Reggie Bullock and Monta Ellis suspended by NBA

The NBA announced today that Monta Ellis of the Indiana Pacers and Reggie Bullock of the Detroit Pistons have each been suspended without pay for five games for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program.

Their suspensions will begin with the next NBA regular season game that they are eligible and physically able to play.

clippers

The L.A. Clippers and the City of Inglewood announced today that they have entered into a three-year Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) that will allow the Clippers to explore building a new state-of-the-art basketball arena, training facilities and team offices in Inglewood, Calif. Under the ENA, which was unanimously approved Thursday morning by the Inglewood City Council, the Clippers will consider a 20-acre site located south of Century Boulevard at Prairie Avenue and directly across the street from the future football stadium and entertainment district being developed by The Kroenke Group.

The ENA establishes a three-year timeframe during which the L.A. Clippers will develop the details of its proposed basketball facility. The City of Inglewood will conduct an environmental review including an evaluation of the proposed facility’s construction and operational impacts.

The Clippers have called STAPLES Center, located in downtown Los Angeles, home since 1999. The team’s current lease with Anschutz Entertainment Group, the owners of STAPLES Center, will expire at the end of the 2023-2024 NBA season.

“Today’s announcement is consistent with what Steve Ballmer and the Clippers leadership have said for years – we want to be regarded as the best. That requires setting the highest bar for our performance in every aspect of our business,” stated Gillian Zucker, L.A. Clippers President of Business Operations. “To accomplish this goal, we must have options for the future.”

“This agreement serves as an example of the team’s commitment to providing Clipper Nation with the best game experience in the NBA,” Zucker said. “It is another step in the journey toward building a championship culture that will deliver positive results for Clippers players, fans and the greater Los Angeles community.”

“The Clippers applaud the energy and vision that Mayor Butts has for his city,” added Zucker. “His tenacity was instrumental in getting this Exclusive Negotiating Agreement across the finish line.”

The new arena would be 100 percent privately funded and privately capitalized. No public dollars will be used for this project.

Under the exclusive negotiating agreement, the L.A. Clippers are responsible for the costs to plan, entitle and develop the proposed facility. Within 24 hours of signing the ENA, the L.A. Clippers will pay the City of Inglewood $1.5 million, which will fund the City’s administrative costs. If additional funding is required, the Clippers will provide the necessary resources.

Nets hire Travon Bryant as assistant player development coach

The Brooklyn Nets have named Travon Bryant as an assistant player development coach on Head Coach Kenny Atkinson’s staff.

Bryant joins the Nets after spending the last two seasons as an assistant coach for the NBA Development League’s Oklahoma City Blue. The Long Beach, Calif., native played collegiately at the University of Missouri (2000-04) before embarking on an 11-year pro career overseas, most recently with Japan’s Akita Northern Happinets in 2015. Bryant also played in Greece, Italy, Germany, Ukraine and France during his time abroad.

Sixers exercise Robert Covington contract option

The Philadelphia 76ers today exercised the contract option on forward Robert Covington for the 2017-18 season.

In 204 games (165 starts) over the course of three seasons with the Sixers, Covington holds averages of 13 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals per game while shooting 35 percent from three-point range and 81 percent from the free-throw line. His 170 made three-pointers in 2015-16 were the fifth-most ever in a season by a Sixers player, and his 474 threes are already fifth-most in franchise history behind Allen Iverson, Kyle Korver, Andre Iguodala and Hersey Hawkins.

This past season, Covington finished fourth in the NBA with an average of 1.9 steals per game, while his total of 127 swipes on the year placed him 11th in the league. Covington, Houston’s Trevor Ariza, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook were the only NBA players with 125 threes and 125 steals in 2016-17.

Covington was originally signed by the Sixers on Nov. 15, 2014, after spending much of the 2013-14 season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Houston Rockets’ D-League affiliate. He appeared in seven NBA games for Houston and was named D-League Rookie of the Year during an All-Star campaign.

Clippers may build their own arena in Inglewood

The Staples Center is home to both the Lakers and Clippers, but the latter squad would reportedly enjoy a home of their own.

According to the LA Times, “Inglewood’s City Council will vote Thursday on an exclusive negotiating agreement with a Clippers-controlled company to use city-owned land to build an arena for the team, according to a copy of the agreement.”

