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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Basketball

Bradley Beal reveals he was almost traded to OKC for James Harden

Bradley Beal

Bradley Beal has been with the Washington Wizards for his entire eight-year career, but he was almost never even a part of the team to begin with.

In an appearance this week on SHOWTIME Basketball’s “All the Smoke,” Beal revealed that he was very nearly traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder on draft night in 2012 in exchange for James Harden.

“The whole night, I kinda had a feeling I was going 2 or 3,” said the All-Star guard. “We knew AD [Anthony Davis] was going 1. So I already knew I was going to Charlotte or Washington. When we’re sitting in the draft room, sure enough, my agent is tapping me like, ‘It’s possible you might go to OKC.’ ‘Damn, how am I gonna go there? I didn’t even work out for OKC. I only worked out for three teams: Washington, Cleveland, and Charlotte.’

“So the deal was to trade James to Washington, OKC trades up to 2 or 3, get me, trade James to Washington,” Beal went on. “I’d have been in OKC with KD [Kevin Durant] and Russ[ell Westbrook]. It was almost done.”

By now we know that the Thunder were actively shopping Harden at the time and wound up trading him to the Houston Rockets in October that year in exchange for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, and multiple draft picks. There he blossomed into one of the NBA’s best players and won league MVP in 2018.

The landscape of the league would have looked very different though had the Harden-Beal swap have gone through. Would the Thunder have had enough to make it back to the NBA Finals like they did in 2012? Would Durant still have left to sign with the Golden State Warriors in 2016? Would the dynamic duo of Harden and John Wall have gone anywhere in the Eastern Conference (where the Beal-Wall Wizards made three conference semifinal appearances in the middle of the decade)?

We don’t know the answer to any of those questions, but what we do know is that a Beal trade could still be consummated at some point elsewhere.

Andre Drummond leaves $1,000 tip for server at Florida restaurant

Andre Drummond

Andre Drummond is in a much more fortunate financial place than most people, and he is doing his part to spread the love.

Drummond was lauded on social media for leaving a $1,000 tip at a Delray Beach restaurant in Florida over the weekend.

Che, the restaurant, shared a photo on Instagram of Drummond’s receipt, which showed a $1,000 tip on a $164.25 check. The restaurant then shared comments from the server, Kassandra Diaz, who benefited from the tip.

View this post on Instagram

Our waitress, @kaxandra.diaz experience yesterday, “Today, started off as slow day at work getting there for my double shift. The past week, overall, has been pretty slow of course due to COVID. Restaurants and staff have been struggling, as you can imagine. Little did I know that today I would get a tip no server would guess that they would ever receive when they open that check book. Unknowingly, I was seated and served a table with @andredrummondd I had no idea who he was, and hadn’t seen him here before but we @che.delray always welcome our new customers. When I was given the checkbook, I went to put in the tip & information to close the table and I couldn’t believe it. From a $160 check, the tip read $1,000. I was shaking and had tears of happiness after what he left me. I had no idea how to react, I didn’t want to draw attention but at the same time I couldn’t describe the the amount of appreciation I had/ have. It’s so amazing to see people displaying acts of kindness in these uncertain times. This is a story I will never forget, thank you again so much @andredrummondd “ * * * * * * * * * @che.delray wants to thank you for your kindness, it was our pleasure to have you here! We hope you enjoyed your time with us, we wish you the best!

A post shared by Che!!! Restaurant (@che.delray) on

“Today, started off as slow day at work getting there for my double shift. The past week, overall, has been pretty slow of course due to COVID. Restaurants and staff have been struggling, as you can imagine. Little did I know that today I would get a tip no server would guess that they would ever receive when they open that check book. Unknowingly, I was seated and served a table with @andredrummondd I had no idea who he was, and hadn’t seen him here before but we @che.delray always welcome our new customers. When I was given the checkbook, I went to put in the tip & information to close the table and I couldn’t believe it. From a $160 check, the tip read $1,000. I was shaking and had tears of happiness after what he left me. I had no idea how to react, I didn’t want to draw attention but at the same time I couldn’t describe the the amount of appreciation I had/ have. It’s so amazing to see people displaying acts of kindness in these uncertain times. This is a story I will never forget, thank you again so much @andredrummondd,” Diaz said, according to the restaurant.

According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the restaurant’s general manager says the server can keep the entire tip. She was so stunned by it that she even went back to double check with Drummond that the tip was correct.

Drummond wrote in response on Instagram “thank you for being amazing” and “thank you for the hospitality” to the server and restaurant.

Drummond, 26, was a top-10 pick by the Detroit Pistons in 2012. He was a two-time All-Star in Detroit and was traded to the Cavaliers in February, though he was unhappy with the way the trade went down. He is making just over $27 million this season and has made nearly $82 million over his career. We’re guessing this server won’t be fired for sharing the big tip on social media.

Charles Barkley is ‘100 percent sure’ NBA will resume season

Charles Barkley

It’s fair to say Charles Barkley is extremely confident that we’ll see NBA basketball again before too long.

In an appearance on “The Paul Finebaum Show” Monday, Barkley predicted that every sport currently on pause will resume — and he expects to see movement on the NBA front within the next week.

“We’re gonna make a decision in the next week,” Barkley said, via Robbie Weinstein of 247Sports. “I’m 100 percent sure we’re going to play. I know my friends in Major League Baseball are going to play. I know that the (NHL) is going to play. … I do know this, talking to my bosses at Turner: We’re going to play basketball. It is gonna be in Florida and Vegas, or just Florida.”

Barkley citing his bosses is something. Turner is probably in the loop regarding what’s going on in talks, as they are a broadcast partner. Maybe Barkley is engaging in some informed speculation here.

