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Greg Oden on joining the Heat: ‘If LeBron gets another ring, I get one too’

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Greg Oden had plenty of options in terms of where he could choose to begin his NBA comeback next season.

There were five teams that came away impressed after attending his private workout, and a sixth was reported to have interest, as well.

Oden ultimately decided on the Miami Heat, and the team’s status as championship certified certainly didn’t hurt in the recruiting process. In fact, it may have been one of the key selling points.

From Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

“As I told my friends, actually, as they told me, ‘If you take out the possibility of getting hurt again, what other choice is there?’ ” Oden said. “For me, other teams, it was good. But if I take out the possibility of getting hurt, why would I not play with the champs? And, as [friends] told me yesterday, ‘If LeBron decides to get another ring, I get one, too, now.”

And it’ll be well-deserved, I’m sure.

All kidding aside, the reality is that there are a ton of guys with championship rings who did nothing more than act as an extra body in practice, or were simply inactive during the games that mattered while wearing a suit and sitting at the end of the bench.

Juwan Howard is an example from the Heat last season — he played just seven games total in March and April, and didn’t appear in the postseason even once.

Oden’s comments will likely rub people the wrong way, however, because he’s talking about getting a ring before we even know if he’ll be able to contribute at all next season in Miami, let alone in the playoffs or the Finals.

The good news for Oden is that the Heat seemed to add him to the roster for one reason only, and that’s to have another big body to throw at Roy Hibbert in the event they face the Pacers once again on the potential road to a third straight title. The Heat don’t truly need Oden until May, so he has all season and then some to continue work his way back into NBA condition.

But most people would like players to talk about how they are going to help a team before they talk about riding a star’s coattails to get a ring that wasn’t earned, and comments like these aren’t likely going to endear him to fans who otherwise might have rooted for him to successfully return to the court next season.

Kings co-owner Shaq: Vivek Ranadivé told me George Karl would coach rest of season

Shaquille O'Neal
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
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Kings general manager Vlade Divac said keeping George Karl as coach was right move “for now.”

How long is “for now”?

Shaquille O’Neal, a Kings minority owner, shares insight.

Sam Amick of USA Today:

This would mean a little more if Vivek Ranadivé weren’t prone to wild swings. Remember, the Kings said Tyrone Corbin would finish last season as coach before firing him for Karl.

Divac also said in November that Karl would coach the rest of the season, and that came up for debate fewer than three months later.

Shaq’s revelation is as likely to embarrass the Kings in a few weeks as it is to signal Karl’s job security.

Chauncey Billups explains why not every player wants to go home

Dallas Mavericks v Denver Nuggets
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LeBron James did it and shook up the NBA — he returned home to Cleveland. That has led to fantasies other players want to do the same thing: Kevin Durant back to Washington D.C.; DeMar DeRozan or Russell Westbrook back to Los Angeles; Blake Griffin back to Oklahoma. And the list goes on.

Not every player wants to do it.

Chauncey Billups did. Billups is a Denver guy who returned to play for the Nuggets — he gets his number retired Wednesday night in Detroit, a much-deserved honor — but in a letter to his young self at the Players’ Tribune Wednesday he explained that going home is fraught with peril.

“But in reality, playing at home as a 23-year-old professional is going to be less blessing and more curse. (There’s perception, again, for you.) It’s as simple as this: you’re just not going to be ready for Denver to be Your City. You’re going to think you’re ready — and they are too — but, trust me, you won’t be. You’re still going to be so young. You’re still going to be hanging out with your boys, doing your old thing. There are going to be those … hometown distractions. And those distractions will add up.”

“And you have to understand, Chaunce: It’s not just that you made it. It’s that your whole neighborhoodis going to feel like they made it. All of Park Hill is going to feel like they made it. And don’t get me wrong — that’s special. But at the wrong age, it can also be tough. It can be a lot to handle. And you’re going to be at that wrong age. You’re not going to be mature enough yet, or developed enough yet, to take on that mix of environments, those responsibilities, that role.

“You’re not going to be ready to lead.”

There are plenty of guys around the NBA who understand those distractions and how those can get in the way of off-season workouts, of time spent shoring up a weakness or developing a new shot, and how during the season they can be another thing that wears the body down.

Some guys can handle it. Some can’t.

Go read the entire letter from Billups. He talks about getting traded from the Celtics his rookie season, about playing for Mike D’Antoni, about how very rarely do veterans want to mentor younger players because they are fighting for the same piece of the pie.  Billups is honest.

And it’s great that Detroit is rewarding him as they should.

Did Marcus Thornton steal free throws from Rockets teammate Clint Capela?

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Leandro Barbosa – guarding Marcus Thornton and fighting through a Clint Capela screen – was called for a foul in the first quarter of last night’s Warriors-Rockets game.

Thornton went to the line.

Should he have? Or should Capela have?

Perhaps, Thornton and Barbosa tangled, but it certainly appeared the contact primarily occurred between Barbosa and Capela. It looks like Barbosa tries to ram through Capela.

It also appears Capela thought he drew the foul. Watch him step toward the line before seeing Thornton there and taking his spot along the paint.

So, why would Thornton step in? He’s making 89% of his free throws to Capela’s 40%.

I’m honestly surprised players don’t try this maneuver more often. Refs have so much to keep track of. The worst consequence would be the refs shooing away Thornton and bringing Capela to the line.

Thornton made both free throws, but it didn’t matter. Houston was playing Golden State, which rolled to a victory.

Kanye West apologizes to Michael Jordan

performs at the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Festival at MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 18, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images for iHeartMedia
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Kanye West – when he isn’t tweeting to invalidate the claims of dozens of women on nothing more than his own suppositions – is tweeting to Michael Jordan

Mark Parker is CEO of Nike, a company that collaborated with West on the Air Yeezy before an unhappy West bolted for Adidas. Jordan, of course, is a Nike ally and known for the Jumpman logo on his brand.

That’s why Kanye rapped in “Facts:”

Yeezy, Yeezy, Yeezy just jumped over Jumpman

Yeezy, Yeezy, Yeezy just jumped over Jumpman

We bring you the important news.

(hat tip: Jovan Buha of Fox Sports)