Kings’ owners send attorney to reporter’s home in attempt to obtain evidence of Phil Jackson’s comments

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UPDATE: May 5, 4:30 p.m.: Well, this is interesting. The original article was amended the evening of May 3, and it turns out that the attorney didn’t show up to the reporter’s home unannounced, as was originally stated. The reporter had made an appointment with the attorney to meet at her home, but left this fairly important detail out of the original story. The revised quote now reads:

Jessica Mackaness, an attorney representing Joe and Gavin Maloof, had an appointment at my house to get a tape of Jackson making a comment about the Kings’ efforts to relocate.

Obviously, that changes things quite a bit, and it’s a shame this wasn’t disclosed in the initial report.

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As the saga of the Sacramento Kings’ possible relocation to Anaheim continues, the team’s ownership is beginning to look more and more desperate in their attempts to keep that possibility alive. Their latest move was certainly that.

Janis Carr, a reporter for The Orange County Register, received an unexpected visitor at her home on Friday. It was an attorney representing the Maloofs, who hoped to recover an audio tape of Lakers head coach Phil Jackson’s comments that she had recorded prior to Game 2 of L.A.’s first round playoff series versus the Hornets.

Jessica Mackaness, an attorney representing Joe and Gavin Maloof, showed up at my house to try to persuade me to give her a tape of Jackson making a comment about the Kings’ efforts to relocate.

Mackaness said the Kings’ owners planned to turn over the tape to the NBA and Lakers in an effort to stop Jackson from making further comments.

However, the Register declined to turn over the tape. As a matter of policy, the Register does not release unpublished material gathered in the reporting of stories.

There’s a lot wrong, here. Let’s start with the fact that it’s completely ridiculous to send an attorney to a reporter’s home looking for audio from a pregame media session with an NBA head coach. I’m not positive, but it’s highly likely that a low-key phone call from someone on the Kings’ PR staff to any of the large number of reporters who cover Lakers games could have gotten the Maloofs that audio clip, and done so much more discretely.

But sending an attorney to someone’s home, unannounced? That basically guarantees you’re not getting what you’re looking for without a search warrant. It’s unnecessarily intimidating, and anyone put in that situation would obviously contact their employer (and possibly their own attorney) to make sure they follow every policy and procedure exactly.

Then there’s the issue of Jackson’s comments. All the league could do is warn him that if he speaks on the issue in the future that they will fine him. But let’s be clear: there’s no way to actually stop Jackson from speaking on this, or any other league-wide issue of his choosing. If he wants to pay the fines, he can say just about anything he likes.

It’s quite possible that the Maloofs knew that this tactic wouldn’t get them a copy of that recording, and maybe they were just looking for some press to let the league know they don’t appreciate Jackson’s siding with the city of Sacramento on this issue. If that’s the case, mission accomplished, guys. But you’ve also completely embarrassed yourselves in the process.

Kristaps Porzingis after conversation with new coach: “Man im excited!”

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David Fizdale learned a lot of lessons in his first go around as a head coach, spending 101 games with the Memphis Grizzlies. At the top of the list: Build a strong bond with your star player. Or else.

Fizdale is trying to do that, saying he would fly to Latvia this summer to spend time with Kristaps Porzingis. But first came a phone call, and that seemed to go very well.

It’s not just Porzingis. Fizdale was bonding with Frank Ntilikina, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Damyean Dotson on Wednesday night in Boston. A little “this is where we want to be” motivation.

Good on Fizdale for all of this.

The Knicks got the best coach for them on the board in Fizdale, and so far the new front office — general manager Scott Perry and president Steve Mills — are making smart decisions. Knicks fans should be optimistic. Knicks ownership just needs to be patient (not James Dolan’s strong suit), because with no Porzingis for a large portion if not all of next season the team will struggle. Wins will be hard to come by. Fizdale needs a season to develop players and lay the foundation for what he wants to build, while the new front office needs time to clean up the salary cap mess that is New York right now.

With some patience, the Knicks could have something special in a few years. And Fizdale may have found the right home for his talents because he’s already got players buying in.

