Tag:Royce Young
Posted on: February 21, 2012 12:24 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 12:35 pm

Report: Lakers hold players only meeting

Posted by Royce Young

Things are in a strange place for the Lakers right now. So strange, that general manager had to put out a statement essentially reminding everyone that he's a general manager.

But with rumors starting to circle centering around Pau Gasol, the team is concerned with sticking together amid the possibility that pretty much any player not named Kobe could be dealt.

So according to ESPN.com, the Lakers held a players only meeting after last night's game against the Blazers to talk about it.

It was an odd time for a players-only meeting -- minutes after a blowout victory over Portland -- but the Los Angeles Lakers felt they needed to clear the air. So, according to sources, team leaders Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher gathered everyone together in the Lakers' locker room Monday night and tried to set the tone for the second half of the season.

Their message was clear: Trade rumors do not matter; your feelings about management or the coaching staff don't matter; all that matters is that the 14 men in that locker room support and believe in one another. If they stay together and stay on the same page, they can get to where they want to go as a team.

According to the report, some players were upset about the rotation and distribution of minutes as well.

Typically, players only meetings happen because the team is playing bad, or dropped a tough game. The Heat famously had one after falling to 9-8 with a loss to Dallas early last season. But the Lakers are playing well enough and had just beaten the Blazers.

But they wanted to get things set straight. They wanted to get on the same page. They wanted to make sure everyone's heads were clear and that they were focused on the task at hand.

It's hard to block out trade rumors, I'm sure. But every player has to do it. Every player knows that any minute, his number could get called. It's part of the business.
Posted on: February 20, 2012 2:43 pm

Video: Lebron makes a kid cry

Posted by Royce Young

LeBron James has built a pretty solid reputation for dunking on children. Now he's taking it up a notch. He's just making them cry.

In the Heat's win over the Magic Sunday, LeBron tried to challenge a corner 3-pointer and ended up crashing into two young fans sitting in the first row. One of them, he hit hard enough to make him cry. LeBron went over at the next break and checked on the two little guys, who were both just fine.

But if either one of them sign up for a LeBron basketball camp in the near future, you know they're getting dunked on.
Category: NBA
Posted on: February 20, 2012 12:50 am
Edited on: February 20, 2012 12:51 am

OKC uses its closers to finish off Denver

Posted by Royce Young

Westbrook and Durant did something that two guys haven't done since two guys named Jordan and Pippen. (Getty Images)

OKLAHOMA CITY -- There's a very, very fine line that separates the Thunder and the Nuggets. And you can basically draw it in between No. 35 and No. 0.

Oklahoma City has 'em. Denver does not.

Just like Game 5 in last season's opening round playoff series when Denver seemed to have things locked up, or Game 1 that the Thunder stole late, or Game 3 where the Thunder finished Denver in the last five minutes, the Nuggets watched Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook break their hearts. Durant, a career-high 51. Westbrook, 40. Thirty-nine of OKC's final 46. And all 13 in overtime. Oklahoma City 124, Denver 118.

"The game of basketball can be really mean to you," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "To have a great player take a game from you like that is heart-wrenching. It's just the bounce of the ball."

The Nuggets had it too. I mean really had it. They led by nine in the fourth quarter and seven with 5:39 left. The Thunder’s play-by-play from that point on: Durant made 3, Westbrook made layup, Durant made 3, Durant made layup, Ibaka made putback, Westbrook made jumper, Westbrook made jumper, Durant made 3, Durant made dunk. Where did the Nuggets turn? Chris Anderson took two 15-foot jumpers, for crying out loud. 

People like to talk about “closers” in basketball, but it’s been pretty obvious as this theme has recurred in these games that the Thunder have not one, but two of them and the Nuggets don't have any. Granted, Denver played this game without Nene or Danilo Gallinari. But neither of those guys were able to step up in those moments last postseason either. The Nuggets tried to turn to Andre Miller, who was having a fantastic game. James Harden — who had a miserable offensive night — twice played him splendidly, staying down on Miller’s pump fakes and ended up forcing him into back-to-back traveling violations in overtime. Ty Lawson hit a big-time 3 to put Denver up three with 54 seconds left, but failed to his a pretty clean look at the end of regulation.

The Thunder, though, finished. Durant powered in a dunk with seven seconds left to send it to overtime. Westbrook drilled a free throw line jumper with 26 seconds left to ice it.

