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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Basketball

PJ Tucker takes shot at Rudy Gobert for winning Defensive Player of the Year

Rudy Gobert

Monday was not a good night for the Houston Rockets on social media or at the NBA Awards show.

Star guard James Harden came in second place in MVP voting, losing to Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Houston Rockets’ Twitter account did not take that result well.

The saltiness continued with PJ Tucker taking a shot Rudy Gobert after he won Defensive Player of the Year. After Gobert won the award, Tucker posted a note on his Instagram Story saying “Really … if you cry enough” and included some face palm emojis.

That seems to be a reference to Gobert crying after being snubbed for the All-Star Game, which is something Warriors players took shots at him for. It seems other NBA players haven’t forgotten and are still making jokes at his expense.

Report: Kawhi Leonard seriously considering staying with Raptors

Kawhi Leonard is set to officially decline his player option to become a free agent, and the Toronto Raptors may have done enough to convince him to stay.

According to Chris B. Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Leonard will officially decline his player option, as expected. However, sources told Haynes that Leonard is “seriously considering” re-signing with Toronto despite widespread interest from elsewhere.

The Raptors have one major advantage, as they are the only team that can offer Leonard a five year, $190 million supermax contract. He also had a year to get familiar with the city and won an NBA title as the team’s unquestioned leader, adding another Finals MVP trophy to his cabinet.

The belief has been that Leonard would like to return to his native California, likely with the Los Angeles Clippers. However, they may not be the favorite after all after his wildly successful year in Canada.

Report: Mavericks will offer Kristaps Porzingis max contract

Kristaps Porzingis

Kristaps Porzingis has yet to step on the floor for the Dallas Mavericks after they acquired him in a trade with the New York Knicks back in February, but the team is ready to commit as much money as possible to the star big man.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that the Mavericks are expected to meet with Porzingis at the start of free agency, and they plan to offer him a max contract worth $158 million.

Porzingis will almost certainly accept, especially given that he is coming off a major injury and will not have played in over a year when the 2019-20 season tips off. The 7-foot-3 forward is scheduled to become a restricted free agent a year from now.

Porzingis has made headlines for the wrong reason on more than one occasion since the trade, but the Mavericks clearly don’t have any character concerns with him. He was involved in a physical altercation in his home country of Latvia last month that left him bleeding from the head, but the Mavericks have said he was attacked and won’t be disciplined by the team. Porzingis’ attorney also says the allegations that surfaced against him prior to that incident are unfounded.

Knicks fined for banning New York Daily News from press conference

James Dolan

The New York Knicks will have to pay up after excluding the New York Daily News from their post-draft press conference.

The Knicks were hit with a $50,000 fine on Monday for violating league rules regarding equal access for media after the Daily News was not permitted to cover the team’s press conference last Friday. In a statement, the league said that the Knicks have agreed to abide by the rules in the future.

In a separate statement, the Knicks acknowledged that they “made an error” in how they handled credentials for Friday’s event.

“The Knicks acknowledge that we did not comply with the NBA’s media policy, and made an error in interpreting Friday’s announcement as an invite only event,” the statement said. “As we do throughout the year, we have and will continue to provide access to credentialed media as per the League’s policy.”

The Knicks have been criticized for their actions, which are rooted in James Dolan’s long-running dislike of the paper’s Knicks coverage. It seems they will stand down going forward.

Report: Lakers are ‘most likely destination’ for Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony

The Los Angeles Lakers were expected to sign Carmelo Anthony last season after the 10-time All-Star was bought out following a trade, but they fell out of contention and never really had a need for him. Now that they have acquired another star player to pair with LeBron James, they could revisit that plan.

SNY’s Ian Begley lists Anthony among the potential veterans the New York Knicks could sign if they miss out on the marquee free agents, but he says multiple NBA executives expect Carmelo to wind up with the Lakers. Anthony is said to have interest in returning to the Knicks despite the way his time there ended, but he is also close friends with LeBron and could potentially contend for his first title in LA.

Anthony averaged 13.4 points and 5.4 rebounds in 10 games with the Houston Rockets last season. He recently turned 35 and is nowhere near the player he used to be, but he could provide a team like the Lakers with a valuable shooter and veteran presence off the bench. If the birthday tribute his wife had for him back in May is any indication, Carmelo believes he has plenty left in the tank.

Giannis Antetokounmpo gets emotional in awesome MVP speech

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo really nailed it with his acceptance speech upon winning NBA MVP on Monday night.

The Greek Freak was the runaway winner of the award, winning it easily over James Harden, who was the only other player to receive first-place votes. Giannis’ MVP speech really could not have been better.

The Milwaukee Bucks star got emotional as he went through thanking people, especially his family.

That speech is exactly why Antetokounmpo is almost unanimously loved in the NBA. It was reminiscent of Kevin Durant’s “you the real MVP” MVP speech.

While you’re at it, make sure you watch the video the Bucks released on Giannis’ journey. It’s excellent as well.

Report: Sixers in danger of losing both Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler

The Philadelphia 76ers are faced with the prospect of having to retain both Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler as free agents this offseason, but they may not even be able to keep either.

Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck said this week on The Full 48 podcast that he has heard chatter that the 76ers may lose both Harris and Butler to free agency, and that the core of the team had “strange dynamics” when matched together.

“I have heard some very strong rumblings this week that the Sixers are gonna lose one—and maybe even both—of Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler,” Beck said, via Kyle Newport of Bleacher Report. “Take it with all due grains of salt, we’re talking about this still on June 21, but I would not be surprised if Jimmy Butler and/or Tobias Harris go elsewhere. The Sixers just have some strange dynamics with that group.”

Butler will draw huge interest, not just from Philadelphia. The reality is that both will be among the most in-demand players in free agency, and Philadelphia will be facing a major battle to keep them.