David Griffin defends Cavaliers’ pursuit of John Calipari

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The No. 1 reason LeBron James signed with the Cavaliers is because he was born in Northeast Ohio. The No. 1 reason Kevin Love approved a trade to the Cavaliers was because LeBron had already signed.

So, Cleveland’s great offseason was set in motion for reasons outside the Cavaliers’ control.

But general manager David Griffin still cleared the cap space necessary to sign LeBron and organized the Love trade (though luck, winning the lottery, played a huge role their too). The amount is debatable, but Griffin deserves credit – and he nearly lost his authority before the offseason began.

Griffin became interim general manager in February and permanent general manager in May. In June, the Cavaliers pursued Kentucky coach John Calipari to become team president, which would have usurped Griffin’s authority.

Fortunately for the Cavaliers, Calipari turned them down, allowing Griffin to oversee one of the best offseasons of all-time. Maybe things would have gone as well with Calipari, but it’s hard to believe they could have gone any better.

So, Griffin could be telling Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and vice chairman Nate Forbes “I told you so.” In hindsight, Cleveland probably should have just stuck with Griffin all along.

Instead, Griffin is taking the high road.

Griffin on The Doug Gottlieb Show (hat tip: James Herbert of Eye on Basketball):

To be honest with you, I don’t think anything was ever done without my knowledge of what was being done, for one. And two, I turned down opportunities to be a GM before because the fit wasn’t right

And when I sat with Dan and Nate, when we talked about our vision for the future and me having this job, I encouraged them to talk to other people. It was something that was really important to me.

I would have talked to John Calipari if I was them. I would have been disappointed if they didn’t. So, it didn’t bother me in the least.

Just as I was beginning to trust Griffin’s judgment, he implies Calipari is fit to run an NBA team. If I were searching for a team president, not interviewing Calipari sure wouldn’t disappoint me.

But hopefully, Griffin is just showcasing another skill essential for an NBA general manager – pleasing the owner.

Owners often get blamed for interfering with general managers, but part of the general manager’s job as successfully managing the owner. Defending Gilbert’s chase of Calipari could help Griffin do that.

There’s not another good reason to defend your boss pursuing a lesser candidate in order to demote you.

NBA fines Kyrie Irving for profanity directed toward fan in Philly (VIDEO)

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We were waiting for this moment this weekend and now it’s here. Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving has been fined $25,000 by the NBA for cursing at a fan in Philadelphia after the Celtics beat the 76ers.

This comes in the wake of the DeMarcus Cousins getting fined the same amount for getting into a similar altercation with a fan.

The NBA released the news Sunday in a statement issued through their PR department.

Via Twitter:

If you haven’t seen video of the incident, you can watch it below. Fair warning, there is obviously some very NSFW language in the media the ahead.

For what it’s worth, Irving said that he did not regret saying anything to the fan.

Via ESPN:

“At the end of the day, we’re human. It’s in heat of the moment and frustrations arise, we were at halftime, we were down by 4, in an environment, a season-opener in Philly. Being with a young team like we have here and staying composed, handling that before we go in the locker room and addressing what we have to do in the locker room and going out and handling business and getting the W, that’s really the only thing that matters to me.

“It’s up to the league at this point. But, like I said, I’m going to take full responsibility for what I said. I don’t have any regrets for it.”

Boston’s next game is on Tuesday at home against New York.

Bobby Portis apologizes for punching Nikola Mirotic in the face (VIDEO)

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As if this season wasn’t going to be hard enough for the Chicago Bulls, it started off on the wrong foot when Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic got into a fight during practice. That fight resulted in a facial fracture for Mirotic, putting one of Chicago’s best players out for multiple weeks.

Portis addressed the issue this week by apologizing to fans, the team, and Mirotic. However, Portis said that he has not heard from Mirotic since the fight, and that he did not respond when he tried to call his teammate.

Video of Portis’ apology is interesting if only because it’s a bit hard to discern the level of sincerity.

Via Twitter:

Chicago is 0-2 on the season. Portis is in the middle of serving an 8 game suspension for the incident.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scores career-high 44, dedicates game to father

Associated Press
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MILWAUKEE (AP) — After scoring a career-high 44 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo wrote a note on the game ball.

“This is for daddy. We got a win tonight,” the 22-year-old Milwaukee Bucks player said, remembering his father, Charles, who died last month at age 54.

Antetokounmpo scored 17 points in the fourth quarter, including a dunk that put Milwaukee ahead 111-110 with 11 seconds to go.

After a timeout, Damian Lillard found Jusuf Nurkic running open down the lane, but Antetokounmpo blocked his shot at the basket, sending the 7-foot center crashing to the floor.

Antetokounmpo, starting his fifth NBA season, made 17 of 23 shots with eight rebounds and four assists as Milwaukee kept pace with a Portland team that had dominated its first two opponents. The Bucks star is averaging 38.3 points through three games, up from 22.9 last year, 16.9 in 2015-16 and 12.7 in 2014-15.

“Seventy-nine more. This is just the beginning,” he said, thinking about how many regular-season games remain.

After Nurkic was rejected at the basket, Khris Middleton was fouled and made both free throws.

“They committed two guys to Dame, so somebody was going to be open,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said, referring to Lillard. “Turned out to be Nurk but they made a really good defensive play.”

Lillard scored 26 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter. CJ McCollum also scored 26, and Nurkic had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Tony Snell scored 17 points and Middleton added 16 for Milwaukee.

 

Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant ejected at end of loss to Grizzlies

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Stephen Curry is going to get fined for this.

The former MVP was frustrated, his team losing and thinking he was fouled by Mike Conley as he attacked the rim late in the Warriors loss in Memphis Saturday night. Curry threw his mouthpiece at the referee, which deservedly got him ejected instantly.

Durant followed him to the locker room, making a gesture that will earn him a fine as well.

The Warriors are 1-2 to start the season and there are a lot of factors at play. The China trip does this to teams, and throw in three straight trips to the Finals on top of it and it has an impact. The team is a little banged up. However, the biggest issue is their defense is a mess right now.

The Warriors will straighten it out eventually, but the start of the season could be a rough one for them.