P.J Hairston charged in connection to fight at pick-up game Sunday, will not be arrested

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After sorting through the always-conflicting stories that surround a fight, police in Durham, North Carolina, have decided to charge recent Hornets’ draft pick P.J. Hairston with assault and battery in relation to a fight at a pick-up game Sunday.

However, he will not be arrested in the case, according to the report.

ABC-11 in Durham has the details.

Charlotte Hornets rookie Samuel Peterson Harrison Jr. – aka PJ Hairston – is facing charges after a high school basketball player in Durham claims the NBA player punched him Sunday at a Durham YMCA.

The 17-year-old told ABC11 that Hairston, a former UNC player, punched him twice while they were playing a recreational game. Kentrell Barkley said he did not throw any punches.

As expected, Hairston’s agent Juan Morrow tells a different story.

“Trying to make a name for himself by competing hard against a NBA player and tempers flared … This happens in a pickup game, this is nothing new, but just because of PJ Hairston people making it more than what it seems to be,” Juan Morrow said.

Police pretty much always sort through conflicting information when it comes to fights, in this case they did that and sided with Barkley.

Hairston has two inches and 30 pounds on Barkley. More than that, he should have maturity — Hairston is the pro with something to lose and has to know when to walk away from the situation. Hairston played last season in the D-League and showed real talent but more than that people around the team said he showed a new maturity. That is now out the window, especially since he has been hanging with troubled Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (who was driving Hairston’s Escalade when Gordon was recently arrested for a DWI).

Also of concern to the Hornets, if a high school player can get under Hairston’s skin and get him to throw punches, what happens in the NBA where smack talk and mental mind games are a nightly occurrence.

The Hornets released this statement on Sunday:

“The organization is aware of an incident this afternoon involving P.J. Hairston. We are in the process of gathering additional information and will have no further comment at this time.”

Both the NBA and teams tend to let the legal course play itself out, for there to be a plea or verdict, before taking any action.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.

Pacers president Kevin Pritchard likes tweets critical of Paul George trade

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Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard was widely panned – including by me – for trading Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

Oops.

Oladipo and Sabonis are killing it while George has underwhelmed.

Upon George’s return to Indiana, Pritchard took the opportunity to gloat. The Pacers general manager recently liked these tweets (hat tip: Matt Ellentuck of SB Nation):

This is petty – and I love it. Pritchard earned the victory lap.

Report: Rival executives still expect Paul George to leave Thunder for Lakers

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Paul George has been pretty open about his plans.

He told plenty of people – including the Pacers – he planned to leave for the Lakers in the summer of 2018. Even after the Thunder traded for him, George spoke of the lure of playing for his hometown team.

Of course, George also left the door open to re-signing with Oklahoma City. He proclaimed he’d be dumb to leave if the Thunder reached the conference finals or upset the Warriors.

So far, Oklahoma City (12-14) doesn’t even look like a playoff lock, let alone a team capable of knocking off Golden State or reaching the conference finals. So, cue the inevitable speculation.

Sam Amick of USA Today:

Rival execs still expect Paul to head for the Lakers in free agency

Do these executives have inside information into George’s thinking, or are they just speculating based on already-available information? Some executives are incentivized to drum up the Lakers threat, because they want to trade for George themselves now. If these executives insist George will leave for Los Angeles regardless, they might pry him from Oklahoma City for less.

There’s also a theory George is hyping his desire to sign with the Lakers so a team would have to trade less for him. That got him to the Thunder for what looked like a meager return (but hasn’t been). It might get him to a more favorable situation before the trade deadline without hampering his next team long-term. Of course, this theory isn’t mutually exclusive with George actually signing in Los Angeles. It could just get him better options to choose from this summer.

Surely, the Thunder are trying to parse all this noise. If their season doesn’t turn around, they should explore flipping George rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer. But they should also be wary that he’ll bolt for Los Angeles at first opportunity just because rival executives predict it.