Allen Iverson absent from Big3 games in Dallas, league investigating

Allen Iverson was absent from the Big3’s Week 6 games in Dallas and no one in the league has heard from him.

The former NBA MVP, who is a player and coach for Three’s Company, did not show up Sunday to the American Airlines Center, leaving the league to launch an investigation into his absence.

Iverson, who has rarely played in league’s inaugural season, was seen gambling at Chicago casino Thursday when the Big3 was in the Windy City, according to TMZ Sports. He was also seen at a casino in Philadelphia earlier this month.

It’s more complicated when you put James and Jordan side by side. If someone said you have to make an argument either for James or Bryant over Jordan, you’re taking James. There’s at least a case to be made, and Jordan must know that.

Jordan was a pure scorer in every sense of the word, but what about James’ efficiency? Jordan was undoubtedly a relentless defender and finished his career top five in steals per game, but you could counter with James’ versatility and switchability in guarding multiple positions. James is considered one of the best playmakers of all time, but Jordan also averaged 32.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game during the 1988-89 season before the Bulls reached championship levels. Would Jordan’s numbers have looked like that each season if he had played on LeBron’s early Cleveland teams? How much do we account for eras? NBA Finals performances? Have we fallen into a hoops black hole forever with this freaking argument?

It doesn’t fit as neatly into a box as Jordan vs. Bryant. You wouldn’t say James is like Jordan. He’s like a scientist took Karl Malone’s body and accidentally fused it with Magic Johnson’s passing and Julius Erving’s athleticism.

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Stephen Jackson rips DeMarre Carroll: ‘He’s not good enough to have an opinion’

After two seasons in Toronto, filled with inconsistent play and injury trouble, DeMarre Carroll was traded this offseason to the Nets in a salary dump. Brooklyn received Carroll as well as first and second-round draft picks in 2018 while the Raptors added Justin Hamilton and cleared the $30 million left on Carroll’s contract over the next two years.

Carroll has taken a several parting shots at the Raptors on his way out the door, telling the Toronto Sun the team’s style of play was too isolation-heavy and pointing to a lack of trust as a major issue in the locker room: This year, I feel like a lot of guys didn’t trust each other and a lot of guys, they didn’t feel like other guys could produce or (be) given the opportunity, so there was a lot of lack of trust on our team, so that’s what hindered us from going (as far as they wanted to go).

You left Toronto. You’re on the Nets. Be happy there, Pierce said. Just be happy. Don’t take shots at Toronto now that you’re gone. Understand you’re a role player.

If you’ve heard him discuss these kinds of topics before, you know Jackson isn’t one to mince words. He went right at Carroll.

DeMarre Carroll, why are you even talking? Jackson said. If anybody passes you the ball, you should be happy. Play defense. You’re Bruce Bowen. Just go in the corner, shoot 3s and be happy. You shouldn’t even have an input. You’re not good … He’s not good enough to have an opinion.

If you stack up the numbers of Carroll, Jackson and Pierce, of course Carroll comes up short. Still, he performed well enough with the Hawks to earn a four-year deal from the Raptors back in 2015, and he has stretched out his career after entering the league as a late first-round pick (No. 27 in the 2009 NBA Draft). He can say whatever he wants about his current or former teams.

Just know Jackson and Pierce might have a strong rebuttal.

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Adam Silver: Seattle has good shot when NBA expands

Seattle was once a proud NBA franchise for nearly 40 years before it moved to Oklahoma City.

The Supersonics won an NBA championship in 1979 and went to two more NBA Finals in 1978 and 1996. Great players like Gary Payton, Jack Sikma, Ray Allen and many more played for the Sonics.

Allen and several other players have been trying to get a team back to Seattle in recent years and Adam Silver gave them hope in an interview with The Players Tribune and C.J. McCollum.

Brazilian international Neymar is one of the best footballers in the world, but he plays on the same club team as Lionel Messi. Reports have been flying fast and furious claiming the fleet-footed forward is hoping to ditch Barcelona for Paris Saint Germain.

According to ESPN FC, Neymar and PSG have already agreed to personal terms while waiting for the two clubs to come to an agreement.

Irving, on the other hand, distributes the ball to LeBron James, arguably one of the best NBA players of all time. Irving has reportedly demanded a trade, hoping to get more credit on a different team.