More from the Times: The 22 acres where the 18,000- to 20,000-seat arena would be built are across the street from the 298-acre site where Rams owner Stan Kroenke is building a stadium that will house his team and the Chargers.

For now, Stephen Curry not interested in a White House visit

Typically, American teams that win championships in American major team sports get invited to the White House. Why? It’s tradition. And it’s fun. So, it happens. (Is there more to it?)

But right now, the current political climate in the United States (and the world, really) is… shall we say… complicated.

It’s not yet known if the Warriors will receive an invite to visit the White House, to pal around with President Trump. It’s also not yet known if the Warriors, either as individuals or as a group, would accept the invite.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle: “Somebody asked me about it a couple months ago, a hypothetical, if a championship were to happen: ‘What would I do?’” Curry said Wednesday afternoon. “I think I answered that I wouldn’t go. I still feel like that today.”

Some would suggest if you disagree with a politician, it’s best to engage, discuss matters, see if you can affect change. Others would simply want to avoid that politician altogether, using absence as a statement. It’s too early to speculate on what may happen. We’ll see.

Warriors win 2017 NBA championship

As yellow confetti fell from the rafters and TV cameras swarmed Monday night, Kevin Durant grabbed the charcoal cap emblazoned with the Larry O’Brien trophy before embracing Stephen Curry. In that moment, as a capacity crowd belted along to “We Are the Champions,” the Warriors had finally vindicated the 3-1 Finals lead they squandered last June. Nothing — not the chorus of critics, not the Herculean performances from Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, not a lengthy hiatus from head coach Steve Kerr — could keep Golden State from winning its second NBA title in three years.

– San Francisco Chronicle

Cleveland, fresh off a 137-point outburst in Game 4, used an early 14-2 run Monday to seize a seven-point lead midway through the first quarter. With James, Irving and J.R. Smith leading the way, the Cavaliers were up 41-33 early in the second. That’s when Golden State, perhaps the most combustible team of this era, tightened up defensively, ratcheted up the tempo and unleashed a 21-2 rally. Durant poured in 13 points on only five shots in the quarter to power the Warriors to a 71-60 lead by halftime.

– San Francisco Chronicle

Durant scored 39 points — he broke 30 in all five games of the Finals — and Curry had 34 and 10 assists… Right after the pass to Iguodala to put the Warriors up eight, Durant nailed a 3 to erase the Kevin Love and-1 seconds prior. When a Kyle Korver 3 with 8:27 left cut it to six, Durant sliced backdoor for an easy dunk, uncontested just like the six dunks he had in the first half of Game 1. In all, he made 14 of 20 shots, including five of eight from beyond the arc. For the series, he shot 56 percent from the field. He led the Warriors in rebounds and blocks.

– Bay Area News Group

And in the clincher, Curry had 34 points, 10 assists, six rebounds, and enough moments to silence his loudest critics. The reasonable ones, anyway. He led the way to a 129-120 win over the Cavaliers, clinching the Warriors’ second title in three years, completing their vengeance from last year’s epic collapse. This is how you earn super stardom. Curry wasn’t the Finals MVP. But he vindicated himself by averaging 26.8 points, 9.4 assists and 8.0 rebounds in an NBA Finals.

– Bay Area News Group

While James went for game highs in points (41) and minutes (47), Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith were second and third on the Cavs with 26 and 25 points, respectively. For the Warriors, Stephen Curry was second with 34 points — hitting 10-of-20 shots — and 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala accounted for 20 points in 38 minutes off the bench.

– Akron Beacon Journal

Steve Kerr wants more edge from Warriors tonight

Many different words can be used to describe “edge.” As in, playing with more edge. Nerves. A sense of urgency. Pick whatever word or phrase you like — you get the idea. But you aren’t Warriors coach Steve Kerr. He’s got a better sense of all of this. And here’s what he said on the matter:

“For us as a team tonight, we’ve got to be more on edge,” said Kerr before the game, according to the Bay Area News Group. “I hope we’re a little more nervous. We didn’t seem that nervous in Game 4. Nervous is good. Appropriate fear is the Greg Popovich line. You need that. When we come out in the beginning of Game 4 and lose shooters and turn the ball over carelessly, we’re obviously not ready. I would hope we’re more ready, more prepared tonight.”

More from the Bay Area News Group: There’s a running theory that the pressure is on the Warriors tonight. They own a 3-1 series lead, but after the Cavs took Game 4, that’s now the same deficit they overcame to beat the Warriors a year ago. If they can get a win in Oakland to send the series back home, they might gather enough steam to pull it off.

