You think it’s all about the basketball, what happens on the court.
It’s not, basketball is a business and the Utah Jazz may be caught a little in the middle of it when it comes to the NBA draft and Jimmer Fredette.
The Jazz have the No. 3 and No. 12 pick and there are plenty of people in Utah who want them to take hometown hero and BYU product Fredette. Those people are not basketball people — there are serious questions by scouts about how well Fredette can defend or create his own shot at the NBA level. They project him close to the end of the first round as a pick.
But Sam Amick at Sports Illustrated said the business side in Utah wants Fredette and the team is thinking about it.
…but a source who has spoken to the Jazz insists that they are seriously thinking about taking the BYU product this high. The departures of coach Jerry Sloan and Williams mean the business folks want a new addition about whom the fans can get excited. The basketball part would be challenging for new coach Tyrone Corbin, as the pressure to play Fredette even if he didn’t always want to would be significant. Lithuanian big man Donatas Motiejunas is also a possibility with the second of Utah’s two lottery picks.
Our own NBC/Rotoworld Mock Draft by our man Steve Alexander has the Jazz thinking about Fredette but taking Jan Vesely of the Czech Republic (this mock has Fredette going at No. 15 to Indiana). Vesely may not fall to eight but either way the Jazz basketball people are not talking Fredette.
But the Jazz could take him anyway.
NEW YORK (AP) — Craig Sager’s fight with leukemia will prevent the basketball sideline reporter form covering the Rio Olympics for NBC.
NBC said Thursday in a statement that the 65-year-old Sager is preparing for a third bone marrow transplant at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Sager was first diagnosed with leukemia in 2014 and announced in March that he was no longer in remission.
The Rio Games would have been Sager’s fifth Olympics.
Sager has worked for Turner Sports for 34 years. At the ESPY Awards this month, Vice President Joe Biden presented Sager with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.