Report: Cuttino Mobley sues Knicks for forcing him to retire

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Cuttino Mobley has not played in the NBA since 2008, but he wants back in. He’s worked out for teams but nothing has come of it.

He retired after being traded to the Knicks (in the Zach Randolph deal) in 2008. In a routine post-trade physical it was discovered Mobley had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the same condition linked to the deaths of Reggie Lewis and Hank Gathers. The Knicks wanted him to walk away from basketball because of it, and Mobley did after an 11 year career.

When he first retired Mobley didn’t complain, in fact he said the MRI “saved his life,” but that tone had changed by last year when Mobley was saying that the Knicks forced this decision on him when he didn’t want it. The Knicks did get relief from the league on Mobley’s $9.5 million salary.

Now he has taken the next step and sued the Knicks, first broken by Howard Beck at the New York Times.

The Knicks responded. Here is Beck on it:

In statement, Knicks say they are “extremely disappointed” in Mobley’s lawsuit and are “confident Cuttino’s claims have no merit”

This was Mobley’s quote last year.

“At first I was cool with it because I didn’t do research on it, but then doing research and getting different opinions, then I became upset because the corporation, the big company trying to get as much money as they can and do different things like that, for me I don’t think that was right,” Mobley said.

“You either waive me, you don’t take me in, you let me go somewhere else, let me create my own destiny like I did in 1999 when I came to the Rockets. Let me create my own decisions. Don’t make the decisions for me, clogging my heads with different things.

“I’m not upset now because I know it’s a business and that’s how they treat it as a business, but it’s two and a half, three years I haven’t played. It’s been a waste.”

Great, now we have another NBA player and issue headed to court. It’s kind of hard for this layman to see how the Knicks are at fault here. Then again, I think if you buy hot coffee in a drive-through and spill it on yourself you can’t sue saying it was hot. I’m crazy that way. Who knows how this really turns out.

Spencer Dinwiddie signs three-year, $34 million extension to stay with Nets

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There were a lot of general managers eyeing Spencer Dinwiddie as a quality point guard they could grab on the free agent market this summer at a fair price. The hardworking point guard out of the University of Colorado has averaged 16.9 points and 4.8 assists for the Nets this season, is shooting 36.8 percent from three, knows how to be a good floor general, and while a lot of fans may not know his name smart front offices around the league saw an above-average point guard that would fit their system.

Which is why the Nets decided to lock him up and not let him leave Brooklyn. The team announced the deal, Dinwiddie himself confirmed it, and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN had the details.

That’s an above the league average but low starter money, and it’s a good deal for Dinwiddie, who is making $1.6 million this year and that’s the largest payday of his career.

If you don’t know what Dinwiddie can do on the court, go ask the Sixers — he dropped 39 on them last night.

The Nets are trying to build a culture and have a core of smart, solid players to put stars around, and Dinwiddie fits right into this model. They could have tried to lowball him and save some money, but that came with the risk of losing him this summer. The Nets decided to take care of their own instead, a good sign for the franchise.

Raptors’ Jonas Valanciunas undergoes surgery on dislocated thumb, out a month

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It was clear it was bad when it happened. Not because of the violence of the play by Draymond Green — no foul was called, and the hand is part of the ball by rule in these cases — but because of Jonas Valanciunas‘ reaction. The man was in a lot of pain.

With 8 minutes to go in the second quarter of the Raptors win Wednesday night, Valanciunas got the ball with Green on him and decided to back down the smaller player, Green reached in and swiped down knocking the ball away but getting Valanciunas’ hand in the process.

Thursday the Raptors announced that Valanciunas had surgery on his dislocated left thumb and will be out at least a month.

This is a blow to the Raptors’ frontline depth, although they still have plenty of talent up front. Serge Ibaka starts most nights at center, and at times the Raptors go small and put breakout player Pascal Siakam at the five. However, Valanciunas is their matchup for other bigger, more traditional centers, or sometimes coach Nick Nurse tries him to force a mismatch. Valanciunas is averaging 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds a night playing nearly 19 minutes a night, the Raptors defense is 3 points per 100 possessions better, and the Raptors outscore opponents by 5.4 per 100 when he is on the court. It will not be easy to fill his minutes.

The Raptors are 23-7 and the team in first place in the East having just knocked off the Clippers and Warriors in back-to-back nights on the road. They look like contenders, but they could use Valanciunas to help them get through the regular season (he’s harder to play in the postseason, but we’re not there yet).

 

Hornets owner Michael Jordan: Smacking Malik Monk was ‘tap of endearment’

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Hornets owner Michael Jordan smacked guard Malik Monk on the back head of the head, because Monk prematurely ran on the court to celebrate Jeremy Lamb‘s game-winner against the Pistons last night. Charlotte received a technical foul for having too many men on the court, but held on for the victory.

Zach Aldridge of WCCB:

Some people took affront to Jordan putting his hands on Monk – to the point Jordan explained himself.

Associated Press:

Hornets owner Michael Jordan says lightly smacking the back of second-year guard Malik Monk’s head in closing seconds of Wednesday night’s win against the Pistons was a “tap of endearment.”

The Hornets owner, says “It was like a big brother and little brother tap. No negative intent. Only love!”

I doubt any other NBA owner could have gotten away with that.

But Jordan isn’t any other NBA owner.

He’s a former player, widely respected as the greatest of all-time. He’s black. He’s just 55, younger than most of his owner peers.

Jordan and Monk can relate in a way other owners and players can’t.

The power dynamic still isn’t balanced. Jordan is Monk’s boss. When initially watching the exchange, I worried Jordan crossed a line.

But both Jordan and Monk laughed it off. I believe this truly was acceptable in the context of their relationship.

LeBron James on consideration given to signing with Rockets: ‘Not much’

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For a while, it seemed LeBron Jamesfinalists in free agency last summer were the Lakers, Cavaliers, 76ers and Rockets.

LeBron obviously signed with the Lakers. Cleveland remains special to him. His agent met with Philadelphia.

And then there’s Houston.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

The Rockets – led by Chris Paul – reportedly recruited LeBron hard.

But LeBron reportedly previously said he didn’t like Houston as a city, and at this point, it’s impossible escape lifestyle as a key consideration for the superstar. He clearly enjoys Los Angeles.

I doubt LeBron regrets dropping the Rockets from consideration early. The main appeal would have been their direction path to championship contention, but they’ve been the NBA’s most disappointing team this season.

Which makes it even easier for LeBron to dismiss his Houston consideration.