NBA

Kyrie Irving's demands are taking disloyalty to an obscene new level

Kyrie Irving's demands are taking disloyalty to an obscene new level

I don't know about you, but I'm seeing something in the NBA right now that could become a real problem for me.

For years, discontented players have asked to be traded. Usually they do it privately and not in the media. You never hear about it most of the time that it happens.

First, let's get this straight right now -- I have nothing against free agency. I grew up in an era when players where chained to the same team for life, even if they never got a chance to play much. They had no options. They had to play for the team that "owned" them, or go home.

So now free agency has brought a lot of player movement and it usually favors the rich franchises, the more glamorous cities or the places where the sun shines the most frequently. But I never get too worked up over that. It's the way it is in any business. People want to work for successful companies alongside talented co-workers in great cities.

I wasn't upset when Kevin Durant chose Golden State or LeBron James picked Miami. Or Cleveland. It was their right. The fulfilled their contract and won the right to choose a new team.

But what's bugging me now is a player under contract who is acting as if he is a free agent. He is not only demanding a trade, he is trying to dictate where he should be dealt. I don't like any of that.

Kyrie Irving is that guy. He has three seasons -- the last one being an opt-out year -- left on his contract with Cleveland and has told the Cavs he wishes to be traded. And not only that, he's given the team three "preferred destinations." Now keep in mind, this isn't Carmelo Anthony, who has basically been run out of town by Phil Jackson and has it written into his current contract with the Knicks that he has the right to approve any trades.

What gives Irving the right to expect to just trade his uniform in for another one? Well, nothing. Except NBA players these days are being catered to, fawned over and recruited the same way they were in their high school days, when they played AAU basketball. And we are starting to see the signs that they are beginning to think they can simply go where they want, sign up to play with their pals or create a super team on a whim.

And face it, in many cases some of the top players are basically running their franchise. LeBron James complains in Cleveland that he doesn't get enough help to beat the Warriors but come on -- LeBron has been the de facto General Manager of that team since he returned. He's been behind a good many of that team's trades and free-agent signings, as he assembled a roster of friends and players he knew would defer to him. Now that it isn't working to his satisfaction, he wants a do-over. Or to go someplace else.

If we're talking about recruiting free agents or even Anthony -- who has the no-trade clause that he could modify for any team chasing him -- that's fair game. But players already under contract who first demand a trade and then try to pick the team they go to?

No way.

First off, you sign a deal for $20 million a season as Irving did, you keep your mouth shut and play. Play it out. Then you become a free agent and can go wherever you want. But don't attempt to hold a team for ransom that has signed you in good faith. Be a person of integrity and honor your deal.

And trying to pick the team you're traded to after demanding a trade while under contract? That's what's adding insult to injury.

The Cavs should find out where he'd least like to go and send him there. If the league gets to the point when contracts mean nothing and players can merely quit on their current team and demand a trade to a specific team of their choice, that's when I will quit paying attention.

There is enough player movement as it is, with free agency. And giving up on your current team is not only unseemly, it takes disloyalty to an obscene level.

Report: NBA could resume season with all games played at a single site

Report: NBA could resume season with all games played at a single site

Sports leagues around the world continue to scramble to find a viable way to resume play during the coronavirus pandemic.

The NBA hasn't played a game since March 11th, and a return isn't close by any stretch of the imagination. 

However, when the league does return it may have a plan to help expedite the process. 

According to reports, the league has looked into the idea of having all teams meet at one central location and play games without fans in attendance. 

Las Vegas, the Bahama, Orlando, Hawaii, Louisville, and Atlantic City have been rumored locations. 

Of this list, no city makes more sense than Las Vegas. There would be no issues with finding enough hotel rooms to house all 30 NBA teams, and you could play the games at the campus of UNLV.

Much like NBA Summer League, you could play games at both Thomas and Mack Center and Cox Pavilion, allowing the league to play multiple games at one time, and upwards of 10 games in a single day. 

This idea could allow the league to complete the games left in the regular season, as well as the playoffs.

However, not everyone thinks the NBA even has a chance to resume play. 

In a recent interview with the Boston Globe, Jeff Van Gundy was less than optimistic. 

