Notes from TNT’s NBA Coverage – Thursday, October 30, 2014

nba-on-tntNotes from TNT’s NBA Coverage – Thursday, October 30, 2014

Notes from TNT’s NBA Coverage – Thursday, October 30, 2014

TNT’s NBA coverage continues Thursday, November 6, at 8 p.m. ET with an exclusive doubleheader featuring the San Antonio Spurs @ Houston Rockets followed by the Dallas Mavericks @ Portland Trail Blazers at 10:30 p.m.

  

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com

Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Chris Webber

 

 

Smith on Cleveland’s LeBron James being a scorer as opposed to deferring to teammates: “When he did that in Miami they didn’t win. When he said, ‘I’m the best player, and I’m going to be the best player, and you guys have to fall back,’ that’s when they won championships. So, to me, he’s going to have to be the best player for them to be successful.”

Webber on the excitement building for James’ return as a special event in Cleveland: “When you go to places, New York, L.A., you notice the stars, the celebrities on the side. If you’re a superstar, you want to make sure you give them their money’s worth; you go to their movies and to their concerts. I think it’s going to be electric.”

 

  Smith on the New York Knicks needing to display patience: “Patience is not a New York City word. I’ve never heard that in the vocabulary of a New York franchise, New York person. So, the lack of patience, they have to get it done, figure out a way to get it done… J.R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony, they have to have phenomenal seasons to take them to the 54 wins they had two or three seasons ago.”

O’Neal on players improving individually once they grasp the triangle offense: “History shows the triangle has worked perfectly when you have two Hall of Famers, two great players… Every great player that has used the triangle, when you look at their highlights, it’s [Michael] Jordan in the iso, it’s Shaq in the post, it’s Kobe [Bryant] in the iso; so once these guys learn it, Carmelo can say, ‘cut through, cut through,’ I’m going to do what I do.”

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New York Knicks (95) @ Cleveland Cavaliers (90)
Marv Albert (play-by-play), Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller (analysts) with Rachel Nichols (reporter)

 

 

 

Miller on the adjustment James’ Cavaliers teammates need to make: “When you acquire the best player on the planet in LeBron James, I said early on, Kyrie Irving and Dion Waters need to be in the gym shooting 500 to 1,000 jump shots a day because LeBron James is going to be double and triple teamed, especially in the open court.”

Barkley on Kevin Love as one of the best power forwards in the NBA: “The guy’s been the best power forward in the NBA the last three or four years. He didn’t have a lot of help in Minnesota. You’re getting 12, 13, 14 rebounds a night… You can’t fake rebounding numbers…if you’re getting 14 rebounds a night, you’re a hell of a player.”

Barkley on David Blatt’s goal the first month of the season: “The first month of the season is really going to be for the Cavaliers, trying to figure out who works well together. He’s [Blatt] got to figure out [Anderson] Varejao, Love, Tristan Thompson, he’s got to get their big man rotation in order. That to me is going to be the key to the first month for the Cavaliers.”

Miller on Love’s passing: “An underrated part of Kevin Love’s game is his ability to pass the basketball, and more so, his length of court outlets.”

Barkley on the Cavaliers’ weaknesses: “One thing I think the Cavs need is they’re missing a big guy.”

Barkley on the Cavaliers not handling pressure of such a big game to start the season: “The moment just got too big for them tonight. They played flat the entire game…they played great, like the first five minutes, then the adrenaline, everything, made them tired and flat for the rest of the game.”

  Barkley on Tim Hardaway, Jr.: “I like Tim Hardaway, Jr. He’s going to be a good player in the league for a long time.”

Barkley on Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks and Kevin Durant: “Carmelo’s obviously a great player. It drives me crazy sometimes, he’s not the reason the Knicks are not any good. Kevin Durant is a good scorer, but if I need one basket, inside [or] outside, I’m going to Carmelo Anthony.”
Miller on the Knicks bouncing back for the win: “In this league, you don’t get too high, you don’t get too low. You talk about New York just getting shellacked at home in their season opener versus Chicago. And all the adrenaline is in the favor of Cleveland tonight. And New York comes out here, and got off to a slow start, and found a way.”

