Kings’ owners send attorney to reporter’s home in attempt to obtain evidence of Phil Jackson’s comments

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UPDATE: May 5, 4:30 p.m.: Well, this is interesting. The original article was amended the evening of May 3, and it turns out that the attorney didn’t show up to the reporter’s home unannounced, as was originally stated. The reporter had made an appointment with the attorney to meet at her home, but left this fairly important detail out of the original story. The revised quote now reads:

Jessica Mackaness, an attorney representing Joe and Gavin Maloof, had an appointment at my house to get a tape of Jackson making a comment about the Kings’ efforts to relocate.

Obviously, that changes things quite a bit, and it’s a shame this wasn’t disclosed in the initial report.

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As the saga of the Sacramento Kings’ possible relocation to Anaheim continues, the team’s ownership is beginning to look more and more desperate in their attempts to keep that possibility alive. Their latest move was certainly that.

Janis Carr, a reporter for The Orange County Register, received an unexpected visitor at her home on Friday. It was an attorney representing the Maloofs, who hoped to recover an audio tape of Lakers head coach Phil Jackson’s comments that she had recorded prior to Game 2 of L.A.’s first round playoff series versus the Hornets.

Jessica Mackaness, an attorney representing Joe and Gavin Maloof, showed up at my house to try to persuade me to give her a tape of Jackson making a comment about the Kings’ efforts to relocate.

Mackaness said the Kings’ owners planned to turn over the tape to the NBA and Lakers in an effort to stop Jackson from making further comments.

However, the Register declined to turn over the tape. As a matter of policy, the Register does not release unpublished material gathered in the reporting of stories.

There’s a lot wrong, here. Let’s start with the fact that it’s completely ridiculous to send an attorney to a reporter’s home looking for audio from a pregame media session with an NBA head coach. I’m not positive, but it’s highly likely that a low-key phone call from someone on the Kings’ PR staff to any of the large number of reporters who cover Lakers games could have gotten the Maloofs that audio clip, and done so much more discretely.

But sending an attorney to someone’s home, unannounced? That basically guarantees you’re not getting what you’re looking for without a search warrant. It’s unnecessarily intimidating, and anyone put in that situation would obviously contact their employer (and possibly their own attorney) to make sure they follow every policy and procedure exactly.

Then there’s the issue of Jackson’s comments. All the league could do is warn him that if he speaks on the issue in the future that they will fine him. But let’s be clear: there’s no way to actually stop Jackson from speaking on this, or any other league-wide issue of his choosing. If he wants to pay the fines, he can say just about anything he likes.

It’s quite possible that the Maloofs knew that this tactic wouldn’t get them a copy of that recording, and maybe they were just looking for some press to let the league know they don’t appreciate Jackson’s siding with the city of Sacramento on this issue. If that’s the case, mission accomplished, guys. But you’ve also completely embarrassed yourselves in the process.

Jimmy Butler has surgery on right meniscus, no timetable for return

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The playoff picture in the Western Conference became much more opaque after Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler went down with a knee injury earlier in the week.

Reports out of Minnesota was that Butler had suffered a right meniscus injury, ducking what many had feared was an ACL tear. According to the team, Butler had successful surgery on his right meniscus this weekend.

As of Sunday morning they did not have a timetable for his return.

Via Twitter:

Minnesota currently stands third in the West but they will have a hard time fending off the rest of the playoff hopeful teams below them without their star player.

For his part, Butler is hoping he will be back in time for the playoffs. Early reports were that the team was thinking his recovery had a 4-to-6 week timeline, but again nothing has been set. Meniscus recovery times vary greatly depending on the issue at hand and the procedure done, neither of which we have details on at this time.

The Timberwolves have the 15th most difficult strength of schedule ahead of them according to Tankathon.com, with games against major Western Conference opponents ahead of them as well as bottom-dwellers like the Memphis Grizzlies.

Minnesota has been a good story all season long. No doubt many will bring up Tom Thibodeau’s workload once again with Butler injured, something compounded by Butler apparently requesting to rest during the 2018 All-Star Game.

Wolves fans have been waiting a long time for this. They don’t deserve this kind of punishment at this late a date, but the Basketball Gods are cruel and unceasingly unforgiving.

