DeSean Jackson, Robert Griffin III

Thursday And-1 Links: DeSean Jackson trolls LeBron James… poorly

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points more than Brazilians love soccer… okay, not that much….

• New Redskins receiver DeSean Jackson (who to me will always be a Long Beach Poly Jackrabbit, where I talked to him and saw him play) trolled LeBron James for some odd reason, and did it with a 2010 insult.

• The idea that Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan didn’t have talent around them when they won titles is just flat-out idiotic. Kobe needed Shaquille O’Neal to win his first, Pau Gasol and other veterans to win his second, and Phil Jackson to coach all those teams. Does that diminish what Kobe did? Not in the least. He helped take good rosters and made them great. Same with Jordan — the first year he left for baseball Scottie Pippin and the Bulls won 55 games and made the second round of the playoffs. They were not a bad team, Jordan elevated that team to legendary levels, he is arguably the greatest of all time, but nobody wins in the NBA alone. Nobody. That’s why this line of LeBron criticism is a waste. Also, why does it bother people so that LeBron and friends decided to take control of their own fates rather than work at the whim of billionaire owners? Is that how you run your life, never questioning your boss or looking for something better?

• DeMarcus Cousins wants to be part of Team USA this summer for the World Cup in Spain. It leads to an interesting question: How many true centers will Coach K bring? My guess is 1, we will play small a lot (Kevin Love at the five, small).

• This is very sad: The brother of former NBA player Dominic McGuire was shot and killed in his San Diego area apartment. While his child was asleep in the next room.

• More tragic news: The personal chef of the Heat’s Norris Cole was shot and killed at a Miami club.

Great bit of writing from Brian Windhorst at ESPN on how LeBron James turned to Jerry West and Isiah Thomas — two guys who knew Finals pain — to help him deal with and improve off the 2011 Finals loss to the Mavericks.

• Speaking of great writing, Tom Haberstroh on Chris Bosh is a must read. Bosh is one of the most interesting, complex people in the league, a guy who refuses to be put in the two-dimensional box fans often reserve for players.

• Danilo Gallinari update:

• Among the interesting tidbits in this Grantland story about Lance Stephenson: The Hawks tested the trade waters for Al Horford last deadline.

• Tony Snell has gotten rid of the braids.

• Back in 2001 comedian Martin Lawrence tried to help recruit Chris Webber to the Pistons. The effort failed, but the front office was so grateful that in 2004 they gave him a championship ring.

• LeBron James went to the movies. That’s news, I guess.

• Shane Larkin is spending the off-season working on his ability to drive the lane, draw a defense and create for others.

• A former advisor to the NBA players union just got 18 months in jail for fraud.

• Golden State center Festus Ezeli, who missed a chunk of the season following knee surgery, has gotten the okay from doctors to play in the Las Vegas Summer League.

• DeAndre Liggins is working out at the Brooklyn Nets’ facility trying to get on their team for the Orlando Summer League.

• Wizards prospect Tomas Satoransky is not playing for the team in the Las Vegas Summer League.

• Finally, Dikembe Mutombo’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel was… very Dikembe.

Report: Bulls shopping Rajon Rondo, Nikola Mirotic as trade deadline apporaches

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 02: Rajon Rondo #9 of the Chicago Bulls watches from the bench as the Bulls take on the Charlotte Hornets at the United Center on January 2, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Hornets 118-111. The NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Chicago’s front office chose to make quick-fix, treading water moves this summer. They wisely traded Derrick Rose and kept Jimmy Butler as a franchise cornerstone, but when the possibility of getting Dwyane Wade became a reality they decided to push to win more now, adding Rajon Rondo to the mix. The fit seemed awkward from the start and the result is exactly what everyone outside Chicago predicted — a roughly .500 team (22-23) that is terrible at shooting the three.

The Bulls are barely in the playoff mix and are now looking to make changes, shopping Rondo and Nikola Mirotic in hopes of finding players that are better fits, reports Joe Crowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.