The league has reportedly opened discussions about playing the rest of their games in Florida. That’s a start, and a lot has to be worked out, but it definitely seems there’s growing optimism that we’ll have the NBA back within a month or two.

Doc Rivers gives his take on Michael Jordan vs. LeBron James debate

Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers played against Michael Jordan during his career and has coached against LeBron James on numerous occasions, so he has seen enough of both NBA legends to formulate an educated opinion on them. And based on everything Doc has seen, he has no problem labeling one the greatest of all time.

Rivers shared his thoughts on the Jordan vs. LeBron debate in a recent appearance on “SportsCenter,” and you could say he took the easy way out. He gave the nod to Jordan but said he can see how people would make the argument for LeBron.

“I played against Michael and have always put Michael as No. 1, but that shouldn’t take anything away from LeBron or Magic (Johnson) or Kareem (Abdul Jabar), who I think gets overlooked way too much as well … Kobe as well,” Rivers said. “But Michael, to me, is the greatest player. He’s the GOAT. It’s OK that everyone measures themselves against him.

“You can obviously make an argument for LeBron. Me, I’m always taking MJ until I see something better.”

Most people point to championships when comparing Jordan to LeBron, which makes sense. Jordan won six titles, whereas LeBron has three. Some people think LeBron is a better player overall but not as much of a winner as Jordan, and one former NBA player recently made a compelling argument for why he would place LeBron above Jordan.

The debate will never end, and there is no right or wrong answer. Even if LeBron won three more titles, plenty of people would still say Jordan is the GOAT. While it’s fun to hear opinions from people who have experience playing and coaching with or against both, there are always going to be arguments for both sides.

Patrick Ewing out of hospital and improving after coronavirus diagnosis

Patrick Ewing

We got some good news on Patrick Ewing on Monday courtesy of his son.

Patrick Ewing Jr. said Monday on Twitter that his father is out of the hospital after testing positive for COVID-19, and has begun to improve.

This is excellent news from the Ewing family. The Knicks icon announced his hospitalization on Friday after testing positive, but said he was optimistic about beating the disease. Hopefully he’s on his way to doing just that, and his recent improvement is a very good sign.

Ewing is a two-time Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. The 57-year-old is currently serving as head coach at Georgetown, his alma mater, having recently finished his third season in charge there.

Report: NBA may jump right into playoffs, seed teams from 1-16

Adam Silver

The NBA is looking to formulate a set plan for the resumption of play to present to team owners on Friday, and there is a legitimate chance the regular season has already concluded.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the NBA is leaning toward jumping right into the postseason when play resumes. And with games potentially all being played at Disney World in Florida, there are no travel restrictions standing in the way of temporarily eliminating conferences and seeding teams 1-16.

As Windhorst mentioned, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has long been intrigued by the idea of combining conferences and re-seeding teams in the postseason. Of course, there are plenty of teams that would be opposed to that format, as it could force them to face more difficult competition. For example, the Brooklyn Nets would have to play the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round as opposed to the Toronto Raptors if teams were seeded 1-16.

A survey the NBA recently distributed to executives listed several potential formats the league could follow when play resumes. While the idea of a 1-16 postseason might appeal to fans, teams will almost certainly vote based on their individual situations.

Isiah Thomas: Michael Jordan was not really my competition

Isiah Thomas

Isiah Thomas is trying to reclaim his position in the basketball world after being more or less demoted in stature thanks to the Michael Jordan documentary.

“The Last Dance” documentary about the 1990s Chicago Bulls made it clear that Michael Jordan still dislikes Thomas. Thomas’ Pistons were cast as the villains compared to Jordan’s Bulls.

Detroit beat Chicago three years in a row in the playoffs before the Bulls finally broke through by sweeping the Pistons in 1991 en route to their first of three straight championships. Between the handshake incident and Dream Team snub, Thomas was portrayed as somewhat of an outcast.

But he says Jordan wasn’t really his basketball peer because MJ came later. At least that’s what Thomas said on “Speak For Yourself”.

“He wasn’t really my competition,” Thomas said of Jordan. “My competition was Bird and Magic — trying to catch the Celtics, trying to catch the Lakers. Chicago, at that time, and Jordan at that time, from ’84 to ’90, before my wrist surgery, he just – that wasn’t my competition.”

Thomas agrees that Jordan ascended as the Pistons descended, which he calls a “natural progression” of teams.

“When Boston was at their absolute best, we gave them competition. But they were better than us. And as they got older, as they got a little bit more banged up, we were able to catch them. Now, what we were able to learn from Boston during that process – the Detroit Pistons, and every time you hear us talk about who were are, what we became, we do not mention ourselves as championships without saying the Boston Celtics, because those were our teachers. Those were our mentors. Those are the people that really taught us how to win. And they gave us the heartaches,” Thomas said.

“When we got to go to the Finals and finally beat them, then I ran into another one of my mentors, which was Magic Johnson, who had let me become a student under him, learning how to win championships in the NBA, learning that Laker organization, learning that Celtic organization. And I’m sure all of you can look back and remember: You saw me at every NBA Finals game when the Celtics and the Lakers were playing. And not only was I there as a fan, but I was there as a student taking notes, learning how to win, how to put together an organization and, not just become a basketball player in the NBA, but become a champion.

“And that’s what we became. We became a champion, and we were pretty dominant in our era.”

Some may think this is sour grapes, but Thomas isn’t wrong. The Pistons’ dominance and run was in the ’80s, and their championships came at the end of the decade. MJ’s Bulls were the story of the ’90s.

Thomas’ problem is that Jordan still can’t stand him. And when you have the most popular player in history dislike you, that doesn’t exactly help your public image.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk