Kurt Helin

Derek Fisher

NBA “looking in to” Derek Fisher, Matt Barnes dust up

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This much we know: Matt Barnes went over to the home of his estranged wife, where Derek Fisher was with other friends as the Knicks’ coach is seeing Barnes’ ex, and the two got into a fight. Barnes said he went over because his children complained, but apparently texted friends he kicked Fisher’s a**. Regardless of how it went down, it wasn’t pretty, but no criminal charges will be filed in the case.

Still, the NBA is looking into it.

Commissioner Adam Silver was asked about it Friday and kept his answer short and tight (hat tip New York Daily News).

I don’t have a time frame and we are looking into it.”

If there are suspensions or fines, I would expect them to be short or small. As much as this looks bad for a league trying to look tough on domestic violence — Barnes storming over to his ex-wife’s and beating up her new boyfriend, still attempting to control her life — what the league wants is for this just to go away. Sweep it under the rug.

Barnes is now a member of the Grizzlies, where his three-point shooting and irritant style on the court should be a good fit with the “grit and grind” team.

Grief-filled reactions on social media to passing of Flip Saunders

Flip Saunders, Ricky Rubio, Andrew Wiggins
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The death of long-time NBA coach Flip Saunders has saddened the NBA, and you could see that outpouring of grief online Sunday afternoon.

His former players in particularly were saddened by the loss of someone many saw as a mentor. This is just a small fraction of the responses.

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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released this statement:

“The NBA family is mourning today over the tragic loss of our friend and colleague, Flip Saunders.  With more than 40 years around the game, 20 of them in the NBA, Flip’s untimely passing has left a gaping hole in the fabric of our league.  Flip was a beloved figure around the NBA, nowhere more so than in Minnesota, demonstrating a genuine and consistent passion for his players, his team and the game.  On behalf of the NBA, we offer our most sincere condolences to Flip’s wife, Debbie, their four children and the entire Minnesota Timberwolves organization.”

The condolences flowed from people who had not played for him as well.

Timberwolves coach, GM Flip Saunders passes away at age 60

Flip Saunders
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Minnesota head coach and team president Flip Saunders had been battling cancer for months now (that we knew of) and, unfortunately, that ugly disease has claimed another good man.

Phil “Flip” Saunders has passed away at the age of 60, the team announced on Sunday.

He had been undergoing chemotherapy treatment after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (cancer of the immune system).

Saunders was one of the nicer and more open people around the league, a guy genuinely liked by nearly everyone. In my admittedly limited one-on-one interactions with him (at Summer League), he just made you feel comfortable talking to him. And he was honest.

Saunders coached 17 NBA seasons including three years with the Detroit Pistons where they reached the Eastern Conference Finals. He was a determined coach with a vast knowledge of the game to lean on.

He is best remembered as part of the Timberwolves, where he coached 11 of those seasons and helped build and coach some of the franchise’s most successful teams (including the young but talented roster they have now). He was part of the basketball culture in Minnesota, including hosting youth camps and often speaking to groups in the area.

His NBA coaching record was 654-592, but he had 35 total years of coaching experience.

Saunders was expected to be out for this coming entire season, with Sam Mitchel in as coach, but things were much worse than that.

He is survived by his wife and three daughters, as well as his son Ryan, an assistant coach with the Timberwolves.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends.

Metta World Peace auctioning off DPOY trophy for charity

Metta World Peace
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Metta World Peace puts his money — and prized possessions — into his beliefs.

He has auctioned off his championship ring with the Lakers to raise money for mental health, then donated his winnings from Dancing With The Stars to a cancer charity.

Now his Defensive Player of the Year Award will be auctioned as well, once again for mental health awareness.

You have to appreciate his dedication to the cause — how many of us would auction off prized possessions to help others?

MWP won his DPOY award back in 2004 with the Pacers back when he was still called Ron Artest (that was the one year he made the All-Star Game as well). No doubt through the prime of his career World Peace was a force on the defensive end, plus could get you some points.

World Peace is trying to make a comeback and get on the Lakers’ roster, and he’s made it to the final cut. It comes down to him or Jabari Brown for the 15th and final roster spot, and on several occasions coach Byron Scott has said that’s a tough call.

Kevin Durant is excited Gregg Popovich named USA Basketball coach

US forward Kevin Durant celebrates after
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Kevin Durant will be 31 years old when the 2020 Tokyo Olympics rolls around. It’s easy to picture him going after one more gold and being the elder statesman of that team led by Anthony Davis, but predicting any of that five years out is about like predicting the Cubs will win the World Series in 2015.

But Durant is excited Gregg Popovich got the job as head coach of USA Basketball. Via Anthony Slater of the Oklahoman.

One of the main criteria — maybe THE main criteria — is to put a coach in the role that players want to play for. Yes, they want to play for their country, and yes they want to use the Olympic platform to promote their brand (read: sell shoes), but it’s a lot of additional commitment for a coach you don’t like and not every top player would go through it. Popovich passes the test with flying colors — guys love playing for him. Consider this as people’s exhibit No. 1 of this.

BTW, this in no way means KD is jumping to the Spurs next summer. Just stop it.