Basketball Wiretap

Michael Malone 'Lockstep' With Josh Kroenke, Tim Connelly

Dec 4, 2016 2:57 PM

Michael Malone's second head coaching job in the NBA is with the Denver Nuggets, which has presented a more harmonious working environment than he found with the Sacramento Kings.

“Myself, Josh Kroenke our owner, Tim Connelly [the GM], we’re lockstep in everything we’re doing and we understand the process and what we’re trying to go through," said Malone. "There are growing pains when you’re young but this coming summer, if we’re able to nab a quality free agent, it would be a little bit less gray in my beard.”

Malone was hired by the Kings before they found their eventual general manager Pete D'Alessandro.

NBA players have resisted going to Denver but the Nuggets' players have tended to like it once they arrive.

“I think once you get guys to Denver, a lot of people fall in love with it,” Malone said. “We’ve have veterans on our team, Darrell Arthur, Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, they don’t want to leave. Darrell Arthur told his agent, ‘Listen, get it done with Denver, I don’t want to go anywhere else.’ I think that speaks more than anything I can say, the fact that once you’re there and the quality of life and how beautiful it is, I think Denver sells itself.”

Gary Washburn/Boston Globe

Tags: Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings, NBA

Draymond Green Critical Of NBA's Interpretation Of 'Unnatural Act'

Dec 3, 2016 9:29 PM

Draymond Green said he believes he's being unfairly targeted for his frequent high kicks.

Green was assessed a flagrant foul for his kick of James Harden in the Golden State Warriors' loss on Thursday.

"I just laugh at it because it's funny how you can tell me how I get hit and how my body is supposed to react," Green said Saturday after the Warriors' shootaround. "I didn't know the people in the league office were that smart when it came to your body movement. I'm not sure if they took kinesiology and all this stuff for their positions to kind of tell you how your body is going to react when you get hit at certain positions.

"Or you go up and you got guys that jump to the ceiling, and I'm sure a lot of these people that make these rules can't touch the rim. Yet they tell you [that] you are way up there in the air and which way your body [is supposed to react]. I don't really understand that. That's like me going in there and telling them, 'Hey, you did something on this paperwork in here wrong.' Like, I don't know what your paperwork looks like. It is what it is. I think they made the rule and make your rule. Like, I don't care."

Green coincidentally brought up Harden.

"If you're going to say it's an unnatural act, no offense to James Harden, but I've never seen nobody up until really James start doing it in my life that shoot a layup like this under your arm," Green said. "That's really not a natural act either. It's not a natural basketball play either.

"So, if you're going to make a rule, make a rule. But if you're going to take unnatural acts out the game, then let's lock in on all these unnatural acts and take them out the game if that's what we're going to do. I don't know. Let them keep telling people how their body reacts, I guess. They need to go take a few more kinesiology classes though. Maybe they can take a tape in class, functional movement classes and let me know how the body works because clearly mine doesn't work the right way."

Chris Haynes/ESPN

Tags: Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors, NBA

LeBron James: Cavs Have To Get Out Of Honeymoon Stage

Dec 3, 2016 9:39 PM

With the Cleveland Cavaliers losing their third straight game, LeBron James said they need to finally move on from their championship run of last season.

"We've got to get out of the honeymoon stage," James said. "That's y'all's headline for tomorrow. I know y'all going to use it."

The Cavaliers lost at Milwaukee and Chicago with a home loss against the Clippers in-between.

"You've got to play the game the right way," James continued. "You've got to battle every night like we ain't won nothing. Last year is last year, and after ring night, it's over with. Now it's a new season and everybody is gunning for us every night, and we have to understand that. The honeymoon stage is over, and it's time to play some real ball and be physical, especially in the trenches. Giving up 78 points is ridiculous. We've got to man up. Everybody."

The three-game losing streak is the first of Tyronn Lue's tenure as head coach.

Dave McMenamin/ESPN

Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA

Jaylen Brown Earned Respect Of Jimmy Butler During Summer Workouts

Dec 4, 2016 3:04 PM

Jaylen Brown worked out with Jimmy Butler in the summer before his rookie season. The Boston Celtics envision Brown growing into a similar scoring wing as Butler has over the past few seasons.

“Just his competitive spirit, man. I love that,” Butler said. “He always wants to get better. He’s always [willing] to learn. He’ll ask all the questions that he needs to ask to get the answers that I have, and if I don’t have them, I’ll ask somebody. He’s just a true student of the game.”


Brown was the third overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft out of Cal.

“Obviously he’s athletic, he can play, and he’s super smart,” Butler said. “He’s going to be a hell of a player. I think he knows where the game can take him. He’s incredibly smart and he’ll let you know that. Sometimes the kid’s too smart for his own good, like I was telling him over the summer."

“His dumb hair, I think that’s what it was,” Butler said. “I was like, ‘Man, you’re uglier than I am with that hair.’ So I’ve got to hang out with ugly people to make me look a little cuter.”

Brown consulted Butler’s personal trainer and weight conditioner.

“I think the thing that really attracted me to him was really his competitive spirit,” Butler said. “In everything we did, he always wanted to go up against me, and I commend that and respect it. Because the only way you’re going to get better is if you go at the better people in the workout.”

Gary Washburn/Boston Globe

Tags: Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics, NBA

Anthony Davis: Pelicans Have To Work Hard Not Having Multiple Superstars

Dec 4, 2016 3:00 PM

Anthony Davis has consistently defended his supporting cast with the New Orleans Pelicans, which is comprised of journeymen and younger players.

“We don’t have a lot of guys that other teams have,” Davis said. “Three or four players on each team who are superstars. We’ve got to come out and play hard and coach [Alvin Gentry] tells us that all the time. All of us got to the NBA by working hard. So we’ve got to keep that in mind.”

Davis has been more of a quiet leader during the opening seasons of his career.

“I’m just out here playing and I’m doing whatever I can do to help the team,” Davis said. “It’s a long season. We’ve got a lot of games left. Keep the team spirit high and making sure we continue to have fun. [Leadership] is something I have to be comfortable with. I’ve got to make sure I lead these guys and make sure these guys always got their heads high and keep playing. No matter what the situation is and our record, we have to keep playing and continue to remain focused.”

Gary Washburn/Boston Globe

Tags: Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans, NBA

Steve Kerr Admits Marijuana Use To Treat Chronic Back Pain

Dec 2, 2016 8:26 PM

Steve Kerr has acknowledged using marijuana to treat his chronic back pain.

“I guess maybe I can even get in some trouble for this, but I’ve actually tried it twice during the last year and a half, when I’ve been going through this chronic pain that I’ve been dealing with,” Kerr said Friday on The Warriors Insider Podcast.

“(After) a lot of research, a lot of advice from people and I have no idea if maybe I would have failed a drug test. I don’t even know if I’m subject to a drug test or any laws from the NBA.”

During the summer of 2015, Kerr underwent two surgeries on his back, the latter procedure in part to alleviate the pain from the first. 

Kerr took a leave of absence to begin the 15-16 season and didn't return until January of 2016.

“I’m not a pot person; it doesn’t agree with me,” Kerr said. “I’ve tried it a few times, and it did not agree with me at all. So I’m not the expert on this stuff. But I do know this: If you’re an NFL player, in particular, and you’ve got a lot of pain, I don’t think there is any question that pot is better for your body than Vicodin. And yet athletes everywhere are prescribed Vicodin like it’s Vitamin C, like it’s no big deal.”

Marijuana has been legalized in some form by 26 states and the District of Columbia. 

“There’s this perception in our country that over-the-counter drugs are fine, but pot is bad,” Kerr said, explaining that some folks continue to resist the notion that pot is somehow more treacherous than, say, alcohol, while others have studied the subject and become advocates.

“I would hope,” Kerr said, “especially for these NFL guys, who are basically involved in a car wreck every Sunday – and maybe four days later, the following Thursday, which is another insane thing the NFL does – I would hope that league will come to its senses and institute a different sort of program where they can help these guys get healthier rather than getting hooked on these painkillers.”

