Isiah Thomas hasn’t talked to Phil Jackson ‘because of the perception’


Isiah Thomas was named president and part-owner of the WNBA’s New York Liberty, and his return to professional basketball (obviously) made some waves.

Thomas, of course, cost Madison Square Garden (the parent company that owns the Knicks) $11.6 million in damages back in 2007, after a jury ruled that he sexually harassed a former team executive who was improperly fired for complaining about the unwanted advances.

That, along with his track record of failure when he was both coach and GM of the Knicks caused many to wonder why he was being given this second chance. Thomas has always maintained a strong relationship with Knicks owner James Dolan, however, so seeing him back at MSG in a basketball capacity shouldn’t really come as too much of a surprise.

Phil Jackson may have been less than pleased with the development, and perhaps partially as a result of that, Thomas is choosing to steer clear of Jackson at this early stage of the proceedings.

From Marc Berman of the New York Post:

After being named Liberty president and partial owner three weeks ago, the perception is the ex-Knicks president Thomas is being groomed by owner James Dolan to be Jackson’s successor when the 69-year-old Zen Master retires to Los Angeles after – or before – his five-year contract expires. Thomas left the Knicks in 2007 in disgrace after a stint that included two 23-59 seasons and being involved in a Garden sexual harassment trial.

“Because of the perception I haven’t [tried to talk to him],’’ Thomas said. “I think all of us in this building, we all share the same building, we all root for each other. We all want each other to do well. We all want each other to win.’’

Asked if he wanted to return to the NBA one day, Thomas didn’t rule it out. Thomas has told confidants since 2008 his goal was one day to make a triumphant return.

“You never know where life takes you,’’ Thomas said. “I don’t think there’s anyone in this room who can say three years from now I’ll be here. I live in the present. This is where I’m at today. I’ll do the best job I can possibly do here. You never know where you’re going to end up.’’

The presser was packed, but unfortunately it wasn’t because of a renewed interest in women’s professional basketball. Everyone was there to see what Thomas had to say, and whether he’d give any clues as to his future with the Knicks — if it exists at all.

But Thomas seemed to be focused on the Liberty on this day. Whether or not that continues, and whether that keeps him from rejoining the Knicks at some point in the future? Well, that remains to be seen.

LeBron James after tweaking his ankle by stepping on cameraman: ‘His foot was out further than it should be’


LeBron James tweaked his ankle early in the third quarter of his team’s Game 1 win over the Hawks, after appearing to trip over someone who was situated on the sidelines.

That person was a cameraman, according to James, who said afterward that the person’s foot was out further than it should have been.

It’s inconclusive from the video that was presented, but we’ll go ahead and take LeBron’s word for it.

Either way, player safety should be at the forefront of any decisions made to have cameramen on the sidelines or along the baseline, and we as fans would do just fine without the pictures provided from that angle as long as the game’s best players remained injury-free.

Timberwolves owner on possibility of trading No. 1 pick: ‘It’s got to be part of any conversation’


NEW YORK — Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor was his team’s on-stage representative at the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday, and once Minnesota had secured the number one overall pick, he was of course giddy when discussing the possibilities.

“It’s very exciting for me and I think for our fans,” Taylor said. “There’s going to be a lot of enthusiasm [as far as] who you’re going to pick and how you’re going to do that. And that’s a process that will start now.”

Part of that process will be to consider all options — and that includes trading the pick, as the Cleveland Cavaliers did when they sent Andrew Wiggins to Minnesota in the Kevin Love deal last summer.

While Taylor doesn’t view such a scenario as likely, he did admit that the team wouldn’t take that topic off the table during any potential trade discussions.

“I think it’s got to be part of any conversation,” he said. “But tradition, I think tradition says it’s fairly unlikely to happen.”

The Timberwolves not only have a Rookie of the Year in Wiggins, but they also have Zach LaVine, who joined his teammate in earning All-Rookie honors. Adding some veteran pieces to the mix may make sense at some point, especially when the goal in Minnesota starts with simply making the playoffs.

