Morning Shootaround — March 11


VIDEO: The Daily Zap for games played March 10

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Knicks, Jackson headed for union | Gortat chimes in on NBA fights | Beverley: Blazers’ Lillard ‘whines’ | Boozer shuns media

No. 1: Knicks, Jackson appear headed for a union — The more time passes, the more it looks like ex-Lakers and Bulls coach Phil Jackson is coming back to the NBA in a front-office role with the team he once played for, the New York Knicks. The latest stories yesterday had it looking like Jackson to N.Y. was pretty much a done deal (and, as usual, Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski delivers a solid assessment of the situation). Our own Sekou Smith also chimed in on the pending marriage between the two NBA power players and how the panache Jackson adds to a franchise can do nothing but help New York:

Jackson and the Knicks, according to multiple sources, are working through the sticky points of a deal that would bring him back to the league in a front office capacity, and not as coach of the Knicks (a job, mind you, that is currently occupied by Mike Woodson).

And make no mistake, it’ll take all of the legendary coach’s Zen powers to help fix what ails the Knicks. In short, they are a mess right now. A lame duck coach. A superstar (Carmelo Anthony) basically being forced to consider his free agent options elsewhere this summer. And a roster bogged down with so many bad assets that legendary front office maven Donnie Walsh (the man who tried fixing this mess already) couldn’t fix it all.

Most of us have no idea how Jackson will fare in a job he’s never actually done before. But when you’ve accumulated the sort of championship hardware he has over the years — he played on both of the championship teams the Knicks have fielded and won 11 more titles as a coach with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers) — the benefit of the doubt is included in the compensation package.

If anyone alive who has had a hand in the game of basketball can clean up the mess that is the Knicks, it has to be Jackson. Be it good fortune or shrewd calculation, or a healthy dose of both and plenty of blind luck, Jackson always seems to find himself in the middle of championship-level success. Why wouldn’t the Knicks want to find themselves affiliated with the same things?

Now he’ll get the chance to see if his magic works from a different angle, as the man pulling the strings from on high as opposed to doing it with direct contact with the players. I defy anyone to challenge Jackson’s coaching credentials.

For all the grief he gets for having won with the likes of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, among so many others, it should be noted that the only member of the Hall of Fame group of players he coached that has won a title without him is Shaq (in Miami, alongside Dwyane Wade and perhaps the only other coach of his generation to come close to being on Jackson’s level, Heat boss and former coach of the Showtime Lakers Pat Riley.

Jackson doesn’t have to sully his reputation by trying to salvage a Knicks team that is clearly beyond repair. But he could send his mythical aura into a new stratosphere if he were somehow able to clear the debris from the wreckage that is the current Knicks operation and bring some sort of championship flair back to Madison Square Garden.

That’s why Knicks owner James Dolan had no choice but to seek out the services of the one man whose name is synonymous with success, the one man whose mere mention sends fans into flights of fancy about championship parades, even when their haven’t been any such plans in the works for decades.


VIDEO: GameTime’s crew discusses the pending union between Phil Jackson and the Knicks

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No. 2: Gortat jokes that he’d like NHL-style fights in the NBA — Pound-for-pound, Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat (along with the Minnesota Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic) might be the strongest guy in the NBA. That being said, it’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to get in a fight with him at any point, anywhere. In a wide-ranging, insightful interview with TrueHoop.com’s Kyle Weidie, Gortat jokingly explains how he’d be a fan of the NBA allowing designated fighting timeframes during each game:

Any rule changes that you think would help the NBA game? For instance, sometimes they talk about instituting FIBA goaltending rules in the NBA. Any thoughts on that or any other changes that would help the game play?

The goaltending? It definitely wouldn’t help. You have too many athletic guys in this league that would tip the ball out of the rim, so pretty much to make a basket you will need to swish it, you know what I’m saying?

