NBA tips-off season-long All-Star charitable outreach program in New York area

Leave a comment

The NBA brought out all the big guns Monday afternoon. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was there, as was New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Also on hand was Knicks head coach Derek Fisher, Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko, Knicks big man Cole Aldrich, Orlando Magic guard Willie Green, and on her first day on the job officially players union Executive Director Michele Roberts.

All of them came to the Midland Beach area of Staten Island — an area ravaged by Hurricane Sandy — to open the playground there (and the coaches and players ran an NBA FIT basketball clinic for more than 150 students).

Adam Silver made headlines for other things said while at the event, but he was there for a very good cause — to tip-off for the season long, All-Star Game tied effort from the NBA family to reach out to youth in the greater New York area, something that should reach more than 100,000 students in the area.

“New York City is a mecca for basketball and this season’s NBA All-Star Game is the perfect opportunity to give back to the city that has meant so much to the game,” said Silver. “Beginning today and throughout the season, we will celebrate the game by bringing to the youth of New York, across all five boroughs, community-based programs that focus on basketball, fitness, nutrition and healthy living.”

“New York City has a unique and richly deserved connection with the game of basketball and the city has been the home and headquarters of the NBPA for almost fifty years,” according to Roberts. “On behalf of all of our players, we are delighted to contribute to the annual celebration of the game during NBA All-Star 2015. NBA players take special pride in using the game that they love to assist many of the diverse communities that help make New York the extraordinary city that it is.”

Every year, wherever the NBA All-Star Game is hosted, the league comes in with a number of programs through NBA Cares to reach out to that community, to help youth in that city.

With this year’s All-Star Game coming New York (Friday and Saturday events in Brooklyn, the main game Sunday at Madison Square Garden in Brooklyn), you knew things were going to be bigger. Not so coincidentally the league office and players union offices are there.

There will be community programs all over the city, three school cafeteria makeovers, and a host of other steps in the coming months.

The NBA All-Star Game can seem all about the glamour, the parties, and who made it to the big game. But it is much more than that, something that started to roll out Monday.

Rumor: Patrick Beverley may meet with five teams before Clippers

Getty Images
1 Comment

The Los Angeles Clippers want to bring Patrick Beverley back next season, his spark was at the heart of why this team made the playoffs and impressed with their potential.

First, however, the Clippers are going big game hunting for the likes of Kawhi Leonard and/or Kevin Durant (even with the Achilles injury). Beverley isn’t just going to sit around and wait for them, reports longtime NBA reporter Sean Deveney Tweeted.

The Bulls need a point guard and Beverley — a Chicago native — has said he is interested.

The Lakers also are reportedly big game hunting, but Beverley is the kind of guard they could use around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Phoenix and other teams have been mentioned.

Beverley is going to have options, but he loved his time with the Clippers last season, and that means something.

Pelicans reportedly pick up option year on coach Alvin Gentry

Associated Press
Leave a comment

David Griffin, the guy with the hammer in New Orleans, likes Alvin Gentry. They have a relationship that goes back to Phoenix, where Gentry was the coach and Griffin was in the front office (and was eventually GM).

Gentry also has a style of play — he wants to run and be up-tempo. That should fit very well with soon-to-be No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise the Griffin and the Pelicans want to keep Gentry around, as reported by Malika Andrews of ESPN.

This is another smart, stabilizing move by Griffin. The Pelicans want to build an athletic, fast-paced team and Gentry is the right coach for that style.  Maybe it doesn’t pan out, maybe the Pelicans ultimately need to go another direction with their coach, but right now this seems a good fit.

Report: Utah “frontrunner” to land Mike Conley Jr. if Memphis trades him this week

Getty Images
1 Comment

Utah feels like it is close — a 50-win team two seasons in a row, an elite defense, an All-NBA center in Rudy Gobert and an elite shot creator in Donovan Michell. They look at the West next season, with a depleted Warriors team, and see an opening.

Yet when Utah fell to Houston 4-1 in the first round of the playoffs this year, it was reminded of what is keeping the team from being truly elite, and another shot creator and shooter is at the top of that list.

Enter Mike Conley Jr. He averaged 21.1 points and 6.4 assists per game last season, shot 36.4 percent from three, and plays strong defense. Conley would be an upgrade over Ricky Rubio at the spot.

The almost All-Star point guard out of Memphis is available via trade. He’s the kind of veteran floor general, shooter, and shot creator Utah could use. The Jazz and Grizzlies talked but couldn’t come to an agreement at the trade deadline, but the sides are talking again and conversations are “intensifying” in the run-up to the NBA Draft Thursday, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Grizzlies are intensifying talks to potentially move franchise cornerstone Mike Conley Jr., league sources told The Athletic. Memphis has been in conversations with the Jazz and Utah is a frontrunner to acquire Conley should the Grizzlies trade the point guard during draft week, league sources said.

What would be in a trade package? Certainly the No. 23 pick in this draft, plus some young players the Grizzlies like (maybe Grayson Allen, Royce O’Neal, and even someone like Jae Crowder. Reports say Derick Favors is not part of the discussion.

While anything can happen the week of the draft — and things change quickly — don’t be surprised if some version of this trade gets done.

Kawhi Leonard wins day with last laugh — his viral laugh — at end of speech

1 Comment

Kawhi Leonard just won again.

He won his second NBA title leading the Toronto Raptors to the franchise’s first crown. He earned his second Finals MVP in the process.

Then on Monday he had the last laugh and won the Raptors’ championship parade in Toronto by ending his speech with his laugh, the same one that went viral at the start of the season.

Of course, what Leonard will do on July 1 was a cloud hanging over the parade, Leonard is a free agent this summer. Kyle Lowry at one point started a “five more years” chant during the parade, which is the maximum number of years Toronto can re-sign Leonard for.

Leonard, exactly as we all should have expected, dodged the question, while praising his time in Toronto.

Unfortunately, this was a parade marred by more serious concerns.