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Oklahoma City Thunder (90) @ Los Angeles Clippers (93)
Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Greg Anthony (analyst) with David Aldridge (reporter)

 

 

 

Anthony on Russell Westbrook’s status in the league: “He’s a true superstar. It still baffles me that he catches so much criticism for a guy who’s truly a superstar.”

Anthony on Oklahoma City Thunder forward Perry Jones: “This is about as good as he’s looked as a pro. It’s been a transition for him. [He had] only the one year in college. Often times with players like that, it takes them a little longer to get comfortable, and physically be mature enough to have an impact at this level.”

Anthony on the Thunder’s approach without Kevin Durant: “They have realistic expectations. The bottom line, you want to make sure that by the time [Kevin] Durant comes back, our young guys are better basketball players. It may not be reflective in the win-loss column, but it allows you to keep your eye on the big picture.”

  Anthony on Blake Griffin’s improved jumper: “The talk was coming in, the improvement of that midrange jump shot. It just takes a lot of pressure off your body when you have that where you can knock down several of these during the course of a game.”

Anthony on new Clippers’ owner Steve Ballmer: “He’s like a kid in a candy store. It is good to see.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Kia

Johnson, O’Neal, Smith and Webber

 

 

Webber on Cavaliers’ struggles: “I want to go back to the Miami Heat. Watching this Cleveland team just made me remember how much of a well-oiled machine the Miami Heat were with LeBron… and remembering their journey, and how they they had to do that [develop] with Erik [Spoelstra] makes those fans kind of patient.”

Smith on James’ uncharacteristic turnovers: “The one thing you don’t expect him to make are mental errors. With eight turnovers it was mental errors. That means possessions when you didn’t get a shot…he is the master at getting the right shot at the right time in his runs with Miami. And, today, he was not that.”

  O’Neal on the Knicks’ triangle offense: “As a professor of the triangle, I gave them a C-minus on the triangle tonight. But, when it comes to heart and effort, I give them a B-plus. When it comes to Carmelo doing what he does, they get an A-plus.”
 

 

Webber on players needing to step up for Oklahoma City following injuries to Durant and Westbrook: “Every team I played on or watched, you see it as an opportunity for other guys to step up. Look at Chicago, the reason why I think Chicago will be such a problem this year, [Jimmy] Butler got chances to play without [Derrick] Rose, other guys got a chance to play.”
  O’Neal on the Clippers needing to put teams away: “We talk about identity, and for so many years the Clippers were viewed as soft… New owner, we’re at home, new, fresh beginning, you have to start developing that killer instinct now.”

Visit the Turner Sports online press room for additional press materials; follow Turner Sports on Twitter at @TurnerSportsPR

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Transcript: ABC & ESPN NBA Countdown Season Preview Media Conference Call

NBA_on_ABCABC and ESPN NBA Countdown analysts Jalen Rose and Doug Collins discussed the start of the 2014-15 NBA season on a media conference call. ESPN’s NBA season tips off Wednesday, Oct. 29, beginning with an hour-long NBA Countdown at 7 p.m. ET with Rose, Collins and host Sage Steele. The program will feature a live performance by International recording artist Aloe Blacc. Following Countdown, the Chicago Bulls and the returning Derrick Rose will visit the New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony at 8 p.m. while the Portland Trail Blazers and Damian Lillard will host the Oklahoma City Thunder and Russell Westbrook at 10:30 p.m.
Here is the replay of today’s conference call.
Q.  With a couple of the top title contenders this year coming in San Antonio, Cleveland and Oklahoma City, while some of the big markets rebuild, I was wondering if you think that it’s a good thing for the league that a lot of the top teams and most marketable stars are in smaller markets rather than bigger markets now?
 
