September 2017

Craig Robinson has a new job.

The Bucks front-office executive has accepted a position with the Knicks, The Vertical reported the hire on Monday and the Knicks announced the move Tuesday.

Robinson will serve multiple roles in the franchise’s front office, including player development and serving as general manager of the Knicks’ development league team in Westchester.

Robinson, the brother of Michelle Obama and brother-in-law of former president Barack Obama, was hired by the Bucks last August and has served as Milwaukee’s vice president of player and organizational development.

Robinson’s basketball resume also boasts head coaching gigs at Oregon State from 2008-14 and before that Brown from 2006-08.

When Carmelo Anthony was trying to figure out whether he should buck the trend of NBA stars saying, No, thanks, to a spot on the 2016 Olympic team, one person he turned to for counsel was his old college coach and Team USA assistant Jim Boeheim. With Anthony coming off three straight losing seasons in New York while cycling through three coaches, Boeheim advised him to go to Rio.

It was important for him to be (in Rio) Boeheim said. At least just to have some positive experiences with basketball again. Carmelo has always loved Olympic basketball, he thrives in it as a player and as a leader.

That’s the tricky part of Anthony. In the NBA, he viewed as a sourpuss who ticks off the old-schoolers who say his game is selfish. In the Olympics, though, he’s a bright and happy leader, playing exemplary basketball.

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The Pacers may no longer have Paul George, but they do have new Nike uniforms, and they’re pretty sweet.

Nike’s agreement as the NBA’s uniform supplier begins this season.

The Pacers unveiled the threads after a day-long tease on its social media accounts Friday, that also included the unveiling of a new court design.

We caught up with a league scout to get his views on the 10 rookies who made the biggest marks on Summer League this year what he loved about their performance, and what he didn’t love so much.

Look, the passing we knew about. His ability to see the floor and create easy baskets, we knew about that. I was impressed with the other things. He is an excellent rebounder. He’s worked on a post game, too. He can post up smaller guards. We did not see that much. He has tremendous body control when he drives, he can finish off-balance. Love the passing ability, but I loved the other parts of his game.

Defenses I saw were making things a little too easy on him. You can go under the screen on him, but you still have to pick him up aggressively on the other side. NBA defenses are going to be a lot more aware of his deep passes, too. I don’t know how often he will be able to throw those 50-footers. So he will have a lot to learn against better defenders, but so far so good with him.

Thomas initially suffered the injury May 12 in the Celtics’ Game 6 loss to the Wizards in the team’s second-round series. A week later, he re-aggravated a right femoral-acetabular impingement with labral tear during the team’s Game 2 loss to the Cavaliers and was ruled out for the remainder of the postseason.

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LeBron James sent the internet into a frenzy Wednesday with a simple tweet calling Los Angeles home.

May have to make a day trip up there when I’m back home in LA bro!

He has great upper body strength for a guy his age, and that is going to serve him well in the NBA. He has the speed to beat defenders, even good ones, off the dribble. But once he gets into the lane he can handle contact and draw fouls and still have a chance to finish. That is what sets him apart.

The perimeter shooting is the obvious flaw here. He needs to be a better 3-point shooter. He had one decent game from the outside, but you can back off him defensively. He is not confident in his shot and that showed. (Smith was 6 of 22 from the 3-point arc.)

He probably looked better in Utah than in Vegas, they shut him down early. But coming off of screens, that was where he was most impressive. He is long and deceptively big and really gives his opponents no room. So his defense is great, and we knew about that. But I really liked how easily he can curl off screens and knock down jumpers.

He is not great when playing the 1. I thought the Jazz were smart to put him there a lot and see how he handled it. He is not a playmaker, though. He gets room for himself, he can create his own shot. But he is much more a 2 than a 1.

It has not been all roses and lollipops for Porter, though. He grew up in Indiana until the fifth grade, then moved to Columbia, Mo. He stayed there until the 11th grade before he moved out to Seattle to play for former NBA star Brandon Roy at Nathan Hale.

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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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