The parallels between the two sidekicks is shockingly similar. Both players put up eye-popping numbers, which has helped elevate their status as one of the best in their respective sports. However, when Barcelona or Cleveland enjoy success, Neymar and Irving are rarely at the forefront of the media. That distinction usually goes to Messi and James.

At PSG, Neymar would still have star players around him, but he would instantly be the team’s most polarizing talent. It would be his team, and he would receive the bulk of the credit if he were able to lead the French giants to a Champions League victory.

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Cavs, Knicks discussing potential Kyrie Irving-Carmelo Anthony deal

It’s looking like Cleveland’s Big 3 may not involve Kyrie Irving next season.

The Cavaliers are reportedly considering a three-team trade that would send Irving to the Knicks in exchange for Carmelo Anthony, according to Yahoo Sports. Initial reports suggest the third team involved may be the Suns. An ESPN report suggested the Knicks would also send future first-rounders to Cleveland in order to get rid of Anthony get Irving.

An unidentified source told the Post that Joe Tsai, executive VP of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, is among those expressing interest, though his representatives denied that to the Post.

Nets representatives reportedly had 20 meetings lined up last month in China after Prokhorov’s failed attempts to sell a minority stake in the team.

Allen & Co., the investment bank, hasn’t circulated a sale book yet, according to the Post, but Prokhorov has said that he’s hopeful the majority ownership stake in the team that he took over in 2010 would fetch $2 billion.

The Nets were valued at $1.8 billion by Forbes in its latest ranking of teams, seventh on the list and just ahead of the Rockets, who also are for sale.

As crazy as turning a 6-10 power forward into a point guard might sound, Griffin has been one of the best passing big men in the NBA for most of his career. He averaged 5.3 assists per game in 2014-15, putting him behind only LeBron James (7.4), Tyreke Evans (6.6) and Evan Turner (5.5) for the most among forwards on the season. Griffin then finished behind five forwards in assists per game in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

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Lonzo Ball won’t make Lakers fans happy with this take on Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James has become a debate among NBA heads. Charles Barkley has said the Black Mamba is above The King, and Michael Jordan recently sparked the debate again when he said five beats three, referring to championships won.

So is it just older players who feel that way? That may be the case, as Lonzo Ball was asked his opinion on the debate by Bleacher Report. Despite being a diehard Lakers fan, and a member of the franchise, Ball decided to go with James.

Eliminating stretches of four games in five days and 18 games in 30 days.

Reduction of five games in seven nights to just 40 instances across (1.3 per team), down from last year when it was on the schedule 90 times (three per team).Reduction in number of back-to-backs to 14.9 per team, down from 16.3 per team. In all, 40 back-to-backs have been eliminated from last season. Reduction of single-game road trips by 17 percent.

Increase in weekend games from 549 to 568, much of the boost coming Saturdays. Previously the NBA avoided Saturdays and Sunday afternoons during football season to dodge conflicts.

The schedule, which ESPN reports will be finalized this week, will also begin a week earlier in October to accommodate the planned regular-season schedule changes.

Which, of course, is bad for the paying fan. Outside of the Boston Celtics signing Gordon Hayward, the trend of the league’s best setting up shop in the West continued. Indiana Pacers All-Star Paul George was traded to Oklahoma City. Jimmy Butler was shipped from Chicago to Minnesota. If Kyrie Irving is really dealt, one has to assume the Cleveland Cavaliers preferred trade partner would be a Western team, simply to keep the talented point guard out of their own path to the NBA Finals. And Carmelo Anthony is reportedly trying to finagle his way out of New York and into a Houston Rockets jersey. FiveThirtyEight detailed how this might be the biggest talent-gap in terms of player talent in the two conferences the league has ever seen.

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Draymond Green on Blazer Damian Lillard’s Melo talk: ‘Give it a break’

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard says his team could compete with anyone in the West, including the defending champion the Golden State Warriors.

He then went on to say (via CSN Bay Area) that if his team added Carmelo Anthony he wished other teams good luck with essentially trying to defend a Blazers lineup that already includes two of the West’s most dynamic scorers in Lillard and teammate C.J. McCollum.

Kyrie’s standing there looking straight at him, ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh said Thursday in reference to a video where James is seen in a game poking Irving on the bench.He’s that teenager that doesn’t want to hear it from his dad and LeBron James is not happy about it, but that was telling to me, of course we’ve seen that from Mario Chalmers and Dwayne Wade in Miami.

