Andre Iguodala said politics were to blame for his being left off both the first and second All-Defensive teams this year.
The reigning Executive of the Year, Nuggets VP of basketball operations Masai Ujiri, took it a step further.
From Ben Hochman of the Denver Post:
“It’s mind-boggling to me,” Ujiri said in a statement to The Denver Post. “I mean, when the US Olympic team enlists a defensive stopper, there is no question who they choose – Andre Iguodala. Yet, for some reason he can’t be considered one of the top-10 defensive players in the NBA? It’s just shocking that he continues to be overlooked as a world-class defender in our league. I honestly thought he should be in the conversation for defensive player of the year, let alone first or even second team all-defense.”
There are three things that stand out here.
First, complaining about postseason awards is a little ridiculous, considering the voting processes in place for each. The man who won the Defensive Player of the Year award, Marc Gasol, didn’t even make the first team All-Defense. Why? Different groups are in charge of determining the different honors — media votes for the single player award, and the coaches voted for the All-Defensive teams.
Second, let me know the next time a team executive comes out and says that one of his players didn’t deserve something they were awarded, because it’ll be the first. Of course Ujiri is going to back his player here, especially after Iguodala publicly expressed frustration at being snubbed.
Finally, and perhaps of most interest is the fact that Iguodala is more than likely to opt out of a player option he has for next season, which would make him an unrestricted free agent. If he’s as valuable to the Nuggets defensively as Ujiri intimates, it doesn’t seem wise to talk him up publicly like this, when the end result could be Iguodala’s price tag becoming too high for Denver to be able to match.
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.