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#pounditThursday, February 25, 2021

Basketball

Bronny James had surgery to repair torn meniscus

Bronny James

Bronny James is recovering from surgery to repair a torn meniscus, according to a report.

The Los Angeles Daily News’ Tarek Fattal reported on Thursday that Bronny is believed to have suffered the injury three weeks ago.

The 16-year-old son of LeBron James has undergone surgery, Fattal reports.

Bronny James is a sophomore at Sierra Canyon in the Los Angeles area. He is a highly-ranked recruit for the class of 2023 and viewed as a 5-star player.

California has not allowed indoor competition for high school sports, which means James has not missed out on a season yet. However, his Sierra Canyon team is competing as a club this year.

A former NBA All-Star has already gone on record saying he believes Bronny will be “special.”

Karl-Anthony Towns shares how much Giannis Antetokounmpo has tried to help him

Karl-Anthony Towns

There was nothing but love between Karl-Anthony Towns and Giannis Antetokounmpo after their teams played on Tuesday night.

Giannis’ Milwaukee Bucks beat Towns’ Minnesota Timberwolves 139-112 to improve to 19-13 on the season. Giannis had 37 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists in the win. Towns had 26 points and 11 rebounds in Minnesota’s loss.

After the game, Antetokounmpo told reporters that he tried to show compassion to Towns after the Timberwolves big man dealt with personal tragedy over COVID-19.

Towns shared that he appreciated the efforts and gestures from Antetokounmpo. He said the two built a friendship as a result.

Not only is Towns dealing with his team being the worst in the NBA this season, but the big man has also been dealing with mental struggles this season. He’s having a rough year but has some support from others helping him out.

Lakers are favorites to land DeMarcus Cousins?

DeMarcus Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins never got a chance to take the court for the Los Angeles Lakers, but the opportunity may soon be presenting itself again.

Heavy.com’s Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson reported this week that the Lakers are believed to be the favorites for Cousins once he parts with the Houston Rockets. Robinson mentions the Miami Heat and the Brooklyn Nets as expected suitors for the former All-Star big man as well.

Cousins, 30, was on the Lakers last season but did not appear in a single game for them after tearing his ACL in an offseason pickup game. He did receive an NBA championship ring for being on the roster however.

As for the Lakers, Anthony Davis is in the middle of an extended absence, and the aging Marc Gasol is the only true center on their roster. Cousins might only be good for 12-15 minutes per game on the Lakers. But they are clearly looking to upgrade their frontcourt, if not by adding Cousins then perhaps by adding this fellow Rocket.

Zion Williamson leaves door open to participating in dunk contest

Zion Williamson

There is a relative lack of enthusiasm about All-Star festivities among many NBA players this year, but one star might be ready to give fans some excitement at the event.

Zion Williamson teased the possibility of taking part in the dunk contest on Wednesday, saying he “might” participate and refusing to rule out the possibility.

If Williamson wasn’t going to do it, he wouldn’t have to tease it and would just say so. This is a good sign for those who might want to see him do this.

The NBA would probably love it if Williamson participated. He’d be a marquee name that could be advertised. Plus, it would probably be a positive to be talking about something like that instead of snubs and controversy like we have been.

Karl-Anthony Towns still committed to Timberwolves despite turmoil

Karl-Anthony Towns

Despite his team seemingly crumbling around him, Karl-Anthony Towns is holding the line.

After a loss to the New York Knicks over the weekend, the Minnesota Timberwolves star reaffirmed his long-term commitment to the team.

“If you want to build a legacy, we gotta win. I want to build my legacy here,” said Towns, per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. “I want to win with the Wolves. I’m gonna do everything I possibly can to step-by-step, brick-by-brick build something, a culture here that’s gonna stand for a long time.”

The Wolves are now an NBA-worst 7-24. They just fired head coach Ryan Saunders and replaced him with Toronto Raptors assistant coach Chris Finch. Former All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell is also out multiple weeks with a knee injury, so the bumpiest part of the ride may still be to come.

Towns is the longest-tenured Wolves player and the undisputed pillar of the franchise. He is also under contract through 2024. Not a lot is going right for the team at the moment. But the continued faith of their franchise player, who is himself enduring a lot right now, is a good consolation.

Report: Pistons struggling to find Blake Griffin trade partner

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin is waiting for his departure from the Detroit Pistons, but it sounds like the team is really struggling to find takers for the former All-Star.

According to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, the Pistons have struggled to trade Griffin, and executives around the league expect the forward to ultimately be bought out instead.

“I know they’ve been trying to trade him for months and can’t find a taker,” one Western Conference executive told Scotto. “Part of it is Blake also saying there are certain teams he would prefer to go to. This is a weird one. Non zero chance they buy him out, which just seems crazy.”