“I understand how you can start again, but what’s the plan if the next person gets sick, like another Rudy Gobert-type of situation, we’re going to play through it? We’re going to cancel it again? That to me is why I don’t see any of these things taking place... I have no idea how they can pull off the season, and I have no idea what’s going to happen, and I hope next season isn’t impacted.”

Van Gundy has a point. If one more player gets sick, then the entire season would likely be suspended again and you would be back at square one. 

To get a general idea of how the NBA could restart, one need look no further than the Chinese Basketball Association.

The CBA had planned to restart its season in May, but the government issued an order to delay the season.

The longer it takes for the CBA to resume play, the longer it will take for the USA to do the same. 

China has been on lockdown since January, putting the CBA on hold. With a May return being postponed, that means the CBA will be suspended at least four months. 

A similar timeline for the United States would put the NBA restart no sooner than late July/Early August. 

But even a late start might not stop the NBA. 

One league official told the New York Post that “Nothing is off the table," while another stated that the NBA is "very determined to have a champion.”

NBA to hold players only NBA 2k tournament

NBA to hold players only NBA 2k tournament

The NBA has found a way to bring basketball back to fans, thanks to NBA 2k. 

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the NBA and 2k Sports will partner to hold a players-only NBA 2k tournament.

The tournament will feature 16 of the NBA's best 2k players with Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell, DeMarcus Cousins, and Andre Drummond some of the featured names. 

Will the Blazers have a representative? 

While his participation hasn't been officially announced, those with a keen eye may have noticed what Whiteside said about the tournament on Instagram.

It's well-known in the locker room that Whiteside is a big fan of NBA 2k. In fact, he often boasts about beating Gary Trent Jr.

Whiteside knows 2k so well, that he even imitates it in real life.

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That LAG spike🥴😂 #nba2k

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Regardless of who plays in this tournament, it's a great way to give fans a little bit of basketball action with some of their favorite players behind the controller. 

The tournament will air on ESPN, but according to the report, the details of the event are still being finalized. 

 

NBA Draft could be pushed back as far as September

NBA Draft could be pushed back as far as September

It's been nearly three weeks since the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz abruptly canceled their game after Utah center Rudy Gobert tested positive for Coronavirus. 

Soon thereafter, the NBA announced the suspension of the season, and we haven't seen players hit the court since. 

The league has said it hopes to get the season back up and running by June or July, but with each passing day that becomes harder and harder.

The longer it takes to re-start the season, the longer it will take to hold the NBA Draft. 

The draft, originally scheduled for June 25th, could be pushed back to August or September, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. 

Wojnarowski was on ESPN Sportcenter on Sunday where he explained the scenario.

Any scenario where the draft happens, it's very likely going to be at the back end of the playoffs, and you would still have a time when you would have the draft and free agency... So potentially if the season is resumed at some point and the league is playing in July and August and maybe even into September, it's possible you don't have a draft and free agency until those Finals are over.  -Woj

There are a lot of factors at play, the main ones being self-isolation and social distancing. I

In order to slow the spread of the virus, the government has set guidelines about how many people can gather at a time, how close you can be to each other, etc. The rules in place mean it will be nearly impossible for teams to hold pre-draft workouts, scout players, or for the league to hold its annual combine.

With no first-hand knowledge of the players coming in, it would be hard to evaluate talent and hold a draft.

However, there is a scenario where the draft could still be held in June, but it's a scenario that no NBA fan wants to see happen.

That scenario?

Full cancellation of the season. 

"It feels like in talking to people around the league, the only scenario you would have a draft on June 25 is if you've already decided to not play any more of the NBA season," said Wojnarowski. "They hope and believe that that won't be the case because it's going to be nearly impossible to have a draft while the playoffs have started. As long as there's any teams still playing, you're not going to be able to do trades. And it's hard to have a draft night without teams feeling they could trade more than draft picks. Most deals, there's players involved."  

If all else fails the NBA could even end up taking a note from the WNBA's playbook. 

The WNBA will be holding its draft on its originally scheduled date, April 17, but will be doing so virtually. 

Virtually or not, it could be a while before we see who the Blazers take in  the2020 NBA Draft.

