From Gary Woelful of RacineSportsZone.com:
After Stephen Jackson was benched for the second half of a game against Denver Jan. 17, I asked the Bucks veteran swingman whether he had any inkling Bucks coach Scott Skiles was going to do that.
Jackson said he didn’t get any advance warning and he didn’t get any explanation after the game, either.
It was abundantly clear even then that Jackson, whom the Bucks acquired from Charlotte last June and was expected to be a key piece to the Bucks’ puzzle this season, wasn’t on the same page with Skiles.
Now, a month later, Jackson’s relationship with Skiles seemingly has disintegrated. In an interview with Rod Burks of Channel 4 (NBC) in Milwaukee, Jackson said: “We don’t have no relationship like I’ve had with other coaches and I don’t expect to have one. Too much stuff has happened.”
Woelful goes on to say that the Bucks would love to unload Jackson, but Jackson’s advanced age, high salary, and low productivity could make that a challenge. Still, the Bucks could send away a talented young player, such as Irsan Ilyasova or even Brandon Jennings, as part of a package deal that would allow the Bucks to unload Jackson, according to “some NBA officials.”
Jackson can create his own shot, pass well, is famously quite fond of pressure, and was a key part of the Golden State Warriors’ thrilling 2007 playoff run. Still, Jackson is 33 years old, and he hasn’t shot better than 42% from the field since the 06-07 campaign in Golden State. A playoff team might be willing to take a flyer on Jackson, but given his years of low efficiency and the baggage he’s currently carrying with him, Skiles and the Bucks might be stuck with Jackson for the foreseeable future.
Without question, some kneeling/raised fist protests of the National Anthem are coming to the NBA once preseason games start in a couple of weeks. Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers has already come out saying “there’s no more American thing to do than to protest.” Teams are discussing the need for social change.
While the NBA has a rule that players must stand for the anthem, the NBA and players’ union are already discussing exactly how and if that rule should be enforced.
While some players will kneel, Russell Westbrook will not be among them. Probably. Here’s is what he told Fred Katz of the Norman Transcript.
Obviously, Westbrook is leaving himself some wiggle room here. Also, if there is one NBA star you can expect to be blunt about the situation when talking to the media, it’s Westbrook (when he feels like opening up to the media, anyway).
I expect few if any of the NBA’s top stars — the guys with the biggest international brands — will join the protests. However, there certainly will be players taking part. For a league that sees itself as progressive — and has a more politically progressive fan base compared to other American sports — how the league handles this will be watched.
Tributes have poured in all over the NBA world since Kevin Garnett announced his retirement on Friday afternoon — from other players, commissioner Adam Silver and media members who covered him. Garnett and Tom Thibodeau have a lengthy history together: Thibodeau coached Garnett in Boston as an assistant under Doc Rivers, and they won a championship in 2008. This spring, Thibodeau took over as head coach and president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team that drafted Garnett, saw his best years and saw him end his career. Thibodeau released a heartfelt statement on Saturday congratulating Garnett:
“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank Kevin for all of his great accomplishments and contributions to the NBA, the Minnesota Timberwolves organization, and for me personally with the Boston Celtics. Kevin combined great talent with a relentless drive and intelligence. I will always cherish the memories of the way in which he led the Celtics to the 2008 NBA Championship. His willingness to sacrifice and his unselfishness led us to that title. Kevin will always be remembered for the way in which he played the game. His fierce competitiveness, his unequalled passion for the game, and the many ways in which he cared about this team was truly special. KG is without question the all-time best player to wear a Minnesota Timberwolves jersey, and he is also one of the best to ever play this game.”
It’s a shame that Thibodeau didn’t get to coach Garnett again in Minnesota, but the team is in good hands with Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.
The Indiana Pacers have been a franchise for 50 years — 10 in the ABA and 40 in the NBA. To celebrate this anniversary, they’ve unveiled a new patch that they will wear on their uniforms this season. You can check it out below:
It looks pretty sleek, combining the Pacers’ logo with the zero in “50.” It’s subtle and well-designed.
This summer, three of this generation’s defining NBA players, and three of the greatest players of all time, called it a career: Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett. The latter two in particular had a lot in common, as psychotic competitors and polarizing personalities. They had many memorable battles over the years, including the Lakers-Celtics Finals in 2008 and 2010 (they each won one) and the playoffs in 2003 and 2004, when Garnett was in Minnesota. On Saturday afternoon, a day after Garnett officially announced his retirement, Kobe paid tribute to him with a tweet.
The next time they’ll be together is 2021, when they go into the Hall of Fame together.