March 24, 2018
Ruth J Morrison

Ruth J Morrison

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Lonzo Ball drew crowds during NBA Summer League, is this a prelude of things to come in L.A.?

Lavar Ball must be something of a Nostradamus. He predicted that his son, Lonzo Ball, would make it to the NBA and play for the Los Angeles Lakers, check and check, his son Lonzo is in the NBA, playing for the Lakers. Currently, Lonzo is playing in NBA Summer League and, of course, is under scrutiny by media, NBA pundits, and Lakers fans.

Although his father, LaVar Ball, has been his one-man promotions team, many who are seeing Lonzo play for the first time are concerned for the Los Angeles Lakers. No need to worry about the Lakers’ management on this one. The Lakers did their due diligence before signing Lonzo, so there’s no nervousness on their part. In fact, Magic Johnson isn’t nervous; he’s confident that Lonzo will live up to the hoopla. Magic told Lonzo that he fully expected that his jersey would one day hang from the rafters next to his, but just save him some records.

So, the pressure is on Lonzo. He's from Los Angeles, he went to UCLA, and he and his family had the Lakers in clear sight. So, now his dream has come true. However, Lonzo’s first game in NBA Summer League didn’t go as planned. He kind of laid an egg. But not to worry, Lonzo bounced back very nicely in the next game and had a triple-double with flashes of that court vision that had been reported about by those who covered his college game. If there is one knock on Lonzo, it is that he is a little scrawny and needs to bulk up.

Only time will tell if Lonzo will be a superstar. But right now, Lakers’ fans are very excited about what the future holds for Los Angeles and Lakers’ summer league ticket sales are a good indication of things to come. Hopefully, Lonzo will live up to his father’s hype. But with Magic Johnson in the front office, who better to mentor him.

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Is OKC a good spot for Paul George and are the Los Angeles Lakers still an option for Paul George in 2018?

Indiana Pacers guard Paul George has left the building and has landed in OKC to play with NBA MVP, Russell Westbrook, and the rest of the Oklahoma City Thunder team.

This move puts the Thunder in a better position to compete in the Western Conference. However, some NBA pundits think OKC still needs another star player or a 1-A player to overcome San Antonio, who beat them in 2017 in the second round of the NBA Western Conference playoffs, or the NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors for that matter.

Interesting enough, a surprising element of this move is that Kevin Durant gave George encouraging words that helped shape his thinking about the move to OKC.

If the Thunder makes it to the NBA Western Conference championship game, would the Los Angeles Lakers still be an option for Paul George in 2018?

VIDEO DISCUSSION: NBA Free Agency 2017 took NBA fans on a wild ride with expected and unexpected changes

Yes, NBA free agency was in full effect this past week. There were changes that most of us expected and some that very few people saw coming. Let’s talk about the winners and those who didn't win too much.


Houston Rockets landing Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers, which seemed to come out of nowhere. But rumor has it that the relationship between Chris Paul and Doc Rivers had soured somewhat because of perceived favoritism towards Austin Rivers who is Doc Rivers’ son. The challenge will be how Chris Paul and James Harden will be able to play together.

Other winners include the Boston Celtics landing Gordon Hayward; OKC obtaining the services of Paul George; Minnesota for adding Jimmy Butler to its roster, the Golden State Warriors because Kevin Durant took a pay cut in order to keep the team intact, and the NBA for continuing to make headlines in mid-July.

Biggest Losers

The Chicago Bulls with the trade of Jimmy Butler to Minnesota Timberwolves by many accounts is the biggest loser in the 2017 NBA Free Agency. 

Also, the Indiana Pacers losing Paul George to OKC, and the Utah Jazz losing Gordon Hayward to the Boston Celtics. Indiana and Utah are both small market teams who are losing their draw and possibly revenue.

