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?
NEW YORK (AP) — Craig Sager’s fight with leukemia will prevent the basketball sideline reporter form covering the Rio Olympics for NBC.
NBC said Thursday in a statement that the 65-year-old Sager is preparing for a third bone marrow transplant at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Sager was first diagnosed with leukemia in 2014 and announced in March that he was no longer in remission.
The Rio Games would have been Sager’s fifth Olympics.
Sager has worked for Turner Sports for 34 years. At the ESPY Awards this month, Vice President Joe Biden presented Sager with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.