Cavs owner Gilbert denies labor charges in his own way

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You couldn’t make up someone like Dan Gilbert. No matter what font you used.

We told you yesterday of a report that Cavaliers owner Gilbert and Suns owner Robert Sarver torpedoed progress at the labor negotiations Tuesday between the owners and players. That report comes from a trusted source in Dave McMenamin of ESPN. That said, we also told you to take it with a grain of salt because there are a lot of people interested in defining the owners as divided when they may not be. Also, David Stern denied that is how the talks went down.

Which brings us to Gilbert’s tweet Thursday night.

Some of these NBA ‘bloggissists’ flat-out make stuff up and then try to dupe readers into believing their fiction is real. Sad & pathetic.

I don’t know what ‘bloggissists’ are exactly, but in this case I’ll defend them.

First, as noted above this report came from an ESPN reporter who before that worked for NBA.com. McMenamin is a lot of things — including honorable — so I have no doubt that reliable sources gave him that story. Now, do his sources have an agenda? Yes, anytime you read something from an anonymous source that source has an agenda. Otherwise they wouldn’t be leaking it anonymously.

As for ‘bloggissists’ and the rest of the Web picking the story up — yes, we did. First because it passed the smell test — after how Gilbert reacted in the post-LeBron era it is not hard to see him as a hardliner who is vindictive and intent on busting the union. It is not hard to see him as someone wanting to make the players feel some pain out of these negotiations. That is not a massive leap of faith.

But we expect that you readers of this blog to have a shred of common sense. We pass along the reports like this and we note in our version some words of caution about believing it. After that, it’s up to the reader to decide what “the truth” is (as if there is one simple truth, which is another myth for another time).

You as the public gets to make choices about what you choose to read and believe — which is a much better situation than a few decades back when the media got to play gatekeeper on the information that got to you. Now you get to play gatekeeper, but that means you need to be educated and think about where stories come from and why.

You can decide for yourself if Gilbert and Sarver crushed a deal, or if they raised the points of other small market owners in that meeting and the union leaked the story just trying to bolster its case in the court of public opinion. You are the gatekeeper now.

Devin Booker drops 70 points for Suns in loss to Celtics (VIDEO)

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Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.

Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.

His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.

Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon skies to finish amazing alley-oop (VIDEO)

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Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.

As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.

Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.

Former Hawk Pero Antic’s celebration accidentally punches teammate in face in Eruoleague (VIDEO)

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Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.

Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.

Maybe a little too pumped.

Ouch.

That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.

Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.

(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)

James Harden helped recruit Lou Williams to Houston

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The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.

While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”

Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”

We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.

Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.