Two other executives also felt a buyout was the most likely option for Griffin, with his contract proving to be a major stumbling block. The good news for Griffin is that the executives expect him to receive “significant interest” if he does hit the open market.

When the Pistons decided to sideline Griffin as they pursued a trade, they might not have anticipated having such a hard time moving him on. While Griffin remains a big name, his production is far from what it once was. Over the last two seasons, the 31-year-old has averaged a modest 13.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game while being hindered by injuries.

Report: Mavericks testing trade market for Kristaps Porzingis

Kristaps Porzingis

The Dallas Mavericks do not appear to be completely satisfied with Kristaps Porzingis.

The Mavs acquired Porzingis in a big trade with the New York Knicks a little over two years ago. They signed the 25-year-old to a massive 5-year, $158 million contract extension later that summer. They appear to have some buyer’s remorse.

Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported on Monday that the Mavericks have gauged trade interest in Porzingis.

One person told Fischer that the Mavs gauging trade interest on Porzingis was pretty standard operating procedure for Donnie Nelson. However, it was noted that the Mavs have checked around the trade market for any of their players except Luka Doncic. If Porzingis were playing better and the team were higher than No. 9 in the West, the team probably wouldn’t be asking about his trade value.

Dallas’ defense has been worse when Porzingis is on the floor compared to when he is not. But Porzingis’ scoring has been solid this season at 20.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

What’s interesting is that back in October, a report said Dallas was willing to trade anyone except Doncic and Porzingis. Now that Porzingis has not looked great in his return from surgery on his meniscus, Dallas could be willing to deal him.

Celtics owner shuts down speculation about Brad Stevens’ job status

Brad Stevens

The Boston Celtics have had an incredibly disappointing start to the season, but it’s not about to cost anyone their job.

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck made clear that coach Brad Stevens and team president Danny Ainge are not in danger of losing their jobs despite the team’s 15-16 start. Grousbeck added that Stevens and Ainge would be “nearly the top candidate in the league” for their respective jobs if they were available.

The stance makes sense. Stevens has posted five straight winning seasons as the Celtics’ head coach, while Ainge has constructed a championship team. As underwhelming as their start has been, the Celtics would be making a rash decision to part ways with them at this point.

Stevens has had to answer questions about whether he still has the backing of his players lately. No coach ever wants to have to deal with that, but it’s too soon to actually make a change over that chatter.

Vanessa Bryant calls out Meek Mill for ‘insensitive’ Kobe song lyric

Vanessa Bryant

Vanessa Bryant on Monday called out rapper Meek Mill for his “insensitive” song lyric about her late husband, Kobe Bryant.

Meek Mill has a collaboration song with Lil Baby called “Don’t Worry (RIP Kobe)” that has not yet been released. A reported lyric from the song was released, and it caught attention online.

“Yeah, and if I ever lack, I’m goin’ out with my chopper, it be another Kobe,” one of the lyrics from the song reportedly says.

Bryant’s death is a sensitive subject, especially for Vanessa and her family. Vanessa lost her husband, Kobe, and second-oldest daughter, Gianna, in a fatal helicopter crash last year.

“Dear @meekmill, I find this line to be extremely insensitive and disrespectful. Period.,” Vanessa wrote on her Instagram Story. “I am not familiar with any of your music, but I believe you can do better than this. If you are a fan, fine, there’s a better way to show your admiration for my husband. This lacks respect and tact.”

Meek Mill had to know that such a lyric would attract attention. He shouldn’t be shocked to see such a response from fans and even Vanessa.

Vanessa has dealt with many issues since the death of Kobe and Gianna. She had a lawsuit with Los Angeles County, lots of drama with her mother, and now this is added to the list.

Kyrie Irving wants NBA logo to be changed to Kobe Bryant

Kyrie Irving

The NBA logo has been an iconic part of the league’s brand for many decades. But for Kyrie Irving however, it falls a bit flat.

The Brooklyn Nets guard took to Instagram on Wednesday to call for the NBA to change their logo to an image of the late Kobe Bryant.

“Gotta Happen, idc what anyone says,” Irving wrote in the caption of his post. “BLACK KINGS BUILT THE LEAGUE.”

Irving was close friends with Bryant, who died in January of last year. He also recently paid tribute to Bryant in a very cool way.

The NBA logo, meanwhile, has featured the silhouette of another LA Lakers legend, Hall of Famer Jerry West, since 1969. It underwent a small font change in 2017 but has otherwise stayed the same over the years. That said, West might actually be in favor of Bryant replacing him as the NBA’s logo.