Veteran guard Jamal Crawford still eyeing possible return to NBA 

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Veteran guard Jamal Crawford still eyeing possible return to NBA 

Jamal Crawford has not given up hope on playing a 20th season in the NBA. 

If and when the NBA season resumes, the three-time Sixth Year of the Man is hoping a team will sign him and he’s staying prepared with that idea in mind. 

“I’ve been training as if I’m playing,” Crawford told ESPN. “I work out every single day. I was working out today actually and I’ve always loved it. I know I can help, in some regards, in some capacity.”

The Seattle native, who just turned 40 in late March, last played for the Phoenix Suns in 2018-19. Last season, he averaged 7.9 points and 3.6 assists on 39.7 percent shooting in 18.9 minutes per game.

Nearly a year ago, Crawford dropped 51 points on the Dallas Mavericks. He became the oldest player to score 50 points and the first-player ever to score 50 points with four different franchises. 

Crawford could potentially aid a team like the Portland Trail Blazers, who he last suited up for during the 2011-12 season. In Rip City, he averaged 14 points a game and posted a career-high 92.7 percent from the free-throw line. 

Before the NBA suspended operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Portland sat 29-37, ninth in the West, and just 3.5 games back from the eighth and final playoff seed. 

Crawford’s veteran presence and offensive productivity in limited minutes make him a valuable player to count on, especially a team looking to make a late-season run. 

Over his 20-year career, Crawford has also suited up for the Clippers, Bulls, Knicks, Warriors and Hawks. 

Crawford doesn’t know if he’ll ever get another opportunity to take the court for the NBA again, but don’t count him out if a team comes calling. 

“Hopefully, I’ll get another chance to get back out there, but I’ll be ready for sure,” he said.

Memories from Brandon Roy's spectacular comeback vs. Dallas

Memories from Brandon Roy's spectacular comeback vs. Dallas

The next Trail Blazer classic game (Sunday, 4:30 p.m.) is probably one that fans have been waiting for in this series.

It’s the Brandon Roy Game.

It was April 23, 2011 and the Blazers were trailing the Dallas Mavericks two games to one in a first-round playoff series and found themselves trailing by 23 points in the third quarter (after missing the first 15 shots of the period) and by 18 going into the fourth quarter.

Enter Brandon Roy.

This was a season in which Roy was close to the end of the line. He had undergone knee surgery in January and was dealing with bone-on-bone pain for most of the rest of his career. He had gone scoreless in Game 2 of this series and was no longer in his team’s starting lineup.

But all the skills came back in one marvelous, unbelievable quarter when he scored 18 of his 24 points in the fourth, including the game-winning basket, in an 84-82 win over Dallas that tied the series 2-2.

This, by the way, against a team that would go on to win the NBA championship that season.

Roy banked in a shot from the lane with 39.2 seconds to go that survived as the winning basket to send the home crowd into a frenzy.

“I’ve been in some pretty good zones before, but nothing like tonight,” Roy said.

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 18 for Portland and Gerald Wallace had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

And Wallace did a nice job of summing up this game:

“When people ask me what did I do in the fourth quarter, I’ll tell them I stood in the corner and watched The Brandon Roy Show,” he said.

And we invite you to watch that same show.

It's about time the WNBA thinks about returning to Portland

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USATI

It's about time the WNBA thinks about returning to Portland

In 1996, the basketball world was changed with the founding of the Women's National Basketball Association. 

The league started with just eight teams before expanding in 1998, 1999, and again in the year 2000.

The expansion in 2000 consisted of four new teams, one of which was the Portland Fire. 

Portland went just 10-22 in its inaugural season, but things were looking up. 

The Fire used the No.4 pick in the 2001 WNBA Draft to select Wade Trophy winner Jackie Stiles. 

Stiles had the city abuzz and would go on to win WNBA Rookie of Year. 

However, the sun was starting to set on the franchise before it ever had a chance to rise. 

At the end of the 2002 season, the league restructured, and with it the Portland Fire ceased operations.

It's been 18 years since the league left Portland, and in that time the WNBA has added just two teams: The Chicago Sky and Atlanta Dream.

