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LeBron James offended by Phil Jackson remark, Carmelo Anthony chimes in

LeBron James offended by Phil Jackson remark, Carmelo Anthony chimes in

Knicks president Phil Jackson must not have watched The Wire, or he'd know that if you come at the King, you best not miss.

Jackson offended Cavaliers star LeBron James with a comment he made to ESPN that characterized James' associates as a "posse." Here's the full quote. 

When LeBron was playing with the Heat, they went to Cleveland and he wanted to spend the night. They don't do overnights. Teams just don't. So now (coach Erik) Spoelstra has to text Riley and say, 'What do I do in this situation?' And Pat, who has iron-fist rules, answers, 'You are on the plane, you are with this team.' You can't hold up the whole team because you and your mom and your posse want to spend an extra night in Cleveland.

Maverick Carter, James' longtime friend and business partner, responded first on Monday. 

"I don't care that he talks about LeBron. [Jackson] could say he's not that good or the greatest in the world as a basketball player. I wouldn't care," Carter told ESPN

"It's the word 'posse' and the characterization I take offense to. If he would have said LeBron and his agent, LeBron and his business partners or LeBron and his friends, that's one thing. Yet because you're young and black, he can use that word. We're grown men."

James himself reacted to the "posse" comment in similar fashion Tuesday. He gave extensive comments to ESPN linking the term to dismissive attitudes about young black men. Two excerpts:

"It just sucks that now at this point having one of the biggest businesses you can have both on and off the floor, having a certified agent in Rich Paul, having a certified business partner in Maverick Carter, that's done so many great business [deals], that the title for young African-Americans is the word 'posse.'"

"To use that label, and if you go and read the definition of what the word 'posse' is, it's not what I've built over my career," James said. "It's not what I stand for, it's not what my family stands for. I believe the only reason he used that word is because he sees young African-Americans trying to make a difference."

The full comments are worth a read, time allowing. 

Carmelo Anthony, star of Jackson's Knicks and longtime friend of James, chimed in on the conversation Tuesday. 

Anthony more or less sides with James, agreeing that "posse" can sound offensive, though he stopped short of speculating about Jackson's intent.

To my mind, Anthony's most interesting point is about Jackson needling James in November. Why would the president of a 4-6 team antagonize the leader of an 8-1 team in the Eastern Conference, fresh off a championship, and favored heavily to win the conference again? 

It makes no sense to give the Cavaliers any extra motivation. Regardless of whether Jackson anticipated James would be offended by the word "posse," he should have known that no one takes kindly to being describes as bratty or high mantenance.

MORE WIZARDS: LeBron says what media already knows: Verizon Center is freezing

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2020 NBA Draft: Anthony Edwards, far and away, leads the best shooting guard prospects

2020 NBA Draft: Anthony Edwards, far and away, leads the best shooting guard prospects

The Washington Wizards are likely to have a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Here is a look at the five best point guard prospects in this year's class and how they would fit with the Wizards with analysis from NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes and Tyler Byrum...

1. Anthony Edwards

Team: Georgia
Age: 18
Height: 6-5
Weight: 225
Wingspan: 6-9

2019/20 stats: 32 G, 19.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.3 spg, 0.6 bpg, 40.2 FG% (6.3/15.8), 29.4 3PT% (2.3/7.7), 77.2 FT%

Player comparison: Victor Oladipo, Donovan Mitchell

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 1st, Sports Illustrated 1st, Ringer 1st, NBADraft.net 1st, Bleacher Report 1st

Fit with Wizards: As a guard that could instantly be thrust into an NBA rotation, the Washington Wizards would not necessarily be the best fit for Edwards. He would still be behind John Wall and Bradley Beal in the lineup and likely only see the court with that duo in a small lineup. However, if the ping-pong balls bounce the way of Washington or somehow he inexplicably falls to the Wizards, they have to take him. 

Of the entire class, is he the best prospect. Not only does he have a high floor, but his upside could have him as a potential franchise player further down the road.

Defensively, he would be a nice addition to their perimeter coverage and would be another big transition threat. Edwards' high motor and physique make him essentially a brick wall for guards to find an opening. 

