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  • Plumlee set to rejoin Nuggets; Millsap close behind, too
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, February 22, 2018

    Two injured Denver Nuggets forwards returned to practice Wednesday with the All-Star break winding down.

    • Paul Millsap, sidelined since having left wrist surgery in November, isn't certain of his return date, but Mason Plumlee, out since late January with a calf injury, expects to play Friday when the Nuggets return to action against the visiting San Antonio Spurs.

      "It's just great to have those guys back," coach Michael Malone told the Denver Post. "We'll figure out who plays and when they play, but being healthy with 24 games to go (is) a good thing to be."

      Millsap probably won't play this week, and his initial action likely will be as a sub, the Post reported.

      "Hopefully (I can play) pretty soon," Millsap said. "It feels good now. We'll see how it feels in the morning or after (Thursday's) practice, and we'll go from there. My intention was to come right back after the All-Star break and get into it, but we have to be smart about it. This was my first practice today, full contact, and I have to be smart about my wrist and my body."

      Millsap was an All-Star each of the past four seasons while playing for the Atlanta Hawks before signing with Denver as a free agent last July. Through 16 games for the Nuggets, he is averaging 15.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.1 steals.

      Plumlee, in his second season with Denver, has played 50 games this season, making 26 starts. He is averaging 7.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.2 blocks.

      Malone acknowledged that reintroducing Millsap and Plumlee to the rotation could involve a delicate balance with the Nuggets on a hot streak. Denver won six of its last seven games before the break, posting a minimum of 115 points in those six victories.

      "It's a good thing. It's also a challenging thing," Malone said of the return of Millsap and Plumlee. "You look at our offensive numbers in the month of February -- I've never seen numbers like that. Now, unfortunately, our defensive numbers are just as bad as our offense is good. That's where you miss Mason and Paul. People don't understand the impact both of those guys have."

      --Field Level Media

  • Nowitzki 'disgusted' by accusations against Mavs
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, February 22, 2018

    Dirk Nowitzki, who holds virtually every career record in Dallas Mavericks history, said he was stunned to hear accusations of serial sexual harassment in the team's offices.

    • Sports Illustrated reported Tuesday that numerous female employees were propositioned, verbally mistreated and touched inappropriately by former Mavericks president and CEO Terdema Ussery. The club fired human resources director Buddy Pittman this week after hearing that employees said Pittman was unresponsive in relation to charges against Ussery.

      The Mavericks also fired a website employee who was involved in two domestic-violence incidents.

      Nowitzki, a 39-year-old forward who is in his 20th season with the team, spoke about the situation following the Mavericks' practice Wednesday in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California.

      "It's tough. It's very disappointing. It's heartbreaking," he said. "I'm glad it's all coming out. I was disgusted when I read the article, obviously, as everybody was. I was shocked about some of the stuff. ...

      "Really, really disappointed that our franchise, that my franchise, that stuff like that was going on. It's very sad and disappointing. But I think (Mavericks owner Mark Cuban) is trying to step up and lead this franchise to the right direction, and that is hiring investigators, finding out all the little details that we have to know as a franchise what really was going on. I think Mark is going to step up here ...

      "As a franchise, obviously, we feel bad for the victims and for what happened to some of these ladies. Like I said, it's truly, truly disgusting. Our thoughts and prayers are definitely with some of these victims."

      Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle added Wednesday, "First of all, I'm grateful we live in a place in time where people have the courage to speak up about things like this. I also have a 13-year-old daughter, and I want her to know that it's both brave and safe to speak out, and that's very important to me, and it should be important to everybody."

      The team's investigation will be headed by Evan Krutoy, a former Manhattan prosecutor, and Anne Milgram, a former New Jersey attorney general.

      "What I can tell you is there is going to be a thorough investigation into this from an outside group led by two people at the top of their profession," Carlisle said. "Their findings are going to go directly to Mark Cuban and (NBA commissioner) Adam Silver, and the Mavericks will abide by whatever recommendations are made.

      "I can tell you that when it comes to anything involving the Mavericks, Mark Cuban is a strong believer in extreme ownership, extreme accountability."

      Earlier Wednesday, Cuban told ESPN that he was solely responsible for keeping former Mavericks.com reporter Earl K. Sneed on the team's payroll. Sneed pleaded guilty to assaulting his girlfriend in 2012, then was accused of hitting a separate female co-worker in 2014, according to the SI report.

      --Field Level Media

  • Former Mavs CEO accused of sexual harassment
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, February 21, 2018

    Terdema Ussery, the former president and CEO of the Dallas Mavericks, was accused by numerous women of sexual harassment during his time with the team.

    • In a report by Sports Illustrated released Tuesday night, women detailed accounts of Ussery making untoward verbal and physical advances during his time with the Mavericks from 1997-2015.

      Mavericks owner Mark Cuban responded to the allegations by firing human resources director Buddy Pittman. The team also let go Mavs.com writer and TV announcer Earl K. Sneed.

      SI reported that Pittman was unresponsive to accusations against Ussery, even though Pittman was brought into the company after prior reports of harassment by the CEO in 1998.

