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#pounditWednesday, April 14, 2021

Basketball

This is why Rick Carlisle is not coaching the Mavericks on Friday

Rick Carlisle

Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was surprisingly missing from the sideline for Friday’s game against the New York Knicks, but there’s a good reason for the absence.

Carlisle unexpectedly tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, he told reporters. The Mavericks coach stated that it could possibly be a false positive, as he has been fully vaccinated since January.

Carlisle was not cleared ahead of the game, and assistant coach Jamahl Mosley took charge of the Mavericks in Carlisle’s place.

Mosley is regarded as a promising up-and-coming coach, and he actually interviewed with the team he’ll be coaching against during the offseason. It could be a good opportunity for him to spotlight himself and show what he can do.

Kevin Durant fined $50,000 over threatening messages to Michael Rapaport

Kevin Durant

The NBA on Friday announced it was fining Kevin Durant $50,000 for his threatening messages sent to actor Michael Rapaport.

On Tuesday, Rapaport shared screenshots of several threatening messages Durant reportedly sent him in private over social media (more here). The Brooklyn Nets star tried to downplay the feud and act as if they two engage in such behavior regularly.

The NBA didn’t see it that way and is fining Durant for the exchange. They cited KD’s “offensive and derogatory” language used in the messages.

The NBA said in its statement that Durant acknowledged his actions were “inappropriate.”

Durant has been out since February with a hamstring injury.

Malik Beasley reportedly wants paternity test amid Montana Yao divorce

Malik Beasley

Malik Beasley and his wife Montana Yao have been going through divorce proceedings since late last year, and the Minnesota Timberwolves star is apparently questioning whether he is the biological father of the former couple’s 2-year-old son.

According to a court filing that was obtained by Us Weekly, Beasley has motioned to prove the paternity of his and Yao’s 2-year-old son, Makai. Beasley has already taken a paternity test, but the March 29 filing stated that the “results of those tests are unknown as of the date of this Order.”

Beasley and Yao welcomed their son in March 2019, which was a year before they got married. The documents state that Yao “contends that Husband [Malik] is the biological father of the child but no Recognition of Parentage has been signed and Husband has not otherwise been adjudicate the child’s father.”

Beasley’s attorney, Steven A. Haney, said in a statement to Us Weekly on Tuesday that it would have been “negligent” of the NBA star to not have a paternity test given the circumstances surrounding his relationship with Yao.

A representative for Yao told Us Weekly that it is “comical for her that (Beasley) has requested a paternity test because this entire time on social media he has claimed Makai to be his son and he knows it’s his son.”

A court has already ruled that Beasley must pay Yao thousands per month in child support, though a request for spousal support was denied.

Yao filed for divorce in December, which was just nine months after she and Beasley got married. The filing came shortly after photos were published that showed Beasley holding hands with Larsa Pippen in public.

Bill Russell had best April Fools’ Day joke

Bill Russell

Forget about all of your juvenile pranks because Bill Russell has officially won April Fools’ Day.

The retired Boston Celtics legend tweeted a video of himself Thursday working out with a kettlebell. In his caption, he announced that he was making his comeback to the NBA. Russell then concluded his tweet by wishing everybody a Happy April Fools’ Day.

The 11-time NBA champion Russell recently turned 87 years old and has been retired from the league for over five decades now. But he is looking absolutely fantastic for his age and might still be able to play 10-15 spot minutes off the bench for a contender.

In all seriousness though, Russell continues to show why he is one of the most beloved NBA players of all-time. His Twitter account is quickly becoming a must-follow as well.

Photo: Pete Souza/Flickr via CC-by-SA 1.0

Carmelo Anthony throws shade at Pistons for odd reason

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony is getting a little too old to deal with the shenanigans that he was subjected to at Little Caesars Arena this week.

Anthony’s Portland Trail Blazers faced the Pistons in Detroit on Wednesday. After the game, the veteran forward tweeted pictures of himself with an unenthused face amid a noticeable haze in the arena during warmups.

“You guys love that fog machine huh? @DetroitPistons” Anthony wrote.

The Pistons then hilariously fired back at the 10-time All-Star, writing, “Hoodie Melo would have come prepared.”

There is some history between these two sides. The Pistons did notoriously select Darko Milicic, one of the biggest busts in sports history, one pick ahead of Anthony in the 2003 NBA Draft.

Anthony has hinted that he may have actually liked to have gone to Detroit. But the extravagant visual effects in their arena could be forcing the now 36-year-old to reconsider.

Norman Powell says he was shocked Raptors traded him

Norman Powell

Kyle Lowry manage to survive the trade deadline, but one Toronto Raptor who was not so lucky is admitting to being a little shook.

New Portland Trail Blazers swingman Norman Powell penned a piece this week for The Players’ Tribune. In the article, Powell said it was a “shock” that he was traded by the Toronto Raptors.

“I wouldn’t say I had NO idea a trade might be on the table,” Powell wrote. “I understand the way things work — and I knew my situation, as well as the team’s. I’m coming up on free agency. We were 11th in the East. I’m in a position where I can help a contender (and I’ll do that). They’re in a position where maybe they want to get younger (and they did that).

“But even with all of that said, it still caught me off-guard,” the 27-year-old added. “Not just because of the way I’ve been playing this season, but also the bigger picture — I always thought of myself as part of the core that was being built around. Me, Freddy [VanVleet], Pascal [Siakam], we all kind of came up together. We’re all about the same age. We’re thick as thieves, man. And I really felt like our group, plus OG [Anunoby], we were destined to be the next great Raptors team.”

