Marc J. Spears

  • Jerry Colangelo talks Team USA, LeBron and post-Coach K era

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    CARMEL, Calif. – With Clint Eastwood’s mammoth mansion looming far in the background, USA Basketball executive director Jerry Colangelo on Wednesday took some time at Tehama Golf Club to discuss his future and the state of Team USA, among a variety of topics.

    The following is a Q&A with the 75-year-old Colangelo, who remains as passionate as ever about his commitment to USA Basketball.

    Q: Do you expect LeBron James to be playing for USA in the Olympics next year?

    Colangelo: He is one of the greatest players of all time. If he wants to be on the team, how is he not going to be on the team? It’s really not my call. It’s really his call. If that is still important to him and what he wants to do, I truly believe that’s what he wants, than he will be there.

    Q: Has James said he will be playing in the 2016 Rio Olympics?

    Colangelo: I think he is intent on wanting to play for USA Basketball and be in the Olympics next year.

    Q: What will it mean to see George playing at the first mini-camp practice?

    Q: How do you reflect on Kevin Durant and Kevin Love making a big public commitment to play on the 2014 World Cup team and then reneging on it?

    Q: Do you already have a next coach in mind?

     

  • How NBA champ Festus Ezeli fell into basketball after emigrating from Nigeria at 14

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    Festus Ezeli departed from Nigeria in July 2004 as a nervous 14-year-old who stood 6-foot-6 and dreamed of becoming a doctor. While there is no medical degree 11 years later, the Golden State Warriors' center on Wednesday returned to Africa five inches taller and an NBA champion after living a real-life fairy tale.

    "I've been beyond lucky, blessed or whatever it is," Ezeli told Yahoo Sports. "I've had people come into my life that I never expected. I've had people come and support me that I never expected. They all are a part of my journey…

    "Nothing is impossible. You just have to be able to dream big and work hard for it."

    Ezeli is returning to Africa to play in the first-ever NBA Africa Game, an exhibition on Saturday in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Nigeria native will be playing for the Africa Team coached by the San Antonio Spurs' Gregg Popovich with teammates such as Luol Deng and Giannis Antetokounmpo. The World Team roster includes All-Stars Chris Paul, Marc Gasol and Pau Gasol.

    "It was painful to let him go, but we knew it was for his own best interest," Patricia Ada Ezeli said.

     

  • Chris Copeland goes from harrowing incident to stint with Facebook

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    SAN FRANCISCO – Nearly five months after a life-threatening stabbing incident, forward Chris Copeland says all is well now.

    And realizing how precious life is, he is making the most of it.

    Copeland was in the Bay Area this week taking part in a short externship with Facebook. He is developing his own app ideas and has been working with Facebook engineers, a project that was set up by NBA senior director of player development Kate Skidmore.

    “Just walking around campus and seeing how Facebook is run, it was seriously an honor to be there,” Copeland told Yahoo Sports on Thursday night in his first interview since the April 8 incident in New York. “Facebook is one of the top businesses, companies, apps in existence. For me to be a part of their culture, even for a little while, and really learn from the people there is priceless for me.”

    It was an opportunity Copeland almost didn’t get.

    Copeland underwent surgery for injuries to his left elbow and abdomen, and apologized for being involved in the incident in a statement afterward. The experience has given him a new appreciation for all he has.

    Copeland said he was inspired by the teamwork and camaraderie that he witnessed at Facebook.

     

  • Nuggets president Josh Kroenke details team’s troubled relationship with Ty Lawson

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago

    Denver Nuggets president Josh Kroenke provided some interesting insight into the team’s troubled relationship with Ty Lawson, but emphasized the organization is rooting for the recently traded point guard to succeed.

    Lawson was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol on July 14, his second arrest for the same charge in the last six months, and the Nuggets traded him to the Houston Rockets five days later. He is currently attending a 30-day residential rehabilitation program.

    Kroenke told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday in a phone interview that the Nuggets had been privately trying to help Lawson with his issues for “the past couple of years” and that there had been problems for a long time.

    Kroenke said he had repeated conversations with Lawson about his “life struggles,” adding that Lawson often said he would attempt to fix his issues but he could “never fully shake them.”

    “He always had an affinity for burning the candle at both ends,” Kroenke said. “We want to give our players freedom to be young guys as well. We’re not going to be drill sergeants. But we want our guys to be able to handle their personal lives on their own.

  • Vin Baker's advice for Ty Lawson: 'Make your life your priority'

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 16 days ago

    LAS VEGAS – After alcohol use ruined his own NBA career, four-time All-Star Vin Baker would like to talk to troubled Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson, whose playing days are now in jeopardy after yet another DUI arrest.

    "I wish I could reach out to him," Baker told Yahoo Sports. "I would just give him encouragement no matter where he is at with it. It's a fight, it's real and it's not to be taken lightly. The unfortunate thing sometimes is you have to take a step back from what you've been doing your whole life to deal with something that is life-threatening.

    "It's like, 'I got to get back to play.' You got to get right first."