Monte Poole/Comcast

Tags: Golden State Warriors, NBA

Nets Sign Donatas Motiejunas To Four-Year, $37M Offer Sheet

Dec 2, 2016 7:43 PM

The Brooklyn Nets have signed Donatas Motiejunas to a four-year, $37 million offer sheet.

With Motiejunas being a restricted free agent, the Houston Rockets have 72 hours to match.

Adrian Wojnarowski reports Motiejunas' deal includes two non-guaranteed years on the back end.

The Rockets traded Motiejunas to the Detroit Pistons last February but the trade was later rescinded following concerns about the condition of his back.

Marc J. Spears/The Undefeated

Tags: Donatas Motiejunas, Houston Rockets, Brooklyn Nets, NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

Tyronn Lue, Steve Kerr Named Coaches Of The Month

Dec 2, 2016 7:16 PM

Tyronn Lue and Steve Kerr have been named the NBA's Coaches of the Month for October and November.

Lue guided the reigning NBA champion Cavaliers to an Eastern Conference-best 13-3 record during October and November, matching the best 16-game start in franchise history.  Cleveland, which began the season with six straight victories, ranked second in the NBA in scoring (111.3 points per game), three-point field goal percentage (39.0) and three-pointers made (13.8 per game).  The Cavaliers sank a team-record 21 three-pointers in a 137-125 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Nov. 23.

Kerr led the Warriors to an NBA-best 16-2 record in October and November, including 12 victories in a row entering December.  Golden State paced the NBA in scoring (117.6 ppg), assists (31.1 apg), field goal percentage (50.2) and blocked shots (6.6 bpg).  The Warriors notched at least 30 assists in 10 consecutive games, the longest streak in franchise history, and they registered a team-record 47 assists in a 149-106 win against the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 23.

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, NBA

Dakari Johnson Named D-League Player Of The Month

Dec 2, 2016 5:54 PM

Oklahoma City Blue center Dakari Johnson has been named the NBA Development League Player of the Month for games played in November. The honor, the first of the 2016-17 season, is also the first of Johnson’s NBA D-League career.

Johnson (7-0, Kentucky) led Oklahoma City to a 6-3 record behind averages of 19.7 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.1 blocked shots (tied for fourth in the NBA D-League). He scored at least 20 points in six games and tallied four point-rebound double-doubles.

On Nov. 26, he recorded 20 points (on 7-for-11 shooting from the field) to go with six rebounds and a career-high five blocks in a 107-104 victory over the Canton Charge. Johnson closed the month by scoring a career-high 28 points, grabbing a season-high-tying 11 rebounds and handing out a season-high five assists in a 117-108 loss to the Los Angeles D-Fenders on Nov. 29.

Other players who received consideration for the monthly award were Austin’s Patricio Garino, Fort Wayne’s Julyan Stone, Grand Rapids’ Ray McCallum and Kevin Murphy, Los Angeles’ Justin Harper, Maine’s Jalen Jones, Westchester’s Chasson Randle and Windy City’s Spencer Dinwiddie.

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: Dakari Johnson, Oklahoma City Blue, D-League, D-League Award, D-League Teams

Joel Embiid Interested In Participating In Three-Point Contest

Dec 2, 2016 5:41 PM

Joel Embiid has made 15 of his 30 three-point field goal attempts so far this season and he was asked if he'd have interest in competing in the three-point contest during All-Star weekend.

“It would be nice,” Embiid said with a smile. “It would be nice. I don’t know.”

In the three-point contest, participants have one minute to make as many shots as possible from five positions behind the arc.

“If I have a chance to be in it, I have to practice all that,” Embiid said of getting shots up quickly.” But I think I can get it. I got to work on my quick release and you know most of the shots I take from three, I always hold my follow through.

“So in an all-star game, it’s about getting it up. So I have work on that.”

