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Andre Drummond looked poised to become one of the best centers in the NBA two seasons ago, but that all changed last season.

After earning his first All-Star appearance during the 2015-16 season, while also finishing that season All-NBA third team, the 7-foot Pistons center struggled to find consistency last season.

Drummond finished the 2016-17 season averaging 13.6 points and 13.8 rebounds per game, but he shot an abysmal 39 percent from the free throw line, while also looking slow and timid on defense.

Jackson, who played with the Spurs in Summer League after spending his rookie season in New Jersey, recently relayed the story on the Ryen Russillo Show on ESPN Radio.

I remember playing great and after the last game, we were just sitting there and Pop was like, ‘I need to talk to you,’ Jackson said. He was like, ‘Jack, you had a great Summer League. You’re playing well. I really want you on my team, but there’s only one way that you gone make my team during the season, you can’t smoke weed, Jack. You just can’t do it. I need you focused. I need you on your game because you know we have a chance to win a championship. I need you focused.’

Once he told me that, I shut it down, Jackson said. The NBA was way more important than weed. Trust me.

It all worked out just as Popovich said it would. Over the course of the 2003 NBA postseason, Jackson started in all 24 of the Spurs’ playoff games, averaging 12.8 points and 4.1 rebounds to help the franchise capture its second title. Passing on puffing weed wasn’t a concession Jackson would’ve made for just anyone.

Russillo: Does that mean that the next GM that signed you, if he didn’t ask you that question, that that wasn’t a rule you had to follow?

Jackson: We had to have that talk first. Let me know my role.

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To say it’s been an ugly offseason for the Cavs would be putting it mildly.

Cleveland let general manager David Griffin walk out the door along with vice president of basketball operations Trent Redden only days before the NBA Draft. The Cavs saw the gap between them and the Warriors widen during free agency as Golden State seemingly improved its roster while Cleveland retained Kyle Korver and added only Jose Calderon and Jeff Green in free agency. Chauncey Billups passed on the GM opening after being offered a below-market salary. All of this left LeBron James frustrated and concerned about where the Cavs are going.

Then the Kyrie Irving trade talks picked up this past weekend after it was reported Irving wants out of Cleveland. Can’t get any worse, right? Wrong.

According to an ESPN report documenting the weeks leading up to Irving’s trade request, the Cavs nearly acquired Paul George in a three-team deal with the Pacers and Nuggets. Here’s how it went down, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst:

If you’re going to be qualified, you better be in shape, and you better know the game. And she’s bad on both of them. She’s not in shape, she’s not calling the game right, and she don’t understand, so now she’s trying to make a name for herself. So she’s walking around like, ‘I’m the only woman in here.’ Yeah, we get it, I don’t care if you a woman or a man or whatever, just be good at what you do.

This appalling story about the female referee removed during an AAU game warrants serious discussion, read a tweet from the NBA Referees Association Twitter account. First, the misogynistic comments and intimidation by the coach have no place in basketball – or anywhere. The actions by Adidas show what happens when an organization does not support those tasked with protecting the integrity of the game. We support the referee community. This offensive behavior cannot stand, & hurts all those involved in basketball.

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The BIG3 has suspended Allen Iverson for one game after he missed Sunday’s game in Dallas, according to Oliver Maroney of Dime Magazine.

Iverson gave us this iconic sports rant after he was suspended one game by the 76ers after missing practice in 2000.

First and foremost, I apologize to Ice Cube and my BIG3 family, my fans and everyone disappointed by my absence in Dallas this past weekend, Iverson said. I have spoke with Ice Cube directly regarding the details of my absence. I will do my best to make up for this moving forward on the BIG3 tour.

It’s rare to find legends of the game honoring the current crop of stars rather than besmirching their names. Allen Iverson praised Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving back in 2015, saying they both possessed stronger ball-handling skills than him, but he’s the exception rather than the rule. Iverson is comfortable with his place in basketball lore. Jordan knows James is coming for his throne and chasing the ghost who played in Chicago.

Pushing James below Bryant doesn’t create space between MJ and LJ — in fact, quite the opposite. It shows Jordan, the ultimate competitor and alpha male in sports history, noticed James is driving into his neighborhood. Maybe he’s not a next-door neighbor, but he’s down the street in a moving truck.

Jordan may joke about Bryant stealing his moves, but Kobe doesn’t pose much of a threat to MJ’s status. Put him above James.

When people feel like a person is below them, not just in numbers but in general, they will kind of talk you up.

However, what if James really does finish complete his career with a list of achievements and statistics comparable to Jordan? What if that argument for him ahead of Jordan becomes a little stronger with each passing season?

When you get up to the same level or maybe even higher, they get in attack mode; they are maybe not as supportive.

