LeBron James unleashed what could be considered one final shot at Phil Jackson, declaring that Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. “should be a Knick.”
The New York Knicks decided to pass on Smith with what ended up being the final draft pick of Jackson’s tenure as New York’s team president, selecting French point guard Frank Ntilikina eighth overall, one pick before Dallas took Smith. “The Knicks passed on a really good one, and Dallas got the diamond in the rough,” James said after his Cleveland Cavaliers’ 111-104 win Saturday night over the Mavericks. “He should be a Knick. That’s going to make some headlines, but he should be a Knick. Dallas is definitely, I know they’re excited that he didn’t go there.”
Source: Tim MacMahon of ESPN
Kawhi Leonard Out Indefinitely Due to Lingering Pain from Quadriceps Injury
The San Antonio Spurs will hold All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard out indefinitely due to lingering pain from a quadriceps injury that caused him to miss the first 27 games of the season.
“He didn’t re-injure it or anything. But you know he was having pain, not right after games but maybe the next day,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Wednesday. “… The pain wasn’t dissipating; it wasn’t going in the right direction, it was going the other way.”
Popovich quickly dismissed the idea that Leonard could be out for the remainder of the season due to the tendinopathy in his right quadriceps. Popovich described the Spurs’ decision to sit Leonard as “conservative.”
“You’ve got to be confident in your body to go out there and play at the level that he’s expected to play,” the coach said. “… We didn’t feel he was ready; his confidence level wasn’t there, so we just decided to give it some more time.”
The Spurs initially announced during training camp that Leonard would miss the preseason because of the quadriceps issue, but the recovery process lingered into December, with Popovich admitting in November that the forward was “coming along more slowly” in rehabilitation than the club had hoped.
The two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year has appeared in just nine games this season, as the Spurs have restricted his playing time to ensure a full recovery from the condition that causes pain and weakness in the knee.
Report: Trevor Ariza, Gerald Green Suspended Two Games
Trevor Ariza said nothing happened. The NBA strongly disagreed.
Ariza and Gerald Green will both be suspended for Houston’s next two games, with the NBA coming down hard on both players Wednesday for what the league said was their “hostile, verbal altercation” in the Los Angeles Clippers’ locker room earlier this week.
No other players were disciplined, including Rockets guards James Harden and Chris Paul – both of whom left the Houston locker room with hopes of defusing the situation, the league said.
“You guys had a lot of different stories about what happened, none of them which were true,” Ariza said Wednesday in Houston, before the league announced the suspensions. “Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion. The people that were there know exactly what happened and know exactly what did not happen.
Ariza and Green will miss games against two of the best teams in the Western Conference – Minnesota on Thursday and Golden State on Saturday. Ariza has started all 40 of his appearances with Houston this season, and Green has played in 10 games with the team as a reserve.
The league said the investigation included more than 20 interviews with executives, staff, coaches and players from both teams, as well as arena personnel.