HOUSTON — NBA players union president Billy Hunter was unanimously voted out of that position by representatives from 24 of the 30 teams in Houston on Saturday. He did some questionable things that came to light during an internal audit, and that was more than enough in the players’ eyes to get him removed from his very lucrative position.
Hunter was not present for the proceedings, but issued a statement through his website.
It reads as follows, in its entirety:
“I have yet to receive any notification, other than published news reports, that the NBPA has terminated my employment. If accurate, it is indicative of the extremely troubling process followed by the NBPA during the past few weeks. During the days and weeks ahead, my legal team and I will begin carefully reviewing the actions taken and statements made against me in the meeting room in my absence. I look forward to gathering the evidence showing how certain individuals made sure the outcome was pre-ordained.
This is not about Hunter retaining his position as union leader, it’s about getting every penny of the millions he’s owed under his current contract.
Expect to hear plenty about this in the future, though none of it will impact the league in any way whatsoever — at least until the new president is installed, and it’s time to once again negotiate terms of a new collective bargaining agreement in the likely event that either the league or the players opt out of the current agreement in 2017.
The Kings are a complete mess right now. After a loss to the Nets on Friday night, the team is reportedly considering firing head coach George Karl, who has been with the team for just about one year, and DeMarcus Cousins says they have “a bigger issue than the players.”
But, on the bright side, Cousins is still a monster on the court. During the Nets loss, he posted a triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, showing why he’s the one thing about this franchise that is going to be worth talking about long-term.
Russell Westbrook has been wearing the new Air Jordan XXX on the court for nearly a month now. Considering he’s averaging a triple-double in his last 10 games — 22 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds — I’d say he’s pretty comfortable in them.
Continuing a trend of using the respected Jordan brand name with modern players to sell the shoes, this latest ad for the Air Jordan XXX shoes features a young hypeman who describes Westbrook as “the new Big Bang,” and asks people to “make room – as the man is about to take off.”
The Air Jordan XXX hit retail stores on Feb. 12. Westbrook will be wearing them next weekend in Toronto for the All-Star Game.
The Sacramento Kings have lost six of seven. A couple of weeks back they climbed to the eight seed in the West, but since then have gone into a tailspin. In those games, Sacramento is getting beat by 6.1 points per 100 possessions, mostly because their defense is giving up 110.4 points per 100 possessions (fifth worst in the NBA in that time).
In Sacramento, most of the blame for the losing streak seems to have fallen upon the players. Or, at least, the players feel that way. DeMarcus Cousins apparently has had enough of it. After Friday’s ugly 128-119 loss to Brooklyn on the road, Cousins said the Kings have bigger problems than the players, as reported by James Ham of CSNBayArea.com.
“I’m not going to keep blaming the guys in the locker room,” Cousins said following the game. “Energy and effort is a huge part of the game, but we’re not going to keep blaming it on that. We’ve got a bigger issue and we need to figure it out as a team….
“I’d rather keep it in-house, but we’ve got bigger issues than just energy and effort,” Cousins added. “That can’t be the excuse every night.”
Not sure that’s a very good job of keeping it in house.
The logical conclusion to jump to is Cousins is referring to coach George Karl, who has never been on the same page with Cousins. Karl was hired at the All-Star break last season, replacing Mike Malone (who Cousins loved) and has pushed the pace with a roster not built for that style of play (at 102.1 possessions per game the Kings play at the fastest pace in the NBA). With the team struggling and falling out of playoff contention (3.5 games back of eight seed Utah) Karl’s job is in immediate jeopardy — he may not make it to the All-Star break, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and general manager Vlade Divac were so livid about a blowout defeat to the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night – the franchise’s sixth loss in seven games – they were strongly weighing the firing of coach George Karl, league sources told The Vertical…
As hours passed following the 128-119 loss to the Nets, there were indications that Karl could be spared long enough to coach the Kings on Sunday in Boston. Nevertheless, Karl has rapidly lost support in management and some parts of the locker room, league sources told The Vertical.
That part would include Cousins. Apparently.