      Sneed pleaded guilty to assaulting his girlfriend in 2012, then was accused of hitting a separate female co-worker in 2014, according to the SI report.

      The team issued a statement Tuesday: "The Dallas Mavericks have received information about behavior in our workplace that appears to have violated the organization's standards of conduct. It has been alleged that a former officer of the organization engaged in various acts of inappropriate conduct toward women over a period of years.

      "This individual left the employment of the Mavericks nearly three years ago and the Mavericks have only learned of the scope of these complaints in the past days. ...

      "The Mavericks organization takes these allegations extremely seriously. ... The investigation will focus on the specific allegations related to this former employee, and will look more broadly at our company's workplace practices and policies."

      Team owner Mark Cuban told SI he was unaware of Ussery's alleged conduct.

      "It's wrong. It's abhorrent. It's not a situation we condone," Cuban said to SI. "I can't tell you how many times, particularly since all this (#MeToo) stuff has been coming out recently I asked our HR director, 'Do we have a problem? Do we have any issues I have to be aware of?' And the answer was no."

      The NBA issued a statement that read: "The Dallas Mavericks have informed us of the allegations involving former team president Terdema Ussery and Mavs.com writer Earl Sneed. This alleged conduct runs counter to the steadfast commitment of the NBA and its teams to foster safe, respectful and welcoming workplaces for all employees. Such behavior is completely unacceptable and we will closely monitor the independent investigation into this matter."

      Ussery denied the allegations Tuesday in a statement to SI.

      "I am deeply disappointed that anonymous sources have made such outright false and inflammatory accusations against me," he said. "During my career with the Mavericks, I have strived to conduct myself with character, integrity and empathy for others. During my nearly 20 year tenure with the Mavericks, I am not aware of any sexual harassment complaints about me or any findings by the organization that I engaged in inappropriate conduct.

      "In fact, on multiple occasions I and other senior executives at the organization raised concerns -- both in person and in emails -- about other Mavericks employees who had engaged in highly inappropriate -- and in some cases, threatening -- sexual conduct. The organization refused to address these concerns, and I believe these misleading claims about me are part of an attempt to shift blame for the failure to remove employees who created an uncomfortable and hostile work environment within the Mavericks organization."

      One of the women accusing Ussery of harassment said the culture in the team's office was intolerable, but she had no problems when dealing with Mavericks players.

      Ussery, a former lawyer, was the commissioner of the Continental Basketball Association before joining the Mavericks. After leaving Dallas, he took a position at Under Armour in 2015 but lasted less than two months before he and the company parted ways. SI reported that he sexually harassed a woman at Under Armour, too.

      --Field Level Media

  • Felicio, Nwaba will start as Bulls continue youth movement
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, February 20, 2018

    The Chicago Bulls are fully committing to a youth movement, benching veteran starters Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday in favor of Cristiano Felicio and David Nwaba, the team's executive vice president John Paxson explained on Tuesday.

    • Reserve guard Cameron Payne will also see time as the backup point guard with Jerian Grant dropping out of the regular playing rotation. Payne is set to make his season debut Thursday against the Philadelphia 76ers as he returns from foot surgery.

      Paxson said that the reconfigured rotation will stand for "a sufficient time," according to the Chicago Tribune.

      "You can't play 12 guys in our game. Nine or 10 is the most. And it's just the position we're in as a young team, 20-37, with a lot of young guys and several who we haven't really had the chance to see play much this year," Paxson told the Tribune. "For us to make the proper evaluation in terms of who fits us moving forward, this is something we have to do."

      Nwaba, 25, is averaging 6.8 points and 4.2 rebounds in 45 games this season, including three starts.

      Felicio, 25, is averaging 3.8 points and 2.7 rebounds in 31 games. He has struggled to earn playing time this season after signing a four-year, $32 million contract in July.

      Felicio and Nwaba will join Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine and rookie Lauri Markkanen in the starting lineup as the Bulls take an extended look at their young core in their final 25 regular-season games.

      The Bulls acquired Dunn, LaVine and Markkanen in draft-night trade last June that sent All-Star Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves and signaled a massive shift in direction for the organization. The decision to bench starters in favor of young players that were stuck outside of the rotation is the next step in the process as the Bulls continue to evaluate the roster in the post-Butler era.

      "It's not a tryout. It's to learn," Paxson told reporters. "What you hope for from a player standpoint is they gain some confidence in who they are, get comfortable on the floor and play well. I still think we have a lot of really good young talent.

      "I think the exciting thing for us is for the first time we're going to have a healthy Zach, Lauri and Kris. They're obviously the core."

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA notebook: Hornets fire GM Cho
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, February 20, 2018

    Hornets owner Michael Jordan fired general manager Rich Cho and will seek a replacement in a restructure of the Charlotte front office immediately.

    • According to ESPN, the Hornets plan to pursue former Los Angeles Lakers' personnel boss Mitch Kupchak. Jordan hired Cho in 2011 after only one year as general manager of the Portland Trail Blazers.

