Goran Dragic denies interest in playing overseas, right now anyway

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UPDATE 9/23 12:41 am: Oh, it was all a simple misunderstanding blown out of proportion, like a Three’s Company episode (cue the laugh track). Seth Pollack from SBNation emailed Dragic, who sent back this response.

This news is not correct, because I made a statement that I want to end
my basketball carrer in Europe. So this is a big misunderstanding of the
Greek journalist. In this moment I’m very happy in the NBA and I’m not
going to Europe! I am a member of the Phoenix Suns, and my desire is to
stay in Phoenix for many years!

As Steve Nash is a stud but playing with a back that requires the fantastic Suns training staff, a team of Shaman and daily Holy Water from Lourdes to keep working. Dragic is the understudy, and the thought of him going, however slim, should frighten Suns fans. For now, at least, they have nothing to worry about.

8/22 9:55 am: Goran Dragic was considered a reach when the Suns drafted him in 2008. But he showed flashes before becoming a full-fledged star in the playoffs last season. You may remember him from such films as “Dropping 23 of 26 points on the Spurs in the fourth quarter.”  But that film may become out of print in the NBA.

SBNation Arizona reports that Dragic spoke with Greek media and hinted he may consider leaving to return to Europe when his current contract with the Suns is up. Tas Melas of the Score’s Basketball Jones was kind enough to provide a translation:

I am completely satisfied with my presence in the NBA. These two
years helped me evolve as a player. I improved in all areas. I have a
contract for this year, and then for the following year, it’s my choice
whether or not to continue (in Phoenix). Maybe I return to Europe.

Eventually this will happen for sure. I do not know if it will the
season after next. But the prospect of a big European team, perhaps
even Greek, would interest me very much. Winning titles is always
something which is very important

The “eventually this will happen for sure” part is pretty concerning, if it’s an accurate quote. But the more likely scenario is simply Dragic using his European status to put pressure on the Suns to come with the big contract extension. It’s hard to believe he’d have worked as hard as he has to make the NBA, become a star on the rise, only to up and head back for easier pastures. Then again, kids these days. You never can tell.

Suns sources who spoke with Pollack of SBNation weren’t overly concerned.

Report: Sixers expected to waive Tibor Pleiss after trade with Jazz

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 30: Tibor Pleiss #21 of the Utah Jazz controls the ball in the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on October 30, 2015 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.

Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.

Jordan releases new Russell Westbrook ad, may include a shot at Kevin Durant

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 28:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (L) and Russell Westbrook #0 look on during a press conference after the Golden State Warriors defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 108-101 in game six of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 28, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
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As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”

Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.

Kobe Bryant on how teams should see Warriors: “‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go.”

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 03:  Retired NBA Champion, CEO, Kobe Inc., Kobe Bryant speaks onstage during 2016 Milken Institute Global Conference at The Beverly Hilton on May 03, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
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For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.

His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).

“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”

Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.

We’re going to miss Kobe.

 

Report: Dwyane Wade’s cousin killed as innocent bystander in gang shooting in Chicago

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 29:  General manager Gar Forman of the Chicago Bulls (L) listens as Dwyane Wade speaks during an introductory press conference at the Advocate Center on July 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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This news is just sickening. In a world with just too much sickening news.

According to NBC 5 in Chicago (which spoke to police), Dwyane Wade‘s first cousin Nykea Aldridge was pushing a stroller down the street when she was shot and killed as an innocent in the crossfire of a gang shooting.

The 32-year-old woman, whom family identified as Nykea Aldridge, was apparently the unintended victim of a gang shooting, police said. She was walking around 3:30 p.m. in the 6300 block of South Calumet when two males approached another male and opened fire, police said.

Wade tweeted this.

Aldridge was on her way to a local school to register her kids (they had just moved) when the shooting took place. There has been a rash of gang and gun violence in Chicago in the past year, and Dwyane’s mother Jolinda Wade had just been on a panel on ESPN’s Undefeated talking about it.

Wade is coming to play for his hometown Chicago Bulls this season.

Our thoughts are with Nykea Aldridge’s family and friends.