Kurt Helin

Associated Press

Knicks not concerned about possible Derrick Rose rape trial


GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) Derrick Rose apparently isn’t worried about a potential rape trial, and neither are the New York Knicks.

President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson said Friday that the Knicks don’t expect Rose’s season to be affected, but won’t say if he might miss any games because of the trial that would begin in California exactly three weeks before the official Oct. 25 opener.

“We’re just going to let the process work itself out,” Jackson said during a news conference at the team’s practice facility.

“We’re not concerned. We understand this is a serious subject we’re talking about, but this has to be done outside of our control. It’s something we can’t control,” Jackson said. “So Derrick has expressed that he’s not concerned about it. I mean he’s quite aware of it, but it’s not keeping him up at night, so we’ll leave it at that.”

A woman sued Rose last year, claiming the former MVP and two of his friends raped her in August 2013 while she was incapacitated after a night of drinking. Rose and the others deny her claims and contend they had consensual sex with her that night.

Rose would not be required to attend the civil trial that is scheduled to begin Oct. 4, early in the NBA preseason. However, it’s expected he would be there for at least portions of it.

“We anticipate that it will not affect his season, hopefully, training camp or games, but we’re going to let the due process of the justice system work its way through in the next week and a half or so,” Jackson said.

The Knicks acquired Rose from the Chicago Bulls on the eve of the NBA draft in June. The point guard was the NBA MVP in 2011 but has battled injuries since, not appearing in more than 66 games in any season.

But coach Jeff Hornacek said Rose is healthy and has looked quick in workouts.

“The one thing he’s excited about going into this season playing-wise is that he feels he’s been able to do a lot of things this summer to get himself ready for it,” Hornacek said, mentioning yoga. “He’s feeling that his body is good. Watching him play in some of the pickup games that they’ve been playing, you see those spurts of quickness that he has.”

Rose was the biggest – and likely riskiest – move Jackson made this summer in trying to improve a team that went 32-50 last season and hasn’t made the playoffs since Jackson was hired in March 2014. His injuries, mostly to his knees, have robbed him of some of the explosiveness that made him one of the league’s most dynamic players.

His new backup, Brandon Jennings, missed nearly a full year after an Achilles injury before returning last December. New center Joakim Noah, Rose’s former teammate with the Bulls, managed just 4.3 points per game in 29 appearances last season because of a shoulder injury.

But Jackson said the Knicks needed to take the risks, and general manager Steve Mills said no players will face any minute restrictions when training camp opens Tuesday.

“We see this as a team that has the potential of really being a good basketball club. The only thing that’s going to compete with them being successful or not successful is the injury factor,” Jackson said. “The rest of it is pretty much, they’re going to be there.”

Follow Brian Mahoney on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Briancmahoney

NBA family reacts to retirement of Kevin Garnett


His intensity. His work ethic. His intimidation. A big man who could step out and face up, then knock down the jumper.

Kevin Garnett has left a legacy in the NBA like few others. He was as influential on future generations as any big who has come through the sport — he helped change the NBA.

Friday KG made it official, he is retiring. And the tributes came pouring in.

“Kevin Garnett is one of the fiercest competitors our league has ever seen. He held himself to the highest standard of preparation and performance for a remarkable 21 seasons,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “On behalf of the NBA family, I thank Kevin for his sustained excellence and the enormous impact he’s had on the game.”

“Everything changed the day Kevin arrived in Boston” — Wyc Grousbeck, Boston Celtics owner.

Warriors to break out Run TMC-era ’90s throwback jerseys this season


Until the past couple of years, the Run TMC era was the most entertaining and one of the greatest eras of Golden State Warriors basketball. Even if it lasted just two years. Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, and Chris Mullin — with Don Nelson pushing them as coach — brought up-tempo basketball and some playground to the Bay Area.

This season, the Warriors are going to honor that era with some throwback jersey nights, the team announced Friday. From the official press release:

The new Crossover alternate uniform harkens back to the “Run TMC” era Warriors of the early 90’s and features the very same diagonal lettering worn by the team then, mixed with the color scheme and design of the jerseys the team wears on the road now.

The Warriors will wear them for six games this season, all on Sundays:

Sunday, October 30th at Phoenix
Sunday, November 13th vs. Phoenix
Sunday, January 22nd at Orlando
Sunday, March 5th at New York
Sunday, March 26th vs. Memphis
Sunday, April 2nd vs. Washington

I like the look, although the Run TMC crew’s best season was 44 wins and a second round exit. These Warriors expect more than that.


Westbrook on police shootings: “Something has to change”


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Russell Westbrook is a multi-millionaire basketball player, far removed from the rough community he came from in the Los Angeles area.

When the Thunder All-Star learned about the recent police shootings of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa and Keith Scott in Charlotte, his mind went right back to his old neighborhood.

“Me growing up in the inner city and being able to see different things on a night in and day in, day out basis – it hit home for me, just being able to see the different things that’s going on globally, and giving people across the world an opportunity to see it,” Westbrook said at Thunder media day on Friday. “Now, it’s getting to a point that there’s something that needs to be changed in that aspect. I’m going to use my voice as much as possible to relay that aspect.”

Crutcher, 40, was shot Sept. 16. Police say the unarmed black man was shot by a white police officer, Betty Shelby, who has been charged with manslaughter. Tulsa is just a two-hour drive from Oklahoma City. Westbrook said the impact goes way beyond the incidents themselves.

“A lot of people don’t realize the families of all these young men,” Westbrook said. “Their mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles. I think it’s very important that we understand how the families feel throughout these situations.”

Westbrook said he plans to use his platform to help find solutions.

“Me, being an African American athlete and having a voice, I think it’s important that it’s important that I make a stand that something has to change,” he said. “I think that — obviously, I don’t have an answer. Nobody has an answer. If that was the case, we would have fixed it. But it’s important that we try to figure out what we can do to help improve the things that’s going on.”

Keith Lamont Scott, 43, was shot in Charlotte on Tuesday by a police officer. Both men are black. Thunder player Anthony Morrow, who is from Charlotte, was shaken by the shooting in his hometown.

“Obviously, I’m sad, that being in my own personal city,” he said. “It’s a very unfortunate, sad situation. It’s a sad and unfortunate time that we’re in right now. It really hit home with me with it being Tulsa, then the next day, Charlotte. It’s just something that, we’ve got to continue to pray and try to find the right answer or medium, because right now, it’s kind of all or nothing. So I’m praying for my city and Tulsa and everywhere else.”

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has chosen not to stand during the national anthem, saying he wouldn’t show pride in the flag of a country “that oppresses black people and people of color.”

Earlier this week, NBA players received a memo from the league and the National Basketball Players Association saying both were working on finding substantive ways to “take meaningful action” and effect “`positive change.”

Neither Westbrook nor Morrow revealed whether they would stand for the anthem. Morrow said he has no issue if an athlete protests.

“If you’ve got a voice and you’ve got a stage and you feel like expressing yourself, I totally understand that,” he said.

Thunder general manager Sam Presti said Wednesday that, though he’d prefer the players stand, he respects their right to free speech.

“We want to learn how we can help them take the symbol (flag) and try to create platforms for action,” Presti said. “And I think that’s one of the great roles that any organization can play, especially here in Oklahoma City, which is great, given our relationship with the community.”

Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter (at)CliffBruntAP

Kevin Garnett makes it official: He is retiring after 21 NBA seasons


Next stop: Springfield, Mass.

Kevin Garnett, a power forward whose athleticism and skill helped redefine the position, has made official what had been reported all Friday: He is retiring. Here is his post on Instagram, saying he is thankful

To be continued…

A post shared by Kevin Garnett (@tic_pix) on

KG’s resume reads like a red carpet to the Hall of Fame: NBA champion, NBA MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, nine-time All-NBA, 12 times NBA All-Defensive team, 15 time All-Star, and the list goes on and on. All of that doesn’t do justice to a man who was one of the most influential bigs on future generations the game has ever seen.

That class in five years with Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and KG, that’s going to be an induction ceremony.