andre drummond

NBA Notes: Clippers strip Doc Rivers of role as team president

uspresswire-clippers-doc-rivers.jpg
USA Today Images

NBA Notes: Clippers strip Doc Rivers of role as team president

LOS ANGELES -- Doc Rivers is losing his dual roles with the Los Angeles Clippers, keeping his position as coach while Lawrence Frank takes over Rivers' responsibility for basketball operations.

The team announced the changes Friday, saying the moves are "aimed at bringing the team to a new level of excellence by creating separate roles." The team says the change came as a result of discussions between Rivers and owner Steve Ballmer.

Rivers and Frank will be equals in the Clippers' power structure, with each reporting directly to Ballmer.

Last year, Frank was promoted to oversee day-to-day operations of the front office although Rivers retained his title as president of basketball operations. Frank and Rivers have a strong relationship and they worked together to make hires and changes in the front office structure.

Frank has had previous NBA head coaching jobs in New Jersey and Detroit.

"Doc knows how to win championships. That is what we prioritize, and that is what Doc will focus on," Ballmer said. "Lawrence is someone I learn from every single time I hear him talk. He gets recruiting, talent development and identification, salary cap strategy -- he gets it all. With these two guys at the helm, we will have great success" (see full story).

Wizards: Wall says ‘no point in testing free agency
WASHINGTON -- John Wall wants to win a championship, but he doesn't plan to bounce around the NBA chasing a ring.

After signing a $170 million, four-year extension with the Washington Wizards that keeps him under contract through 2022-23, Wall said he wants to watch two banners rise to the rafters in Washington: one for a title and another with his No. 2 jersey.

"There's no point in testing free agency if I know where I want to be," Wall said Friday. "I have the ultimate goal what I want to do here. I know what team I want to play for my whole career."

Wall turns 27 in September, so he'll only be 32 when this contract expires or 31 if he opts out in 2022. Backcourt mate Bradley Beal and swingman Otto Porter Jr. are signed to max contracts through 2021, giving the Wizards several seasons to try to win with this core.

In an era of players like LeBron James and Kevin Durant taking their talents elsewhere, Wall put his money where his mouth is by agreeing to another contract.

"It's critical that your star players want to stay and play for the team. That's not always the case," said Scott Brooks, who previously coached Durant in Oklahoma City. "We have our three players that we drafted all want to stay here and stay long term. It's good because if you don't have your best players want to stay here, nobody wants to stay here" (see full story).

Pistons: Drummond acknowledges need to improve
The Detroit Pistons are coming off a disappointing season -- one that raised significant questions about whether Andre Drummond is the type of player they envisioned when they gave him a massive contract.

Drummond admits 2016-17 wasn't good enough.

"It was like a roller coaster ride for me," Drummond said. "Just an inconsistent year for us as an organization."

The Pistons went 37-45 and missed the playoffs after making it in 2016. There were plenty of reasons for the team's decline -- particularly an injury-riddled season for point guard Reggie Jackson -- but Drummond is the player who may be under the most pressure to improve when the Pistons move into their new downtown arena later this year.

Drummond is set to play in Saturday's NBA Africa Game in South Africa, and he took part in a conference call this week. It's been an eventful year for the 23-year-old big man, who received a $130 million, five-year contract from the Pistons last offseason.

Less than a season after finalizing that deal, Drummond was already the subject of trade speculation.

"I never had to deal with that before," he said. "I wasn't playing the way I was supposed to play" (see full story).

Knicks: Oakley accepts deal to dismiss MSG charges
NEW YORK (AP) -- Former New York Knicks star Charles Oakley has reached a deal with prosecutors who charged him with striking a security guard at Madison Square Garden.

The Daily News reports that charges against Oakley will be dismissed and sealed after six months of good behavior.

Oakley said Friday that a trial would waste time and money that should be used to "keep the streets better for kids."

His lawyer says Oakley didn't need a trial to prove his innocence.

Oakley was a Knicks fan favorite from 1988 to 1998. But he's had a falling out with the organization.

On Feb. 8, he sat a few rows from Knicks owner James Dolan at a game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Security approached and a fracas ensued. Oakley was ejected and handcuffed.

Jahlil Okafor puts trade talk aside with solid effort in loss to Pistons

Jahlil Okafor puts trade talk aside with solid effort in loss to Pistons

BOX SCORE

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Jahlil Okafor wasn’t willing to speculate Monday night whether he thinks he’ll be dealt before the Feb. 23 trade deadline. 

But if Monday night proves to be Okafor’s last game in a Sixers jersey, the former first-round pick made it crystal clear why he’s drawing heavy interest from teams around the league.

The subject of several trade rumors in recent weeks, Okafor proved to be the lone bright spot in an otherwise ugly loss for the shorthanded Sixers, who fell to the Pistons, 113-96, at the Palace (see Instant Replay)

Given the circumstances, Okafor put up an impressive display typically reserved for NBA veterans. To shine under the spotlight, while mired in trade talks, as Okafor did, spoke volumes to Sixers coach Brett Brown.

“For him to come out and just jump out into this game like he did, and show his skill, I’m proud of him,” Brown said. 

Mere hours before tipoff, multiple reports surfaced that identified Okafor as the centerpiece of a potential trade between the Sixers and Pelicans. A league source confirmed to CSNPhilly.com's Jessica Camerato that the Sixers are actively engaging in trade discussions with New Orleans regarding Okafor (see story).

