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Friday, July 19, 2019

Basketball

Shaq responds to Steve Kerr calling him out over Finals comment

Shaq TNT

Shaquille O’Neal has some feet to kiss after a comment he made 15 years ago has come back to haunt him, and the Hall of Famer is puckering up.

Shaq’s Los Angeles Lakers won three straight championships from 2000-2002 and then reached the NBA Finals again in 2004, and the big man declared in an interview with ESPN that reaching four Finals in five years is so difficult it would never be done again. He said if any coach pulled it off, he’d kiss his feet on the show “Fear Factor.” Steve Kerr, who reached his fifth straight Finals with the Golden State Warriors this past season, was made aware of the interview on Monday.

Shaq responded by saying he is willing to pay up, as long as the cheese is Kraft brand.

Erik Spoelstra also brought the Miami Heat to four consecutive Finals from 2011-2014, so technically Shaq has to kiss his feet, too. As long as he’s the one kissing feet and not having his nightmarish feet kissed, things shouldn’t be all that bad.

Spurs’ DeMarre Carroll sends funny tweet about all the player movement

DeMarre Carroll

The amount of star players changing teams this summer was unlike any other time in the NBA.

Of the 15 players who made an All-NBA team last season, six have changed teams. That list includes: Paul George, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker and Russell Westbrook. Several other players have either been traded to new teams or signed with other ones.

DeMarre Carroll is part of that group. After spending the past two seasons with the Brooklyn Nets, he signed with the Spurs on a two-year deal. He joked on Twitter Monday about the player movement.

That’s very well said.

While the increased movement makes things fun to follow due to all the storylines, there are a few drawbacks, such as a lack of continuity for teams and their fans. We shall see whether those drawbacks are enough to result in a change in the future.

Dion Waiters has message for weight gain critics

Dion Waiters

Dion Waiters posted a message on Instagram Monday night intended for his weight gain critics.

Waiters posted a before and after photo on Instagram showing how chubby he was last season when he returned from multiple foot surgeries.

“Last year when I came off 1 of the most depressing & frustrating times of my life. Coming off injury & not feeling like myself nor looking like myself I was in a dark place mentally & physically , Because the game I love so much was taken away due to season ending surgery. Now a days with this social media ran world they laughed at me made jokes etc not knowing what I was battling or going through everyday. So instead of me joining the circus I told myself you from (Philly) you’ve been through worst s— in your life than this. So I promise myself I would work my a– off & get back to where I was before the injury. I’m not done yet but I kno somebody in the world prolli needed to hear this. Stay positive block out the outside noise & grind,” Waiters wrote (profanity edited).

The present day photo appears to show Waiters has gotten into much better shape.

Waiters has endured a rough time the last three seasons. He missed time in 2016-2017 with a quad tear; missed more than half the 2017-2018 season due to ankle surgery; and he only played half of last season’s games as he returned.

He showed last year that the weight gain critics had bothered him. Now he is finally healthy enough to show them up. He probably can’t wait for the season to start.

Jerry West calls Clippers the best organization he has ever been part of

Jerry West

Jerry West has seen a lot in his nearly six decades around the NBA, but he thinks that his current organization is the cream of the crop.

Appearing Monday on “The Dan Patrick Show,” the LA Clippers executive had some high praise for the team and the culture built by owner Steve Ballmer.

“I’ve never been around any organization that is better than this one,” said West. “That’s for sure.”

The Logo’s comments may seem hyperbolic to some when you consider that he previously worked for the Los Angeles Lakers, the Golden State Warriors, and the Memphis Grizzlies, winning multiple NBA titles and Executive of the Year Awards along the way. But the Clippers are arguably the best-run team in basketball right now, led by an enthusiastic owner in Ballmer who is willing to spend, a front office run by the likes of Lawrence Frank and Michael Winger that moves in silence and gets results, and an elite head coach in Doc Rivers who is a master at getting his players to buy in.

