Kurt Helin

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Mark Cuban uses expletives to say Dirk Nowitzki would love a Kobe-style farewell tour


Dirk Nowitzki isn’t a guy hunting out the spotlight, trying to promote his brand, demanding his own signature shoe. He’s humble off the court.

So he wouldn’t want a Kobe Bryant style farewell tour…

Unless you ask Mark Cuban. As Chris Ballar did at Sports Illustrated.

“Bulls—!Bulls—, bulls—, bulls—, bulls—, bulls—, bulls—! Yeah, he loves that little wave when he comes out and passes a milestone. He loves it. LOOOVES IT! I don’t care what he says. ‘I don’t like going to the All-Star Games. I don’t want a farewell tour.’ He loves it!

“I remember his first All-Star Game, we literally told him he had to pack a knapsack, just in case we roadtrip from Philadelphia to Miami, and he packed one. Me, him and Nash…Oh my God…the s— we did. Can’t believe it’s been, what, 16 years.”

Well, if you use the word seven times you must mean it.

Also, I want to know the stories from that road trip.

I wonder if this is part of the joking relationship between Nowitzki and Cuban or not, this sounds like the ribbing Cuban would give his good friend Nowitzki.

Unlike the Spurs and Tim Duncan — I fully expect his retirement to be announced via emailed press release, with no press conference — Cuban is not going to let Nowitzki slide out of the league quietly. There will be a celebration. Whether Nowitzki wants it or not.

Pistons’ Anthony Tolliver out 2-4 weeks with knee sprain

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 18: at the United Center on December 18, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Tobias Harris was brought into Detroit to play the four — and he is being thrown into the fire.

He started against the Cavaliers Monday night and he’s going to get a lot of minutes the next few weeks because his backup, Anthony Tolliver, will be out for a while, the team announced.

Rookie Stanley Johnson will primarily play the three behind Marcus Morris, according to reports. Part of the reason for bringing in Harris was to put together guys at the two, three, and four who can switch picks defensively and be more interchangeable offensively around the Andre Drummond/Reggie Jackson pick-and-roll combo.

That is all being put to the test quickly.

Jeanie Buss says she has no plans to bring Phil Jackson back to Lakers

the New York Knicks the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on March 12, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.   The Knicks won 101-94.  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 Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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It’s a popular theory around the NBA: Phil Jackson will keep collecting James Dolan’s paychecks and keeping Dolan out of basketball decisions (the most important part of his job) until his fiancée Jeanie Buss slides her brother Jim out of the job of running the Lakers’ basketball operations, then she will call Jackson and he will be on the next flight back out to L.A.

Jeanie Buss says don’t bet on it.

Buss was on the NBA A to Z Podcast with Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt at the USA Today, and among the interesting things she said is she has no plans to bring Jackson back to the Lakers.  Especially not this summer.

Translation: despite recent speculation that she might expedite the timeline in order to bring her fiancé, New York Knicks president Phil Jackson, back to the Lakers, there is no such covert plan as it relates to next summer. Jackson signed a five-year, $60 million deal with the Knicks in March of 2014.

“It really isn’t about trying to get him back here (to the Lakers),” Buss said. “He is happy with what he is doing, and he … is up for the (Knicks) challenge, and he’s seeing the results of the work that he’s put in. But he has a ways to go.”

Bill Oram of the Orange County Register and I discussed this same topic in the PBT podcast that dropped Monday (it’s all about the Lakers). Our podcast focused a lot of the next move in terms of team building for the Lakers, starting with the coaching spot then rounding out the roster.

In that podcast Oram raised a good question: Should Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak be the guys to pick the next coach? Their last three choices (Mike D’Antoni, Mike Brown, Byron Scott) were poor, and there is a chance that a year after picking this new coach they could be on the outside and a new GM/front office regime (Jackson?) could come in.

Jeannie Buss was clear about one thing — she is holding her brother Jim to his self-imposed deadline of having the Lakers at least in the second round of the playoffs by 2017 or stepping aside.

“I think that (Jim Buss) was very sure of himself when he promised that timeline, and I think that he has everything he needs to fulfill that promise of getting the team back competitive,” Jeanie Buss said. “And when I say competitive, it’s competing for the Western Conference Finals, which would mean at least second round (of the playoffs) – if not more … They have earned the right to take the time that they’ve needed to put together what they want to have out on the court, and if they can’t do that then we have to reexamine how things are going.”

That timeline and Jim Buss wanting to keep his position and power could lead to some interesting moves this summer. Kevin Durant is not coming to the Lakers, but will the Lakers make moves that are more about getting good fast rather than building wisely for the longer term? Will they get a coach who can get them wins in the short run, or one with a history of strong player development looking at the big picture (Scott Brooks?).

The one thing Oram and I agree on — the Lakers need to look to someone outside the Lakers’ family to start making basketball decisions. What this organization did to succeed for decades no longer is working, and they have been slow to adapt to the changing environment. The Lakers need fresh blood.



Bucks sign free agent Steve Novak, request waivers on Chris Copeland

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Steve Novak (6) shoots against Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, April 3, 2015, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
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MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee Bucks signed free agent forward Steve Novak on Monday and requested waivers on forward Chris Copeland.

Novak appeared in seven games for the Oklahoma City Thunder this season before being traded to Denver, which waived him last week. The 32-year-old from Marquette was drafted by Houston with the 32nd overall pick in 2006. He has appeared in 456 career games including six starts, averaging 4.7 points and 1.3 rebounds while shooting 43.2 percent from 3-point range in 10 seasons with the Rockets, the L.A. Clippers, Dallas, San Antonio, New York, Toronto, Utah and Oklahoma City.

Copeland averaged 2.1 points and 0.5 assists in 6.5 minutes over 24 games for the Bucks this season.

It’s official, Knicks sign Jimmer Fredette to 10-day contract

Jimmer Fredette D-League

Jimmer Fredette is getting another shot in the NBA.

The former College Player of the Year, who has never been able to find a home in the NBA, is getting another shot after putting up big numbers in the D-League. This had been expected and Monday the Knicks made it official.

We will see how this goes. Fredette played this season in the D-League with the Knicks affiliate in Westchester, averaging 21.8 points and shooting 40.5 percent from 3-point range. He was the MVP of the NBA D-League All-Star Game after scoring 35 points. But shooting was never the issue.

For five seasons Fredette struggled to find a spot in the NBA (including last season with the Pelicans, a team at the time desperate for good guard play). The problem isn’t shooting. Early on in his career, the issue was getting Fredette to accept a role and not be the guy with the ball in his hands (he is not an NBA level playmaker). That he may have overcome. However, the biggest challenge was always defense — when he would enter the game teams ran sets to go right at Fredette because he couldn’t stay in front of anyone. He’s not athletic by NBA standards and teams work to exploit him.

Knicks interim coach Kurt Rambis said he’s not sure how much of a look Fredette will get, and that his time on the court will be predicated on him playing good defense (although the entire Knicks team has struggled with that the past few weeks). Fredette’s shooting got him another chance, but it’s going to take more than that for him to last.