Knicks Pelicans Basketball

Brian Roberts hopes Summer League helped his chances of staying in New Orleans next season

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Brian Roberts was surprisingly productive for the Pelicans last year (when they were still called the Hornets), especially in the latter part of the season.

He was a capable scorer from the guard position, and was regularly the one name that would jump out at you when combing through the morning’s box scores late in the year when he was playing heavy minutes in the rotation.

But his contract isn’t guaranteed for next season, so Roberts has been trying to continue to make an impact with the team’s Summer League squad in Las Vegas. He hopes what he’s done has been enough to once again be added to the roster.

From John Reid of

Backup point guard Brian Roberts hopes he did enough in summer league for the New Orleans Pelicans to pick up the option on his contract for this upcoming season that could increase his salary to $788,872 from last season’s $473,604.

“I thought I played pretty well,’’ Roberts said. “There were times when I didn’t play as well as I wanted to, but overall I thought I gave the effort when I was out there. Mainly, I wanted to show that I could run the team and get guys in the right positions.’’

He showed that much last season.

The problem for Roberts is the high volume of quality guards that the Pelicans brought to the team in the offseason. Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday are now in the fold, and let’s not forget about Eric Gordon, who is expected to be healthy enough to contribute meaningful minutes this season.

Add in the fact that Austin Rivers seems healthy and much-improved since suffering a broken hand that ultimately gave Roberts his chance, and despite his relative value, it may be tough for Roberts to catch on in New Orleans for a second straight season.

Mike Budenholzer smirks at lawyer calling Thabo Sefolosha ‘NBA superstar’

Mike Budenholzer, Thabo Sefolosha
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The funny part, via Robert Silverman:

The substantive part:

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, who was arrested outside a New York City nightclub in April following a confrontation with police officer, has a character “of the highest order,” his head coach, Mike Budenholzer, testified Thursday.

Taking the stand as the final defense witness in Sefolosha’s trial, Budenholzer described the Atlanta Hawks guard-forward as “highly intelligent” and a “hard worker.”

When asked by defense attorney Alex Spiro to describe his character, he said it was, “of the highest order.”

“Thabo is of the highest character,” he said during brief testimony in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The Swiss national is charged with misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges stemming from a confrontation with officers outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub early in the morning on April 8. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officers testified this week that Sefolosha and former teammate Pero Antic repeatedly disobeyed their orders to move off the block and away from a crime scene that had been established following the earlier stabbing of another NBA player, Chris Copeland, and two women.

One of the officers also said Sefolosha lunged at an officer with his arm extended but was intercepted before making contact, eventually taken to the ground and arrested.

Sefolosha has testified that he was complying with orders and moving up the block as a particularly aggressive officer screamed profanities at him.

His attorney has argued that his client was singled out by the officer, who is white, because Sefolosha is black.

Sefolosha testified Thursday that he was trying to give money to a panhandler before entering an awaiting car when he was grabbed by police. He said his leg was kicked in the scuffle and he was taken to the ground, handcuffed and hauled to a police precinct. He suffered a fractured right leg, which forced him to miss the playoffs.

The case is the second one involving high-profile athletes accusing New York Police Department officers of wrongdoing this year. On Wednesday, the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct substantiated claims by former tennis star James Blake that an officer used excessive force when he took him to the ground last month after mistkaing Blake for a fraud suspect.

As expected, Jimmy Butler says no issue between him, Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler
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Is the Derrick Rose/Jimmy Butler relationship nothing but puppy dogs and rainbows? No. There will be sparks between two intense competitors.

Have those sparks started a fire Bulls fans should be concerned about? A report on Wednesday said the core problem was Butler doesn’t respect Rose’s work ethic, which provided some kindling for that spark to catch.

However, as you would expect, Butler said this was all much ado about nothing, that he and Rose are all good. Via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

Spin this however you wish: Their relationship is fine and someone in the media is making this up; or their relationship has been rough, and this is all just leaking out now.

This is a Bulls team in a bit of a transition as Rose declines some and Butler has grown into a top-flight player. Clearly that dynamic has some people around the team — likely the people in one of one of the players’ camps doesn’t like the power struggle or where it leaves his buddy — talking out of school to the press.

But as Butler noted, winning cures all ills. If Chicago can get off to a fast start, nobody will be asking chemistry questions.

For now, however, tounges are wagging.