I would say I would loosen up a little bit the rules about the fighting fines. That’s what I would loosen up. Because today you go to an ice hockey game, and the one thing they’re waiting for is a fight, you know what I’m saying? So if they could set it up something like that in the NBA. That if there are two guys and they have a problem, if they could just separate everybody. And these two people that have problem, if they could fight …

During the game?

During the game. Quick, 15-20 seconds, throw few punches, then referees jump in and break this thing up. I think the game … these two guys, they resolved their problem. They’re both suspended and they’re leaving. But end of the day, they fix the problem between each other, fans are super excited, and I think that would be a pretty cool idea [chuckles].

You’d need bigger refs. You couldn’t have Dick Bavetta out there.

At some point when the referees jump in, then you’d have to stop. You’d have to stop. So I think that would be a great idea, just like the ice hockey fans waiting for that, that’s would NBA fans would get into, as well.

And, I think we’re definitely going to mention this in the players’ meeting, but we definitely have to mention the situation about the fans. When we say something to the fan, and when we curse him out, or when we definitely throw a punch, or we’re trying to hit the fan, we are suspended for half of the season. But when they yell at us or insult us or are cursing at us using bad words, they don’t get anything. So what I would say is that there’s definitely supposed to be a rule where if one of the fans is disrespecting us, then he got to leave the gym automatically.

This summer you will be an unrestricted free agent. This being your seventh year in the league, you’ve never really been a free agent, as you signed an offer sheet with Dallas in 2009 but Orlando matched, which is something you did not like. So what’s in your mind right now about being able to go through the free-agent process and really be able to be courted for the first time?

All I know is that I’m going to be a free agent. I don’t know how it is to be a player that actually is going to be able to pick the team he wants to play for, you know what I’m saying? I’m hoping that at the end of the day I’m going to be able to pick the team where I will play. I hope there will be a team, let’s put it this way first.

We still have 20 or so games to play. I’ve got to finish strong, and then we’re going to make a run into the playoffs, and then we’ll see what’s going to happen. Then I’m going to call my agent and say, “Hey, you gotta do your job. I did my job, now you gotta do your job. I’m looking forward to holidays now.” So, we’ll see.

There’s a lot of different things I’m going to look at. The team situation. The goal of the team. I’m going to look at the point guard. I’m going to look at the coaching staff. I’m going to look at a lot of different things before I’m going to pick the team, and obviously Washington is going to be really close to me right now. I feel really comfortable here. They have two rising stars in Bradley Beal and John Wall, and this team’s definitely going to get better and better. They have Otto Porter, who’s going to be a good player one day. And there’s going to be a lot of different things I’m going to look at. But quite honestly, right now I just want to make sure that we’re not going to lose five in a row and that we won’t lose a spot in the playoffs, because that would be the worst thing. I’m more pumped up for being in the playoffs again and not watching them in front of the TV. Back in the day I was spoiled by [Stan] Van Gundy playing all the way to the conference finals. With Phoenix, I was in the playoffs, so finally now [I have] an opportunity again.

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No. 3: Beverley says Blazers’ Lillard ‘whines’ — A couple more wins here for the Blazers, a couple more losses there for the Rockets and we could be looking at a Houston-Portland series in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. Given the classic OT game the two teams turned in on Sunday night, it is doubtful few NBA followers would turn down a best-of-7 series between those two teams. And, to add a little spice to what might be a budding rivalry out West, Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley took to a Houston-area sports radio show and had some words for Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard. Dan Feldman of ProBasketballTalk.com has more, including some select quotes from that interview:

Lillard lobbed the opening salvo after Houston’s win over Portland on Sunday, basically calling Beverley a dirty player.

Appearing on Houston radio SportsTalk 790 today, Beverly went through eight and a half minutes of interview until this happened:

  • Host: “Hey, Pat, thank you for the time. We’ll talk with you next week.”
  • Beverley: “Are you going to ask me no questions me about Damian Lillard?”

Beverley:

Damian Lillard whines. So, I’m not a big fan of that. I don’t go out there and try to start fights with anybody. I go out there and play my game.

Beverley on Lillard again:

The way I guard him, the way I guard Steph Curry, the way I guard Chris Paul, the way I guard Goran Dragic, the way I guard Kyrie Irving – I all guard the same players the same. I don’t look at film on players. I don’t look at players’ habits. I go out there and impose my will on people, and I do what I do, and I’m aggressive on defense.

I don’t care what he says. You’re a grown man. You’re a professional basketball player – professional first.

You always push and shove, and that’s basketball. I don’t know how other people were raised, but that’s basketball. That’s how you grew up playing, battling. You get pushed down. You get back up. You battle the next guy. You should enjoy the competition. No one is going out there to hurt someone, and I was kind of offended the way that he was talking. I’m a positive person. I usually don’t say anything about anything, but if I feel that something is not right, I’m definitely going to mention about it. And the things that he was saying yesterday really bothered me.


VIDEO: James Harden and the Rockets top the Blazers in OT

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No. 4: Boozer shuts out Chicago media — The words “warm fuzzies” and “Carlos Boozer” are rarely used in the same sentence with Chicago Bulls fans. The oft-maligned power forward has been a target of criticism for his performance (particularly on defense) at times and for his hefty contract at other times. As our own Steve Aschburner pointed out a few weeks ago, though, none of this chatter seems to bother Boozer. Well, at least maybe it didn’t anyway. Apparently, the end of the season (and a possible contract amnesty date) drawing near might be getting to Boozer, as he has stopped talking to the media, writes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times:

Whether it’s a lack of playing time in the fourth quarter or the reality that his contract could be amnestied this summer, there seems to be a disconnect lately between Carlos Boozer and the media.

Case in point: Asked to talk to awaiting reporters after a recent practice, Boozer declined and said loudly, “I don’t give a damn.’’

Tom Thibodeau was asked on Monday if he thought Boozer was less engaged because of his diminished role. The Bulls coach defended his power forward but also made it obvious who is calling the shots on minutes in crunch time.

“We’re at the time of the year where we need everyone at their best,’’ Thibodeau said. “We have to put maximum work into it. Everyone has a job to do. You have to put the team first. … If you play well, you’re going to play.’’


VIDEO: Carlos Boozer talks after the Bulls’ recent win over the Warriors

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Oklahoma City’s defense has all of the sudden become pretty terribleRamon Sessions has settled in as the Bucks’ “closing” point guard … Ex-Jazzmen Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap provided the fuel to give the listless Hawks a win in Salt Lake City … Bulls center Joakim Noah apparently is not a fan of “M-V-P!” chants directed his way by Chicago fans … An in-depth look at how San Antonio’s defense is able to often effectively corral LeBron James

ICYMI of the Night: What’s gotten into Brandon Knight lately? A couple of weeks ago he had this tasty fastbreak slam against the Sixers, and then last night, he delivers another power punch — this time against the Magic …


VIDEO: Brandon Knight finishes strong on the break against the Magic

25 Comments

  1. Tony Tony Chopper says:

    im happy that Pat plays the way he does. Versus letting ball handlers pick defenses apart he makes them play nothing about his game is dirty. He plays like a old school point he plays physical and makes you work ,its The NBA your suppose to be the best players so u shouldnt mind it at all hes just competing

  2. okc2014 says:

    Patrick Beverly is a bum! And a very dirty player!!!!

  3. Shanna says:

    Beverley is a dirty player and sounds like he is whining himself.

  4. harris27312 says:

    I agree about Patrick Beverly as being a dirty player the Westbrook injury was uncalled for and he should have been sanctioned because there was no play when he injured Westbrook. the last game between the heat and the rockets when D Wade was doing a layup Beverly got under him twice not giving him room to come down I’m not a heat fan but what if D wade would have come down on Beverly and hurt himself the refs did nothing about those dirty plays.

