Jazz’s Al Jefferson says everything good with him, coach

Leave a comment

After he was benched the entire fourth quarter a few nights ago — where he had good seats to watch Derrick Favors lead a comeback — Al Jefferson waived off reporters and was clearly frustrated. Since he didn’t even get put back in for overtime when other players did, the reasoning seemed clear.

But it’s all good. We don’t know why you even think there’s a problem with him and new coach Ty Corbin. That’s what he told the Deseret News. As always, it’s the media making stuff up.

“(Coach) made a joke about it earlier,” he said, “and I kind of got upset because I really hate it when people put words in my mouth or say that I’m upset about something.”

“Besides this cold I got, I got no problem. I’m not upset about nothing, especially with coach,” Jefferson said. “I think coach is doing a wonderful job. I don’t know. I guess that just it — people don’t have nothing else to write about. They just want to make up some stuff. I don’t have no problem with coach.”

“I have a right to be upset. We just lost a game that we should’ve won,” Jefferson said. “I was more upset for the simple fact that the young guys played hard and get us back into the game and push it in overtime and lose, but not one time did I say I was upset with coach or anybody else.”

Jefferson talking to the media was purely coincidentally right after GM Kevin O’Conner said told the told the Utah media that players would speak to them because that’s part of the players job.

For the rest of the season, Jefferson may be watching a lot more and playing less. The Jazz are out of playoff contention and young guys like Favors are going to get a lot of run to try and develop the and get them used to the Jazz system. But Jefferson is good with that. He says so.

Quinn Cook signing two-year contract with Hawks

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for TNT
Leave a comment

The Hawks began last season with just two point guards, one fewer than most teams – especially notable because neither starter Dennis Schroder nor backup Malcolm Delaney was experienced for his role.

Schroder and Delaney return, but Atlanta is adding another option – Quinn Cook.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Cook is a borderline NBA player. He might not make the regular-season roster. He also might supplant Delaney for a rotation spot.

A 24-year-old who has spent most of the last two years in the D-League (also getting stints with the Mavericks and Pelicans), Cook is a good outside shooter. He’s also steady, if unspectacular, in his lead-guard duties.

This is a solid flier at a position the Hawks could use depth.

Knicks sign Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Jamel Artis

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Knicks signing Nigel Hayes leaked first.

But New York didn’t stop there.

Knicks release:

The New York Knickerbockers announced today that the team has signed forwards Jamel Artis and Nigel Hayes and guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes.

Like Hayes, Artis (Pittsburgh) and Rathan-Mayes (Florida State) went undrafted this year – making them eligible to be waived and assigned to the Knicks’ minor-league affiliate. That’s likely all three’s fate.

But first, each will have an opportunity to make the regular-season roster. The Knicks have just 14 players with guaranteed salaries, leaving one roster spot for someone on a standard contract. Chasson Randle (unguaranteed) is the incumbent choice, but these three could supplant him.

O.J. Mayo says abusing prescription painkillers triggered NBA ban

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Last year, O.J. Mayo was banned from the NBA for at least two years due to a drug violation. Aside from stating a plan to come back, Mayo didn’t say much publicly.

Until now.

Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated:

He acknowledged smoking marijuana and abusing a prescription pain medication that triggered his two-year ban because it is on the NBA’s “drugs of abuse” list. (He emphatically denied testing positive for hard drugs like cocaine.)

Mayo also concluded that he had been “overwhelmed” by a string of difficult life events: his father, high school basketball star Kenny Ziegler, was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for distributing crack cocaine, his brother was placed in juvenile lock-up, a close friend went to jail, and another was killed. “I was bred to play basketball and I thought I could balance everything,” he said. “I couldn’t.”

That’s part of an interesting feature on Mayo, who’s training for his come back. Golliver’s story makes it easy to pull for Mayo.

But the guard will be 30 when he’s eligible to apply for reinstatement, and he played lousily in his last three seasons with the Bucks.

Hopefully, Mayo has and keeps his personal life in order. But returning to the NBA will be an uphill battle.

James Harden throws alley-oop to Chris Paul, pair puts on show at Houston charity event

Leave a comment

What chemistry problem?

There are legitimate questions about how Chris Paul and James Harden will share the backcourt and ball with the Rockets, but none of those were on display on Sunday. That’s when CP3 joined his new teammate in Harden’s charity game (raising money for Harden’s charity, which helps children from single-family homes get a higher education), a kind of pro-am with some names thrown in to draw a crowd.

Harden and CP3 put on a show for the fans.

This is a charity event, not every team is going to defend like this or the Phoenix Suns. It’s going to be harder when the games matter.

But the Rockets are going to be entertaining to watch this season. No doubt.