Dan Feldman

PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 09:  Sasha Vujacic #18 of the New York Knicks handles the ball during the first half of the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on March 9, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Report: Knicks re-signing Sasha Vujacic

4 Comments

If the Knicks are building for 2011 with Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony and Joakim Noah, New York couldn’t afford to lose Sasha Vujacic. He was a solid bench scorer and outside shooter back then.

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Vujacic, a curious signing by the Knicks last summer other than his ties to Phil Jackson, didn’t play as badly as I expected last season. He was part of New York’s rotation, even starting 25 games. Not that he played well, but Vujacic was tolerable. Meeting that low bar will be even harder at age 32, though.

When you’re getting so little production in the present, I’d generally prefer a player with upside.

But when you’re in win-now win-five-years-ago mode, you can’t afford to gamble on upside.

Off-duty police working Minnesota Lynx game walk off after players wore shirts commemorating black lives, Dallas police officers

Minnesota Lynx’ Maya Moore during a WNBA basketball game, Thursday, July 7, 2016, in Uncasville, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
AP Photo/Jessica Hill
81 Comments

Minnesota Lynx players wore shooting shirts for their game yesterday that said on the front:

  • “CHANGE STARTS WITH US”
  • “JUSTICE & ACCOUNTABILITY”

The back had:

  • “PHILANDO CASTILE”
  • “ALTON STERLING”
  • A Dallas police shield
  • “BLACK LIVES MATTER”

Randy Furst of the Minneapolis StarTribune:

Four off-duty Minneapolis police officers working the Minnesota Lynx game at Target Center on Saturday night walked off the job after the players held a news conference denouncing racial profiling, then wore Black Lives Matter pregame warm-up jerseys.

Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Federation, the union that represents rank-and-file officers, praised them for quitting. “I commend them for it,” he said.

Kroll said the four officers also removed themselves from a list of officers working future games. He did not know who the officers were. “Others said they heard about it and they were not going to work Lynx games,” he said.

Asked if other officers will fill in for those who quit, Kroll said, “If [the players] are going to keep their stance, all officers may refuse to work there.”

It’s worth noting that the officers were off-duty and working the game as a supplemental job. They didn’t violate their sworn oath to serve and protect by declining to work private security (though walking off a job probably doesn’t give them the option of doing it again in the future).

I just don’t understand their statement.

Black lives don’t matter?

The killed Dallas police officers shouldn’t be memorialized?

Philando Castile shouldn’t be memorialized?

Alton Sterling shouldn’t be memorialized?

Lynx players shouldn’t look to themselves first when calling for change?

I don’t find any of those ideas worthy of walking off a job in protest, but you do you, Minneapolis police officers. Your constitutionally protected right to free speech allows you to make that statement.

 

Report: Wizards players found Gary Neal to be selfish, bad teammate

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 23: Gary Neal #14 of the Washington Wizards puts up a shot in front of Jeff Green #32 of the Memphis Grizzlies and other defenders in the second half at Verizon Center on December 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Washington Wizards won, 100-91. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images
4 Comments

In 2014, Gary Neal and Larry Sanders got into a a heated locker-room argument — an incident later used as evidence of Sanders’ erratic behavior that led to his exit from the NBA.

Maybe it should have said more about Neal, too.

Neal, a free agent who played for the Wizards last season, posted on Facebook yesterday:

I Was The Leading Scorer of The Bench (40) Games and The Best 3PT Shooter On The Washington Wizards And The Contracts My Fellow 2nd Unit Members Received

8 Mil Per Year
6.5 Mil Per Year
10 Mil Per Year
3 Mil Per Year

🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔

Neal is talking about Garrett Temple (Kings), Ramon Sessions (Hornets), Jared Dudley (Suns) and Nene (Rockets) and clearly lobbying for his own deal.

One problem with this method: He’s publicly denigrating other players to promote himself. Maybe that wasn’t Neal’s intention, but that was result of his post.

Not that Neal will get the benefit of the doubt from the players he alluded to, anyway.

