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LeBron James also bemoans Phil Jackson snub

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As he got rolling on Charles Barkley, LeBron James took a moment to address Knicks president Phil Jackson. Jackson, of course, tweaked LeBron earlier in the season by referring to LeBron’s business associates and friends as LeBron’s “posse.”

LeBron, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

“I went to see Melo at the Garden two years ago when we were in New York,” James said. “They played Portland. I went up to a suite at halftime and Phil Jackson didn’t say one word to me.”

“I’m here to win ball games and take care of my teammates and take care of my, what’s that word, oh, my ‘posse,’ ” James said, animatedly.

LeBron’s complaints about Jackson’s word choice were fair. “Posse” is a code word used disproportionately to describe the people around black athletes and entertainers. The word, consciously and subconsciously, divides us by race. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging and reacting to that.

But this alleged snub is a different matter.

LeBron would be a free agent the following summer and, as usual, there were rumors about him signing in New York. Jackson talking to him would have opened the door for tampering charges.

Could Jackson have said hello without drawing scrutiny? Probably. Heck, the arbitrary way the NBA enforces tampering rules, Jackson might have been able to pitch LeBron on the Knicks without punishment.

But Jackson had already been fined for tampering once since taking over the Knicks. I’m not rushing to blame him for avoiding another violation.

On the other hand, Jackson got fined again later that season for talking about then-Ohio State freshman D'Angelo Russell. Perhaps, Jackson just didn’t know about that rule, which differs slightly from the rule about tampering with players signed to other NBA teams.

Or maybe there’s a real iciness between Jackson and LeBron that manifested with a cold shoulder in the suite.

DeMarcus Cousins answers first several Kings-related questions same way (video)

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DeMarcus Cousins had a bitter exit from the Kings, but that won’t be the last they see of him.

Cousins’ Pelicans will host Sacramento tomorrow night.

Not that Cousins rushed to talk about the matchup.

Justin Verrier of ESPN:

Cousins is pretty funny when joking with the media, and his smile is contagious. Just listen to all the laughs Cousins generates as he goes through his shtick.

Bonus points to Cousins for eventually breaking down and providing real answers. Some of his relationships in Sacramento were clearly meaningful to him, and he wanted to acknowledge those — even if he’d prefer just to get past this awkward game and all the talk it invites.

Report: Sweet-shooting 7-footer Lauri Markkanen leaving Arizona for NBA draft

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Lauri Markkanen is 7-foot and made 42% of his 3-pointers this season.

That combination alone will have NBA teams drooling, and the Arizona freshman will capitalize.

Evan Daniels of Scout:

Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen is declaring for the NBA Draft and is expected to sign with an agent, multiple sources told Scout.

Markkanen seems pretty certain to get picked in the lottery, likely in the top 10.

Calling him a good shooter for his height undersells him. It’s not just he shoots so efficiently from deep, it’s that he can generate 3-pointers in so many ways — pick-and-pops, spot-ups, off off-ball screens and even running pick-and-rolls himself. Having the height to shoot over defenders is his most noticeable asset, but don’t undersell his mobility.

Markkanen also finishes well at the rim and offensively rebounds at extremely impressive clip for someone who spends so much time on the perimeter. Those interior skills instill belief he will eventually become a suitable defender.

There are a couple red flags. He’s old for a freshman, turning 20 before the draft. He leaves plenty to be desired defensively, especially due to his lack of strength.

But his size and shooting are tantalizing. That’s plenty for now.

Dwyane Wade wowed by jumping, around-the-back alley-oop pass in McDonald’s All-American Game (video)

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Watch for Collin Sexton in the 2018 NBA draft.

In the meantime, the Alabama commit had all eyes — include Dwyane Wade‘s — on him with this pass in the McDonald’s All-American Game last night.

Carmelo Anthony on shrinking role with Knicks: ‘I see the writing on the wall… I’m at peace with that’

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Carmelo Anthony scored just nine points on 12 shots in the Knicks loss to the Heat last night — well below his season averages of 22 points on 19 shots per game.

Anthony, via Ian Begley of ESPN:

“I see the writing on the wall. I see what it is,” Anthony said late Wednesday night. “I see what they’re trying to do, and it’s just me accepting that. That’s what puts me at peace. Just knowing and understanding how things work. I’m at peace with that.”

Is Anthony talking about just the Knicks’ final dozen games of this season, when they’re clearly interesting in testing less-proven players? Or is he referring to his entire tenure in New York?

Anthony has said he’d consider waiving his no-trade clause if the Knicks want to rebuild, and they’ll reportedly try again to trade him this offseason. Perhaps, this is Anthony indicating he’s warming up to the idea of allowing a trade.

Anthony’s and Kristaps Porzingis‘ timelines are barely compatible, if at all. It’d make sense for the Knicks to go in a different direction.

Could Anthony be at peace with that?