Thursday And-1 links: More Carmelo/Garnett fallout

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• The punishment has come down, Carmelo Anthony is sitting out the Knicks Thursday night game for going after Kevin Garnett post-game by the team bus — he “just wanted to talk to him” — after KG does what he does and said something that got under Carmelo Anthony’s skin. Allegedly a comment about ‘Melo’s wife La La. Tyson Chandler said that what KG said crossed the line. Of course, what’s he going to say, he’s got to have his teammates back.

• Doc Rivers says KG didn’t say anything about Anthony’s wife. What’s Doc going to say, he’s got to have his players’ back.

• Amare Stoudemire is just bad at defense, and here is the breakdown. By the way, it’s not even close to being all on Mike D’Antoni.

• Who has Steve Nash assisted the most in his career? Stoudemire. Who else could it be?

• A good look at the Clippers “Tribe Called Bench.” That depth is a real regular season advantage for the Clippers, but it will be interesting to see how Vinny Del Negro handles it in the playoffs when rotations generally shorten.

• Wednesday was the one-year anniversary of Jeff Green’s heart surgery. Good to seem him just out on the court and playing.

• Former Grizzlies’ player Lester Hudson was arrested for reckless driving. From the Memphis Commercial Appeal: “Lester Hudson, 28, was seen driving his cousin’s car west on American Way when he slammed on the brakes and spun out in the intersection of Mt. Moriah, according to a police affidavit. Other cars at the intersection swerved to avoid a collision, officers reported. Hudson then allegedly smoked his tires, spun the car in a circle several times, and sped off northbound on Mt. Moriah.”

• John Wall has jumped shoe brands to adidas (he had been with Reebok, which is owned by adidas). “I’ve enjoyed my time with Reebok and I’m grateful for everything we accomplished the last few years,” said Wall. “Now, I’m excited to return to the court soon and begin my new partnership with adidas. They’ve changed the game with new technology and style and I can’t wait to be a part of it.” Wall joins Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard and other under the adidas brand.

One Suns fan pleading with his team not to trade for Rudy Gay.

• In case you missed it, Gay doesn’t think he’ll be traded. I’d say “maybe not at the deadline, but…”

• Tracy McGrady has been suspended one game in China for criticizing officiating. His team was so pissed at the officiating they walked off the court with :28 left in the game. By the way, his team is 2-17.

• Linas Kleiza might well be cut next summer under the amnesty clause.

• The Heat waived Josh Harrellson but have re-signed him to a 10-day contract. Why? They didn’t want to have the guaranteed salary on the books.

• In one of those very Spurs moves, they are trying to reach a deal with Australian big man Aron Baynes. I don’t know anything about him either, but if the Spurs want him I bet he’s going to be good.

• An interesting interview on the lives of gay players in the NBA and NFL, living sort of a “don’t ask/don’t tell” life.

Cleveland OKs last chunk of financing to upgrade Cavs’ arena

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CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland officials have committed the final chunk of financing for $140 million in upgrades planned at the Cavaliers’ home arena.

The makeover of Quicken Loans Arena would include more space for dining and gathering.

The cost of renovations to the concert and sports venue is being split by the city, the team, Cuyahoga County, and a convention and visitors bureau. The final total is expected to be roughly double the initial $140 million price tag, mostly because of interest over the next two decades.

Cleveland’s share is an estimated $88 million over 11 years, starting in 2024. Mayor Frank Jackson signed off on that Tuesday.

The county already approved the deal and agreed to sell bonds for the project.

The team committed to extend its lease at the arena to 2034. It is expected the team will make a bid to host the NBA All-Star game once renovations are complete.

Did Russell Westbrook really block a teammates shot to get ball back during Game 5?

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Well, this video plays right into the hands of the anti-Westbrook crowd.

The knock on Russell Westbrook‘s season-long triple double and MVP candidacy is that he is chasing stats, padding his numbers at the expense of efficiency and making the Thunder a better team. Basically, he’s looking out for himself and to heck with his teammates.

Which leads to this fourth-quarter video from Game 5.

