Author: Dan Feldman

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 28: J.R. Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the Cleveland Cavaliers media day at Cleveland Clinic Courts on September 28, 2015 in Independence, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Report: J.R. Smith accused of choking high schooler who mocked Smith’s trade from Knicks


The Knicks traded J.R. Smith to the Cavaliers in January. He returned to New York last week to criticize Phil Jackson and play the Knicks.

Early in the morning before the 7:30 p.m. game, he reportedly got into a confrontation.

Shayna Jacobs and Rocco Parascandola of the New York Daily News:

Smith has been accused of choking a 19-year-old high school student in Chelsea after the younger man quipped about the hoopster’s trade to Cleveland.

Smith, 30, has not been arrested in connection to the alleged incident outside Artichoke Basille’s Pizza about 4 a.m. on Nov. 13 at W. 17th St. and Tenth Ave.

The teen, Justin Brown, who wears braces and hails from Harlem, was with pals who chided Smith for ignoring their fan request for a photo.

Smith is seen on a cell phone video walking away from the group, sources said.

“That’s why New York kicked you out, yo!” Brown remarked.

Brown told cops that after the verbal brush, Smith, who is 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds, checked him against the exterior of the building and put his hands around Brown’s neck, police sources said.

Alex Spiro, a lawyer for Smith, said the claims against the athlete are unfounded.

It seems there are witnesses who could corroborate either story. If that cell phone video continues, it could be particularly telling.

Cavaliers center Timofey Mozgov out 10-14 days

Timofey Mozgov, Greg Monroe
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What will keep the Cavaliers, who are an East-best 9-3, from winning the conference?

Probably nothing short of injury.

But we’re going to see whether injury is enough. Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert have yet to play this season, and J.R. Smith missed a few games.

Now, Timofey Mozgov and Mo Williams will also miss more time.

Cavaliers release:

Center Timofey Mozgov experienced a strained right deltoid during the second quarter of last night’s game against Milwaukee at The Q. Additional examination and MRI today at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health confirmed the strain. Mozgov will be OUT approximately 10 days to two weeks.

Guard Mo Williams missed last night’s game vs the Bucks and received additional examination and MRI today at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health, which showed posterior right ankle inflammation, along with continued soreness. He is listed as OUT for tomorrow’s game at The Q against Atlanta and doubtful for Monday’s contest vs. Orlando, also at The Q.

If Mozgov returns on schedule, he’ll miss four to five games. Cleveland’s upcoming schedule:

  • Saturday: vs. Hawks
  • Monday: vs. Magic
  • Wednesday: at Raptors
  • Nov. 28: at Hornets
  • Dec. 1 vs. Wizards

Tristan Thompson could move into the starting lineup, and as last year’s playoffs showed, he can handle a bigger role. Thompson (24.8) was already playing more minutes per game than Mozgov (20.8). Anderson Varejao will likely receive more playing time, and he might start if David Blatt wants to keep Thompson coming off the bench. Sasha Kaun could also join the rotation.

Williams had done a stellar job replacing Irving in the starting lineup. Matthew Dellavedova, who started against the Bucks last night, will likely start as long as Williams as out. Dellavedova starting points to Thompson also starting, because those two share such good chemistry. When Dellavedova sits, Jared Cunningham likely relieves him.

J.R. Smith broke bone, had it heal without realizing

John Jenkins, J.R. Smith

J.R. Smith sometimes seems like he’s living in his own world, whether he’s buying cotton candy during a game or hoisting halfcourt shots at an unmatched rate.

Smith just does things his way.

Apparently, that includes an unconventional – and unintentional – method for injury recovery.

Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal:

An X-ray over the weekend revealed a broken bone in his right thumb he never knew he had. Smith doesn’t know how or when it happened, but team doctors told him it occurred long enough ago that it healed on its own. But the hand is still prone to swelling whenever he gets hit on it, which happened Friday at Madison Square Garden.

Smith has been banged up this season, apparently more so than even he knew. That could explain his 25% 3-point shooting through the Cavaliers’ first 10 games, a mark that would be a career low.

But he has gone 7-for-14 from beyond the arc in his last two games, maybe a sign of improved health.

The Cavaliers are in it for the long haul, and they need Smith as an accurate long-range threat. After some early hiccups, it seems there’s good reason to believe he’ll adequately fill that role.