JALEN ROSE:  Well, a couple of things.  The game has graduated with social media, international and world presence, television sponsors – to where you can get the game and get the experience on so many different avenues. You know how people today basically watch television on their phone as they’re moving around.
So playing for a storied franchise – the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets – it’s not necessary per se to continue to make big time endorsement dollars, to continue to be the face of a franchise that’s successful, to be in one of those markets.  So if you’re a really good player like a Kevin Durant who gets drafted by Oklahoma City, you can become the MVP of the league and get exorbitant dollars from a shoe company, and at that point it’s all about winning.  It doesn’t work out for everybody like it worked out for Kobe Bryant getting five championships and spending his entire career in LA or even a Carmelo Anthony who just got a max deal.
If you’re in a good situation now, instead of chasing a large market like Kevin Love could have, he chose to chase the championship rings to Cleveland, something LeBron James couldn’t get people to do a handful of years ago.
Q.  I’m going to go parochial here with the Heat.  What do you expect from them this year?
       
ROSE:  I’ve got to see how many games Dwyane Wade is going to play, just like everyone else.  He has a few different phases to his career and that’s what happens when you become a veteran.  You reinvent yourself on and off the floor. He’s been really mature and handled himself like a leader and a champion off the floor, but on the floor early in the career, it was drive to the basket, contest and/or block shots, one or two spectacular dunks a game, Finals MVP champion.
Then there was what I consider, I guess, The Flash versus Flashes stage where you’ve got LeBron. First year he plays 76 games.  This past year he missed 28 games. Four Finals, two championships.
Now can he be that guy again that the team can rely on to play over 65 games?  I don’t know health wise if he’s going to be able to hold up, and because of that, that’s what’s going to make it a tough season for the Miami Heat, especially based on the recent success they’ve had.
Q.  I know the city of Boston has changed dramatically since you were in the league and you came out in ’94.  What would be your impressions for the city as a free agent destination?  They’re going to have cap space next summer, and obviously Doc is not here to sell the team, nor is Garnett or Pierce or Allen.  It’s going to have to be maybe Rondo or if not, a bunch of young guys.  How do you see Boston as a free agent destination?
       
ROSE:  Now if you’re a city like Boston where you haven’t been able to land terrific superstar level free agents other than your big three scenario with KG, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. It was literally a perfect storm with Doc Rivers standing on the sideline, a young Rajon Rondo, who developed into a high-level point guard.  That was more of the exception than the rule.
I know that they flirted somewhat with Kevin Love and didn’t get too far on trying to attract him as a free agent.  I think when you’re one of those destinations like Boston, you have to draft real well and hope that one of the guys that you’re taking with all the picks you’ve been stockpiling for the last few years either becomes a player that’s already under contract from another team that really has no choice but to come and play there, even if he wouldn’t sign as a free agent, or hope that one of those players turns into a multi-time All-Star that can play alongside Rajon Rondo.  Since that has not happened, you kind of have the picks, you kind of have the money.  You’ve still got Rondo, but you’re not contending in any way, shape or form, and you have the cap space next year.
I think it’s going to be crucial to see what happens with Rondo.  They have to turn him into a player and/or a few players that are going to be multi All Stars, and then once you’re able to do that and you’re a winner again, people always want to try to play for a winner.
Q.  How much does the city itself, obviously with Miami and LA it does, but in terms of just the money you get versus the city you’re playing in, can Milwaukee or Sacramento attract free agents if they have the right amount of money?
       