Maybe it's finally time to add more... or at least bring an old one back.

For the last few years, Oregon has been the epicenter of women's basketball, with both Oregon and Oregon State being among the best college programs in the country.  

Civil Wars aren't just about bragging rights anymore. They are monster showdowns between two Top-25 programs with national implications on the line. 

Fans have come in by the thousands to supports the women on the court.

In 2018-19, both Oregon State and Oregon were in the Top-20 in terms of average attendance. 

The Beavers averaged 5,438, while the Ducks averaged 7,148. 

Comparatively, in 2019 the WNBA averaged 6,535 per game, with nearly half the league averaging less than what Oregon State averaged. 

The point is, women's basketball is thriving in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, just four teams in the WNBA averaged more than 7,000 fans per game, with one of those teams being the Seattle Storm (7,562). 

If you want another point of reference for how well female sports can do in this city, look no further than the Portland Thorns of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL).

In 2019 the NWSL averaged 7,337 per match, a number that was inflated because the Thorns averaged an amazing 20,099 per match. That is almost as much as the No. 2, 3, and 4 teams combined. 

The league as a whole brought 792,409 fans through the gates in 2019, 241,181 coming through the gates of Providence Park.  

This brings us back to the WNBA. 

On Wednesday night, NBC Sports Northwest aired a Trail Blazers Classic Game from the 2000 playoffs. During the broadcast there also happened to be an old ad for the inaugural season of the Portland Fire.

Fans were dealt a dose of nostalgia, and with the above tweet seemed to love the idea of the Fire coming back. 

A return of the Fire wouldn't just be a chance to see the WNBA game, it would be a chance to continue watching, in person, the players from Oregon that fans have grown to love.

Just imagine players like Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu and Satou Sabally, or Oregon State's Mikayla Pivec and Destiny Slocum coming to play at Moda Center. 

Better yet, imagine what it would be like to see any of those players playing for Portland's WNBA team?

Expansion may not be in the WNBA's future, but if the league ever does decide to add teams, Portland should be on the shortlist. 

The year 2020 is a drastically different time in sports and a much different time for the now well-established WNBA.

If the WNBA were to come back to Portland there is little doubt it could succeed. 

The Fire may have folded 18 years ago, but the love for them has not been extinguished.

 

 

Chicago Bulls Zach LaVine commits 12,500 meals to Seattle food bank

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Chicago Bulls Zach LaVine commits 12,500 meals to Seattle food bank

NBA players and owners all over the country have been doing their part with generous donations and other acts of kindness to not only help the sports world during this difficult time, but to also help the world work together to slow down the spread of COVID 19.

Chicago Bulls guard and Washington state native Zach LaVine is working to make a difference in the Northwest.
LaVine announced on Twitter that he is committing 12,500 meals to those impacted by COVID-19 pandemic in the Seattle area through Feeding America.

LaVine was born in Renton, Washington and has always talked fondly of his days attending Bothell High School in Bothell, Washington.

As a senior at Bothell HS, he averaged 28.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. He was named the 2013 Associated Press Washington state player of the year and Washington Mr. Basketball.

With Seattle and the surrounding area being one of the biggest parts of the county affected by COVID-19, LaVine stated that partnering with Feeding America is just the start of how he plans to help is hometown through the coronavirus crisis.

In King County, which includes the Seattle–Tacoma–Bellevue metropolitan areas, the Department of Health total was 74 deaths from 934 COVID-19 cases in recent reports.

There have been at least 1,793 confirmed coronavirus cases with at least 94 deaths in Washington statewide, according to the latest Department of Health numbers released Friday.

Kevin Love urges NBA players to pay it forward

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Kevin Love urges NBA players to pay it forward

Kevin Love believes it’s time for NBA players to step up. 

In wake of the coronavirus outbreak, which led to the suspension of the NBA season, the Cleveland Cavaliers forward pledged to donate $100,000 through the Kevin Love Fund to support workers of Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in downtown Cleveland. Love said he was concerned about the anxiety everyone is feeling and offered to help with the “sudden life shift” Cavs employees might be facing. 

