LeBron James’ agent denied access at Game 2 of the Finals

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I have a friend who couldn’t be nicer.

He spent his summer working at Comerica Park, where the Detroit Tigers play. After one playoff game, he was stationed outside the Tigers’ clubhouse.

Reggie Jackson – Mr. October, not the Thunder guard – tried to enter. My friend asked to see his pass.

“Don’t you know who I am?” said Jackson, who did not have a pass.

“I don’t care,” my friend replied.

The point: The people charged with regulating access at these types of events do their jobs with pride.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Most times, James’ inner circle moves easily through the corridors and news conferences where rival agents are rarely, if ever, credentialed in the NBA Finals. In the regular season and playoffs, you’ll see star agents with the run of arenas, but never with league-issued passes. There are benefits to working with the King, and perhaps that’s why Paul seemed so perplexed when a dutiful arena guard wouldn’t let him into his client’s news conference late Sunday.

“I’m LeBron James’ agent,” Rich Paul told the security woman.

She looked at his credential. She looked at him. She shrugged.

“I’m LeBron James’ agent,” Paul said again. “What don’t you understand about that?

She told him simply that his credential didn’t allow access into the news conference. She didn’t seem confused, nor doubting of his fancy job. This was a news conference, and he didn’t seem to be a reporter, nor a team official.

Paul was reaching now. “I can’t be LeBron James’ agent because I’ve got sneakers on?”

She hadn’t been studying his shoes, but she did glance down and they didn’t seem to bother her. Paul could see [Maverick] Carter inside the news conference room, sitting on a chair, awaiting James’ arrival. How he made it past security and Paul couldn’t, well, it seemed baffling to him. He wasn’t a happy man

I really enjoy this story and wouldn’t mind if video emerges just to laugh at the scene.

LeBron has empowered his friends to represent him, and sometimes, they unwittingly fan the flames of the criticism against him. I’m sure they’ve helped him in many ways, but they’ve also made him look bad by association (The Decision, etc.).

Even though Paul was supposed to help, consider this one of instances harmful to LeBron’s images. Whether or not this was a simple misunderstanding – and even acknowledging Paul’s actions should reflect him more than anyone else – it always comes back on LeBron.

PBT Extra: Who has upper hand in NBA Finals now?

Quinn Cook signing two-year contract with Hawks

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The Hawks began last season with just two point guards, one fewer than most teams – especially notable because neither starter Dennis Schroder nor backup Malcolm Delaney was experienced for his role.

Schroder and Delaney return, but Atlanta is adding another option – Quinn Cook.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Cook is a borderline NBA player. He might not make the regular-season roster. He also might supplant Delaney for a rotation spot.

A 24-year-old who has spent most of the last two years in the D-League (also getting stints with the Mavericks and Pelicans), Cook is a good outside shooter. He’s also steady, if unspectacular, in his lead-guard duties.

This is a solid flier at a position the Hawks could use depth.

Knicks sign Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Jamel Artis

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The Knicks signing Nigel Hayes leaked first.

But New York didn’t stop there.

Knicks release:

The New York Knickerbockers announced today that the team has signed forwards Jamel Artis and Nigel Hayes and guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes.

Like Hayes, Artis (Pittsburgh) and Rathan-Mayes (Florida State) went undrafted this year – making them eligible to be waived and assigned to the Knicks’ minor-league affiliate. That’s likely all three’s fate.

But first, each will have an opportunity to make the regular-season roster. The Knicks have just 14 players with guaranteed salaries, leaving one roster spot for someone on a standard contract. Chasson Randle (unguaranteed) is the incumbent choice, but these three could supplant him.

O.J. Mayo says abusing prescription painkillers triggered NBA ban

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Last year, O.J. Mayo was banned from the NBA for at least two years due to a drug violation. Aside from stating a plan to come back, Mayo didn’t say much publicly.

Until now.

Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated:

He acknowledged smoking marijuana and abusing a prescription pain medication that triggered his two-year ban because it is on the NBA’s “drugs of abuse” list. (He emphatically denied testing positive for hard drugs like cocaine.)

Mayo also concluded that he had been “overwhelmed” by a string of difficult life events: his father, high school basketball star Kenny Ziegler, was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for distributing crack cocaine, his brother was placed in juvenile lock-up, a close friend went to jail, and another was killed. “I was bred to play basketball and I thought I could balance everything,” he said. “I couldn’t.”

That’s part of an interesting feature on Mayo, who’s training for his come back. Golliver’s story makes it easy to pull for Mayo.

But the guard will be 30 when he’s eligible to apply for reinstatement, and he played lousily in his last three seasons with the Bucks.

Hopefully, Mayo has and keeps his personal life in order. But returning to the NBA will be an uphill battle.

James Harden throws alley-oop to Chris Paul, pair puts on show at Houston charity event

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What chemistry problem?

There are legitimate questions about how Chris Paul and James Harden will share the backcourt and ball with the Rockets, but none of those were on display on Sunday. That’s when CP3 joined his new teammate in Harden’s charity game (raising money for Harden’s charity, which helps children from single-family homes get a higher education), a kind of pro-am with some names thrown in to draw a crowd.

Harden and CP3 put on a show for the fans.

This is a charity event, not every team is going to defend like this or the Phoenix Suns. It’s going to be harder when the games matter.

But the Rockets are going to be entertaining to watch this season. No doubt.