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Shaq wants to be Nets GM, keep them in New Jersey… but not for 745 days

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Shaquille O’Neal has scored more points than any player ever born in New Jersey. There you go, a little trivia to start your morning.

And while some may think its death trap, a suicide rap, Shaq likes Jersey. Not enough to be on Jersey Shore… wait, we shouldn’t really put that past him.

But enough that he would like to see he Nets stay in Newark and become winners there, he said told the Bergen Record before the Celtics and Nets played Thursday night.

“I would have liked to see the new owner get with the guy who built the arena and keep the Nets there,” O’Neal said during an exclusive phone interview. “I don’t want to see the team go to Brooklyn. Maybe the two heads can get together, they can do that and I can come down there and become general manager.

“I think the owner, the beautiful Russian guy, should get with the people of the arena and the other people and me and we should get it done…

“We got a great owner, a great arena, let’s keep it where it’s at,” O’Neal said. “Not only that, I’m saving the owner money so he doesn’t have to pay another $300 million to build this new arena in Brooklyn. I know he has it. Hopefully he’ll stay and hopefully he’ll make me general manager because I will be available in 745 days.”

That would be right after he retires next season. And we’re sure Mikhail Prokhorov is in need of more guys telling him what to do with his money.

The Prudential Center is a state-of-the-art building (people in Sacramento just started instinctively drooling). It’s a good market. But sorry, Brooklyn is better and the arena will be newer and state-of-the-art for the next generation.

Sorry Shaq. For the Nets it’s no sleep ‘till Brooklyn.

Thabo Sefolosha’s lawyer: White police officer targeted black Hawks forward

Thabo Sefolosha
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NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.

Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.

Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.

A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”

Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.


DeMar DeRozan says he hates talking about free agency, takes pride in Raptors longevity

DeMar DeRozan
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DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.

But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.

DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:

“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.

“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”

This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.

Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.

Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.

I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.