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 like Stephen Curry loves the three ball.
• Jason Segel — you know him from “How I Met Your Mother” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and, frankly his best work, “The Muppets” movie — was a high school teammate of Jason Collins. Segel was a big off the bench for Harvard-Westlake… although when you’re an average high school big man off the bench behind two future NBA seven-footers (Jason and his brother Jarron) you don’t get a lot of quality minutes. Still, impress your girlfriend with that trivia later.
• Here’s a report that Jeff Weltman, an assistant GM in Milwaukee, is the early favorite to become the Suns new GM.
• For the second straight year, Jason Kidd won the NBA’s Sportsman of the Year award.
• Former NBA All-Star Chris Gatling (yes he was in 1997) is facing criminal charges for being a squatter in an Arizona home.
• We told you before the Toronto Raptors were considering making a run at Phil Jackson to take over as president of their organization. ESPN says they are going to make their pitch this week. Jackson will listen and think it over. But accepting it is another matter.
• Pau Gasol says he would prefer to be back with the Lakers next season. Kobe Bryant says he wants Gasol back. Yet Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak was clear on Tuesday that he’s going to look at trades.
• A ranking of the NBA arenas… with San Antonio’s AT&T Center on top of the list.
• J.R. Smith takes some just terrible shots, but he makes them more often than other NBA players.
• Smith is also on this list of bad shot takers/makers from SI, as is Carmelo Anthony.
• Paul George’s sister is better at basketball than you are.
• The U.S. Attorney’s office is going after a company that allegedly defrauded the NBA Players Union of $3 million.
• A great look at Andrew Bogut, Ty Lawson and four guys quietly impacting these playoffs by our man Rob Mahoney at SI.
• Who are the next Shane Battiers of the league?
After missing two entire seasons, all signs are pointing to 2014 No. 3 overall pick Joel Embiid finally taking the court this season. Last week, Sixers coach Brett Brown said that Embiid has looked great in his workouts and is on track to play in the preseason, and Embiid himself echoed that sentiment over the weekend. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Marc Narducci that he feels “100 percent.”
There’s always a possibility and fear that Embiid’s recurring foot problems will come back, but for now, all indications are that he’s feeling good and will be able to contribute this season, which should make Sixers fans excited.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.