- Dating back to last week, one of the stories outside of the playoffs that continues to build steam is that the Toronto Raptors are becoming relentless in their pursuit of Phil Jackson. ESPN’s Marc Stein has the scoop: “Sources told ESPN.com that the Raptors — now being run by former Los Angeles-based sports mogul Tim Leiweke — regarded the Seattle group that was trying to buy the Kings as the biggest threat to preventing Jackson from seriously considering their pitch. But now that the Kings appear poised to stay in Sacramento instead of being sold to the consortium led by Jackson fan Chris Hansen, sources say that the Raptors will be pursuing Jackson aggressively this week, believing that they rank as Jackson’s most attractive current option for a new career in management now that he can reunite with Leiweke.”
- More from Stein: “One source close to the situation told ESPN.com that Hansen and Jackson have “hit it off,” sparking league-wide speculation that Jackson would be offered the chance to run the new Sonics in Seattle in the Pat Riley-style role he craves. But with a 12-owner committee recommending Monday that the Kings’ move to Seattle be blocked, Toronto’s seemingly long-shot odds of winning the Jackson sweepstakes would figure to have received a boost. That’s largely because of Jackson’s longstanding friendship with Leiweke, who was introduced Friday as the new CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which oversees the NBA’s Raptors, NHL’s Maple Leafs and Toronto FC of Major League Soccer.”
- While some believe the Lakers were put out of their misery after being swept in four games by the San Antonio Spurs, SheridanHoops’ Mark Heisler believes livin’ in the summertime will be anything but easy: “How would you like to be Mike D’Antoni, taking over at 5-6, with his point guard out until Dec. 22 … only to learn upon his return that Dwight Howard couldn’t run a pick-and-roll with Nash, whose deft passing and deadeye shooting make him one of the all-time greats at it?”
- More from Heisler: “Howard hasn’t given as much as a hint about staying, from his introductory press conference to Tuesday’s final session with the press. If Dwight seemed to include himself in the Lakers’ future after Sunday’s game (“We’ll get an opportunity to get some rest… think about what we can all do to better ourselves”), he made sure he immediately quashed that hope.”
- While he may not be the most reputable source, J.R. Smith believes if he played in Game 4, the series would be over: “The NBA suspended Smith for Game 4 after the star guard threw an elbow at Jason Terry’s chin late in Game 3. Smith watched on television Sunday as the Celtics defeated the Knicks 97-90 in overtime to avoid elimination and extend the series. Smith also watched Terry score nine points in overtime.”
“Oh yeah, it would’ve been over,” Smith said after Tuesday’s practice. “I’d have been playing golf today.”
“It was very tough to watch,” Smith said. “Especially that first half. I mean, from the turnovers to missing shots. … It wasn’t the easiest thing ever.
“I wasn’t pleased with it. My teammates wasn’t either. I’ll get the chance to make up for it tomorrow.”
- One player who did play in Game 4 for the Knicks was Jason Kidd, who also received the leagues Sportsmanship Award for the second consecutive year on Tuesday. More from NBA.com: “Jason Kidd of the New York Knicks is the recipient of the Joe Dumars Trophy presented to the 2012-13 NBA Sportsmanship Award winner, the NBA announced today. Kidd becomes the first back-to-back winner, having won the award last season as a member of the Dallas Mavericks. Additionally, Kidd is only the second player to win multiple NBA Sportsmanship awards, joining Grant Hill, who has been honored three times.”
- After Jason Collins became the first active player in the NBA to publicly announce he was gay, he has received a tremendous amount of well deserved support. Some of the support is coming from Miami’s Shane Battier and many of his Miami Heat teammates, more from Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports: ““It’s tough,’’ Andersen said of being viewed as different. “But having tough shoulders and a tough mind to carry that load takes a very, very special person. Being in my situation, I just overpowered all the thoughts and all the criticisms that I got from fans and non-fans. So he’s probably going to go through a lot of criticism, but he’s getting a lot of praise as well. And he’s definitely got my backing. I’ve been criticized and burned, so to be back in the limelight of things it was tough to first get my foot in the door and get in front of the cameras (after signing with the Heat in January). But for him to come out and say this is how he feels and this is who he is, I commend him on that …. I got my supporters just like he has his supporters. So I know he’s going to have a tough road. But I think he’s on the right part of state of mind that he’s going to be in, and he’s going to be a tough leader.’’”
“I think it’s very noble on his part,’’ James said. “I think it’s a strong thing to do. And as NBA players, we’re all one family and we support him.
“None of us should go around wondering what other people think we should be as human beings …. And I got the utmost respect for Jason and for whatever he wants to do …. Our sport is if you can play the game, that’s all that matters at the end of the day.’’