But Kyrie Irving man, he was an All-Star starter before LeBron James came to him and he obviously wasn’t hearing that at that time and now he doesn’t want to hear it at all apparently. Jason Lloyd is reporting from the Athletic that Kyrie Irving’s not even taking calls from the Cavs right now. It’s bad.

Despite all of this Cavs owner Dan Gilbert said in a news conference Wednesday that Irving is an integral part of the team and they are preparing like Irving is going to be a member of the team for the foreseeable future.

As of now, Gilbert said. We expect him to be in camp.

It’s a troubling recent trend in basketball circles. Last week, LaVar Ball had a female referee removed from a game, and afterward said she needed to stay in her lane, and made other comments specifically referencing her gender and how it affected her ability to do her job. (The NBA Referees Association later condemned Ball for those comments, and the group that supplied referees for the tournament cut ties with Adidas, the tournament host.)

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NBA free agency: Michael Beasley could be more important to Knicks than you think

The Knicks lost former No. 1 overall pick Derrick Rose in free agency to the Cavs this offseason, but New York will add the man who was selected right after him in the 2008 NBA Draft.

Michael Beasley has agreed to a one-year contract with the Knicks, as first reported by Basketball Insider’s Michael Scotto. It’s somewhat surprising considering there was reportedly a more lucrative offer on the table from the Shandong Golden Stars of the Chinese Basketball Association, a team for which Beasley played during a portion of the 2015-16 season before signing with the Rockets.

However, the Suns are, according ESPN 1500’s Dana Wolfson (H/T NBC Sports), interested in shipping Eric Bledsoe, second-year center Dragan Bender and a draft pick to Cleveland.

Bledsoe would be an obvious downgrade at point guard. The 28-year-old’s career averages (13.1 points, 4.6 assists and 3.8 rebounds) pale in comparison to those of Irving (21.6, ppg, 5.6 apg,), a four-time All-Star and former Rookie of the Year.

However, Bledsoe is coming off his best campaign in seven seasons in the league. In 2016-17, he went for 21.1 points and 6.3 assists, both career highs, while playing alongside burgeoning star shooting guard Devin Booker (22.1 ppg). Bledsoe, who shares an agent in Klutch Sports’ Rich Paul with LeBron James, posted a 20.6 player efficiency rating last season, easily the best on the Suns.

The 7-1 Bender was disappointing during his first season in the NBA, playing just 13.3 minutes per game and shooting an abysmal 35.4 percent from the field. However, at 19 years old, he’s a project Cleveland might want to take on, especially if the Heat’s 2018 first-round pick is included in the deal as rumored.

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Kristaps Porzingis: I hope to spend my whole career with Knicks

Kristaps Porzingis has further opened up about his love for the Knicks, even though the team has made headlines this offseason for all the wrong reasons.

The Knicks forward was in South Africa for the NBA’s Africa Game, where he gave some insight in how he has dealt with the changes and instability with the team over the past couple of seasons.

So far it’s been tough in New York, but my journey is only beginning and I hope to stay there my whole career, so as a city we can have some fun and win some games and do something big, Porzingis said, via NBA.com. For me, it’s now home.

The Latvian, 22, has been present when the Knicks fired the team president, underwent a new general manager search, and has dealt with the back-and-forth drama with Carmelo Anthony.

For everybody, a lot of things were surprising and a lot of things were unexpected, he said. We’ll see when I get there and start working out with the guys. We’ll see what has changed. It’s hard to say with everything going on in New York but once I get there I’ll see things more clearer.

As for Anthony’s role with the Knicks, that remains to be seen. Reportedly, the only way Anthony will opt out of his no-trade clause is if he is sent to the Rockets. But it’s no secret Anthony is unhappy with the Knicks.

He’s an All-Star, an incredible player and I’ve learned so much from him, Porzingis said. There’s still so much for me to learn from him. I would love to have him around and keep playing alongside him. But it is what it is. It’s a business. If it ends, well … I don’t know, it’s out of my hands.

I’m really thankful for these couple of years I’ve been with him, just seeing how he works during the summer. It proves he wants to win and he wants to be great. I’m sure he’ll make the right decision for himself.

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