Keith Pompey/Philadelphia Inquirer

Tags: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia Sixers, NBA, NBA All-Star

Derrick Rose Would Like To Spend Remainder Of Career With Knicks
Derrick Rose is scheduled to be a free agent this offseason but he has interest in remaining with the Knicks.

Peter Walsh/Slam

Barkley's 93-94 Suns Were The 16-17 Warriors Of Their Season
The Suns ranked first in offense and ninth in defense that season, the same as the 16-17 Warriors.

RealGM Staff Report

Pelicans Assign Cheick Diallo To D-League
Cheick Diallo, 6-9, 220, has appeared in six games with Austin, averaging 14.3 points on .553 shooting from the floor, 6.7 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game.

RealGM Staff Report

David Blatt Found NBA Game, Lifestyle 'Very Different'
David Blatt found the NBA game and experience different than his experience coaching overseas.

Amos Barshad/Bleacher Report

76ers To Use Ben Simmons As Point Guard
The 76ers plan on making Ben Simmons their point guard when he returns from injury.

Keith Pompey/Philadelphia Daily News

Dwyane Wade: I Definitely Had To Change My Game More Than LeBron
Dwyane Wade and LeBron James didn't have a conversation about how their respective games would change before they decided to join forces.

Nick Friedell/ESPN

Andre Drummond Receives $15,000 Fine For Striking Roy Hibbert In Head
Andre Drummond was assessed a Flagrant Foul 2 and ejected for the elbow to Roy Hibbert.

RealGM Staff Report

Doc Rivers Fined $15,000 For Ejection During Nets' Loss
Doc Rivers has been fined $15,000 for directing verbal abuse towards a game official and not leaving the court in a timely manner after his ejection.

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Jamal Murray, Joel Embiid Named Rookies Of The Month
Jamal Murray and Joel Embiid have been named the Rookies of the Month for October and November.

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LeBron James, Russell Westbrook Named Players Of The Month
LeBron James averaged 23.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 9.3 assists in 35.9 minutes as the Cavaliers went 13-2 in the 15 contests he appeared in.

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Kristaps Porzingis Not Worried If Knicks Are His Team Or Carmelo's
Kristaps Porzingis is averaging 21.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists this season with a PER of 22.0.

Ian Begley/ESPN

Nets Considering Signing Donatas Motiejunas
Donatas Motiejunas is visiting with the Nets and undergoing a physical.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Kevin Durant Finding, Appreciating 'Small Things' With Warriors
The ease with how he's made the move has confirmed Kevin Durant made the right decision.

Chris Haynes/ESPN

NBA Changed 'Two Years After' Rule For Trading Future First Round Picks
The NBA quietly changed trade rules over the offseason to allow teams to simultaneously owe two picks with a "two years after" language attached.

Zach Lowe/ESPN

Blake Griffin: Our Spirit As A Team Is Great Now
Everyone around the Clippers swears the vibe around the team is the best it has been since Chris Paul arrived via trade in December of 2011.

Zach Lowe/ESPN

Clippers Expect Chris Paul To Seek Full Five-Year Max Contract
Chris Paul turns 32 in May and his new five-year deal would take him well past 35.

Zach Lowe/ESPN

LeBron James Named Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson Of The Year
LeBron James scored 41 points in Games 5 and 6 of The Finals and made a key block in the final minutes of Game 7.


Dunc'd On Pod: 4 Random Questions: MVP, Towns/Porzingis Outcomes. Then NYK/MIN and WAS/OKC
Who is MVP so far? And who will have the league's worst record? Followed by wrap-ups of MIN/NYK and WAS/OKC.

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Tyronn Lue Meets With J.R. Smith About 'Embarrassing' Jason Terry Play
J.R. Smith had an in-game hug with Jason Terry that led to a wide-open bucket for the Bucks.

Dave McMenamin/ESPN

RealGM Radio: Tiers With Kevin Pelton
Host Danny Leroux and Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider start a new RealGM Radio monthly feature: a conference tiers episode.

RealGM Staff Report