Nets CEO, Rod Thorn play blame game for Nets 12-win season

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Thumbnail image for nets-logo.gifWhen you lose 70 games in a season, everyone should get some blame. Players, coaches, front office, owner, equipment manager, everyone except the guy running the good imported beer concession. Never blame the guy selling beer.

In the last few days, Nets CEO Brett Yormark — a guy retained in the Mikhail Prokhorov power structure despite getting in a yelling match with a fan last season — and former Nets GM Rod Thorn got in a blame game.

The New York Post’s Peter Vecsey got Thorn to admit on the record that he was no big fan of Yormark, but that was not why he left. (Yes, Vecsey used actual quotes not just anonymous sources, that was the biggest news in the story.)

“I don’t deny my dislike for the guy,” Thorn admitted last Friday when asked by phone about their contentious relationship. “But he’s not the reason I left…

“I’d decided to retire long before the sale. Personal things happened over the last two years that made me realize it was time to go.”

Thorn is now the general manager for the Philadelphia 76ers.

On Sunday, Yormark threw Thorn under the bus in the Bergen Record.

“For the last couple of months I’ve been clearly focused on working with [general manager Billy King] and Avery on getting this franchise back to a best-in-class status,” Yormark said Sunday evening. “Obviously there’s a lot of work to be done after Rod’s 12-70 season, both on and off the court.”

Of course, Yormark tried to fix that by brining John Calipari back to the NBA… that would have been a mistake. Big mistake. Calipari can recruit and has a nice college offensive system, but we have seen the NBA show before and you can’t recruit in the NBA (unless you are Pat Riley).

Yormark gets some blame. Thorn maybe gets more blame — he did a bad job building the Net roster by doing things like holding on to Vince Carter too long. The Nets bad roster last season was largely on him.

But the real problem is that when the front office key players can’t get along you are doomed. They don’t have to be best buds and have weekend family barbecues together, but they have to work well together. If not, well, you get the Nets.

Did Reggie Jackson distract Jimmy Butler into missing game-tying free throw? (video)

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With the Timberwolves trailing the Pistons by three and 6.2 seconds left, Jimmy Butler drew a foul on a 3-pointer.

Butler made the first two free throws then, just before he got the ball for the third, Reggie Jackson interrupted to talk to Stanley Johnson, who was in rebounding position. Butler missed the free throw, and Detroit won 100-97 after an intentional foul.

Butler said Jackson didn’t affect him, but Butler’s side eye during the delay at least appeared to speak loudly.

Bulls’ Kris Dunn dunks on T.J. Warren after savvy/explosive halfcourt drive (video)

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Kris Dunn had a nice weekend – 39 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds as the Bulls beat the Hornets and lost to the Suns – punctuated by this dunk in Chicago’s 113-105 loss to the Suns last night.

T.J. Warren paid the price for Tyler Ulis overplaying a Robin Lopez screen Dunn cleverly never used.

Orlando Magic will no longer host summer league

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando Magic has decided to end their annual summer league.

Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said Sunday the trend of NBA teams playing in the Las Vegas Summer League led to the decision end Orlando Pro Summer League. Orlando’s Summer League, which showcased rookies and young players, began in 2002.

Las Vegas will host all 30 teams for the summer league beginning in the summer of 2018. The Orlando Pro Summer League began as a 10-team tournament but there were just eight participating teams this past summer.

The summer league in Orlando, which is played in the Magic’s practice gym, was the only one of three summer leagues that did not allow fans to come in to watch.

Kevin Durant misses game vs. Nets with sprained ankle, status vs. Thunder in doubt

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Not that the Warriors needed him with Stephen Curry going off again, but Golden State was without Kevin Durant on Sunday in Brooklyn due to a sprained ankle.

Durant is officially day-to-day, but that brings up the question of whether he will be ready to go Wednesday night when the Warriors travel to Oklahoma City to take on his former team. Chris Haynes of ESPN asked Durant about it.

While some blowhards will talk about him dodging the Thunder, the Warriors course here is obvious — they do not want to rush him back for any game in November. Even one against Russell Westbrook. Ankles with stretched ligaments are easy to re-injure if not fully healed, and the Warriors don’t want this to be chronic and last through more of the season.

Durant is averaging 24.9 points per game, 7 rebounds, and 4.7 assists, and — with all due respect to fellow former MVP Curry — he is the best player on the Warriors. Maybe the best player in the world right now, period. Durant can score at will, and he had become a key part of the Warriors’ fifth-ranked defense blocking 2.2 shots per game (their offense is No. 1 in the league).