Kyrie Irving
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Kyrie Irving badgers Nets teammates with weird theory connecting himself to Julius Erving

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Kyrie Irving said “it’s not like I’m an a—hole yelling at everybody in the freaking locker room all the time.”

So, how is he in the locker room?

Michael Lee of The Athletic:

Kyrie Irving was getting dressed in the visitor’s locker room at Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday when he decided to share some Nets history with Caris LeVert, who was standing nearby.

“It’s not a coincidence that the last time the Nets won a title, they were led by Julius Erving,” Irving said, referencing the two ABA titles Hall of Famer Julius Erving won with the then-New York Nets in 1974 and 1976. “And now, we have another Irving. I’m just saying.”

The implication was that the Brooklyn Nets were eventually going to win it all again because they employed another player whose name was pronounced the same. Irving was half-joking, half-serious but LeVert was fully confused. Realizing that LeVert wasn’t really feeling his name theory, Irving tried to enlist support from Theo Pinson. Then he called out for Taurean Prince, who furrowed his brow, perplexed.

“I’m just saying. Erving. Irving,” the mercurial All-Star point guard turned defense attorney said, making his case, to no avail.

“How do you spell his name again?” Pinson responded, hoping that Irving would realize how silly he was being with the Dr. J chatter and just…stop.

“He’s with an E,” Irving said, acknowledging the difference, “but how do you say it?”

Irving smiled and nodded. He wouldn’t relent. His teammates wouldn’t, either. Laughter ended the discussion.

Don’t read too much into this exchange. We don’t know exactly what LeVert, Pinson and Prince thought of it or their exact relationship with Irving.

But…

Listening to Irving can be exhausting. He spouts nonsense and bloviates. Some of that is clearly trolling the public. But is he that way with his teammates, too?

I enjoy Irving’s weird rants in small doses. However, when I get tired of them, I can roll my eyes then move onto something else.

His teammates can’t as easily escape. By nature of their jobs, they must spend a lot of time with Irving. Because he holds a natural leadership position, they have even more reason to engage him.

This Erving-Irving theory might be more fun coming from someone other than the guy who denigrated most of the roster and whose mood swings have become news.

Again, I wouldn’t read too much into this anecdote alone. But this isn’t the first clue Irving can be insufferable, either.

Nobody should expect Irving to be perfect. That’s an unfair standard. He should also realize how he comes across to those around him.

Stephon Marbury has arrangement to procure 10 million medical masks for New York

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Former NBA player Stephon Marbury told The New York Post that he’s arranged a deal to deliver 10 million N95 medical masks to New York. These masks are much-needed among healthcare workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marbury is having the masks produced at cost in China, where he played the last seven years of his career.

Although Marbury currently lives in Beijing, China, he said “At the end of the day, I am from Brooklyn. This is something that is close and dear to my heart as far as being able to help New York.”

While growing up, Marbury starred at Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn and on New York City’s famed playgrounds. After one year at Georgia Tech, Marbury left for the NBA. The high-scoring guard played for five teams during his 13-year NBA career, including his hometown New York Knicks.

After sitting out for two seasons, Marbury signed to play for the Beijing Ducks in 2011. The move was initially seen as a way for Marbury to prove he could still play at an NBA level. Instead, Beijing became home-away-from home for the New Yorker.

Marbury averaged 21.6 points per game in 271 contests spread over seven seasons with the Ducks.

Georgetown sophomore Mac McClung declares for 2020 NBA Draft

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Georgetown sophomore Mac McClung told ESPN Jonathan Givony that he’s declaring for the 2020 NBA Draft.

McClung first came to national prominence when his high school highlights blew up on YouTube:

In his second season at Georgetown, McClung averaged 15.7 points and 1.4 steals per game. A foot injury in late-January kept McClung out of the lineup for nearly a month. He returned for one game in late-February, but played just eight minutes off the Hoyas’ bench.

The six-foot-two guard is known for his deep shooting range and his highlight dunks. McClung’s shot is inconsistent however, as he shot under 40% in each of his first two seasons at Georgetown. McClung’s defense also needs work.

McClung projects to be a point guard in the NBA, due to his size. To make it as a lead guard, he’ll need to work on his ballhandling and playmaking. With those question marks, McClung is seen as a stretch to be drafted in the second round.

McClung stated he’s signing with an NBA/NCAA approved agent. That will allow him to keep his college eligibility as he goes through the pre-draft process.

Report: NBA Together asks players who have recovered from COVID-19 to consider donating plasma

Jazz stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert
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Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that the NBA Together initiative is asking NBA players who have recovered from coronavirus to consider donating plasma:

NBA Together was created in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, as the NBA suspended the 2019-20 season.

One of the efforts NBA Together is supporting is the COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project. This project has brought together top medical specialists to determine if plasma donations could help in treating coronavirus.

Several NBA players have tested positive for COVID-19. This group includes Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz, Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets, Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics and Christian Wood of the Detroit Pistons. All players reported either feeling no symptoms or have recovered from the affliction.

Video: Carmelo Anthony says he’d have won 2-3 titles if drafted by Detroit

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In an Instagram Live chat with friend Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony said he’d “have won 2-3 championships” if drafted by the Detroit Pistons:

Anthony was drafted third overall in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets. LeBron James went off the board first to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Pistons then drafted Darko Milicic with the second pick. Chris Bosh was drafted fourth by the Toronto Raptors, and Wade was selected with the fifth pick by the Miami Heat.

James, Wade, and Bosh would famously team up in Miami seven years later. Those three and Anthony all put together Hall of Fame careers. Milicic was another story entirely.

Detroit had that second overall pick by virtue of a 1997 sign-and-trade with the then Vancouver Grizzlies for forward Otis Thorpe. Vancouver didn’t even keep Thorpe for one full season, as he was shipped to the Sacramento Kings at the 1998 trade deadline. By the 2003 draft, the team had moved from Vancouver to Memphis.

The Pistons went on to win the championship in 2003-04, despite relatively limited production from rookie Milicic. The seven-footer played in just 34 games as a rookie during Detroit’s title run. Milicic then appeared in just 62 games over the next two seasons before he was traded to the Orlando Magic at the 2006 trade deadline.

Despite never living up to his draft position, Milicic did carve out a 10-year NBA career. On the other hand, Anthony blossomed into a 10-time All-Star.

Anthony went on to make six All-NBA teams over the course of his time with the Nuggets and New York Knicks. He holds a career average of 23.6 points per game, but has yet to win that elusive ring.

Detroit passing on Anthony is one of the more interesting what if’s in recent NBA history. The Pistons only got the one championship, but made the Finals back-to-back years. They had a multiple-year run of contention behind a core of Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton in the backcourt. The frontcourt was anchored by Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince. The one thing that group struggled with on occasion was scoring, which Anthony would have provided.

Had Anthony been drafted by the Pistons, he’d likely have a ring and Detroit would have a fourth banner. Who knows? Maybe they’d each have a couple more beyond that.