On the “Today Show” Wednesday morning, Love shared why it was so important to get involved and why he thinks it’s essential for other players in the league to join him. 

"You have people living paycheck to paycheck, so I felt this is really the time, especially for us NBA players to walk the walk and be more than just athletes," Love said. "We see people in the community, we see people working in our arena at least 41 nights a year, us playing home games. So, it was just a way for me to try and help navigate this stressful and incredibly anxiety-ridden time.

"To just pay it forward and really help them. It’s been tough, just trying to normalize the conversation around what is going on. People are feeling a certain way about it, so I think it’s more of a time for us to step up and be leaders, to be community leaders and do what is right for the people that are having a very stressful and tough time.”

The Lake Oswego Lakers alum also sent this message to NBA Twitter on Tuesday evening, asking fans to practice empathy and compassion in a time where times are hard. Love said while it is importance for people to socially distance themselves, that doesn’t mean socially isolate. 

“Nothing unites us like the same enemy,” Love said in the video. “It’s very powerful what we are able to do.”

Other NBA owners and players have since publicly vowed to help compensate their communities in some way, including Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons and Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans. Hopefully more NBA players will follow Love’s lead. 

Kevin Love donates $100,000 to support Cavs employees amid NBA suspension

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@kevinlove

Kevin Love donates $100,000 to support Cavs employees amid NBA suspension

While NBA players around the league have been hit hard by the league’s unprecedented decision to postpone the 2020 season, it’s not the players Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love is most concerned about.

There’s a number of behind-the-scenes workers, including ushers and concessions employees, that help contribute to the NBA experience, and they will undeniably be hit the hardest by the league’s postponement.

To help ease the financial burden for Cavaliers arena and support staff, Love has pledged to donate $100,000 through the Kevin Love fund to support this employees.

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Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. And the fear and anxiety resulting from the recent outbreak of COVID-19 can be extremely overwhelming. Through the game of basketball, we've been able to address major issues and stand together as a progressive league that cares about the players, the fans, and the communities where we work. I'm concerned about the level of anxiety that everyone is feeling and that is why I'm committing $100,000 through the @KevinLoveFund in support of the @Cavs arena and support staff that had a sudden life shift due to the suspension of the NBA season. I hope that during this time of crisis, others will join me in supporting our communities. Pandemics are not just a medical phenomenon. They affect individuals and society on so many levels, with stigma and xenophobia being just two aspects of the impact of a pandemic outbreak. It's important to know that those with a mental illness may be vulnerable to the effects of widespread panic and threat. Be kind to one another. Be understanding of their fears, regardless if you don't feel the same. Be safe and make informed decisions during this time. And I encourage everyone to take care of themselves and to reach out to others in need -- whether that means supporting your local charities that are canceling events, or checking in on your colleagues and family.

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“I’m concerned about the level of anxiety that everyone is feeling and that is why I'm committing $100,000 through the @KevinLoveFund in support of the @Cavs arena and support staff that had a sudden life shift due to the suspension of the NBA season,” Love said in a post on Instagram. “I hope that during this time of crisis, others will join me in supporting our communities.

Love, who played high school basketball for the Lake Oswego Lakers, noted the coronavirus pandemic is more than a phenomenon, but something that affects individuals on a number of levels.

“It's important to know that those with a mental illness may be vulnerable to the effects of widespread panic and threat. Be kind to one another. Be understanding of their fears, regardless if you don't feel the same. Be safe and make informed decisions during this time. And I encourage everyone to take care of themselves and to reach out to others in need -- whether that means supporting your local charities that are canceling events, or checking in on your colleagues and family.”

Like Love, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has also said the team will take care of its hourly employees at American Airlines Center.

“There’s going to be hourly employees that aren’t working,” Cuban said on ESPN’s Get Up Thursday morning. “And so, we talked again this morning with our folks at the AAC and getting the numbers. For the next four Mavs games we have a program where—the next four would-have-been Mavs games—we’ll pay our employees, our hourly employees, as if they worked.”

The NBA has suspended game play until further notice, following All-Star Rudy Gobert’s coronavirus diagnosis. NBA owners are encouraging commissioner Adam Silver to reevaluate the league’s suspension of play in 30 days, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported.