The NBA notebook…
CLEVELAND ó For nearly a year, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has tried in vain to move on from LeBron James and his infamous departure.
At last, Gilbert believes he can.
ěLast night sort of put an end to any last lingering thoughts,î Gilbert said Wednesday.
Winning the NBAís draft lottery was all it took. Now, Gilbert, his franchise and heartbroken Cleveland fans, can finally focus forward. Yesterday has given way to tomorrow.
LeBron doesnít matter quite as much anymore.
On Tuesday night, the Cavs won the No. 1 overall pick in next monthís draft, when theyíll almost certainly use the pick on Duke star point guard Kyrie Irving, a well-rounded player who can accelerate Clevelandís post-LeBron reconstruction.
With a little extra luck, the Cavs, coming off a disastrous 63-loss season, also landed the No. 4 pick ó a lucky daily double that had Gilbert still feeling overwhelmed.
ěLast night was a very special night for everybody,î Gilbert said. ěItís been a rough year. Itís been grueling and tiresome and painful. But having this lottery come out the way it did. With two big blocks to rebuild, when you combine that with players coming back and our coaching staff being around another year, the trade exception and whatever other tricks (general manager) Chris Grant may have up his sleeve.
ěIt should be good times ahead for the Cavaliers.î
The lottery could not have gone better for the Cavs or Gilbert. He was not nearly as visible this season in the aftermath of Jamesí ballyhooed departure. Gilbert drew criticism outside Cleveland for harsh comments he made about James, who led the Cavaliers to some of their greatest successes but didnít deliver on a promise to end Clevelandís title drought.
CHICAGO ó Dennis Rodman still sported numerous piercings and tattoos as he walked into the United Center. That much hadnít changed since he helped the Chicago Bulls win their final three championships in the late 1990s.
What is different is this: Rodman, the seven-time rebounding champion and two-time defensive player of the year, is now 50. And heís headed to the Hall of Fame.
ěItís incredible man, the fact that people still love you, still like what youíre doing,î Rodman said Wednesday. He then presented the ceremonial first ball before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Bulls and Miami Heat.
Rodmanís antics, different hair colors, penchant for partying and flamboyant appearance sometimes overshadowed his work as one of the gameís top defensive players and rebounders at 6-foot-7.
Heís still enjoying being himself.
ěI just go around and do my thing,î he said.
Rodman said he enjoys watching the current Bulls team that is back in the confererence finals for the first time since he was still playing.
His favorite player? Another player who rebounds, plays defense and has a noticeable hairstyle ó Joakim Noah.
ěI love Noah,î Rodman said. ěHeís more like me, but a little taller.î
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. ó Current Detroit Pistons owner Karen Davidson says sheíll retain part ownership of the NBA franchise, its arena and Palace Sports & Entertainment after the sale to Beverly Hills, Calif., billionaire Tom Gores is complete.
The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press report Wednesday that Davidson wonít say how big a minority stake sheíll keep or if stepson Ethan Davidson will keep a piece, too.
The Associated Press left messages Wednesday seeking comment from lawyers involved in the deal.
Gores and Davidson reached an agreement last month on the sale, which hasnít closed and needs NBA approval.
Gores is a Flint native and chief executive of Platinum Equity.
Karen Davidson took ownership of the team, the Palace and its entertainment arm following the 2009 death of her husband, Bill Davidson.
MINNEAPOLIS ó Timberwolves president David Kahn says his comments about the NBA draft lottery were intended as a joke, simply a tongue-in-cheek resignation that fate gave Cleveland the first pick ahead of luck-lacking Minnesota.
After the Cavaliers beat out the Wolves for the top spot Tuesday, Kahn said with a smirk to a group of reporters, ěThis league has a habit ó and I am just going to say habit ó of producing some pretty incredible story lines.î
Kahn pointed to Washington sending the widow of longtime owner Abe Pollin last year and getting the first pick. Cleveland had owner Dan Gilbertís 14-year-old son, who has battled disease since birth, on hand for good luck this time.
The Cavaliers got exactly that in the annual pingpong ball pop-up.
ěHe beat me tonight. He took all of us down,î Kahn said of Nick Gilbert.
Minnesota has never secured the first pick in 14 entries in the lottery. Not only that, but this was the first time the Wolves moved up a spot in the order. They had the third pick twice, in 2008 (O.J. Mayo, traded to Memphis for Kevin Love) and 1992 (Christian Laettner).
The Wolves went a league-worst 17-65 last season. The Cavaliers were 19-63.
Kahn, in a statement sent Wednesday by the Wolves to The Associated Press, said he wasnít suggesting a conspiracy of any kind.
ěI donít believe in jinxes, curses (or) hocus pocus, and I certainly donít think we were wronged,î Kahn said. ěBut I do believe in the power of story, and I joked last night that itís a heck (of a) better story for a 14-year-old kid to beat out a couple of middle-aged executives standing together on a stage on national TV ó and that our league seems to always have its own share of luck in being a part of these stories.î
Kahn added: ěThat was the entire meaning of what I said last night in a joking fashion and what I believe was received in such fashion.î
Gilbert said Wednesday he was aware of Kahnís comments, but hadnít yet had a chance to review them.
ěI havenít had a lot of time to go deep on that,î Gilbert said in Cleveland, meeting with the media at Quicken Loans Arena. ěBut I will. Iíll check it all out.î
There was no immediate word from the NBA on Wednesday about whether Kahn will be reprimanded or punished, despite his joking intent. Kahn was fined $50,000 last summer for remarking on the radio that Wolves forward Michael Beasley was ěa very young and immature kid who smoked too much marijuanaî while he was playing in Miami.
The Wolves had a 25 percent chance of getting the first pick and a 21.51 percent chance of choosing second this year. In 18 years of the NBAís current system, only twice has the team with the best odds kept the first pick ó Cleveland in 2003 and Orlando in 2004.
The Wolves also have the 20th pick in the first round this year, thanks to a previous trade with Utah.
ěI donít think we need to make some huge fundamental changes. I think we need to continue to be patient and let the young players develop like the Oklahoma City and Memphis franchises have done the last couple of years,î Kahn said after the lottery, ěbut I think that itís important for us to re-evaluate everything and make certain we can put this group together.î
Point guard Kyrie Irving of Duke and Arizona forward Derrick Williams are widely considered the top two prospects this year. Kahn said heís still planning for point guard Ricky Rubio to join the team from Spain. Rubio was the fifth pick in the 2009 draft.
ěWe took Ricky two years ago with the understanding that he wouldnít be able to come right away but he would be able to come someday,î Kahn said, adding: ěWe anticipate him being on the team in the future, just as we did all of the other players on our roster. So certainly, itís part of the mindset, yes.î