NBA Finals Game 5 is tonight in Oakland at 9 p.m. ET. The Warriors lead 3-1.

James Dolan he is hands-off on Knicks decisions

If you hire Phil Jackson and pay him a massive amount of money to run your basketball team, you might as well let him do his job, right?

According to New York Newsday, “Knicks owner James Dolan gave his usual answer when he was asked about his basketball team during an appearance on “Good Day New York” on Fox. “Ask Phil,” Dolan said.”

More from Newsday: “Dolan said he’s continuing to leave all basketball decisions to team president Phil Jackson and general manager Steve Mills. Since hiring Jackson in March 2014, Dolan has been mostly hands off and let Jackson run the club. “It’s all Phil. It’s all Steve,” Dolan said. “I’m working on my music. They’re working on the basketball team.”

An issue here, of course, is the job that Phil Jackson has been doing. So far, it hasn’t resulted in much success. The Knicks aren’t a playoff team, and only have one good young prospect: Kristaps Porzingis, whose season ended more with frustration than inspiration.

Still, Dolan’s words make sense.

Darius Miles has bankruptcy sale

Darius Miles has bankruptcy sale

Former NBA player Darius Miles made a ton of money in his career — tens of millions of dollars.

Now he’s reportedly selling things like waffle irons to round up enough cash to make ends meet and pay off debts.

Blowing over $60 million (before taxes, fees, expenses, etc — but still) sounds tough. But Miles made it happen.

According to TMZ Sports, here are some of the items Darius sold off:

– LeBron James signed jersey ($1,500)
– Larry Bird signed jersey ($100)
– AR15 firearm ($500)
– Beretta Cx4 Storm gun ($400)
– Self-contained karaoke machine ($75)
– Dirk Nowitzki signed shoe ($375)
– Lamar Odom signed shoe ($225)
– 5 VHS players (total of $21.50)

The other big question that needs to be asked: Why is the signed LeBron jersey so much more valuable than the signed Bird jersey?

And, what will be the first tapes played on those VCRs? Whoever bought them must have some old tapes they’ve been waiting to watch for a while. I’d like to know what they are. This question may remain unanswered, however. Them’s the breaks.

Draymond Green makes fun comments about Cleveland fans

Warriors forward Draymond Green is a great quote. He’s got big personality and unleashes lots of fun stuff when speaking to the media. And he didn’t hold back when discussing his thoughts on fans in Cleveland.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “asked Sunday whether he regretted saying after Game 4 that Clevelanders “don’t seem to be the sharpest people around,” Green detailed why he seized the opportunity to deride the opposing fan base. “I didn’t bash them,” Green said. “I just gave my thoughts.”

More from the Chronicle: After the referees told the scorekeepers that the first technical should have been assigned to Kerr, Green stepped back on the court. In the wake of Golden State’s 137-116 loss, when a reporter asked him whether he had noticed that the first technical had been announced as his, Green said: “I don’t pay much attention to anybody in Cleveland, honestly. Don’t seem to be the sharpest people around. So, whatever.”

Trash-talk on the court is fun. And off the court? Still fun. Green won’t label this trash-talking. He’s merely expressing his opinion. And if anybody takes offense, that’s their problem!

But seriously: Green is fun, and we enjoy hearing his take on just about anything. Especially the opposition.

LeBron James will not play 3-on-3 basketball in Olympics

The 2020 Olympics in Japan will include 3-on-3 basketball as an event, but unless LeBron James has a big change of heart, don’t expect him to participate.

“I’m not very good in a three-on-three thing, I’m more of a five-on-five guy,” said James to the media, according to ESPN.com. “I stay out of the one-on-one matchups during our practice, the two-on-twos and the three-on-threes. So probably not. I probably won’t be a part of the three-on-three matchup that it has to offer.”

“I think it’s great for basketball,” said James, per ESPN. “For us to be able to add another category to the Olympics, another basketball category, I think it’s pretty great. I haven’t seen the full layout of how they plan on executing it; and are they going to use NBA guys or are going to use college guys?”

It’ll be interesting to see what caliber of players do represent the USA in 3-on-3. Right now, it’s anyone’s guess. It’s quite possible NBA players won’t be involved.