ROSE:  Yeah, absolutely.  I joke all of the time, keep getting them checks.  You’ve got enough money, you’ll get some players.  Now, the thing is, is it going to be the New York Knicks?  You sign Amar’e Stoudemire, it doesn’t turn out, all of a sudden you bring in Andrea Bargnani, you’re paying him over $10 million to go with Melo and Tyson Chandler. All of a sudden you’ve got the highest-paid front court in the NBA’s history, yet you’re not a playoff team.
So you want to be responsible with how you spend the money, but the second part of the league as the finances start to change and everybody knows the new TV deal is going to be in play, there are players who have role-player statistics now looking for max dollars. So when you see what they ended up having to pay for Avery Bradley, who I really like his game, he’s tough defensively. He’s learned to make an open shot, and he is somebody you can have in the game the last two minutes.  If you take his salary base, if you’re going to be a great team, he’s probably going to be your fourth or fifth highest-paid player.  So who are those other guys?  That becomes the dilemma.
Q.  My question specifically is about the Philadelphia 76ers and what you feel about Sam Hinkie’s approach toward turning this team from a loser to supposedly building it into a winner, and he seems to think it’s maybe the only way you can do it in the NBA.  Do you agree?
       
ROSE:  There are a lot of different ways to do it, so just because you get the No. 1 pick, that guy has only went on to win a championship with that team – if it was Hakeem Olajuwon and Tim Duncan, those are the only No. 1 picks that have gone on to win titles with the team that drafted them.  It’s not an exact science that tanking is going to get you a great player or a franchise championship player, or it’s going to turn around your forces.  You still need Nerlens Noel to become that shot blocker he was at Kentucky and play hopefully reminiscent of how Jermaine O’Neal played.  He kind of reminded me of him; Jermaine has a softer touch.  You hope he grows into that kind of player.
You hope Embiid becomes a guy that was worthy to be the No. 1 pick. He was a game changer defensively in college and all of a sudden you’ve got two rim protectors to go with Michael Carter-Williams, who was the Rookie of the Year.
But now, what price do you pay as fans?  How long are you willing to wait?  Because Philadelphia does have knowledgeable fans but also ticket prices are so exorbitant in today’s landscape. If you support your team, are you going to spend your money to support your team, which makes it bad for the rest of the league because what happens when other teams that are moderate come to town, a .500 team comes on a Wednesday night?  You have guys taking pictures like he did last year, a guy I think bought basically a whole roll of tickets for $75.  So that becomes bad for the entire league.
Hopefully if that is the plan, which they’re definitely engrained to have that as being the plan, this is the last year for that for everybody involved.
And one other thing that affects that is it’s a league issue.  It’s when you decide that you can pay rookies 500K or first year contract or people in their first contract $500,000 but a 10-year veteran is around $1.5 million. It waters down the roster to where not only do you have a team that’s struggling, but you have a team of young guys that aren’t experienced that are struggling. So they don’t understand how to be professionals and bring it every night, compete every possession, still work hard in practice, know what to say to the media, still be involved in the community.  Those are learned behaviors because of the reasons of trying to save money that teams hurt their roster from just having a competitive team on a nightly basis.
Q.  I’ve got a couple Bulls questions.  How much of an upgrade do you think Pau Gasol will be over Carlos Boozer, and how would you compare Joakim Noah’s game?
       
ROSE:  I think the Chicago Bulls on paper right now, you’d have to argue the players that they’re going to have playing minutes at the four and five position, and I’m including McDermott because of his size, I’m including Mirotic because of his size even though they’re rookies, and I think the team drafted well to add those two guys.  But when you have Pau – who averaged 17 points last year, still is a factor around the basket and is a really good passer high low and he’s an unselfish player and he’s a cerebral player to go with an all-NBA performer in Noah, who was the Defensive Player of the Year, and then add Taj Gibson, who they still have, who can finish over the top, who’s tough to the point where they allow Carlos Boozer to be expendable because he’s so good defensively in the fourth quarter. That’s as formidable as it gets, and that’s what I’m looking at when you compare them to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
You know what you’re going to get from Kevin Love.  You can book his 20 plus and 10 plus.  Tristan Thompson, he was close to a double-double last year.  Is he going to be consistent?  Can he stay out of foul trouble?  How many games are you going to get from Varejao?  I’m not really a big believer in Haywood at this point of his career playing quality playoff minutes.
If I had to go interior and give a team the edge, it would be the Bulls, and that’s why at this point of the season, if I had to pick who I felt like was going to come out of the East, it would be Chicago for those reasons.
Q.  So I take it you have really high expectations for Derrick Rose this year then?
       