Isaiah Thomas on Cavaliers trade to Lakers: “They were in panic mode”

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It seems Isaiah Thomas is a thorn in the side of many in the NBA these days. The Los Angeles Lakers point guard reportedly was the source of some locker room conflict while he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers, although it appears that Dwyane Wade was the first to lead the charge against Kevin Love in the infamous player rap session.

Thomas is now a member of the Lakers after being part of the worst section of the season in Cleveland. The Cavaliers, with their revamped roster, have just one loss since the trade deadline. LeBron James & Co. have moved on, and Thomas appears set for free agency this summer and yet another team.

A move for the Cavaliers seemed inevitable, even if the return for Kyrie Irving from Boston — conveyed through consequent trades — was less than ideal. Meanwhile Thomas, who didn’t appear to enjoy his time in Ohio, has now said that he was surprised Dan Gilbert’s team bailed on him so quickly.

Via ESPN:

“I didn’t think they would pull the trigger that fast, 15 games,” Thomas told ESPN’s E:60 in an interview that will air March 11. “But again, it’s a business. And the Cavs were, I mean, they were in panic mode. We were losing — a lot. And I think they felt like they needed to make a move, and they, they basically cleared house.”

Thomas went on to say that he didn’t think he had enough time to find a rhythm not only coming back from a hip injury but on a new team in a new system. Thomas also mentioned that he harbored no ill feelings toward the Cavaliers.

We’ll see if that’s the case when the Lakers take on Cleveland on March 11 in LA.

Coach Tyronn Lue says not to expect LeBron James to have “rest” games

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LeBron James has not missed one Cleveland Cavaliers game this season. At age 33 in his 15th NBA season, LeBron is fourth in the league in total minutes played, third in the league in minutes per game at 37, and is top 10 in the NBA in usage rate.

Don’t expect that to change.

LeBron doesn’t want to take games off — he even dominated the All-Star Game — and do you really think Lue is going to force him to sit while the Cavaliers try to adapt to a radical roster shakeup at the trade deadline? From Dave McMenamin at ESPN.

“I just think being the leader of this team, I don’t think he thinks he can take games off, because, you know, guys being hurt and going through a rough patch, and now new guys coming in,” Lue said before the Cavs’ 112-89 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday. “So, I think he’s trying to lead and lead by example … I think we still got to be smart about the situation, but [the training staff] say he feels good.”

LeBron said this last month and things have not changed.

“I told you I want to play every game,” James said. “If my health continues as it is right now, then that’s what it is.”

While “load management” is a buzzword around the NBA — one ignored in Minnesota — LeBron has responded to his increased workload with an MVP level season. LeBron is averaging 26.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 8.9 assists per game, is shooting 35.9 percent from three, and has the highest value over replacement player in the league. (His less energized play in January likely cost him any real shot at his fifth MVP.) With the league emphasizing not resting players — particularly in nationally televised games, which the Cavaliers have a lot of — LeBron is not getting much if any rest. He wants to play in a full 82.

The only concern is will he wear down. LeBron is going to have to dominate in the playoffs for the Cavaliers to come out of the East. How much gas will LeBron have in the tank come May? There’s a reason Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr, and a lot of other elite coaches give players a night off. That’s not going to happen with LeBron, at least not likely in a meaningful way.

Consider it something to file away and remember if the Cavaliers and LeBron look a step slower in the postseason.

Watch Kyrie Irving drop 31 on Knicks in Celtics’ win

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NEW YORK (AP) — Kyrie Irving had 31 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, leading the Boston Celtics over the New York Knicks 121-112 on Saturday for their second victory in two nights since the All-Star break.

Irving scored 15 points in a dazzling third quarter and then helped the Celtics finish it off with his passing in the fourth, highlighted by a behind-the-back dish to Jaylen Brown for a dunk that made it 115-106.

Brown had 24 points for the Celtics, who went into the break with three straight losses but came back with a victory in Detroit on Friday.

Trey Burke scored 26 points off the bench for the second straight game for the Knicks, but they couldn’t win this one after beating Orlando on Thursday to end an eight-game skid.

Irving was just 1 for 6 behind the arc in the first half but showed no lack of confidence in the third. He scored 14 straight Boston points, hitting four 3-pointers and pushing the ball right at the Knicks.

His last 3-pointer in that spurt gave the Celtics a 10-point lead, but the Knicks chipped away while he rested and it was a two-point game by the time he returned with 8:14 remaining.

Irving soon made another 3, and passed to Al Horford for a 3 that pushed the lead back to double digits.

Horford finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.