Kurt Helin

Derrick Rose found not liable on all counts in rape trial


After deliberating for just three hours, a Los Angeles jury Wednesday cleared of Knicks point guard Derrick Rose of all counts in a high-profile civil rape trial, as reported by those in the courtroom. His co-defendants, Randall Hampton and Ryan Allen, also were cleared by the jury.

This means Rose will pay nothing to the woman who brought the lawsuit. This was a civil trial only, not a criminal one — there was no potential jail time involved. The Los Angeles Police Department does have an open investigation into the case.

A former girlfriend of Rose’s filed the lawsuit tied to a 2013 incident in Beverly Hills. (We will not publish the name of a woman in a sexual assault case, although because it was a civil trial the judge did use it in the courtroom.)

The suit claimed that Rose and two friends gang-raped the woman at her apartment when she was too intoxicated — she admits to drinking and thinks she was drugged — and could not give consent. She sued for $21.5 million. Rose and his attorneys claimed the sex was consensual, that the woman had sex with the men earlier in the night as well, and that the woman was seeking a payday.

The issue of consent was at the heart of the case — Rose said she consented, the woman said she was in no condition to give informed consent. Both sides tried to use texts between the participants that night to bolster their case. The jury ultimately sided with Rose.

The case was laid out in graphic detail by both sides in the courtroom, and while Rose was found not liable the image of him and his friends that night — by their own admissions to what did go down — was not pretty. In fact, what came out in depositions and in court was flat-out misogynistic. This hurt his brand, but Rose has long been less concerned about that than most any other NBA player. He did what he felt was right in this case.

How much this hangs over the head of Rose and is a cloud over the Knicks this season remains to be seen. Rose will not play in Thursday’s final New York preseason game according to Jeff Hornacek, but he will join the team, and they will try to catch him up on what he missed the past couple of weeks. The Knicks tip-off the season on the road Oct. 25 in Cleveland, watching the Cavaliers raise their championship banner and get their rings.


The time then Ron Artest went after coach Mike Brown

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Mike Brown has been around the NBA. Metta World Peace — formerly known as Ron Artest — has been around the NBA, too.

They crossed paths back in the early 2000s in Indiana.

And as the young and fiery Artest did with many a coach, they clashed. Almost coming to blows.

In a story about why Mike Brown has quickly been accepted with the Warriors (where he sits at Steve Kerr’s right hand), Anthony Slater of the San Jose Mercury News got Brown to tell the story. It started when Brown was running practice for a day and ordered a starters vs. bench scrimmage.

The starters lost. Brown told the losers to run. A fuming Artest booted the basketball to the rafters. Brown confronted him.

“I yelled, ‘Ron, don’t kick that ball!’”

“I’ll do what the (bleep) I want,” Artest yelled back.

“Don’t you kick that ball again,” Brown demanded.

Artest didn’t. He instead charged toward Brown.

“I’m thinking, ‘Oh my god, I’m gonna have to fight him,’” Brown said. “Please somebody help me. Michael Smith – Michael ‘The Animal’ Smith – stepped in and stopped the thing.”

How does this tie into respect?

“One thing I love about Mike, he was never afraid to confront me,” World Peace said. “Although I wouldn’t listen at times – I was very, very controversial, in my own world – but Mike always confronted me. I loved it. Because he never let me do wrong. He never, ever let me do wrong.”

Insert your own “Draymond Green could use that” comments here. Brown will fit in just fine in Golden State.

In surprise to no one, Kings, Ben McLemore reportedly will not agree to contract extension


There are a lot of team executives around the NBA that think if Ben McLemore gets a change of scenery, gets out of Sacramento, he might thrive like a former No. 7 pick is expected to. It’s no secret the Kings have looked to trade him.

So it should be no surprise that McLemore and Sacramento are not going to come to terms to extend his rookie contract. While in theory things could change before the Oct. 31 deadline, don’t bet on it. Chris Haynes of ESPN broke the news:

The Sacramento Kings are unlikely to reach a rookie-scale extension with guard Ben McLemore by the Oct. 31 deadline, league sources informed ESPN. This result would allow for the fourth-year guard to enter restricted free agency following the 2016-17 campaign.

Projected as a shooter, McLemore hit 36.2 percent from beyond the arc last season, but he doesn’t do nearly as well inside the arc, he doesn’t get to the line, he’s not a great passer, and while he has potential he’s got work to do on the defensive end.

How much of that is because of the coaching carousel in Sacramento since McLemore arrived, and how much of that is because of McLemore?

How much is another team willing to pay to find out?

We’ll find out the answers to those questions over the next 10 months.

Report: Anthony Davis expected to play in Pelicans’ season opener

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The New Orleans Pelicans tip-off the NBA season in one week, hosting the Denver Nuggets on Oct. 26.

Anthony Davis will be suited up with them.

Davis has been out most of the preseason after spraining his ankle, and his return date was always right around the start of the season. He is going to be good to go, reports Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

The New Orleans Pelicans believe star forward Anthony Davis will be ready to return from an ankle injury in time for opening night on Oct. 26, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN.com that the Pelicans are planning for Davis to be in the lineup for their regular-season opener in Denver and are leaning toward giving him a test run in Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Magic.

This is very good news for the Pelicans. New Orleans already goes into the season without starting point guard Jrue Holiday (out caring for his newborn child while his wife Lauren undergoes brain surgery) and Tyreke Evan (knee). The team lacks scorers and needs Davis to step back in and fill that role.

Davis averaged 24.3 points and 10.3 rebounds a game last season and is one of the elite power forwards in the NBA. The question is, did the Pelicans put enough talent around him to make a difference this season?

Magic’s Aaron Gordon ready to accept small forward challenge

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — During his first two NBA seasons Aaron Gordon was known much more his slashes to the basket and gravity defying dunks than his jumper.

Now the third-year Magic forward is being asked to be much more in the system of new coach Frank Vogel. Perhaps more than any of his teammates, Gordon will have the biggest shift moving from power forward to small forward with the goal of becoming a complete player who can impact the offense much the way Paul George did for Vogel in Indiana.

It’s a move Gordon feels naturally suits him.

“It gives me more freedom, I can control the offense a little bit more, direct traffic,” said Gordon, who at this point is best known for his acrobatics in the 2016 slam dunk contest. “But like I’ve said I’ve been playing basketball, I’ve played at multiple positions. I’m happy where I’m at.”

Only his production will tell just how happy the Magic are with the shift. The 6-foot-9 Gordon hasn’t displayed an ability to do much of what the move requires so far in his NBA career.

In addition to becoming more of a focal point of the offense, the Magic’s 2014 first-round draft pick out of Arizona will need to be consistent perimeter shooter in the offense, as well as a facilitator while also taking on tougher defensive assignments guarding quicker players. Veteran Jeff Green, acquired this offseason, is much closer to the complete package but the Magic seem committed to giving the 21-year-old Gordon every opportunity to win the starting job.

Gordon, who shot 47 percent from the field last season, converted just 30.1 percent of his jumpers while shooting only 30 percent from 3-point range, according to Basketball Reference. He started 37 games last season, averaging 9.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists while shooting 47 percent from the field.

Gordon’s transition has been slowed because he missed the first week of camp and the first couple of preseason games after rolling his ankle while training in California three weeks prior to reporting.

“It’s only going to get better,” Gordon said. “I (had) been physically off the court and off my feet in game-like situations for about four weeks, so I’m a little slow.”

In time, Vogel believes Gordon can become the player he needs at the small forward spot. The coach envisions Gordon in the mold of George, who went from coming off the bench to becoming the Pacers top scorer and one of the best defensive small forwards in the league under Vogel.

“We are going to ask him to do it all,” Vogel said of Gordon. “We will put a lot of pressure on him. We are giving him a lot of responsibility. He is going to have the ball in his hands. He is going to be asked to beat defenses over the top with his 3-point shooting and to get out and play his game in the open court.

“It’s going to be process with him. He is not used to playing (small forward) but that is going to come. He has the skills and ability to do it or I wouldn’t be putting him in that spot.”

George remembers being put in the same spot early in his career. Under Vogel, George blossomed into a three-time NBA All-Star and made the all-defensive first Team in 2014.

Not unlike Gordon, George faced questions too as he moved from shooting guard to small forward so he understands the challenges Gordon faces this season.

“The small forward is really the glue guy,” George said. “You’ve got to play both sides of the floor, you’ve got to take the defensive matchups and you’ve got to be able to produce, you’ve got to be able to score, you’ve got to be able to be a knockdown shooter. It’s a little bit of everything, you’ve got to rebound. I think in his system the small forward is the guy. You’ve got to be able to do everything on the floor.”

Gordon spent much of this season working with Magic shooting coach Dave Love. His shot has still looked a little shaky in the preseason but his confidence seems to be growing.

The Magic declined to make Love available, but Vogel said he is pleased with the shooting progress both point guard Elfrid Payton and Gordon are making under Love.

“These guys are developing shooters,” Vogel said. “They obviously both need work on it and they are both improving. (Love has) really worked a lot on their technique and that’s where it starts. When you develop a shooter you have to start with the right technique when it comes to recognition and shot selection and all of those types of things.”

Gordon is confident he will thrive in his new role.

“I don’t think anybody worked as hard as I did” this offseason, Gordon said. “I’m going to bank on that.”