      Per ESPN, the vision of the front-office structure would be a combined effort between Kupchak and assistant general manager Buzz Peterson. Jordan, Kupchak and Peterson all attended the University of North Carolina, where Jordan and Peterson were roommates.

      Cho entered the NBA as an intern with the Seattle SuperSonics in 1995.

      --Giannis Antetokounmpo stressed rest during All-Star weekend in Los Angeles and repeated a desire for more of the same this week in Milwaukee.

      Idle until Friday, the All-Star forward has a good reason for wanting to put his feet up: a right knee that continues to flare up. In an interview with Eurohoops TV, Antetokounmpo said doctors told him the issue is a lack of rest. Antetokounmpo is second in the NBA in minutes played at 37 per game.

      "The problem is that I play too much," he said. "It's just that I have to rest more. This summer I had no time to rest. After the playoffs I went straight to the gym. I went to see (my younger brother) Kostas and practiced for about a week and a half with him. I didn't have any rest, and that's how, um ... the situation deteriorated. After this season I will have time to rest."

      --Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said his team is tanking the 2017-18 season.

      Cuban, appearing on the House Call with Dr. J podcast, said he sat down with several players to explain why the best option for this year was not winning. The Mavericks are 18-40 at the All-Star break, which stands as the third-worst record in the league.

      "I'm probably not supposed to say this, but, like, I just had dinner with a bunch of our guys the other night, and here we are, you know, we weren't competing for the playoffs. I was like, 'Look, losing is our best option,'" Cuban said. "(Commissioner) Adam (Silver) would hate hearing that, but I at least sat down and I explained it to them. And I explained what our plans were going to be this summer, that we're not going to tank again. This was, like, a year-and-a-half tanking, and that was too brutal for me. But being transparent, I think that's the key to being kind of a players owner and having stability."

      --Field Level Media

  • Bucks' Antetokounmpo on knee issues: 'I play too much'
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, February 20, 2018

    Giannis Antetokounmpo stressed rest during All-Star weekend in Los Angeles and repeated a desire for more of the same this week in Milwaukee.

    • Idle until Friday, the All-Star forward has a good reason for wanting to put his feet up: a right knee that continues to flare up.

      In an interview with Eurohoops TV, Antetokounmpo said doctors told him the issue is a lack of rest. Antetokounmpo is second in the NBA in minutes played at 37 per game.

      "The problem is that I play too much," he said. "It's just that I have to rest more. This summer I had no time to rest. After the playoffs I went straight to the gym. I went to see (my younger brother) Kostas and practiced for about a week and a half with him. I didn't have any rest, and that's how, um ... the situation deteriorated. After this season I will have time to rest."

      Antetokounmpo, who missed two games in January to manage his knee discomfort, did not put blame on the Bucks. He said the cumulative impact goes well beyond the regular season work of the NBA.

      Since the coaching change from Jason Kidd to Joe Prunty, Antetokounmpo is averaging 35.4 minutes per game.

      --Field Level Media

  • Hornets fire GM Cho, Kupchak expected to be candidate
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, February 20, 2018

    Hornets owner Michael Jordan fired general manager Rich Cho and will seek a replacement in a restructure of the Charlotte front office immediately.

    • According to ESPN, the Hornets plan to pursue former Los Angeles Lakers' personnel boss Mitch Kupchak.

      Jordan hired Cho in 2011 after only one year as general manager of the Portland Trail Blazers.

      Per ESPN, the vision of the front-office structure would be a combined effort between Kupchak and assistant general manager Buzz Peterson.

      Jordan, Kupchak and Peterson all attended the University of North Carolina, where Jordan and Peterson were roommates.

      Cho entered the NBA as an intern with the Seattle SuperSonics in 1995.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cuban confession: Mavs are tanking season
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, February 20, 2018

    Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said his team is tanking the 2017-18 season.

    • Cuban, appearing on the House Call with Dr. J podcast, said he sat down with several players to explain why the best option for this year was not winning.

      "I'm probably not supposed to say this, but, like, I just had dinner with a bunch of our guys the other night, and here we are, you know, we weren't competing for the playoffs. I was like, 'Look, losing is our best option,'" Cuban said. "(Commissioner) Adam (Silver) would hate hearing that, but I at least sat down and I explained it to them. And I explained what our plans were going to be this summer, that we're not going to tank again. This was, like, a year-and-a-half tanking, and that was too brutal for me. But being transparent, I think that's the key to being kind of a players owner and having stability."

      The Mavericks are 18-40 at the All-Star break, which stands as the third-worst record in the league. Only the Atlanta Hawks and Phoenix Suns have a winning percentage worse than the Mavericks' .310 mark.

      The team finishing with the worst record will have a 25 percent chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft in June.

      The second-worst team has a 19.9 percent chance and the team with the third-worst record has a 15.6 percent chance at the top pick.

      Silver and NBA owners voted to approve anti-tanking measures that go into effect for the 2019 draft, whereby the three teams with the worst regular-season records will all have a 14 percent chance of winning the lottery and landing the No. 1 pick.

      Cuban said tanking is "brutal" especially for the team's veterans.

