Archive for the ‘NBA’ Category

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The Detroit Pistons are beginning their quest for a new general manager, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Detroit reportedly intends to reach out to potential candidates this week.

Ed Stefanski has served as the team’s de facto general manager since 2018. He was hired as a senior adviser following the firing of GM Jeff Bower. The new hire will work closely with Stefanski and Pistons head coach Dwane Casey, Wojnarowski reports.

The Pistons traded center Andre Drummond and bought out guard Reggie Jackson this season, paving the way for a rebuild. However, star forward Blake Griffin and former MVP Derrick Rose remain under contract. The former is expected to miss the rest of the 2019-20 campaign after undergoing knee surgery in January.

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The NBA has confirmed it’s taken a significant first step toward a return for the 2019-20 season.

The league is engaged in “exploratory conversations” with The Walt Disney Company about restarting the suspended season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in late July, NBA chief communications officer Mike Bass announced Saturday.

The complex, which is located at the Walt Disney World Resort, would be the “single site for an NBA campus for games, practices, and housing,” Bass said.

Earlier this week, Disney World reportedly emerged as the front-runner to host the remainder of the NBA campaign. The park is believed to have started modifying some of its hotel areas to accommodate the league and all of its personnel.

The Orlando site is also reportedly the proposed host for an early-July return for Major League Soccer.

A bubble-like resort on the Las Vegas Strip was also supposedly considered as a possible location for the NBA season.

Fans are not expected to be permitted to attend games. Players would be further kept safe by the park limiting outsider access into the campus-like environment.

Los Angeles Lakers star Jared Dudley said earlier this week that he was assured the league would allow players to leave a quarantined location before all games are completed, though they would be barred from playing again if they test positive for the coronavirus.

“Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all involved, and we are working with public health experts and government officials on a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that appropriate medical protocols and protections are in place,” Bass added.

A format for the remainder of the campaign and playoffs has yet to be decided, but the NBA reportedly sent all 30 general managers a survey late Friday that asked them to vote on formats they prefer to see.

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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban didn’t expect to land Kristaps Porzingis from the New York Knicks so seamlessly in 2019.

After a reported meeting led the Knicks to believe Porzingis wanted to be traded, they quickly shipped the Latvian big man to Dallas along with Tim Hardaway Jr.Courtney Lee, and Trey Burke. In return, New York acquired DeAndre JordanWesley MatthewsDennis Smith Jr., and two future first-round picks.

Cuban admitted he was left stunned when he received the Knicks’ offer.

“Very,” Cuban said on WFAN’s “Moose & Maggie” earlier this week. “It happens in the NBA.

“It’s like the James Harden trade. Harden gets traded from OKC to the Rockets and I’m like, ‘Damn, why didn’t we even get that offered to us?’ We weren’t in the mix. Nobody was. It was one phone call and the Rockets said yes. (The Porzingis trade) was our one phone call.”

Cuban said it’s not unusual for general managers to receive trade proposals for their supposedly untouchable stars. He noted he used to frequently hear from team executives who were interested in acquiring Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki. He also said he had previously held similar discussions with the Knicks about Porzingis, which allowed them to accelerate negotiations.

The Knicks drafted Porzingis fourth overall in 2015. He went on to average 17.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, and two blocks in three seasons in New York and was named an All-Star in 2018, though he didn’t participate in the game due to an ACL tear.

In 51 games with the Mavericks, he’s averaged 19.2 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks while shooting 34.9 percent from beyond the arc.

Cuban compared the Knicks’ choice to part with Porzingis with his own decision to allow Steve Nash to leave for the Phoenix Suns as a free agent in 2004. Nash then went on to win back-to-back MVP awards.

“Every team has their own reasons,” Cuban said. “We let Steve Nash walk. It was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done. At the time, I was getting medical advice saying his back may not make it.

“Obviously, that advice was wrong. … The Knicks had their judgment and were trying to do what they wanted to do. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.”

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New York Knicks legend and current Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing is currently isolated and undergoing treatment after testing positive for COVID-19, he announced Friday.

“This virus is serious and should not be taken lightly,” the 57-year-old Ewing said in a statement. “I want to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones.

“Now more than ever, I want to thank the health care workers and everyone on the front lines. I’ll be fine and we will all get through this.”

Ewing is the only member of the Hoyas men’s program to test positive for the coronavirus, according to the release.

The 2008 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has amassed a 49-46 record since returning to coach his alma mater in 2017.

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The Brooklyn Nets may be looking to partner Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant with Bradley Beal.

The Nets have had internal discussions about how they might acquire Beal from the Washington Wizards, reports Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.

If Brooklyn is intent on landing Beal before he turns 30, the team would almost certainly need to do so through a trade. The 26-year-old is under contract through the 2021-22 season after signing a two-year extension with the Wizards in October. He also owns a $37.2-million player option for the 2022-23 campaign.

