Morning shootaround: June 13


VIDEO: Daily Zap for June 12

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Duncan breaks two records | Higgins out as Hornets president | Sterling hires investigators | LeBron’s decision won’t hinge on title

No. 1: Duncan rewrites postseason history — Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said his all-time great power forward Tim Duncan won’t care about the two postseason records he set in Thursday’s Game 4. He might not just yet, but once he leaves the game — whenever that will be — those records will probably be quite meaningful to him. Duncan passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most career minutes in postseason history (he now has 8,869) and he moved ahead of Magic Johnson for most career postseason double-doubles. Duncan’s 10 points and 11 rebounds gave him his 158th. Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express News has more:

While Duncan is far more concerned with securing the last victory the Spurs need to earn their fifth championship, he admitted to being honored after passing a pair of all-time greats in Thursday’s 107-86 victory over Miami: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most career minutes in NBA postseason history, and Magic Johnson for the most playoff double-doubles.

Duncan, who scored 10 points with 11 rebounds, now has 8,869 minutes and 158 double-doubles in 233 playoff games.

“I can appreciate you saying the names and having passed them in anything,” he said. “It’s an honor to be in that position. Having won (Game 4) helps, obviously, but the focus is on winning one more, and once that is done I can look back and say hey, that’s truly an honor.”

Abdul-Jabbar feels similarly about Duncan, sending a congratulatory note via Twitter: Congrats to #TimDuncan on passing me for the most minutes played in the NBA Finals – I appreciate the fact that you did it with class!

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No. 2: Higgins out as draft approaches — A story literally hot off the presses, the Charlotte Hornets issued a press release shortly after midnight on Friday stating president of basketball operations Rod Higgins “has stepped down.” The strangely timed press release, coming not long after the Spurs wrapped up Game 4 in Miami, said general manager Rich Cho will continue in his position. Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer has more details as much more will be learned today:

In an odd and ill-timed press release, the Hornets announced past midnight Friday that president of basketball operations Rod Higgins has “stepped down” two weeks before the Hornets make the ninth, 24th and 45th picks in the draft.

Higgins has effectively run the Bobcats/Hornets basketball ops since June of 2011. He was a key figure in the decisions to sign free agents Al Jefferson and Ramon Sessions.

The Hornets noted in their press release that general manager Rich Cho will continue to report to Michael Jordan and vice-chairman Curtis Polk.

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No. 3: Sterling hires private investigators — The shamed owner of the Los Angeles Clippers has apparently decided to turn his fight against the league ugly. Donald Sterling‘s team of lawyers have hired four private investigators to dig up dirt on the NBA’s 29 other owners, plus former commissioner David Stern and new commissioner Adam Silver. The Associated Press has the details:

Investigators were given a six-figure budget over the next 30 days to examine the league’s finances, allegations of previous discriminatory conduct and compensation to past commissioner David Stern and current commissioner Adam Silver, said the person who spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday night on condition of anonymity. The person wasn’t authorized to talk publicly.

The person said the investigators also are looking into whether other owners made any off-color jokes, or racist or sexist remarks.

“The gloves are off, as they say,” the person said. “Have them dig up all the dirt they can find.”

The person who spoke to the AP said Donald Sterling reluctantly agreed to hire private investigators after this week’s legal proceedings in probate court. The NBA submitted a legal filing Wednesday urging a judge to confirm Shelly Sterling‘s authority to sell the team.

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No. 4: Finals outcome won’t sway LeBron’s decisionLeBron James can opt out of his contract by the end of this month, but his decision won’t be swayed by whether his Miami Heat win or lose the NBA Finals. If they win they will make history as the first team to ever come back from a 3-1 hole. Game 5 is in San Antonio on Sunday night. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com was in Miami:

The Miami Heat would have to make history to come back from a 3-1 NBA Finals deficit, but the future of their best player doesn’t hinge on that happening.

The Heat’s success or failure in these Finals will not affect LeBron James’ decision on whether to opt out of his contract by the end of this month, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

James and the Heat would be the first team in NBA Finals history to overcome a 3-1 series deficit and come back and win a title. This is the 32nd time the Finals have been 3-1 after four games.

James, [Dwyane] Wade and [Chris] Bosh can all opt out of their contracts and become free agents after this season. ESPN’s Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst reported Wednesday that discussions have begun within the organization about creating sufficient financial flexibility to make an ambitious run at adding New York Knicks scoring machine Carmelo Anthony this summer in free agency.

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Sam Mitchell finalizing deal to join Flip Saunders‘ staff in Minnesota … Top European coach David Blatt is headed to the NBA, just not yet sure whereMetta World Peace accepts assistant head coach job — on a high school girls basketball teamCavaliers coaching search kicks tires on Mark JacksonKurt Rambis could join Derek Fisher‘s staff in New York, but remains a top candidate to coach the Lakers.

16 Comments

  1. WadeCounty says:

    Nobody is really this happy for the Spurs … The only real spurs fans are in San Antonio. People are just praying for Lebron to loose. I bet no one can give a legit reason why they hate Lebron or the Heat besides why did he have to go to Miami.

    • Queirós says:

      Actually I love seeing the Spurs playing, their ball movement and teamwork vs. the tons of iso sets for Wade and LeBron. There’s a legit reason for you. Don’t like it, move on… The world is not about a freaking basketball team

  2. WadeCounty says:

    Lebron is doing his job. He has grown up alot since his Cleveland days. The Heat are not playing as a team and the spurs has a lot of offensive weapson.

  3. pacersbandwagon says:

    lebron will make the greatest finals comeback ever #istillbelieve

  4. smh says:

    as a true heat fan ( yes a heat fan before lebron arrived ), this is the most beautiful thing i’ve watched in basketball. miami is being destroyed by basic, perfectly executed basketball. the spurs trust everybody with the basketball and share the ball with the belief that their teammates can make the appropriate plays. miami trust 4. your not beating a team executing like this trusting 4 guys with the ball. we should all be grateful to watch a great basketball team with a hall of famer coach. strictly beautiful

  5. Kimmy says:

    The Miami Heat are not losing because they are so bad. They are losing because the San Antonio Spurs are just too good! I’m loving the changing of the guard! This will all be wrapped up in a pretty little bow on Sunday. I will be glued to the T.V.and so will everyone else!

  6. Game Time says:

    The Heat are bad….moron. Right now Miami is at their worst but they are still a proven elite team. After 3 previous finals trips it looks like the team is on empty. That’s the difference between the Spurs and them right now. Guys aren’t hustling, and that’s what the fans are mad about. Even if you are tired you should still play your a off. Anyhow congrats Spurs.

  7. JimD54 says:

    The only difference between this years finals and the last two finals, is that this year the refs are not calling fouls for Miami, as long as the James gang are not getting those flop calls they are just an average team, the only way they can come back and win this is if the refs help them, because the Spurs, last year and this year are a much better team… But the refs are still the refs, lets just watch as see what happens in these next three games…

    • Game Time says:

      Of course my comment showing the FT stats from last year’s Finals didn’t post. Anyhow, Spurs shot more FTS than Miami in all the games Miami WON and it was usually 8-10 more.

  8. Common Sense says:

    Sterling and the National Enquirer are teaming up…
    Be prepared for the whirlwind. His TEAM of Enquirerers are going to tell the public about everything that might possibly be offensive in all of these billionaires lives, and because the majority of people in this country think that money is the root of all evil, money doesn’t grow on trees(even though it technically does), and that rich people are criminals, all of the allegations his TEAM drums up will be first believed and then forgiven or first forgiven and then believed, either way it’s going to be really bad for the NBA. This is going to be a circus act for a long time coming. I have always hated the media part of basketball, and now there will be nothing left except media for a long time. The Clippers played for the media and lost, and now Miami is playing for the Media and losing. Only teams like the Spurs with the ridiculous mental toughness will survive…
    In the meantime I’ll finish watching this series while focusing my attention on The Kings!!!!
    Go Kings Go!

