Dwight Howard wants out of Orlando because they didn’t let him run the team badly

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See, here’s my problem.

Carmelo Anthony had it right. For all his ego, for all the manipulation, for holding the Nuggets and the news cycle hostage for six months, he had it right. It was quiet. He never committed to the Nuggets, kept it quiet, didn’t make it worse. Melo knows it’s a business and acted as such. Anthony was cold, calculating, and brutal in his decision making.

Dwight Howard wants you to like him. It’s not enough that he plays basketball better than all but about maybe two people on Earth, he has to be loved. And as abandoning the franchise that has repeatedly gone into the luxury tax, and gone to the voters to get you a new arena is typically frowned upon, Dwight is doing the whole big long act. There’s a whole speech you’re supposed to give, about how much you love the city and the fans, about how hard it is for you. None of this ever stops the departure, mind you, it always happens along the same timeline.

But Dwight’s a little different in one way. He’s not blaming it on business, or his heart, or wanting to win. No, no. He’s doing it because he didn’t get to play general manager. From ESPN:

Dwight Howards trade demand from the Orlando Magic is due in part to the organization not granting his requests for specific trades and signings over the last several years, the All-Star center said Sunday night.

Howard requested a trade during several meetings last week and has been given permission by the Magic to have contact with the New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks. He went public with the demand Saturday and then followed that up with a strong explanation Sunday, referring to an eroding relationship with Magic general manager Otis Smith.

“If you dont have a good relationship with the people you work with, how are you going to get better?”– Dwight Howard”Im pretty sure if you go down the line of teams, every GM has a pretty good relationship with not just the best player but all the players,” Howard said. “If you dont have a good relationship with the people you work with, how are you going to get better?”

via Dwight Howard of Orlando Magic cites poor relationship with GM as reason for trade demand – ESPN.

To be fair, Howard pretty explicitly said he didn’t want to be the GM.

“I’m not a GM, I never said I wanted to be a GM,” Howard said.

“What I said was I want to be involved. Everybody has a right to be involved. … I should want to be involved. I should want to say ‘hey, this is what we need, this is what we need to do.’ If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t have said anything. Obviously I care enough about this team that I’ve asked them and I want to be involved. If you don’t like something, you’d just walk away. If you want to be involved you’d do anything you can. If you don’t get it, what do you do?”

via Dwight Howard of Orlando Magic cites poor relationship with GM as reason for trade demand – ESPN.

One slight problem.

Dwight Howard’s input is pretty well worthless.

It’s not really his fault. It’s hard to really be up on analyzing player trends, thinking of the total team concept, working on scouting and statistical analysis when you’re dunking the bejesus out of people. And yet multiple reports have indicated Howard was upset with the amnesty clause being used on Gilbert Arenas. Reports indicated Howard was upset at the trade of Rashard Lewis. In short, this comes across as Howard wanting to bring his friends in, and being upset when management wanted to manage, and wanted their player to play.

It’s one thing for stars to be consulted on deals, to be made aware of decisions. But there’s a big gap between that and having influence. Howard has his own agenda, he’s always had his own agenda, and it involves commercial appeal. And that’s great! He’s a genuinely funny, lovable guy. But don’t lie to the fans, don’t lie to the media, and don’t lie to yourself. Melo played it cold, because that’s what the situation required. Howard trying to play the victim is like someone being upset they got a paper cut while causing a car wreck.

If you’re going to blow the tracks, don’t blame the conductor.

NBA reacts to Suns’ Devin Booker dropping 70 on Celtics

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Devin Booker was the story of the NBA Friday night.

The 20-year-old Suns’ guard — who never scored more than 19 points in a game at Kentucky in college — dropped 70 on the Boston Celtics in a losing effort. He becomes only the sixth player in NBA history to score at least 70 in a game. At the end the Suns were fouling and calling time outs to stop the clock and get the ball back to Booker, but as Phoenix coach Earl Watson said to those who complained, “You got a problem with that? Do something. Simple as that.”

NBA Twitter exploded at what Booker did.

Booker himself responded this way.

Lonzo Ball makes expected official, declares for NBA Draft

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There was no hesitation. None was expected.

After UCLA was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament in the Sweet 16 by Kentucky, the Bruin’s Lonzo Ball — who is expected to be a top-three pick — declared for the NBA draft this June.

Ball is expected to go second or third in the upcoming NBA draft. Speaking with people around the league Washington’s Markelle Fultz is a clear No. 1, but after that if the Lakers — the team with the second-worst record in the league — have the No. 2 pick they are expected to snap up Ball. Depending on how the lottery shakes out the top of the draft, Ball could fall a little — there are teams that like Josh Jackson — but not much.

Ball is a 6’6″ point guard who averaged 14.7 points, 7.6 assists and 6.1 rebounds a game for UCLA last season. He has fantastic passing vision, impressive shooting range (although he can take some questionable shots), and a great sense of floor spacing and how to run an offense, particularly in transition. However, his weaknesses were exposed in his final game some as De’Aaron Fox of Kentucky completely outplayed Ball. Defensive pressure took Ball (and the Bruins) out of rhythm, forced them to play in the half court (where Ball is not as strong), and it’s one of the things Ball is going to have to adapt to at the next level where everyone is more athletic. Also, he’s going to need to get more consistent defensively.

The potential for Ball to be special is there, which is why he will go high in the draft.

And no, the rantings of his father will not change that. Teams see the father as a distraction that can be handled, they aren’t going to let him get in the way of drafting talent.

Watch highlights of Shaquille O’Neal’s statue unveiling outside Staples Center

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Kobe Bryant said “Thank you. I learned so much from you as a player.”

Jerry West said he loved him like a son.

Jeanie Buss said “No one celebrates a championship like you, but please no more asking Mark Madsen to dance.”

The Lakers unveiled a new statue for Shaquille O’Neal Friday night, one flying high over a Staples Center entrance, and the stars were on hand for the event. Phil Jackson was there making Snoop Dogg jokes. Shaq and Kobe were sharing laughs. It was a big night for a big man with a big personality. And a big heart.

Check out the highlights above.

Report: Knicks’ Joakim Noah to be suspended 20 games for violating league drug policy

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Joakim Noah hasn’t set foot on an NBA court since Feb. 4, and his season was all but ended when he had knee surgery at the end of February. Last summer, Phil Jackson took a $72 million gamble on an aging Noah that has not worked at all, and left New York with an anchor of a contract for three more seasons after this one.

Tomorrow it will be official Noah is done for this season, but not because of the Knicks or his injury.

During his recovery, Noah violated the NBA’s drug policy and will pay for a 20-game suspension, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Noah tested positive for an over-the-counter supplement that is prohibited under the outgoing Collective Bargaining Agreement, league sources said.

Noah, 32, is expected to serve 10 games of the suspension to finish out the 2016-17 regular season and 10 games to start the 2017-18 season, league sources said.

The National Basketball Players Association’s investigation concluded that Noah hadn’t “knowingly or willingly” violated the policy and cooperated fully with the league’s probe, league sources said.

According to reports, this is not a substance banned in the new CBA that kicks in July 1, but was covered in the previous CBA. Over-the-counter supplements could be something put in his regular workout recovery drinks that he was unaware of, although we are unsure of the details.

Traditionally, the player has to be healthy enough to play before the league starts the suspension. Noah has been out for more than a month, but if a league doctor says he is healthy enough to play the then the clock on the suspension can start. The 10 games this season is no big deal for the Knicks, he wasn’t going to play anyway, but the 10 at the start of next season could sting (depending on how they plan to use him).