      Dallas finished 33-49 last season and drafted ninth, selecting point guard Dennis Smith Jr.

      --Field Level Media

  • Former Spurs' post Splitter announces retirement
    By Field Level Media / Monday, February 19, 2018

    Tiago Splitter, a starter on the 2014 NBA title-winning San Antonio Spurs, announced his retirement on Monday.

    • The 33-year-old Splitter hasn't been on an NBA roster since the 2016-17 season. The center/forward played seven NBA campaigns.

      "There's nothing better in the world than being a basketball player! The time has come, perhaps the most difficult in an athlete's career, time to say goodbye to the courts. I say goodbye with a broken heart but in the certainty of duty. Thank you all," Splitter said on Twitter.

      Splitter started 153 NBA games, and 151 of them came during his five seasons with the Spurs. He posted career-best averages of 10.3 points and 6.4 rebounds in 2012-13, the season San Antonio lost to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.

      The following season, he averaged 8.2 points and 6.2 rebounds as the Spurs downed Miami in the 2014 Finals.

      Splitter also played for the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers. He averaged 7.9 points and 5.0 rebounds in 355 career appearances.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA commissioner expects All-Star draft to be televised next season
    By Field Level Media / Monday, February 19, 2018

    Fresh off the success of All-Star Game Weekend, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said on Sunday that the player draft next year will likely be televised.

    • Speaking with ESPN's Ramona Shelburne from Staples Center in Los Angeles, Silver said:

      "When we sat with the union and we came up with this format, we all agreed, let's not turn something that's 100 percent positive into a potential negative to any player. But then ... maybe we're overly conservative, because then we came out of there, and the players were, 'We can take it. We're All-Stars. Let's have a draft.' So it sounds like we're going to have a televised draft next year."

      Under the new format, implemented this year, fans voted for the five starters from each conference, as they had in the past. But from there, the top vote getter from each conference (LeBron James and Steph Curry this season) drafted teams from a pool of the other starters and the reserves selected by NBA head coaches.

      But the draft itself was not televised, which led to speculation as to which players were drafted first and which were drafted last.

      All-Star DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors was much more up-front with his opinion about showing the draft:

      "Televise it," he said. "Give the people what they want to see. I think everybody wants to see it. At the end of the day, every single person that gets picked, you are an All-Star, so it doesn't matter where you really go, so I think televise it."

      According to ESPN, James did reveal the order of the starters he selected: Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, former Cleveland teammate Kyrie Irving and DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins missed the game because of a season-ending Achilles injury.

      James was named MVP of the game Sunday night after his team topped Curry's team 148-145. He scored the game-winning bucket with less than 35 seconds left in the game.

      --Field Level Media

  • Wolves' Butler opts for rest over All-Star action
    By Field Level Media / Monday, February 19, 2018

    Jimmy Butler, the only active player who did not appear in the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, sat at his own request.

    • The Minnesota Timberwolves swingman never got off the bench for Team Stephen, which lost 145-142 to Team LeBron at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

      Asked to explain why he didn't play, Butler said, according to NBC Sports, "Rest. I have to rest. I have to rest my body up. This Timberwolves season is very, very important to me. I've got to make sure I'm ready to roll when I get back there."

      Butler leads the league in minutes per game, 37.3, just ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James and the Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo, who are both averaging 37.0 minutes.

      Last Thursday, in the Timberwolves' home win over the Los Angeles Lakers, Butler scored 24 points in 41 minutes. Minnesota won't return to action following the All-Star break until a Friday game at Houston.

      In his first season with the Timberwolves, Butler is averaging 22.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 55 games. He missed two games in October due to an illness, and he sat out four games in late January because of a sore right knee.

      Butler, 28, spent his first six NBA seasons with the Bulls after Chicago made him a first-round pick (No. 30 overall) in 2011 out of Marquette. He was dealt to Minnesota on draft night last year along with the 16th overall pick (Justin Patton) in exchange for the seventh overall pick (Lauri Markkanen) as well as Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn.

      In 454 career NBA games (349 starts), Butler is averaging 16.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists.

      --Field Level Media

  • MVP James backs new All-Star format
    By Field Level Media / Monday, February 19, 2018

    The NBA All-Star Game format was all new Sunday, but the end result of LeBron James holding a Most Valuable Player trophy was a familiar sight.

    • James scored 29 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out eight assists to lead his handpicked Team LeBron to a 148-145 win over Stephen Curry's Team Stephen in the All-Star Game at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

      The NBA this year abandoned the traditional All-Star format, Western Conference players against Eastern Conference players, to allow the top two vote-getters, James and Curry, to choose their sides. The game featured far more defense than it did the past two years, when the West won 196-173 in 2016 and 192-182 in 2017.

      "(The new format) worked out not only for the players, not only for the league, but for our fans, for everybody," James said. "It was a great weekend, and we capped it off the right way. It had a real-game feel to it. Steph and I took it upon ourselves to change the landscape of the game."

