If you’re a fan of celebrity gossip about NBA stars and their personal lives, this weekend was for you. Personally, I tend to think none of this stuff matters and the mere breaching of conversation on the topics is entering into an uncomfortable level of judgment in matters we hardly have any facts on. Illegal acts? Sure. Those represent their city, their team, and can have real impacts on the image of the league and the availability of its players. But these stories really have nothing to do with sports. Alas, they are news to some, so they are here.
Our first contestant is Steve Nash, who announced that he and his wife would be divorcing a day after their third child was born. Nash and his ex-wife had been together for nine years, married for five, and also have twin daughters to go along with the newborn son. Apparently the divorce had been a longtime coming, and both plan to work together in the best interest of the kids, according to a publisher’s release. In a way, delaying the announcement of the longtime-coming divorce until the day after the birth of their son was a brilliant move. You get all the PR hubub out of the way over a weekend, all in one swoop, and instead of Nash being hit with criticism for divorcing his pregnant wife, he comes off in a much better light. Those that will criticize will criticize, but that’s kind of the way it goes.
Lamar Odom’s instance is substantially less congenial. Odom is suing his ex-girlfriend whom he has a 9 and 12 year old child with (via the New York Post). He and the defendant also suffered the loss of a 6-month-old son who died of sudden infant death syndrome. Odom’s announcement comes days after he and new bride Khloe Kardashian started making noise about naming their future kids. The mother is claiming Odom has continually ignored the kids, even after the death of the 6-month-old. She also doesn’t want the kids to appear in Odom and Kardashian’s new reality series.
We don’t know anything about any of these relationships, but that’s what’s up.
Mavericks center Salah Mejri has a history of agitating, including against the Spurs.
Two years ago, Mejri dunked while Dallas got blown out by San Antonio and yapped at the Spurs bench – drawing laughter from Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan. Last season, Mejri had Trevor Ariza and other Rockets trying to confront him after reportedly saying something about Ariza’s family.
In the Mavericks’ win over the Spurs on Tuesday, Mejri got into it with Patty Mills.
Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com:
Mejri and Rudy Gay received double technical fouls, and Mejri went to the bench. Everything could have cooled down at halftime, but Mejri escalated tension
Watch the full sequence above, but the key moment:
That’ll probably draw a fine.
The NBA changed its All-Star format this season from East vs. West to captain-picked teams (though still naming players equally from each conference).
That apparently wasn’t a big enough overhaul.
After including media and player votes last year, the league is making All-Star starter selection even more complex.
NBA All-Star Voting 2018 presented by Verizon will tip off with an early voting period exclusively on the NBA App and NBA.com beginning Thursday, Dec. 21 at 1 p.m. ET.
Voting via all other channels, including Amazon Alexa for the first time, will launch on Monday, Dec. 25 at 11 a.m.
Additionally, new for this season, five “2-for-1 Days” will allow fans to have their votes count twice on Dec. 31, Jan. 4, Jan. 11, Jan. 12 and Jan. 15 when voting through the NBA App and NBA.com, along with Sina Weibo and Tencent in China. All “2-for-1 Days” will be designated 12 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. ET.
TNT will reveal the All-Star Game starters, including the two captains, on Thursday, Jan. 18 during TNT NBA Tip-Off
The network will announce the reserves, as selected by NBA head coaches, on Tuesday, Jan. 23 during TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET.
The team rosters for NBA All-Star Game 2018 in Los Angeles will be revealed on Thursday, Jan. 25 during a special one-hour edition of TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET.
I suppose this is to drum up interest on otherwise quiet voting days. After all, this is really just about the NBA selling itself.
But the All-Star voting process has always left something to be desired. I don’t see how this changes that.
Preeminent NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski called it “likely” LeBron James would sign with the Lakers or Clippers next summer. The Clippers have since been somewhat debunked as a LeBron destination. There’s circumstantial evidence linking LeBron to Los Angeles.
Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
So imagining James’ last act coming in purple and gold isn’t without basis. But as of now, it’s also a longshot, according to league sources.
Shelburne and Windhorst are highly credible. I doubt they’d report this without connected sources.
LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, and manager, Maverick Carter, have recently publicly downplayed the importance of Los Angeles to LeBron. That felt like a coordinated attack on the LeBron-Lakers rumors, and this fits as a continuation.
But why wage that campaign? To keep the Cavaliers focused while LeBron still plays for them, even if he might leave after the season? To lower expectations among the Lakers’ massive fan base, so as not alienate those people (potential customers of the many LeBron-connected brands) when LeBron inevitably signs elsewhere? Both could be true, but there’s obviously a difference between each driving LeBron’s camp.
When DeMarcus Cousins builds up a head of steam like this… poor John Henson (and kind of Khris Middleton).
This helped the Pelicans pull away for a 115-108 win over the Bucks last night.