VIDEO: Jimmy Butler and Timberwolves are big winners in NBA Free Agency; Paul George lands in OKC, Brooklyn Nets, Knicks, focusing on young players

Before we get to our discussions of the top sports stories, here a couple of quick bites:

• The NBA fined Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid for foul language after he released a video on Instagram where he said, "F- LaVar Ball"
• Lakers small forward Brandon Ingram will miss the remainder of summer league due to cramping in his right leg
• The Miami Heat officially waived Chris Bosh and plan to retire his jersey. Bosh has since cleared waivers and is now a free agent.
James Harden landed the biggest NBA extension contract in history. The deal, reportedly worth $228 M, would start trickling in 2019-20 at a salary of $37.8M, $40.8M, $43.8M and $46.8M.

NBA Free Agency

NBA free agency was in full effect this past week. And, Keisha and Mike are talking about the winners and those who did not do as well.

Paul George Goes to OKC

Indiana Pacers guard Paul George has left the building and has landed in OKC to play with NBA MVP, Russell Westbrook, and the rest of the Oklahoma City Thunder team. Has OKC positioned itself to be in better contention to take over the West? Did the Los Angeles Lakers miss the boat on not trading for him?

Lonzo Ball NBA Summer League Outing

As his father, LaVar Ball predicted, NBA Draft stand-out, Lonzo Ball is now in the NBA and playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. Lonzo had a rough Game 1, but he managed to right his ship and played clicking on all cylinders for Game 2. Will Lonzo bring “show time” back to the Lakers?

What’s The 411Sports’ Photo of the Week

Our photo of the week is a photo of Markelle Fultz, the 2017 NBA Draft’s #1 pick overall, being helped off the court by his teammates because of an injured left ankle.

What’s The 411Sports’ New York Sports Report

Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets acquired Jarrett Allen in the 2017 NBA Draft at No. 22, and just before the draft, the Nets acquired guard D’Angelo Russell and center Timofey Mozgov from the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Brook Lopez and a Nets first round draft pick. Russell attended NBA Summer League and like a good teammate, he cheered on the Nets. However, when the game was over, Russell stayed to watch the Lakers play.

Should D’Angelo Russell have stayed to watch the Lakers summer league game? Will the Nets development culture be able to assimilate D’Angelo Russell?

New York Knicks

Phil Jackson is out as the NY Knicks president and the Knicks inked a four-year deal to bring Tim Hardaway Jr. back after Jackson’s exit. New York Knick fans are crowing about Hardaway’s $71 million four-year deal. Meanwhile, David Griffin, former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager, has turned down the job of general manager of the New York Knicks.

Is this a good move to bring Hardaway back to the Knicks? Who made this decision? Would the Hardaway acquisition have happened if Phil Jackson was still with the Knicks?

The New York Yankees

New York Yankees were in a huge tailspin heading into the MLB All-Star Break.

Will the Yankees turn this ship around and sail into smoother waters?

New York Giants

New York Giant wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr landed on the number 8 spot on the list of Top 100 NFL Players of 2017 as determined by his peers.

Off Topic

LaVar Ball Gets Real

LaVar Ball’s camera-ready persona has reportedly landed the Ball family a reality-show deal. Deadline is reporting that the Ball family will be the focus of a yet-to-be-named docu-series as part of Facebook's push for original video content.

A Woman Uber Driver Gets First-Day Surprise

It was a woman’s first day as a Uber driver and she picked up Golden State Warriors center JaVale McGee. How cool is that?

AUDIO: Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson introduce the Brooklyn Nets’ 2017 NBA Draft Pick Jarrett Allen to the New York media

NBA Draft night 2017 is over and the picks are in. Listen in on the Brooklyn Nets press conference as the team introduces its NBA Draft pick, Jarrett Allen.

The Brooklyn Nets selected Jarrett Allen from the University of Texas at Austin in the first round at No. 22, and on the very next day, June 23, 2017, the Nets held a press conference to introduce its draft selection to the New York media.

Sean Marks, Brooklyn Nets general manager, and Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson agreed after the NBA Draft that the Nets will need time to develop Allen.

Even Allen is clear that he is a work in progress, particularly the need to strengthen his body. In addition to developmental work, Allen admitted that he needs to adjust to New York City since he comes from a more suburban environment.

The Brooklyn Nets is a very young team, and Sean and Kenny will look to Jeremy Lin, Trevor Booker, Sean Kilpatrick, and even recent pickup Timofey Mozgov to provide leadership to the younger players both on and off the court.

Leading into the draft, speculators had Allen floating in the first round around 12-16, even Sean Marks was surprised that Allen was still available at No. 22. Scouting reports listed Jarrett Allen’s attributes as a good defender, a remarkable 7’5” wingspan to go along with a wide frame, and quick feet and surprising agility.

VIDEO: Brooklyn Nets introduce D'Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to New York media; questions about Russell maturity still abound

The Brooklyn Nets introduced D'Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the New York media. Again, Nets general manager Sean Marks, and head coach Kenny Atkinson prefaced their remarks by giving kudos to Brook Lopez and thanking him for his service to the Brooklyn Nets.

The Nets acquired D'Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov through a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Brook Lopez and a first round draft pick. The Nets had Boston’s first-round pick (Boston has Brooklyn’s), which gave the Nets a second first round pick at No. 27, which it turned over to the Lakers to complete the deal.

Much of the reporters’ questions focused on Russell’s maturity level and will Russell be a good fit within the Nets’ culture. Marks stands firmly behind his decision to acquire Russell and Atkinson believes contrary to public opinion, Mozgov will be motivated to work hard to quiet his critics.

Mozgov is one of two Russians to have won an NBA Championship. Mozgov won with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.

The Lakers trade of Russell and Mozgov was Magic Johnson’s first big move to make room to bring “show time” back to the Los Angeles Lakers. Russell is a good player, but if Lonzo Ball, who the Lakers drafted in the NBA Draft turns out to be as good a player as his father touts him to be, it will be the beginning of show time in L.A.

Acquiring Russell and Mozgov could prove to be better than a draft pick for the Nets, as both players have tremendous upsides. Russell does look at his trade to Nets as an opportunity to hit the reset button and prove the naysayers wrong. Russell wants to be a respected player in the NBA. Mozgov believes that Russell could be an elite player in the NBA because he has the talent, he just has to put in the work.

VIDEO: Sean Marks, Brooklyn Nets general manager, details his NBA Draft selection and trade of Brook Lopez to the Los Angeles Lakers

Sean Marks, Brooklyn Nets, General Manager, started his conversation with reporters that cover the Brooklyn Nets with praises for Brook Lopez for his 9-season commitment to the Brooklyn Nets. Lopez should be proud that the Nets front office thought enough of him to preface their player movement briefing by thanking him for his hard work and dedication to the Brooklyn Nets. Many organizations neglect to publicly thank former employees for being an asset to the organization, they just move on as if you never existed.

After thanking Lopez, Marks pivoted and answered questions from reporters regarding the Lopez trade for Los Angeles Lakers players D'Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov, and the Nets’ NBA Draft night pick Jarrett Allen.

The Nets selected Allen in the first round at No. 22. Brooklyn's second draft pick in the first round at No. 27, Kyle Zuma, went to the Lakers to complete the Russell- Mozgov trade.

Now, in case you’re wondering how the Nets could have draft picks if the Nets gave away its draft picks to the Boston Celtics through the 2018 season, here’s the answer. The Washington Wizards needed depth and the Nets needed draft picks, so the Nets and the Wizards did a deal. The Wizards traded forward Andrew Nicholson, guard-forward Marcus Thornton, and a 2017 first-round lottery protected pick (#22) to the Nets for shooting guard Bojan Bogdanovic and forward Chris McCullough.

The Nets also had Boston’s first-round pick (Boston has Brooklyn’s), which gave the Nets a second first round pick at No. 27.

LaVar Ball tells Kristine Leahy to stay in her lane; media nixes Paul George for All-NBA team; Will the Nets fate be determined by a health Jeremy Lin?

New England Patriots’ Concussion-gate?

