Isaiah Thomas

Report: Sacramento Kings want to trade No. 8 pick

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The Sacramento Kings have their share of young players — DeMarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore, Derrick Williams, Ray McCallum.

What they don’t really want is another, they would prefer a veteran that can help them climb into the playoffs in the West next season.

So you can have their No. 8 pick if you send them a veteran, ideally one who can defend on the perimeter and has a reliable outside shot. That’s what Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com reports.

The Kings put the No. 8 pick in the draft on the trade block immediately after the lottery Tuesday night, league sources told NBA.com, clearly looking to add at least one impact veteran in an attempt to push into the playoff conversation next season rather than wait for another rookie prospect to develop.

While several teams choosing in the top 10 on June 26 will be fielding trade offers as part of a deep draft with several intriguing prospects, the Kings have signaled they will take a proactive approach in hoping to make a deal.

It comes down to this: How quality a veteran will teams surrender to snap up for the players likely to be around at No. 8 — Doug McDermott, Aaron Gordon, James Young, international guys like Dario Saric?

Teams may well be interested in a deal for financial reasons — if they believe they can unload a more expensive veteran rotation player for a rotation player on a rookie contract, it makes sense. Under the current CBA rookie contracts are incredibly valuable for that reason. Don’t take my word for it, check out the graphs at fivethirtyeight.com (that’s not what the article is supposed to be about, but it makes my point).

These kind of trades often get done draft night — the team with the veteran has their eye on one specific player and waits to make sure he falls to them before pulling the trigger. The Kings draft him and Player X goes up on stage, shakes Adam Silver’s hand while wearing a Sacramento Kings hat, then finds out five minutes later he needs a different hat.

Just something to watch on draft night. This seems very plausible.

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.