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Jerry Krause says Michael Jordan “never came to me and asked for other players”

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The weird battle between LeBron James and Charles Barkley has been a topic for what seems like forever. After LeBron’s comments that the Cleveland Cavaliers needed to improve their roster, Barkley publicly dragged on the Cavaliers star for the method in which he called for those improvements.

It seemed as though the dust may have finally settled, with Barkley making a somber declaration of his right to an opinion even as he dropped a couple f-bombs while telling the “haters” what the score was at a nightclub.

Meanwhile, the conversation appears ready to continue after former Chicago Bulls GM Jerry Krause told Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski on his podcast that Michael Jordan never made any kind of similar request to LeBron’s.

Via Yahoo! (29:30)

But I will say one thing for Michael Jordan … never came to me and asked for other players. He never came to me and asked me to draft a player. Never came to me and asked to trade for a player. Never once did that happen. Part of it was he thought he was so darn good he could win without ’em … He understood what we had to do as an organization.

That’s not strictly true, by many reports. Jordan famously made requests for UNC players throughout his career, and was pretty vocal about wanting the Bulls roster to get better.

In fact, in Sam Smith’s book “The Jordan Rules” there’s a pretty explicit version of these events, with Jordan on record saying he was going to bypass Krause and go straight to owner Jerry Reinsdorf.

Via Washington Post and h/t u/TheTupperwareGang:

(After learning that NBA veteran and former North Carolina Tar Heel Walter Davis had been traded to Portland and not the Bulls, Jordan responded before a game against the Nets: “As soon as we get back, I’m calling {Jerry} Reinsdorf. Krause has messed everything up again. He can’t do anything.”

(Two days after that, Jordan had taken off after Krause again. “If I were general manager, we’d be a better team.”)

Reinsdorf had been obligated to respond publicly, and the situation clearly made him uncomfortable, though his support for Krause was unequivocal. “Michael Jordan,” said Reinsdorf, “is undoubtedly the greatest player that ever lived. He’s probably one of the three greatest competitors of all time in any sport, the other two being Jake LaMotta and Muhammad Ali. Guys you had to kill to beat. Michael’s like that.

“But he’s still a player and, quite frankly, players don’t know a whole lot about coaching, and they don’t know a whole lot about what it takes to make a deal. If Michael knew what we tried to accomplish and the pitfalls and problems we ran into {trying to obtain Walter Davis}, he probably wouldn’t feel as frustrated. But he doesn’t, and we can’t sit and explain to every player what moves we are trying to make. And we cannot single out one player and make him consultant to the general manager.”

So technically Krause is correct, if we’re saying MJ always went over his head so he never asked him directly?

It was only a matter of time before LeBron’s request got compared to Jordan in some way, and the countdown to revisionist history of Jordan in that comparison started soon after. It came quicker than we thought here, and from Krause no less!

I said I didn’t think the LeBron/Barkley dust was going to fully settle after Barkley’s surprisingly level-headed approach, and invoking MJ is exactly the sort of thing I was talking about. I’m already bored with this entire back-and-forth.

Bradley Beal, Kent Bazemore get technicals for scuffle in Hawks, Wizards

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It’s been a chippy kind of playoff series — one where Paul Millsap gets called a crybaby — and with the Hawks on the brink of elimination emotions were especially high on Friday night.

Kent Bazemore had been frustrated with a couple of calls (and no calls) and he took that out on the play above — he got picked by Kelly Oubre, who threw the ball ahead to Bradley Beal for a layup, and Bazemore gave him a little push in the air. It wasn’t much, but when a guy is airborne and defenseless that touch throwing off balance can lead to serious injury.

Beal bounced up and got in Bazemore’s face. Then an NBA version of a scuffle started.

The referees reviewed it and Beal and Bazemore got technical fouls with Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jason Smith also getting them for their role later in the “festivities.”

The league should come in with a fine for Bazemore on this — you cannot let guys push other guys who are airborne, even slightly. That was a dangerous play, and I’m surprised the officials did not call a technical.

Report: Kevin McHale also in mix for team president in Orlando

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Cavaliers GM David Griffin — who doesn’t have a contract with the team beyond this year, but who LeBron James has endorsed — is on their radar.

Larry Bird, who is stepping down in Indiana, is a potential target.

You can add Kevin McHale to the list of former NBA executives the Orlando Magic are taking a look at in their search for a new head of basketball operations, reports Sam Amick of the USA Today.

The Orlando Magic have serious interest in Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Kevin McHale for their team president position, according to two people with knowledge of the situation….But McHale, who served as Minnesota Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations from 1995 to 2008 while also serving as the team’s head coach on two occasions, is known to be on the Timberwolves’ short list as well. The Magic would strongly prefer someone who has previously been a general manager for the president position.

But McHale, who served as Minnesota Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations from 1995 to 2008 while also serving as the team’s head coach on two occasions, is known to be on the Timberwolves’ short list as well. The Magic would strongly prefer someone who has previously been a general manager for the president position.

McHale made some franchise-defining moves as the head man in Minnesota — he drafted Kevin Garnett and he brought Flip Saunders into the organization, he brought in Sam Cassell and Latrell Spreewell and that got the Timberwolves to the conference finals in 2004, to use a few examples.

He had his share of mistakes, too. Like drafting Ray Allen then trading him for Stephon Marbury, or drafting Brandon Roy and trading him for Randy Foye.

The Orlando roster has talent on it — Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Nikola Vucevic, maybe Elfrid Payton — and a quality coach in place with Frank Vogel. That said the talent on the roster does not fit and Orlando desperately needed someone willing to shake things up, who wasn’t too invested in “their guys” to realize the roster’s serious shortcomings.

McHale could do that. It looks like we are a month or more from finding out, however, as Griffin isn’t going anywhere until after the Cavaliers season — which likely extends into June. If the Magic are serious about him, this process is going to drag out.

Joel Embiid was hanging out with Philly fans at the NFL Draft

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Joel Embiid is a man of the people.

And last night the people in Philadelphia were all Eagles fans, watching the NFL Draft unfold.

Embiid was out there with them. Literally.

Ben Simmons was there as well with Embiid, according to CSNPhilly.com.

Philadelphia fans can only hope the Eagles draft as well — and have WAY better injury luck — than the Sixers.

Moving to new arena, Detroit Pistons submit bids to host 2020 or 2021 All-Star Game

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DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Pistons have put in bids to host a future NBA All-Star Game at Little Caesars Arena.

The team says in a release Friday that bids were submitted to the league for 2020 and 2021.

Little Caesars Arena is being built just north of downtown Detroit and is expected to open this year. It also will be home to the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings.

In November, the Pistons announced the team was moving back to Detroit from The Palace of Auburn Hills.

The city of Detroit last hosted the NBA’s All-Star Game in 1959. The 1979 game was played in Pontiac when the Pistons’ home court was the Silverdome.

NBA All-Star events include the All-Star Game, NBA Rising Stars Challenge, a celebrity game, skills competition and fan events.