August 19, 2019
Ruth J Morrison

Ruth J Morrison

Mark Cuban gets to keep his NBA team, the Dallas Mavericks, despite rampant team sexual harassment findings; Cuban donates $10 million

MIKE: The NBA decided not to ban Mark Cuban despite multiple sexual harassment charges that have arisen within the Mavericks organization. Keisha, did the NBA do the right thing here?

KEISHA: Well, there were two factors that Adam Silver the commissioner of the NBA pointed to as to why he chose this punishment for Mark Cuban. One, it was determined that Cuban wasn't involved directly in the harassment and two, Cuban was very transparent during the investigation process. And then after the report was issued or maybe while the report was being compiled that Cuban and the Mavericks instituted sweeping changes rather quickly to prevent this from happening again. But you know, I was really surprised and I found the punishment to be a little lenient especially given the extent of the allegations and the duration of this institutionalized behavior. And, I find it hard to believe that over the course of two decades that Mark Cuban didn't know anything, not even a whisper.

I just don't know how it could be this rampant. We're not talking about one or two cases where maybe it was kind of easy maybe to push it under the rug or there wouldn't be a chatter. But you know, you're talking about 15 women and maybe even more that had issues and you know, Mark, I'm sorry Adam Silver mentioned, Cuban's absenteeism which I found a little interesting because if my memory serves me correctly Mark Cuban was thought of to be one of the most hands-on owners in the NBA.

So I don't know how you can be hands-on but then not know that this is happening to you and you know in the era of this "me too" movement, I just thought that you know, we've seen actors and executives lose their jobs based on allegations alone, and then moving it to back to sports, you have the NCAA coaches have lost their jobs over the actions of their players and I'm not saying that Mark Cuban deserved to be banned or lost his team. But to me, writing a check for a billionaire is nothing. Ten million dollars to him it's not a lot. I mean it's gonna go to worthy causes and that they could use the money but I just don't feel as though the punishment fits the crime and just you know to sum it up, there's really not any amount of money that will ever equate to what these women experienced.

I mean, I've experienced it firsthand myself and there's not, it's not, it's one of the worst feelings that you can have as a woman and probably as a human being to be the target of sexual harassment and you know, I just hope that in addition to the fines that you know, Adam Silver did speak to I think the Board of Governors or he did send out a memo and in that memo he used language urging not mandating but strongly recommending that other teams look at their houses and make sure that they have their ducks in a row and that they have safeguards against.

MIKE: It's just a $10 million dollar slap on the wrist is the way that I see it. I think there certainly could have been a harsher penalty. Now, I'm not saying that they should have made Mark Cuban necessarily give up ownership of the team or I'm not sure what type of suspension or whether you can take away draft picks in a situation like this, but for him to go out and getting up granted he's giving this money to some good causes and it is 10 million dollars, but at the same time, I think that there could have definitely been a harsher penalty again. I don't know specifically what but I think that he certainly not only from our, but the Mavericks got off easy here. I think what's interesting with Mark Cuban is, remember, this is now someone who's become sort of this Golden Boy owner, right? Here's a guy that bought this team. He's the tech guy that became a multi-millionaire became a billionaire was able to buy the Dallas Mavericks.

And ironically if you look back, back in the early mid-thousands, mid-2000s, he was always in the doghouse with the NBA front office and he sort of changed that whole dynamic in the way that his relationship is with the owners and with other owners, and of course with the commissioner as well. I'm not saying that that's what necessarily contributed to this sort of easy slap on the wrist that he got but there's no question that some changes could have been made. And the final thing that I'll say is, you know Sports Illustrated came out with this article talking about these allegations, but think back in February of this year in the report that they have.

I think that some of this stuff that's been going on has even happened since that February article that was released in Sports Illustrated. So I think there's certainly some changes that the Mavericks definitely need to make and of course, Mark Cuban certainly made some mistakes here, but I think he's definitely got off a little bit easy.

