Documentary released profiling grassroots effort to keep Kings in Sacramento

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I called it ‘watching your own funeral,’ but instead of a eulogy there was Fan Appreciation Night. Instead of a pall-bearer, there stood Kobe Bryant.

You could’ve written the story of Sacramento’s fight to keep their team with a scalpel, but in this open-heart surgery there would be no anesthetic. The Lakers were in town, and with virtually every report pointing toward the imminent relocation of the team to Anaheim, there was only one more game to go for creaky, old Arco Arena (now metaphorically named after a company that can’t pay its bills).

For their part, the Lakers provided no quarter as they prepped for the postseason, jumping out to a 20-point lead at one point before halftime. Cutting through the anxious silence of one of the NBA’s loudest crowds – the sweet sounds of advertising – as the Maloofs continued to pitch based on the premise that they were staying.

By the time they honored lifelong season ticket holders at halftime, for their commitment to the team no less, I wandered to the gift shop to look for Anaheim Royals jerseys.

By the time the third quarter had started, Joe and Gavin Maloof left their courtside seats early and were replaced by Lakers fans. Adrienne Maloof’s reality TV cameras paced the sidelines so The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills could monetize the tears. Lakers fans could smell the desperation in the air and stopped giving Kings fans the business.

I began to wonder if the prisoner wanted to say a word.

But true to form, neither the team nor its fans were ready to quit. David roared back to force a Goliath overtime, and as life imitated art, Kings fans roared as thousands stayed and refused to leave their seats for over an hour after the game.

They chanted “Here we stay.”

Unlike SonicsGate, another must-watch documentary for any NBA fan, this flick isn’t an expose.  This is the uplifting tale of Sacramento’s effort to keep their team, an effort that David Stern called “extraordinary.”

It is called, “Small Market, Big Heart” and it’s focused on what the last couple of years have been like for Kings fans.

Report: Derrick Rose away from Cavaliers, evaluating his future in basketball

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When Derrick Rose went AWOL from the Knicks last season for what he called a family issue, rumors swirled that he was contemplating retirement. Rose denied it, but those whispers are reemerging.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Rose has been out with what seemed like a relative minor, for him at least, ankle injury. The 29-year-old could stick in the league for a while thanks to his reputation and ability to attack the rim to create shots for himself. But the guard is a shell of peak form after years of more serious injuries. This isn’t the career anyone expected for him when he was named the youngest MVP ever in 2011.

Before the season, Rose was talking about getting a raise on his next contract. He seemed happy to join a contender and have LeBron James in his corner.

But something is amiss. Hopefully, Rose can find contentment – whether that’s continuing his NBA career or walking away.

Ryan McDonough: Suns want to sign two-way Mike James to standard contract

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Brandon Knight got hurt. Eric Bledsoe got traded.

The Suns made Mike James – a 27-year-old rookie on a two-way contract – their starting point guard.

Though he eventually ceded the role to Tyler Ulis, James – the only player on a two-way contract to start an NBA game – is still a rotation regular. He’s an aggressive defender and possesses plenty of offensive moves.

The problem: Unless demoted to Phoenix’s minor-league affiliate before then, he’ll max out the 45 allowable NBA days for a two-way player Dec. 6.

Suns general manager Ryan McDonough, via Scott Bordow of azcentral:

We’d still like to get him on the 15-man roster and we’re looking at different ways to do that.

The Suns can unilaterally convert James’ two-contract into a standard one-year minimum deal. Both sides could also negotiate a longer contract.

The bigger issue is clearing a roster spot.

Phoenix has the maximum 15 players with standard contracts with no obvious cuts. Derrick Jones Jr. doesn’t play much, but the 20-year-old’s athleticism creates intriguing upside. Second-rounder Davon Reed is hurt, though teams rarely cut bait so quickly.

So, a trade is possible. Greg Monroe never seemed long for Phoenix. Or anyone else could be moved.

If it comes to it, the Suns could send James to the minors to bide time. But they want to play competitive basketball, and he helps. So, expect something else to give within the next couple weeks.

Joel Embiid upgrades himself from 69% to 81%: ‘Shoutout to Jalen Rose’

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A story in three parts:

1. After posting 46-15-7-7 in a win over the Lakers, frequently injured 76ers center Joe Embiid declared himself to be 69%:

2. ESPN analyst Jalen Rose called that joke “unprofessional:”

3. Embiid upgraded his status to 81% with a “shoutout to Jalen Rose:”

In case you didn’t get the joke.

Celtics’ Kyrie Irving: “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”

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The Celtics established themselves as one of the NBA’s elite teams, a contender for the Eastern Conference title, during their 16-game win streak.

However, that hot streak to start the season will matter as much as Thanksgiving leftovers in the back of the refrigerator in April by the time the playoffs roll around. This is a team that still has work to do.

Which is what Kyrie Irving was getting at in this post-loss quote from Friday night, via Israel Gutierrez of ESPN.

“There’s still a lot to accomplish going forward,” Irving said. “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”

This team still needs to get better and more consistent. The Celtics had to come from behind in the fourth quarter in eight of the 16 wins, and while the team defense was impressive the offense still can be hit and miss. Al Horford and Kyrie Irving play well off each other, but this is still the 20th ranked offense in the NBA. They are taking more long midrange jumpers than most coaches want, but the bigger challenge is they have not been finishing around the basket.

Titles are not won in November. Irving gets that. Jayson Tatum will hit the rookie wall at some point (they all do) and he needs to prove he can break through. Al Horford is playing maybe the best ball of his career and needs to keep it up. The Celtics need to keep their defensive focus (the fundamentals are there to have a top five defense). I could go on but you get the point, and so does Irving — there is a lot of work for this team to do.

Boston is off to a fantastic start, but it’s just that.