Granted, West’s remarks might be colored by the way that his last stop ended. But from top to bottom, it’s hard to argue against the Clippers’ way of doing business, especially now that they have established themselves as a marquee destination for superstar talent.

H/T NBA Reddit

Steve Kerr ready to have Shaq kiss his feet over NBA Finals comment

Steve Kerr is ready to have Shaquille O’Neal pay up on a comment made several years ago.

Shaq’s Los Angeles Lakers won three straight championships from 2000-2002 and made the NBA Finals before losing to the Pistons in 2004. Shaq thought the team’s accomplishment of making four NBA Finals in five years was so impressive that he declared in an interview with ESPN he would kiss a coach’s feet if they were to do the same thing.

Shaq’s comments came in 2004 after Phil Jackson left the Lakers and Shaq was traded to the Heat.

“I love that guy to death,” Shaq said of Jackson. “And yes we have arguments and quarrels, but I love that guy to death. I stand up for that guy. I believe in what he believes. Phil Jackson took us to the Finals four of five years. And the next five years if a coach takes the team to the Finals four of five years, I’ll kiss his feet on ‘Fear Factor’ with cheese on it. I will. It will never be done again.”

Despite Shaq’s proclamation, Erik Spoelstra led the Miami Heat to four straight Finals from 2011-2014. Steve Kerr just did it with the Warriors from 2015-2019, making it to five straight NBA Finals.

“Hey @SHAQ, I’m going to do us both a favor and pretend that @D_West30 didn’t send this to me this morning,” Kerr tweeted.

Is Kerr angling to have Shaq pay off the word by kissing his feet? What about Spoelstra? If Shaq is a man of his word, he really needs to make this happen. Or make a new bet where someone would have to kiss his feet, which would really be punishment.

Giannis Antetokounmpo tries baseball for the first time, looks like a beginner

Giannis Antetokounmpo

The reigning NBA MVP tried his hand at baseball for the first time ever, and it did not go well.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is on a tour to promote the release of his new Nike shoe and was at Yankee Stadium for Monday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Before the game, the Greek Freak tried to take some swings off a tee beneath the stands. Let’s just say he looked very much like a beginner.

Antetokoumpo said that was his first time ever playing baseball and even holding one. He said it was heavier than he expected.

“I would be a terrible baseball player,” the Milwaukee Bucks star said.

Antetokounmpo is one of the best basketball players on the planet, so we’ll cut him some slack for having a raw swing.

Hopefully he enjoyed baseball as much as he liked some other American classics.

Rockets fined for owner’s comments prior to finalization of Russell Westbrook trade

Houston Rockets

The NBA seems to be trying to emphasize having owners and teams follow tampering rules.

The league fined the Houston Rockets $25,000 over the weekend, according to the New York Times’ Marc Stein. Stein says the fine was for owner Tilman Fertitta’s comments before the Russell Westbrook trade was officially completed.

Fertitta shared comments with FOX 26 in Houston reporter Marc Berman about Westbrook last Thursday even though the trade hadn’t officially been completed at the time.

“We’re so excited to have Russell Westbrook,” Fertitta said. “I would watch him play for Oklahoma City and he’s so athletic. At the same time this franchise just had the two years with the most wins it’s ever had in consecutive years and we wouldn’t have accomplished that without Chris Paul. Chris Paul is unbelievable and he’s gonna be sadly missed.

“I said at the end of the year we’re never gonna stand pat. We’re always gonna try to get better. I think this makes us a better team. I hate to lose Chris Paul, but we felt like we did what we had to do to become a better team.

“I think it’ll be very interesting and fun. James [Harden] and Russell wanted to play together. It oughta be fun this year.”

The fine for Fertitta comes shortly after we learned Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined $50,000 by the league for leaking information to a reporter.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver had said previously that he planned to address the trade requests from star players. NBA owners are growing concerned about superstar power as well. Maybe getting owners to start following some of these rules is the first step towards addressing some of that.