The former UCLA star Powell went to the Blazers in exchange for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood. He had indeed been part of the Raptors’ homegrown young core, having been acquired by the team on draft night 2015. Powell blossomed in Toronto from an unheralded second-round pick into now a nearly 20-point-per-game scorer. He also helped contribute to the team’s first-ever NBA championship victory in 2019.

But with the Raptors well under .500 this season and Powell holding an $11.6 million option for next season, they decided that it was time to let him go. It is also clear that Powell is having a hard time adjusting to the change.

Photo: GabboT/Flickr via CC-by-SA 2.0

Kevin Durant tries to downplay feud with Michael Rapaport

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant appears to be trying to downplay his feud with actor Michael Rapaport.

On Tuesday, Rapaport made headlines online after accusing Durant of sending him these threatening messages on social media.

Durant responded to someone asking him on Twitter about the situation and downplayed things. He acted as if he and Rapaport were chummy old pals. He claimed they talked like that with regularity and he was surprised Rapaport was upset.

Rapaport seemed to be in great disagreement.

“No we don’t Pu–y,” he responded. “Don’t ever threaten me or speak on my wife Pu–y.”

If this is all some sort of “work” to promote an upcoming show between them, they definitely have succeeded at attracting attention. If it’s not, then it seems like the two definitely are not on the same page regarding their trash talk.

Ex-Wolves teammate tells great story about infamous Jimmy Butler practice

Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler using a bunch of third-stringers to wreak havoc on Minnesota Timberwolves practice is one of the greatest stories of recent NBA lore. Now the story is getting even better.

Ex-NBA guard Jamal Crawford was teammates with Butler on the Wolves. Crawford appeared recently on “Club Shay Shay” with Shannon Sharpe. During the show, Crawford had a hilarious addition to the tale of Butler’s infamous practice incident.

“Jimmy called me,” said Crawford, who was no longer with Minnesota at the time of the incident in 2018. “He said, ‘Man, if you could have been at this practice here.’ They said he came in there, he came to the practice after it got started. They were kinda shocked to see him. I think he was coming off injury or something.

“I’m gonna tell you the coldest part,” Crawford added. “I think he had his Rolex on while he was killing everybody. I think he had a Rolex watch on while he was killing people, picking them apart in practice. Then he walked off. It was classic from what I hear.”

Butler, who was with the Wolves for two seasons, grew unhappy with the culture and direction of the team. His discontent culminated at the practice in question. Butler showed up, sided with a group of reserves, and destroyed the team’s starters, including Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, in a total tour de force. There were some other details about the practice as well that are almost too ridiculous to believe.

Minnesota ultimately traded Butler not long after the outburst. He has since found a home with some like-minded individuals on the Miami Heat. In fact, Butler just led them on a surprise run to the NBA Finals last season. But no matter what he accomplishes from here, the legend of Butler’s mic-drop moment with the Wolves will live on forever.

Zion Williamson avoided serious thumb injury against Celtics

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson had a bit of an injury scare in Monday’s game, but appears to have avoided a worst-case scenario.

Williamson sprained his thumb in Monday’s game against the Boston Celtics, and the New Orleans Pelicans initially feared that he could miss multiple weeks. However, the star forward appears to have avoided a significant problem, and might not miss any time.

Williamson has initially been characterized as questionable for Thursday’s game against Orlando.

The Pelicans couldn’t have afforded to lose Williamson for any extended time. They’ve already been playing without Lonzo Ball for several games, with Williamson picking up a bigger role in the offense as a result.

Williamson has started 44 games this season, averaging 26.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.

JJ Redick criticizes David Griffin, accuses Pelicans of dishonesty

JJ Redick

Veteran guard J.J. Redick accused New Orleans Pelicans executive VP David Griffin and the team’s front office of dishonest treatment surrounding Redick’s trade to the Dallas Mavericks.

On Wednesday, Redick spent time on his “Old Man & the Three” podcast discussing the Pelicans’ handling of him this season. He said he had requested a trade in November, in part because of the difficulties of his family in Brooklyn to come visit him during the season. Redick claims Griffin told him to come down for a month and if that did not change Redick’s mind, the Pelicans would find a situation elsewhere that he was happy with.

Redick went on to say that he expected to be bought out once a trade did not happen by February, and was “shocked’ when he was shipped to the Mavericks, saying the team never came up in discussions with New Orleans.

“I don’t think you’re going to get honesty from that front office, objectively speaking,” Redick said, via Andrew Lopez of ESPN. “That’s not an opinion, I just don’t think you’re gonna get that. I don’t think what happened with me is necessarily an isolated incident. I think front offices around the league operate in their best interest. I get that. I understand that.

“Truthfully… I think I was a little naive thinking I was in Year 15 and I attempted to do things right throughout my career. But in terms of this front office, yeah, it’s not something where I would expect certainly the agents who worked on this with me to ever trust that front office again.”

It’s certainly not great for the Pelicans if this reputation sticks. Players pay attention to this sort of thing, and Redick’s bad experience might resonate with others. It could potentially lead to some veterans thinking twice before agreeing to join the Pelicans depending on the circumstances.

Maybe the father of one of Redick’s ex-teammates actually has a point about the New Orleans organization.

Photo: Verse Photography/Flickr via CC-by-SA 2.0