During an interview with CBS This Morning, Gisele Bundchen, wife of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, stated that her husband has suffered concussions over the years as recently as 2016. Eyebrows were raised after this declaration because Tom Brady was never listed on any of the injury reports as having any type of head trauma. The NFL confirmed this and planned to contact the Players Association to collect more information. Did the Patriots cover up injuries to Tom Brady, their star quarterback? Could we find more cases like this in the NFL?

Landing spot for Kaepernick?

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll publicly stated that Colin Kaepernick is being considered as an option for a backup quarterback to Russell Wilson. While no final decision has been made, Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett said that Seattle would be the perfect place for Kaepernick. Would Seattle be an ideal place for Kaepernick? Still, without a football home and in lieu of the recent signings of other quarterbacks, does this further the notion that Kaepernick is being blackballed?

Will the Golden State Warriors Suit up for Court?

A Spurs fan is suing the Golden State Warriors' center Zaza Pachulia and the Warriors organization alleging that Pachulia's play against San Antonio Spur star Kawhi Leonard which caused an ankle injury that left the Spurs without their star for the remainder of the game. Some believe the injury allowed the Warriors to mount a comeback which propelled them to victory. The suit states that Pachulia's play “devastated the quality of the Spurs' chances of being competitive" and diminished "the value of the tickets purchased by plaintiff subsequent to their purchase." Does this fan have a point and do you think this case would move forward?

Paul George not worthy of All-NBA Team Designation

Certain members of the media have responsibility for selecting the All-NBA teams and the NBA MVP selection. Indiana Pacers guard Paul George was left off all of the All-NBA team designation and LeBron James is number four on the MVP list. Who are these media people and what are they thinking? Should decisions related to players’ compensation be in the hands of the media?

Is Lonzo Ball a Slam Dunk for the Los Angeles Lakers?

Will the Los Angeles Lakers and Magic Johnson have the magic to get the second pick in the 2017 NBA Draft? Is it a given that the Lakers will select Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick?

Kristine Leahy, stay in your lane!

LaVar Ball vs Kristine Leahy- Never one to shy away from controversy, LaVar Ball, father of NBA prospect Lonzo Ball, once again finds himself in the middle of a media firestorm after an appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd. During the interview, Ball refused to speak to Cowherd's cohost Kristine Leahy except to tell her to stay in her lane and to reiterate that he would only address Colin Cowherd. Leahy has since gone on record to state that she has received death threats as a result of the on-air altercation. Do you believe Cowherd’s reason for not addressing Lavar Ball’s sexist behavior?

Combat Crossover Alert: Mayweather - McGregor

We are another step closer to a Mayweather/McGregor fight. UFC President Dana White declared that UFC fighter Conor McGregor's side of the deal is done and White is currently working with Mayweather's team on the remaining terms. Is this fight going to happen?

New York Basketball: Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks

Congratulations to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson; his alma mater The Chester Community Charter School, named its gym The Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Gymnasium in his honor. Speaking of the Nets, what can the team do to upgrade its roster for next season? Meanwhile, what are some names or positions that Phil Jackson should be thinking about as the Knicks prepare for the draft?

On the Bench: Kevin Pillar

Nearly every week, we put someone on the bench, and this week, Mike McDonald puts Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar on the bench for using a homophobic slur against Atlanta Braves pitcher Jason Motte. Pillar apologized profusely, but the Blue Jays still suspended Pillar for two games. Pillar will forfeit approximately $6,066 of his $555,000 salary, with the money donated to charity.

VIDEO: NCAA goes on the Bench for allowing racism to persist in collegiate basketball

In view of the Brooklyn Nets guard, Jeremy Lin’s, story about the racism that he encountered in college, Keisha puts the NCAA and the NCAA referees on the bench for allowing known racism to persist on the court and within the association.

When referees and coaches know that someone is being racially profiled, they have a responsibility to quash the activity.

VIDEO Discussion: Racism at the collegiate level is more prevalent than in the NBA, according to Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin, the Nets guard, made some headlines recently when he mentioned that the racial slurs he heard in college were much worse than what he has had to deal with while playing in the NBA.

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