Jazz to join NBA Summer League in Las Vegas

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The Jazz have never participated in the nine-year history of the Las Vegas Summer League despite their close proximity, and it has nothing to do with any type of faux moral outrage over the event being held in Sin City.

The reasons have been much more personal.

Utah once hosted a summer league of its own called the Rocky Mountain Revue, but the Vegas version became more appealing to teams and essentially put the Utah one out of business. The Jazz have held a grudge ever since, but have agreed to put that aside and will send a team to Las Vegas this summer.

From Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

But the Jazz, which has had a connection to Las Vegas going back to the mid-1980s when it played some of its home games at the Thomas & Mack Center, has had an apparent change of heart. It will field a team for the first time when the NBA Summer League tips off its 11-day run July 11 at the Thomas &Mack and Cox Pavilion for what will be its 10th anniversary season of competition. …

“Las Vegas has always supported the Jazz, and it was clearly a consensus among my staff that Utah needed to be included,” said Warren LeGarie, who founded the summer league and helps run the event for the NBA. “I think it was just a matter of being persistent, and persistency won out. …

“Having our training camp in Orlando was difficult for us, and we felt it was time to move forward,” Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey said. “We feel there’s a natural tie-in with Las Vegas, and it’ll be great for our fans to follow us and be able to see our young players. We’re very excited about the move.”

The Orlando Summer League is very different than the one held in Vegas, in that it’s completely off limits to fans. Games are held on one of the practice courts inside the Amway Center, with only team personnel and media allowed in to witness the action.

The event in Las Vegas is hoping to continue to grow and become more of an off-season attraction, and adding a team like Utah that’s just a short drive away is only going to help in getting that goal accomplished.

Report: Knicks to interview Kenny Smith for head-coaching job

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The Knicks are casting a wide net in their coaching search.

It’ll apparently include a familiar, though surprising, name.

ESPN:

TNT analyst Kenny Smith will interview for the New York Knicks’ head-coaching job on Friday, a source told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

A quality organization, the Rockets, interviewed Smith (in 2016, before hiring Mike D’Antoni). So, this isn’t proof of the Knicks’ oddball thinking. (There are plenty of better examples, if you wish).

Steve Kerr opened the door for former players to go straight from TV to being an NBA head coach without having any coaching experience. He’s been a smash hit with the Warriors.

But Kerr was also the Suns’ general manager before Golden State hired him. Smith has no front-office experience.

So, it’s tough to judge Smith, whose role on television is more to entertain than inform (though he does both). He’ll have to really wow in his interview to get the job.

But at least he has that opportunity.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan slips and falls while arguing call (video)

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Nate McMillan slipped up in his handling of Victor Oladipo‘s early fouls during the Pacers’ Game 2 loss to the Cavaliers last night.

Then, the Indiana coach literally slipped while arguing that LeBron James should have been called for offensively fouling Lance Stephenson.

LeBron James: Reporter warned me about question on Gregg Popovich’s wife before live TV interview

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In her on-court interview with LeBron James following the Cavaliers’ Game 2 win over the Pacers last night, TNT sideline reporter Allie LaForce asked him about the death of Gregg Popovich’s wife.

LeBron appeared emotional as he gathered his thoughts.

That prompted some to criticize LaForce for ambushing LeBron on a sensitive subject on live TV. But that’s not what happened.

Uninterrupted:

LeBron:

I’m not on social media right now, but I was made aware through some friends through texts that a question was asked to me postgame, and a lot of people feel I was blindsided. That is absolutely false. Allie LaForce told me that she was going to ask the question and if it was OK.

And once I started talking about it, once we were on air, actually my emotions kind of took over. And that was just my emotions coming straight from my heart about the late Erin Popovich.

It’s unfortunate. It’s a tragic loss. My thoughts, my prayers, once again goes out to the Popovich family, to Gregg, to the Spurs family, to the whole Spurs fan base.

And also guys, please get off Allie LaForce’ back, because she followed the proper protocol and she warned me. So, get off her back, man. She’s very professional, and she does a great job at her work.

Like I said, thoughts and prayers to the heavens above. We all know the man above never makes mistakes, even when we question it. But it’s a sad, tragic time right now for the NBA family, and we’re all praying and hoping for the best.

It would have been surprising if LaForce hadn’t done that. Somewhere between nearly nobody and absolutely nobody in her position is trying to embarrass players.

PBT Extra: If Portland is going to turn series around it starts with Damian Lillard

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This was the year the Trail Blazers were going to break through. They were defending better as a team. There was some depth on offense. And Damian Lillard was playing at a level that will get him on many voters’ MVP ballots.

Instead, they are down 0-2 to Anthony Davis and New Orleans, having dropped both games at home to open the series. Portland is on the verge of being bounced in the first round for the third time in four years.

If Portland is going to turn this series around, it starts with Lillard, something I discuss in this latest PBT Extra. C.J. McCollum needs to get more buckets, Jusuf Nurkic needs to contribute more on both ends, but for Portland it all begins and ends with Lillard and it’s on him to start the turnaround.