Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki of Germany, who has flu, wipes his nose during an interview for the NBA Finals basketball series against the Miami Heat in Dallas

Dirk Nowitzki says LeBron and Wade were “childish, ignorant” when mocking his illness


Big news, people.

I’m not talking about the potentially impending doom facing the Miami Heat on Sunday, when they could very well lose their fourth game in six tries against the Dallas Mavericks in these Finals, and the NBA title right along with it. No, this is far bigger of a story apparently, considering it’s made headlines now for the third consecutive day.

Dwyane Wade and LeBron James appeared to have a little fun at the expense of Dirk Nowitzki before Thursday’s Game 5, when they were seen on video mocking the illness Nowitzki played through in Game 4. The pair were holding their shirts over their mouth and coughing, while Wade could be heard saying, “Did you hear me cough? Think I’m sick.”

Hilarious stuff, right? And obviously, a HUGE deal that Miami’s two superstars would dare to mock the Mavericks’ best player, especially when the two teams are so closely battling for a championship.

Yes, this storyline is so important to the media covering the Finals — and it’s clearly important to you as well, as the traffic on this story has been ridiculous — that of course, Nowitzki and Wade were asked for reactions at Saturday morning’s shootaround. So, here you go.

“I just thought it was a little childish, a little ignorant,” Nowitzki said. “I’ve been in this league for 13 years.  I’ve never faked an injury or an illness before.  But it happened.  It’s over to me.  It’s not going to add anything extra to me.  This is the NBA Finals.  If you need an extra motivation, you have a problem.”

Wade responded by trying to say he was actually coughing, and then claimed that he made a bigger issue out of it as a way to mess with the media.

“I wasn’t fake coughing,” Wade said. “I actually did cough. And with the cameras being right there, we made a joke out of it because we knew you guys were going to blow it up. You did exactly what we knew.”

And there you have it.

In conclusion: No one will believe Wade’s explanation, and Nowitzki, while possibly being slightly annoyed by the whole thing, really couldn’t care less.

Game 6 is Sunday night. Since it might be the last time we see NBA basketball for quite some time, let’s try to focus, people.

Carmelo Anthony says he can play at high level 4-5 more years

USA Basketball Men's National Team Training Camp

Carmelo Anthony can flat-out score the rock — that has never been the question. Even hurting last season for many of the 40 games he played, he averaged 24.2 points a game, had a true shooting percentage of 53.1 percent (right near the league average) while having the entire weight of the Knicks offense on his shoulders (32.2 usage rate, fifth highest in the NBA). When people (or players) talk about him being overrated, the discussion turns to defense or if he makes his teammates better. But there should be no doubt Anthony is an elite scorer.

He thinks he will be for a while longer — like another five years. Via Ian Begley of ESPN:

In fact, the 31-year-old Knicks star is confident that he can play at a high level for the next “four or five years.”

“Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ final training camp practice on Saturday.

The Knicks better hope that’s true, they already made that bet with that massive five-year contract they gave him last summer.

Anthony’s age combined with him coming off knee surgery have a lot of people — myself included — expecting him to take a step back. Not a big one, but he is coming up at the point in his career where some open shots he used to get are now contested because he’s half-a-step slower, and some of those looks don’t fall as often. His jumper isn’t suddenly going to look like Rajon Rondo‘s, ‘Melo is going to get his points, but he may not be as efficient.

Fortunately, the Knicks have an improved supporting cast around him this season. That should take some offensive load off his shoulders, and maybe the Knicks offense will see better ball movement and start to resemble the triangle. If it’s just more isolation Anthony, it’s not going to be pretty.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.