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?

PBT Extra: Disciplined Celtics highlight bad habits of Milwaukee Bucks

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Giannis Antetokounmpo has been every bit the top five NBA player in the postseason — 32.5 points per game on 63.2 percent shooting, plus with 11 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game.

Yet the Bucks are down 0-2 to Boston.

The Celtics have had a strong series from Al Horford and Terry Rozier, but the real difference is in the discipline this team has shown all season — Boston knows who it is. Clearly, Milwaukee does not. They turn the ball over too much and make too many mistakes.

I get into all of that in this PBT Extra, and I wonder if that’s something the Bucks can really turn around mid-playoffs.

Ettore Messina to coach Spurs in Game 3 following death of Gregg Popovich’s wife

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s wife, Erin, died yesterday.

That sad news was felt throughout the NBA, and it obviously affects San Antonio most closely. That includes for tonight’s Game 3 against the Warriors.

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:

Ettore Messina was a longtime head coach in Europe. The Spurs lead assistant also took over for a few regular-season games Popovich missed. So, making – rather than advising – coaching decisions won’t be a brand new challenge to Messina.

But down 2-0 to defending-champion Golden State is a tough place to make an NBA playoff debut.

On the bright side, there will be no pressure. Not only has San Antonio been outclassed the first two games of the series, focus is rightly on the Popovich family. A win would be a pleasant surprise and help Messina – who’s up for the Hornets job – in his pursuit of a head-coaching position. A loss would be quickly forgotten with more important matters at hand.

To that end, hopefully the time away allows Popovich the space he needs to grieve. That matters far more than a basketball game.

Report: Knicks to interview Kenny Smith for head-coaching job

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The Knicks are casting a wide net in their coaching search.

It’ll apparently include a familiar, though surprising, name.

ESPN:

TNT analyst Kenny Smith will interview for the New York Knicks’ head-coaching job on Friday, a source told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

A quality organization, the Rockets, interviewed Smith (in 2016, before hiring Mike D’Antoni). So, this isn’t proof of the Knicks’ oddball thinking. (There are plenty of better examples, if you wish).

Steve Kerr opened the door for former players to go straight from TV to being an NBA head coach without having any coaching experience. He’s been a smash hit with the Warriors.

But Kerr was also the Suns’ general manager before Golden State hired him. Smith has no front-office experience.

So, it’s tough to judge Smith, whose role on television is more to entertain than inform (though he does both). He’ll have to really wow in his interview to get the job.

But at least he has that opportunity.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan slips and falls while arguing call (video)

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Nate McMillan slipped up in his handling of Victor Oladipo‘s early fouls during the Pacers’ Game 2 loss to the Cavaliers last night.

Then, the Indiana coach literally slipped while arguing that LeBron James should have been called for offensively fouling Lance Stephenson.