2017 NBA Draft is critical for Sixers

Before you say anything: Yes, the draft is of huge importance each year to every team with both a horrible record and a high pick. But with the Sixers, it’s different. They’ve invested years into a very long rebuilding process. And if they can land a difference-maker this year — or at least another big-time prospect who is an actual keeper — then the team’s future can finally take shape. Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer with more:

The Sixers had top-three selections in each of the next three drafts. In each one, they didn’t have to make tough decisions.

The 2014 draft was regarded as a three-player affair with Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, and Jabari Parker. Even with a broken right foot, Embiid was thought to be far superior to any draft prospect not named Wiggins and Parker. So with those two off the board, the Sixers did the obvious and drafted Embiid.

The following summer, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and Jahlil Okafor were regarded as the top three prospects. The Sixers went the safe route by selecting Okafor third over Kristaps Porzingis after Towns and Russell went first and second.

The 2016 draft was Colangelo’s first with the team. The Sixers were awarded the first overall pick. He had to decide between the super-hyped Ben Simmons or the good but undersize and raw Brandon Ingram. Colangelo did what most would have done by selecting Simmons.

Now, he’s faced with a decision that is arguably tougher than parting ways with Holiday, who had an injury history the Sixers concealed from the Pelicans.

The Cavs are in big trouble, down 3-0 in the NBA Finals against a superior-looking Warriors team. Cavs veteran Richard Jefferson says reaching the Finals is no prize if it doesn’t include the acquisition of a championship ring at the end. Here’s ESPN.com reporting:

Championship or bust, says Richard Jefferson

“I still do not feel like we’ve reached our potential,” Jefferson said Friday, after the team’s shootaround at their practice facility. “We’ve said it all along — it doesn’t matter if we lose in Game 7, what happens with tonight: If we don’t win a championship, then the season was unsuccessful. That’s it. It’s the same for them.

“It’s probably the same for three teams in this league every single year. And it’s true. If we don’t win a championship, it’s unsuccessful. Nobody would be surprised at the end of the day if before this series you said the Cavs won. No one would be surprised if someone said San Antonio won a championship at the beginning of the season. No one would be, like, mind blown.

“So for the three, four teams that are in that position, regardless of how it ends or whatever, if you don’t raise that banner the next year, then it was unsuccessful.”

Warriors take 3-0 NBA Finals lead

The Cavaliers did everything right in Game 3 except what they needed to do most — close it out.

The Cavaliers on June 7 followed the blueprint drawn up by coach Tyronn Lue for Game 3 like a team of construction engineers erecting a futuristic skyscraper, and still lost, 118-113, and now are one loss away from becoming the first team swept out of the NBA Finals since the San Antonio Spurs did it to the Cavaliers in 2007.

The Warriors went on an 11-0 run to after a 26-footer by J.R. Smith gave the Cavs a 113-107 lead with 2:32 remaining. Smith preened for the Cavalier fans sitting in the front row of The Q as he trotted down the court on defense — way too early, as it turned out.

– Akron Beacon Journal

Cavs guard Kyrie Irving said he had to be more assertive driving to the hoop and he was. His driving layup high off the glass as the first half ended were his 16th and 17th points of the first half and cut the Warriors’ lead to 67-61. He finished the game with 38 points.

– Akron Beacon Journal

Steph Curry was incredible much of the night, going for 26 points, a team-high 13 rebounds, six assists and only one turnover. Klay Thompson parlayed his huge Game 2 into a bigger Game 3, nailing six of the Warriors’ 16 threes and hitting 30 points for the first time in this postseason. He kept them afloat early.

But Kevin Durant, the frontrunner for Finals MVP, drove the Warriors home in the final sequence.

With less than two minutes left, the Warriors trailed by four and their perfect playoffs were in peril. But with 1:15 left, Durant powerfully pushed Kevin Love back on a drive, got to about 12 feet out and planted a floater to pull the Warriors within two.

– Bay Area News Group

By the time the Warriors entered halftime up 67-61, they had tallied assists on 21 of 23 field goals. It was the most assists by any team in a half of a Finals game since the Bulls had 22 in the second half against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of the 1992 NBA Finals. With the Cavaliers’ season on the edge of disaster, James and Irving had combined for 44 points on 18-for-27 shooting. The rest of Cleveland had mustered 17 points on 4-for-14 shooting.

