The Blazers were in ruins. The ‘Jailblazers’ moniker was firmly etched upon them. They needed a complete overhaul, and hope seemed lightyears away. Then Kevin Pritchard entered on a rainbow riding a unicorn. He spread his magic across the land and brought in stellar acquisition after stellar acquisition through the draft (with a little bit of a hand from the lottery Gods). They were prepared to dominate for years, maybe a decade, with their core.
Now, it looks as if things are crumbling away. Camelot is not fallen, but there is unrest and the foundations have cracks forming at their bases.
We told you last week about the odd, unexpected firing of Blazers assistant general manager, and Kevin Pritchard’s right hand man, Tom Penn. It was a bizarre move, one that caught many completely off-guard. A strange occurrence, but execs get canned all the time. No big deal, right?
Well, it turns out that there’s more to this than meets the eye. Henry Abbott did some sleuthing into the events after reading fans at Blazers Edge and elsewhere go into full blown panic, and his findings are fascinating.
Basically, Penn’s firing may be indicative of a significant divide between owner Paul Allen and the Pritchard camp. There’s talk of concern over too much power being held by the dynamic young GM, and that this could spell the end of Pritchard’s reign in Portland. Warren LeGarie, the agent for both Pritchard and Penn, is taking the opportunity to leverage some public support for his clients. And he indicates Pritchard could be “next” on the chop block.
Pritchard departing Rip City would be devastating to the fanbase and send shockwaves throughout the league. Pritchard would be unemployed for approximately .04 seconds (just enough time for a Derek Fisher turnaround), and the Blazers new era of league domination would become Atlantis. Beautiful, iconic, and sunk beneath the sea.
Joakim Noah hasn’t set foot on an NBA court since Feb. 4, and his season was all but ended when he had knee surgery at the end of February. It was a $72 million gamble that has not worked, and left New York with an anchor o a
Tomorrow it will be official he is done for the season, but not because of the Knicks or his injury.
During his recovery, Noah violated the NBA’s drug policy and will pay for a 20-game suspension, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
Noah tested positive for an over-the-counter supplement that is prohibited under the outgoing Collective Bargaining Agreement, league sources said.
Noah, 32, is expected to serve 10 games of the suspension to finish out the 2016-17 regular season and 10 games to start the 2017-18 season, league sources said.
The National Basketball Players Association’s investigation concluded that Noah hadn’t “knowingly or willingly” violated the policy and cooperated fully with the league’s probe, league sources said.
Over-the-counter supplements could be something put in his regular workout recovery drinks that he was unaware of, although we are unsure of the details.
Traditionally, the player has to be healthy enough to play before the league starts the suspension. Noah has been out for more than a month, but if a league doctor says he is healthy enough to play the then the clock on the suspension can start. But that is interesting.
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.
Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.
His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.
Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.
Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.
As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.
Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.
Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.
Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.
Maybe a little too pumped.
That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.
Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.
(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)