Scott Brooks' up-tempo offense fits with Edwards' game. And the most enticing element is that Edwards is fine being off the ball. That's exactly what Washington would need with Wall, Beal, Davis Bertans and Rui Hachimura needing their offensive touches. Edwards would keep defenders honest and draw plenty of attention on every drive in the post. Positionally, he rebounds well and could fill in some gaps on the boards, but he wouldn't address the full team issue. - Byrum

FULL PLAYER PROFILE

2. Tyrese Maxey

Team: Kentucky
Age: 19
Height: 6-3
Weight: 198
Wingspan: 6-6

2019/20 stats: 31 G, 34.5 mpg, 14.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.2 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.4 bpg, 42.7 FG% (4.8/11.3), 29.2 3PT% (1.1/3.6), 83.3 FT%

Player comparison: Kyle Lowry, less-accurate Tyler Herro

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 12th, Sports Illustrated 10th, Ringer 8th, NBADraft.net 21st, Bleacher Report 13th

Fit with Wizards: The Wizards have to assume they already have their version of Maxey in Bradley Beal and Troy Brown Jr. Playmaking off-the-ball guards who also have a background as facilitators. There are much bigger areas of need for the team, especially in the post, finding a long-term back-up point guard and wing depth. 

None of those holes would be where Maxey would fit on the team. Still, a team can never have too many competent ballhandlers that can score.

Maxey would just add another piece to where Washington already has a strength.

He would be an improvement for the Wizards' defensive efforts. Maxey has a high basketball IQ that makes him a phenomenal off-ball defender. However, he is limited in how he cannot guard well enough outside of the guard position. 

Like many of the other top-end lottery prospects, he could likely contribute from day one and make the roster for the new season. Assuming Beal and John Wall are relied on in the same capacity from Scott Brooks though, Maxey would be buried down the depth chart. A lot of his offensive upside is dependent on his touches because his numbers don't exactly jump off the page. Washington would likely want him to shore up his shooting motion as well before giving him meaningful minutes.

If the Wizards are picking ninth or higher, there really doesn't appear to be a scenario where they take the Kentucky SG. There are just too many other immediate needs that can be addressed. - Byrum

FULL PLAYER PROFILE

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3. RJ Hampton

Team: New Zealand Breakers
Age: 19
Height: 6-5
Weight: 185
Wingspan: 6-7

2019/20 stats: 15 G, 20.6 mpg, 8.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.1 spg, 0.3 bpg, 40.7 FG% (3.3/8.2), 29.5 3PT% (0.9/2.9), 67.9 FT%

Player comparison: Dante Exum, O.J. Mayo

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 13th, Sports Illustrated 14th, Ringer 12th, NBADraft.net 17th, Bleacher Report 12th

Fit with Wizards: Hampton is one of the several point/ combo guards whose talent level has them scattered around the first round. Hampton is not among the top tier of guards in this year's class but does offer a mid-round option for a team to take a chance on a playmaker that already has shooting fundamentals. 

Of course, the Wizards are not in need of a two-guard whose role would just be limited to Bradley Beal's backup. Hampton does not have the positional flexibility to fill into other roles and is too small to space the court with John Wall and Beal at the same time. 

Likely he is a depth piece, which is not what Washington needs with their first-round pick. Even from a preparedness level, Hampton might need a year or two to fully develop into his frame and to improve his shooting numbers.

Given his inaccuracies, his hip injury and limited NBL success, drafting Hampton does not appear to be a smart move for the Wizards with the uncertainty on how he will project out. 

That is not to say Hampton cannot be a successful pro. The Nuggets took a similar chance on Michael Porter Jr., who was coming off a back injury when he was drafted in 2018, and is now a formidable bench piece of their team. Both Porter and Hampton saw marginal success and tough injuries in the year before the draft. They also are highly regarded high school prospects that are well known among the scouting community. 

