Archive for the ‘NBA’ Category

Mark Cuban says he messed up.

The Dallas Mavericks owner took sole responsibility for retaining former writer Earl K. Sneed after two separate domestic violence incidents, adding that he wasn’t aware of the “gruesome details.”

“I want to be clear, I’m not putting the blame on anybody else,” Cuban told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon on Wednesday. “It came down to my final decision that I made.”

In the first incident, Sneed got into an altercation with his then-girlfriend that left her with a fractured wrist and bruises on her body. He was arrested two months later at the Mavericks’ office, and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of family violence assault in June 2012. Sneed paid a $750 fine and completed both community service and an anger management program, which resulted in the charges being dismissed.

Cuban allowed the writer to return to the Mavericks after some counseling. Looking back, the billionaire businessman said he regrets not following up with police for more details.

“So we got it mostly from Earl’s perspective, and because we didn’t dig in with the details – and obviously it was a horrible mistake in hindsight – we kind of, I don’t want to say took his word for it, but we didn’t see all the gruesome details until just recently,” Cuban said. “I didn’t read the police report on that until just (Tuesday), and that was a huge mistake obviously.”

Sneed was involved in another domestic dispute in 2014, that time with a co-worker whom he was living with and dating, and rendered her face swollen. The woman informed her supervisor as well as HR director Buddy Pittman of the incident, but Cuban let Sneed keep his job.

The team owner indicated his rationale was wanting to control Sneed’s problem through counseling rather than setting him loose to find another job and continue to act violently toward women.

“I made the decision that we would make him go to domestic abuse counseling as a requirement to continued employment, that he was not allowed to be alone without a chaperone in the presence of any other women in the organization or any other women in a business setting at all, and he was not allowed to date anybody (who works for the Mavericks),” Cuban said.

Cuban added that he’d handle the situation differently if he had the chance. He expressed the most regret about not realizing the message his decision sent to the rest of his employees and the toxic environment it ultimately enabled.

It wasn’t until Tuesday when Sports Illustrated published findings from an investigation into the Mavericks’ misogynistic and predatory culture that Cuban ostensibly fired Sneed and Pittman.


New Orleans Pelicans guard Rajon Rondo went back to his hometown of Louisville during the All-Star break to give back to his community.

“I was happy to put a smile on kids’ faces,” Rondo told Kentucky Sports Radio.

Rondo treated 320 students from Central High School to two free screenings of “Black Panther” as he covered the price of the ticket along with drinks and popcorn.

His only ask in return was for students to write an essay for Black History Month.

As he indicated Friday, LeBron James isn’t going to just shut up and dribble.

No stranger to commenting on social justice issues, the face of the NBA waded into gun politics Saturday, wondering aloud how the 19-year-old gunman in the latest U.S. mass shooting could so easily purchase a high-powered semi-automatic assault rifle.

“We have a kid who (was) legally unable to buy a beer at a bar, but he can go buy an AR-15? It doesn’t make sense,” James said at All-Star media availability, according to the Miami Herald’s Manny Navarro.

“I’m not saying it should be legal for him to go buy beer. But how is it possible that we can have minors go buy a gun? I don’t have the answer to it. But to the families in Parkland, down in Broward County, it’s sad and I’m sorry and it’s just a tragedy. I hope we don’t continue to see this because it’s too many in the last 10 years with guns.”

Nikolas Cruz, 19, is in custody after confessing to killing 17 people during a shooting spree Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School north of Miami. The incident ranks as the seventh-deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

He’s believed to have purchased the AR-15 assault rifle he used at a store, which is legal to do in Florida for anyone 18 or older. The state drinking age is 21.

James spent parts of Friday and Saturday answering questions about FOX News host Laura Ingraham, who took issue with James’ and Kevin Durant‘s recent criticism of President Donald Trump. For his part, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Saturday that he was “incredibly proud” of the league’s players for speaking out on issues they deem important.

The Big Baller Brand’s LaVar Ball is making a big proclamation.

Despite all of the roster changes the Cleveland Cavaliers recently underwent in an attempt to turn their season around and possibly sway LeBron James to re-sign, LaVar remains in the mindset that the four-time league Most Valuable Player will ultimately end up playing with Lonzo Ball and the Los Angeles Lakers next season.

“Who said it was a rumor? Didn’t I tell you he was coming in? Trust me when I tell you,” LaVar said to TMZ Sports upon entering his pop-up shop in Los Angeles.

LaVar even feels a player with James’ credentials and ability will benefit from suiting up next to someone like his son.

“Lonzo will make him a better player,” he added.