      James, 33, captured All-Star MVP honors for the third time, adding to his awards in 2006 and 2008. The only other players in NBA history with at least three All-Star MVP awards are Bob Petit (four), Kobe Bryant (four), Oscar Robertson (three), Michael Jordan (three) and Shaquille O'Neal (three).

      "From my very first All-Star up until now, I just try to get better and better and not only show myself but show my peers and show everybody that I belong," the Cleveland Cavaliers star said. "It's always been my fans who voted me in.

      "For 14 straight years, my fans have voted me in as an All-Star starter, and it's been up to me to go out and let them know and show them, listen, I appreciate that and here's what I'm going to give to you every time you vote me in."

      James' dedication to the game was typified by the final play. With James' team up by three in the final seconds, Curry got the ball in the corner and was double-teamed by his Golden State Warriors teammate, Kevin Durant, and James. Curry finally dished the ball to DeMar DeRozan, who couldn't get off a shot before the buzzer.

      "That was great defense by myself," Durant joked. "I'm patting myself on the back."

      --Field Level Media

  • 76ers' Redick: I didn't say what people think I said
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, February 18, 2018

    Philadelphia 76ers guard J.J. Redick said he was "tongue tied" in a video in which he appeared to use a racial slur while wishing Chinese fans a happy new year.

    • The video features multiple NBA players acknowledging the Feb. 16 celebration. When it gets to Redick, 33, he appears to slip up by using a word widely regarded as offensive to people of Chinese heritage.

      "Clearly I was tongue tied as the word I purportedly said is not in my vocabulary," he wrote on Twitter. "I'm disappointed that anyone would think I would use that word. I love and respect our friends in China."

      The video was made by the Chinese media company Tencent and a reworked version of the video without Redick was released.

      The NBA had not issued a statement on the controversy as of mid-afternoon Sunday.

      Redick is in his 12th pro season and is averaging a career-high 16.9 points in his first season with the 76ers.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA commish Silver considering playoff reseeding
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, February 18, 2018

    Among the areas the NBA is looking at ways to improve is playoff reseeding, commissioner Adam Silver confirmed at his annual All-Star Weekend press conference Saturday.

    • Being considered is the idea of continuing to take the top eight teams from each conference, but then seeding them from 1-16, regardless of conference. Such a system could pave the way for the top two overall teams facing in The Finals regardless of conference.

      "You also would like to have a format where your two best teams are ultimately going to meet in The Finals," Silver said. "You could have a situation where the top two teams in the league are meeting in the conference finals or somewhere else. So we're going to continue to look at that. It's still my hope that we're going to figure out ways."

      A chief concern for Silver regarding the considered change remains travel scheduling. Among the solutions Silver offered up is creating a more balanced schedule in order to accommodate the potential of more frequent cross-country trips in the playoffs.

      "Maybe ultimately you have to add even more days to the season to spread it out a little bit more to deal with the travel," Silver said. "Maybe air travel will get better. All things we'll keep looking at."

      Any such change would require approval from 20 of the 30 teams.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA players, refs address recent tensions in private meeting
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, February 17, 2018

    The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and National Basketball Referees Association (NBRA) took advantage of this weekend's All-Star festivities to get together for a private meeting in Los Angeles on Saturday and agree on four ways to improve relations between the two sides.

    • The two unions released a joint statement announcing the results of the meeting, which included three players, three referees and officials from both unions, according to a report from ESPN.

      The actions agreed to are the following: Enhanced education and clarification around the "Respect for the Game" rules, the opening of an additional channel of communication for future conflicts, plans for future meetings and discussions and a broad review of existing rules and regulations and developing joint recommendations to enhance them.

      "In this meeting, we took some important steps in identifying existing frustrations for both sides," said NBPA executive director Michele Roberts in a statement. "Now with that information, we plan to move forward and continue to work together to find solutions that will enhance the on-court experience for both parties."

      "Our two unions met out of the necessity to examine issues that have previously been left unaddressed," said NBRA spokesperson Mark Denesuk in the same release. "We look forward to continued collaboration between our two organizations to explore common interests."

      Growing tensions between players and referees has been an oft-discussed topic in the NBA this season. The NBPA and NBRA intend to continue to meet through the spring and into the summer in order to make further progress toward improving relations, according to the joint release.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA notebook: LeBron 'will not just shut up and dribble'
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, February 17, 2018

    LeBron James made it clear on Saturday that he has no intention of keeping his mouth shut and dribbling a basketball.

    • The Cleveland Cavaliers star said after Saturday's NBA All-Star Game practice in Los Angeles that he will "talk about what's really important" when it comes to the state of race relations in America.

      Fox News host Laura Ingraham criticized James earlier this week for expressing his opinions, including the quickly infamous "shut up and dribble" comment.

      "I will not just shut up and dribble," James said during his media session. "... So, thank you, whatever her name is. ... I get to sit up here and talk about what's really important and how I can help change kids."

      --Two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, 10-time NBA All-Star Jason Kidd, two-time NBA champion Ray Allen and two-time NCAA champion Grant Hill are included among six first-time finalists for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

      The 13 overall finalists, who were announced Saturday afternoon, also feature five-time All-Star Chris Webber, four-time All-Star Maurice Cheeks, three-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Smith and four-time WNBA champion Tina Thompson. Smith and Thompson round out the list of first-time finalists.

