Tag: Basketball

Enes Kanter Ejected After Scuffle With Giannis Antetokounmpo

After suffering a fourteen point loss to the Bucks on Christmas Day, the New York Knicks couldn’t bounce back in their rematch with the Greek Freak, losing in Milwaukee by a score of 112-96.

However, the real story was the altercation between Knicks center Enes Kanter and MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo. Following a collision between the two players where no foul was called, Giannis appears to pump Kanter before they went head-to-head in a very heated moment. Kanter was issued two technicals and ejected from the game as a result.

Enes took an elbow on the previous play from Thon Maker that would require three stitches, which was why he thought he had to leave the floor. He thought he was just receiving medical attention for the gash to his eye, not knowing that he had been ejected and unable to return.

Referee Brian Forte explained why he gave the two technicals to Enes by saying that “during instant replay review for the altercation, we observed an unsportsmanlike act by Kanter, and that is what led to his first technical foul. After the out-of-bounds foul, Giannis and Kanter came face-to-face, and so they were both assessed dead-ball technical fouls.”

After the game ended, fellow teammate Kristaps Porzingis posted on his Instagram story to express his frustrations with the way the whole situation was handled.

“That was some bs tonight!!!” Porzingis said. “And that bucks assistant coach needs to sit his ass down before grabbing Enes like that. Grab your own players not the opp. team.”

It has been a rough couple of weeks for Kanter. He had lost his starting job to Mitchell Robinson earlier in the year, but Robinson was sidelined due to an ankle injury that allowed Kanter to re-enter the starting lineup for a short time. However, in last night’s game against the Bucks, Fizdale decided to give the starting nod to Luke Kornet instead. Kornet had a career night, scoring 23 points while logging 5 assists and 3 rebounds. This was much to the dismay of Kanter, who conveyed his frustration on Twitter after being benched yet again.

His effectiveness on the floor has also taken a hit as of late. Despite averaging 14.7 points and 10.8 rebounds this season, his numbers have dipped to 10 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in the last seven days.

Hopefully, this altercation will motivate the Knicks big man to continue improving his game and return to being the scoring and rebounding machine from earlier in the year.

 

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons

David Fizdale: The Player’s Coach

Learning the ropes as an Assistant Head Coach in the NBA isn’t always easy, but being able to do so under Erik Spoelstra and a Miami Heat team that won two championships in four years from 2010 to 2014  made it that much easier for David Fizdale. Among players in the league, Fizdale is known as a humble, personable coach who actually cares about his players’ best interest both on and off the court. Chris Bosh, one of Fizdale’s former players and a member of the “Big 3” with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, is extremely appreciative of Fizdale’s style and coaching abilities.

Fizdale received such high praise and recognition from around the league that he began to make a name for himself and was hired by the Memphis Grizzlies as their head coach for the 2016-17 season. Leading the team to a 43-39 record and a playoff berth, players like Marc Gasol and Mike Conley loved the culture and attitude that he brought and ultimately embedded into the organization. In Conley’s case, he signed the NBA’s biggest contract (five-year / $153 million) to date during the summer in the free agency before Fizdale was hired.

Conley articulated how grateful he is for Fizdale’s impact on his playing career. After signing such a huge contract, Fizdale was able to unlock parts of his game that allowed him to be worth the over $30 million per year that the Grizzlies were giving him. Unfortunately, the start to the 2017-18 season was not one that the Grizzlies had expected, starting the year with a 7-14 record which led the Grizzlies to cut the cord quickly on Fizdale. On the other hand, this opened the door for his opportunity with the New York Knicks where he resides today. Having the 3rd youngest team in the league with an average age of 24.6 and their franchise player still sidelined with an ACL injury, Fizdale’s task as the Knicks’ leader would definitely not be an easy one, and his main objective would be to develop the young players rather than attempting to make a playoff push. As Fizdale put it a few days ago:

“It’s about, are these guys staying in the trench to get better every single day? That’s our focus. We know the win-loss category is going to change when we become a better basketball team. So we’re not putting all our stock in wins and losses right now and our group understands that.”

Developing over winning is a tough motto to resonate with, but Fizdale’s track record has proven that he is up for the task and is in it for the players and their development as young men and NBA players. Although he has yet to subtweet Joel Embiid’s infamous “Trust the Process” quote, Fizdale is definitely embracing the process and understands that the Knicks are a project, one that may take years to come to fruition.

