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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Basketball

Blake Griffin undergoes arthroscopic surgery on knee

Blake Griffin Pistons

Blake Griffin wasted little time taking care of the knee injury that gave him trouble towards the end of the season.

The Detroit Pistons announced that Griffin underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his knee in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Griffin played in 75 games during the regular season and missed time at the end of the season due to his knee injury. He also sat out the first two games of the Pistons’ playoff series with the Milwaukee Bucks, though he did make his presence known when he was out.

The 30-year-old forward, who has a history of knee injuries, was a one-man wrecking crew for the Pistons this season. He averaged a career-high 24.5 points per game and made 36.2 percent of his threes. He missed time due to soreness in both knees this year and had the operation on his left knee.

D’Angelo Russell ‘definitely’ wants to return to Nets

After a breakout season with the Brooklyn Nets, D’Angelo Russell is set to hit restricted free agency. That doesn’t mean he’s looking for a change of scenery, however.

Russell said Wednesday that he hopes to stay with the franchise, though he understands the business side of things.

“I definitely want to be here. But I also know it’s a business, too,” Russell said, via Ian Begley of ESPN. “So I’m not going to play that role like I don’t know what could possibly happen,” Russell said Wednesday after the team conducted its exit interviews. “Say somebody comes here that I have to be a part of (a transaction to acquire them), I know that could be a possibility. So I just want to stay in this moment and not speak too soon about anything.”

Russell’s 21.1 points and seven assists per game this season are both easily career highs. It’s safe to say the Nets are big fans of his, and in all likelihood, he’ll be sticking around for another season. The feeling appears to be mutual.

Jared Dudley has funny quote about Knicks’ media dominance in New York

The Brooklyn Nets were the better team in New York this season, but the Knicks still suck up a lot of the oxygen in the media market.

Nets forward Jared Dudley knows that, and he knows it might come into play if the two teams compete for free agents. He thinks the Nets have the advantage of a young core and an improving culture, but he had a funny assessment of the reality of how the media treats the Knicks in New York.

Dudley is correct, and it only helps when the media and Knicks ownership go to war publicly. Even after a season like the one they just had, the Knicks will be grabbing most of the headlines, especially with their cap space.

Report: ESPN, TNT making pitches to Dwyane Wade for analyst role

Dwyane Wade Heat

Dwyane Wade may have put the finishing touches on his Hall of Fame playing career this year, but the 13-time All-Star will have plenty of opportunities to remain involved with the NBA if he chooses to go that route.

More specifically, Wade is a wanted man among television networks. Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that both ESPN and TNT are preparing pitches for the former Miami Heat star and want him to begin serving as a studio analyst as early as this postseason. Wade has done some limited worked with ESPN/ABC during the playoffs in the past, but it is not yet clear if he wants to pursue a full-time role now that he is retired.

Marchand adds that ESPN is considering the possibility of overhauling its “NBA Countdown” show or just making some minor tweaks, and Wade could be a fit there. The TNT “Inside the NBA” crew seems more set with Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Williams sitting alongside host Ernie Johnson, but Barkley is 56 and has said in the past that he wants to call it quits when he’s 60. Now could be a good time to start incorporating Wade if he’s interested.

It should be noted that Paul Piece has been a member of ESPN’s “NBA Countdown” crew this season, and he recently had a very public debate with Wade over who had a better career. Assuming there is no bad blood between the two, that rivalry could make for a fun dynamic on the show.

Report: Suns to interview two Blazers assistants for head coaching job

Phoenix Suns logo

The Portland Trail Blazers advanced to the second round of the playoffs on Tuesday night with a 4-1 series win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the impressive performance to start the postseason may be causing teams around the league to take notice of their coaching staff.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Phoenix Suns have requested and received permission to interview Blazers assistant coaches Nate Tibbets and David Vanterpool for their head coaching vacancy.

Wojnarowski reiterated that Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Monty Williams is still the Suns’ top target, but both Tibbets and Vanterpool are expected to receive serious consideration for head coaching jobs.

It sounds like Williams could also be the top choice for the Los Angeles Lakers, so the Suns need to have options beyond him. Given what they have already accomplished thus far this season, it makes sense that the Blazers and their coaches are receiving plenty of attention.

Blazers coach throws playful jab at Russell Westbrook over media dealings

The Portland Trail Blazers are enjoying every bit of their playoff series win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, and even head coach Terry Stotts got in on the fun following his team’s dramatic victory in Game 5.

As you may know, Russell Westbrook has been refusing to answer questions from Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman with anything other than “next question” for quite some time. When Tramel went to ask Stotts a question shortly after Damian Lillard’s buzzer-beating three-pointer on Tuesday night, Stotts had to fight the urge to give the reporter the Westbrook treatment.

Tramel said in a column earlier this month that he has no idea why Westbrook has such a problem with him, but the Thunder star’s boycott of him continued in the playoffs.

Between Stotts trolling Westbrook and the way Lillard reacted to ending Oklahoma City’s season, the Thunder are getting it from all angles. That’s what happens when you allow a rival to dominate you.

Damian Lillard responds to Paul George calling game-winner a ‘bad shot’

Damian Lillard wave

Paul George was not impressed with the shot selection on Damian Lillard’s series-clinching three-pointer against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night, and Lillard seems quite amused by that.

George was the one defending Lillard when the Portland Trail Blazers star buried a three-pointer at the buzzer to send his team to the next round of the playoffs. There was nothing more George could have done, as Lillard chose to put up a shot from about 36 feet out. Following the game, George called it a “bad shot.”

Lillard made 8-of-12 shots from 30 feet or beyond in the series against OKC, so it is clearly a better shot for him than most. He also knew that the game was tied and the worst-case scenario was going to overtime, so that probably was a factor in his decision to launch such a deep attempt. When Lillard caught wind of what George said about the shot, he had a very simple response.

There is plenty of bad blood between the Thunder and Blazers, and Lillard’s reaction after hitting his series-winner was a reflection of that. Even if his shot came from half court, it got the job done. That’s something George and his OKC teammates will have to live with until next season.