Archive for February 16th, 2013

kevin garnett

The Boston Celtics can discuss a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers or any other NBA team all they want, but Kevin Garnett says it won’t matter. Asked Saturday if there was any circumstance or team that could entice him to give up his no-trade clause and leave Boston, Garnett said, “No.”

Even so, the Clippers still believe they can get Garnett to accept a trade if the Celtics tell him they want to make a deal, a source told Yahoo! Sports.

“If Boston came to him with the trade and he knew they wanted to do it, he would change his mind,” the source said.

Publicly, at least, Garnett was pretty clear about his desire to stay in Boston.

“If it’s up to me,” Garnett said, “I will live and die green all day.”

– Reported by Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports

Billy Hunter was ousted unanimously as executive director of the union by NBA players, who said Saturday they will “no longer be divided, misled, misinformed.”

“This is our union and we have taken it back,” players’ association president Derek Fisher said.

Fisher said it was a day of change for the union, one which had seemed inevitable since a review of the union last month was critical of Hunter’s leadership and urged players to consider whether they wanted to keep him.

They didn’t.

“We want to make it clear that we are here to serve only the best interests of the players,” Fisher said. “No threats, no lies, no distractions will stop us from serving our memberships.”

In brief remarks, Fisher said a new executive committee was elected, and he will remain as president. The Spurs’ Matt Bonner is vice president, Miami’s James Jones is secretary-treasurer and the Nets’ Jerry Stackhouse is first vice president. The Clippers’ Chris Paul and Willie Green, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Denver’s Andre Iguodala, and the Hornets’ Roger Mason, Jr. are vice presidents.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Derek Fisher, who has been at odds with Hunter, will remain president of the union, but was aggressively challenged in the meeting by Brooklyn Nets guard Jerry Stackhouse. Stackhouse criticized Fisher for his role in the union’s troubles.

Stackhouse was elected first-vice president. Miami Heat forward James Jones is treasurer. San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner, Los Angeles Clippers guards Chris Paul and Willie Green, New Orleans Hornets guard Roger Mason and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry will make up the union’s next executive committee.

Hunter’s dismissal will likely set up a legal battle between him and the union for the remaining $10.5 million on his contract.

– Reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports

lebron james

James has never competed in the slam-dunk contest on All-Star Weekend. Asked Friday if he ever will, James said he thinks his window of opportunity may have passed.

He’s only 28, but playing his 10th NBA season.

“I’m getting older,” he said. “It ain’t looking good.”

Dwight Howard, who competed multiple times and won a dunk contest, had another theory for why some players won’t give it a try.

“I think for us, the reason why a lot of us don’t participate is because we do so much during All-Star weekend, by the time we get to the dunk contest we have no legs,” he said. “When you do the dunk contest, you want to have your legs, you want to be ready to go because you want to put on a good show for our fans. So I think some guys, I think they don’t want to get embarrassed in the dunk contest, so they just choose not to do it.”

– Reported by the Associated Press

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant wanted to set the record straight once and for all about his relationship with LeBron James.

“I hate him,” he said before breaking into laughter.

Then he got serious.

“We’re actually really good friends,” he continued. “I think people want us to hate each other so bad just because we’re battling against each other.”

That doesn’t mean he has any good feelings toward him when they pair face each other.

“I like the friendly competition, but when we’re on the court we’re the furthest thing away from being friends,” he said. “We don’t take it easy on each other.”

That much was never more evident than when the two competed in last year’s NBA Finals, which the Heat won in five games. James led his team in scoring in each game, and Durant paced the Thunder in all but Game 4.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Joakim Noah gets treatment on right foot

Joakim Noah

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah had platelet-rich plasma treatment on his right foot Thursday to help ease the pain of plantar fasciitis.

Noah, who will play in his first All-Star Game on Sunday, said the foot is feeling better. He missed almost a week of action recently because of ongoing issues with the foot.

“I’m happy that it’s not getting any worse,” Noah said. “I did the PRP thing on Thursday morning.

“It was very painful after the treatment. I can still feel it a little bit but I think it’s helpful, so I’m hoping with some rest today and some rest tomorrow I think I’ll be OK. I won’t do too much on Sunday. I won’t play 44 minutes, I’ll put it that way.”

Noah, who had the same treatment three years ago while battling plantar fasciitis in his left foot, appeared to be in good spirits as he spoke to the assembled media.

– Reported by Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago

michael jordan

Even as he approaches his 50th birthday, Michael Jordan can still play. And the No. 2 pick in the draft will be the first to admit it.

Charlotte Bobcats rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist confessed Friday that Jordan beat him in a one-on-one game.

“It was hard for me,” Kidd-Gilchrist, almost 20, told USA Today before the Rising Stars Challenge rookie-sophomore game at All-Star Weekend. “I lost. I lost to a 50-year-old guy. … He’s the greatest man that ever played the game.

“Oh, yeah. He’s good.”

– Reported by ESPN.com

lebron james

LeBron James respects his elders among the NBA’s greatest players of all time. Right now, he just doesn’t agree with two of them: Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.

In a week dominated by league-wide debate and comparisons between James and Jordan (who will turn 50 on Sunday), James fired back again regarding Jordan’s claim he’d pick Kobe Bryant as the NBA’s best player.

