Tom Gores

Pistons owner Tom Gores will address Joe Dumars’ fate swiftly after season

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Before the season, Pistons owner Tom Gores said the playoffs were minimum goal and Joe Dumars’ job was safe.

Well, barring a miracle, Detroit will miss the postseason for the fifth straight season.

Is Dumars’ job still safe?

David Mayo of MLive:

Whether there is a front-office overhaul or not, Gores said it not a decision that will be allowed to fester.

“Yeah, after the season, we’re going to address it right away,” he said.  “We have to.  We have to let the season play out, then we’ve got to get it done.”

The last time Gores said he’d make a decision quickly after the season, he fired Lawrence Frank.

At this point, it would be shocking to see Dumars return. His contract expires after season, and he’s really stumbled these last several years. Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva were disastrous signings in 2009, and Dumars sent what could be a prime lottery pick to the Bobcats to escape Gordon’s deal one year early. He used the resulting cap space on Josh Smith, who might require a lottery sweetener of his own attached to any trade that sends him out.

Gores also addressed Maurice Cheeks’ firing, making this the first time he or Dumars has spoken publicly about it.

“I feel it was the right thing to do and I feel good about it,” Gores said in his first public comments on the firing, save for a press release.  “This is a very young team, a very young team.  So we have to put them in a position grow as much as possible, and I felt like they were not in a position to grow as much as possible.  So I feel good about it.”

Gores said interim coach John Loyer is “doing a great job,” even if that hasn’t been reflected in the standings.

“The team is better than their record,” Gores said.  “They just are.  They’re better than their record.  So I wouldn’t say they didn’t respond.  I would say that they’re just doing their best right now.  I believe in these guys.  I believe in this team.”

Gores seemingly went over Dumars to fire Cheeks, further indicating Dumars is on his way out. That Gores still stands by the firing so resolutely shows he’s not exactly re-thinking his plan in order to give Dumars more control.

In so many ways, the writing is on the wall.

To give Gores credit, it was good for the franchise he addressed the Cheeks firing – even if the circumstances were eye-roll-inducing. Gores never should have gone this long without speaking to the media about Cheeks, and it shouldn’t have take a game a month-and-a-half later in Los Angeles, where Gores lives and the Pistons played the Clippers Saturday, for it to happen.

But the Pistons are honoring the 25th anniversary of their first championship when they play the Heat on Friday. It would have been poor taste to distract from those festivities to address Cheeks (and even poorer taste to keep ignoring it). By getting it out of the way, Gores can put the attention back on members of that 1988-89 team and those celebrating them Friday.

Though that might backfire.

I suspect Dumars – and, if he’s introduced to the crowd, Gores – will be be booed heartily by Detroit fans.

It’s a trend: Russell Westbrook posts video of him singing two more breakup songs

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 21:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant #35 discuss play during the first half against the Los Angeles ClipperLos Angeles Kingsat Staples Center on December 21, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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At this point, there is zero chance Russell Westbrook‘s posts are a coincidence.

First. he posted a video of himself singing along to Lil Uzi Vert’s “Now I Do What I Want.”

Then came the shoe ad that was another little jab at now Warriors Kevin Durant.

Now comes Westbrook’s return to karaoke posts, this time singing Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Getting Back Together” and Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake.”

Apparently, Westbrook and Durant are having one rough teenage breakup.

Fun throwback video: Paul George vicious dunk on LeBron’s Heat

Indiana Pacers' Paul George goes up for a dunk during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, in Indianapolis. Indiana won 104-97. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
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One of the great stories of last season was the return of Paul George to All-Star level form (then to watch him be crucial to the USA winning gold this summer).

It was a great story because vintage Paul George was so great. Watch this throwback video of him blowing by LeBron James and dunking over Chris Andersen from a few years back — this is vicious.

@ygtrece to the rack in the #NBAPlayoffs! #NBAvault

A video posted by NBA History (@nbahistory) on

By the way, if you’re not following NBA history on Twitter and Instagram, you’re doing it wrong.

Chris Bosh on if he’s working out: “Yes, I’m hooping. I’m a hooper.”

CHARLOTTE, NC - APRIL 25:  Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat watches on from the bench against the Charlotte Hornets during game four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Time Warner Cable Arena on April 25, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Chris Bosh wants to play basketball this season. Of that, there is no doubt.

The question is will the Heat let him after he missed the end of the last two seasons due to potentially life-threatening blood clots? If so, will he have minutes or travel restrictions?

Bosh is working out to get ready for the season — he posted a video of it Monday on Snapchat, showing off his handles, and put it this way: Ues, he’s hooping.

The Heat and Bosh need to come to common ground on this before training camp opens. Bosh is on blood thinners for his condition, the team and he need to decide if he can come off them on game days or if there is another protocol that works for everyone.

The Heat would be a vastly better team with Bosh on the court this season, but that didn’t motivate them to bring him back during the playoffs last season (even though he wanted to). Whatever happens, Bosh wants to play.

Former Nuggets coach Bernie Bickerstaff talks when Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf sat for Anthem

15 Mar 1996: Point guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf of the Denver Nuggets stands in prayer during the singing of the National Anthem before the Nuggets game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Abdul-Rauf came to an agreement with
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Twenty years before Colin Kaepernick made his stand by sitting for the national anthem during preseason games — something he has every right to do: if we are going to force compliance in our rituals of allegiance how are we different as a nation than the countries we rail against for forced indoctrination? — the NBA had Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.

For those that don’t remember, Abdul-Rauf was a good NBA guard and a member of a Denver Nuggets in the mid-1990s. He had converted to being a Muslim during his playing career. As his faith and beliefs grew, he came to view the flag as a symbol of oppression. In the middle of the 1995-96 season, he told the NBA he would no longer stand for the anthem. Everything was kept quiet for a while, but when the PR storm hit it led to a few strange days — the league suspended him at one point — before was a compromise where he would stand for the anthem but pray into his hands during it.

Bernie Bickerstaff was the coach of the Nuggets at the time and went on SiriusXM NBA Radio Monday to talk about those days. His first reaction was that of virtually every coach who has heard or talked about Kaepernick.

“Distractions,” Bickerstaff said. “It caused a lot of distractions, and you know at that point the number of media members was not quite as resounding as it is today. But still, it was a distraction.”

Bickerstaff said he was blindsided byAbdul-Rauf’s decision, and he said they scrambled to deal with the fallout. He said he and the brain trust of the team eventually had a meeting with the guard and told him if he wanted to be on the team he had to stand for the anthem.

“We had him come in, to sit down and have a conversation, and the conversation was about, the one thing that we have in this life is freedom of choice, and with that choice comes consequences. And my conversation with him was simply that one of the guys I probably admired most at that time was Muhammad Ali, because not only did he make a decision not to step forward but it was the part of it, the things that he gave up, and our message basically to (Abdul-Rauf) was ‘Hey, that’s the guy I admire. If you really feel that way then you go home, and you give us a call and let us know you’re willing to walk away from that contract, and then I can really, really, respect that…

“When he got home, we got a call and he said ‘I think I want to be on the trip.’ And that’s our understanding, if you’re on the trip, then you’re standing.”

The NBA came in with a more fair compromise.

If this were to happen again with the NBA, it would be interesting to see how Adam Silver would handle this compared to the heavy-handed David Stern.