Dan Feldman

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Klay Thompson says he’ll do 3-point contest if an All-Star: ‘I’ve got to win another one’

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Ten different players have won the last 10 3-point contests.

The 2016 champion, Klay Thompson, wants to change that.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

Thompson is interested in winning another 3-point-contest title, breaking a tie with Warriors teammate Stephen Curry at one apiece. But Thompson isn’t necessarily so interested that he’d go to Los Angeles if he can just get a break.

Because he participated in the last two 3-point contests and isn’t the defending champion, Thompson can’t be required by the NBA to compete this year unless he’s an All-Star. If he’s an All-Star, the league can require him to participate in one All-Star Saturday Night event (other than the dunk contest), and the 3-point contest would be the obvious choice.

Will Thompson be an All-Star? Four-to-six Western Conference guards will make it. James Harden and Stephen Curry are locks, and Thompson will compete with Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and Jimmy Butler (who might qualify in the frontcourt) for the remaining spots.

Derrick Rose says he isn’t depressed, didn’t come close to retiring

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Derrick Rose left the Cavaliers for a couple weeks while he reportedly considered retirement. He returned to the team, though he’s still injured.

Rose, in a Q&A with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:

Did you come close to retiring?

No. No. That’s stupid. I don’t want to even talk about that. But I’m just happy that LeBron understood.

What keeps you from walking away?

I’m in love with the game. The love of the game. I still am a winner. I still love learning the game. Where else can you learn more than from Golden State or [Cleveland]? LeBron has been to the Finals eight times and seven straight years. I played against him a lot of times. I’ve learned so much from him and the whole team. It’s just a fun experience being around this team.

“Be patient. I’m good. I’m just taking my time,” Rose said. “You don’t have to worry about me. I’m not depressed. I’m good. A lot of people think I’m depressed because of what I’m going through. It’s the total opposite. I learned from my mistakes three or four years ago when I put myself into a shell.

Rose obviously doesn’t want to open up, and that’s his prerogative. But he can’t make us suddenly forget he left the Cavs for an extended period this season and went AWOL on the Knicks last season. That’s atypical behavior, and it raises question – that Rose isn’t answering.

Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf sounds very happy with franchise’s direction

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In Jimmy Butler, the Bulls had someone who could singlehandedly carry them into playoff contention.

But they traded Butler to rebuild.

Why?

Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

“I figure I have at the most 15-20 years left and I’d like to win again,” he said. “I don’t like being caught in the middle.

“I think the rebuild is going great. We don’t want to be fooled by winning six games in a row. But we’re seeing our young players step up. We’re seeing (Nikola) Mirotic show what we thought we had in the first place. (Kris) Dunn is coming on. (Bobby) Portis is having a good year. And (Zach) LaVine hasn’t even played yet.

“I think Gar and John have put together the core of something good. Now it remains to be seen (if we) can take the next two steps, mediocrity and being good, without being stuck too long in mediocrity.”

First of all, I commend the 81-year-old Reinsdorf for such long-term thinking. Other owners that age get antsy for whatever limited playoff success is quickly possible. But Reinsdorf could live much longer. Even half the 15-20 years he says as a best-case is nearly an eternity in NBA team-building. (The 15-20 years is an actual eternity in NBA team-building.)

I still question whether Reinsdorf actually has the appetite for a long-term rebuild, though. It’s one thing to believe in a plan when it’s conceived. It’s another to live through all the losing.

A recent win streak offers hope of a quick turnaround, but a team led by Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn, Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis doesn’t look close to consistently winning. Chicago is still 10-22 overall, though LaVine has yet to play.

Gar Forman and John Paxson take a lot of heat for the status of the Bulls, some of it deserved. But Reinsdorf ultimately sets the direction of the franchise. It’s worth keeping a pulse on his evaluation of the situation.

Marc Gasol: Grizzlies erred by letting Zach Randolph and Tony Allen leave

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Marc Gasol publicly expressed frustration with then-Grizzlies coach David Fizdale. So, Memphis fired Fizdale.

Now, Gasol is questioning the Grizzlies’ front office.

Gasol, Mike Conley, Zach Randolph and Tony Allen formed Memphis’ Grit & Grind core. Last season, Gasol explained why the Grizzlies must re-sign Randolph and Allen: “One is the president of Memphis. The other is mayor.” But Memphis let both Randolph (Kings) and Allen (Pelicans) walk in free agency.

Clay Bailey of the Associated Press:

Gasol called letting forward Zach Randolph and guard Tony Allen leave as free agents last summer a mistake.

Ron Tillery of The Commercial-Appeal:

he believes the franchise broke up the “core four” too soon.

“I didn’t understand the why,” Gasol said.

“Zach and Tony being gone has been more difficult than you guys can see on the floor,” Gasol said.

Randolph (36) and Allen (35) appeared to be declining. In theory, there’s nothing wrong with rebuilding.

But the Grizzlies clearly aren’t ready to rebuild, and Randolph and Allen would have made the team stronger in the short term. Instead, Memphis opted for a listless present with barely much more long-term upside. The Grizzlies would have been better off re-signing Randolph and Allen and letting a proud, though aging, core fight valiantly.

Randolph is having a resurgent season in Sacramento, and perhaps he would’ve stayed in Memphis for less than the $24 million over two years the Kings gave him. Allen hasn’t done much in New Orleans, but he was openly willing to take a discount to stay with the Grizzlies, and he would have helped preserve their chemistry.

Gasol was obviously fond of both Randolph and Allen after their years together, but his comments were only somewhat about those two. Gasol was also implicitly venting about playing on a 9-23 team.

Don’t expect the Grizzlies to fire general manager Chris Wallace the way they dumped Fizdale after Gasol complained, not with this ownership situation.

LeBron James: Family moments, not NBA Finals losses, stick with me

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After his Heat lost the 2011 NBA Finals, LeBron James said:

“All the people that were rooting for me to fail… at the end of the day, tomorrow they have to wake up and have the same life that (they had) before they woke up today,” James said. “They got the same personal problems they had today. And I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things I want to do.”

Here’s a far classier version of a similar sentiment.

LeBron, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

“No,” James said Sunday when asked whether Game 3 — which the Warriors closed on an 11-0 run to erase a six-point Cavs lead with 3:09 remaining — still sticks with him. “No. I mean, listen. I’ve lost five Finals. What are you going to do about it? No.

“What’s going to stick with me is seeing my daughter smile, seeing my kids graduate high school, college. Hopefully my daughter will go off and meet the man of her dreams. That’s what’s going to stick with me. I keep telling you all, these games and wins and losses — yeah, I love it — but it’s not the be all and end all for me. So I’ve had so many moments in this game that I’m going to cherish. But Game 3 here in the Finals or a game there, I’m good. I don’t lose sleep anymore.”

LeBron seems to have his priorities in order, and that’s great. Work-life balance is important.

But I’m not sure the concept works as well in professional sports, where maniacal drive to win at all costs is celebrated. Listening to old players talk about putting everything, including family, on the backburner to win sounds commendable until actually considering the ramifications.

And it’s not as if LeBron can get his competition on the same page. Other players are hungrier than LeBron sounds here.

Maybe LeBron is so talented, it doesn’t matter. Maybe he can turn up his drive to win for only the playoffs and remain attentive to his family the rest of the year.

But, twisted or not, this is an approach with limited utility in LeBron’s professional world.