Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Report: Dirk Nowitzki invited to 3-point contest

4 Comments

There has been talk of getting Vince Carter into the dunk contest during his last season, which is one of those ideas that looks better on paper than in reality. Carter will be 42 during the dunk contest. Though he still dunks well for his age, he’s no longer capable of putting on an intriguing show. It’d be a shame to waste one of four spots on him.

The 3-point contest – with eight participants rather than four – presents a much better opportunity to honor a great player nearing retirement. Like Dirk Nowitzki.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

It’s not totally clear Nowitzki has accepted. But Stein’s second tweet indicates he has. The Collective Bargaining Agreement also requires Nowitzki to participate if invited, though I doubt the NBA would force Nowitzki to compete if he’d prefer to rest that weekend.

If Nowitzki enters the event, this would be his sixth 3-point contest, behind only Craig Hodges (eight) and Dale Ellis (seven) and tied with Ray Allen (and probably Stephen Curry):

image

It’s also worth noting Nowitzki is making just 26% of his 3-pointers this season. If that stands, that’d be one of the worst 3-point percentages ever by someone in the 3-point contest:

image

As back-to-back-to-back defending champion, Craig Hodges competed in the 1993 3-point contest despite being unsigned. He alleges the NBA blackballed him.

Rimas Kurtinaitis was a European player brought in for the 1989 contest. He never played in the NBA.

Detlef Schrempf was just 3-for-18 on 3-pointers at the 1988 All-Star break. But he made 47% of his 3-pointers in his previous NBA seasons. That was a time players had more variance in their 3-point percentages, because players had smaller samples of long-distance shots. So, maybe the league figured he’d rebound. But he sure didn’t that season (or the next one, though he regained his touch beyond the arc later in his career).

Tim Legler was just finished recovering from an ACL tear suffered the prior season when he competed in the 1997 contest. He hadn’t even played in an NBA game yet. But he was the defending 3-point-contest champion and arguably the NBA’s top 3-point shooter. Unfortunately for Leger, who returned to play after the All-Star break, he didn’t shoot well from beyond the arc the rest of that season.

So, that’s Nowitzki’s potential company. There’s still plenty of time for him to climb out of his this hole. He made 41% of his 3-pointers last season and has annually finished above league average in recent seasons. But it’s worth acknowledging the 40-year-old might no longer have the legs to consistently hit 3s.

Still, him trying for one night in a fun contest would be welcome.

One last look back: Best dunks of All-Star Weekend (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

Defense? That’s one thing that rarely makes an appearance All-Star weekend.

Combine that with the game’s best athletes and what you get are three days of insane dunks.

The NBA put this together, the best dunks of All-Star weekend in Charlotte. Enjoy.

Wizards’ Bradley Beal: ‘Recruiting process is really going alright…I’m trying’

Getty Images
Leave a comment

LeBron James went out of his way to say he was not recruiting guys on his free-agent heavy All-Star Team.

Bradley Beal had no such hesitation, he tried to recruit guys, as he told Chase Huges of NBC Sports Washington.

“The recruiting process is really going alright. It’s going alright. I’m trying,” Beal said. “This is new for me. I’m definitely getting some ears and seeing what guys are looking for.”

Beal was too smart to name names — that would have brought a fine from the league — but he said some guys asked if he was happy where he was, while other guys he talked to about the possibilities in Washington.

The problem is while the Wizards will have some cap space after trading Otto Porter and Markieff Morris (and assuming they don’t pick up the option on Jabari Parker) but they will be nowhere near the max cap space needed to land the elite free agents at the All-Star Game (Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, etc.). Even the second-tier All-Star free agents such as Khris Middleton will get max offers. Same with players who just missed the game, such as Tobias Harris.

If the Wizards renounce free agents they can get to $9 million in cap space, stretch and waive Ian Mahinmi and they can get to $18 million. That’s the top end. Meaning the Wizards will have room to make moves for good rotation players, but with John Wall‘s supermax extension kicking in at $38 million next season flexibility is limited. Genuine upgrades will be hard to come by.

Predicting what Washington GM Ernie Grunfeld will do next summer is a fool’s errand, but Beal is doing his part to try and bring more talent into Washington.

Kevin Garnett says 2000 Olympic team had $1 million bounty to dunk on Yao Ming

Getty Images
4 Comments

Team USA earned a Gold Medal in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, led by Vince Carter, Kevin Garnett, and Alonzo Mourning. Lithuania made the Americans work that year, losing by just nine in pool play then by two points in the semi-finals.

That’s not what anyone remembers from those Olympics, they remember Vince Carter doing this to 7-footer Fredric Weiss of France.

Recently Garnett sat down with Dwyane Wade for an interview (which airs on NBA TV today) and he told a fantastic story about that dunk. (Hat tip to Yahoo Sports)

Everything just paused. First of all, people didn’t know, we had a bounty out on Yao Ming. The whole USA team had a bet. We had a million dollar bet on who was going to be the first person to dunk on Yao Ming. None of us did. We all tried to dunk on Yao, but he would block it or we would miss. So, the first thing I thought of when I saw Vince dunk over Frederic was oh s***, you won the million dollars. But then I realized it obviously wasn’t Yao. I pushed Vince, and if you look at the clip, he almost punches me in the face by accident. But my first thought was, oh s***, you won, you got the million.

KG has the best stories.

MSG denies rumor James Dolan looking to sell Knicks

Getty Images
2 Comments

Rumors that James Dolan is considering selling the Knicks — which elicits a “Hallelujah” chorus from Knicks fans — have been cropping up for a couple of years now. There were rumors he wanted to spin off the Knicks and Rangers into their own company to be sold. That’s just one, there are others — he confirmed he got a feeler $5 billion, but never a firm offer, for the Knicks — and each time he has shot them down.

This is no different.

On his latest Podcast, the Ringer’s Bill Simmons said he had heard that Dolan wanted to focus more on concerts/in-game experiences in Madison Square Garden and that the Knicks were “available.”

The Madison Square Garden Company released this statement (hat tip New York Daily News).

“The story is 100% false. There has been nothing. No discussions. No plans to have discussions – nothing.”

That’s pretty unequivocal.

While Dolan may entertain the idea on some level of selling the Knicks, until he takes concrete steps to do so — not rumors, but actual, documented moves — I’m not buying it. He’s sitting on a gold mine that keeps going up in value, despite how he manages it, so why sell now? Knicks fans that buy this rumor will likely end up like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football.