Dirk Nowitzki, Anthony Davis

Dirk Nowitzki bummed about missing his would-have-been team, Kentucky, in Final Four


I’ve always been fascinated by where players who entered the NBA directly from high school would have gone to college. No matter how successful the player became, the “what if?” aspect intrigues me.

And in this alternate reality, McGrady might have had a pretty good teammate at Kentucky – Dirk Nowitzki.

Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com

Nowitzki claims Kentucky as his team despite never enrolling in a class or playing a minute of college basketball. That’s because he would have been a Wildcat if he hadn’t opted to declare for the 1998 NBA draft.

“It would have been a great time,” Nowitzki said. “They showed me around. I met some of the players. Scott Padgett was my host. I went to dinner with Tubby [Smith]. He was the coach back then. Holger wore his leather jacket to dinner, so everything was great.

“I visited in ’98, so they just won [a national title], so that would have been obviously a great program. But I decided to go straight pro and was lucky. You never know what’s going to happen. I think a year of college or two was going to be great, but the way it worked out here was awesome.”

It’s a pretty good year to be a Kentucky fan and even better year to be a Kentucky fan in Dallas. Behind future lottery pick Julius Randle and multiple other potential first rounders – Willie Cauley-Stein, James Young, Alex Poythress, Aaron Harrison and Andrew Harrison – Kentucky has reached the Final Four at Jerry’s World in Arlington.

Kentucky plays Wisconsin on Saturday night, and if the Wildcats win, they’ll play for the national title Monday. But the Mavericks are on the road – at Clippers on Thursday, at Lakers on Friday, at Kings on Sunday and at Jazz on Tuesday – during the Final Four.

Nowitzki, via MacMahon:

“They screwed us over,” Nowitzki said. “We’re basically out of town the whole weekend. That’s unfortunate. I looked at the schedule obviously knowing that the Final Four was going to be here. We for sure would have gone one day, the whole team probably, so that’s disappointing.”

I suspect, if his Wildcats win it all, he’ll get over it.

Matt Barnes says he went to house because his son looked distressed

Derek Fisher, Matt Barnes, Russell Westbrook
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So far, the only substantive accounts of the Matt Barnes-Derek Fisher altercation have come from anonymous sources.

The Knicks coach has deflected questions.

But Barnes is giving his account, at least of the lead-up.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

It’s completely understandable that Barnes would act to ensure his children’s welfare.

And let’s say everything he said is true. It still leaves important questions unanswered.

Did Barnes – as he reportedly texted a friend he did – beat up Fisher and spit on his estranged wife, Gloria Govan? If so, why did Barnes deem that necessary to protect kids?

Gregg Popovich resting himself for Spurs game at Sacramento

Gregg Popovich
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Gregg Popovich said he wouldn’t coach in July.

Apparently, he’s taking off part of October, too.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

It’s not that surprising to see Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw staying home. Veterans miss preseason games all the time just to rest. With the Spurs, it happens even in the regular season.

But it’s still a little strange to see the head coach sit out, even though Popovich also did it last year.

It makes sense, though. Who cares about this preseason game? If travelling less helps the 66-year-old Popovich stay fresh in the years ahead, that’s well worth it. Plus, it gets Messina a little extra experience. Some day, he might be the head coach.