USA TODAY first reported the trade talks Monday afternoon, noting that the Sixers are seeking a first-round pick in exchange for Okafor. 

Whether a deal will be completed before this month’s trade deadline remains uncertain, but it’s clear the Sixers are willing to field offers from teams.

Okafor, meanwhile, doesn't appear to be the least bit interested in talking about it. To him, rumors mean nothing.

“I’m happy where I’m at right now,” Okafor said. “It’s all rumors right now, until it comes true.”

Okafor may be quick to dismiss trade talks as simply rumors, but reported discussions between the two teams make perfect sense given the Sixers’ quality depth at the five, and the Pelicans’ desire to add an offensive-minded big man to star alongside Anthony Davis (see story).

But none of that appears to matter to Okafor, whose sole focus Monday night was to help the Sixers snap a three-game skid. 

“That’s something I’m probably going to have to deal with my entire career,” Okafor said. “It’s something I dealt with last year, and it’s something I’ll probably have to deal with next year, too.”

A surprise scratch Saturday, Okafor returned to the starting lineup Monday and responded by sinking his first three shots, finishing with a team-high 16 points. Standing at 6-foot-11, Okafor ran the floor and showed the athleticism and agility that made him the No. 3 overall pick in 2015.

“When you see Jahlil in that mindset, that mood, you see his skill,” Brown said. “He can score. He really can score.” 

The Sixers were outscored 34-21 in the third quarter and never seriously challenged the Pistons, but Okafor certainly wasn’t to blame for the fourth straight loss.

Simply put, the Sixers were no match for Pistons star Andre Drummond, who already had 11 points at halftime. The league’s reigning rebound leader finished with 16 points and 17 boards. 

“There’s been a tenacity that, at times, goes away,” said Brown when asked to address the team’s four-game skid. “We really got out-physicalled, at times, on the boards.”

Poor shooting from behind the arc also doomed the Sixers, who went 5 of 28 from three-point range. Nik Stauskas and Ersan Illyasova each went 0 for 5. 

There was plenty not to like about Monday’s loss. Brown mentioned a handful of those concerns during his postgame session. But not all was bad. Okafor made sure of that. 
 
“He’s been a star,” Brown said. “My Philadelphia media friends have heard me talk about it just ad nauseam. He has just been a star.”

Sixers-Pistons 5 things: Returning to the scene of their most lopsided win

Sixers-Pistons 5 things: Returning to the scene of their most lopsided win

The Sixers (18-32) will try to salvage their four-game road trip when they face the Detroit Pistons (23-28) at the Palace of Auburn Hills (7:30 p.m./TCN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports app).

Let's take a closer look at the matchup:

1. Pushed around in the paint
The Sixers' recent inability to control the low post took a turn for the worse over the weekend.

The team was dominated inside by center Hassan Whiteside and the streaking Miami Heat in a 125-102 loss on Saturday. Whiteside had a double-double by the end of the first quarter as he rolled to a 30-point, 20-rebound effort in 27 minutes.

Even with Joel Embiid still sidelined and Jahlil Okafor a DNP-CD, the Sixers didn't want to take anything away from Whiteside's assertive performance.

“I give him a lot of credit the way he just took over the game,” Brett Brown said of Whiteside. “[His stat line] is beyond dominating. Maybe with more healthy bodies, you could have competed a little bit more, but I don’t want to take anything away from him. That was an incredibly impactful performance and an incredibly impactful first half that he had.”

Overall, the Sixers were out-rebounded again (52-42) and allowed 54 points in the paint, which has to have their next opponent licking their chops.

2. Andre the giant
Speaking of the next opponent, that team just so happens to have a bruising big man of its own.

Pistons center Andre Drummond is a force down on the block. He is averaging 14.6 points and is third in the NBA with 13.6 rebounds per game this season.

After watching the Sixers give up big games on this road trip to Dallas' Salah Mejri (16 points, 17 rebounds), San Antonio's Dewayne Dedmon (13 points, 10 rebounds) and Whiteside, Drummond has to be salivating at the thought of what he can do against a banged-up roster.

3. Will history repeat itself?
Of course, this visit to the Motor City could be just what the Sixers need at the moment.

In their last trip to Detroit, the undermanned Sixers rolled to a 97-79 win — their largest of the season — to give them back-to-back victories following an eight-game losing skid. 

Embiid and Sergio Rodriguez sat out that Dec. 11 game while Nerlens Noel played just 10 minutes in his season debut. 

However, T.J. McConnell seized control of the starting point guard role that day with a near-triple-double (12 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists). Plus, the Sixers received balanced scoring with Robert Covington (16), Ersan Ilyasova (15), Okafor (14) and Nik Stauskas (10) all putting up double-digit points in the win.

With the Sixers limping to the end of this road trip on three straight defeats, they will need a similar effort to snap this skid.

4. Injuries
Covington (hand) is probable to return after missing three straight games. Okafor will start and Noel will come off the bench.

Embiid (knee), Ben Simmons (foot) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are out for the Sixers.

The Pistons have no players listed on the injury report.

5. This and that
• The Sixers snapped a four-game skid to the Pistons with their win in the season's first meeting.

• Philly native Marcus Morris had 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting in the first matchup.

• The Pistons had a stretch of eight games with at least 100 points snapped in a 105-84 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Saturday. The Sixers allow 106.4 points per game.