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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Stories by Darryn Albert:

Mychal Thompson thinks Splash Brothers could have another eight years together

Mychal Thompson thinks that the Golden State Warriors’ dynamic backcourt duo could still be terrorizing NBA defenses for a long time to come.

This week on Dell and Sonya Curry’s “Raising Fame” podcast, Thompson discussed his son Klay’s bond with fellow Splash Brother Stephen Curry.

“Klay loves playing with Steph,” said the elder Thompson. “He respects him so much, talks about him all the time, about how hard he works, how dedicated he is to the game and to his family … He loves playing with Steph, he wants to retire as a Warrior in another ten years. He wants to go into the Hall of Fame along with Steph. That’s how close he feels to him and how honored he is to play with him. They’ve really formed a special bond.

“That’s why I told him, ‘Even though you’re probably gonna miss this year, I think you and Steph still have eight years together as long as you guys take care of your body,'” Mychal added.

Curry and Thompson have already been together for nine seasons in Golden State, a stretch that has produced five NBA Finals appearances and three championships. The 2019-20 campaign was marred by injury for both of them, but the Warriors are expected to return to title contention once the Splash Brothers are fully healthy.

Since their games are more reliant on sweet shooting rather than athleticism, Curry and Thompson should indeed be able to have long NBA careers, health permitting. They have already inspired entire generations of young ballers, so who knows how much more they will be able to do in another eight years.

Cameron Jordan already recruiting Cam Newton to Saints

Cameron Jordan

After years of trying to stop him in the NFC South, Cameron Jordan now wants Cam Newton to join forces with him in New Orleans.

In a tweet on Tuesday after Newton was officially released by the Carolina Panthers, the Saints defensive end gave a recruiting pitch to the former NFL MVP. Jordan noted that his team had a top-tier running back (Alvin Kamara), receiver (Michael Thomas), and offensive line. He even alluded to Newton taking a year or two to back up quarterback Drew Brees.

Newton’s 2019 was definitely forgettable as he appeared in just two games all season before going down with a Lisfranc injury in his left foot. The three-time Pro Bowler will turn 31 this year, and it is unclear if he would want to spend any of the time that he has left in the NFL riding the bench.

Still, Newton getting a starting spot elsewhere is no guarantee, but that hasn’t stopped the buzz about another well-known team being in the mix for him.

Donovan Mitchell expected to sign max extension with Jazz before next season

Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell has just one more year left on his rookie deal, but Utah Jazz fans probably will not have to worry about him going anywhere.

In a mailbag article this week, Tony Jones of The Athletic said that Mitchell “genuinely loves playing for the Jazz” and “will sign a max contract extension at some point before next season.”

The 23-year-old Mitchell has emerged as a franchise cornerstone for the Jazz, making his first All-Star team this season with averages of 24.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game. He has also been Utah’s leading scorer in each of his first three NBA seasons.

It’s not terribly surprising that a young All-Star would sign a max extension to keep him with his current team upon the conclusion of his rookie contract. But in any case, this news will probably ease concerns about Mitchell’s ability to co-exist in Utah with teammate Rudy Gobert in light of recent events.

George Karl burying hatchet with Carmelo Anthony?

George Karl

George Karl and Carmelo Anthony did not exactly have the best relationship, but it looks like Karl may effectively be extending an olive branch.

The former NBA Coach of the Year tweeted on Monday that he had been asked to name the top five starters that he had coached. Karl included Anthony, his old Denver Nuggets star, at the forward spot. Rounding out Karl’s five were Gary Payton, Chauncey Billups, Ray Allen, and Shawn Kemp. He also named Joe Barry Carroll and World B. Free as potential alternates.

For Karl, who coached the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Seattle SuperSonics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Sacramento Kings on top of the Nuggets, including Anthony is especially interesting. The two men clashed during their time together in Denver, and Karl unloaded on Anthony in a 2016 book, calling the ex-scoring champ a “user of people” and criticizing his defense.

Anthony has since accepted and thrived in a reduced role in Portland though, and it sounds like Karl’s issues with him may finally be a thing of the past.

Twitter reacts to reporter repping Sixers at White House briefing

Monday’s White House press briefing featured a subtle nod to the National Basketball Association.

President Donald Trump addressed the media to provide an update on the coronavirus situation, and some eagle-eyed viewers noticed that one reporter in attendance was wearing a Philadelphia 76ers lanyard. Check out a few of the great Twitter reactions that resulted:

Washington, DC is pretty obviously Wizards territory, but a Sixers infiltrator isn’t too far-fetched with Philadelphia sitting just two hours away.

While Philly has butted heads with the Trump White House in years past, Monday’s press briefing had the unexpected result of showing us the extent of the reach of Sixers Nation.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shares how he landed famous role in ‘Airplane!’

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s appearance as pilot Roger Murdock in the 1980 film “Airplane!” is one of the most famous athlete cameos in cinema history, and Abdul-Jabbar shared the story about how it came to be.

During a Twitter Q&A session on Monday, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer received a question about how he ended up in the film. Abdul-Jabbar replied that the producers of the movie turned to him after they could not get baseball great Pete Rose, also adding that he had the time because he was on summer break from the NBA. The Hall of Fame great noted too how the directors of “Airplane!” hailed from Wisconsin, where he played for many years with the Milwaukee Bucks.

While Rose was probably just as big as Abdul-Jabbar was at the time, hearing him griping to little Joey about dragging Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan up and down the field for nine innings just wouldn’t have been the same. After all, the cameo as is was absolutely glorious.

The film’s directors had their own funny story about Kareem’s participation, so it’s good to hear his version of things as well.

Report: Todd Gurley’s knee is ‘very bad’ right now

Todd Gurley

The Atlanta Falcons are excited about the homecoming of star running back Todd Gurley, but the questions about his health won’t just be going away.

Jeff Schultz of The Athletic quoted an NFL source this week who gave a pessimistic outlook on the three-time Pro Bowler’s troublesome left knee, calling it “very bad” right now.

Per Schultz:

An NFL source told The Athletic that there were concerns about [Gurley’s] surgically repaired left knee when he came out of Georgia.

When asked how bad the knee is now, the source said “Very bad.”

The 25-year-old Gurley saw the arthritic knee become a major concern during the Rams’ 2018 Super Bowl run, particularly when his production tailed off at the end of the playoffs. While Gurley still had a solid 2019 on paper with 857 rush yards and 12 touchdowns in 15 games, the Rams were conservative with his workload and gave extra snaps here and there to backup Malcolm Brown.

Gurley has downplayed concerns about the health of his knee, but he probably won’t be a workhorse in Atlanta like some of the league’s other elite backs.

Hornets’ Cody Zeller jokes he is training like Rocky with NBA facilities shut down

Cody Zeller is trying to make the most of the current coronavirus situation.

The Charlotte Hornets big man tweeted on Sunday that he went for a run outside in 35-degree rain. He also joked about going from training like Ivan Drago, the “Rocky IV” boxer known for his use of advanced technology, to training like the everyman Rocky Balboa himself.

Zeller’s tweet comes just days after the NBA shut down all team training facilities in an attempt to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The 2019-20 campaign has been suspended for a week-and-a-half now as well.

While the former No. 4 overall pick Zeller probably won’t be punching meat slabs or running along the shore with Carl Weathers any time soon, at least he is finding some creative ways to stay in shape amid the work stoppage. Maybe Zeller can even get some tips from this retired player.