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Charles Barkley: ‘I apologize to Draymond Green… I meant what I said’

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After the Warriors’ Game 2 win over the Pelicans last night, TNT analyst Charles Barkley said he wanted to punch Draymond Green. Green invited Barkley to do it next time they cross paths.

Barkley on TNT tonight:

I apologize to Draymond Green and his mom.

What I said was inappropriate. I would never punch an NBA player. I would never punch an NBA player. I meant what I said. I meant what I said. But I would never punch an NBA player.

Draymond Green is a good player. I think he’s a nice kid. I wish him nothing but the best. But what I said was inappropriate.

My personal opinion should never come across in a comment I make about a team or a player. It did last night.

Draymond is a hell of a player. He’s an irritant. He annoys me at times, but he’s a hell of a player.

But what I said was wrong, and I apologize.

My advice: Don’t think about this silly saga. Instead, enjoy these videos of Barkley punching NBA players:

Report: Suns hiring Igor Kokoskov as coach

AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis
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Igor Kokoskov has paid his dues.

He was the head coach of the Georgia and Slovenia national teams. He was an assistant coach for the Clippers, Pistons, Suns, Cavaliers, Magic and Jazz.

Now, he’ll get his chance as NBA head coach.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Kokoskov is the NBA’s first European non-interim coach. Kiki VanDeWeghe, a Nets interim coach in 2010, was born in West Germany – but grew up in California. After growing up in Europe and having to convince NBA teams he was more than just a mentor for foreign players, Kokoskov is a trailblazer.

In Phoenix, he’ll try to develop a young core led by Devin Booker. Josh Jackson, Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss are far more raw. Kokoskov will also need time to learn his new role.

This is a hire that suggests patience. Let Kokoskov focus on what he does best – teaching – while he learns other aspects of being an NBA head coach. In that time, the Suns young prospects can also find their way.

But the Suns haven’t sounded patient, general Ryan McDonough talking of diving into free agency this summer. Big spending on veterans would create big immediate expectations for Kokoskov.

Is this a tweak to the plan? An incohesive strategy?

Navigating these types of questions is the duty of an NBA head coach. It’s Kokoskov’s job now.

Report: David Fizdale has ‘gained serious traction’ in Knicks coaching search

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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The Knicks reportedly hope to hire a coach this week.

Sounds as if it’ll be former Grizzlies coach David Fizdale.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

This is the type of update that usually precedes a report about the sides negotiating a contract (which precedes an agreement, which precedes an official hire).

In Memphis, Fizdale tried to get an established core over the hump. His task in New York will be much different: Help the Knicks establish an identity around Kristaps Porzingis.

The Knicks don’t need tweaking. They need a major cultural change, and Fizdale has the energy and acumen to help with that.

If this goes through as expected and he gets the job, expect him to do it with his trademark blunt honesty.

LeBron James finally called for lane violation on free throw (video)

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LeBron James latest free-throw routine had him stepping into the lane before the ball hit rim – a violation. But he’d been getting away with it throughout the playoffs.

Until last night.

LeBron was whistled for a lane violation in the third quarter of the Cavaliers’ Game 1 win over the Raptors. He looked bewildered by the call, though many fans had been waiting for it.

That was LeBron’s final free throw of the game – he was 1-for-6 from the line – so we’ll have to wait until Game 2 tomorrow to see how he adjusts. But he better adjust, because officials are apparently cracking down.

Rumor: Trail Blazers expected to keep Terry Stotts

AP Photo/Michael Wyke
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The Trail Blazers have lost 10 straight playoff games, including this year becoming the highest seed (No. 3) to get swept in a best-of-seven first-round series. Portland had the NBA’s fifth-highest salary. Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen was investigating earlier this season where to assign blame.

So, of course, rumors swirled about Portland coach Terry Stotts’ job security.

But it appears Stotts will last another year.

Marc Stein of The New York Times in his newsletter:

The latest word in coaching circles is that the Blazers prefer to keep Stotts heading into the final year of his contract

Damian Lillard probably saved Stotts’ job. The star guard has vigorously supported Stotts, and the Trail Blazers want to keep their franchise player happy.

But this won’t erase the questions in Portland.

The payroll is bloated for years to come. Starting center Jusuf Nurkic will be a restricted free agent this summer. Stotts must show he can make adjustments in the playoffs.

Will Trail Blazers president Neil Olshey lose his job? Will someone have a change of heart on Stotts – no announcement has been made – and conduct a coaching search? Will Lillard remain content in Portland?

Stotts has done well with this team, particularly developing a bond with Lillard. Stotts deserves to remain coach. But succeeding in the final year of his contract won’t be easy.