    Lawson, 27, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol early Tuesday morning in Los Angeles. It was the second time in six months he had been arrested on such allegations. Lawson is slated to be in court on Friday in Denver for his first case this year. If convicted, he faces between 10 days and a year in jail.

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  • Adam Silver: Changes to NBA playoff seeding likely starting next season

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 17 days ago

    LAS VEGAS – Other than the pride of putting up a banner in the rafters, there won’t be a major benefit for NBA division winners anymore.

    NBA commissioner Adam Silver said at the Board of Governors meeting that playoff seeding will be based solely on the records of the top eight teams in the Western and Eastern Conference starting as early as next season.

    “The recommendation from the Competition Committee is that we should seed one through eight based on conference standings for the playoffs,” Silver said.

    Division winners have previously garnered a top-four seeding, including last season when the Portland Trail Blazers earned the fourth seed in the Western Conference despite having a lesser record than the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs. There was no vote Tuesday but Silver expects the seeding change to be voted in prior to next season.

    – – – – – – – –

    “I think there was some discussion on whether the moratorium should be a bit shorter,” Silver said. “It’s an imperfect system and we think we are finding the right balance between teams having the opportunity to talk to players when they become free agents and creating certainty at some point when contracts are entered into.”

  • George Karl says he's 'very confident' he can repair relationship with DeMarcus Cousins

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 18 days ago

    LAS VEGAS – DeMarcus Cousins and George Karl finally shook hands during the Sacramento Kings' summer league game on Monday night. It was a start, but there is a lot more work to be done to repair the relationship between the Kings' All-Star center and their coach before next season.

    "I just said hello to him this afternoon," Karl told Yahoo Sports. "I don't think it's something we have to rush through. You got two guys that are very frustrated with losing, two guys that are somewhat stubborn and two guys that love to compete.

    "Sometimes, that doesn't work the first time you hang around. But you have to take your time to make it work. I'm very confident to make it work."

    Karl was given a four-year, $14 million deal to coach the Kings on Feb. 8. Days later, Cousins made his first NBA All-Star appearance. Karl had an 11-19 record coaching the Kings last season.

    Kings owner Vivek Ranadive was so upset with Karl that he seriously considering firing him, a league source said. Cousins wanted to be traded before the draft, a source told Yahoo Sports, but no deal was consummated.

    "Our job is to make it work. Our job is to make it fit."

  • Marcus Thornton agrees to one-year deal with Rockets

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 19 days ago

    Free-agent guard Marcus Thornton has agreed to sign a one-year deal with the Houston Rockets for the veteran’s minimum, agent Tony Dutt told Yahoo Sports.

    Thornton has averaged 12.7 points and shot 36.2 percent from 3-point range during his six-year NBA career.

    He played for the Boston Celtics and the Phoenix Suns last season. The Miami Heat also showed strong interest in Thornton.

    The 28-year-old will add some scoring punch for the Rockets behind one of the NBA’s most feared scorers in shooting guard James Harden.

  • Kristaps Porzingis earns cheers of Knicks fans during summer league debut

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 20 days ago

    LAS VEGAS – New York Knicks fans screamed for the team's guards to give Kristaps Porzingis the ball when he posted up. The fourth pick in the 2015 NBA draft got a standing ovation by some Knicks fans when he got fouled on one shot attempt. And when the rookie re-entered the game in the first half after a quick start, the fans roared in approval.

    That was quite the difference from a few weeks earlier when Knicks fans booed the team's drafting of Porzingis with the fourth overall pick. On Saturday, he was cheered for everything he did during his summer league debut in a 78-73 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

    "They finally saw me play," Porzingis said. "Hopefully, now some of those booing fans are cheering for me out there."

    Porzingis, 19, said he got "a little nervous" on the bus ride to Thomas & Mack Center, but quickly calmed himself down. He didn't seem affected by the spotlight of his first summer league game.

    The 7-foot-3 Porzingis had 12 points on 3-of-5 shooting from the field, made 6-of-7 free throws, grabbed three rebounds and blocked two shots in only 18 minutes. His playing time was limited in part because of a sore hip.

  • Damian Lillard sees Trail Blazers' rebuild as one more challenge to overcome

    Marc J. Spears at Yahoo Sports 20 days ago

    LAS VEGAS – Damian Lillard overcame growing up in a tough East Oakland neighborhood. He was largely overlooked during college recruiting before playing for mid-major Weber State and eventually becoming an NBA star. No matter the odds, the two-time All-Star always seems to figure out a way to succeed.

    And now with All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge and three other starters gone from the Portland Trail Blazers, Lillard faces another challenge: leading the franchise during its rebuilding process.

    "Everything has worked in my favor. I had all these great experiences and accomplished so much in three seasons and now your team takes a step back," Lillard told Yahoo Sports at the NBA's Las Vegas summer league. "And now it kind of knocks you back to square one. Now people are saying, 'His team is terrible.'

    "Everybody is saying things like that. It puts me back to my natural habitat where I got to prove that we're better than that. We can accomplish more than people might think."

    Aldridge told Lillard he was leaving Portland before his final decision to sign with San Antonio became public.

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