Kurt Helin

PBT Extra: What teams in West have a shot to knock off Golden State?

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If Golden State stays healthy, and if Draymond Green can not piss off his teammates too much, the Golden State Warriors should come out of the Western Conference to the Finals. They are the prohibitive favorite.

But they have a smaller margin for error than the Cavaliers out East, because of the powerhouse Spurs and Clippers.

I discuss that and why you should keep an eye on Utah and Minnesota this season in this latest PBT Extra

Derrick Rose found not liable on all counts in rape trial

New York Knicks basketball player Derrick Rose arrives at U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. A six-woman, two-man jury has been seated in the trial of a civil lawsuit brought against Derrick Rose by an ex-girlfriend who alleges the NBA star and two of his friends drugged and sexually assaulted her. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

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

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 15:  Assistant coach Mike Brown (L) and head coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors walk during their preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers at T-Mobile Arena on October 15, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Golden State won 112-107. 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 Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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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

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 28:  Ben McLemore #23 of the Sacramento Kings dribbles the ball against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on December 28, 2015 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 Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 14:  Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans dribbles against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on March 14, 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 Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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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?