Connect with us

NBA

Griffin says Pelicans are ‘very optimistic’ about Anthony Davis situation

Published

on

David Griffin has been clear since his first day with the New Orleans Pelicans that he believes the team can convince Anthony Davis to stay on board this summer.

Griffin reiterated this belief on Tuesday during a conference call to introduce newly hired GM Trajan Langdon. Griffin said the team plans to sit down with Davis and his agent Rich Paul in Los Angeles at some point soon. 

“I think that’s the next step — really to look each other in the eye and talk about what’s important to us,” Griffin said on Tuesday. “And we’re very optimistic from previous conversations with Rich Paul, his agent, and with all of the people here that know Anthony and know what he’s about. We’re very confident that we have a compelling situation for him here.

“And if winning is what he is indeed all about, which we have every reason to believe, we feel confident that we can create — and are creating — the right environment for Anthony and frankly for high-caliber players of all types to want to be a part of. This is something that we hope creates an energy that recruits itself, and Anthony would just be one step in that process.”

While Griffin and the Pelicans may be confident, there has been no public indication from Davis that he wants to remain with the team. The six-time All-Star told the Pelicans in January that he desired a trade and did not plan to re-sign with the team next offseason when his contract expires. 

 

David Griffin talked with NBA TV after the Pelicans won the No. 1 pick.

Griffin also spent time on Tuesday talking about the team’s plan for the 2019 NBA Draft. The Pelicans beat the odds during the draft lottery to receive the No. 1 pick in this year’s Draft, which is headlined by top prospects Zion Williamson and Ja Morant. After New Orleans won the lottery, reports circulated that Williamson would need to be convinced to join the Pelicans. Griffin was quick to dispel those reports on Tuesday.

“I’m certain that’s a false narrative relative to the players that could potentially be the No. 1 pick,” Griffin said. “We’ve sat with multiple players that we’re looking at for that first pick. In fact, in the case of Zion Williamson, Alvin Gentry and I sat with he and his parents the night of the lottery. […] And Alvin and I were also together in interviewing Ja Morant in Chicago as well. And I think because we sat with those kids, who are both incredible human beings and all about all the right things, we know unequivocally that either one of them would be thrilled to join us in New Orleans. And they’re both very much excited about the concept.”

Griffin also discussed his early impressions of Pelicans owner Gayle Benson, who took control of the team after the passing of her husband, Tom, last year. Griffin credits Benson for empowering the team to pursue top-level talent — like Langdon and longtime Phoenix Suns trainer Aaron Nelson — to New Orleans

“It’s become something that it’s very clearly her baby, and the Pelicans matter immeasurably to her. And literally in all these hirings, she’s putting her money where her mouth is and she’s empowering us to go and attract the best and the brightest,” Griffin said. “And I think when you win the lottery in the midst of all those other things, it starts to really lend itself to changing a narrative.”

Griffin and Langdon previously worked together with the Cleveland Cavaliers during the championship 2015-16 season.

Source link

NBA

Stephen Curry in Japan to talk Tokyo Olympics, Rui Hachimura

Published

on

TOKYO (AP) —  Stephen Curry is already looking ahead to the next challenge in his basketball career, including the chance to represent the United States at next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Just over a week since his Golden State Warriors lost a grueling NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors, Curry was in Tokyo on Sunday talking about the Olympics and the opportunity to face Japan’s newest basketball sensation.

The U.S. has won the gold medal in the last three Olympics and will be the favorite to top the podium again in Tokyo with a Dream Team that could feature such stars as Curry, LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard.

Curry decided to pull out of the Rio Olympics due to several factors, including ankle and knee injuries.

“I know the energy here is going to be amazing,” Curry said. “I haven’t played in the Olympics before. I’ve played in two World Cup teams so I’ve had the experience of representing my country playing for the national team. But the Olympics, from everybody that I’ve talked to that’s played, there’s no comparison to that experience.”

Curry was in Tokyo for a youth basketball clinic and was asked about Rui Hachimura, who became the first player from Japan picked in the first round of the NBA Draft when he was taken with the No. 9 overall pick by the rebuilding Washington Wizards on Thursday.

Curry on Hachimura: “I think he fits in the direction the NBA is going right now.”

“It’s exciting for the NBA to have representation from Japan and countries all over the world,” Curry said. “It speaks to how the game of basketball is growing everywhere, especially here. For him to be a trailblazer in terms of doing something that has never been done is good for this country.”

The 6-foot-8, 235-pound (2.03 meters, 106 kilogram) Hachimura averaged a team-leading 19.7 points and 6.5 rebounds last season as a junior at U.S. college Gonzaga, where he was the West Coast Conference player of the year.