      Three coaches are included: Charles "Lefty" Driesell, who is the only person in NCAA history to be named a coach of the year in four different conferences; Kim Mulkey, a two-time champion coach of Baylor; and Rudy Tomjanovich, who won two NBA titles with the Houston Rockets. Longtime NBA official Hugh Evans also is a finalist.

      --Los Angeles Lakers forward Channing Frye underwent an appendectomy in Cleveland and will be re-evaluated after the NBA All-Star break.

      Frye, 34, had successful surgery Friday night, according to the Lakers. He has played one game since the Lakers acquired him as part of a four-player trade that also sent Isaiah Thomas and a protected 2018 first-round pick to Los Angeles. The Cavaliers received Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. in the deal.

      The 13-year veteran is averaging 4.8 points and 2.4 rebounds in 45 games (one start) this season. In his first appearance for the Lakers, Frye scored three points in 11 minutes.

      --Field Level Media

  • LeBron makes it clear: He will not 'shut up and dribble'
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, February 17, 2018

    LeBron James made it clear on Saturday that he has no intention of keeping his mouth shut and dribbling a basketball.

    • The Cleveland Cavaliers star said after Saturday's NBA All-Star Game practice in Los Angeles that he will "talk about what's really important" when it comes to the state of race relations in America.

      Fox News host Laura Ingraham criticized James earlier this week for expressing his opinions, including the quickly infamous "shut up and dribble" comment.

      "I will not just shut up and dribble," James said during his media session. "... So, thank you, whatever her name is. ... I get to sit up here and talk about what's really important and how I can help change kids."

      James has used his platform and ability to reach people. He has criticized President Donald Trump and did so again in January when he and Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant sat down with ESPN and both issued strong comments condemning the leadership in the White House.

      Ingraham's comments -- they included telling James to "keep the political commentary to yourself" -- were in reference to the James/Durant interview.

      James initially put a #wewillnotshutupanddribble hashtag on his Instagram account after hearing Ingraham's remarks.

      "It lets me know that everything I've been saying is correct for her to have that type of reaction," James said Saturday of Ingraham. "But we will definitely not shut up and dribble. I will definitely not do that.

      "I mean too much to society, I mean too much to the youth, I mean too much to so many kids that feel like they don't have a way out and they need someone to help lead them out of the situation they're in."

      Durant echoed James' comment with some of his own on Saturday.

      "I feel like everybody has a voice, especially with our own platforms, we can use our voices for good," Durant said. "It's not just me. I feel like everybody in this room has a voice and it's getting louder and louder every day, so we've got to speak what we believe in, we've got to speak our truths, and we've got to keep it real out here."

      Ingraham released a statement Saturday defending her comments.

      "In 2003, I wrote a New York Times bestseller called 'Shut Up & Sing,' in which I criticized celebrities like the Dixie Chicks and Barbra Streisand, who were trashing then-President George W. Bush. I have used a variation of that title for more than 15 years to respond to performers who sound off on politics," Ingraham said. "... If pro athletes and entertainers want to freelance as political pundits, then they should not be surprised when they're called out for insulting politicians. There was no racial intent in my remarks -- false, defamatory charges of racism are a transparent attempt to immunize entertainment and sports elites from scrutiny and criticism."

      --Field Level Media

  • Lakers' Frye undergoes appendectomy
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, February 17, 2018

    Los Angeles Lakers forward Channing Frye underwent an appendectomy in Cleveland and will be re-evaluated after the NBA All-Star break, the team announced Saturday.

    • Frye, 34, had successful surgery Friday night, according to the Lakers. He has played one game since the Lakers acquired him as part of a four-player trade that also sent Isaiah Thomas and a protected 2018 first-round pick to Los Angeles. The Cavaliers received Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. in the deal.

      The 13-year veteran is averaging 4.8 points and 2.5 rebounds in 44 games (one start) this season. In his first appearance for the Lakers, Frye scored three points in 11 minutes.

      Los Angeles returns to action Friday night in a home game against the Dallas Mavericks.

      --Field Level Media

  • Nash, Kidd among Hall of Fame finalists
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, February 17, 2018

    Two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, 10-time NBA All-Star Jason Kidd, two-time NBA champion Ray Allen and two-time NCAA champion Grant Hill are included among six first-time finalists for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

    • The 13 overall finalists, who were announced Saturday afternoon, also feature five-time All-Star Chris Webber, four-time All-Star Maurice Cheeks, three-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Smith and four-time WNBA champion Tina Thompson. Smith and Thompson round out the list of first-time finalists.

      Three coaches are included: Charles "Lefty" Driesell, who is the only person in NCAA history to be named a coach of the year in four different conferences; Kim Mulkey, a two-time champion coach of Baylor; and Rudy Tomjanovich, who won two NBA titles with the Houston Rockets.

      Longtime NBA official Hugh Evans also is a finalist. The only team finalist is the 1953-58 Wayland Baptist University squads, which won 131 games in a row and earned four AAU championships.

