Tag Archives: Sports News

LeBron: Mavericks’ Smith ‘should be a Knick’

5:03 PM ET

DALLAS — LeBron James unleashed what could be considered one final shot at Phil Jackson, declaring that Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. “should be a Knick.”

How Jae Crowder continues to find his way with the Cavs

Jae Crowder is off to a slow start this season, but Cleveland’s new forward is earning rave reviews from his teammates.

The New York Knicks decided to pass on Smith with what ended up being the final draft pick of Jackson’s tenure as New York’s team president, selecting French point guard Frank Ntilikina eighth overall, one pick before Dallas took Smith.

“The Knicks passed on a really good one, and Dallas got the diamond in the rough,” James said after his Cleveland Cavaliers’ 111-104 win Saturday night over the Mavericks. “He should be a Knick. That’s going to make some headlines, but he should be a Knick. Dallas is definitely, I know they’re excited that he didn’t go there.”

Knicks center Enes Kanter didn’t take long to respond to James’ comments, tweeting that the team is happy with Ntilikina.

Jackson, the legendary former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers coach whose rocky stint as an executive with the Knicks ended in June, angered James a year ago with comments in an ESPN interview characterizing James’ business associates as a “posse.” James responded by saying that he lost all respect for Jackson.

“No relationship at all,” James said last November, when he made it clear that he believed the term “posse” had racial connotations. “I had nothing but respect for him as a coach for what he was able to do. Obviously he was at the helm of [the team featuring] my favorite player of all time [Michael Jordan], and also being there growing up and watching him with the Lakers, but I got nothing for him.”

Smith, a 19-year-old whom James has mentored since he was in high school, has shown flashes of brilliance early in his career. He is averaging 14.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.9 assists for the Mavs, compared to 19-year-old Ntilikina’s 4.4 points, 1.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game for the Knicks.

Smith performed particularly well Saturday night while trying to help the Mavs make a comeback against the Cavs. He finished the game with 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks.

“He’s an unbelievable talent [with] athleticism,” said James, who had a spectacular chase-down block in the fourth quarter against Smith. The rookie responded with a breakaway slam dunk the next possession. “He’s very poised to be his age, can shoot the ball, penetrate. He’s only going to get better and better with the opportunity that he’s getting here. Dallas got a good one. I’ve been knowing that. I’ve been with him for so long now. I’ve been knowing his talent level.”

The Cavs’ next game is Monday night against the Knicks in Madison Square Garden.

Article source: http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/21383210/lebron-james-says-dennis-smith-jr-dallas-mavericks-knick

Carlisle on Noel’s DNP: Minutes must be earned

9:57 AM ET

DALLAS — Center Nerlens Noel, who turned down a four-year, $70 million contract from the Mavericks before eventually settling for the one-year qualifying offer, did not play in Saturday’s 111-104 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers because of a coach’s decision.

Coach Rick Carlisle, who mentioned that matchups made it difficult for traditional centers to play against Cleveland, said that Salah Mejri had earned playing time over Noel at this point.

“Look, minutes have to be earned,” Carlisle said. “At this point, if it’s between him and Salah, Salah has earned the minutes. There’s no doghouse here. There just isn’t. It’s pretty simple: You compete, and if you earn minutes, you get minutes. And you’ve got to compete to keep them, because it’s a competitive situation.”

Noel said he wasn’t frustrated by not getting the opportunity to play Saturday night, emphasizing that he would remain ready.

“I’m good, I’m good,” Noel said. “I’m a very self-confident player. I know I can go in there and change games. When my number is called, I’ll do just that and help some winning efforts. That’s all my play style is about, is just winning. When I’m called on, I’ll bring my winning effort.”

Noel is making $4.2 million this season and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. He settled for the qualifying offer after Mavs owner Mark Cuban pulled the $70 million deal off the table, a reaction for Noel’s request for a maximum deal, according to sources.

Noel, who fired agent Happy Walters and hired Rich Paul to represent him after negotiations with the Mavs went sour over the summer, is averaging 5.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 17.2 minutes per game this season.

“I’ve just been focused on just coming in here and doing what I have to do, focused on the season, playing hard when I’m in the game,” Noel said. “I’m just keeping everything simplified. Things are going to come, things are going to play out. I’m just really focused on getting better and better and supporting my guys.”

Carlisle explained to Noel his concern about matching up against the Cavs’ perimeter-shooting centers. Noel respected the coach’s decision but says he believes he can defend shooters such as Kevin Love, who had 29 points and 15 rebounds in the game, and Channing Frye.

“Me personally? I think I can match up on anybody,” said Noel, who was labeled a “Tyson Chandler starter kit” by Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson after arriving in Dallas in a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers last season.

Mejri had six points and four rebounds in 10 minutes against the Cavs and was the only Dallas player to finish with a positive plus-minus (plus-2). The rest of the center minutes went to Dirk Nowitzki and Dwight Powell, a pair of converted power forwards.

Noel played only six minutes in Tuesday’s win over the Washington Wizards, Dallas’ second victory of the season. Mejri, who did not play in four of the Mavs’ first five games this season, had 10 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks in 25 minutes against the Wizards.