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Mike Conley saw your jokes about his wife, and decided to respond.

In case you aren’t caught up, some folks this week on social media started doubting whether Conley’s child was really is. While most people accept the fact that Conley and his wife, Mary, have a child named Myles, others weren’t so sure.

Conley’s wife did not cheat on him, and that is his child. The underlying joke is that Conley’s baby doesn’t look like him. And instead of letting these jokes just run their course, Conley decided to respond with some jokes of his own.

He has no ill will toward Washington or folks in Seattle, certainly, and he remains close to Roy, who was a three-time NBA All-Star from 2008-10 for the Trail Blazers before bad knees ran him out of the game at age 26. (A comeback attempt at 28 lasted only five games.)

He is a life mentor for me now, Porter said. We talk on the phone two or three times per week. We talk about stuff off the court, and a little bit on the court. He has told me tons of stories. He wishes he was still playing right now. He loves the game. He will get out there and play 3-on-3 with us every once in a while, then he will have to take two weeks off because of his knees. He is an amazing guy, the most down-to-earth guy for a guy who was a superstar.

Roy’s story has stuck with Porter as he moves on for what is likely one year of college followed by a much-anticipated pro career. The hype, the media, the mock drafts, even the antagonists slinging mean tweets over his college choice — it can disappear pretty quickly.

That’s what people have told me most, Porter said. Just enjoy it, enjoy everything that is going on around you for as long as you can.

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The way I cheated the game, I try to give back that much more through my foundation. I can tell you all the wrong things that I did. I did all of that.

Mason Jr. oversaw the creation of the Ewing Concept X Anthony Mason Tribute and the T-shirts from thought to finish.

Initially, he was just trying to put together a logo for his foundation. He chose to go with a profile shot of his father, but as soon as he saw it on paper, he tweaked it to showcase his dad’s haircut, which read Mase in cursive on the side of his head. Then, he added a halo over the M.

People loved it, and once they heard the story behind it, it resonated immediately. Mason Jr. knew the image could serve as the first piece to a clothing line but he didn’t stop there.

But the history of the NBA shows that you’d lose a lot of money over the years betting on presumed dynasties. Too much can happen. Look at, say, the Shaq-Kobe Lakers of the early 2000s, the Big Three Celtics of 2008 on and the LeBron James-Dwyane Wade-Chris Bosh Heat. None won as many championships as projected. (Weren’t the Heat still supposed to be winning titles now, seven years later?) Injuries take their toll. Egos get in the way, on the court and off it.

It seems as if Harden has been enjoying his time in Houston, where he has spent the last five years of his career after spending three seasons at OKC. Now that Harden has signed a four-year, $228 million extension with the Rockets, it seems he’ll be able to continue his extracurricular activities.

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When news broke late Friday that Kyrie Irving had requested a trade, it was reported the Cavs were given four preferred destinations: New York, Miami, Minnesota and San Antonio. While several teams have likely inquired about adding the All-Star guard, it looks like the Knicks and Timberwolves have become serious potential landing spots after appearing on Irving’s initial list.

On Thursday’s edition of First Take, ESPN’s Pablo Torre revealed he had spoken with a trustworthy source who said Irving very badly wants to join the Knicks. It would be a homecoming of sorts for Irving, who attended St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, N.J., where he excelled on the court next to current Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

As for the off-court drama, it’s likely newly-signed executive Craig Robinson, who just joined the Knicks’ front office after serving with the Bucks, provided info on Beasley. As USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt notes, Beasley proved he had grown up in Milwaukee last season. Whether that remains the case under the bright lights in New York City is the question.

If Beasley can bring the offensive firepower while keeping the media’s focus on basketball, this could be a great value signing for the Knicks, particularly in the event Anthony is moved. Beasley could end up seeing significant minutes next to rising star Kristaps Porzingis, but Beasley appears to recognize he can still find playing time as a supporting act. He should yes, that’s a big should understand Porzingis is the guy and not swallow possessions. (Beasley had the second-lowest usage percentage of his career last season on a team with a similar unicorn in Antetokounmpo.)

Beasley certainly isn’t a game-changer, but in the context of what he brings to the Knicks, he may turn out to be a valuable piece as the franchise attempts to build around Porzingis in the post-Phil Jackson era.

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Malik Monk wants to challenge his boss to a showdown on the court.

While speaking with the media Saturday at an autograph session near Louisville, the Hornets rookie bragged about his skills and said he is confident he could beat team owner and NBA legend Michael Jordan in a game of one-on-one.

He’s pretty old right now, Monk said, via the Charlotte Observer. I think I can get him.

While Monk admitted Jordan is one of the greatest players of his generation, he also noted the six-time NBA champion is now 54 and not at the same skill level he had during his career.