ROSE:  Yes, I like a guy that can get 30 points in 24 minutes against the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Coach Collins broke down a play on our Countdown show where it was 0-0 and Derrick Rose got a long outlet, dribbled up the left side, went over a high pick and roll, drove right to the basket and laid it up.  So what that showed me is that that’s another thing that’s going to make that rivalry great.  Kyrie can boogie with the ball.  I joked that he’s like, I guess, Turbo and Breakin’ outside of the store dancing with a broom.  He can really make it happen, but he has to learn as well as Love and even Waiters to compete defensively.
Chicago has a toughness about them.  They have a defensive identity, and they have the coach in the league with the highest win percentage that has never won a championship in Tom Thibodeau.  They have those pieces in place, and I think they could be ready to take that leap.
Q.  What do you think about Chris Bosh as a No. 1 option offensively at this point?
 
ROSE:  When you look down at the stat sheet, I think he’s still going to be 18 points, shoot a high percentage, cause matchup problems for the opposing four.  He’s shown that he can be an All Star level player, whether in Toronto, and/or a champion in Miami, who’s clutch.  He makes big shots at the end of the games.  But the difference is the wear and tear that’s going to happen with him now having to play closer to the basket, doing more post ups, and grabbing more rebounds.  That’s the biggest decrease that I’ve seen in his game is that as he’s shot more threes and basically it was because of their system that was successful for that team, that took him away from the paint, and he got less rebounds.
So he’s going to be in there trying to get more rebounds and be more of a physical presence, and it’s going to be good.  I think he’s going to be able to live up to the fact that they need him to score buckets, but they’re going to need a lot more points from that roster than he’s going to be able to deliver, I think.
Q.  Two quick questions:  One quick one with regards to the Wizards and your thoughts about the entire Southeast Division, and secondly, your thoughts about the Cavaliers’ first year coach, David Blatt?
 
ROSE:  I’ll go Coach David Blatt first because it was last and it was fresh.  Having LeBron James, Kevin Love and also Kyrie Irving with the fact that he is a really successful championship international coach that’s been really creative with his teams, and his players have really enjoyed playing for him, playing in his system – the way that he wants them to move the basketball and not really play a lot of isolation – for that I think they’re going to be one of the most efficient teams that we’ve seen in the league.
If I had to pick two players to play with LeBron just from an offensive standpoint, it would be Kyrie Irving and it would be Kevin Love.  When is the last time that guy has played on a team where one guy is going to get the rebound, somebody else is going to get the outlet, and he can actually be on a 2-on-1 break trying to dunk on someone?  I’m excited to see that.
Q.  Not since college.
 
ROSE:  I joked that the best point guard that he’s probably played against his high school was Rich Paul.  And the second question?
Q.  The Washington Wizards and your assessment of the entire Southeast Division.
 
ROSE:  The Washington Wizards, I really enjoyed seeing the emergence of John Wall, becoming an All Star caliber player.  It’s hard sometimes as a point guard where that’s the toughest position on a nightly basis in the league to come into your own, and he ended up staying healthy last year and became an All Star level player.  Couple him with Bradley Beal, I really like them as a young, talented backcourt.  I affectionately call them Hustle and Flow.
You bring in a Paul Pierce. The last two or three minutes of a game, Paul Pierce has shown that he’s a guy that you want the basketball in his hands because he can make plays with the best of them.
You’re really going to lose Trevor Ariza’s athleticism, his defense, his ability to switch multiple positions, and he has quick hands, so I think they’re going to miss that.  Can Nene stay healthy?  When you look at him, whether it was in Denver, every time I see him, I was like, wow, if that guy could stay healthy, he could be an All-Star caliber player, and then he just had health issue after health issue. You saw what he can bring if he’s healthy come playoff time, what he did in this past playoffs, and Gortat, who they just signed to new deal, that’s a real formidable four/five.  They basically remade their bench and those guys have got to prove their worth.
As far as the entire division?
Q.  Do you feel it to be kind of an up for grabs situation, that there’s Washington, there’s Miami, there’s Carolina, literally any number of teams that could really jump in there and take it?
 