KEISHA: Yeah. I mean, I definitely. I think and hope that he's learned his lesson because if something like this happens again, I think even the smallest of infraction or even hint of harassment could open another Pandora's Box for him and he won't get off easily. And, there's no way he could and I don't think Adam Commissioner, Adam Commissioner, I mean Commissioner Adam Silver wouldn't allow it.

MIKE: Right.

KEISHA: Adam Silver wouldn't be able to take that public hit on his image.

MIKE: Absolutely.

Odell Beckham, Jr., a game changer, didn’t get enough looks in the Game 2 loss

KEISHA: So we're going to move from the hard courts of the NBA and we're going to go to the Gridiron of the NFL and we are going to talk about one of our favorite teams and one of our favorite players at least mine, and that's Odell Beckham Jr.

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., told Kimberly A. Martin of Yahoo Sports that he feels like he can help out much more in the passing game to steer the Giants in the right direction.

Mike, do you think that Odell Beckham is being utilized enough or is it the team's 1 - 2 to start that is causing Beckham to search for answers?

MIKE: Well, the first game he was certainly utilized enough in the game against Jacksonville, no question about it against the toughest defense in the NFL, right now, that certainly he played a very good game and I thought that they gave him enough opportunities throughout that game. And then, of course, Game 2, I didn't think that they gave him, they looked at him enough in that loss where they lost that second game of the season. But, I felt like in Week 3, the offense was really clicking on all cylinders. And, I think a lot of that had to do with the offensive line. If the offensive line is playing well, there's no question that Eli Manning is going to get more and more opportunities to get Odell Beckham, Jr. the ball. The guy is a game changer. There's no question about that and they need him, you know, they certainly need him but Keisha what I'll finish with is it's going to be a tricky road for the next month of the Giants, you know, they face the New Orleans Saints and then they go and they have to play the Carolina Panthers they back that up on a short week against the Philadelphia Eagles and then play the Atlanta Falcons. Now, these are four teams that wound up making the playoffs last season, 3 out of the last four years, I think three of those four teams with the exception of New Orleans has won the NFC.

KEISHA: I think the Saints were out last year right there.

MIKE: Yeah, exactly. They lost to Minnesota (Vikings). I think in that crazy last-second miracle game. But I think for the Giants this is going to be a tough road ahead and it's going to be a tough test for Pat Shurmur and Odell Beckham, but I think that the biggest question mark they have is the offensive line at that offensive line, which really started to come around and that win against Houston if it's starting to play a lot better than Odell Beckham certainly will be happy.

KEISHA: Yeah, definitely. I agree with you. I think that his, Odell's frustrations or his sentiment was based on that Dallas (Cowboys) game Week 2 where he only had four receptions in 51 yards. And I think you know the Giants offense has struggled scoring for the past couple of seasons. I mean the last time they scored 30 points in the game was January 3rd, 2016.

That's a lot of football to happen and you can't score 30 points when you have an Odell Beckham Jr., when you have a Sterling Shepherd. At one point, they had Brandon Marshall, but he was gone within like the first couple of games of the season but when you have an Evan Engram when there's talent that you know, it's one of the best receiving corps in an NFL in if you can't score 30 points, there's an issue. The offensive line really rebounded and played well on the third game against the Houston Texans and there was a shift in the line where Ereck Flowers was sidelined. He was benched and that was a sigh of relief and probably jubilation for most of us who just really are shaking our heads as to why Ereck Flowers has been allowed to start this long. But, the offensive line is key. And you know, I think Odell was probably, maybe if you read between the lines he was talking to Eli because Eli has overthrown him or short-thrown him or haven't seen him wide open.

