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Friday, December 13, 2019

Basketball

Watch: Anthony Davis booed in return to New Orleans

Anthony Davis

There were plenty of Los Angeles Lakers fans in attendance for Wednesday night’s game against the Pelicans in New Orleans, but that didn’t stop the crowd from booing Anthony Davis.

When the Lakers ran onto the court at the Smoothie King Center for warmups, Davis received some boos.

He was booed during pregame introductions:

And some fans got creative with Davis jerseys.

Davis was also booed when he touched the ball to start the game.

Why was Davis booed by the fan? The No. 1 pick by New Orleans in 2012, Davis forced his way to Los Angeles by demanding a trade. The Pelicans initially toyed with the Lakers in trade talks, and no deal was made, throwing off both teams. Lakers players were bothered by being mentioned in trade talks, so the team lost morale and failed to make the playoffs. Davis barely played for the Pelicans after the All-Star break.

Things worked out well for all parties though; David Griffin took over New Orleans and dealt Davis to the Lakers for a massive haul of players and picks, while the Pelicans landed the No. 1 pick and drafted Zion Williamson.

Davis should actually be used to the boos in New Orleans; he was booed after first making his trade demands.

Jabari Parker leaving door open for return to Bucks

Jabari Parker still has love for the team and the city that drafted him.

Speaking on Wednesday before his Atlanta Hawks faced his former club, the Milwaukee Bucks, Parker spoke fondly about his time with the team and left the door open for a possible return after the 2019-20 season.

“It’s real special, man, how they were able to build this building,” said Parker, per Eric Woodyard of ESPN. “I haven’t played here but just seeing the growth of the city, I really like the way it’s developing. It’s just so sad I’m not able to share it with them and that they moved on, but that’s fine, that’s business. But I do have like a little homesickness from being here. I just miss being here.”

“I would never rule out a possible return here,” the 24-year-old continued. “I would never do that. It’s just so sad how it ended and I wish I could’ve stayed.”

Parker, who has a player option with the Hawks for next season, was drafted by the Bucks with the No. 2 overall pick in 2015. He spent the first four years of his career in Milwaukee, but two separate ACL tears led to the team pulling his qualifying offer in 2018 free agency and Parker’s ultimate departure.

There were questions about Parker’s relationship with Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo at the time, but Parker himself seems fully game for a return.

Raptors could reunite with DeMar DeRozan via trade?

DeMar DeRozan

Toronto’s exiled son may be coming on home in the not-too-distant future.

In a piece by Frank Urbina of HoopsHype that ran Wednesday, an anonymous Western Conference executive was quoted as saying that the Raptors would be a logical trade destination for San Antonio Spurs swingman DeMar DeRozan.

“It sounds crazy, but Toronto actually makes a lot of sense as a landing spot for DeRozan,” the executive said. “As far as what Toronto would have to give up, it would probably be a first-round pick plus Serge Ibaka or Marc Gasol.”

The 30-year-old DeRozan was, of course, a lifelong Raptor until the team traded him to the Spurs for Kawhi Leonard in 2018, netting them their first-ever NBA title. DeRozan is now averaging 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game in his second season with San Antonio. He is making $27.7 million this season and has a player option for the same amount in 2020-21.

DeRozan is still beloved in Toronto and did not leave out of his own volition, so the fanbase would obviously love him back if the circumstances line up.

Kyrie Irving ‘coward’ signs pop up in Boston ahead of Celtics-Nets game

Kyrie Irving Nets

Celtics fans will not have the opportunity to shower Kyrie Irving in boos when his Brooklyn Nets play in Boston on Wednesday night, so they are finding other ways to let the All-Star point guard know what they think of him.

Irving has been out with a shoulder injury, and he will not play on Wednesday night. Since the injury is considered somewhat minor, many Celtics fans believe Irving is avoiding the game because he would likely get a ruthless reception if he took the floor. Prior to tip-off, fliers with Irving’s face on them that said “COWARD” were spotted outside the TD Garden.

It’s not just Celtics fans who think Irving is avoiding the boo birds. Former Celtics big man Kendrick Perkins suggested in a tweet last week that Irving knew before the season that he wasn’t going to play in the Nets’ first game at Boston. That seems unlikely considering the shoulder injury has caused Irving to miss multiple games.

Irving’s second and final season with the Celtics was a huge disappointment, and the team actually made a deeper playoff run in his first year when he was out with an injury. There were numerous indications that his teammates didn’t get along with him and felt he was a bad leader, and fans in Boston have held onto that. Many people with tickets to Wednesday’s game couldn’t wait to rip Irving, but they’re not going to get a chance.

Kristaps Porzingis admits Mavs did not match Clippers’ intensity

The Dallas Mavericks are going to have to prove they can compete with teams like the Los Angeles Clippers if they want to become a legitimate contender in the Western Conference, and Kristaps Porzingis knows they did not do that on Tuesday night.

Dallas was dominated at home by the Clippers in the first half, and the Mavs were unable to do enough to overcome it over the final 24 minutes. As Porzingis put it, the Mavericks were “punched in the mouth” from the opening tip.

The Clippers took a 62-46 lead into halftime, and that was really all they needed. Dallas outscored them by a point in the second half but still lost 114-99. LA showed that they can beat teams in many ways with Kawhi Leonard leading the team with 28 points, Paul George right behind him with 26 and Lou Williams scoring 21 off the bench.

While it’s tough to judge teams this early in the NBA season, the Mavericks proved they have a long way to go. Fortunately, Luka Doncic has picked up right where he left off after his outstanding rookie season, and Porzingis’ optimism about his health prior to the season has translated into solid play early on. If intensity is going to be an issue for Dallas, now is the time to start correcting it.

Luka Doncic does not speak with media after Mavericks’ loss to Clippers

Luka Doncic

The Mavericks’ big game against the LA Clippers on Tuesday night did not go as Dallas would have hoped, and that apparently did not sit well with Luka Doncic.

Doncic did not speak with the media after his team’s 114-99 home defeat, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.

Doncic entered the game as one of the hottest players in the league. He was averaging a triple-double for November, with 32.5 points, 10.6 rebounds and 10.8 assists per game on 50.4 percent shooting. Against the Clippers, he went 4-for-14 and 0-for-8 on threes. He also turned the ball over seven times.

The Clippers sent multiple defenders at Doncic and contested his shots, making it difficult for him to find spots to score. This was arguably his worst game of the season, and it came at a time when people were gushing over his abilities — for good reason.

Tristan Thompson thinks Kyrie Irving deserves his jersey retired by Cavs

Kyrie Irving Nets

Does Kyrie Irving deserve to have his jersey retired by the Cleveland Cavaliers? One of his former teammates thinks so.

Tristan Thompson spoke on Monday ahead of the team’s home game against the Brooklyn Nets’. Irving signed with Brooklyn this summer after previously forcing a trade from Cleveland to Boston, which led to a question about Irving’s legacy with the Cavs.

Thompson praised his former teammate.

“His jersey will be retired here,” Thompson said of Irving, via 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland. “You see that banner right there? That’s what he means to the franchise. He came in with a lot of expectations and he surpassed them all.”

Irving, 27, was drafted by the Cavs No. 1 overall in 2011 and played his first six seasons with the team. He made four All-Star teams while a member of the Cavs and reached three straight NBA Finals, winning the 2015-2016 NBA championship.

Will that be enough to get his jersey retired? Some with the franchise may hold it against him that he forced a trade away from the team. We know the guy in charge holds a grudge so he might not be eager to honor Irving in that manner, at least not any time soon.