Should they join forces, LaVar already has a nickname worked out for a potential LeBron-Lonzo pairing: “Ball Stars.”

The Cavaliers shipped Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye to Los Angeles prior to the trade deadline, which will clear an added $13.6 million in cap space for the Lakers this summer. This means the organization can potentially sign two max-contract free agents, and that could entice James to ultimately make the jump to the Western Conference.

Lonzo, meanwhile, has been sidelined with a sprained MCL in his left knee since Jan. 15. He’s averaging 10.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 7.1 assists on 35.6 percent shooting from the field his rookie year.

Kobe Bryant is happy to see his former club land superstar free agents, as long as he doesn’t have to play a role.

The retired Los Angeles Lakers icon recently sat down with ESPN’s Jalen Rose and spoke on the team’s potential to recruit talent during the offseason. Bryant feels the history of the franchise should be enough to entice players to don the purple and gold.

“The thing about this franchise is that you shouldn’t need recruiting to come here,” Bryant said. “It takes a special person to want to play for this franchise and take the pressure that comes along with playing for this franchise.

“The pressure of following Magic’s footsteps and myself and the dynasty that we’ve had, it takes a special person to do that. And if I need to convince you to come here, to carry that legacy forward, you ain’t the one to be here.”

Los Angeles will have more than just its history to use as bargaining power this summer, though. After trading away Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to the Cleveland Cavaliers at the deadline, the Lakers have the financial room to add one player on a max deal in the offseason, with the potential to open up another slot if they renounce their cap holds on upcoming free agents Brook LopezKentavious Caldwell Pope, and Julius Randle, to name a few.

Bryant, who had both his No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys retired by the Lakers in December after winning five championships with the organization over 20 seasons, expects whoever the team signs to bring them more of the same.

“When you’re here, the most important thing is winning championships,” he said. “I don’t care about anything else. It’s winning championships.

“You don’t have to like each other, but you will show up to practice every day and play hard, you will focus and commit to winning, and you know, if that’s the case, then you’ll be just fine.”

Is the tamperee becoming the tamperer?

Giannis Antetokounmpo is doubling down on his lobbying for LeBron James to join the Milwaukee Bucks.

Asked again who he’d pick if he had the opportunity to draft an All-Star team, the Greek Freak told Eurohoops’ Nikos Varlas:

“I would pick LeBron. … I want to have a good relationship with him before his free agency. You get it? I want him to come and play next year for the Bucks. To come here in Milwaukee, in the cold.”

The Cleveland Cavaliers icon can become an unrestricted free agent after the season, and will have no shortage of suitors. Antetokounmpo hopes his Bucks can be in the mix, and explained why he thinks James is a “special player.”

“It’s easier for me to enter the game, score 25 points and get 10 rebounds, and consider that I have done my job. It’s more difficult to help my teammates. To help the whole team change level,” he said.

“That’s the thing that LeBron does for many years and that’s the difficult part. And I believe that’s the reason he should be even more respected. He doesn’t get in the court just to score the ball. … LeBron will score 30, he will also get 15 rebounds. He will also dish 15 assists and changes the level of the whole team.”

The Bucks phenom could be penalized for his comments, as the NBA prohibits players from enticing a player under contract with another team to join their team. The league recently fined the Los Angeles Lakers $50,000 for violating its anti-tampering rule based on comments team president Magic Johnson made about Antetokounmpo.

Both James and Antetokounmpo have been voted in as East All-Star starters, though they will represent different teams Sunday in Los Angeles. The leading vote-getter James is the captain of the aptly named Team LeBron, and chose Kevin Durant with the No. 1 pick, while Antetokounmpo was selected second overall on Team Stephen.

Basketball Hall of Famer Dan Issel has been named president of “NBA 2 Louisville,” an investment group seeking to bring an expansion team to Kentucky’s largest city.

“Commissioner (Adam) Silver said the NBA would be flattered that Louisville wanted a team,” Issel said, according to the Courier Journal’s Tim Sullivan. “He said right now there is no timetable for expansion. That will be their stance until they start accepting applications … if and when they accept applications, we want to be on the top of the pile.”

The NBA has not prioritized expansion, but there could be a market opening with Seattle filing NHL expansion papers this week after plans for a retrofitted arena were approved. The Pacific Northwest metropolis has been a candidate to bring a pro basketball team back since the Sonics left to become the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008.

Louisville has long been a college basketball hotbed thanks to the success of the Cardinals‘ program, prior to recent turmoil. Issel was a college standout at Kentucky and a star – and later coach of – the Denver Nuggets.