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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.

Report: Knicks not interested in trading Kristaps Porzingis for Kyrie Irving

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With uncertainty around LeBron James‘ future in Cleveland — and good luck finding anyone around the league who thinks he is staying; LeBron’s options are open, but the sense is he has one foot out the door — the Cavaliers are prioritizing getting a young star to rebuild around back in any Kyrie Irving trade.

At the top of the Cavaliers’ wish list: Kristaps Porzingis.

Except the Knicks have no interest in this trade, reports Steven Marcus and Mike Rose of Newsday.

The Knicks don’t appear interested in trading Kristaps Porzingis, including a possible deal for Cavaliers All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, according to a league source…

“[Knicks president] Steve Mills and [Knicks general manager] Scott Perry on the record were very clear that Kristaps was part of the future,’’ the source said in reference to comments made last month by both executives. “In all the discussions since then — there were other rumors before that Cleveland would want Kristaps — and it didn’t seem that [the Knicks] were interested at all in a conversation.’’

Nor should the Knicks give him up — even if they could dump the anchor Joakim Noah contract in the process.

Irving is a sure thing, an elite scorer and All-Star who averaged 25.2 points and 5.8 assists a game last season and shot better than 40 percent from three. Irving, entering his seventh season, can do more to help a team win next season than Porzingis. He can get more buckets.

But Porzingis could be better — and will be better suited to build a contender around — in the future. Entering just his third season and with the triangle gone, and maybe the shadow of Carmelo Anthony, too, Porzingis should become the focal point of the Knicks next season, and we can see what he will do. KP scored 18.1 points and grabbed 7.2 rebounds a game last season, shot 35.7 percent from three, and while still learning he brings more defense than Irving. Porzingis is a 7’3″ “unicorn” — there isn’t another player like him — and for many years he could be the future of the Knicks. He has the work ethic, he’s shown flashes, they just need to give him a real chance.

Also, the Knicks need to work starting this fall to mend the relationship that Phil Jackson tried to poison.

Bottom line, Irving is good, but the Knicks could build a contender around Porzingis if they handle it right. Not sure they can do that around Irving, and he is older. No way you make that trade if you’re the Knicks. That’s obvious… which is one reason Jackson needed to go.

 

Watch the best ball fakes from the past NBA season

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While we grind through the slow part of the NBA offseason — when even Kyrie Irving trade rumors come with “when we get close to the start of training camp” qualifiers — we continue to get our hoops fix from the best highlights of last season.

Like the top 10 ball fakes, as compiled by NBA.com.

You knew Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving would be on the list, but nice appearance and moves by Ricky Rubio and D'Angelo Russell, too.

Kobe, LeBron, other NBA players react to President Trump’s stunning speech

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When President Donald Trump doubled-down on his support of the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who conducted a racist rally in Charlottesville, making a false moral equivalency with protestors of racism, it had television news anchors stunned, drew condemnation from both sides of the political aisle, and left most Americans queasy.

Count NBA players among those disgusted by the president’s comments.

That includes Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

(Note: As part of that press conference, Trump said he owns one of the largest wineries in the nation right near Charlottesville.)

On Monday and earlier Tuesday — before the president’s latest salvo of stupidity but after the “unite the right” rally to “protect” a statue of a man who fought to keep slavery in place, where violence the protesters courted broke out and left one woman, Heather Heyer, dead — the Bucks’ Jabari Parker took part in an anti-racism rally, and LeBron had said this about Charlotte and moving the country forward.

Chris Paul had this to say before the latest press conference.

Maybe the only good thing to come of all this, you can now own a T-shirt of vintage Team USA Vince Carter dunking over Trump.

Report: Grizzlies about to hire Tayshaun Prince for front office job

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Tayshaun Prince spent 14 years in the NBA as a long, defensive minded wing, one of the early “3&D” guys but one who, in his prime, could be more than that. He won a ring in Detroit in 2004 and was a four-time NBA All-Defense selection.

Now he’s stepping into the front office.

The Grizzlies, one of his former teams, is about to hire him, reports Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Retired forward Tayshaun Prince will soon be named special assistant to Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace, according to several NBA sources…

Prince is widely considered a big influence in NBA locker rooms and operated as a calming voice with Grizzlies players.

The Grizzlies believe Prince will bring a unique voice to front office decisions.

Prince came to the Grizzlies in the Rudy Gay trade and made a real impression there — and elsewhere — as a locker room leader and rational voice. He was in the NBA until last season.

This could and should be a good hire for a Grizzlies team transitioning out of the “grit n’ grind” era (albeit slowly, they could still bring Tony Allen back). The best GMs don’t go it alone but get information and perspectives from a lot of sources, and a high IQ former player would be a good one.