Durant football

Thursday morning one liners: NBA rumor mill keeps churning

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LeBron James and Kevin Durant played flag football Wednesday night. The score: Nobody tore an ACL. That’s the only score that matters.

If you want to get an early jump on MVP voting (which, admittedly, may be a tad premature what with training camps not even open yet) we’ve got you covered here at NBC.

A good breakdown/recap of the Dwight Howard and Chris Paul situations by our own Ira Winderman.

The Knicks will be part of the Grant Hill sweepstakes.

The Miami Heat will try to lure in Tyson Chandler and Nene, but when those fail they will turn to Samuel Dalembert. And he’s interested.

The Sixers deny that they are shopping Lou Williams around.

This is a fantastic Q&A with Harvey Araton about his new book covering the glory days of the 1970s Knicks.

Add the Celtics to the list of teams that would like Shane Battier.

Tracy McGrady would love to play for the Bulls. He might make a nice backup for them, but he does not solve their issues at the two.

The Thunder may bring James Harden off the bench again this season. That confounds me.

Why Russell Westbrook would do well to model his game more after Tony Parker.

We reported yesterday that Nate Robinson is talking buyout with the Thunder. That noise seems to be coming out of his camp, not the Thunder side, there have been no discussions. Robinson wants out because he barely gets on the court in OKC.

Cleveland plans to offer Anthony Parker a multi-year deal, reports Fox Sports.

Michael Redd has drawn interest from  the Heat, Bulls, Celtics and Knicks

Brandon Roy is not going to fall to the Bulls (a team under the cap will snap him up before that if the Blazers even use the amnesty clause on him), but if he did would he be a good pick up for Chicago?

Paul Millsap has been working hard on his game this offseason.

Boston is interested in Chuck Hayes as a free agent. A lot of teams are.

Joel Przybilla is trying to decide whether or not to come back for a 12th NBA season. There is a lot of interest in him from the Blazers and Celtics, as well as the Bucks.

Jeff Foster would like to remain with the Pacers. You can bet the Knicks and other teams will reach out to him.

Earl Clark would like to remain with the Magic. We’ll see.

If you want a job with an NBA team, now is the best time to apply.

There are some very interesting — and one kind of odd — things going on in the D-League this year.

J.J. Redick, working on the fundamentals.

Now that the NBA is back, Kevin Arnovitz has suggestions on how you can better enjoy going to an NBA game. I especially endorse No. 1, get there early.

NBA players union VP (well, when there is a union) Maurice Evans talks lockout and the deal made.

There will be a push by some agents (and players) to get Billy Hunter out as head of the players union soon after the season starts.

Newspaper editor on Michael Jordan article: ‘What other photo could be more suitable than the infamous Crying Jordan meme’

SPRINGFIELD, MA - SEPTEMBER 11: Michael Jordan to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame speaks during an induction ceremony on September 11, 2009 in Springfield, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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A Malawian newspaper, writing about Michael Jordan’s statement on race, used the Crying Jordan photo accompany the article.

How did that happen?

A page designer who didn’t understand the meme? A joke never fixed before printing? A staff-wide ignorance of the photo’s cultural relevance?

Justin Block of The Huffington Post:

As it turns out, the newspaper is called The Nation, or The Malawi Nation. When reached for comment on Thursday afternoon, The Nation Senior News Analyst Joy Ndovi stated that using the Michael Jordan Crying meme was intentional, and said Sports Editor Garry Chirwa picked the photo.

Chirwa told us that when he read the story, he felt that the emotions packed within Jordan’s quote, “I could no longer keep silent,” were represented in the Michael Jordan Crying meme.

“I just imagined him crying,” Chirwa wrote via WhatsApp.

Ndovi echoed Chirwa’s sentiments:

The article on Jordan reacting to the violence in U.S. was just the perfect one for the meme to be used. It depicts the emotional state of the former NBA star. Though it might seem unconventional, what other photo could be more suitable than the infamous Crying Jordan meme?

I can think of a few.

Amar’e Stoudemire: ‘My heart was in two places – Phoenix and New York. I just went where I was wanted’

New York Knicks v Phoenix Suns
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Before signing with the Knicks to retire, Amar’e Stoudemire reportedly wanted to sign with the Suns this year and last.

He essentially confirmed both accounts.

Stoudemire, via Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic:

“The last two years, we made phone calls to Phoenix but I wasn’t getting any positive response,” Stoudemire told azcentral sports on Thursday. “That would’ve been the perfect way to go out. I didn’t want to beg Phoenix. My heart was in two places – Phoenix and New York. I just went where I was wanted.”

According to the report, Stoudemire wanted to play for Phoenix next season — not just retire as a Sun. If that’s the case, I see why the team passed. The Suns have 15 players (the regular-season roster limit), are rebuilding and already have Tyson Chandler as a veteran big.

But if Stoudemire wanted sign an unguaranteed deal with the Suns then retire as a ceremonial move, it’s a little harder to explain Phoenix’s reluctance. Perhaps, the Suns were caught off guard by such a request. Nobody in memory had done something like that in the NBA. The gesture is far more common in football and baseball.

Either way, Stoudemire retiring as a Knick wasn’t designed to show a long-standing bitterness toward the Suns.

A recent bitterness toward the Suns? Maybe.

Karl-Anthony Towns dunks on poor kid (video)

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns celebrates after hitting the game-winning shot in an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Saturday, April 9, 2016. The Timberwolves won 106-105. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)
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Karl-Anthony Towns has replaced Anthony Davis as the consensus MVP-in-waiting.

Are you ready, NBA?

Here’s a sneak preview of the Timberwolves center’s future:

Craig Sager to skip Rio Olympics to fight leukemia

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 16:  Legendary TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager talks with Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors at Quicken Loans Arena on June 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. Sager is on a one game assignment for ESPN. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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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.