Andre Iguodala: ‘Wrong time to express myself’

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So much of the response to Andre Iguodala‘s racially loaded comments has focused on relatively superficial issues: his use of profanity, whether he’s frustrated with the Warriors’ recent losing, how Steve Kerr reacted.

A reminder what Iguodala said about Golden State’s loss to the Timberwolves and Kerr’s plan to rest key players against the Spurs the following night, via  Chris Haynes of ESPN and Anthony Slater of The Mercury News:

“We gotta score more than the other team,” Iguodala told reporters, after being asked what led to their second consecutive loss. “Yep, they want dumb n—as, so I’m going to give y’all a dumb n—a.”

What would dumb [n-word] say? Just play harder. Figure it out. Change gonna come. Ain’t that what we should say? Change gonna come.

Do what master say.

Yesterday, Iguodala addressed those comments and hinted at an underlying issue.

Iguodala, via Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area:

“It probably was the wrong time to express myself,” Iguodala said after practice. “But we all have our own opinions. We all have our own feelings. I feel like we are entitled to them. We try to pick and choose the time to do it, and who we choose to share it with, because some may not understand where I’m coming from, which is to be expected.

“The only reason I feel like it’s the wrong time is because it puts my team in that situation and my coaching staff in that situation. I have a great relationship with Steve Kerr, and he knows that.”

“I wish I wouldn’t have put my teammates and the organization in that situation,” Iguodala said. “But it doesn’t change how I feel about certain situations. You can’t give certain people power, and I gave certain people power. Live and learn from the situation, and move forward.”

Iguodala also made a point directly to the media:

I like to play mind games with you guys, but it still doesn’t take away from how someone makes you feel. A lot of guys may feel a certain way, but they don’t know how to express it. But I may have chosen the wrong way to express it. But that’s my personal way of getting back at you guys a little bit.

Iguodala did put Kerr in a potentially awkward position with his “master” remarks. That might not have been Iguodala’s intent, but the outcome was foreseeable.

But I think there’s valid media criticism behind Iguodala’s protest. I don’t know that, because he was purposefully vague and insisted he was making an inside joke. But there’s a dynamic between the largely white media and mostly black players that is worth addressing. The media sometimes asks questions after losses setting up players to give simple-sounding answers. The media does hold power to shape how players are perceived. The media doesn’t always treat players fairly. I have no problem with anyone raising questions about the entire process.

That said, Iguodala should know that when he addresses the media – especially on camera – he isn’t just speaking with the reporters in front of him. He’s talking to the entire world, and his comments will be relayed without the proper context always attached. (Ironically, that’s an element of the power dynamic I think Iguodala is addressing.) The reporters are just a conduit to the general public.

Iguodala often seems like he’s not bothered by the chaos he causes with mysterious statements and vague tweets, and that’s fine. I’ve always found that to be an implicit protest of how athletes’ words are consumed, which is why I see Friday’s interview as just fitting into his larger objective. But this case spun out of control, because many assumed he was criticizing Kerr.

As much as he might hope the narrative-setting worked differently, Iguodala was at the whim of the critics and how they’d perceive and disseminate his words.

I’m not sure whether this backfired on Iguodala or he just proved to himself how right he is.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.