Eric Freeman

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Eric Freeman is a contributor to Ball Don't Lie. As a lifetime fan of the Golden State Warriors, he has learned not to set high expectations for his favorite teams. Eric is also a co-founder of The Classical. He lives in San Francisco.

  • 1999 Denver Nuggets set precedent for the DeAndre Jordan blockade

    Antonio McDyess #24 of the Denver Nuggets shows emotion during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Trail Blazers 116-96. NOTE TO USER: It is expressly understood that the only rights Allsport are offering to license in this Photograph are one-time, non-exclusive editorial rights. No advertising or commercial uses of any kind may be made of Allsport photos. User acknowledges that it is aware that Allsport is an editorial sports agency and that NO RELEASES OF ANY TYPE ARE OBTAINED from the subjects contained in the photographs.Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr /AllsportAntonio McDyess #24 of the Denver Nuggets shows emotion during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Trail Blazers 116-96. NOTE TO USER: It is expressly understood that the only rights Allsport are offering to license in this Photograph are one-time, non-exclusive editorial rights. No advertising or commercial uses of any kind may be made of Allsport photos. User acknowledges that it is aware that Allsport is an editorial sports agency and that NO RELEASES OF ANY TYPE ARE OBTAINED from the subjects contained in the photographs.Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr /AllsportThe Los Angeles Clippers have changed the course of free agency with their 11th-hour meeting with free-agent center DeAndre Jordan, once primed to join the Dallas Mavericks but now apparently set to return to Staples Center to maintain the franchise's contender status alongside Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. It's a crazy story that started with an emoji war and only got crazier from there. Griffin's even tweeting photos of chairs!

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    As bizarre as this situation is, it is not without precedent in the recent past of the NBA. Back in January 1999, well-regarded young power forward Antonio McDyess became an unrestricted free agent during the truncated post-lockout offseason. McDyess had been traded from the Denver Nuggets to the Phoenix Suns prior to the 1997-98 season but reached an agreement to rejoin the Nuggets soon after the end of the lockout. Like Jordan, he had some misgivings about the decision and called Suns

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  • Blake Griffin and his chair barricade will keep the Mavs from DeAndre Jordan

    The Los Angeles Clippers are truly serious about keeping the Dallas Mavericks from meeting with DeAndre Jordan. As reported by Yahoo's own Adrian Wojnarowski, the Clippers' contingent of Doc Rivers and owner Steve Ballmer still hasn't left the free-agent center's Houston home hours after they started a meeting to convince him to sign a new max-level contract with the only NBA franchise he has known.

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    It appears that Rivers and Ballmer, who were joined by the emoji-spewing group of key players Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, J.J. Redick, and forthcoming addition Paul Pierce, are not going to leave the premises until Jordan can avoid talking to Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and lead recruiter Chandler Parsons and officially sign his new deal at 12:01 a.m. ET.

    Griffin has gotten especially serious about keeping out Cuban and the rest of the Mavs. He posted this photo to Twitter to prove as much:

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  • NBA to promote injury prevention research, but potential impact is unclear

    BOSTON, MA - APRIL 26: Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts after an shoulder injury against the Boston Celtics in the first quarter in Game Four during the first round of the 2015 NBA Playoffs on April 26, 2015 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)BOSTON, MA - APRIL 26: Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts after an shoulder injury against the Boston Celtics in the first quarter in Game Four during the first round of the 2015 NBA Playoffs on April 26, 2015 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)Despite high levels of excitement and generally solid play, the 2015 NBA Playoffs were marred by several high-profile injuries that altered several series and in many cases kept superstars out of the postseason altogether. While injuries are a part of the game and it's likely that the Golden State Warriors would have won the championship even with every single player in the league at full health, it's difficult to argue that a postseason without Kevin Durant (and, by extension, the healthy Russell Westbrook), Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, and many others was not everything it could have been. The league has correctly noted that the total number of injuries was not much different this season, but the high-profile ones have created deeper concern about whether top players can stay healthy enough to participate in the games that really matter.

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    The NBA is now taking at least one step to investigate the situation. The

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  • Dion Waiters does weird tongue stuff, gets really creepy at Summer League

    The NBA's various Summer Leagues are pretty commonly accepted as facsimiles of the league itself, glorified scrimmages that hold our interest for the presence of exciting rookies and other young players among guys who are playing for professional opportunities in the D-League or overseas. Yet these factors are not a problem for Summer League — rather, they're sort of its whole draw. After a drama-filled season, draft, and early free-agent period, it can be a relief to watch essentially meaningless basketball games featuring potential stars in a stress-free environment. We all need time to sit back and take things less seriously than usual.

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    That goes for NBA veterans in attendance, as well. When the Oklahoma City Thunder took on the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday in Orlando, shooting guard Dion Waiters joined new head coach Billy Donovan on the sidelines. Waiters saw that he was on camera and proceeded to make

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  • LeBron, Dwyane, CP3, and Melo engage in world's greatest wine toast

    Like us everyday working slobs, NBA players need vacations to recharge and prepare for the rigors of their jobs. The differences, of course, are that they make millions of dollars per year, can afford untold opulence, and pretty much have to take those trips during league-mandated offseason breaks.

