Report: Former Portland Trail Blazers president Larry Miller candidate for players union executive director

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The National Basketball Players Association still hasn’t replaced Billy Hunter, who was ousted as executive director 11 months ago. Ron Klempner has held the title in an interim capacity, but the union is still looking for a permanent director.

Enter Larry Miller.

Chris Haynes of CSN Northwest:

The National Basketball Players Association reached out to former Portland Trail Blazers president Larry Miller, now president of Jordan Brand, to gauge his interest in their vacant executive director position, a league source informed CSNNW.com.

According to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the search, said Miller politely declined to entertain the proposition, being that “he’s extremely happy in his current role.”

Miller’s work with Jordan Brand has put him position to foster relationships with some NBA players, including NBPA president Chris Paul, a Jordan Brand endorser.

But re-read the previous sentence, emphasizing the word “some,” and the meaning changes.

For this to work, Miller would have to put aside his allegiance to Nike. That was the case when Miller left Jordan Brand to work for the Trail Blazers, but immediately after his time in Portland, he returned to a second stint with Jordan Brand.

The players association, with differing opinions on Hunter and former president Derek Fisher, has experienced too much fragmentation recently. Drawing lines based on shoes could create new problems.

I believe Chris Paul was a good choice to serve as the union’s president, but the members should at least be wary of Paul pushing in an executive director whose professional interests intersect Paul’s in a way that has nothing to do with the union on the whole. Maybe Miller is the best choice, but if he’s nominated, he deserves scrutiny from the rank-and-file before confirmation.

Carmelo Anthony leaves without speaking to media, will probably get fined

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Lately, Carmelo Anthony has parsed whether the Thunder are frustrated or angry and said he’s going through the roughest stretch of his career.

It didn’t get any better last night.

Anthony scored 11 points on 12 shots with three turnovers, and Oklahoma City got outscored by 21 points with him on the floor in a home loss to the Hornets. The Thunder have now lost two of three, falling to the lowly Nets and Hornets and needing overtime to beat the freefalling Grizzlies.

Royce Young of ESPN:

Anthony today:

I’m sorry. My bad. I had a FaceTime session with my son, so I skipped out on you guys yesterday. I apologize. It’s true, though. That’s true. It’s true. He had a school night.

The NBA’s media-access rules state: “All players must be available to the media for a minimum of five to 10 minutes during the postgame media access period.” It’s been a while since someone got punished for violating the policy, but Kevin Garnett was fined $25,000 for not speaking to the media after Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference finals.

I’m sympathetic to Anthony wanting to speak to his son, who’s still in New York. But the league tends not to take these personal concerns into consideration, which is probably for the best. There’s a rule. Anthony violated it. Assessing which personal calls should supersede the rule is a can of worms not worth opening. Besides, Anthony probably could have returned to the locker room for an interview after concluding the call.

Anthony earns a lot of money. If he wanted to risk a $25,000 fine to speak with his son, I have absolutely no problem with that. But that’s probably the choice he made.

In my experience, Anthony has been forthright with the media. He spent years as the face of the Knicks, dutifully answering for problems created by James Dolan and Phil Jackson. Because he was available nearly daily while his superiors avoided interviews, Anthony was the grilled by the New York media.

I bet he expected a reprieve in Oklahoma City. Instead, the spotlight has shined on him as a problem with the underwhelming Thunder.

It’s understandable he’d rather talk to his son than reporters. But it’s also understandable the NBA wants to promote its business through the media, and the league has power to enforce its rules.

Grizzlies fan absolutely owns kids halftime scrimmage (video)

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The Grizzlies lost for the 15th time in their last 16 games, a 25-point drubbing at home against the Heat, last night.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom in Memphis.

This young fan – while playing in the halftime scrimmage – stopped his dribble, stepped on the ball, whipped off his youth jersey to reveal a Marc Gasol jersey, flexed, re-started his dribbled then drove for a basket.

Matt Ellentuck of SB Nation:

The Grizzlies don’t deserve this hero.

DeMarcus Cousins pushes Trevor Ariza after whistle, gets technical foul (video)

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For better or worse, DeMarcus Cousins is moody.

Just after getting dunked on by Clint Capela, Cousins showed his frustration by pushing Trevor Ariza after a whistle. The Pelicans center got his NBA-leading ninth technical foul – automatic suspension triggered at No. 16 – but I’m surprised this didn’t escalate beyond just that.

Paul George floors Jeremy Lamb with crossover, hits step-back 3-pointer over him (video)

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The Thunder suffered a rough home loss to the Hornets, but at least Oklahoma City produced a couple fun highlights.

Not only did Russell Westbrook have this powerful dunk, Paul George put the moves on Jeremy Lamb.