It sure looks like Westbrook blocks Jerami Grant‘s shot to get the rebound (we only have the one camera angle here).

I would argue that this was just Westbrook being uber aggressive — the only way he ever plays — and he was going hard for the rebound and not noticing it was his teammate about to get the ball. Westbrook just wants the ball and gets it. But he also wants to win and would not have taken the ball out of Grant’s hands had he seen who it was in time to react.

Game 5 — where the Rockets eliminated the Thunder — was a microcosm of the Westbrook debate. Westbrook finished with 47 points on 15-of-34 shooting, but was 2-of-11 in the fourth quarter. Oklahoma City was +12 in the 41:52 that Westbrook played, but was -18 in the 6:07 he sat. You can read whatever you want into those numbers.

Much like the video above.

Former Pacers’ star Danny Granger on Paul George: “you can’t fault him if he leaves Indiana”

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There was a time when Paul George was an up-and-coming but raw young player on an Indiana team led by Danny Granger. It was when Granger went down injured that George was thrust into a larger role, where he thrived in the trial by fire.

Granger knows what it’s like to be the star player of the Pacers, and he knows George, so on Bill Reiter asked Granger his thoughts during an episode of CBS’ “Reiter Than You” and Granger’s answer was not what Pacers fans wanted to hear.

“You look at him in that press conference (after losing to Cleveland) and his face and the dejection on it – the guy wants to win. Money don’t make everybody happy, but winning and success and your craft, that does fill a void that a lot of these players have. So you can’t fault him if he leaves Indiana, I’ll tell you that.”

Oh, Pacers fans will fault him. Even if he’s traded.

Pacers’ decision maker Larry Bird isn’t going to do anything until he sees if George makes an All-NBA Team, because if he does Indiana can offer him the new “designated player” contract this summer worth around $80 million more guaranteed than any other team can offer. George will not walk away from that.

However, if, as expected, George doesn’t make an All-NBA team, Bird is going to have to revisit the idea of trading George, who can be a free agent in 2018 — and the sense around the league is he will walk away at that point if the Pacers are not contenders. (There are a lot of Lakers’ rumors there, but whether George would leave a team where he is dragging lesser players to a low playoff seed and a first-round exit in Indiana for the same situation in his old hometown is up for debate.)

Bird isn’t going to deal George for pennies on the dollar at this point — think the Kings’ trading DeMarcus Cousins — but if some team comes through with a legitimate quality offer of young players that can help jump start the rebuild in Indiana, he may have to jump at it.

Either way, Granger is right that you can’t blame George for wanting to move on, but plenty of fans will anyway.

Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley keep trading insults in postgame press conferences

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Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley were having their war of words during Tuesday night’s close-out game that ended the Thunder season, and they both picked up technical fouls for it.

The two continued that postgame speaking to the media.

Westbrook was up first, and he was asked what happened between him and Beverley (see the video above).

“He was talking about he was first team all-defense, but I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about because I had 42 at the time, I don’t know, maybe he was dreaming or some s—.”

You know the media was going to ask Beverley about that.

“He said no can guard me I’ve got 40 points, I’m like, that’s nice but you took 34 shots to get it.”

So, no Christmas card exchange for those two.

For the record, Westbrook finished the game with 47 points on 15-of-34 shooting, but he was 2-of-11 in the fourth quarter as he started to wear down. The Thunder were +12 in the 41:52 that Westbrook played, but were -18 in the 6:07 he sat to get rest. The game was almost a Rorschach test for what you think of Westbrook on the season — he wasn’t terribly efficient, but he carried OKC as far as he could, that just wasn’t as far as James Harden could take a superior Rockets’ team. If you were in the Harden (or Kawhi Leonard) for MVP camp, you can point to the inefficiency and the end result. If you’re team Westbrook you can point to the raw numbers and what happened in the limited time he sat.

Also, Beverley is going to make an NBA All-Defensive team. If he doesn’t make the first team, that’s more about the time he missed due to injury (and a good field of guards who can defend) than his play.

Beverley has the advantage now of being able to turn his attention to how to defend Tony Parker (or maybe Mike Conley), as the Rockets are advancing to the next round.