If the right player were to be made available, an established All-Star caliber talent with some years still remaining on a reasonable contract, then Minnesota may be tempted to include an unproven player that would come with the draft’s top selection.

The Timberwolves won’t be picking up the phone and calling other teams to dangle the pick just to see what kind of offers it could potentially bring back. But they won’t rule out dealing it at this early stage of things, either.

“[You listen] because you never know what it could mean, if you could get the right one or two guys that could just change your team,” Taylor said. “You already have a bunch of young guys, so you have to look at this type of stuff. But I think it’s a very hard decision to make. I mean, I think of Cleveland. They didn’t want to do that [give up Wiggins in the trade for Love], I can tell you because I ended up negotiating with their owner. They didn’t want to do that, really, because you just don’t know how good Wiggins can be in the future. And then you’re going to hear about that forever and ever and ever.”

Taylor made it clear that the prospect of trading away a pick that could end up being a future cornerstone like Jahlil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns wasn’t his preference. But he made it just as clear that doing so would not be considered impossible.

“I think it’s probably highly unlikely,” Taylor said. “But I think it’s worth having the discussion.”

2015 NBA All-Defensive teams announced


The NBA announced its All-Defensive teams on Wednesday, and three players — Kawhi Leonard, Draymond Green and DeAndre Jordan — made their simultaneous debuts on the first team this season.


None of us got the first team entirely correct when turning in our unofficial ballots; we all had Andrew Bogut or Rudy Gobert at the center spots, and DeAndre Jordan was omitted completely. But our picks weren’t meant to guess who would actually win, it was who we thought were the players most deserving. And the way it ended up breaking down was honestly a fine choice by the voters.

Two other points of interest here:

One, Bogut gets a nice payday as a result of his second-team selection.

But perhaps more importantly?

Tony Allen was right.

Kyrie Irving on his early relationship with Matthew Dellavedova: We ‘damn near almost fought every single day’


The Cavaliers have come together quite nicely this season, especially when considering just how much and how quickly the roster has changed.

The addition of LeBron James and Kevin Love changed the dynamic in Cleveland, as well as the expectations. But that was only the beginning of a personnel shake-up that wasn’t complete until the mid-season deals to acquire Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith and Timofey Mozgov — while sending Dion Waiters out of town — were completed in January, and Kendrick Perkins was signed a month later.

Kyrie Irving and Matthew Dellavedova are key players in the rotation, and two guys that have been constants since before the previous season began. While it’s clear now that they’ve developed a bond, it was a rocky start for the two as the relationship was being formed.

From Dave McMenamin of

“Yeah, they used to f— each other up,” said Tristan Thompson, recalling the times he’d have to play peacemaker in Cavs training camp in the fall of 2013 when Irving, the franchise player and former No. 1 pick, was matched up with Dellavedova, the undrafted rookie free agent just trying to make the team. “They used to go after it every day. There would be times when they’d be ready to fight each other.” …

“I played him in the summer time and he was going into summer league, I was going into my third year and I was like, ‘Who the hell is this kid?’ I was like, I’ve never heard of him,” Irving said. “I had heard of him, because of St. Mary’s, but I had never played against him. So, I’m coming in and he just basically, every fast break, he was just fouling the s— out of me. I was like, ‘OK, well, maybe I’ll see him in training camp.’ So, we went through training camp, every single day we went against each other and damn near almost fought every single day.” …

“Probably the first three months of the season he was irritated by Delly,” Thompson said, “but he realized Delly is not going to stop and it was going to make him a better player.”

Irving was a young, budding superstar, and Dellavedova was unheralded, likely fighting for a roster spot.

Now that Cleveland is contending for a title, and Dellavedova has come through in some of the team’s bigger moments, he’s earned the respect of his teammates. But it wasn’t something that came quickly, and it certainly was anything but easy.