Should Hall of Fame induct Maurice Cheeks?

Here’s the Oklahoman on former NBA guard Maurice Cheeks, whose very successful basketball career has not yet landed him in the Basketball Hall of Fame:

Should Hall of Fame induct Mo Cheeks?

At the end of ESPN’s Around the Horn on Monday, legendary sportswriter Bob Ryan was the winner of the four-man duel for points, earning him the show’s closing words on its “Face Time” segment.

Ryan had something to say about Thunder assistant Maurice Cheeks. Ryan, who’s covered the NBA since the 1960’s, vouched for Cheeks to be inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

At All-Star Weekend, 14 finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame were announced, and Cheeks was not on the list. A player must be retired for four full seasons before being eligible for enshrinement, then can be nominated in his or her fifth year of retirement.

Cheeks retired after the 1992-93 season, and has been eligible for enshrinement since 1998.

Lakers fire PR head John Black

The Lakers made big changes today, putting Magic Johnson in charge of the roster and saying goodbye to Mitch Kupchak, who has been a big part of the front office for a very long time. They also made a big change in their PR department.

The Lakers also announced they have parted ways with John Black who had been the Lakers Vice President of Public Relations for many years. Chief Operating Officer Tim Harris will immediately begin a search for a replacement.

Jeanie Buss added, “We thank John for his many years of service.”

Lakers hire Magic Johnson, fire Mitch Kupchak

Los Angeles Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss announced today that the team has named Earvin “Magic” Johnson as President of Basketball Operations.

In addition, General Manager Mitch Kupchak has been relieved of his duties, effective immediately.

Furthermore, Jim Buss will no longer hold his role as Lakers Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations.

“Today I took a series of actions I believe will return the Lakers to the heights Dr. Jerry Buss demanded and our fans rightly expect,” Jeanie Buss said. “Effective immediately, Earvin Johnson will be in charge of all basketball operations and will report directly to me. Our search for a new General Manager to work with Earvin and Coach Luke Walton is well underway and we hope to announce a new General Manager in short order. Together, Earvin, Luke and our new General Manager will establish the foundation for the next generation of Los Angeles Lakers greatness.”

“It’s a dream come true to return to the Lakers as President of Basketball Operations working closely with Jeanie Buss and the Buss family,” said Earvin “Magic” Johnson. “Since 1979, I’ve been a part of the Laker Nation and I’m passionate about this organization. I will do everything I can to build a winning culture on and off the court. We have a great coach in Luke Walton and good young players. We will work tirelessly to return our Los Angeles Lakers to NBA champions.”

According to the Orange County Register, “Jeanie Buss made the sweeping changes just two days before the NBA’s trade deadline. The Lakers are 19-39 this season, plummeting out of contention after an encouraging 10-10 start under new coach Luke Walton, who got a strong vote of confidence from Jeanie Buss. The Lakers are mired in the worst four-year stretch in franchise history, missing the playoffs in three consecutive years with their three worst records ever. They finished 17-65 last season, a franchise low in the last year of Kobe Bryant’s two-decade run with the franchise.”

Jeanie Buss added, “I took these actions today to achieve one goal: Everyone associated with the Lakers will now be pulling in the same direction, the direction established by Earvin and myself. We are determined to get back to competing to win NBA championships again.”

Regarding Mitch Kupchak, Jeanie Buss stated, “We are grateful for the many contributions Mitch has made to the Lakers over the years and we wish him all the best.”

With regard to fellow owner and brother, Jim Buss, Ms. Buss said, “Jim loves the Lakers. Although he will no longer be responsible for basketball personnel decisions, he is an owner of this team and we share the same goal: returning the Lakers to the level of greatness our father demanded. Our fans deserve no less.”

More from the OC Register: “Though he had initially said in a Spectrum Sports Interview that Jim Buss was in charge, Johnson said in subsequent interviews with CBS and ESPN that he would like to be in charge. Johnson has Hall of Fame credentials as a five-time NBA champion with the Showtime Lakers. But he has no front office experience.”

Timberwolves may want Derrick Rose

Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune on the Timberwolves and Knicks PG Derrick Rose:

Timberwolves may want Derrick Rose

The Timberwolves are among several teams that have talked to New York about acquiring point guard Derrick Rose before Thursday’s trade deadline, ESPN.com reported Monday night.

