Kurt Helin

AUBURN HILLS, MI - OCTOBER 28:  at the Palace of Auburn Hills on October 28, 2015 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. 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 Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

Pistons owner to match up to $1M in Flint telethon donations

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FLINT, Mich. (AP) —  A telethon underway to help Flint residents amid the Michigan city’s crisis with lead-tainted water features a major financial commitment from Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores.

The Flint native says he’ll match up to $1 million in donations made during Tuesday’s telethon hosted by Detroit television station WDIV-TV. More than $40,000 had been raised as of Tuesday morning.

The telethon, called “Flint Water Crisis: 4 Our Families ((hash)FlintKids),” benefits the Community Foundation of Greater Flint and its Flint Child Health and Development Fund. Localized versions are airing on other stations.

If consumed, lead can cause developmental delays and learning disabilities. There are a number of efforts taking place to boost Flint education, health and support programs.

Gores earlier pledged to raise $10 million to help the city.

Online:

http://www.flintkids.org

Kobe Bryant to give away two front-row seats to his final game (for charity)

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant touches his chestt as he walks of the court in Boston after the Lakers' 112-104 win over the Boston Celtics in an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015.(AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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If you want to see Kobe Bryant‘s final game, at Staples Center April 13 against Utah, it’s going to cost you. As of this writing, the least expensive seat on StubHub is $700 a seat — and that’s way up in the rafters behind a basket. If you want to sit in the lower bowl of the arena the cost is $2,000 a seat and up, and if you want courtside, well, I hope you were able to sell your tech start-up for a lot of money.

Or, you can make a small donation and take your chances.

Kobe is offering two courtside seats to that game up through charity, to raise money for his foundation and some others. Mark Medina has the details at the Los Angeles Daily News.

Bryant partnered with Omaze to give away two front-row tickets at center court that requires fans to make a donation as little as $10 through the charitable fundraising platform. Those fans will also have a chance to high-five Bryant and his teammates….

The proceeds will benefit The Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation, After-School All-Stars of Los Angeles, and the Positive Coaching Alliance.

Just follow this link to the Omaze Kobe site, make a donation of as little as $10 (but more is appreciated, this is for charity), and you are entered in the drawing for a true once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But you have to pay for your own beer. Which at Staples brings us back to selling your tech startup.

Daryl Morey dodges question about re-signing Dwight Howard

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 11: Dwight Howard #12 of the Houston Rockets looks on during the second quarter against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on March 11, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. 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 Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The fact Houston Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey was speaking on a panel at the 2016 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics conference is about as surprising as violence at a Trump rally.

But things did get a little interesting when the name of Dwight Howard came up.

Howard is widely expected to exercise his opt-out this summer and become a free agent, which leads to the question “will the Rockets re-sign him?” The better questions are at what price and for how long? Morey tried to dodge all of them when pressed at Sloan, reports Matt Dollinger of Sports Illustrated.

During the front office panel, ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, who was moderating, asked Morey about re-signing Dwight Howard. Morey immediately replied: “Uh oh.” MacMullan pressed the Rockets GM on negotiations. He responded that the NBA’s max salary threshold keeps things simple. MacMullan asked, So you’re re-signing him? To which Morey responded: “I just said they had the concept.”

Howard is going to want a max salary, which will likely start in the $30 million range (depending on the final salary cap number). If your first reaction is “I wouldn’t give him that much” you’re not alone, there are plenty of people in NBA front offices who will say the same thing. But it only takes one to say yes — one who likely struck out on other high-profile targets. Howard will get paid. And Howard still has a lot more value than his detractors give him credit for — 14.8 points per game on 61.7 percent shooting this season, 12.1 rebounds a game, he’s still a strong defender in the paint, and he’s got an All-Star level PER of 20. He shouldn’t want all the post touches he demands, but he still has value.

That said, Howard has a long injury history as well, and the toughest question is how many years do teams want to give Howard because of it? Also, the years is an issue because he may not mesh in their locker room, as has happened with the stars in his last couple stops. The Rockets in theory could offer five years, other teams four. My guess is teams will want a team option or cheap buyout in that final season (or, ideally, two seasons).

We’ll see what kind of offer Morey makes this summer. But he doesn’t sound enthusiastic.

Andrew Bogut with as bad a free throw attempt as you’ll ever see (VIDEO)

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Andrew Bogut isn’t THAT bad a free throw shooter.

But Damn Daniel, that is ugly.

I’m going to give Bogut the benefit of the doubt and say the ball slipped out of his hands, he is a career 55 percent free throw shooter (although below 50 percent this season). This was just ugly.

Later Bogut did show some range draining a three up against the shot clock — his first three of the season.

Could Phil Jackson coach Knicks home games next season? Don’t bet on it.

LEXINGTON, KY - FEBRUARY 28: Phil Jackson the  President of the New York Knicks watches the Kentucky Wildcats game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Rupp Arena on February 28, 2015 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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The main point Ramona Shelburne’s fantastic article at ESPN on Phil Jackson and the Knicks future is simple:

Jackson senses the urgency and is becoming more hands-on with the team. Kurt Rambis as coach is letting that happen in a way that Derek Fisher didn’t.

But could this lead to Jackson coaching the Knicks’ home games next season?

Those close to him say Jackson seems more energized these days. He has lost about 20 pounds of the 30 he gained during his first two years on the job. Even Kobe Bryant noticed, remarking after Sunday’s game in Los Angeles that, “He looks great. Physically he looks good. I’m happy for him.”

There’s even talk Jackson could offer to coach home games next season, with Rambis coaching the road games. It’s an offer the late Lakers owner Jerry Buss once flatly rejected, but it could be an interesting compromise to hiring Rambis as the head coach next season.

Up to this point, Jackson has flatly shot down any suggestion of his return to the bench, and he talked even this week about enjoying spending part of the winter in Los Angeles. He splits time between there and New York and up to this point has been almost more consultant than hands-on team president at times.

Maybe that is about to change — but a step onto the bench is another matter.

As Carmelo Anthony said earlier this season: “He’s not coming down. He’s not sitting on that sideline. Those days are long gone.”

Logistically, it would be a nightmare. As close as Jackson and Rambis are, splitting time with them being two coaches feels like it will be as successful as the vast majority of two quarterback systems in college football. Teams need consistency, and despite their closeness, Jackson and Rambis do things differently. Even if the rotations remained similar the styles both in game and in preparations for the games would be different. And if you’re an assistant coach for the Knicks, how does the idea of rotating bosses judging your work sound?

Jerry Buss shot down the idea with good reason. If this is broached with him, James Dolan should do the same. Teams should have just one coach, just one voice.

But the fact Jackson has talked with Carmelo Anthony about the future and is becoming more hands-on is a good thing.

Just remember, Jackson has a summer of 2017 opt-out of his deal with New York. And much more than a return to the bench, that remains in play.