April 2021 Basketball Wiretap

Ben Simmons After Win Over Nets: 'We Want That One Seed'

Apr 15, 2021 2:29 AM

Ben Simmons reinforced the importance of the Philadelphia 76ers getting the top seed in the Eastern Conference following a 123-117 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

The Sixers are now a game ahead of the Nets in the standings, and have also clinched the season series.

"[It's] very important. We want that one seed," said Simmons after the game.

Doc Rivers echoed Simmons' thoughts. 

"We really haven't talked about it a lot. We're just talking about winning games. It clearly would be nice to have," said Rivers.

Since the 2017-18 season, the Sixers are 111-28 when playing at the Wells Fargo Center. They are currently 23-5 at home this season.

"I think we're comfortable at home. I guess it's surprising this year without the fans. I can understand with the fans, but without the fans we've had a lot of success, as well," added Rivers. 

Tim Bontemps/ESPN

Tags: Ben Simmons, Philadelphia Sixers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Paul George Credits 'Breakthrough' In Mindset For Recent Play

Apr 14, 2021 1:16 AM

Paul George credited his recent scoring streak to a "breakthrough" in his mentality.

"The [toe] injury allowed me to kind of make an excuse for myself. But then I put it in perspective ... if I'm gonna play, then don't let it limit me."

"I feel like I've had a breakthrough because of that mindset," said George on Tuesday.

George has scored 30 or more points in four consecutive games, with the Clippers currently on a six-game win streak.

He is also shooting a career-high 47.7% from the field and 43.8% from the three-point line.

Marcus Morris also noted George's improvement.

"He's playing with a chip on his shoulder. He is making an emphasis of really taking over and being the best version of himself."

Ohm Youngmisuk/ESPN

Tags: Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Brandon Schneider To Replace Rick Welts As Warriors President, COO

Apr 14, 2021 1:04 AM

Brandon Schneider will become the new president and chief operating officer of the Golden State Warriors, replacing Rick Welts.

Schneider will take over at the end of this season.

"It is a dream job for me. I said this to [Warriors owners] Joe [Lacob and Peter [Guber] the other day -- you're in the grind day to day. I started off selling tickets. My job evolved over the years, but this is something I've aspired to for a long time. And it is a dream job for me, especially growing up a Warriors fan," said Schneider.

Schneider has been with the Warriors for 19 years.

The Warriors also announced plans to welcome back fans at 35% capacity starting on April 23. 

Nick Friedell/ESPN

Tags: Golden State Warriors, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Frank Vogel After Win Over Nets: Lakers 'Always Have A Chance' Due To Scrappy Defense

Apr 11, 2021 12:45 PM

Frank Vogel complimented the Los Angeles Lakers defense following their 126-101 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

The Lakers, without several key players, held the Nets to 43.5% shooting on the game.

"Like I said all along, all season long, when we play scrappy on the defensive end, we always have a chance. I'm super proud of our group," said Vogel after the win.

The Lakers also had eight players hit double-digits in scoring.

Andre Drummond, who had 20 points and 11 rebounds, was impressed with his new teammates.

"I learned a lot from today's game: that we have a lot of guys in this locker room that are very tough. Despite who is on the other side of the court, they're going to come out and play. No matter how many minutes guys play, they're going to play to the best of their ability." 

Dave McMenamin/ESPN

Tags: Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Alex Rodriguez, Marc Lore Finalizing Deal To Buy Timberwolves For Around $1.5 Billion

Apr 10, 2021 8:18 PM

Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore are finalizing a deal to buy the Minnesota Timberwolves from Glen Taylor, sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The deal is expected to be around the $1.5 billion mark.

Taylor will continue to own the team for the next two years, with Rodriguez and Lore taking over in 2023.

"We look forward to entering this phase of the process with Glen Taylor. Our respect for him and the legacy he has built lays an amazing foundation for what is to come. We are excited by the prospect of getting to know the Timberwolves organization," issued Rodriguez and Lore in a joint statement. 


