Joel Embiid

Report: Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker planning to skip NBA predraft combine in Chicago

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The NBA’s annual predraft combine will be held in Chicago this week, which is a chance for teams to descend and get medical testing, measurements and interviews done with the majority of the candidates expected to be taken in this summer’s draft all appearing in one place.

But occasionally, players choose not to attend, for a variety of reasons. And two of the players appearing at or near the top of many teams’ draft boards have apparently made that choice.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Kansas’ Joel Embiid and Duke’s Jabari Parker – two potential No. 1 overall picks in the NBA draft – will not attend next week’s predraft combine in Chicago, league sources told Yahoo Sports. …

Ultimately, this is a way for the elite player to control how many teams ultimately have information on his medical history. While most top prospects don’t participate in the basketball elements of the combine, most make themselves available for physicals to be distributed to the 30 NBA teams. …

“They may have to do multiple physicals now,” one NBA general manager told Yahoo Sports. “It’s more of a concern about Embiid than Parker, given [Embiid’s] back issues.”

Embiid is recovering from season-ending back surgery, but injury alone won’t necessarily prohibit teams from using a high draft pick to select a prospect they feel may be a future cornerstone of a given franchise.

Nerlens Noel, for example, was projected by many to go number one overall in last year’s draft, but slipped to sixth before being traded to the Sixers. With Philadelphia being in a full-fledged rebuild, the team was content to let him take his time rehabilitating from a torn ACL injury, and chose to work with him privately while having him sit out the entire season.

This could be a strategy to ensure that only teams with a pick in the top two or three gain access to Embiid’s medical information, and without being cleared yet to participate in full-contact workouts, there appears little to be gained by him going through the process.

Parker is also likely to go top-three, and similarly shouldn’t be negatively impacted by skipping the event.

LeBron James talked Justin Bieber out of performing at Donald Trump’s nominating convention

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 29: Justin Bieber drinks champagne at the podium during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 29, 2016 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Lars Baron/Getty Images
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With the Republican National Convention being held in Cleveland, you knew there was going to be a LeBron James influence.

It apparently kept Justin Bieber away from Donald Trump and Co.

TMZ

Justin Bieber got a $5 million offer to perform at a Republican event during the GOP Convention, but turned it down after his manager considered quitting and LeBron James urged him to reject it … sources tell TMZ.

That’s a lot of money for a single gig. This either speaks to the power of LeBron’s words — or the embellishment of Bieber’s value.

Watch Bulls’ Dwyane Wade press conference live (video)

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Dwyane Wade playing for a team other than the Heat will be strange.

You can get your first glimpse of that weirdness today, when the Bulls introduce Wade at 3 p.m. Eastern.

If the above video doesn’t load, click here to watch the press conference.

Russell Westbrook laughs off Kevin Durant question (video)

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, right, gestures after scoring as forward Kevin Durant stands by during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Los Angeles. The Thunder won 117-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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How does Russell Westbrook feel about Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder for the Warriors?

Westbrook has been silent on the signing, leaving Durant and anonymous sources to speak on his behalf — and the NBA world hungry for his response.

The first glimpse:

Feel free to read way too much into that laugh.

(hat tip: reddit user esoh)

Phil Jackson: ‘Today’s players simply lack the skills to play the triangle’

New York Knicks president Phil Jackson speaks to reporters during a news conference in Greenburgh, N.Y., Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Derek Fisher was fired as New York Knicks coach Monday, with his team having lost five straight and nine of 10 to fall well back in the Eastern Conference playoff race. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
AP Photo/Seth Wenig
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See whether you can follow this timeline:

1. Knicks president Phil Jackson stated his commitment to the triangle offense entering the 2015-16 season.

2. Jackson in a December interview published today, via Charley Rosen of Today’s Fastbreak:

Today’s players simply lack the skills to play the triangle. They know how to play one-on-one, catch-and-shoot, and they’ve mastered crossover dribbles, spins, playing off of screens and step-back shots. They don’t know how to execute things like inside-reverse pivots and other basic footwork. They have no sense of timing or organization. They don’t really know how to play five-on-five basketball. It’s strictly generational.

That’s why Fish {Derek Fisher} wants to uptempo the offense. And why he spends a half-hour before practice doing lots of skills work.

3. Jackson fires coach Derek Fisher, who — according to interim coach Kurt Rambis — resisted the triangle.

4. Jackson said the Knicks would continue to run the triangle and even ran a triangle camp for New York players.

5. Jackson hired Jeff Hornacek, who has little triangle experience, and said the new coach wouldn’t have to run the triangle.

¯_(ツ)_/¯

Maybe Jackson, relying on his December thoughts, finally changed his mind about the triangle. Maybe he believes players can still be taught triangle skills and actually plans to have Hornacek use the system.

Or maybe the Knicks are just rudderless.