Sprite Slam Dunk Contest

Brandon Jennings out, DeMar DeRozan in for Dunk Contest

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The foot surgery that has kept Brandon Jennings out of the Milwaukee Bucks lineup since before Christmas now will keep him out of the All-Star Dunk contest as well.

The change will become official on Thursday, with last year’s Dunk Contest runner-up, DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors, taking Jennings place, according to Jonathan Abrams of the New York Times.

This is a better fit.

Aside the fact he was injured (no small thing), Jennings is not a guy known for dunks. Lightning speed, good vision, sure. Dunks? No. Searches for videos of his dunking prowess led people back to Jennings high school days. There just wasn’t much to go on since then, and it was hard to see how he fit in with powerhouse dunkers like Blake Griffin, JaVale McGee and Serge Ibaka.

DeMar DeRozan on the other hand — he fits right in. DeRozan is a high flyer with plenty of highlight dunks and Dunk Contest experience. Last year in the contest he did a one-handed alley-oop while leaping over a teammate. You’ll find no shortage of videos depicting what he can do.

He’s still going to lose to Griffin, but at least it should be more competitive.

Matt Barnes says he went to house because his son looked distressed

Derek Fisher, Matt Barnes, Russell Westbrook
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So far, the only substantive accounts of the Matt Barnes-Derek Fisher altercation have come from anonymous sources.

The Knicks coach has deflected questions.

But Barnes is giving his account, at least of the lead-up.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

It’s completely understandable that Barnes would act to ensure his children’s welfare.

And let’s say everything he said is true. It still leaves important questions unanswered.

Did Barnes – as he reportedly texted a friend he did – beat up Fisher and spit on his estranged wife, Gloria Govan? If so, why did Barnes deem that necessary to protect kids?

Gregg Popovich resting himself for Spurs game at Sacramento

Gregg Popovich
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Gregg Popovich said he wouldn’t coach in July.

Apparently, he’s taking off part of October, too.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

It’s not that surprising to see Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw staying home. Veterans miss preseason games all the time just to rest. With the Spurs, it happens even in the regular season.

But it’s still a little strange to see the head coach sit out, even though Popovich also did it last year.

It makes sense, though. Who cares about this preseason game? If travelling less helps the 66-year-old Popovich stay fresh in the years ahead, that’s well worth it. Plus, it gets Messina a little extra experience. Some day, he might be the head coach.