Said Durant, “A lot of people might talk about me getting 50, but Russell Westbrook carried us in overtime.”

Take it to those extra five minutes. Durant was completely gassed, so Westbrook stepped up, hitting a 3 to kick things off and then a couple jumpers to keep the Thunder in front. Then Durant found his legs again finishing a fast break layup and hitting all four of his free throws. Those two scored all 13 of OKC's overtime points. Denver got their seven on two baskets from Arron Afflalo and one from Kosta Koufos. The Nuggets just didn’t know where to go for points. It wasn't very hard for OKC to figure it out.

Here's how wild this game was: Serge Ibaka has a triple-double -- 14 points, 15 rebounds and 11 blocks -- and it almost feels like a footnote. That's Ibaka's third double-digit block game of this season, in fact. (OKC is the first team EVER in NBA history to have a guy score 50, a guy score 40 and a guy finish with a triple-double.)

"He's been phenomenal man," Durant said. "It's just been fun to watch. You might not believe me but at the end coach said to press up on Afflalo and let him go to the rim. That sounds kind of weird, right?"

But that's an afterthought when you consider Westbrook and Durant did something nobody has done since Pippen and Jordan (two teammates scoring 40 or more). Westbrook and Durant actually had more points than seven teams tonight. The Heat, who were fantastic in a win over Orlando, we beat by Westbrook and Durant 91-90. Are you following me here?

Karl said after the game that in a lot of ways the Nuggets won the game. And they did. They played better than Oklahoma City. They executed better, worked the ball better and defended better. But they didn't have Batman and Batman. (There's no Robin here.) They had a group of sidekicks all trying to combine to finish out the superheroes. Just didn't have enough. Just couldn't close those guys from OKC.

Like Karl said, the game of basketball can be really mean to you.

Nah, just Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Posted on: February 19, 2012 4:58 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2012 5:28 pm

LeBron hired a new PR strategist

Posted by Royce Young

So maybe LeBron saying he'd consider returning to Cleveland last week wasn't just him answering a question. Maybe it was all part of a master PR plan. Why might one think this? Because according to the News Herald in Cleveland, LeBron recently hired a new PR strategist.
The first thing we all should remember is LeBron James is a master manipulator.

James had to know the questions were coming on Thursday when the Miami Heat were practicing at Quicken Loans Arena. He recently hired a new "strategist," a man who worked on Arnold Schwarzenegger's gubernatorial campaign, so for all we know, his answers could all have been planned.

He had every chance in the world to discourage talk about returning to the Cavaliers. Instead, he encouraged it and embraced it.
It could be coincidental, or it could be part of a plan for LeBron to restore his image. Before the season, he seemed genuinely upset at how he had been cast as a bad guy. He didn't like being the villain and wanted to get back to having fun and being a fan favorite.

Unfortunately the fallout from "The Decision" is going to leave smoldering ruins around LeBron for a long time. Saying things like "I love Cleveland" and being nice and having more fun aren't going to fix that.

But it wasn't just "The Decision." It was a long list of decisions LeBron has made that's turned the public against him. LeBron has his own marketing firm -- LRMR -- but evidently wanted a little outside consulting. Maybe a little distance from that is a good start to rehabbing his image. I doubt it can be completely healed, but it's not going to happen on its own.

All LeBron can do is keep playing terrific basketball, keep saying the right things and most importantly, win. Image takes care of itself a lot of times, PR strategist or not.
Category: NBA
Posted on: February 19, 2012 2:44 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2012 4:26 pm

McGrady on playing time: 'I'm tired of this s--'

T-Mac is pretty upset about his playing time in Atlanta. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

When Tracy McGrady signed with the Hawks before the season, he knew he wasn't going to be playing a prominant role. He knew that, much like in Detroit last season, he'd likely be coming off the bench and would likely be playing less minutes than he did earlier in his career.

Last season with the Pistons, he did a great job with it. He played his role, did his job and didn't say anything about it. But that was with him still actually having a real role with the team. With the Hawks, he's seen his time on the floor cut game after game, with him not playing at all after halftime against the Hawks Saturday.

And McGrady's had enough. So he let it all out, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“I’m tired of this [bleep],” McGrady said. “You can put that in the paper, I don’t give a [bleep].”

McGrady has played in 26 of 32 games for Atlanta this season for an average of 18 minutes before Saturday’s game. Last season with Detroit McGrady averaged 23 minutes in 72 games.

