Darnell Jackson has dealt with a lot to get here

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The Sacramento Bee wins the feature-of-the-day award with a very brief profile of Darnell Jackson, the former Cavalier brought into the Kings in the Jon Brockman trade. The opening pretty much sells you on wishing nothing but the best for Jackson:

Of all the tattoos on Darnell Jackson’s body, it’s one on his right wrist that speaks to the pain he has endured and his optimism.

It’s a simple phrase: “Suicide is not an option.”

The phrase is a reminder for Jackson who lost his mother to suicide last year in a painkiller overdose following a car crash that also cost him his grandmother. The same month, Cleveland decided to cut Jackson to make room for a returning Zydrunas Ilgauskas. I don’t believe in sports karma. But man alive, that’s a bad month.

Jackson’s fighting to make the squad in Sacramento, who keep losing big men to injury. For his part, Jackson has been nothing to write home about in his career, but also works hard, doesn’t complain, does what he’s asked. You know, basically, the anti-Joey-Dorsey.

Reading a profile like this makes you want to root for Jackson all the more. But then, when you think about it. Playing in the NBA is his dream, that’s for sure. But would it really do anything to ease the pain of what he’s gone through in the last year? Just as with yesterday’s discussion of Dwyane Wade, it’s easy to forget these guys are real, three-dimensional people and that scoring a bunch of point as an NBA player isn’t going to make losing your mother to suicide any easier. We act like this personal glory somehow compensates for what these guys have to go through, as if it makes them immune to the same kinds of hauntings we all have to live with.

And the fact is, it doesn’t.

Still, if you’re looking for a guy who’s had a rough run that you want to hope good things for? Maybe we shouldn’t aim for the guys with histories of clashing with coaches or struggling with injuries. Maybe it’s guys like Jackson we should really attach our bandwagons to.

This is why Shaq says he knows Kobe respects him (VIDEO)

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Do Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant hang out these days? Probably not.

But do the to respect each other? The answer, apparently, is yes.

During an interview for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network, O’Neal said he knows that Kobe respects him because of a certain play. That play?

Prepare yourself for this one Portland Trail Blazers fans: it’s the famous alley-oop with 41 seconds left from Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals that put the Lakers up by six points.

That play was the exclamation point on an impressive fourth quarter, one in which the Blazers went hilariously ice cold from the field while the Lakers made up a huge deficit.

Here’s how Shaq tells the story:

Game 7. We’re down. I’m telling Kobe ‘Hey man, I’m open’.

[And Kobe responded with] I got you.

He crosses up Scottie Pippen, and he catches eye contact with me like, ‘OK this is the one you wanted.’

He throws it up super, super, super high. I have to go up and get it and throw it down. Puts us up by five [it was six] and I know we’re going to win, we’re going to the Finals.

If you go back to the footage after we win [the game] who jumps in my arms? Kobe Bryant.

Meanwhile, a 12-year-old Dane Carbaugh’s heart still aches from that game.

Carmelo Anthony lands in OKC, gets greeted by fans at airport (VIDEO)

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Carmelo Anthony is now a member of the Oklahoma City thunder.

Man that is still really weird to type.

But this has been an insane offseason, and nevertheless the former New York Knicks forward is now a teammate of Russell Westbrook and Paul George.

We are not sure how these teammates are going to play together next season given their propensity for high-usage play, but we are definitely all ready to watch it very soon.

Meanwhile, Anthony was greeted by fans in Oklahoma at the airport after arriving to be with the team.

Via Twitter:

Do you think this will get Carmelo to stay in OKC?

Guess we will just have to find out.

Cavaliers are frontrunners, but where will Dwyane Wade land?

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Dwyane Wade and the Chicago Bulls reached a buyout agreement — he will take an $8 million haircut to become a free agent. Not that we should feel bad for Wade, I wish someone would pay me $15 million to go away.

The next question: Where will Wade play this season?

The smart money is on Cleveland, but it’s not that simple. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN got the ball rolling, but others chimed in.

OKC is an interesting option on the court, if their ownership group is willing to eat a little more tax to make it happen (the Thunder would pay about $24 million, based on their current payroll). Alex Kennedy of Hoopshype shed a little more light on that and other options.

It’s probably going to be the Cavaliers — his good friend LeBron James is there, they are the best team in the East so a trip to the Finals (and a shot at a ring) are very possible, and he could start for them. That’s probably enough to get the deal done.

Expect Wade to take a little time with this decision. Veterans are not big fans of training camps, he may be willing to miss a little, spend some time with the family, listen to pitches, then choose Cleveland where he wants to play this season.

 

AP source: Bulls agree to 2-year deal with Mirotic

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CHICAGO (AP) A person with knowledge of the situation says the Chicago Bulls and forward Nikola Mirotic have agreed to a two-year contract that could pay as much as $27 million.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Sunday because the deal has not been announced. The Bulls hold an option on the second year.

The 6-foot-10 Mirotic averaged 10.6 points last season. He has scored 10.8 per game over three seasons.

The Bulls are rebuilding after winning 41 games and losing in the first round of the playoffs. They traded All-Star guard Jimmy Butler to Minnesota on draft night for three players 23 and younger – Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the rights to No. 7 overall pick Lauri Markkanen.

Yahoo Sports first reported the agreement.

More AP NBA: http://www.apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball