Wednesday And-1 Links: Former NBAer Keon Clark sentenced to 8 years in prison

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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.

• Former NBA player Keon Clark has been sentenced to 8 years in prison, as reported by the News Gazette out of Illinois. Clark “faced 10 weapons, drugs and driving-related charges stemming from one 2012 case and four 2013 cases” according to the report. He is going to spend that time in a Department of Corrections-run drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility near Chicago as part of his effort to kick his additions. Clark was the No. 13 pick out of UNLV and played six seasons in the NBA with Denver, Toronto, Sacramento and Utah.

Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report wrote about Derrick Rose and said “the surgeon was able to preserve “100 percent” of the torn meniscus in his right knee.”

• If you’re a team that is only going to pay the luxury tax for a couple of seasons when you can make a run at a ring, when do you pull that trigger?

An appreciation of Jeff Teague’s game. He is having his best season as a pro by far.

Are the Trail Blazers for real? (This is behind ESPN’s pay wall.)

• Carmelo Anthony’s high school coach talks about his former star.

• Updated odds on the NBA championship from bovada.lv showed a few interesting things. The Indiana Pacers were 9-1 before the season but are 4-1 now and the second choice on the board. The Thunder are third at 6-1 and the Spurs have gone from 14-1 before the season to 7-1 now. On the other end of the spectrum, the Clippers were 9-1 to win it all before the season and they are 14-1 now. The thing that didn’t change is Miami is now and remains at 2-1 and the favorite to win it all.

• The Bulls let Mike James play on a sprained knee, which is kind of a trend with the Bulls team doctors. And you wonder why Derrick Rose took his time getting back.

• The Bulls have sent Marcus Teague to the D-League for seasoning.

• Will Forte has a really gross Clippers superstition.

• When asked about George Karl’s comments that he was doing some bush league things during the playoffs last year, Jackson took the high road.

• One of my favorite tweets of the season from Tuesday night:

• The Hawks have sent rookie point guard Dennis Schroder to the D-League. I think Schroder could be something special, but he needs time on the court and he can get that in the D-League.

• Former Suns point guard Kendall Marshall is now a member of the Delaware 87ers of the D-League draft.

• Finally, Grant Hill talks about the potential of Duke freshman phenom Jabari Parker.

Dikembe Mutombo says he is putting together a group to buy the Rockets

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It appears as though Houston billionaire Dan Friedkin will have some competition if he decides to bid for the Rockets. Namely, former NBA big man Dikembe Mutombo.

Mutombo played in the NBA from 1991-2009, ending his career with five seasons in Houston. The franchise apparently made an impact on the Hall of Fame center, as he is apparently looking to buy the franchise per an interview with USA Today.

Speaking with Adi Joseph over at FTW, Mutombo would not give out names of his partners but said that he will be able to make a bid in the coming weeks.

Via FTW:

“I’m putting together a group to buy the Houston Rockets, and we’re getting close,” he said. “Getting close in the next couple weeks, maybe I’ll have a chance. Lot of people, lot of people and good people with a lot of money.”

With Leslie Alexander’s decision to sell the team, it certainly would be interesting to get another NBA player as part of team ownership in this league.

Watch the 10 best 360 plays from last season (video)

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The NBA’s top-10 highlight packages have been pretty enjoyable. This one is oddly specific – but still dizzyingly fun.

Kevin Durant on White House visit with Donald Trump: “Nah, I won’t do that”

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It’s not much of a surprise, but at least we have confirmation. If the Golden State Warriors are invited to the White House for a championship visit with Donald Trump, at least one star won’t be going: Kevin Durant.

Speaking in an ESPN article published on Thursday, the 2017 NBA Finals MVP said he didn’t respect who currently held the office of president.

Durant was interviewed as part of his Kevin Durant Day in his local Washington D.C. area suburb of Seat Pleasant, Maryland.

He is not the first NBA player to come forward and speak out about Trump in the aftermath of Charlottesville. LeBron James, Jabari Parker, and other NBA players have denounced the tone of Trump’s politics and positions in the public sphere.

The Warriors star had a lot to say on the subject, but I think this was most poignant.

Via ESPN:

“Nah, I won’t do that,” said Durant, the 2017 NBA Finals MVP. “I don’t respect who’s in office right now.”

“I don’t agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that,” said Durant, who said it wasn’t an organizational decision. “That’s just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they’ll all agree with me.”

“He’s definitely driving it,” Durant said. “I feel ever since he’s got into office, or since he ran for the presidency, our country has been so divided and it’s not a coincidence. When [Barack] Obama was in office, things were looking up. We had so much hope in our communities where I come from because we had a black president, and that was a first.

“So to see that and to be where we are now, it just felt like we took a turn for the worse, man. It all comes from who is in the administration. It comes from the top. Leadership trickles down to the rest of us. So, you know, if we have someone in office that doesn’t care about all people, then we won’t go anywhere as a country. In my opinion, until we get him out of here, we won’t see any progress.”

Durant also mentioned the need for more sports stars to come out and voice their opinions as a matter of leadership and as role models in the community.

That is definitely a huge part of the impact that sports stars can have. We all know how important NBA players are to pop culture and the culture of basketball itself. Couple that with how much influence they have as individual brands, as major players in the corporate sphere, and hopefully it will help them make a positive impact.

It’s great that NBA players are coming out and standing up against this kind of violence, and good on the NBA for making sure their voices as individuals aren’t silenced.

Chris Bosh to ‘host’ players-union awards revealed via tweets

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The NBA didn’t reveal its major regular-season awards until after the playoffs and draft – until most fans had turned the page toward the offseason. But at least the league got a revenue-drawing nationally televised award show out of the delay.

What is the players union doing, and how does Chris Bosh come into play?

National Basketball Players Association release:

CHRIS BOSH TO HOST NBPA “PLAYERS VOICE AWARDS”

11-Time All-Star to Reveal Awards Via Social Media

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced today that 2017 Players Voice Awards will be revealed exclusively via social media tomorrow beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET.

The Players Voice Awards are voted on solely by NBA players

The awards and videos will be revealed via @theNBPA on Twitter, and NBPA.com will curate all of the content throughout the day.

Voting took place at the end of the regular season and did not consider postseason performances.

The full list of Players Voice Awards includes:

  • Best Rookie
  • Comeback Player of the Year
  • Best Off the Bench
  • Best Defender
  • Hardest to Guard
  • Player You Secretly Wish Was On Your Team
  • Best Dressed
  • Home Court Advantage
  • Coach You’d Most Like to Play For
  • Clutch Performer
  • Best Social Media Follow
  • Most Influential Veteran
  • Global Impact
  • Most Valuable Player
  • Best Teammate (one per team)

I’m still not sure how Bosh is hosting tweets or what took so long for the union to get to this. The players-union awards, which debuted two years ago, haven’t gained much steam. I don’t think this will help.

On the other hand, not much is happening this time of year. Diehard basketball fans are thirsting for activity, and this provides some.

But they’d care at any time. I don’t think this moves the needle at all for casual fans.

As a hardcore basketball follower, though, I am curious who wins – and how Bosh fits into all of this.