Rose played for Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau in Chicago for five seasons, and his contract with this season’s $21.3 million salary expires this summer

Report: Kings trading DeMarcus Cousins to Pelicans

Mere minutes after DeMarcus Cousins deflected questions about a possible trade to New Orleans, the Pelicans and Sacramento Kings agreed to a deal that will pair the All-Star power forward with superstar Anthony Davis, a league source confirmed late Sunday night.

The Pelicans agreed to send rookie first-round pick Buddy Hield, veteran swingman Tyreke Evans and guard Langston Galloway along with their first- and second-round picks in June’s draft to Sacramento, the source said…

Pelicans general manager Dell Demps had been actively trying to land a complement to Davis before Thursday’s trade deadline. Demps also engaged the Philadelphia 76ers about acquiring forward Jahlil Okafor and the Brooklyn Nets about center Brook Lopez. ESPN reported Demps also had talks with the Indiana Pacers about All-Star small forward Paul George.

– New Orleans Times-Picayune

Anthony Davis wins 2017 NBA All-Star Game MVP

New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2017 NBA All-Star Game. Davis finished the game with 52 points, setting an NBA All-Star Game scoring record, previously held by Wilt Chamberlain (42 points, 1962) to go with 10 rebounds as the Western Conference defeated the Eastern Conference, 192-182 at the Smoothie King Center.

Davis, playing in his third All-Star Game (his fourth time named an All-Star overall), becomes the first player in franchise history to win the MVP award of the All-Star Game. Davis was named a starter on January 20, 2017.

Davis has appeared in 53 games this season for the Pelicans, averaging 27.4 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks, ranking fourth, sixth, and second in the NBA in each category, respectively.

———————–

New Orleans basketball fans didn’t have to wait long to get their NBA All-Star moment on Sunday night.

Just 10 seconds into the game, hometown hero Anthony Davis drained a 21-foot jumper from the top of the key. And with that, the tone was set and the most New Orleans-flavored All-Star Game in history was underway.

The bucket was the first of 26 by Davis as he took home MVP honors by shattering Wilt Chamberlain’s 55-year-old All-Star Game scoring record with 52 points.

– New Orleans Times-Picayune

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a team-high 30 points and pounded home some crowd-pleasing dunks, but the Western Conference all-stars pulled away in the final quarter for a 192-182 victory over the East in the NBA All-Star Game at the Smoothie King Center.

New Orleans forward Anthony Davis set an NBA All-Star Game record with 52 points to lead the West, beating the mark of 42 points set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1962. Russell Westbrook just missed beating Chamberlain’s mark, scoring 41 points.

Antetokounmpo was impressive with 14-of-17 shooting on layups and dunks. He attempted a single three-pointer and missed it. He scored in the last second to reach the 30-point mark, the most scored by a Bucks player in an NBA All-Star Game. He also had six rebounds, three steals and one assist while playing 23 minutes.

– Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

From the NBA down to the D-League, players with Indiana ties were flashing their skills all over New Orleans on Saturday during the NBA All-Star weekend.

But let’s start with the show-stealing Glenn Robinson III, the Gary native and Indiana Pacer who blew away his competition to win the 2017 All-Star Slam Dunk Contest.

Robinson beat Derrick Jones Jr. of the Phoenix Suns in the final round. Robinson clinched the win with a perfect 50 on the final dunk of the night — going over three people for a reverse dunk and nearly touching his head on the rim in the process…

Robinson started with a dunk where he leaped over Indiana teammate Paul George, grabbing the ball from the All-Star before his slam that merited 44 points…

DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers and Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic were eliminated in the first round. Gordon finished second to Minnesota’s Zach LaVine in last year’s contest.

– Indianapolis Star

Kristaps Porzingis wins 2017 Skills Challenge

The Knicks are amid the throes of losing, but all Kristaps Porzingis did during All-Star Weekend was win.

After scoring 24 points in the World Team’s victory Friday in the Rising Stars Challenge, the 7-foot-3 Porzingis captured the Skills Challenge on Saturday, knocking off Gordon Hayward in the finals.

It marked the second straight year a big man has won the skills, after Karl-Anthony Towns captured the 2016 crown.

Sitting with a big gold trophy in the interview room and asked about tasting victory after a 23-34 start, Porzingis, the man nicknamed “The Unicorn” by Kevin Durant, beamed.

“It feels good to win no matter what,” Porzingis said. “Even yesterday it felt good to get a win.’’

– NY Post

Eric Gordon wins 2017 Three-point Contest

Eric Gordon wins 3-point shootout

The 3-point shootingest team in NBA history has its first 3-point shooting champion.

