National Basketball League, Knicks, Lakers, Headline News & Notes

March 4, 2020

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Photo: CBS Sports

Almost everyone wants James Dolan to sell the New York Knicks. This is no secret. Fans chant it. People write it and go on TV, investigate the camera and say it out loud. One of the NBA’s marquee franchises, a laughingstock. What if everyone who wanted Dolan gone decided to work together to make it happen?

Like everything in the NBA, it starts with LeBron James. Remember that after LeBron’s final game against Dwyane Wade, he was heard saying, “It was either here or The Garden.” At the time this killed Knicks fans, who realized they had almost had a chance of landing LeBron. This shows that LeBron has some reverence for the Knicks franchise.

Charles Oakley has unsurprisingly blasted the New York Knicks organization in incendiary fashion over yet another public relations nightmare, this one involving a contentious dispute with superfan Spike Lee.

The escalating feud between Lee and the Knicks was spawned by a disagreement over how Lee was prevented by Madison Square Garden security from entering the arena for Monday’s game through a gate he claims he has been using for decades.

Lee provided his side of the story on Tuesday, which inspired the Knicks to quickly fire off a terse statement disputing Lee’s claims. Lee then responded in kind, fueling the flames even further calling the Knicks organization the “laughingstock of the league” among other choice words.

In an intimate gathering of season-ticket holders Monday, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss shared how excited she feels to have her team break its six-year postseason dry spell next month, thanks in large part to an offseason trade with the New Orleans Pelicans for the next great Lakers big man.

“In order to get a great talent like Anthony Davis, you have to give up something great,” Buss said. “But to have Anthony Davis as a Laker really is just … he’s even more impressive than I ever thought he would be. And so, it’s exciting what we have.”

A night later, Davis played one of his best games since joining the purple and gold, filling the box score with 37 points, 13 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 assists and 2 blocks in a 120-107 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

Jayson Tatum’s palms are sweating. It’s July 2018 and he’s in Newport Beach, California, at a meeting with the man who was once on posters hanging in his childhood bedroom in St. Louis, Missouri. Tatum is far from home now, and what’s happening feels far from reality. “Oh, shit. I’m really sitting down, really talking with my idol,” Tatum thinks to himself. Across the table is Kobe Bryant, who invited Tatum to meet at his office and work out at the gym the next day. It’s all too overwhelming, and the Black Mamba senses Tatum is anxious. “What’s up, Jayson? Don’t be nervous,” Bryant tells him. “Let’s just talk.”

And so, they did. For hours. Bryant told Tatum how he dealt with the pressures of being a teenager in the NBA, taught him ways to prepare mentally for games, and discussed how he made the most of his 20-year Hall of Fame career with the Los Angeles Lakers. “Don’t wait for a perfect situation—make the situation,” Kobe said. “Don’t wait for someone to hand it to you. Don’t let anybody stop you from being great. No matter your situation, no matter how old you are, be that guy.”

Dragan Bender inked a 10-day deal with the Warriors in late February and today was the final day of that pact. Head coach Steve Kerr, who said Bender has impressed the team, would be on board with keeping the big man around.

“I think he has a lot of potential…I’d love to give him another 10 days,” Kerr said.

Marcus Smart is no stranger to run-ins with officials, and he had another after the Boston Celtics stunning overtime loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

Smart was escorted off the floor by Celtics security after a postgame conversation with the officials got heated. In a video captured by TNT, which was broadcasting the game, Smart can be seen directing a string of apparent profanities towards the officials, specifically referee John Goble, who is wearing number 30. At the end, he appears to be repeatedly saying like “horrible” in reference to Goble.

Smart fouled out of the game after committing an offensive foul in the overtime. As he walked off the floor, he and Goble had conversation. Smart was also animated after Rodions Kurucs forced a jump ball with 3.6 seconds left, clearly arguing that Kurucs fouled Walker on the play. Goble was on the sideline near the play at that moment.

As the NBA postseason nears, Kawhi Leonard appears to be nearing full strength as well.

Before the LA Clippers played the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, head coach Doc Rivers discussed Kawhi Leonard’s defensive workload amid his increased responsibility of late to check the top scorers of the opposing team.

Kyle Kuzma will no longer have to hear people call him Eminem or Amber Rose. The real slim shady can sit back down because Kuzma is a new man with a new hair color.

Touching tribute from Devin Booker to Kobe Bryant … the Phoenix Suns superstar immortalized an autograph he got from the Mamba with a tattoo on his forearm.

Here’s the deal … back in March 2016, Devin — a rookie at the time who grew up idolizing Kobe — played Bryant in one of legend’s final NBA games.

And afterward, Kobe had a long talk with the budding All-Star … and gave him a pair of signed shoes with two messages on them.

Jordan McRae has already been in Phoenix.

He played seven games for the Suns in the 2015-16 season when he averaged 5.3 points, but ESPN is reporting the 6-5 guard out of Tennessee will likely return to the desert for the remainder of this season.

McRae was bought out by Denver as he only played four games with the Nuggets, but Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports is reporting Detroit may snag him as it has waiver priority over the Suns because they have a worse record.

The Pistons, who are now without injured Derrick Rose, actaully beat Phoenix twice in the home-away series but have fewer wins than the Suns.

Phoenix has a roster spot open and could use it on McRae, who is averaging 6.7 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in his four NBA seasons.

He’s 28 years, had a solid skill set and some athleticism. Plus, the Suns have a different coach and general manager from when McRae was with them last time.

So maybe they’ll get better results this time around.

Tim Duncan got his first victory as an acting head coach Tuesday when he filled in for Gregg Popovich for the San Antonio Spurs’ 104-103 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.

Popovich missed the game while dealing with “personal business,” according to the team. He is expected to return to the bench for Friday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.

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