    However, these world-class athletes still value the basics, like friendship. Take, for instance, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony. This quartet grew up together from their AAU days into professional stardom, and like any tight-knit group they sometimes like to vacation together, in this case in the Bahamas. It's just that, when they take photos of themselves, they're a little more notable than when Chad, Zander, and Kolton show off their nascent dadbods on a rented boat in the middle of a Midwestern lake.

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    This photo posted to Wade's Instagram isn't just a normal red wine toast — it's a red

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  • 13 remaining free agents who can help NBA teams

    The best player in the world is still technically available. (Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)The best player in the world is still technically available. (Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)The first few days of the NBA's 2015 free agency period have proceeded at a breakneck pace, with several teams already having emerged as the biggest winners and losers of the offseason. However, while the San Antonio Spurs' acquisitions of LaMarcus Aldridge and David West and the minor splashes made by the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks will surely continue to stand out months from now, there are several notable players left on the market to set contenders, playoff squads, and lottery participants up for 2015-16.

    Here are 13 of the most notable remaining free agents, all of whom could make impacts next season.

    LeBron and the LeBron-Adjacent

    LeBron James: Yes, the best player in the world is technically a free agent after having opted out of his contract in late June. While no one really expects him to leave the Cavaliers, the mere technical possibility has allowed James to exert a great deal of pressure on the franchise this offseason, and they have responded with several

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  • Marc Gasol re-ups with Memphis in the most predictable news of the summer

    Gasol's return to Memphis was always a slam dunk. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)Gasol's return to Memphis was always a slam dunk. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)The Memphis Grizzlies and Marc Gasol have formalized an agreement we all knew was coming. As reported by Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, the 30-year-old All-NBA First Team center and the Grizzlies have reached a five-year, $110-million contract that includes an early termination option between the fourth and fifth seasons. If Gasol does not exercise that option (or leave the franchise through other means), he will stick with the team through the 2019-20 season, at which point he will be 35 years old.

    Tabbed as one of the best available 2015 free agents for several years, Gasol opted not to consider long-reported interest from teams including San Antonio Spurs and New York Knicks and took no meetings with prospective suitors. Similarly, there was little doubt that the Grizzlies would offer him anything but a five-year max-level deal. As Woj noted in his report, Gasol attended high school in Memphis while his older brother Pau played for the Grizzlies and considers the city his home. The

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  • LaMarcus Aldridge solidifies Spurs' contender status, eases transition to future

    Congratulations to the San Antonio Spurs, now quite clearly the biggest winners of the 2015 NBA free agency period. As reported by Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, four-time All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge will join the five-time champions on a four-year, $80-million contract with a player option for the final season. While the Portland Trail Blazers were expected to lose Aldridge, the Spurs beat out a host of suitors, including the de facto runner-up Phoenix Suns.

    Aldridge confirmed the news in a tweet Saturday:

    The addition of Aldridge immediately makes the Spurs, perennial title contenders anyway, one of the three biggest favorites to win the championship next June alongside the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. Aldridge, who turns 30 on July 18, averaged 23.8 ppg and 10.4 rpg, the second

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  • Rajon Rondo gets a shot to rebuild his reputation with the ever-confusing Kings

    Rajon Rondo searches for a better opportunity. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)Rajon Rondo searches for a better opportunity. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)Rajon Rondo's 2015 free agency was always less about finding a long-term home than it was figuring out which NBA team allowed him the best chance to avoid taking a serious paycut while simultaneously finding a chance to rebuild his waning reputation. For the eternally enigmatic 29-year-old point guard, that pursuit almost assured that he was going to end up with the Sacramento Kings. As reported by Yahoo's Marc Spears, Rondo will join the Kings on a one-year, $10-million deal that frees him up to pursue new opportunities when the cap rises in 2016.

    The salary allows Rondo to save face after a disastrous few months with the Dallas Mavericks. Following his trade from the Boston Celtics in December, Rondo turned one of the league's best offenses into a less potent unit while engaging in public disagreements with head coach Rick Carlisle over which man would exert greater control over playcalling (or a lack thereof). That relationship culminated in a spectacular flameout during their

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  • Where do the Clippers go without DeAndre Jordan?

    CP3 now has many more reasons to be upset at DeAndre Jordan. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)CP3 now has many more reasons to be upset at DeAndre Jordan. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)The Los Angeles Clippers learned Friday that the line between contention and also-ran status can be all too thin. With dynamic center DeAndre Jordan on his way to the Dallas Mavericks on a four-year, max-level contract below the Clippers' own offer, the West's No. 3 seed, a team that looked like a potential title favorite for a few weeks in April and May, now has serious questions about its ability to defend anyone, let alone compete with the likes of the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, and Cleveland Cavaliers. No team with stars like Chris Paul and Blake Griffin will ever be seriously lacking, but the loss of Jordan puts the Clippers threatens to cap the Clippers' expectations for next season and beyond. Worse yet, it's not clear where they can turn for replacements and reinforcements.

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    Although it's relatively easy to argue that the Mavericks have misjudged the breadth of Jordan's talents, the nearly

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