The Kings have a brutal Boston then Cleveland back-to-back Sunday and Monday on the road, and then face the Sixers on Wednesday before the All-Star break starts. Any coach hired before that back-to-back walks into a couple of losses.
A big part of Cousins’ frustration with the Kings has been the franchise’s instability — they seem to pick a new style of play or make some other radical change every year. There is no continuity. Karl is Cousins’ fifth head coach in Sacramento in six seasons. Most recently, gone was Mike Malone’s slower play (which had worked fairly well when Cousins was healthy) and a couple of months later in came Karl’s uptempo system. Now he may be gone. There is no effort to build slowly and to a system that fits the roster. That issue goes straight to owner Vivek Ranadive.
This would be another one of those changes, but Cousins would apparently welcome it this time. Money does play a factor in this — Karl was signed to a deal with $11.5 million in guaranteed money, fire him and they have to cut a huge check. (Minority owners in Sacramento are already frustrated with Ranadive.)
There is no word on who might be in the wings to replace Karl, although it likely would be an interim coach through the end of the season.
No, this does not mean the Kings are going to trade Cousins. At least not immediately, at the deadline, and not likely next summer either. He’s the Kings’ best player, and they would not get equal value back for him. Ranadive is Cousins’ biggest supporter in the organization. Finally, remember the Kings move into a new building in downtown Sacramento next season — you don’t trade your most popular player and face of the team’s marketing program while trying to sell luxury boxes/sponsorships/season tickets in a new building.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside did his part to prevent the Charlotte Hornets from scoring inside.
Mix in a couple of key steals in the final seconds, and the Heat had a nice win on the road.
Whiteside had 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocked shots, and Miami beat Charlotte 98-95 on Friday night.
Whiteside, a native of nearby Gastonia, North Carolina, posted his third triple-double of the season and No. 4 for his career.
“I was at the YMCA around the corner two years ago; now I’m here,” Whiteside said. “When a ball is around my elbow area, I’m going to try and catch it.
“The last three minutes, they were so worried about pump-faking, pump-faking. I told the guys to just stay with the 3-point shooters.”
“Whiteside just dominated every aspect of that game,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “Right now, he’s the premiere rim protector in the league. It changed the game when he came in; they were a totally different team when he was out there.”
The Heat were coming off a close 93-90 win at Dallas on Wednesday. The last time Miami played at Time Warner Cable Arena on Dec. 9, Charlotte won 99-81.
“It’s hard not to notice what they’ve done on this home court,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It seems that every top team in the East that comes in here walks out of here with a double-digit loss.
“It was something that we wanted to collectively do – get a win to put us at .500 on the road, and in a building that we haven’t played well.”
The Hornets led 93-90 with 1:10 remaining, but Wade made a layup and Bosh added a three-point play to make it 95-93 with 23.5 seconds left.
Wade then stole the ball from Walker and passed to Deng for a fast-break dunk with 4.3 seconds remaining and the Heat’s biggest lead of the game.
Before Miami’s flurry at the very end, neither team was able to grab much of an advantage. There were 26 lead changes and 12 ties, including 47-47 at halftime.
“We know we have to get stops,” Wade said. “We know we have enough offensive firepower down the stretch to get great looks. Tonight, Hassan was incredible down the stretch with protecting the basket.”
Heat: Winslow had eight points and 10 rebounds. … Miami finished with 12 blocked shots. … The Heat outscored the Hornets 64-32 in the paint, and also enjoyed an 18-6 edge in second-chance points thanks to eight offensive rebounds.
Hornets: Shot 44.4 percent from the field (36 of 81), and made 10 of 26 3-pointers. … Also shot 13 of 15 from the free-throw line. … Charlotte’s reserves scored just 12 points, while Miami got 29 points from its backups.
Former Hornets star and 15-year NBA veteran Alonzo Mourning, now the vice president of player programs and development for the Heat, was honored by the home team during halftime of Friday’s game.
While he spent only three seasons in Charlotte (1992-1995), Mourning still holds franchise records for career blocks (684) and blocks per game (3.2), and is second in career scoring (21.3 points) and rebounds (10.1 per game).