The Nets are already over the salary cap, however, and would thus need to match salaries in any trade with the Wizards. Beal is slated to earn approximately $28.7 million next season.

Beal has expressed his desire to spend the rest of his career in D.C. He admitted in March that he hopes to eventually see the team retire his jersey, and said he admires how Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, and Dwyane Wade all remained “in one situation for a long time.”

But while the two-time All-Star was enjoying a career year when the season was halted and ranks second in league scoring at 30.5 points per game, it hasn’t translated to on-court success for the Wizards. Washington currently sits five-and-a-half games out of an Eastern Conference playoff spot with a 24-40 record.

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Former Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan died at age 78 due to complications from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia, the Jazz announced Friday.

Sloan was head coach of the Jazz for 23 seasons between 1988 and 2011.

“Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz,” the team said in a statement. “He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organization and we join his family, friends, and fans in mourning his loss. We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty, and tenacity he brought to our franchise.

“Our Hall of Fame coach for 23 years, Jerry had a tremendous impact on the Jazz franchise as expressed by his banner hanging in the arena rafters. His 1,223 Jazz coaching wins, 20 trips to the NBA Playoffs, and two NBA Finals appearances are remarkable achievements. His hard-nosed approach only made him more beloved. Even after his retirement, his presence at Jazz games always brought a roaring response from the crowd.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver released a statement Friday afternoon.

“Jerry Sloan was among the NBA’s most respected and admired legends. After an All-Star playing career in which his relentless style shaped the Chicago Bulls in their early years, he became one of the all-time greatest head coaches during 23 seasons with the Utah Jazz – the second-longest tenure in league history,” Silver said. “He was the first coach to win 1,000 games with the same organization, which came to embody the qualities that made Jerry a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer: persistence, discipline, drive, and selflessness.”

The Jazz added: “Like Stockton and Malone as players, Jerry Sloan epitomized the organization. He will be greatly missed. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Tammy, the entire Sloan family, and all who knew and loved him.”

After spending 10 years with the Chicago Bulls as a player, Sloan’s coaching career began in 1977 when the club hired him as an assistant coach. He was then promoted to head coach for the 1979-80 season. He served as the Bulls bench boss for three seasons and took the team to the postseason in 1981.

“Jerry Sloan was ‘The Original Bull’ whose tenacious defense and nightly hustle on the court represented the franchise and epitomized the city of Chicago,” Chicago’s chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. “Jerry was the face of the Bulls organization from its inception through the mid-1970s, and very appropriately, his uniform No. 4 was the first jersey retired by the team.

“A great player and a Hall of Fame NBA coach, most importantly, Jerry was a great person. Our sympathies go out to the Sloan family and all his many fans.”

Years later, he was named an assistant with the Jazz in 1985 and remained in the role for four seasons before taking over head coaching duties. He stepped down midway through the 2010-11 season. He managed a 1,127-682 regular-season record and went 96-100 in the playoffs over 23 years in Utah.

His 1,221 career wins were the third-most in NBA history when he resigned in 2011. He has since been surpassed by longtime San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

Sloan was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.

MJ-and-LBJ

LeBron James has interacted with thousands of star athletes and celebrities over the course of his life in the spotlight. Of all those encounters, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar says meeting Michael Jordan for the first time was a rare moment that changed his life forever.

“When I met Michael Jordan for the first time, I literally couldn’t believe it was him. I couldn’t believe it. The dude looked like Jesus Christ,” James said Monday during an appearance on UNINTERRUPTED’s “WRTS: After Party.”

“He was Black Jesus to me, nobody could tell me anything different.

James got that chance to meet Jordan in Chicago while he was still a high school sophomore starring at St. Vincent-St. Mary in 2001.

“I didn’t think Michael Jordan was real,” James added. “I only thought he lived in the TV, either in games, or commercials, or ‘Come Fly With Me’ on cassette tapes.”

Two years later during his rookie season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, James had the opportunity to play with Jordan during scrimmages at his childhood idol’s basketball camp in Santa Barbara, California.

Based on how James retells that experience, you wouldn’t have wanted to be on the teams going up against the star-studded duo.

“The camp would end, he would let the kids watch the first game around 8:30 and then he’d have all the kids leave and we would stay along with the college kids he would invite to the camp as well,” James said. “I was on a team with MJ and we didn’t lose a game.”

While the pair only scrimmaged as teammates, James couldn’t help but imagine what it would’ve been like if they had competed side-by-side on the same NBA team.

“Me, personally, the way I play the game – when it comes to team-first – I feel like my best assets work perfectly with Mike,” James said. “I saw the things (Scottie Pippen) was able to do with Mike … I just think it would’ve been a whole ‘nother level with me being that point forward alongside him during those Chicago runs.”