Speaking with reporters during Friday’s All-Star media day, James said he doesn’t believe championships should always be the key factor in deciding comparative greatness.

“(Jordan) said he would take Kobe over me because … five rings are better than one, and the last time he checked, five is better than one,” James said. “At the end of the day, rings don’t always define someone’s career. If that’s the case, then I’d sit up here and say I would take (Bill) Russell over Jordan. But I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t take Russell over Jordan. Russell has 11 rings, Jordan has six. I wouldn’t do that.”

James won his first championship with the Heat last season while Bryant has won five with the Los Angeles Lakers. Friday’s response from James came after Jordan initially said during an interview with NBA TV that he’d have a tough time deciding between Bryant and James.

– Reported by Michael Wallace of ESPN.com

Dwight Howard

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak denied a CBSSports.com report that the Lakers and Celtics were in preliminary talks to trade Dwight Howard for Rajon Rondo.

“I haven’t talked to Danny Ainge in weeks,” Kupchak told ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard. “I made the statement a week or two ago that we’re not going to trade Dwight Howard and that hasn’t changed.”

When asked if a possible Howard-for-Rondo trade was discussed when he spoke to the Celtics weeks ago, Kupchak again said no. He said at no point this season has a Howard-for-Rondo trade been discussed.

– Reported by ESPN.com

Usain Bolt joined the East team in the All-Star celebrity game to have a little fun.

He had no idea the West team would take the game so seriously.

Five-foot-2 comedian Kevin Hart took most valuable player honors in leading the West to a 58-38 victory over the Bolt and the East on Friday night.

Afterward the Jamaican sprinter said he was surprised by the intensity of the West team coached by Houston All-Star James Harden

”We got beat bad, but their team was much more serious,” Bolt said.

Bolt did show his athleticism a few times, most notably on a two-handed dunk in the first half.

Hart challenged Bolt to a race during a timeout where the pair each had to dribble and make two layups, and shocked the crowd by winning.

”Kevin Hart is a pleasure,” said Bolt, who used a limited edition Gatorade squeeze bottle during the game. ”I watch all of his standup comedy shows, so for me it was a great honor to get to do that with him.”

He acknowledged before the game that he could dunk well, but that his other basketball skills were lacking. He said he’d like to play a different sport when his track career is done.

”I’m more of a better soccer player than a basketball player, so I definitely want to try soccer,” he said.

Bolt said he was most impressed with Hart, who stole the show with his antics and won MVP for the second straight year, despite being the smallest player on either team.

Hart, the star of BET’s Real Husbands of Hollywood, talked a ton of trash before the game, and continued running his mouth and mocking the opposition throughout the game. He even took a shot at East coach and Oklahoma City All-Star Russell Westbrook’s camouflage pants.

– Reported by Kristie Rieken of the Associated Press

Kenneth Faried had 40 points and 10 rebounds and entertained the crowd at the end with a series of dunks, leading Team Chuck to a 163-135 victory over Team Shaq in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night.

Faried, in his second season with Denver, made 18 of 22 shots and was selected the game’s most valuable player. He’ll compete Saturday night in the dunk contest at All-Star Weekend and offered a sneak preview of what he has planned with a series of powerful jams.

For the second straight year, the rosters of both teams were a mix of rookie and second-year players and former stars Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley served as opposing general managers.

Sacramento point guard Isaiah Thomas had 18 points and 10 assists for Barkley’s team. Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving, last year’s MVP, scored 32 points and rookie Dion Waiters, Irving’s Cavs’ teammate, added 23 for Shaq’s team.

The average score of the game over the past five seasons was 138-131, and New Orleans rookie Anthony Davis set the tone with an alley-oop pass to San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard for a dunk 20 seconds into the game.

Barkley’s team finished virtually all of their first-half possessions with uncontested 3-pointers or dunks and led 90-66 at halftime.

Team Chuck went 12 for 18 from 3-point range in the first half and Thomas hit his first four tries. Cleveland forward Tristan Thompson was the only player on Barkley’s team who didn’t hit a 3 in the half, but he made up for it with four dunks.

– Reported by Chris Duncan of the Associated Press

With Kenneth Faried, Kawhi Leonard, Tristan Thompson and Nikola Vucevic fronting a dominating performance in the paint, Team Chuck ran roughshod over Team Shaq, rolling to a 163-135 victory to kick off NBA All-Star Weekend on Friday night at Toyota Center. Faried, the Nuggets’ indefatigable second-year power forward, scored 19 of his 40 points in a runaway first half to earn MVP honors. Faried amassed a variety of dunks along with a surprising 3-pointer to help stake Team Chuck to its 90-66 halftime lead. And when Faried wasn’t assaulting the rim, Leonard, Thomson and Vucevic filled in ably.

“I came out with the intent to put on a performance,” Faried said. “But I wasn’t thinking MVP type of performance. I was just thinking about winning the game and enjoying myself. And pretty much enjoying the game. I love to play.”

Thompson and Vucevic, second-year big men representing the Cavaliers and the Magic, respectively, combined to score 35 points on 15-for-18 shooting. Leonard, the Spurs’ multifaceted albeit overlooked small forward, displayed the all-around skills, posting 20 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

– Reported by the Sports Xchange

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