 

Featured Image via Flickr/ Michael Tipton

Enes Kanter Plans to be a WWE Superstar One Day

Enes Kanter has established himself as one of the most productive big men in the NBA. During the 2018 season, he was 6th in the league in rebounds per game (11.0), 4th in offensive rebounds per game (3.8), and 3rd in rebounds per 48 minutes (20.5).

In the midst of his 8th season in the league, Kanter has gotten off to an auspicious start, averaging 22.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. The evolution of his game over the past five years has made him a premier player in the league who will be around for years to come, but he is already planning on a career change once his time as a professional basketball player is up.

So what’s next from the Turkish center? Professional wrestling.

Kanter is an avid fan of the WWE and has made several connections in the industry including wrestlers and executives.

“I’m actually talking to the people over there now. Vince McMahon, he knows me,” said Kanter. “I had dinner with [Paul Heyman] two, three days ago. I asked him how long he’s gonna do this and he said ‘as long as Brock [Lesnar] goes, I go, and then I’m with you.’ I’m like yes! Seriously. I’m really serious about it.”

Kanter’s fandom of the WWE, which he describes as his”most intense obsession,” can be traced back to 2010 when he introduced himself as The Undertaker during Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness. “It was funny as hell, and the fans flipped out,” said Kentucky head coach John Calipari. “There were people falling from the upper deck to the lower deck when he came out.”

Years later, he was actually able to meet The Undertaker, which made him so nervous that his knees began to shake.

As one of the top trash talkers in the game, coupled with his fiery personality, Enes Kanter is an ideal candidate for a career in the ring. Don’t be surprised if you here the name “The UnderKanter” in the future.

 

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons

Knicks Fans Can Cross Kyrie Irving Off Their Wish List

The Knicks have made it known that they want to make a big splash in 2019 free agency as the team is expected to have plenty of cap room. There are several high profile stars who they planned on pursuing, a list that had Kyrie Irving at the top.

This dream appears to be dead as Irving has announced his intention to re-sign with the Boston Celtics this offseason.

Irving is a member of one of the most storied franchises in NBA history, and bringing a championship to Boston would solidify his elite status. Former Celtics standout Paul Pierce agrees with this assertion, saying, “I think that’s a legacy decision and for him to see the potential of that team moving forward in Boston,” Pierce said. “Winning a championship in Boston is different than winning one in Cleveland. He will be immortalized if he wins in Boston.”

Kyrie is a 5-time All-Star and a former All-NBA selection and would have undoubtedly helped the Knicks make another trip to the playoffs. However, this clearly is out of the question after declaring his allegiance to the C’s.

So what’s next for the Knicks?

With Kyrie out of the picture, the Knicks will have all hands on deck to go after Kevin Durant and Jimmy Butler. Although several skeptics around the NBA believe this is only a pipedream, the fact of the matter is that New York has a legitimate shot at both of these premier players.

Durant has already won two championships with Golden State and may decide to leave the team to improve his image. The Knicks are a possible destination simply because of the allure the franchise offers. Madison Square Garden is one of the most electrifying arenas in the league and is in the center of the greatest city in the world. This is the same reason that LeBron went to the Lakers. Playing in a big-time city where basketball is at the heart of the city’s culture is a great experience, to say the least. Also, KD’s longtime business partner/agent Rich Kleiman is based on New York and is big Knicks fan, along with Durant’s father.

As for Jimmy Butler, he has expressed a degree of interest in coming to New York. A few weeks ago, Butler formally requested a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves and gave the organization a list of his three preferred destinations, one being the Knicks. He would add the defensive pedigree that the team has been lacking for several years and would fit in nicely with Fizdale’s offensive system.

Although losing out on Kyrie is a big blow, there are plenty of other viable options to revitalize the Mecca of basketball.

Could Joakim Noah be Headed to the Timberwolves?

Tom Thibodeau, the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, has displayed his affinity for the players on his old Chicago team. In addition to having Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, and Taj Gibson on his roster, the Timberwolves also recently signed former Bull Luol Deng. Accordingly, people around the league are calling them the TimberBulls. The only piece left of the puzzle is Joakim Noah, and the Wolves reportedly have some interest in acquiring him as well.