So it's going to be imperative for Eli to be able to notice and fairly quickly because even with the better play from the offensive line, he's not going to have tons of time to just sit and scan for like 30 seconds, 10 seconds or whatever. So, you know Eli's got to make sure that he sees the field see it quickly and get and delivers the ball to him. And with Odell, it doesn't have to be a pinpoint precise pass just throw it somewhere in his area, he's gonna get it with those big hands he's got. And, then also, you know, it's going to be up to the offensive coordinator Mike Shula to make sure that he is running an offense that's going to get Odell involved. I mean and it doesn't necessarily I don't think you have to force feed it to him. I think because you have Sterling Shepard and you have Evan Engram who presents enough of a threat that you can pass the ball, so you're not forced feeding and showing your hand all the time.

So, you know, if the game against the Houston Texans was any indication that how the season's going to go, Odell is going to be happy, Giants' fans are going to be happy. We're gonna win some games, maybe make a push for the playoffs and all will be right in New York City.

Timberwolves owner seeks to trade Jimmy Butler, but no deal yet

KEISHA: Welcome to this week's edition of What's The 411Sports. I'm Keisha Wilson and I'm Mike McDonald. Mike, we have so much to talk about. So we're just going to get to it.

The NBA season is upon us. And as of this taping, the Jimmy Butler saga continues. Butler is demanding a trade and he also said he's not going to show up for training camp nor was he present during the Timberwolves media day. Now, Timberwolves owner, Glen Taylor, had a demand of his own that Jimmy Butler is to be traded sooner than later, preferably before the start of training camp.

Now, Jimmy is reportedly asking for a change to the Brooklyn Nets, the Clippers, and the New York Knicks. However, the Knicks are reportedly not interested in Butler's services. Now, Mike, you are a Knicks fan. News of the reported disinterest by the Knicks of having Jimmy Butler on their team is getting the fans livid.

Do you think that the fans should be upset and are you upset if the Knicks pass on Jimmy Butler?

MIKE: No, I'm not. I think for the Knicks, they really want to build for the future. And you know, from their standpoint, look, you can't bring on a guy like Jimmy Butler who's been struggling to play with some younger players and then you bring him onto the Knicks where they're also filled with the young roster as well. I think you're kind of just asking for trouble.

I think what a lot of Knick fans are thinking here is they're looking at the numbers. They're looking at these fantastic, All-Star caliber numbers that Jimmy Butler has put up over the course of the last several seasons, but at the same time, I feel like it would not necessarily be a good fit for the Knicks. I think the plan is to build for the future. The Knicks right now are not necessarily a win now team and I think by giving up some of the pieces that they've sort of picked up over the course of the last several years, I think that that's going to wind up hurting them in a long run.

Now, I get it, it is enticing to go after a guy like Butler bring him in try to get him signed up, right, and then at the same time, maybe try to make a push for Kyrie Irving when all is said and done. But I just think right now, the Knicks should stand pat and I don't see that they should go make a move for Jimmy Butler.

KEISHA: I wholeheartedly agree, and according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, reports of Butler's interest in the Knicks were overstated. So, allegedly, Butler wants to win sooner rather than later which would not put the Knicks in contention. And, which also makes the fact that Brooklyn Nets are on his list a head-scratcher, but that might be more for money because the Brooklyn Nets, have room to offer a max contract.

So, I definitely agree with you. I don't think that the Knicks aren't interested. It's just that they're sticking to their philosophy. They have learned from the trade that brought Carmelo Anthony to New York City in exchange for pretty much decimating their future. They want, they have a new coach, they have new players, and they want to build a culture, and; they feel as though they want to build that culture through the young talent that they have and the draft picks that they have and maybe will acquire again.

And, in terms of a trade, with (Kristaps) Porzingis not on the trading block, the Knicks don't have a lot to offer, so their next valuable assets are their draft picks. But they want to hold on to them. So they're going to take a calculated risk to see if they can get Jimmy Butler in free agency where they don't have to give up any of their assets for him.

And then also, you know, like you mentioned, the fans are salivating over a possible Butler-Irving pairing in New York. However, If Jimmy Butler goes elsewhere, there goes that dream. And then Kyrie Irving has said on the record that he hadn't talked to you Jimmy Butler about that pairing or what his career is going to look like since 2016. So, Kyrie may not even want to come to New York. We don't know how his season with Boston will be this year and he may actually want to stay with a contender.

MIKE: Yeah. Well, it's going to be interesting Keisha to see how it all plays out.

 

Carmelo Anthony responds to questions about his position with the Houston Rockets

MIKE: Well, Kelly Iko, the Houston Rockets beat reporter for The Athletic, reported on Twitter that Carmelo Anthony and PJ Tucker probably will not be seen on the floor together at the same time this season. According to the tweet from Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni, he wants Carmelo on the floor when Tucker is off and vice versa. D'Antoni sees them both as fours. So, how is this going to work out? We all know that Carmelo does not want to come off the bench. Keisha, will there be harmony in Houston?

KEISHA: Mike, I'm going to start off with a quote, "whatever I have to do to help this team win a championship. That's what's going to be done."

Who said that, none other than Carmelo Anthony. Now, this is not a definite admission that he is willing to come off the bench. However, this is a move from the outright scoff that he gave when he was in Oklahoma City and a reporter mentioned him coming off the bench. He just pooh-poohed that right off the bat and basically told the reporter like, you don't know...that's just ridiculous, how dare you even mention it's ludicrous.

Now, so we might be moving in the right direction. However, why is it that we must assume that Carmelo has to come off the bench? I know that he's you know, it seems like Carmelo is paying for the sins of Oklahoma City. I think that that wasn't the right fit for him and it showed, he had one of his worst seasons in his entire career and when I think about him being in New York before he went to OKC for that one year. He was still the Carmelo that we knew so I just found it hard to believe that his skills just dropped off that that quickly and that drastically.

So he is with Houston now, he's with Chris Paul who was very close to him off the court. He spoke with Chris Paul and he spoke to James Harden and they play pick-up games and there seems to be a real flow, a real chemistry, and those two see how he can be effective within the Houston Rockets offense. But now, it's time for Mike D'Antoni head coach of the Rockets to show us what he can do.

MIKE: Which if it was something that he didn't think that he could do, then the Rockets never would have gone after Carmelo Anthony in the offseason. I think that the Rockets have a nice team here, they make they came so close to getting the NBA Finals after losing to the Golden State Warriors in seven games last season. Look, I think, start or coming off the bench, Carmelo Anthony will have a big impact on this offense this season, there's no question about it.

Keisha, as you pointed out the lack of production that he had in Oklahoma City last season, we saw that there's no question. But what do you expect when you're playing with a guy like Russell Westbrook and of course Paul George, so of course we expected that those numbers were going to decline in which they certainly did. Not to mention I kind of looked at Oklahoma City. Even though yeah, they made the playoffs and everything, but it was almost like it was a season in purgatory for him. He never looked comfortable in that uniform. He never really looked comfortable when he was on the court necessarily. He got off to a very good start those first 10 games I think with OKC but after like, you know a quarter of the season, his numbers started to tail off. He just didn't really seem like he was comfortable and then there was this whole thing was what was his actual role going to be. I think here in Houston, Mike D'Antoni has an opportunity to be very creative here and I think what's ultimately going to wind up happening is they will bring Carmelo off the bench.

I think PJ Tucker, a guy who's one of if not, you know, he's one of the top five defensive players, top 10 defensive players in the NBA. The guy's a force, no question about that. I think he's got to keep him in the rotation. But we also got to remember, you know, injuries can happen things that you know that we don't expect. At the same time, the Rockets could be in the mix to make some upgrades once the season begins because they realize that they are a contender to go ahead and win the Western Conference. But I think like you pointed out, Mike D'Antoni, this is really up to him to kind of figure out what's going to be the best fit for this offense and for this team as they try to make a push to unseat the Golden State Warriors in the West.

DeMarcus Cousins donates $253,000 to refurbish basketball court in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama

Our Athlete of the Week spotlight goes to DeMarcus Cousins who recently returned to his hometown of Mobile, Alabama to help open a new outdoor basketball court.

Cousins donated $253,000 towards the basketball court’s refurbishment.

