Marc J. Spears
OAKLAND, Calif. – Since Carmelo Anthony was traded to the New York Knicks on Feb. 22, 2011, the franchise has been a revolving door of players and has had four different head coaches and a major front-office shakeup. There also hasn’t been much postseason momentum, and the team is on the verge of missing the playoffs for the third straight year.
So how much patience does Anthony have as the prime of his career begins to dwindle away? The All-Star forward answered that question and covered a variety of subjects, including Knicks president and Hall of Famer Phil Jackson, in an interview Wednesday with Yahoo Sports.
Q: You turn 32 years old on May 29. With your age, at this stage of your NBA career, what comes to mind about the state of your career?
Anthony: “I don’t want to say a sense of urgency. I think it’s more of stability, consistency. I got to find something that I can be comfortable with and still enjoy it at the same time, still have fun at the same time.”
Q: The odds are that you are going to see another coach …
Q: Why do you still have hope it can work in New York?
Q: What would you like to see happen this summer? What do the Knicks need to do?
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento Kings general manager Vlade Divac said in a statement last Thursday that he was suspending center DeMarcus Cousins one game for conduct detrimental to the team. But in his first comments since being sidelined, Cousins said he believes coach George Karl actually made the call.
"That wasn't a suspension from the organization," Cousins said after the Kings' 108-99 loss to the Utah Jazz on Sunday. "That was one from the head coach. There's a difference."
When told of Cousins' view of the suspension, Divac told Yahoo Sports with a huge grin: "I love DeMarcus Cousins. That is my only comment."
OAKLAND, Calif. – As the Golden State Warriors headed toward the locker room after the buzzer sounded, head coach Steve Kerr went in the opposite direction to offer respect to Damian Lillard. And while the 128-112 loss stung – especially after his own poor shooting – the Portland Trail Blazers guard appreciated Kerr reaching out to him.
"It's a level of respect considering the fact that he is the championship coach of the best team in the league," Lillard told Yahoo Sports. "He doesn't have to come to my side and say anything to me. But as I was walking off the court he walked right up to me and said he really respected who I am and what I'm doing as a player. And I said the same."
Kerr's words came after Lillard told The Oregonian he didn't like Kerr comparing him to Warriors All-Star guard Stephen Curry. Kerr said Lillard "looked like Steph Curry out there" after he scored a career-high 51 points during the Blazers' 137-105 win over the Warriors on Feb. 19. It was the Warriors' worse loss of this season during an NBA-record 58-6 start.
Curry is impressed.
Sacramento Kings All-Star DeMarcus Cousins was suspended for Friday’s game against the Orlando Magic for “conduct detrimental to the team.”
Cousins was suspended for yelling at coach George Karl during a timeout in a 120-111 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, sources told Yahoo Sports. Kings vice president of basketball operations and general manager Vlade Divac levied the suspension. Cousins is averaging team bests of 27.4 points and 11.5 rebounds per game this season.
Cousins and Karl have had their share of run-ins since Karl was hired in the middle of last season. Karl drew the ire of Cousins after the coach said during the off-season that the two-time All-Star could be traded. Cousins also yelled at Karl in the locker room after a 106-88 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Nov. 9 and has voiced his displeasure with the coach to the media often this season. There were reports that Karl could be fired during the NBA All-Star break, but he is expected to coach the remainder of this season.
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OAKLAND, Calif. – Ed Gordon’s face exuded pride when he talked about his son making an upcoming appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” getting new endorsement interest and support from new basketball fans worldwide. Finishing second in a close, controversial slam-dunk contest last month at NBA All-Star Weekend was disappointing for Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon, but his father now believes it was a “blessing in disguise.”
“He is getting more attention,” Ed Gordon told Yahoo Sports. “Personally, if he had won the slam-dunk contest I don’t think this attention would be going on as long as it has been. If he won it would have been like, ‘That was great. Let’s see what he has next year.’
“It’s a blessing in disguise for sure. It teaches him another tough lesson to expect the unexpected.”
Afterward, there was a call from many fans that the uniquely athletic 6-foot-9, 220-pounder was robbed. Instantly, a star was born.
Fans still regularly approach him and say he should have won. And of course, Gordon has the perfect response.
“I did win,” he told Yahoo Sports. “There were no losers in that dunk contest.”
Ultimately, it’s Gordon’s play that matters most and he has been improving.
The National Basketball Players Association is strongly considering filing a grievance with the NBA after the Detroit Pistons voided a trade over concerns about Houston Rockets forward Donatas Motiejunas' back, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Pistons voided a three-player trade with the Rockets on Feb. 22 after Motiejunas failed a series of medical examinations on his surgically repaired back. Motiejunas has since been cleared medically by the Rockets and has played in five games. Sources close to Motiejunas believe the voided trade could damage his status as a restricted free agent next offseason.
Motiejunas had back surgery in April. Before the trade with Detroit, he had not played a game for the Rockets since Dec. 31 after having back soreness. The Pistons acquired Motiejunas and guard Marcus Thornton from the Houston Rockets on Feb. 18 in exchange for a first-round pick and center Joel Anthony.
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OAKLAND, Calif. – The Golden State Warriors' biggest opponent in their quest to break the NBA's regular-season record for wins could very well be their own coach.
The Warriors entered Thursday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 54-5 record, putting them on pace to beat the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls' NBA record of 72-10. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he is more worried about getting his players' rest before the playoffs arrive in late April than trying to break the Bulls' mark.
"Resting, that will take precedence," Kerr said. "We will rest guys if they need it before we will go for any kind of streak or record, that's for sure."
Stephen Curry isn't surprised by Kerr's plan.
"That is how I assumed he would handle it," Curry told Yahoo Sports. "Obviously, the big picture is always the most important trying to win a championship. Case in point, like tonight [against Oklahoma City], they put Andre [Iguodala] on a minutes restriction knowing he is probably the best matchup for KD [Kevin Durant]. Not worrying about that per say but making sure he is going to be healthy long-term.
Billy Donovan, the first-year coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder, was in attendance to support his lead assistant coach, Monty Williams, when Williams gave a moving eulogy at the funeral of his wife.
Donovan’s support of assistant coach Maurice Cheeks, who had major hip surgery last month, has also been unwavering.
It’s been a season of challenges for Donovan as he faces the stretch run of his rookie season coaching the Thunder without his two top assistant coaches.
“It’s been hard, really hard,” Donovan told Yahoo Sports. “It’s been really hard on our players. It’s been really hard on our staff. Just the absence of those guys as people, what they are dealing with.
“You don’t ever want to see anyone in that kind of pain and suffering. Obviously, Mo’s is physical and I think he is doing better. But for someone like Monty, who has five children, it’s hard. It’s just hard.”
The Thunder hired Donovan on April 30 after 19 seasons as head coach at the University of Florida. The former New York Knicks guard coached the Gators to two national titles and four Final Fours while posting a record of 467-186.
“Mo’s got basically a collapsed hip and he’s recovering from that,” Donovan said.
Los Angeles Clippers president and coach Doc Rivers has dreamed of a day when his franchise wins its first NBA championship. While the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs appear to be major obstacles in that quest, Rivers said his team is “closer than people think.”
Rivers took some time recently to talk with Yahoo Sports about the Clippers’ potential, the uncertainty surrounding Blake Griffin’s return and why the power forward wasn’t traded, his roster moves as an executive and more.
Q: How difficult will be it to overcome the Warriors or Spurs in the Western Conference playoffs and what do you think of what they have done so far?
Rivers: “What they are doing is amazing, the Warriors first and then the Spurs as well. I think it’s beautiful to watch. Both teams play completely different, but they play exactly the same. It’s all about the team. There is no difference in their spirit. There is a difference in how they play basketball. From a coaching standpoint, even though you want to beat both of them, it’s enjoyable to watch and it’s beautiful. I respect that.
Q: What is the key change needed for the Clippers to be a championship team?
Q: What can Griffin do in practice now?
Free-agent Kris Humphries has committed to sign with the Atlanta Hawks once he clears waivers, a source told Yahoo Sports.
The Phoenix Suns waived Humphries, 31, on Sunday. The Suns acquired the 6-foot-9, 235-pounder from the Washington Wizards in a trade on Feb. 18. The 12-year NBA veteran cannot sign with the Hawks until he clears waivers on Tuesday, which he is expected to do. He plans to sign a minimum deal for the rest of the season.
Humphries averaged 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds in 16.3 minutes per game while shooting 34.3 percent from 3-point range for the Wizards in 28 games this season. He played four games with the Suns, who now have an open roster spot.
Humphries will give Atlanta more depth behind All-Stars Paul Millsap and Al Horford.
The Hawks recently lost center Tiago Splitter for the rest of the season to hip surgery.
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