“Our guys have to have an edge. No one’s given anything,” Carlisle said. “That’s how we’ve got to do things. The situation like we’re in with a tough schedule, a lot of tough opponents, record’s not good right now, competing is what it’s all about.”

Article source: http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/21383390/dallas-mavericks-coach-says-nerlens-noel-earn-playing

Rumor Central: Seth Curry back in Mavericks’ lineup soon?

Dallas Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith has been out the past four games due to left knee soreness. If he moves well in Tuesday’s shootaround, he might be cleared to rejoin the active roster, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told The Dallas Morning News.

Rumor CentralOn Monday, Carlisle also discussed the progress and possible return of guard Seth Curry, who has yet to play this regular season.

“We said at the end of October it was weeks not days,” Carlisle said. “There’s nothing imminent, but he’s making progress and has had no setbacks. It’s something we’re going to have to be patient with.”

Curry, in his second season with the Mavericks, has been sidelined since Oct. 7, when it was announced that he had been diagnosed with a stress reaction in his left tibia. He played well last season, when he averaged 12.8 points, 2.7 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game.

— Nick Silva

Article source: http://www.espn.com/blog/nba/rumors/post/_/id/45933/rumor-central-seth-curry-back-in-mavericks-lineup-soon

Warriors’ Green leaves Cuban criticism alone

6:16 PM ET

DENVER — Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green acknowledged Saturday that he has read Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s remarks about him, but he elected not to comment further on the matter.

Asked if he was advised not to address Cuban’s comments to ESPN, Green responded: “Nobody can prep me. I’m going to always say what I want. Ain’t no prepping me. At all. Ever. Don’t ever believe that. Can’t prep me for nothing. Don’t ever think that.

“I do live in America. However, you can’t prep me for nothing. Don’t ever think I’ve been prepped for an interview. Don’t work like that.”

Cuban: Green owes apology for owner remark

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban took exception to Warriors forward Draymond Green’s Instagram post about the term “owners” in sports, saying it was wrong for Green “to try to turn it into something that it’s not.”

A day earlier, Cuban told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon that Green “owes the NBA an apology” after suggesting in an Instagram post last week that the word “owners” be banned from professional sports.

Wrote Green: “For starters, let’s stop using the word owner and maybe use the word Chairman. To be owned by someone just sets a bad precedent to start. It sets the wrong tone. It gives one the wrong mindset.”

Cuban then responded: “For him to try to turn it into something it’s not is wrong. He owes the NBA an apology. I think he does, because to try to create some connotation that owning equity in a company that you busted your ass for is the equivalent of ownership in terms of people, that’s just wrong.”

Two of Green’s teammates spoke in his defense Saturday before the Warriors’ game against the Denver Nuggets.

“I understand both sides,” Andre Iguodala, the vice president of the National Basketball Players Association, told ESPN. “I think Mark Cuban has the right to defend himself because he has a majority stake in an NBA team. But he’s done a great job of carrying that position with integrity, with respect, with equality to everyone who’s involved with his organization. So, I understand because he’s removed himself so far from the other incident that owners have gotten themselves in trouble with references to American historical events. So, I understand that he has to defend himself, but at the same time, he’s not able to understand what it’s like to be an African-American and certain terms being thrown around and how we feel about them.”

Iguodala did not use the word “owner” when describing that position during the interview.

Michael Jordan (Charlotte Hornets) and Vivek Ranadivé (Sacramento Kings) are the only two non-white majority owners in the NBA. ESPN reached out to both for comment through their representatives, but had yet to receive a response prior to publishing.

There are no black owners in the NFL or MLB.

Warriors teammate David West said Green’s point is valid.

“Cuban, I guess he’s a little sensitive about that comment,” West told ESPN. “I don’t think it’s nothing wrong with the idea that people [should] make it clear that you don’t own the player, you don’t own the individual people. You own the enterprise.”

Iguodala pointed out a double standard that exists when conversing about one’s inequalities.

“It’s the same as if we said a derogatory statement toward somebody who represents the [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community,” Iguodala said. “You have to be very careful with that, and any time you say something about that, you can get into real trouble. But, when it comes to us, [people] just want to say it’s about race. You understand? There’s an interesting two sides that goes with that. On one side, you’ve got to be very sensitive because they feel like they should be treated equally, but on the other side, we feel the same way, and it’s not treated the same way. I understand both sides, but I do think Mark has done a great job at running his organization and making sure everyone, no matter your color, your gender, whatever it may be that’s going on in our crazy world, that everybody is respected.”

Iguodala is one of the most business-savvy players in the league; he is the tech circuit’s central player when it comes to investing into the bevy of corporations in the Silicon Valley.

“Being an entrepreneur and having equity shares in a company, [being labeled an ‘owner’] doesn’t bother me,” he said. “But I would like for any time that there’s a situation where anybody in that position is out of line with how they view their employees in a certain manner should be handled accordingly, which the NBA has done a good job of. But players are always under the microscope with how we use our words and how we interact with people, and I think everyone else should be held to the same standard, especially from, whatever you want to call them, ownership.”