J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic:

he wasn’t well-received in the Wizards’ locker room. He won’t like hearing that, but it’s true. That’s how they felt.

The word “selfish” often was used after postgame losses by various players — something that was rarely said in the previous two playoff seasons — and though Neal’s name was never used publicly that’s who was the primary target. That term also was used by some on the coaching staff.

Teammates complained about his locker room behavior to the point that Drew Gooden, CSNmidatlantic.com was told by someone there at the time, asked, “What is wrong with that dude?” He rubbed some players the wrong way because, it was interpreted, all of Neal’s concerns about the offense involved getting himself better statistics so he could get paid this summer.

Another former teammate, reflecting on the season Sunday, spoke about feeling as if Neal was trying to show him up in front of teammates — this conversation with CSN took place almost 24 hours before the Facebook post — and concluded: “I should’ve punched him out.”

Said another teammate from 2015-16 after seeing Neal’s post Monday, via text: “Terrible teammate. All about himself.”

During a game against the San Antonio Spurs last season, Neal openly complained about Gregg Popovich, who got rid of Neal after three seasons, on the bench during an actual game. Neal also has been known to recite his statistics and what he shoots from certain spots on the floor better than others who, in his words, weren’t as good as him and making more money.

Neal has carved out an NBA career despite going undrafted out of Towson. He has played for five teams in six years.

Why should he feel loyal to a structure that only minimally gives him the time of day?

No team wanted him at first. None has made him a mainstay. For Neal to remain in the league, just as he did to enter it, he has to scratch and claw for every opportunity. That means pushing for playing time and scoring opportunities — not kowtowing to players, even teammates, perceived to be better than him.

I’ll say Dudley, Nene and Sessions are better than Neal. That’s my role analyzing the game. But why should Neal make the same acknowledgement? He’s competing with them for a job, even when they were teammates — a nuance often lost when discussing veteran leadership and mentoring.

That said, front offices and coaches want players to get along. Cohesion leads to better performance on the court. Neal must find a middle ground where he’s worth having around. Turning 32 before the season and coming off injury, Neal has less margin for error. If he just pisses off teammates — distracting them from producing — he’ll have to contribute plenty himself.

Maybe he will. Neal has a proven record of providing a scoring spark off the bench, and teams always need more shooting.

At least one of his former teammates is sticking up for him, and Neal also has redeeming qualities.

Dudley:

Michael:

This isn’t about the type of husband or father Neal is — he’s spoken of highly in these terms by even those who have criticized him as a teammate

Being a good husband and father is generally more important that being a good coworker. Neal should be celebrated for his successes.

But he should also realize, fairly or not, he’s making it harder for himself to stay in the NBA.

Police: Draymond Green arrested over ‘altercation between two guys,’ no injuries

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19:  Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors speaks to members of the media after being defeated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 19, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
13 Comments

Here are more details on the arrest of Warriors forward Draymond Green.

Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN:

Talked further with East Lansing PD about the Draymond Green incident. They state that the police were not called about the altercation. Officers were stationed downtown and responded to the commotion

 Asked the East Lansing PD about last night’s incident involving Draymond Green: “We are confirming that Draymond Green was arrested for assault in our downtown business district early Sunday morning at around 2:30AM. The victim was a male. It was basically an altercation between two guys. There’s no injuries. He was released with a 200 dollar bond on Sunday. And he’s got 10 days to get arraigned and then prosecution will continue from there.” Police confirm that the establishment where the altercation occurred was Conrad’s Grill in East Lansing.

No. 5 pick Kris Dunn concussed, sits out Timberwolves’ summer-league game

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 23:  Kris Dunn poses with Commissioner Adam Silver after being drafted fifth overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center on June 23, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
2 Comments

Minnesota guard Kris Dunn, the No. 5 pick in last month’s draft, was held out of the Timberwolves’ game against Cleveland with a concussion.

Dunn has been entered into the NBA’s concussion protocol, and his status for the rest of summer league is unclear.

The Timberwolves were down 10 at the half, then got outscored 29-9 in the third quarter and wound up falling 99-68 to the Cavaliers.