The Timberwolves are full of young talent that is in need of some direction by seasoned veterans, and Joakim Noah fits that bill. The two-time All-Star has a high basketball IQ and could undoubtedly impart some wisdom onto players like Karl Anthony Towns. Noah is also a former Defensive Player of the Year, and anyone who knows anything about basketball knows that being a good defensive player is more mental toughness than physical. It’s about being in the right spots, knowing when to go over and under screens, when to switch, and always communicating with your teammates. The Wolves have struggled to play good defense in the past and adding Noah could help them improve in that department even if it isn’t through Noah’s contributions on the floor.

The Knicks are ready to move on from Joakim after their fallout last year, and it seems that the T-Wolves are the only team that have interest in the center who is clearly past his prime. If he does wind up in Minnesota, the TimberBulls roster will be complete.

 

Featured Image via Flickr/Jeff Villanueva

Kevin Knox Inks Deal with Puma

According to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, Kevin Knox, the New York Knicks lottery selection in the 2018 NBA Draft, has agreed to sign a multiyear contract with Puma Basketball. It has yet to be reported how much his deal is worth.

Puma has signed a plethora of first rounders from his draft class, and continue to improve their brand recognition by adding Knox to the mix. Before this deal, they had already signed the top two picks in the draft (DeAndre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III) as well as two mid-round selections in Michael Porter Jr. and Zhaire Smith. Knox brings the total up to five of the draft’s top 16 picks. Puma also struck deals with Terry Rozier and Rudy Gay.

Puma had made it known they were after Knox by posting on twitter to advertise their interest in the young small forward from Kentucky.

The Summer League standout may have dropped a hint to show his fans that his intention to join Puma when he wore a shirt repping the company during an interview on First Take with Stephen A. Smith.

Puma Basketball is making a splash after almost 20 years of silence. Their last sponsored player before this year was Vince Carter in 1998. However, the company is attempting to revitalize their brand by hiring Jay-Z as the creative director.

Knox averaged 23.3 points per game in Summer League Action, and if he continues to progress as expected, this could be a solid addition to the Puma Family.

 

Featured Image via Flickr/FuFu Wolf

Kenneth Faried Arrested for Weed

According to Anthony Puccio, Brooklyn Nets power forward Kenneth Faried has been charged with a misdemeanor of fourth-degree unlawful possession of marijuana in the Hamptons. Faried’s also had cash seized by the police and was later released on $500 bail, per the police report.

Here is a look at the former NBA All-Rookie First Team honoree’s mugshot:

It is reported that Southhampton Police seized more than two ounces of weed at a sobriety checkpoint at 1:30 in the morning while the athlete was in his car with some friends, who only received citations and were later released. A representative from the Police Department stated that a “strong odor of marijuana was emanating from the inside of the vehicle,” which led to the arrest.

If convicted, Faried could face up to a year in prison.

Faried spent the first 7 years of his NBA career with the Denver Nuggets before being traded for Isaiah Whitehead in a deal with the Nets, who released a statement regarding their newly acquired forward’s situation:

“We are aware of the situation involving Kenneth Faried and are in the process of gathering more information at this time.”

Putting aside this drug arrest, Faried has been a model citizen in the community. In 2013, he was the recipient of the NBA Community Assist Award as well as the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for his “outstanding service and dedication to the community.”

Here is the laundry list of services he provided to the community that led to this recognition:

He was associated with Athlete Ally, an organization that works to encourage acceptance of all people in sports, regardless of sexual preference. He also purchased season tickets for children from Special Olympics Colorado, Denver Public Schools, and the Denver Rescue Mission. Furthermore, Faried joined the giveSPORTS Equipment Drive to provide some light in the lives of those affected by the Colorado wildfires and the shooting at the Aurora movie theater. He hosted a Team fit clinic at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for both the patients and their families to bring some joy to their lives. Lastly, the “Manimal” donated 44 pairs of sneakers to a local middle school basketball team for their upcoming season, which he delivered personally.

It is clear that Faried has done a lot of good during his professional career, and that he never forgot to give back to those less fortunate than himself. He should not be judged by one thing he did wrong, but by the countless others that he did right.

 

Featured Image via Google Images/Wikimedia Commons