Asked about his views on the “owner” label, West pivoted into how fatigued he was with the political landscape and how the negative tension has caused chaos around the country.

“I don’t know, man. I’m going to be honest with you. I’m drained, bro. I’m drained. I’m mentally drained,” he said. “I’m a thinker, so my mind is fried. I’ve been fried for about a month. I’m drained. I’ve got no answers. … If you try to think logically and use sound rationale with this madness, it just drives you crazy. There’s no way to put into words, some of the stuff that we’re dealing with.”

Article source: http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/21288703/draymond-green-golden-state-warriors-address-mark-cuban-criticism

Cuban: Green owes apology for owner remark

8:57 PM ET

DALLAS — Mark Cuban said he believes Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green “owes the NBA an apology” for criticizing the usage of the term “owner” in sports.

Green made the statement last week as part of an Instagram post reacting to Houston Texans owner Bob McNair’s controversial comment that the NFL “can’t have inmates running the prison.”

Draymond wouldn’t play for Texans’ McNair

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green took exception with Houston Texans owner Bob McNair’s description of NFL players as “inmates” and said he wouldn’t personally play for someone who views him as an inmate.

“For starters, let’s stop using the word owner and maybe use the word Chairman,” Green wrote. “To be owned by someone just sets a bad precedent to start. It sets the wrong tone. It gives one the wrong mindset.”

Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner, said McNair’s comment, made during a meeting between NFL owners and players regarding social issues, was “wrong, ridiculous.” Cuban said it was up to each individual to decide whether to accept McNair’s apology.

However, Cuban said he was also offended by the thinly veiled connotation of Green’s comments about owners in professional sports.

“For him to try to turn it into something it’s not is wrong,” Cuban told ESPN. “He owes the NBA an apology. I think he does, because to try to create some connotation that owning equity in a company that you busted your ass for is the equivalent of ownership in terms of people, that’s just wrong. That’s just wrong in every which way.

“People who read that message and misinterpret it — make it seem like we don’t do everything possible to help our players succeed and don’t care about their families and don’t care about their lives, like hopefully we do for all of our employees — that’s just wrong.”

Cuban noted Green’s goals of investing in Silicon Valley companies and wondered what Green would call himself if he bought a company.

“Don’t try to suggest that because we have a team and the nomenclature is ‘owners’ because we own shares of stock, own equity, that it’s analogous to slavery. That’s just as bad [as Texans owner Bob McNair’s comment].”

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban

“We own equity; we don’t own people,” Cuban said. “And there’s a big difference. This is a country where we have corporations, and you put up your money and buy equity. E-Q-U-I-T-Y. It translates into shares of stock. People who bust their ass and work hard and get a little bit lucky have enough money to buy enough shares of stock to buy a company.

“To try to turn it into something that it’s not is ridiculous. Draymond can trash-talk on the court, but when he comes into our world, it doesn’t fly. … I guess it’s because he went to Michigan State and didn’t take any business classes, but you own equity. When you own a team, you own equity, shares of stock. That’s called ownership. Tell him if he wants to take classes at Indiana’s business school, I’ll even pay for his classes and we’ll help him learn that stuff.”

Cuban stressed that the Mavs and most NBA franchises go to great lengths to try to help players develop personally. Cuban cited the programs the Mavs and other teams have instituted to help teach young players life skills. He also mentioned the presence of psychologists on many teams’ staffs, including the Mavs. Cuban’s point is that players are treated as people, not property.

“If you want to talk about slavery and everything that’s important about it and some people who make comments and don’t respect other individuals, great, let’s have that conversation about people who don’t respect others,” Cuban said. “But don’t try to suggest that because we have a team and the nomenclature is ‘owners’ because we own shares of stock, own equity, that it’s analogous to slavery. That’s just as bad [as McNair’s comment]. It’s just as bad.

“Don’t ask me. Ask anybody who’s ever played for me. Ask anybody who’s ever worked for me. I’m far from perfect, but that’s certainly not a connotation that you’re going to hear from anybody that I’ve ever been associated with. I’ve been brutally honest about racism and how we have to work hard to overcome it, but to suggest that an NBA team is some sort of … I’m not even going to go there.”

Article source: http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/21277983/mark-cuban-says-warriors-draymond-green-owes-apology-remark-team-owners

Vote: Weigh in on the NBA through two weeks

It’s been an interesting opening few weeks of the 2017-18 season.

The Boston Celtics have strung together five straight wins following an 0-2 start, after losing prized acquisition Gordon Hayward for the year just six minutes into their season opener. The Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic are off to surprising starts. Giannis Antetokounmpo has stormed to the front of MVP talk. All the while, traditional heavyweights like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors have looked uncharacteristically mortal.

Which teams have been the most surprising and disappointing? Which rookie has looked the best so far? And is anyone else on the Greek Freak’s level right now?

Reigning MVP Russell Westbrook will square off with Antetokounmpo when the Milwaukee Bucks host the Oklahoma City Thunder at 8 p.m. Tuesday night.

— Brendan C. Hall

Article source: http://www.espn.com/sportsnation/story/_/page/171031SNpollNBA/weigh-nba-two-weeks