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Friday, April 20, 2018

Jermaine O’Neal denies having altercation with Suns GM

jermaine onealJermaine O’Neal responded via his Twitter account Tuesday to deny a report that said he had a heated altercation with Phoenix Suns general manager Lance Blanks on Monday.

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski cited a source in reporting that O’Neal and Blanks engaged in a “blistering, expletive-laced confrontation in the coach’s office.”

Here is exactly what Wojnarowski reported:

The confrontation happened after interim coach Lindsey Hunter’s first practice and unfolded within earshot of several Suns players in the locker room, sources said. Initially, O’Neal had expressed disappointment that his veteran stature hadn’t dictated the front office turning to him for counsel in the recent coaching change, a league source told Y! Sports. When O’Neal kept challenging Blanks, the discussion started to become an argument and ultimately a screaming match.

The Suns and Alvin Gentry parted ways on Friday, and Hunter was later named as the interim head coach.

O’Neal, who is 34 and in his 17th season season in the league, called the report “false.” Here’s what he wrote on Twitter:

So Wojnarowski says an altercation occurred, while O’Neal denies all of it. My guess is the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Wojnarowski is a fantastic reporter, but sometimes the information he gets from his sources is off (remember this?). He also has a tendency to dramatize and exaggerate in his reports, so it’s quite possible he was doing that here. But would he report something if nothing occurred? No. I’m guessing there was at least an argument, but maybe the way the report characterized it was overblown.

O’Neal is only averaging 15 minutes per game with the Suns, so the thought of a bench player like him asking executives why he wasn’t consulted about a coaching change is laughable. I’m guessing that’s not the root of the altercation, but who really knows outside of a few people?

H/T Stiletto Jill

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