With Durant, Klay Thompson (30 points) and Curry (26 points, 13 rebounds) leading the way, Golden State weathered inspired performances from James (39 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists) and Kyrie Irving (38 points). The Warriors’ 16 three-pointers and 29 assists ultimately overshadowed their 18 turnovers. After posting their two worst offensive outings of the playoffs in Games 1 and 2, the Cavaliers scored 46 points in the paint. But the immense assignment of toppling Golden State eventually took its toll. Visibly gassed, Cleveland didn’t score over the final 3:09.

– San Francisco Chronicle

Tonight in Cleveland, the Cavaliers face the Warriors in NBA Finals Game 3. Down 2-0 in the series, the Cavs have clearly been the best team in the Eastern Conference, but the Warriors have been on another level all regular season and all playoffs long.

Now, we don’t actually root for one team over another. But we certainly root for what’s good for basketball. And the Warriors going on to win Game 3 in all likelihood means they will go ahead and win the series. Which is great for NBA history buffs whosw main interest is to compare the Warriors with other dominant NBA teams of the past. But for regular everyday basketball fans, it would certainly be better for the Cavs to step up tonight, defend home court, take the win, and make it look like a real series.

We’ll be watching.

Many NBA Draft prospects intentionally avoid mentioning a favorite team, or who they hope to play for. Not Lonzo Ball. He hopes to be a Laker, and has no problem stating that to the world. Here’s ESPN.com with more:

After an individual workout in front of Lakers brass — which included Magic Johnson, the player he patterned his game after — point guard Lonzo Ball reiterated his desire on Wednesday to play for his hometown team.

“Of course,” Ball answered during an eight-minute media session that followed the workout. “It’s home.”

Ball also said that if the Lakers pass on him, he would play for any team.

“I’ll go to any team and just do what I do,” Ball said. “Play basketball.”

Here’s CSN Philly reporting on the Sixers, whose best young talent is center Joel Embiid and injured guard Ben Simmons, who like Embiid missed his rookie season but is expected to be active this year. Simmons is the height of a big forward, yet has crazy ball-handling and passing skills. So should he be used as a point guard, thus creating constant matchup problems for the opposition? That’s up for debate:

No, Ben Simmons is not a point guard, says Larry Brown

After missing his rookie season with a Jones fracture in his right foot, the Sixers will try the 6-foot-10 Simmons at point guard in 2017-18.

Brown believes that would be a mistake.

“He’s not a point guard,” Brown said Monday on 97.5 The Fanatic’s Midday Show. “Everybody that’s saying that is ridiculous.

“I watched that kid at Montverde. He’s a point guard when he gets the ball in the half court. He’s a point guard if he gets the ball off the board because he’s such a willing passer and so good with the ball, but if he’s going to have to back it down and bring the ball up against little guys, it’s going to take away from what he’s capable of doing. Whoever is saying that is a moron.”

Charles Oakley rejects plea deal

Here’s the NY Post with the latest on the Charles Oakley legal saga stemming from the incident in Madison Square Garden:

Charles Oakley rejects plea deal

Ex-Knick Charles Oakley refused a plea deal Friday for allegedly assaulting two Madison Square Garden security guards during a televised scuffle at a basketball game in February.

Assistant District Attorney Ryan Lipes offered Oakley an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal — a deal that wouldn’t require him to admit any guilt. If the baller stayed out of trouble for six months, the case would be dropped.

But his lawyer, Alex Spiro, standing beside the 6-foot-8 retired forward, rejected the offer and opted to go to trial instead. Judge Joanne Watters set a trial date of Aug. 4 in Manhattan Criminal Court.

Oakley had been heckling Knicks owner James Dolan, who was sitting nearby, during the Knicks’ Feb. 8 game against the Los Angeles Clippers, sources said at the time.

Warriors fan wins national spelling bee

There was all sorts of winning going on in the Warriors fan world yesterday. Here’s the Bay Area News Group reporting on the competition that surely has you on the edge of your seat each year: The National Spelling Bee.

Ananya Vinay couldn’t watch the Warriors start the NBA Finals against the Cavaliers, but she had her own victory to celebrate.

Vinay, a 12-year-old Warriors fan, won the 90th Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday night while Golden State downed Cleveland to take a 1-0 advantage in the Finals.

“Go Curry” she said when asked about her Warriors fandom.

Also, Vinay’s little brother wore a Curry T-shirt — to the joy of Dub Nation.

Basketball blog