Monk, 19, was selected by Charlotte out of Kentucky with the No. 11 overall pick in the recent NBA Draft. He averaged 19.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game during his only season with the Wildcats.

He wasn’t taken in the 2010 NBA Draft, despite being a staple on draft boards throughout his college career. He was picked up by the Heat and lasted through Summer League, preseason and training camp, but he was cut just before the season started. He wound up spending more than a half-decade bouncing around the NBA’s Developmental League and overseas, where he had stops in Bahrain, France, Italy, Japan, Venezuela and Cyprus.

The injury bug bit him again during his time in the D-League (now called the G-League) on a night he was killing. Close to a posting a triple-double with NBA scouts in the stands, he got tangled up trying to box out former Hawks forward Ivan Johnson, and he tore his labrum.

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First Irving asks for a trade. Then James is blindsided. Then Irving said he thinks James leaked the story. Now this story from Stephen A. Smith, which he told on his radio show Monday afternoon.

Now, whether James would be tempted to beat Irving because he asked for a trade or because Irving alluded to the fact that James was the one who leaked the trade rumors to the media is unclear.

They will be looking to get both LeBron and Paul George, one general manager said. Anything they have been doing has been all about protecting their cap space next summer.

But the Lakers will have to show improvement this season, especially among its young players, to make it clear they have the potential to play with the Warriors in the West.

Rocket reunion Should Anthony join Chris Paul and James Harden in Houston, the opportunity could be open for James to join the Rockets next summer and play with Paul and Anthony, two of his best friends. It won’t be easy, however. The Rockets would have to get into luxury-tax territory to make that happen, and with the franchise up for sale by owner Les Alexander, there’s no telling what the approach to the tax would be in Houston.

As one league official said, I think that is a great idea in theory, but you’d have to have those guys be willing to take less money than the max. Maybe they will. But they’re all big union guys, and it would be tricky for them to be seen giving owners a break like that.

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LeBron James has turned a slice of Blaze Pizza into roughly a $35 million stake.

According to ESPN, James, along with his business partner and financial adviser made an investment in the pizza chain for less than $1 million in 2012. James’ nearly 10-percent stake in the company is now worth $35 million to $40 million thanks in part to James becoming a Blaze Pizza spokesman in 2015.

For James, success breeds success outside of the sports world as well. The fast-casual chain Blaze Pizza is one of the fastest growing food chains in North America.

Not only did James decide to join the Twitterverse and completely ignore the Kyrie craziness, but he also doesn’t plan to intervene in trade discussions. Windhorst reported James will leave that job to the Cavs front office and owner Dan Gilbert: James has expressed to the team that he is focused on his offseason workout regimen and is planning to report to training camp with the intention of leading his teammates to a fourth consecutive Finals — no matter who those teammates are.

What does the other member of Cleveland’s Big Three think about all of this drama? It turns out Kevin Love might be even less concerned than James.

Did you notice how Love used the word peculiar in that tweet? Probably not a coincidence considering Irving said the Cavs were in a peculiar place this offseason. If nothing else, these Cavs provide plenty of entertainment.

As for Irving, he’s overseas touring around Asia for Nike Basketball. Yeah, don’t think he’s going to address this stuff any time soon.

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The mystery surrounding Allen Iverson’s absence from his BIG3 game Sunday just got a little deeper.

Iverson was seen gambling in a Chicago-area casino the night before the game in Dallas, TMZ Sports reported.

One person said Iverson was still at Rivers Casino as late as 3 a.m. on Sunday. He was then seen at a Chicago-area restaurant Sunday night wearing the same clothes he donned at the casino.

BIG3 released a statement Sunday afternoon saying it was looking into Iverson’s absence and that it had launched an investigation.

So far, BIG3 has not released an update on Iverson’s whereabouts, and Iverson hasn’t posted anything on his social media in several days.

For the Rockets and coach Mike D’Antoni, the hope is that Anthony is ready to love NBA basketball again, that he can take with him to Houston some of that spirit he’s shown as an Olympian over the years. That is, of course, if the Rockets and Knicks are finally able to grant Anthony’s wish and come up with a deal that sends him out of New York and off to Houston, where he could join good friend Chris Paul and MVP runner-up James Harden.

The nuts-and-bolts of Anthony with the Rockets, plainly his preferred team, will be complicated. First, there is the roster. Should Houston have to give up some combination of Ryan Anderson, Trevor Ariza or Eric Gordon, they’ll be left with a significant dropoff in talent from the Anthony-Harden-Paul trio to its second tier of players, even with the signings of veterans like Nene, P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute.

Anthony wants the ball in isolation to do what he does best: create a shot and score. Last season, according to NBA stats, 23.1 percent of Anthony’s possessions came in isolation situations, fourth-most in the league.

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