Hampton may not be a quick answer for the upcoming season. However, the Wizards could see him becoming a key bench piece in the future. -Byrum

FULL PLAYER PROFILE

4. Jahmi'us Ramsey

Team: Texas Tech
Age: 18 (turns 19 in June)
Height: 6-4
Weight: 195
Wingspan: 6-6

2019/20 stats: 27 G, 31.2 mpg, 15.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.3 spg, 0.7 bpg, 44.2 FG% (5.5/12.4), 42.6 3PT% (2.2/5.2), 64.1 FT%

Player comparison: Sam Dekker, less explosive Donovan Mitchell

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 20th, Sports Illustrated 22nd, Ringer 18th, NBADraft.net 24th, Bleacher Report N/A

Fit with Wizards: Some see Ramsey filling into a variety of roles for a team, as a point guard, shooting guard or a smaller wing. This could be encouraging for the Wizards wanting to invest in a player that possesses versatility and is still young enough to mold into a system.

The depth of the guard/ wing combination is slowly growing for Washington. The team has added Troy Brown Jr., Jerome Robinson, Ish Smith and Isaac Bonga over the past couple of seasons. Ramsey would be on the smaller end of that depth chart but provide shooting and solid positional defense. Even in his first year, he would push for minutes against that group. 

What makes him more enticing than perhaps other prospect options around his draft stock is his 3-point ability. Every team needs a bench perimeter option to provide a spark, as he would be unlikely to be in a small lineup alongside John Wall and Bradley Beal. 

His youth will allow the Wizards to get younger as well as the team only has two rostered players under 22. And while Ramsey is young he is a more than capable defender. He can generate new possessions off of steals and even blocked shots against his matchups. 

Ramsey would be a part of a development plan for Washington and could be an integral piece when it comes to building their future.  - Byrum

FULL PLAYER PROFILE

5. Josh Green

Team: Arizona
Age: 19 (turns 20 in November)
Height: 6-6
Weight: 210
Wingspan: 6-10

2019/20 stats: 30 G, 30.9 mpg, 12.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.4 bpg, 42.4 FG% (4.1/9.6), 36.1 3PT% (1.0/2.8), 78.0 FT%

Player comparison: Kelly Oubre Jr.

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 24th, Sports Illustrated 24th, Ringer 19th, NBADraft.net 19th, Bleacher Report 20th

Fit with Wizards: As with many mid-first-round prospects, Green could slide into a roster as a 3-point shooting wing with a strong defensive game. Both fill needs on either side of the court for Washington. 

Wizards fans will be quite familiar with Green's skill set as it matches former Washington Wizard Kelly Oubre Jr. He naturally gravitates away from the perimeter, though, and often finds himself open in the post, leading to several opportunities at the rim. Backdoor cuts and slashes are a huge element of his game.

As a player that knows his role within a system, that could fit into the culture that general manager Tommy Shepard is trying to build. Rui Hachimura is another example of a player that plays within his means and can compliment other stars on the court. The multiple layers of his game make him a more valuable offensive commodity overall than other prospects around his level.

Of course, Washington would need Green to take more threes than he did with Arizona. His role would be more one-dimensional. With John Wall, Bradley Beal and Rui Hachimura, the Wizards have plenty of players that will occupy the paint and need space to get to the basket. The second unit could be where that element fits his game. 

Green would go well in Washington - and checks off some boxes for the front office - but there are other players in the mid-to-late first round that are a better plug and play options.  - Byrum

FULL PLAYER PROFILE

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Wizards release united statement in response to the death of George Floyd

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Wizards release united statement in response to the death of George Floyd

While protests continue across the country following the death of George Floyd, the world's biggest sports figures, including Michael Jordan and LeBron James, have used their platforms to make it clear where they stand on the numerous social issues fueling the protests.

You can now add the Washington Wizards to that group. Early Monday morning, the Wizards posted a "united statement" on social media in response to Floyd's death and the protests that have followed.

Included in the post are four separate statements.

"We will no longer tolerate the assassination of people of color in this country."

"We will no longer accept the abuse of power from law enforcement."

"We will no longer accept ineffective government leaders who are tone-deaf, lack compassion or respect for communities of color."

"We will no longer shut up and dribble."

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Davis Bertans and Rui Hachimura were among players to share the same statements on Instagram.

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