      Nash and Kidd provided dominant play at point guard throughout their careers.

      Nash is third all-time with 10,335 assists and ninth all-time with 8.5 assists per game. He also averaged 14.3 points per game during an 18-year career with the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers.

      Kidd is second all-time with 12,091 assists and eighth all-time with 8.7 assists per game. He averaged 12.6 points per game over 19 seasons with the New Jersey Nets, Mavericks, Suns and New York Knicks.

      Allen and Hill also provide star power among the Hall of Fame finalists. Allen is first in NBA history with 2,973 3-pointers and won championships with the Boston Celtics in 2008 and Miami Heat in 2013. Hill averaged 16.7 points per game in more than 1,000 NBA contests after a prolific college career at Duke.

      The Hall of Fame's Class of 2018 will be announced March 31 during the NCAA Final Four in San Antonio. The class will be enshrined in early September.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Spurs' Aldridge, Celtics' Horford last picks in All-Star draft
    By Field Level Media / Friday, February 16, 2018

    San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and Boston Celtics power forward Al Horford were the last two picks in the inaugural 2018 NBA All-Star Draft, according to a report from ESPN, citing sources.

    • Aldridge joined LeBron James' team for Sunday's event as the draft's last overall pick, while Horford was Stephen Curry's final selection.

      "I'm not a flashy player," Aldridge told ESPN in reference to being the last pick. "That's OK."

      "We're all All-Stars, so, at the end of the day, we should be thankful to be here," Aldridge added. "Picked first, picked last, it doesn't matter. We're all competitive, too. It won't be the easiest thing to be picked last, but at the end of the day, you're just happy to be here."

      The All-Star Draft was not televised, so the exact order of James and Curry's picks is unknown. Both captains have said the draft should be televised in the future despite the problems that might arise from players seeing where they are picked.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA notebook: Bosh wants to make a comeback
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, February 15, 2018

    Chris Bosh wants to resume his basketball career two years after medical issues forced him to the sidelines.

    • "I've been in the gym. I can still play basketball," Bosh said on ESPN's "First Take" on Thursday. "No, I'm not done yet."

      Bosh, an 11-time NBA All-Star, was found to have a blood clot in his lungs in February 2015, bringing his season to an end. He returned in 2016 and was voted to the All-Star Game before a blood clot was found in his leg in February, and Bosh has not played since.

      Bosh failed a physical before the 2016-17 season. With Bosh disputing his status, the NBA conducted a review and allowed the Miami Heat to place him on waivers and clear the remaining $52 million on his contract from their salary cap.

      Bosh, 33, spent seven seasons with the Toronto Raptors before joining forces with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade on the Heat. He has career averages of 19.2 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists.

      --NBA commissioner Adam Silver sought to make a statement when the league fined Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson $50,000 for tampering in regard to his praise of the Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo.

      "Context is everything, and there had been a prior issue with the Lakers early this season," Silver said Thursday on ESPN's "The Jump." "And the message is -- not just to Magic but to all the executives in the league is -- stop talking about players on other teams."

      The Lakers had previously been fined $500,000 in August for violating anti-tampering rules after general manager Rob Pelinka made contact with pending free agent Paul George's agent that, according to the league, "constituted a prohibited expression of interest in the player while he was under contract." Johnson told ESPN earlier this month that he thinks Antetokounmpo will take the Bucks to an NBA title someday.

      --Former Dallas Mavericks owner Don Carter died Wednesday night. He was 84.

      No cause of death was immediately released by the Dallas County medical examiner.

      Carter was the co-founder who landed an NBA expansion franchise for the city. The Mavericks began play with the 1980-81 season. Norm Sonju, the team's first president, was the other co-founder.

      --The New Orleans Pelicans are facing a stretch of four games in six days beginning Feb. 23. That schedule is going to look like a vacation compared to what's in store a month later.

      The NBA announced Thursday that the Feb. 7 game between the Pelicans and Indiana Pacers, which was postponed due to a leak in the roof of the Smoothie King Center, has been rescheduled for March 21 in New Orleans.

      That will require the Pelicans to play five games in six days, beginning with contests March 17 against the Houston Rockets and March 18 versus the Boston Celtics. Next are games against the Mavericks on March 20, the rescheduled Pacers game and then the Lakers on March 22.

      --Blake Griffin is being sued for palimony by the mother of their two children, who alleges the five-time NBA All-Star abandoned his family to pursue a relationship with reality TV star Kendall Jenner.

      A lawsuit filed by Brynn Cameron's attorney claims Griffin made numerous promises to his former fiancee after encouraging her to give up her careers in sports marketing and interior design but then abandoned Cameron and their children.

      The lawsuit does not specify damages, but Cameron says she and their children are now "homeless and cash-strapped" and relying upon a relative for support. Griffin, 28, agreed to a deal worth in excess of $170 million with the Los Angeles Clippers last summer. Griffin was traded to the Detroit Pistons on Jan. 29.

      --Manu Ginobili should be ready to play when the San Antonio Spurs are back in action following the All-Star break. Ginobili is dealing with what the Spurs labeled a minor right foot injury.