Eric Gordon had to work overtime. He had to overcome the distraction of James Harden’s fishing lure shiny jacket. He even had to tune out the smattering of boos around Smoothie King Arena, where he played for five seasons before he escaped the “dysfunction” to join the Rockets.

Gordon, however, had spent the season coming off the bench and shooting 3s. With 3 ½ months of preparation, he had the best round of the competition and a triumphant extra round, taking the championship before he even reached his final rack…

Gordon defeated Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving in the overtime shootout, fittingly defeating a player that grabbed headlines with a flat Earth theory in a game of ‘around the world.’

– Houston Chronicle

Knicks legend Willis Reed knows what ails the franchise — not having Phil Jackson as its head coach.

Attending the Hall of Fame press conference Saturday, Reed, a Louisiana resident, told The Post that Jackson has assembled enough talent to win but needs a great coach. A coach like Jackson.

Reed never mentioned coach Jeff Hornacek by name, but said the Knicks aren’t getting the most out of their roster…

“Unfortunately for us as Knicks fans, if Phil Jackson had been coaching all year, we would’ve won more games,’’ Reed told The Post. “His toughness and ability to make guys concentrate, that’s what I loved about him as a coach. He got guys to play harder and smarter.”

– NY Post

Jimmer Fredette scores 73 points in China

Jimmer Fredette scores 73 points in China

Much like Stephon Marbury, Jimmer Fredette is finding success in China.

Fredette, the former Knick and Glenn Falls, N.Y., native, scored 73 points in a Chinese Basketball Association game Sunday. Fredette’s Shanghai Sharks lost in double overtime to the Guangsha Lions. He shot 25 of 49 from the field.

The offensive outburst is the fourth-highest point total in CBA history. Errick McCollum (82), Quincy Douby (75) and Bobby Brown (74) are the only players to score more than Fredette in a game.

– NY Daily News

Jamal Murray wins MVP of 2017 Rising Stars Challenge game

Denver Nuggets rookie Jamal Murray was named MVP of the 2017 Rising Stars Challenge after posting a game-high 36 points (9-14 3FG) and a game-high 11 assists in a 150-139 Team World victory.

Murray, 19, is the first Nugget to win MVP of the Rising Stars Challenge since teammate Kenneth Faried was named MVP in 2013. He is the third Nugget in team history to be named MVP of the game (Carmelo Anthony, 2005).

The Kitchener, Canada native connected on 9-of-14 (.642) threes in the game, the second most made three-pointers in the history of the Rising Stars Challenge (Daniel Gibson of the Cavaliers made a record 11 three-pointers for the Sophomore Team in 2008). Murray’s 11 assists were the most by any player in the Rising Stars Challenge since John Wall handed out 22 assists in 2011.

The University of Kentucky product has appeared in 56 games (three starts) for Denver this season, averaging 8.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 19.9 minutes per game. He has made the second-most threes of any rookie this season (72) and was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month for October/November after averaging 10.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists for the month.

Murray’s teammate Nikola Jokić added a near triple-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for Team World.

Wondering how former Thunder teammates and current West All-Star teammates Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are getting along at All-Star weekend? They’re barely interacting, according to reports. Here’s the Oklahoman:

While being ushered to the interview area at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Saturday, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were about to come face-to-face.

That was, until Westbrook and Philadelphia’s Nik Staukas converged to shake hands. Wearing a long-sleeved hoodie under his practice jersey, Durant walked around the pair as a Thunder staffer tapped Durant on the arm…

Day 2 of Westbrook-Durant at All-Star Weekend? Avoidance on and off the court.

The Atlanta Hawks have signed radio play-by-play broadcaster Steve Holman to a multiyear contract extension.

“Steve is more than a broadcaster; he’s such an important part of our organization and the Atlanta community,” said Hawks Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer Andrew Saltzman. “His accomplishments and accolades speak for themselves and we’re thrilled fans will continue to be able to hear his one-of-a-kind broadcasting style for years to come.”

Holman, who will be inducted into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame this evening and into the Georgia Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame on Feb. 24, is in his 32nd year as the “Voice of the Hawks,” having called more 2,500 games. His play-by-play streak, which began in March of 1989, is currently at 2,385 consecutive games including regular season and playoffs.

“The Hawks and the city of Atlanta mean so much to me, and I couldn’t be happier to be able to remain with the organization and community that have supported me throughout my career,” Holman said. “I’m very proud to be a part of such a great organization and excited about the future here. I look forward to calling Hawks games for many years to come.”

