wasn’t my decision,” Smith said in his original radio interview. “I gave my recommendation [to ESPN]. They ask it, I tell it. Every single year when the NBA season comes to an end, the bosses ask me where I stand. … And I also told Max that.”

Not to mention, differences on political issues may have been the tipping point.

In June 2023, Kellerman was fired by ESPN after serving as the host of This Just In with Max Kellerman and as co-host of Keyshawn, JWill and Max on ESPN Radio.

Now, NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe, the former co-host of FS1’s Skip and Shannon: Undisputed, debates Stephen A. Smith twice weekly on Mondays and Tuesdays on First Take.

Furthermore, ex-ESPN sportscaster Rachel Nichols joined Skip Bayless on Undisputed, replacing Sharpe. She also joined former NFL cornerback Richard Sherman and rap star Lil Wayne as panelists on the show.

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