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Friday, August 23, 2019

Basketball

Royce White blasts LeBron James for letting Carmelo Anthony go unsigned

LeBron James

One of the lingering subplots of the NBA offseason is the fact that Carmelo Anthony remains without a team despite a willingness to play. That, according to one former player, is the fault of LeBron James.

Royce White, a former first-round NBA draft pick currently playing in the BIG3, blames James for the Lakers not signing Anthony. White suggests James was failing as a “voice of the players” by letting the team sign Jared Dudley instead of his close friend.

There was a time early in the offseason that Anthony was regarded as likely to land with the Lakers. That hasn’t happened. Anthony isn’t a great defender and mostly has value for his shooting at this point, while Dudley is more well-rounded. That’s clearly what the Lakers prioritized, whether White likes it or not.

Report: Thunder trying to create impression they want to keep Chris Paul

Chris Paul Rockets

The Oklahoma City Thunder may have never intended to keep Chris Paul when they acquired him as part of the deal that sent Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets, but they are doing everything they can to convince rival teams that is not the way they view it.

Team executives have found that the Thunder are trying to create the impression that they want to keep Paul to help mentor their younger players, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on “The Jump” this week. However, they are privately hoping something will change this offseason that will inspire a team to make an offer for the veteran point guard.

“Here’s what executives expect to happen: They expect the Thunder to put out a message that, ‘We’re not looking to trade Chris Paul. We want him here. We want him as part of our unit with our young guys,'” Windhorst said. “They don’t want anybody to think they’re panicked trying to trade him. They want to hope that somebody has something happen where they need Chris Paul.”

The Thunder have traded Westbrook and Paul George and entered a complete rebuilding phase, so no one is going to believe they want to keep Paul. Taking on his contract was the only way they were able to send Westbrook to Houston. There have been some indications that Paul will begin the season in OKC, but that won’t be due to a lack of effort to trade him.

While Paul is still capable of playing at a high level, he has battled injuries in recent years and turned 34 in May. The Thunder can only hope a contending team gets desperate at some point between now and next season’s trade deadline.

Lakers to hold individual workouts with Dwight Howard, Joakim Noah

The Los Angeles Lakers are searching for frontcourt help in the wake of DeMarcus Cousins suffering a torn ACL, and they are planning to take a closer look at some big-name veterans.

The Lakers have scheduled individual workouts this week with Dwight Howard and Joakim Noah, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. They will also bring in Mo Speights and are gathering information on Marcin Gortat.

Howard is still under contract with the Memphis Grizzlies, but they have given the Lakers permission to speak with him and are open to a buyout agreement. Howard, who turns 34 in December and only appeared in nine games last season because of a glute injury, would likely be open to returning to Los Angeles despite his negative history with the team.

Noah played in 42 games for the Grizzlies last year, averaging 7.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

Devin Booker upset about being double teamed in pickup game

Devin Booker

Devin Booker is hoping to finally lead the Phoenix Suns to the playoffs in his fifth NBA season next year, but he is apparently quite particular about when he wants to work on going against double teams.

Booker took part in a pickup game recently that was organized by NBA trainer Chris Johnson and included Ben Simmons, Joakim Noah and other players. At one point, Booker made it no secret that he was frustrated two defenders double teamed him in the corner. He said he has to deal with that all season and would rather “work on our game.”

If Booker faces double teams all season, wouldn’t it benefit him to practice against it as much as possible? It’s a bit surprising a guy who claims to have the Mamba mentality would approach a pickup game that way.

Booker averaged 26.6 points per game last season and has become one of the best scorers in the NBA, but the Suns have not been to the postseason in a decade now. He should be doing everything possible to improve his game, and that includes working on beating double teams.

Watch: Gregg Popovich flashes handles, jumper at Team USA practice

Gregg Popovich

Gregg Popovich may be 70 years old, but he can still give these youngbloods buckets.

Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell posted a video to his Instagram Story on Monday of the USA Basketball coach busting out a behind-the-back dribble before splashing a pull-up jumper. Check it out:

Popovich, who has coached the San Antonio Spurs since 1996, was actually quite the player back in the day for the United States Air Force Academy, where he attended college from 1966 to 1970. He served as the basketball team’s leading scorer and captain during his senior year and even earned an invitation to the US Olympic Basketball Team trials in 1972.

Though Popovich’s game is impressive, he is not the only NBA head coach that we have seen stunt on us with his handles.

De’Aaron Fox happy to remain in Sacramento, not looking for big market

DeAaron Fox

De’Aaron Fox’s comments in a recent interview will bring comfort to Sacramento Kings fans.

Fox spoke with one37pm for a feature that was published on Monday. In the article, the point guard expressed his contentedness with the Kings, unlike other players who wish to play in a big market.

“I don’t crave to be in a big market,” Fox told the site. “After last season, there was a buzz in Sacramento. Everyone in Sacramento is a Kings fan. If we start making the playoffs, or if we become a championship contender, the entire city is going to go nuts. That’s the difference between a big market and a small one.”

Fox’s comments touch on the big fish in a small pond concept. Some players prefer to be a smaller fish in a bigger pond — playing in a big-market city like Los Angeles and New York — where there’s a huge percentage of the area’s population that doesn’t even care about basketball. By contrast, in a smaller city like Sacramento, a greater percentage of the area is more likely to follow the team and care about it.

The Kings have not been to the playoffs since 2006, but they had a prime run of success from 2000-2005 where they won at least 50 games each season. Many fans became die-hards during that time and have been longing for the team to become successful again. With Fox, Marvin Bagley, and Buddy Hield at the core of a young team, they had their best season last year since 2006.

Fox, who was drafted in 2017 and has great motivation to perform, is still under team control for three more seasons. Based on his comments, the Kings will have a good chance at locking him up long term.

Former Cavs coach David Blatt reveals he has multiple sclerosis

David Blatt Cavs

Former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt announced on Monday that he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis earlier this year.

Blatt, who currently coaches Olympiacos in Greece, said he plans to continue coaching while battling the illness. The 60-year-old said he has experienced fatigue, weakness in his legs and balance problems, but he does not believe the condition will impact his ability to coach.

Multiple sclerosis, also referred to as MS, is a disease of the immune system that can lead to symptoms like the ones Blatt described in addition to pain in various parts of the body.

Blatt who won five championships and four Coach of the Year Awards in the Israeli Super League, coached the Cavs for less than two seasons from 2014-2016. He’s made it clear that he didn’t leave Cleveland on the best terms after reaching the NBA Finals once and compiling an 83-40 record in the regular season. Here’s hoping he is able to manage his symptoms and continue to do what he loves.