ROSE:  Absolutely, but I want to grade Miami on a curve for a second.  They’re getting graded on having Pat Riley, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and going to four straight Finals, okay.  The other teams in this division still have a lot of work to do, and they did add Luol Deng, and I don’t think that they’re going to be an Eastern Conference finalist, but don’t be surprised if the Heat are a playoff team.
Atlanta, I love Al Horford.  He’s going to back in the lineup.  You put him back with Millsap, they’re a team no one really talks much about.  They can also be in the playoffs again.
Lance Stephenson is now with Charlotte.  Put him with Al Jefferson, Kemba Walker, they’re quietly putting their team together, who’s going to make three point shots for that squad.
And Orlando, they’re dealing with Oladipo’s injury, and I really like Vucevic and Tobias Harris.  It is a division that’s up for grabs, but don’t be surprised when the smoke clears if the Heat is not a lot closer to the top than people really realize on paper.
Q.  A couple more Cavs questions:  Starting with LeBron’s thing that the offense that they’re running is unlike anything he’s done in his 11 years in the league, and in watching the preseason games, have you picked up on any of that that you could explain to us as to what they’re doing that’s so different than the rest of the league is doing?
       
ROSE:  LeBron gets to play as a small forward.  In Miami he was a point power forward.  Early in his Cleveland days he was basically like a point forward because he wasn’t playing post-up basketball much at that point in his career.
His whole dynamic of how he’s seeing the game has changed because his positions have literally switched.  When you have a legitimate All Star point guard in Kyrie, you don’t have to come and get every outlet pass because you know, A, that’s his job; B, you want him to make the second pass sometimes.  And then all of a sudden, Kyrie, while he may get the hockey assist, LeBron is in a position in transition to make a play for himself or for others.
In the half court, it’s basically throwback NBA basketball.  Some teams still play power basketball like the Memphis Grizzlies where they go and throw it to the elbow and drop it to the box and see if they can take advantage of a mismatch or set a small screen for the big weak side like Stockton used to do Malone, then all of a sudden we can get some action that way.
How they’re trying to do it, it’s just have five-man basketball. Pass, cut, moving like your hair is on fire, no standing around, the basketball finds the energy, the energy finds the hot man, and you hope to get a good shot and have a situation where people never feel like they have to force their offensive flow.
Q.  And then to follow up, you were on a Phoenix team with some big time personalities and stardom between Nash and Stoudemire and Marion.  When you have a group like this Cavs group where you have Love and Kyrie and LeBron, how much is that on the responsibility of the players to fit together, and how much does David Blatt shoulder that to make sure everyone is on the same page?
       