  9. lalalalla says:

    to all those who tried to predict a 4-2 Heat series…. welcome back to reality! :)

    too muck NBA 2K14 kills

  10. Heatarebad says:

    The heat are a pretty bad team and definitely one of the worst teams to ever win a championship. They get there because of a horrible eastern conference where they go unchallenged the entire way then only have to win 4 games against a beaten up western conference team.

    They’re one of the easiest teams to defend in the league because Lebron is not a good shooter and the way you defend him coincides with the way you defend his team/any team keep them out of the paint. Other players like Jordan, Kobe, Durant, or Melo can’t be guarded in this way so their team is always in the game. If you guard those guys in the way that they guard Lebron then those guys each put up 81 easy. Guard Lebron like that and he puts up mid 20’s maybe in the 30’s. Plus Heat cannot rebound.

    Lebron and his team is too dependent on fast break points which is a bad way to build a team because whether they get those fast breaks is entirely up to the opposing team so they put their fate in the opposing teams hands on whether they can score effectively or not. If you look at the majority of Lebron’s points throughout the season they are fast breaks, why do you think he “shoots” such a high percentage? He just isn’t a very good scorer and he isn’t a very dangerous player to play against offensively. Put one of the guys mentioned previously on heat in his position and Pop would have a much more difficult time with Heat.

    • bballjunkie1 says:

      Lebrons team was good enough for the last 3 years, they didnt have the right coach going in Lebron wasnt even in the system against Dallas who does that a 2x MVP? Pop certainly would have, He gave them 4 stabs at it they have been paid in full. As a bball fan watching this clinic is wonderful, I am still pissed that Riley didnt make a move guess he didnt learn from Magic losing 2 titles one not using the speed that got us to western conference playoffs agains t Houston so Ralp hits this crazy shot cause we went with a slow Kupckeck/Rambis against a young Akeem/Ralph, then not utilizing Magic at 6’9 to post up and abuse Bostons gurads in 84. So I am not surprised Spo is still there Chalmers wating mintues, didnt go out and get a Rudy Gay, Bledsoe, David West, Lopez, Granger, Big baby, anybody, somebody. some real help during this 4 year run.

    • overTHERE says:

      I don’t see prime Kobe scoring at will on Kawhi Leonard either. Lebron is not as bad a shooter as last year and has hit a lot of hero ball threes to try and shift the momentum this finals. Spurs were the better team last year- heat were luckier, but Spurs are a lot better than last year which is scary. I agree with every thing else you’ve said but if you had a basketball player lab, would the finished product look much different then Kawhi? When he plays suffocating defense I’d say at best, superstar ISO players will have very limited success. I think KD gets to many bail out calls to really judge Kawhis performance on him but KD takes god awful shots to begin with.

      My main beef with the Heat is how they just buy these superstars and get upset when people question that route to the championship. We want players that rise above everything and succeed, not quit and join the guys who beat em. Now they want Carmelo.. its just weak, and an easy way out. The east is already non competitive.

    • james bolton says:

      LeBron’s points are mostly off of fast breaks? Are you kidding? The Spurs actually have an advantage in fast-break points. James’ jumper has actually been really good this series, it just doesn’t really matter. The Heat don’t have enough to offset the consistency and depth of the Spurs. Lebron proved game 4’s outcome wasn’t about his scoring when he came out as aggressively as he did in the 3rd quarter. C’mon man! Anyone hearing that LeBron scored 19 points in a quarter on 7-8 shooting, (including several outside jumpers), would think that the Heat would at least be in the game. He scored 19 when they needed it most and they were still down 20! The rest of the team had 2 points in the 3rd! 2 points! It’s not like Lebron froze his teammates out on iso plays either. They kept throwing the ball back to him.