The only other Japanese player drafted in NBA history was Yasutaka Okayama, who went 171st overall in 1981. He never appeared in a regular-season game, something just two players from the country have done: Yuta Tabuse for the Phoenix Suns in 2004-05, and Yuta Watanabe for the Memphis Grizzlies in 2018-19.

The son of a Japanese mother and father from the Republic of Benin, Hachimura is the latest Japanese of mixed race to make a splash in the sporting world following the likes of Naomi Osaka and Yu Darvish.

“Just from watching him play, I know he’s got good size, obviously,” Curry said. “He seems to have a high basketball IQ, good touch around the rim too. I’m sure as he gets into the NBA his game will expand. I think he fits into the direction the NBA is going right now; being able to score and put pressure on the defense no matter what the situation is.”

As for the Warriors, Curry said he’s looking forward to winning more championships with the team.

“The story is still going,” Curry said. “A lot of people said this is going to be the end but I’m not going to let that happen. It’s going to be fun to come back and chase more championships next year and beyond.”
 

Source link

Continue Reading

NBA

Report: Wizards decline option on Jabari Parker

Published

on

Fifth-year forward Jabari Parker will become an unrestricted free agent on June 30 after the Washington Wizards declined his team option, Yahoo Sports reported on Saturday.  

The Wizards are reportedly open to re-signing Parker, who averaged 15 points and 7.2 rebounds in 25 games with them after acquiring him in a trade with the Chicago Bulls last February. 

Parker, the No. 2 pick in the 2014 draft, is averaging 15.1 points for his career, which has been marred by two ACL tears. 

Source link

Continue Reading

NBA

Hachimura’s selection ushers in new era for hoops in Japan

Published

on

TOKYO (AP)  — Japanese basketball officials, fans and media hailed the selection of Rui Hachimura in the 2019 NBA Draft, saying the move will usher in a new era for the sport in Japan.

Hachimura became the first player from Japan to get chosen in the first round of the NBA draft, taken with the No. 9 overall pick by the rebuilding Washington Wizards on Thursday.

“The Birth of the NBA’s Hachimura, a huge step for Japan,” read the headline in the Nikkansports newspaper’s online edition.

The 6-foot-8, 235-pound (2.03 meters, 106 kilogram) forward averaged a team-leading 19.7 points and 6.5 rebounds last season as a junior at U.S. college Gonzaga, where he was the West Coast Conference player of the year.

 

The Wizards used the No. 9 pick to select Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura.

The only other Japanese player drafted in NBA history was Yasutaka Okayama, who went 171st overall in 1981. He never appeared in a regular-season game, something just two players from the country have done: Yuta Tabuse for the Phoenix Suns in 2004-05, and Yuta Watanabe for the Memphis Grizzlies in 2018-19.

“The fact that Hachimura, a product of the Japanese basketball system, has been selected in the NBA draft makes us very proud,” said the Japan Basketball Federation’s Yuko Mitsuya.

While it has grown in popularity with the introduction of a pro league in 2005, basketball still lags far behind baseball and soccer in Japan.

Hachimura’s NBA career is sure to help the sport grow in leaps and bounds.

The son of a Japanese mother and father from the Republic of Benin, Hachimura is the latest Japanese of mixed race to make a splash in the sporting world following the likes of Naomi Osaka and Yu Darvish.

“This is a huge step forward for Japan,” said Keisuke Tsutsumi, an office worker who follows the NBA. “It will take the sport to a new level here.”

Hachimura’s junior high school coach Joji Sakamoto welcomed the news of his draft selection.

 

What’s the Wizards’ outlook following the 2019 NBA Draft?

Sakamoto coached Hachimura in his native Toyama Prefecture and said he saw potential in his student from a young age.

“I told him to visualize his dream, and now it will be a reality,” the 59-year-old Sakamoto said.

Japan’s education minister Masahiko Shibayama said Hachimura had given hope to a generation of young players in his home country.

“It’s really wonderful,” Shibayama said. “By taking a prominent role in a league that is difficult for Japanese players to enter, he will give hope to many Japanese people.”

Hachimura’s rise couldn’t come at a better time with Tokyo building to host the 2020 Olympics. Japan’s national men’s team has qualified as host country and Hachimura could play a leading role at both the Olympics and the World Cup in China later this year.

Wizards interim general manager Tommy Sheppard mentioned the 21-year-old’s play for Japan’s national team.

“For Japan to qualify for the world championships, he’s the focal point. And when the (Tokyo) Olympics come in 2020, he’s going to be the focal point of that country on that basketball team,” Sheppard said. “To be able to shoulder that load at his age – the maturity he has – I think that’s going to bode well for him in the NBA.”

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending