Shootaround (March 11) -- Iguodala, Green stir the pot after loss
Plus, an update on Pelinka's hopes for the Lakers, the Bulls' search for answers, and Embiid's knee problems
No. 1: Iguodala, Green stir the pot after loss — Admittedly, it’s a position the Warriors have not been in any time during the past three regular seasons. Falling Friday night at Minnesota was their fourth loss in six games. This one came with a few controversial — at least, to them — calls and the post-game announcement by coach Steve Kerr that he would sit his top four players Saturday night in San Antonio. Mix it all up and Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green chose it as a time to speak out and create a stir. Chris Haynes of ESPN.com has the details:
Iguodala, one of the league’s top sixth men, was asked whether he knew before Friday’s game that Kerr would be resting him against the Spurs.
“Nope, no clue,” he said. “I do what master say.”
The comment drew a swift and angry response on social media, with some interpreting it as a shot at Kerr. Iguodala later clarified his remark to ESPN, saying it was in no way a shot directed at Kerr and that it was only an inside locker room joke.
“Me and Steve are cool,” Iguodala told ESPN. “[People] can think what they want to think.”
Iguodala was so frustrated, he blurted out another controversial, racially insensitive comment when asked about what led to this loss.
“We gotta score more than the other team,” he told reporters. “Yep, they want dumb n—-s, so I’m going to give y’all a dumb n——.”
Then asked whether the team issues run deeper than just scoring baskets, Iguodala responded, “What would dumb n—-s say? ‘Just play harder. Figure it out. Change gonna come.’ You know what we used to say. Change gonna come.”
As bizarre as that exchange was, Green wouldn’t be outdone. He waited for approximately 45 minutes before addressing the media.
“That’s a long time,” he said. “I contemplated for a long time whether I was just going to give the 25-[thousand dollars] up and wash my hands with it. I’m going to go buy myself a nice watch tonight with that $25,000 I thought about spending tonight. I’m going to post it on Twitter. Not Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. I’m going to go buy myself a nice gift for the discipline I showed tonight.”
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No. 2: New GM Pelinka vows to restore Lakers — With Kobe Bryant looking on from a front row seat, new general manager Rob Pelinka would not set a timetable. But he guaranteed to bring the sagging Lakers back to their place of glory at the NBA table, says Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com:
“We are going to deliver on Jeanie’s challenge to us all to make the Lakers the greatest sports franchise in the world,” Pelinka said at the team’s practice facility, referencing Lakers’ governor and president Jeanie Buss. “That will happen.”
At 20-45, the Lakers have the Western Conference’s worst record and will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season. They have also been turned down by all their big-name free agent targets in the past four offseasons. Pelinka, 47, joins the team after divesting himself of his clients at Landmark Sports Agency, where he recently represented, among others, Houston Rockets star James Harden.
Pelinka was hesitant to pinpoint how long it would take for the Lakers to become contenders again.
“I’m hesitant to paint timelines, but what I’m not hesitant to do is say that we’re going to come committed to excellence every day,” he said. “We are implementing a plan as we speak, to making moves to have the best talent in the league in this building. It won’t stop until we accomplish the goal, but to predict whether that’s one year or five years, is impossible. What we can predict is the hard work that we’re going to put in to make sure it happens.”
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No. 3: Nobody has answers in Chicago — Another night, another game, another ugly loss and round of head-shaking puzzlement in the locker room. After an ugly loss at home to the Rockets Friday night, the Bulls have simply run out of answers for a season that is going down the tubes. Nick Friedell of ESPN.com spells it out:
What is the single biggest issue facing the struggling Chicago Bulls after dropping their fourth straight game, a 115-94 embarrassment to the Houston Rockets on Friday night?
“I don’t know,” Butler said.
“I think everybody’s trying to play their role. It’s hard because we are playing a lot of guys. Night in and night out you don’t know what it’s going to come down to. Who is going to play what minutes with what lineup. I think that’s hard. We’ve just got to keep playing, man. No matter what your role is on any given night, you’ve got to be a star within that role. It’s tough. I’m not going to say it’s easy, but everybody’s got to be ready.”
Wade acknowledged that it is difficult for players, especially young ones, to deal with the constant uncertainty surrounding the rotation. As a 14-year veteran, he knows it’s his job to play with whichever players are on the floor, but his admission strikes at the heart of much of the confusion the majority of the roster feels regarding Hoiberg’s substitutions.
“It’s tough because guys don’t know how many minutes they’re going to play,” Wade said. “Jerian played two minutes, came out; mentally it’s tough for guys as well. When you’ve got younger guys doing that, it’s hard to bring them back.
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No. 4: Embiid to have knee examined in L.A. — The medical saga of the Sixers Joel Embiid will continue as the talented center will check in and be examined by doctors in Los Angeles this weekend as his teammates take on the Clippers and Lakers. The team is trying to determine the next step forward for Embiid and his partially torn meniscus in his left knee, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“We are trying to study his path and go about it meticulously,” coach Brett Brown said, “and really sort of help create an environment while he is with us where he’s a part of the team.”
The Sixers announced on March 1 that Embiid would miss the rest of the season due to the injury. He is expected to have surgery.
Embiid is meeting with the doctors to talk about the best next step.
“It’s all on the table, trying to do homework,” Brown said. “There’s nothing like to me [that is] news in what I just said. We are just feeling it all [out].
“He’s got an inner circle around him that’s helping guide him. We are just taking all the information in. Ultimately, he’s the one that has to feel comfortable with it.”
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No. 5: Cavs, Sanders talking deal — As soon as Andrew Bogut when down with a broken leg 58 seconds into his Cleveland career, the Cavaliers were back in search of another big body that could help them in the stretch run and the playoffs. Not many had the name of Larry Sanders on the tip of their tongue. But after being out of the NBA for more than a year, Sanders is close to making his comeback with the defending champs, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
Sanders, 28, ramped up his comeback effort in late January when he hired agent Joel Bell and scheduled team visits. He had a seven-team workout in Miami in February and had meetings with the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and Cavaliers, league sources said. NBA executives who attended the workouts told The Vertical that Sanders still had elite athleticism and speed and could become a contributor again when he gets into playing shape.
The Cavaliers started negotiations with Sanders after losing center Andrew Bogut on Monday because of a fractured leg. Bogut agreed to a contract buyout with the Philadelphia 76ers on Feb. 27 and chose Cleveland over Boston and Houston. Bogut was expected to provide shot-blocking and rebounding before suffering the season-ending injury in his Cavs debut against Miami.
The Cavaliers’ front office is hoping for long-term, high-upside value with Sanders as the franchise pushes toward a third consecutive NBA Finals appearance. Sanders has an opportunity to resurrect his career and make an impact for the top team in the Eastern Conference.
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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Shaquille O’Neal is now taking aim at Kevin Durant and Mark Cuban, calling them soft … Andre Drummond just finished rapping, but says he’s not a rapper … Kobe Bryant’s animated film will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival … Long time Knicks scout Ben Jobe passes away … Damian Lillard says he’s strong enough to shoulder the blame for the Trail Blazers’ disappointing season … The triangle is still the shape of things to come for the Knicks … The Kings broadcast team was voted best in the NBA … Ty Lawson could be facing the end of his NBA career.