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Friday, February 15, 2019

Basketball

NBA says Magic Johnson did not commit tampering violation with Ben Simmons

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson has been no stranger to tampering violations since he took over the Los Angeles Lakers’ basketball operations department, but the NBA has determined that he was not guilty of any such activity with Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons.

On Tuesday, the NBA said it concluded that it was, in fact, the 76ers who reached out to the Lakers about a potential meeting between Johnson and Simmons. Magic simply responded to the inquiry, which does not constitute tampering.

Johnson said Sunday that he would like to meet with Simmons to share some tips on becoming a better player, as the two have similar styles and are both big guards. Sixers GM Elton Brand said he blocked the meeting from happening, and the NBA seemed to escalate things by saying they would look into whether the contact between Simmons and the Lakers was inappropriate. The Lakers later revealed that it was the 76ers who reached out to them, and Brand would not give them the written permission they needed for Johnson to meet with Simmons.

Brand has since tried to put the controversy to bed, and the NBA’s statement should help both sides do that.

Rick Pitino’s Greek team wins after other team forfeits at halftime in protest

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino’s Panathinaikos team has advanced to the finals of the Greek Cup in bizarre circumstances.

Pitino’s team was leading Olympiacos 40-25 at halftime. As they prepared for the second half, they waited for Olympiacos to emerge from the locker room, but that never happened.

Olympiacos forfeited the game in protest of the referees. Pitino wrote about it on Twitter, saying he’d never experienced anything like it.

The oddities didn’t end there — Panathinaikos owner Dimitris Giannakopoulos put a pair of women’s underwear on the Olympiacos bench after their forfeit.

Things are just completely different in Greece. It’s something Pitino needs to get used to. As for Olympiacos, when you’re in the same category as LaVar Ball, that’s never a good sign.

Pelicans coach calls situation surrounding team a ‘dumpster fire’

Alvin Gentry

The New Orleans Pelicans are dealing with a messy situation, and their head coach understands that all too well.

New Orleans beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 131-122 on Thursday night despite Anthony Davis getting injured just before halftime. Davis actually was seen leaving the arena before the game ended.

Head coach Alvin Gentry expressed his joy for the team after their win, acknowledging that the situation has been a “dumpster fire.”

He’s talking about Davis, who demanded a trade a week and a half before the deadline but did not get traded despite the widespread stories and rumors that ensued. On top of that, the Pelicans didn’t want to play Davis after he was medically cleared and almost got forced to by the league, according to reports.

It’s a tough situation, and it’s nice to see the Pelicans not quitting when they very understandably could.

Pau Gasol shoots down report that he requested trade from Spurs

Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol remained with the San Antonio Spurs through the NBA trade deadline last week, and the veteran big man insists any talk of that not being the preferred outcome for him is inaccurate.

A recent report from ESPN Deportes claimed Gasol asked the Spurs to trade him, but the team could not work out a deal. Gasol ripped that report while speaking with the media on Tuesday.

“What’s the source? What’s the validity of that story? I don’t know,” Gasol said, per ESPN’s Michael C. Wright. “I didn’t request to be traded. I don’t want to comment on it because it is what it is.”

However, Gasol did hint that he has been unhappy with his role in San Antonio this season.

“I think people understand or can figure out my situation on the team is not what was expected from me, and my only wish and desire is to be able to contribute to the team, and be able to be on the floor and do what I’m supposed to do, and do what I signed here to do, and kind of live up to what I’m paid for,” he said. “That’s all. I’m waiting and hoping that that will happen. I’m staying positive. But don’t believe everything that is out there.”

Gasol admitted that people probably believed the report because it “makes sense,” so perhaps it was understood that the two sides would explore options to part ways. That doesn’t mean Gasol went to management and asked for a trade, but it sure sounds like he would not have been opposed to one.

Now in his 18th NBA season, Gasol’s numbers have fallen off a cliff. He has posted career lows basically across the board and is averaging just 4.4 points in 12.5 minutes per game. Although he’s 38, Gasol feels he can contribute more than the Spurs have allowed him to. Between the lack of production, a foot injury that resulted in him missing 26 games, and the bicycle accident he had over the summer, Gasol has faced some adversity in recent months.

Markieff Morris considering Lakers, other contenders

Markieff Morris Wizards

Markieff Morris is considering a handful of teams since being waived, including some contenders.

Morris was traded by the Washington Wizards to the New Orleans Pelicans last week in a salary dump and was quickly waived. He has been out with a neck injury since January but got cleared this week to return.

According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Morris is considering the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder and Toronto Raptors.

Morris was averaging 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds in 34 games for the Wizards this season. He’s a very solid option for whomever is able to add him.

Kevin Garnett trying to avoid paying wife spousal support in divorce

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett is going through a divorce with his wife and does not want to pay any more money than he has to.

Garnett’s wife Brandi Padilla filed for a divorce in July and sought physical custody of their two children as well as spousal support.

The Blast reported on Wednesday that Garnett filed his response this week. KG is asking for joint custody of his children. He also wants a termination of spousal support, citing a prenuptial agreement Padilla signed a month before their 2004 wedding.

According to his Basketball-Reference page, Garnett made over $343 million during his career. In September, KG sued his accountant over the loss of $77 million.

Ranking the top 10 NBA contenders post-trade deadline

Joel Embiid 76ers

The NBA trade deadline has passed, which means we more or less know what teams will look like in the NBA playoffs. There will be a few new faces who join playoff teams, but the bulk of these rosters are in place. With most of the season behind us, we also know who will likely be making the playoffs and seeded highly for a Finals run.

Keeping in mind the trade deadline activity, here are the top ten contenders to take home the title in June.

10. Utah Jazz

The Jazz were ultimately quiet at the trade deadline despite being linked to Memphis guard Mike Conley. In the end, they will go with what they had, which isn’t bad. Donovan Mitchell is a star, and Rudy Gobert is playing with a point to prove after being a quite egregious All-Star snub. They’re not really deep enough to challenge the best of the West, and they don’t really have enough in the way of top-level talent, but they’re good enough to cause a few headaches.

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