As for the why, McGrady says coach Larry Drew hasn't given him a reason.

“If you don’t feel I can help, come tell me that,” McGrady said. “He ain’t told me nothing. I just want to help these guys win, man, which I know I can. But, damn, four minutes?”

Drew has previously used the excuse of wear and tear for limiting minutes, but McGrady says he's feels terrific and if he didn't, he'd say so and not play. If he's in uniform, he expects to play.

Does he want out? Under league rules, he's eligible to be traded on March 1. But he's not ready to go there yet.

“Hopefully, I’m here,” he said. “I like it here. I like the guys. That’s what I love most about it. I like the guys in this locker room. But at the same time, I still can play. No doubt in my mind.”

McGrady signed with the Hawks to help a playoff team hopefully contend. He expected to play a big role and get his time. He's frustrated and if Drew is saving him, that's got to be communicated. Otherwise, you're going to have a disgruntled veteran and that's not a good thing for a locker room to have to deal with.

The Hawks need McGrady because their depth has been challenged. The team isn't going anywhere, but if they're to stay in the Eastern playoff picture, they're going to rely on players like McGrady giving them good minutes. He's not psyched right now, and wasn't afraid to say so. You know Larry Drew has heard it, so we'll have to see if anything changes. If not, something might be happening March 1.
Posted on: February 19, 2012 2:19 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2012 2:26 pm

Video: Saturday Night Live gets Linsane

Posted by Royce Young

It was only appropriate that Saturday Night Live took on Linsanity. Especially considered the New York based show already got in on Tebow Mania. And honestly, it was actually a pretty quality media critique of how some have handled the rise of Jeremy Lin and the conversation surrounding his Asian-American heritage.

Sometimes, the best way to communicate how absurd some of those racially charged jokes are is to throw them out there, just like this. The double-standard some are employing with Lin is beyond ridiculous. And the sketch does a pretty great job illustrating that. Jokes about Lin being "sweet and sour" and being "good fortune" were all good, but as soon as one of the pretend analysts made a fried chicken reference when talking about Kobe, it was over the line with Bil Hader's character saying, "Hey, let's leave race out of this."

It was done in good humor of course here, but there's a message here as well. And one we should all pay attention to.
Posted on: February 17, 2012 9:19 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2012 10:22 am

Thunder's Sefolosha (foot) out another month

Posted by Royce Young

Prior to Friday’s game against the Warriors, Thabo Sefolosha sat at his locker with a hard cast on his right foot. The Thunder swingman has been suffering from a lingering tendon injury that's already kept him out of the lineup for 11 straight games.

Recent reports indicated Sefolosha would get a walking boot for the foot, so the hard cast is definitely a bad sign.

The Swiss-born Sefolosha told reporters Friday he’ll miss another month because of the injury. He will wear the hard cast for a week, switch to a walking boot and then rehab for two weeks.

Sefolosha last played on Jan. 27 against the Warriors. Daequan Cook, who has been starting in his place, will continue in that role.

Via NewsOK

Posted on: February 17, 2012 8:50 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 8:52 pm

Durant parting ways with agent Aaron Goodwin

Posted by Royce Young

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kevin Durant is parting ways with longtime agent Aaron Goodwin, he confirmed before Friday's game against the Warriors.

“There's some truth to that,” Durant said when asked about it. “It's some stuff I've got to take care of first. But all I'm worried about is playing, man. I can't let that affect me on the court.”

Durant has been part of Goodwin Sports Management for five years. That was the agency he signed with after he left Texas following his freshman year.

“I really appreciate what the Goodwins did for me, but it was time for me to move on,” Durant said.

Durant said he hasn't decided on a new agency, but FoxSports.com reported there are "rumblings" Durant might be headed toward CAA, which represents LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh, among others. Goodwin's agency has lost LeBron and Dwight Howard in recent years as well.

The move comes a bit out of left field as Durant had just signed a sponsorship deal with Sprint and had a few other deals pending. Goodwin was a big part in securing a movie role for Durant as well, which finished filming recently. Goodwin was with Durant in Houston on Tuesday and at that time, everything was fine.

Durant signed a five-year maximum extension last summer and according to Forbes, earned some $9 million off the court last year. Durant has sponsorship deals with Panini America, Nike, Gatorade and Skullcandy, among a few others.

Durant said for now, his brother Tony will be handling his business affairs.
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