According to multiple sources, the Bulls have been actively shopping Rajon Rondo and Nikola Mirotic in hopes of shaking up the roster, as well as making a second-half run in the wide-open Eastern Conference. However, according to one of the sources, neither player is moving the needle as far as what general manager Gar Forman deems a worthy return.

“Obviously, you knew that would be the case with Rondo,’’ the source said. “But they don’t like what they’re hearing back on [Mirotic] either. Then again, that’s a [front office] that tends to overvalue its assets.”

This isn’t really news to anyone following the Bulls, they have been looking for deals — particularly for Rondo — for a little while.

The bigger question is: What do the Bulls think they could get back for Rondo? It’s not going to be anything of value. The summer free agent market for him was not strong and, while he was arguably the best point guard still on the market when they went looking, the $14 million they gave him this season was more about money they had to spend than pure market value. Since then, Rondo has had clashes with the coaching staff and been sent to the bench which plays into his reputation (whether that is fair or not is another question), making it even harder to find a taker for him.

Mirotic has taken a step back this season and is inconsistent with what his supposed to be his strength, outside shooting — he is hitting just 31.1 percent from three this season. While a change of scenery could be good for his touch from the outside, he is also a major defensive liability, which limits his value.

All of which is to say, the Bulls are not going to get a lot in return here. The Bulls may realize that Cristiano Felicio is the future at that spot for them, but it doesn’t mean others are biting on Mirotic.

Also, just a reminder that the Bulls are shooting down all trade interest about Butler.

 

Baron Davis figured out why Russell Westbrook isn’t starting All-Star Game: Russian hackers

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When the starters for next month’s All-Star Game in New Orleans were announced this week, there was a mini-uproar on Twitter because Russell Westbrook — the guy averaging a triple-double this season — wasn’t picked. It’s hard for me to get worked up over two-time MVP Stephen Curry getting the nod, but if you want someone to blame it was the fans’ call — they voted Curry first overall, James Harden second, Westbrook third. The players and media had Westbrook first, Harden second, but the tie is broken by the fan vote.

Enter Baron Davis with the timely joke.

We just need to tie in a Zaza Pachulia joke and it will be perfect.

Report: Bucks brought Jabari Parker off bench for discussing with media team’s meeting

Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker, center, looks for an open teammate as he is surrounded by Miami Heat players during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, in Miami. The Heat defeated the Bucks 109-97. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
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The Milwaukee Bucks had lost four in a row and had slid out of a playoff slot in the East. It’s not one end of the court — in their last five games, the Bucks had the second-worst defense and fourth-worst offense in the NBA. After that fourth loss, the team held a players’ only meeting, one where Jabari Parker reportedly ripped his teammates for a lack of togetherness.

In the postgame media sessions that followed, Parker told the press he confirmed there was a meeting and said he had been “thrashed” by his teammates for what he said.

It was that speaking to the media that got him benched for a game — as decided by his teammates — reports Chris Haynes of ESPN.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker did not start in Saturday’s road loss to the Miami Heat for violating a team rule that prohibits disclosing locker room discourse to the media, league sources told ESPN…

Parker’s teammates deliberated and decided the appropriate punishment for the violation was to bring him off the bench against the Heat, league sources told ESPN. It was the first time this season that he did not start.

The meeting and the benching didn’t help, the Bucks fell to the lowly Heat 109-97. (Team/players meetings are overrated in how often they help teams turn things around.)

The good news for the Bucks is that in a tight East they remain just a game out of the playoffs and three games out of the five seed. It’s going to be a tough week to turn that around with the Rockets, resurgent Sixers, Raptors, and Celtics on the schedule.

 

Denver’s Kenneth Faried gets up, blocks DeAndre Jordan dunk attempt (VIDEO)

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Without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin in the lineup, the Clippers don’t have much going for them offensively. However, there is one thing: DeAndre Jordan can still run to the rim and dunk with authority.

Denver’s Kenneth Faried took that away Saturday.

Faried hustled back in transition, showed he still had some hops and swatted away a Jordan dunk attempt.

The Nuggets went on to win the game comfortably, 123-98, behind 19 points and 10 boards from Nikola Jokic.