  5. Ryan says:

    I hope Gortat was joking, half of the nba ‘fights’ are a big guy picking on a smaller guy or someone trying to get there name known by beefing with Blake Griffin, it would only be used to help scrubs get a big name

  6. Ryan says:

    I like the heart Pat plays with but his style of play shouldn’t be aloud in the NBA, the guy had like 3 fouls a gam before the ball handler even crosses half court… Also what was the need to bring that up? The interviewer obviously didn’t care thus not asking the question yet he brought it up. You’re a dirty player, end of

  7. dustydreamnz says:

    Ramon Sessions is an underrated player. Don’t think he’s ever been on a good team.

  8. AirMagicMamba says:

    Knew Beverely was dirty when he injured Westbrook

  9. saywhuttt says:

    Beverly is basically Bruce Bowen

  10. Jgards says:

    I must say, Booze is a nice man when you meet him, but as a basketball player, I am sorry, the man has to go! The Bulls only will get better when he is gone. Sorry Booze

  11. i-X says:

    Beverly!! Wow! The guts. He flopped on that play with Lillard and has injured Westbrook that may have caused them last years finals rematch with Heat. Beverly is nothing, just a scrub trying to make a name, Lillard on the other hand is an All-star, Rookie of the year and is clutch! The West Playoff match ups are really looking interesting no matter what seeding ends.

  12. Gmo says:

    lillard is awesome

  13. BluesGypsy says:

    Jordan Hamilton has really helped ‘da Rockets become even better = Great Addition !!!

  14. Steve says:

    Beverly is a whiner and a flopper. so where does he have a right to complain about anyone? And he does play dirty and calls it playing hard. I watched the game sunday where he acted like he got hit in the face when he got bummped in the chest at most or when he got in lillards face after he whined his way to a out of bounds replay. I bet Russel Westbrook has a few things to say about Beverly’s “hard play”.

    • 717 says:

      I don’t remember anytime that pat bev whined about anything. There is a big difference between what lillard said about beverly compared to what pat said. Calling somebody dirty just because you do not like other players taking your breathing space away says a lot about lillard being soft. 10 years ago, the game was much more physical, he should be thankful he plays in this era. Stop being bitter! It’s sad too see grown men whine.

  15. LeflopWhines ;);););) says:

    Heat are weak and play scared on the road.

  16. TTKIN says:

    Bev is a dirty player. Damian had it right.

  17. Apex Predator says:

    It is interesting that Beverley is talking on Lillard. Yes Lillard is claimed to have started it with his comments but just for fun Beverley has an “interesting” track record. If I’m right he injured 2 point guards already one of which was Russel Westbrook last year.

    If I am Beverley, I would stay on point and forget about talking. Focus on the current win streak, he’s been one of the key guys to HOU winning this season. I gurantee that in the playoffs those All Star PGs will target his weaknesses since he has little to no playoff experience. A HOU vs POR rivalry would be great though.

    Note: Lillard (Rookie of Year, All Star) vs Beverley (nothing yet)

    Jackson to NY. That would tarnish his legacy if he can’t fix the Knicks which would take like 3-5 years at least. Their not like PHI who is losing but their young talents are gaining EXP, learn the game the hard way.

    Note: MCW for 13-14 Rookie of the Year. Oladipo was close but not anymore. Records don’t mean anything cause both teams are down.

  18. thejerr says:

    No.3 … my eyes hurt, much spell check, much wow….. or does beverley really talk like that? lol

    Beverley: “Are you going to ask me no questions me about Damian Lillard?” what?

  19. blazersallday says:

    Lillard “whines” but its ok for Harden and Beverley to flop all game long.

  20. Booze says:

    Nothing in the video suggested Boozer was shunning the media, infact it was just the opposite.
    Maybe Booze doesn’t care to talk to the media about the possibility of being amnestied, big deal, so he wants to focus on the game. Great “Non-Story”!