Joakim Noah is happy for LeBron, but hopes Bulls ‘can kick his a– as many times as possible’

28 Comments

Joakim Noah once referred to themHeat as being “Hollywood as hell” after losing to them in the 2011 playoffs, so he probably wasn’t all that broken up about LeBron James leaving Miami to return to the Cavaliers this summer.

But no matter where LeBron plays (or who the perceived favorites in the East might be), Noah is always ready to welcome the challenge of competing against him.

From K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

“I’m happy for LeBron James,” Noah said Friday. “He gets to go home. People are happy over there. But I really hope that we can kick his ass as many times as possible.”

Noah spoke at an event by his Noah’s Arc Foundation on the city’s West Side. And even with James moving from the Miami Heat to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Noah is fired up about the Bulls’ potential.

“Even when we sucked, I always felt like we had championship aspirations,” he said. “I don’t go into a game thinking we’re going to lose. Ever. I don’t care who we play against. But obviously, a lot of things need to go your way to win a championship. You have to be lucky. The chemistry has to be great.

“We feel like we’ve dealt with a lot of adversity. I think that that adversity will help us in the long run. Our team is hungry. Our team is working hours in the middle of the summer, guys are working out every day. Only time will tell. But it’s exciting.”

The Bulls added Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic to the roster, and drafted a rookie shooter in Doug McDermott who should be able to contribute immediately as part of the rotation — all legitimate reasons for Noah to be excited about the upcoming season.

The biggest piece that has yet to settle is Kevin Love, of course, who the Bulls and the Cavaliers are both targeting by putting together offers to try to strike a deal in a trade with Minnesota.

Noah’s comments won’t be bulletin board material in Cleveland, nor should they be. It’s refreshing to hear players speak in phrases that aren’t tiresome platitudes, and we can only hope that more of them choose to do the same once they realize that they’re only providing entertainment to the fans, and not enraging their competition by doing so.

Report: Turkish government issues arrest warrant for Enes Kanter

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The current, authoritarian government in Turkey is not big on dissent (they have beaten protestors of the Turkish regime at a march in this country). Or human rights.

So what’s real trouble for them is opposition and dissent from a famous, well-known person.

Which brings us to Oklahoma City big man Enes Kanter. He is a native of Turkey, and he has been outspoken in his opposition to that country’s current president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Last week the Turkish government revoked Kanter’s passport while he was traveling the globe promoting his charity. He barely got out of Indonesia and was able to get to Romania, where he was detained for a stretch before getting to return to the United States via London.

Now, the Turkish government has issued an arrest warrant for Kanter, reports the Agence France-Presse.

Turkey issued an arrest warrant on Friday for Turkish NBA star Enes Kanter, accusing him of being a member of a “terror group”, a pro-government newspaper reported.

A judge issued the arrest warrant after an Istanbul prosecutor opened an investigation into Kanter’s alleged “membership of an armed terrorist organisation”, Sabah daily reported.

He is in no danger of being extradited by the United States because of this. If anything, it strengthens his case for U.S. citizenship based on asylum.

Kanter is a supporter of the Gülen movement in that country, which is led by the exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, who currently lives in Pennsylvania. That movement has opposed Erdogan (who recently won a disputed election in that country that gives him sweeping, almost dictatorial powers). Erdogan blamed Gulen for masterminding a failed 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, one with members of the military involved (after that attempt members of the Gulen movement have been swept up by the government all over Turkey. This has come at a cost for Kanter, who has been disavowed by his own family because of his political beliefs.

Kanter is not about to back down from his position. Which means it may be a long time before he gets to visit his homeland again.

Report: Duke guard Frank Jackson undergoes foot surgery before NBA draft

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
1 Comment

Duke guard Frank Jackson declared for the 2017 NBA draft with an outside shot of going in the first round and a likelihood of getting picked in the second-round.

This won’t help his stock.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Duke’s Frank Jackson, a well-regarded point guard in the 2017 NBA draft class, underwent right foot surgery and is expected to be fully recovered sometime in July.

When Jackson recovers will determine whether he plays in summer league, and that can affect transition to the pros as a rookie.

The bigger questions: Will this hinder his athleticism long-term? Does this put him at greater injury risk?

Jackson, a 6-foot-4 scoring guard, relies on a strong first step to attack the basket and high elevation on his jumper.

Report: 76ers, with No. 3 pick in NBA draft, like PGs De’Aaron Fox and Dennis Smith Jr.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
3 Comments

If there’s consensus on the top prospects in the 2017 NBA draft, it’s:

1. Markelle Fultz

2. Lonzo Ball

3. Josh Jackson

That squares nicely with the Celtics picking Fultz No. 1 and the Lakers taking Ball No. 2.

But what about the 76ers, who pick No. 3? They already have a playmaking forward with a shaky jumper in Ben Simmons. Jackson isn’t the cleanest fit. Even if they plan to deploy Simmons at point guard, they could still use a traditional point guard for support/insurance.

Enter De'Aaron Fox and Dennis Smith Jr.

Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

https://twitter.com/SBondyNYDN/status/867526157184491521

The 76ers could also get a workout with Ball. There will be point guard options.

I’m just unsure any of them, assuming Ball is off the board, trump Jackson.

Philadelphia’s starting small forward is Robert Covington – a nice player, but not someone who should influence draft decisions. We can lightly pencil Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons into the 76ers’ starting lineup the next time the team gets good, but the rest of the lineup is open. Pondering Jackson’s fit into a half-blank canvass is overthinking. Embiid is an excellent outside shooter for a center, and Philadelphia’s eventual guards (or shooting guard and power forward if Simmons plays point guard) could be good shooters.

The 76ers’ should draft the best prospect available. If that’s Jackson, so be it. They should consider Fox’s and Smith’s fit only if those point guards are in the same tier as Jackson.

That said, don’t rule out the possibility of Fox and Smith working their way into that level. They’re intriguing players.

Thunder’s Enes Kanter: ‘I don’t like Golden State, so I want Cleveland to win the championship’

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
2 Comments

When Kevin Durant left the Thunder for the Warriors, Oklahoma City center Enes Kanter jumped fully on board the pro-Russell Westbrook, anti-Durant bandwagon.

That ride doesn’t stop with his former teammate facing the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

Kanter, via Fox Sports Radio:

I don’t like Golden State, so I want Cleveland to win the championship.

Kanter never misses an opportunity to take a shot at the Warriors – except when Zaza Pachulia laid out Westbrook and stood over him.