Report: Police officers involved in Sterling Brown’s arrest suspended 15, 10 and two days

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Bucks guard Sterling Brown was tased and arrested in January despite not being violent or overly combative while being questioned about a parking violation.

Gina Barton, Mary Spicuzza and Ashley Luthern of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

The Milwaukee police officer who first confronted Milwaukee Bucks rookie Sterling Brown outside a Walgreens in January was suspended for two days, the Journal Sentinel has learned.

Two supervisors who later arrived, escalating the situation, were suspended for 10 and 15 days, sources said. Several other officers were reprimanded.

I don’t know whether these suspensions are the appropriate punishment.

But police too often trampling on the rights of people, especially minorities, is a far greater problem than these three officers and this incident.

No, Tom Izzo is not going to coach the Orlando Magic

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The Orlando Magic have been looking for their next head coach — after letting go of Frank Vogel right after season ended — while Mike Budenholzer (Bucks), David Fizdale (Knicks), Lloyd Pierce (Hawks), James Borrego (Hornets), and Igor Kokoskov (Suns) all got jobs (plus J.B. Bickerstaff had the interim title taken away in Memphis).

Not much news had leaked out of Orlando through all of that process, outside of interest in University of Houston coach Kelvin Sampson and an interview this week with former Charlotte coach Steve Clifford.

Then came a report from Michael Scotto of The Athletic that the Magic had interest in Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.

It didn’t take long for people close to Izzo to shoot that down.

A few points of clarification here. First, plenty of NBA front office executives have thought Izzo would make a great NBA coach and have reached out with feelers over the years. I have no doubt the Magic were interested, and may well have reached out (directly or through back channels) to gauge interest. That’s what smart organizations do.

At this point in his career, at age 63, it’s hard to imagine Izzo making the leap to the NBA — and if he does it will be for a Godfather offer (in both money and roster). With all due respect to Aaron Gordon, that’s not Orlando. Never say never, but like Mike Krzyzewski and others who could have made the leap to the NBA, at this point Izzo seems a college lifer. He’s in one of the best jobs in the land, a place where he is revered and respected, and he’s not likely to change that up now.

You can’t really blame him. It’s hard to leave a good job — just ask Jay Wright. But with Izzo, NBA teams will still ask occasionally, just to make sure.

Steve Kerr calls NFL’s new national-anthem policy, which is strikingly similar to the NBA’s, ‘idiotic’

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The NFL released a new national-anthem policy that requires players to stand on the field or remain in the locker room (or similar location) during the song.

That didn’t sit well with Warriors coach Steve Kerr.

Melissa Rohlin of the Bay Area News Group:

Good thing Kerr doesn’t work in a league that mandates players, coaches and trainers “stand and line up in a dignified posture” during the anthem, that suspended a player for sitting during the anthem, that warns players for chewing gum or being in the bathroom during the anthem, that has a team that blocked a black anthem singer who wore a “We matter” jersey.

Oh, wait.

He does.

The NBA, like the NFL, is first and foremost a business seeking profit. When confronted with social issues, from Donald Sterling to “I can’t breathe” shirts, the NBA has always kept an eye on its wallet.

With the threat of anthem protests looming, the NBA proactively met with players to head off any kneeling. That was business strategy, nothing grander.

The result? Players linked arms during the national anthem in the name of same vague unity, co-opting the space and distorting the message of Colin Kaepernick’s more meaningful protest.

Eventually, teams stopped linking arms during the anthem. Nobody really noticed when it fell off.

All the while, no sponsors or fans were aggrieved.

The NFL is just trying to get to the same point with a similar policy.

But the NFL already alienated its players through the heavy-handed implementation of this policy and years of other issues. The NBA has established greater trust from its players, both by finessing them in talks about societal issues and actually standing behind them, like the Bucks did with Sterling Brown.

There are plenty of opportunities to criticize the NFL relative to the NBA. The leagues’ national-anthem policies are not a good one.

And spare me the idea that leaders trying to divide us from on high is What’s Wrong With Our Country. Centuries of racism have already divided us.

Some leaders, like Donald Trump, exploit those divisions. Other leaders talk fancifully of unity without actually reconciling what caused the divisions.

But the actual divisions were already significant.