Tags: Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Zion Williamson Says Playing Point Guard 'Just Feels Natural To Me'

Apr 10, 2021 12:45 PM

Zion Williamson had 37 points, 15 rebounds, and 8 assists while playing point guard in the New Orleans Pelicans' 101-94 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.

With Lonzo Ball out due to injury, Stan Van Gundy decided that he was going to play Williamson "at the point all night."

"He had the ball in hands all the time and the ability to make plays and everything else," said Van Gundy.

Williamson said that playing point guard felt natural to his game.

"I've been playing the game since I was 4. At this point, it just feels natural. I'm still learning, but certain things just feel natural," said Williamson.

The 20-year-old Williamson brought up the ball 35 times in the game, breaking his previous best of 25. That number includes bringing the ball up 12 times in the fourth quarter.

Van Gundy added that he envisions Williamson playing point guard more often in the future.

"We want to get him more experience with that stuff going forward because I think that's where his future is in this game."

Andrew Lopez/ESPN

Tags: Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Cade Cunningham To Be Represented By Jeff Schwartz, James Dunleavy Of Excel Sports

Apr 10, 2021 12:29 PM

Agents Jeff Schwartz and James Dunleavy of Excel Sports announced that they will represent Cade Cunningham.

Cunningham is currently the No. 1 ranked prospect in the ESPN Top 100. 

Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN

Tags: Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State Cowboys, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Kevin Durant After Coming Off Bench In Return: I Wanted To 'Dive Right Into The Action'

Apr 8, 2021 1:38 AM

Kevin Durant made his return after missing 23 games with a hamstring injury on Wednesday, scoring 17 points on 5-of-5 shooting in the Brooklyn Nets 139-111 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Durant, who came off the bench, played 19 minutes.

"I expected to come out here and play the way I played. I wasn't trying to ease into the game. I just wanted to go out there and dive right into the action. The game was fast-paced already, so watching it from the bench I knew exactly how I needed to approach it. But it was pretty cool coming off the bench, I can't lie," said Durant after the game.

Durant also had seven rebounds and five assists. 

Steve Nash added that Durant should fit seamlessly back into the lineup due to his ability to make teammates better.

"It's not hard to play basketball with Kevin Durant. So I think he's going to make guys better. He demands a lot of attention and creates a lot of space on the floor. He's a shot-maker, but he creates a lot for his teammates as well whether it's through passing or just his presence," said Nash.

James Harden missed the game due to a right hamstring strain.  

Nick Friedell/ESPN

Tags: Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Bucks, Warriors, Nets, 76ers Will Each Have Trio Making $100M Combined In 21-22

Apr 6, 2021 2:47 PM

The NBA will have four teams with three players making in excess of $100 million in combined salary during the 21-22 season in the Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets.

The Bucks have their trio of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday.

Golden State's trio is Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins.

Philadelphia has Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris.

The Nets have James Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. 

Bobby Marks/ESPN

Tags: Golden State Warriors, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia Sixers, Brooklyn Nets, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Rajon Rondo To Make Clippers Debut On Sunday Versus Lakers

Apr 3, 2021 9:40 PM

Rajon Rondo is expected to make his Los Angeles Clippers debut on Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Rondo was acquired from the Hawks in a trade involving Lou Williams.

"It is a rivalry here in Los Angeles. But for the most part, I have been getting a bunch of 'welcome back's. It is different coming back to LA being a champion," said Rondo of returning to Los Angeles.

The Clippers will likely be without Patrick Beverley, who has missed the last 11 games due to a knee injury.

Serge Ibaka has also been out for the last ten games due to a back injury.

Ohm Youngmisuk/ESPN

Tags: Rajon Rondo, Los Angeles Clippers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

Lakers, Clippers To Bring Back Fans In Mid-April

Ohm Youngmisuk/ESPN

Marc Gasol On Lakers Role After Andre Drummond Signing: 'You're Plan C, D'

Dave McMenamin/ESPN