A fixture on Atlanta radio since 1980, Holman is also in the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame and has won a number of awards for sports reporting as well as the Georgia Associated Press Award, the 2014 Georgia Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, and was the 2015 and 2016 Gabby Award winner.

Kings rookie Malachi Richardson injured

An MRI performed today on Kings guard Malachi Richardson revealed a partial thickness tear of the right hamstring.

He will miss approximately four to six weeks of action.

The injury occurred late in the fourth quarter of last night’s game at Golden State.

The rookie guard is averaging 3.6 points and 1.0 rebounds on 10.6 minutes in 22 games for the Kings this season.

Miami Heat hire Shane Battier as Director of Basketball Development & Analytics

The Miami Heat announced today that they have hired former HEAT player and two-time NBA champion Shane Battier as the Director of Basketball Development & Analytics. His duties will include the development of analytics in evaluating all talent, including college, free agents and current Miami players.

“We believe Shane is an incredible example of our HEAT program, not only for the present, but also for the future,” said HEAT President Pat Riley. “He embodies everything that we are looking for in our players and staff. We feel he will help us tremendously with his experience and knowledge of the game. Shane is an out-of-the-box thinker and will bring a fresh expertise that can help us evolve as a franchise.”

“I am thrilled to be joining the front office of the Miami HEAT,” said Shane Battier. “I look forward to working with the Arison family, learning from a Hall of Fame executive in Pat Riley, General Manager Andy Elisburg and of course my old coach, Erik Spoelstra. My goal, as is the entire organizations, is to bring another championship back to Miami.”

Battier, a role player who played three seasons with the HEAT, helped bring back-to-back NBA championships, three Eastern Conference Championships and three division titles to Miami over that span. He appeared in 210 games (86 starts) with the HEAT and averaged 5.1 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 22.6 minutes while shooting 39.8 percent from the field. He won the Twyman-Stokes NBA Teammate of the Year award in 2014 and the Magic Johnson Award for excellence on the court with cooperation with media and fans in 2013, both as a member of the HEAT. The 13-year NBA veteran appeared in 977 career NBA games (705 starts) and averaged 8.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.01 steals and 30.7 minutes while shooting 43.7 percent from the field.

Jahlil Okafor trade rumors persist

With the emergence of Sixers center Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor has wound up on the trading block. No guarantee he gets moved, but Okafor has been mentioned in trade rumors for much of the season. Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer with the latest:

Jahlil Okafor trade rumors persist

76ers center Jahlil Okafor had the same feeling most people had.

The thought was that Okafor was about to be traded once he didn’t play the past two games due on-going trade talks.

“I thought it would be a good chance,” said Okafor, responding to being asked if he thought he was gone. “When I’m not traveling with the team I was expecting something to happen.”

Instead, the second-year center is slated to come off the bench for the Sixers Wednesday night against the Boston Celtics at T.D. Garden. While trade talks continue, the team is not as close to trading the second-year center as it seemed to be in recent days.

Jabari Parker undergoes ACL surgery

Jabari Parker undergoes ACL surgery

Bucks General Manager John Hammond announced that forward Jabari Parker underwent successful surgery today to repair his left ACL injury. The surgery was performed at The Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colo., by Dr. Robert LaPrade.

Parker will miss the remainder of the season with the recovery and rehabilitation period estimated at 12 months. A timeline for his return to basketball activity will be established at a later date. Parker suffered the injury in the third quarter of Milwaukee’s game vs. Miami on Feb. 8.

Zach LaVine undergoes ACL surgery

Zach LaVine undergoes ACL surgery

Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine underwent surgery today to reconstruct the torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in his left knee. The surgery was performed in Los Angeles by Dr. Neal ElAttrache of Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in collaboration with Timberwolves Team Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Diane Dahm of Mayo Clinic. Timberwolves Director of Athletic Therapy Matt Duhamel accompanied LaVine.

The injury occurred during the Timberwolves vs. Detroit Pistons game on Friday, February 3.

A timeline for his return to activity will be established at a later date, but he is expected to be out at least for the rest of the season.

Kevin Love will miss 2017 NBA All-Star game

Kevin Love will miss 2017 NBA All-Star game

Cavaliers forward and 2017 NBA All-Star Kevin Love underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove a loose body from his left knee this morning at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. The procedure was performed by Dr. David Altchek with Dr. James Rosneck of the Cleveland Clinic present.

Love will now undergo a period of rest and rehabilitation and his return to play is estimated at approximately six weeks.

Love made the 2017 Eastern conference NBA All-Star team. A replacement for him should be announced very soon. The All-Star game is this Sunday.

Basketball blog