NEW YORK – Shabazz Muhammad was once viewed as a potential No. 1 pick. Midway through his freshman year, not only did that possibility remain, it seemed he had also raised his floor to being a top-five pick.
But Muhammad’s fortunes, both personally and professionally, turned quickly. His 3-point shot betrayed him. His stated age was revealed to be inaccurate. His game was poked apart by scouts. His draft stock sunk. His father was arrested. His draft stock sunk some more.
Muhammad wasn’t even invited to the NBA Draft green room, the latest blow to someone who has been chastised for reasons both fair and unfair.
Through it all, green-room invite or not, Muhammad remained determined to come to the Barclays Center tonight and celebrate being drafted.
“I knew I was going to come here,” Muhammad said. “I figured I was going to be a lottery pick. Just to stay here and end up shaking – especially it was a big-time thing with Mr. Stern and Commissioner Stern, his last time here. That’s really special.”
In the end, Muhammad was right. He was drafted 14th by the Jazz (and traded to the Timberwolves) – not only making the lottery, but jumping ahead of Sergey Karasev, who was invited to the green room – and got his handshake with Stern.
Confirmation he was still a lottery talent? Absolutely.
The last laugh? Not yet.
“At the end of the day, I look at it, it’s what you do in the league,” Muhammad said. “You get drafted, it’s your first step. It’s what you do in the league.”
Things are just getting weirder in Arizona.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Phoenix Suns have fired head coach Earl Watson. This comes in less than an hour after Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe tweeted out that he no longer wanted to be “here”. The assumption is that the “here” meant with the Suns organization, although Bledsoe nor the team have clarified.
Phoenix was always slated to be a bad team but they have been an absolute mess to start the season. Just three games in and they have yet to win a contest. They have lost by a combined 92 points in those games during some hilariously bad efforts. While Watson’s firing is sudden, it’s not entirely surprising.
Meanwhile, it’s not clear what the Suns will do from here both with Bledsoe and in filling the head coach spot on the bench.
Teams like the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers have struggled when players have requested a trade publicly. Much of their leverage is lost and it could be harder to find a usable return for Bledsoe. A friend of LeBron James, Bledsoe has been rumored in trades from Phoenix to places like Cleveland for years. Now, it will be curious to see if the Suns will need to move him and what they can get for Bledsoe once a deal is done. Any assets will be a vital to their rebuilding process.
In terms of coaching, Phoenix has both Ty Corbin and Jay Triano on the bench, both of which who have been head coaches in the NBA before. It appears Triano will be stepping into the interim role, but that still leaves the question of what Phoenix should do from here on out. A directionless team in the middle of a rebuild with less-than-stellar ownership is a recipe for continued failure.
Phoenix has been a poorly-run organization for some time, particularly when it comes to expenses. Phoenix owner Robert Sarver is notoriously cheap, even going so far as selling draft picks outright. Phoenix exchanged players like Marcin Gortat, Rudy Fernandez, and Rajon Rondo for pennies on the dollar.
They are already the worst team in the NBA, their star player wants out, and now they no longer have a head coach. If you are a basketball fan in Phoenix, things have to be tough for you right now.
The Phoenix Suns were always going to be a bad team, but I think we were all surprised when they started off the season with a historical loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. Now, it seems things are getting worse.
On Sunday, Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe sent out a message on Twitter that seemed to insinuate that he no longer wanted to be a part of the organization in Phoenix.
That tweet set the NBA sphere on fire during a relatively sleepy afternoon. Ramifications of players being open with their requests to move teams has not always played out well for the organizations. Think about the decreased leverage for the Knicks and Pacers when it came to Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.
It would be a major bummer for fans in Arizona if Bledsoe does indeed want out of Phoenix. The team has played all of three games, and after years of trade speculation around Bledsoe so it would be a huge blow to give him up to suitors for pennies on the dollar.
As of publication on Sunday afternoon we have yet to confirm that this is the intent of Bledsoe’s tweet, but no doubt we will hear more about it as the day goes on.
We were waiting for this moment this weekend and now it’s here. Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving has been fined $25,000 by the NBA for cursing at a fan in Philadelphia after the Celtics beat the 76ers.
This comes in the wake of the DeMarcus Cousins getting fined the same amount for getting into a similar altercation with a fan.
The NBA released the news Sunday in a statement issued through their PR department.
If you haven’t seen video of the incident, you can watch it below. Fair warning, there is obviously some very NSFW language in the media the ahead.
For what it’s worth, Irving said that he did not regret saying anything to the fan.
“At the end of the day, we’re human. It’s in heat of the moment and frustrations arise, we were at halftime, we were down by 4, in an environment, a season-opener in Philly. Being with a young team like we have here and staying composed, handling that before we go in the locker room and addressing what we have to do in the locker room and going out and handling business and getting the W, that’s really the only thing that matters to me.
“It’s up to the league at this point. But, like I said, I’m going to take full responsibility for what I said. I don’t have any regrets for it.”
Boston’s next game is on Tuesday at home against New York.
As if this season wasn’t going to be hard enough for the Chicago Bulls, it started off on the wrong foot when Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic got into a fight during practice. That fight resulted in a facial fracture for Mirotic, putting one of Chicago’s best players out for multiple weeks.
Portis addressed the issue this week by apologizing to fans, the team, and Mirotic. However, Portis said that he has not heard from Mirotic since the fight, and that he did not respond when he tried to call his teammate.
Video of Portis’ apology is interesting if only because it’s a bit hard to discern the level of sincerity.
Chicago is 0-2 on the season. Portis is in the middle of serving an 8 game suspension for the incident.