Michael Jordan Helping to Pack Relief Boxes for North Carolina Hurricane Victims

 

 

Expectations for the Nets are heightened with the addition of new players chief among them, defensive players, Ed Davis, and Kenneth Faried

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

KEISHA: Welcome back to What's The 411Sports. We're in a New York state of mind with our “New York Sports Report” and we are going to talk about our Brooklyn Nets. It was media day across the NBA and the Brooklyn Nets had their own, and there were a good number of (Nets) players who really think that they have enough pieces to do significantly better this year than last, playoffs even.

While there is some that are a little more cautious and just believing that they'll get more wins without going so far as to say that they would make the playoffs. Mike, are the players right to be cautiously optimistic, or should they be more aggressive in their thinking and their beliefs on how they're going to do this season?

MIKE: No, I think that they're right to be cautious here because yeah, I think the over-under is something like 31 or maybe even thirty-two wins for the Nets for the wins for the upcoming season. They won 27 or 28 games last year. So, and I know that doesn't seem like much improvement, but I think that there's no question in my mind that this team will wind up winning more games than they did last season. They know that people can look at that and say well, you know, it's not much of an improvement. But when your win column is really that depleted and you don't have much it's good to pick up on something.

I think Kenny (Atkinson), he's gotten comfortable here. Now. I saw him in an interview on the Yes Network about a week or two ago. And the guy just seems like he's very upbeat. I like his energy. I think that the big focus for this team, of course, is going to be defense right? Because they know that without a doubt that that's one of the things that really hurt them over the last couple of seasons.

That first quarter, like sometimes the first five, ten minutes of the game they’re in it and then all of a sudden everything just seems to fall apart and then by the end of the first quarter, they're down by 15 points. And, I think that those collapses are something that they're really going to try to look to avoid.

You can't knock this team's heart. I can't tell you how many Net games we've seen over the last several years, a couple of years, and they're in it, right even back when Lionel Hollins was coaching. Yeah, they were not winning many games but there were times where they'd be playing tight games against the Cleveland Cavaliers or even when the Knicks were somewhat competitive and they would keep games close.

You mentioned off air I know you might want to speak about it. But Ed Davis, I think is really someone that people are going to want to keep an eye on this year. This guy's tough-minded, no question about it. And I think the rebounding is something that he's going to lead a big focus on for them.

KEISHA: Yeah and Kenneth Faried, I actually like him too. I think he's going to be a really nice piece for the Brooklyn Nets and I think that you know, I think that aiming for more wins than last year is attainable. So, I'm, just quick, I have decided that for the remaining quarter of this year. I'm going to set goals for myself.

I've never done it really in a formalized, formalized manner and I'm going to do it because that is one of the keys for highly successful people and if it works for them why not try it. So you set smart goals and S.M.A.R.T is an acronym and the "A" stands for attainable, and I think that saying that you're going to win more games than last year is attainable.

So I looked at last year's playoff standings and the Wizards had the eighth spot. They were the last team to make the playoffs and they won 43 games. Last year, the Nets won 28. So that's a differential of 15 games. Now, the Nets had an increase of eight games from the year prior to last year. So in order to kind of ...I guess if they can make the playoff that means they have to make, they have to double. Now, it may not be impossible, but because it's like, all right, you won eight games last year why not win eight more. But you've got a lot of new pieces coming in. So I think it might be a little too aggressive to say that you can win 16 games with new pieces. But I definitely, I definitely see more wins for the team. I say about, I'll say 38.

MIKE: All right, okay.