      Spurs general manager R.C. Buford said Thursday that Ginobili is expected to be fine. He received treatment, but the injury that forced Ginobili to leave Tuesday's game is not a lingering concern, Buford said.

      "It didn't appear to be anything severe," Buford said. "He got treatment, saw people and then left on his All-Star vacation plans."

      --Field Level Media

  • Silver on Magic fine: 'Stop talking about players on other teams'
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, February 15, 2018

    NBA commissioner Adam Silver sought to make a statement when the league fined Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson $50,000 for tampering in regard to his praise of the Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo.

    • "Context is everything, and there had been a prior issue with the Lakers early this season," Silver said Thursday on ESPN's "The Jump." "And the message is -- not just to Magic but to all the executives in the league is -- stop talking about players on other teams."

      The Lakers had previously been fined $500,000 in August for violating anti-tampering rules after general manager Rob Pelinka made contact with pending free agent Paul George's agent that, according to the league, "constituted a prohibited expression of interest in the player while he was under contract."

      Johnson told ESPN earlier this month that he thinks Antetokounmpo will take the Bucks to an NBA title someday.

      "We'd love to hear players like Magic Johnson talk about how great young players are in the league," Silver said. "But there's enough commentary out there. And I think, when on balance, just asking them to refrain from that one aspect of talking about other players, isn't that big a deal."

      "The other teams seem to be able to follow those rules, and this is, don't talk about players on other teams," Silver added. "I mean incidentally, we could change that rule, but I don't think it's a good idea."

      --Field Level Media

  • Spurs GM: Ginobili foot injury not serious
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, February 15, 2018

    Manu Ginobili should be ready to play when the San Antonio Spurs are back in action following the All-Star break.

    • Ginobili is dealing with what the Spurs labeled a minor right foot injury.

      Spurs general manager R.C. Buford said Thursday that Ginobili is expected to be fine. He received treatment, but the injury that forced Ginobili to leave Tuesday's game is not a lingering concern, Buford said.

      "It didn't appear to be anything severe," Buford said. "He got treatment, saw people and then left on his All-Star vacation plans."

      Ginobili, 40, left in the third quarter of Tuesday's 117-109 loss to the Nuggets. Tests conducted Tuesday were negative.

      --Field Level Media

  • Pistons' Griffin hit with palimony suit
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, February 15, 2018

    Blake Griffin is being sued for palimony by the mother of their two children, who alleges the five-time NBA All-Star abandoned his family to pursue a relationship with reality TV star Kendall Jenner.

    • A lawsuit filed by Brynn Cameron's attorney claims Griffin made numerous promises to his former fiancee after encouraging her to give up her careers in sports marketing and interior design but then abandoned Cameron and their children.

      The lawsuit does not specify damages, but Cameron says she and their children are now "homeless and cash-strapped" and relying upon a relative for support. Griffin, 28, agreed to a deal worth in excess of $170 million with the Los Angeles Clippers last summer.

      Griffin was traded to the Detroit Pistons on Jan. 29.

      In papers filed Wednesday, Cameron, 31, alleges Griffin sought an unreasonable prenuptial agreement a month before their planned wedding in July 2017 and that he postponed the wedding when she would not sign. Cameron, a former basketball player at the University of Southern California, said Griffin immediately began dating Jenner.

      "Cameron was not just the mother of Griffin's children and their caregiver, she was also a constant support for Griffin -- his personal assistant, meal planner, scheduler, stylist, publicist, party planner, nurse, nutritionist, branding expert, therapist, cheerleader, basketball and fitness consultant, and more," the lawsuit states.

      The court papers also portray Cameron as a counselor of sorts while Griffin and then-Clippers teammate Chris Paul were at odds in the locker room.

      Griffin and Jenner, 22, have not publicly acknowledged being romantically involved but have been seen together.

      -- Field Level Media

  • Bosh wants to resume his NBA career
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, February 15, 2018

    Chris Bosh wants to resume his basketball career two years after medical issues forced him to the sidelines.

    • "I've been in the gym. I can still play basketball," Bosh said on ESPN's "First Take" on Thursday. "No, I'm not done yet."

      Bosh, an 11-time NBA All-Star, was found to have a blood clot in his lungs in February 2015, bringing his season to an end. He returned in 2016 and was voted to the All-Star Game before a blood clot was found in his leg in February, and Bosh has not played since.

      Bosh failed a physical before the 2016-17 season. With Bosh disputing his status, the NBA conducted a review, allowed the team to place him on waivers and to clear the remaining $52 million on the contract from the Heat's salary cap.

      Bosh, 33, spent seven seasons with the Toronto Raptors before joining forces with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade on the Miami Heat. He has career averages of 19.2 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists.

      The deadline for free-agent signings in the NBA is March 1. Players added after that date are ineligible for the postseason.

      "Man, I see all these guys shooting threes and not playing defense. Man, I mean, I got to get some of it," Bosh joked.

      When asked about his preferred destinations, Bosh listed the Raptors, Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors.

      -- Field Level Media