76ers coach Brett Brown ‘excited in a sadistic way’ for road trip

Brett Brown

The 76ers are 0-12.

So, perfect time for a six-game road trip.

Philadelphia will visit the Hornets, Heat, Timberwolves, Celtics, Rockets and Grizzlies over the next 10 days.

76ers coach Brett Brown, via John Finger of CSN Philly:

“Now we get excited in a sadistic way because we go on the road for a long, difficult trip and try to get that bunker mentality and spend time with each other,” Brown said.

OK, then.

If you’re sadistic and a Comcast subscriber in Philadelphia, you can stream tonight’s 76ers-Hornets game here.

Report: Kings owner plans to make big offer to John Calipari

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 14:  Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats talks with DeMarcus Cousins #15 against the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the final of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at the Bridgestone Arena on March 14, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)

When George Karl was on the hot seat last summer, the Kings reportedly looked into hiring Kentucky coach John Calipari.

A few months later, Karl’s job is still insecure, and Calipari still might still be the target.

Ric Bucher of Bleacher:

The belief still is it’s a matter of when, not if, Karl will be removed as the head coach.

If that should happen during this season, the short-term answers are, according to owner Vivek Ranadivé – or sources say – he would like to move Nancy Lieberman into the head-coaching position, making a big splash by having the first female head coach in NBA history. Vlade Divac, the GM is more inclined to fill with Corliss Williamson for the remainder of the season.

But Ranadivé’s biggest dream is to have Kentucky coach John Calipari come out and coach this roster full of Kentucky players.

The belief is that Ranadive will take another run after Calipari plans to make an offer that Calipari simply cannot refuse.

A source with knowledge of the Kings’ thinking directly denied this claim speaking to ProBasketballTalk, saying the Kings have no plans to make any offer to Calipari.

For what it’s worth, Bucher first reported Ranadivé was targeting Michael Malone as coach in 2013. The Kings hired Malone that year, their only offseason coaching hire under Ranadivé’s watch.

Calipari would be a fantastic hire, because all the top high school players would follow him to Sacramento. The Kings would become infused with and talent, creating one of the best – what? That’s not how it works?



Calipari has come a long way since he went 72-112 while guiding the late-90s New Jersey Nets, but I’m not convinced he has become an NBA-caliber coach. I might give him a chance if he’s desperate to return to the league, but I wouldn’t make the monster financial offer likely necessary to lure him from Kentucky.

Ranadivé thinks differently than I do, though. He wants to generate buzz, and Calipari would certainly do that. He’s one of the biggest names in basketball.

Would Calipari actually take the job? He seems happy at Kentucky, and he can leverage this interest into a raise from the Wildcats that makes him even happier. But Sacramento has two of his former players in DeMarcus Cousins and Willie Cauley-Stein plus Rajon Rondo, who played at Kentucky before Calipari arrived. Cousins is a franchise talent, and a president-coach dual title would certainly be appealing.

The politics of getting that point are fascinating.

Kings general manager Vlade Divac didn’t hire Karl, and though he said the coach would remain through the rest of this season, Divac has given multiples indications he’s on a different page than Karl. But Divac’s lack of faith in Karl could cost him his own job if Calipari gets front-office control.

Like with Divac, while Cousins reportedly asked the Kings not to fire Karl now, that doesn’t mean Cousins wants Karl for the long haul. Cousins might just recognize that a midseason shakeup would ensure another lost year. But come the offseason, he could push for Calipari or at least a change from Karl.

The Kings clearly want to build around Cousins. Calipari might just the mentor Cousins needs, someone who can help Cousins become more emotionally mature. Once that happens, Sacramento would truly be on the path to success.

But, at that point, it would be on Calipari to assemble a roster around Cousins. Does that excite anyone besides Calipari? Maybe Calipari is up to the task. Again, I wouldn’t rush to find out.

Lieberman, hired this offseason as the second full-time assistant coach in NBA history, would not be on my short list of potential head coaches. But neither would Williamson. When teams fire a coach midseason, they often must rely on uninspiring alternatives.

Whatever happens, it seems the Kings are quite prepared to part ways with Karl. He was supposed to be the flashy hire, but that has resulted in an 11-19 finish last season and a 4-9 start this season

If Ranadivé wants to turn heads now, Lieberman or Calipari would certainly do the trick.

If the owner wants to win – well, why worry about that? Making a splash is so much easier.