Carmelo Anthony’s surprise pronouncement about his role in Houston; Tiger Wins; Brooklyn Nets culture continuity

Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald, the hosts of What’s The 411Sports, are discussing:

Jimmy Butler’s impending trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves;
• The NBA allowing Mark Cuban to keep his team amid the numerous sexual harassment allegations against Dallas Maverick employees;
Odell Beckham, Jr.’s feeling that he could and wants to be more useful to the New York Giants;
Tiger Woods winning his first major golf tournament in five years
• Why some NBA players don’t want to play with LeBron James
Carmelo Anthony acknowledged that he will do whatever it takes to help Houston Rockets win;
• The Brooklyn Nets media day, and;
• The New York Yankees clinch a wild-card spot and Didi Gregorius injures his wrist

The elephant in the room, a trade rumor involving Spencer Dinwiddie was a troubling thought

All over the country NBA teams held Media Day today, a day when NBA teams give the media access to players. The Brooklyn Nets held its media day today in Sunset Park, Brooklyn and if you were expecting any bombshell announcements, so sorry, the atmosphere was pretty much the same since Sean Marks took the helm as Nets general manager.

There was no over the top hyperbole. The team is still on message, it’s all about a positive culture, focused on mental and physical development, teamwork, and staying on task. And, as such, from the players’ perspective, the outlook is mostly positive. To a man, everyone was talking in the most positive of tones about their teammates, like they are all best buds. New players including veterans seemed to be genuinely happy to be in Brooklyn. Each player is looking forward to tipoff to start showing the naysayers and those that are not checking for the Nets that they are a team to reckon with. And, as the theme song from the old sitcom The Jefferson’s goes, “we’re moving on up” was an underlying theme.

At the moment, it appears that Marks and his team did their job during the offseason by bringing in defensive players like Ed Davis, who is known for his defensive prowess. With these additions, the Nets should have the pieces it needs to close out more games than it did last season. There were so many close games that the Nets lost because of lack of defense.

“I know there is a stat that about 25, 26 games that we lost by five points or less,” said Nets guard/forward Allen Crabbe. “If you give us half of those games, that’s what, close to 40 wins and anything can happen with 40 wins … in the East. I feel like with the key additions that we got this offseason is going to help us in areas in that we needed help in and I think we’re going to get over that hump and really give ourselves a chance this season.’’

Now how long will it take for the new guys to gel with the core of players from last season?

Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie cautiously stated, “I don’t know, I don’t know…but in terms of the culture, and everything that we are doing, we’re doing all the right things, spending time together on and off the court, putting in the work, and all those things. But in terms of putting a hard fast timeline to it, it’s hard to do it. You have a lot of young guys and we all have to continue to improve both individually and collectively.”

"Knowing how the rebuild process goes, we're going to have to slowly get back," added Nets center Jarrett Allen, who is going into his second season as a professional. “It's just small steps we're taking."

Now, looming in the background with all of this positivity is the chatter that Dinwiddie, a 4-year veteran, and the player who held the Nets together while Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell were out with injuries, could be part of a trade deal for Jimmy Butler of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“Being in trade rumors all summer I guess is two pieces: I want to be here. I love being here. I'm happy that they didn't (trade me). On the flip side, the spectrum of teams calling me (meant) obviously I played well," Dinwiddie said. "I've been on the other side of the situation where obviously nobody really cared what I was doing. It's cool in that respect. I guess mildly stressful, but at the same time, I can't control it, so it doesn't too much matter."

 

TIP IN: Talk of the three-point shot was a running theme throughout Nets Media Day

 

Dez Bryant hanging out with Jerry Jones in Jones' booth watching a Beyonce concert has many people speculating about a possible Bryant return to the Cowboys, although not likely

In this video, Keisha Wilson and Mike McDonald, hosts of What's The 411Sports are talking about Dez Bryant and Jerry Jones; Jimmy Butler; Le'Veon Bell; Larry Nance on LeBron James; the Seattle Storm; Serena Williams; Josh Gordon; Spencer Dinwiddie; and the Phoenix Suns.

The Jimmy Butler story about Butler looking to leave the Minnesota Timberwolves is heating up the "interwebs".

Reportedly Butler is looking to leave Minnesota before training camp. And, lately three (3) teams are reported to be favorites; Los Angeles Clippers; New York Knicks; and surprisingly, the Brooklyn Nets.

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