ROSE:  Well, the ultimate responsibility is going to fall to LeBron because I think those pieces are in place even though they hired the coach before.  He officially decided to come back to Cleveland.  When you have a four time MVP on your roster it’s going to start and end with him.  He’s the marionette that learned from the puppeteer Pat Riley and Dwyane Wade how to be a champion, how to lead the team, how to recruit players to come play in Cleveland.
He even poached a couple of the Heat players off their roster, formerly Mike Miller and then James Jones.
So when you’re now in Cleveland, his whole goal is to show a young Kyrie Irving, a young Dion Waiters how to be a pro, how to work, how to compete, and Kevin Love how to transform those numbers that he was getting into wins and losses, into more wins.
I think that dynamic is really ironed out, and there won’t be any gray area at all.
Q.  LeBron James basically transformed the Miami Heat franchise, obviously the players, the roster, everything from the organization, top down.  What’s the toughest thing for the Heat, the players on the roster and the organization as a whole going forward while that shadow of LeBron’s departure hovers over the franchise?
DOUG COLLINS:  Well, the thing about it is you know with Miami, the blueprint is in place.  You know, Pat Riley has been there, Erik Spoelstra has been there 20 years.  They call it the Miami way.  This is the way we do things.
The big thing for Erik now is he’s got to find the best way for this particular team without LeBron to win basketball games.  It’s going to be a different offense.  It’s going to be a different defense, and you’ve got a lot of different dynamics. Last year, so often LeBron was the point guard, so now you’re asking Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole to assume those duties of being the point guard and running whatever kind of offense that Erik feels they need to run to be able to be successful.
Chris Bosh has gone from being the third guy, a spacer shooting the ball and not being in the post much, shooting threes, to now being the No. 1 option, being in the paint more, scoring on the block, going back to a lot of the ways that he played in Toronto.
The big question to me is going to be Dwyane Wade.  Last year he missed 28 games and the blueprint looked like it was working until into The Finals, where it looked like he didn’t have a lot left at that particular time.  How are they going to manage him this year?  What role is he going to play?  We know that when he’s healthy, he’s still a dynamic player.
You’re adding Josh McRoberts, when he’s healthy, to be a starting power forward.  Chris Bosh is a center.  Who’s their bench going to be?
The Miami way is in place.  It’s now going to be what do we have to do in the absence of the best player in the NBA to find a way to win on both ends of the floor.  How can we maximize our bench?  How can we maximize our starters?  But to me at the end of the day it’s how effective are Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh going to be, and everybody has got to play off them.
I didn’t mention Luol Deng.  I think it was an excellent acquisition in that deal.  We know what kind of player Luol is, but it’s going to be a totally different team, and how long it takes them to come together is going to be very interesting.
Q.  And then for Jalen, as a player coming out of this, what’s your perspective?  How do you deal with this?  Just everything in general from the lack of media circus to maybe lower expectations now?
       
ROSE:  This is where your pride and professionalism kicks in, in particular for Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.  They want to prove like, wow, LeBron was a leader and the MVP, that they weren’t just living off his fumes.  That’s what’s going to drive them.  I can be a first option if I’m Chris Bosh.  I can put up the numbers that people feel like I wasn’t able to put up because I was sharing the basketball and sacrificing myself for championships.
And for Dwyane Wade, already one of the top two guards that the league has seen, can he go back to being a guy that was blocking shots, getting steals, being active, playing multiple games a year?
It’s hard just to imagine on paper to have a maintenance plan with LeBron James that called for him to miss 28 games, and unfortunately he got fatigued come Finals.  I can’t imagine how that could go stronger this year without LeBron James on the roster.
Q.  With the Lakers not being able to land like a big time free agent in the off season, a lot has been made about the fall of the Lakers and that franchise, and a lot of the blame seems to be going towards Kobe Bryant.  How much blame for the struggles of the franchise do you believe should be pointed towards Kobe?
       
COLLINS:  I’m not going to put any blame on Kobe Bryant.  That guy has played for almost 20 years now.  He’s played over 50,000 career minutes.  When he’s healthy, he’s been the best player at his position throughout his time in the NBA.  He’s been all defense.
You have to understand, success is cyclical in this league.  How did the Celtics do after they lost Bird, McHale and Parrish?  How did the Lakers do after they lost Magic and Kareem and Worthy and that group of guys?  How did the Bulls do after they lost Michael, Scottie and Phil and that group of guys?
And sometimes we don’t understand, the league has changed a lot, where super teams are put together to last for a while with each other.  Look at the Boston Celtics right now. They had the run with Doc and Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.  Look where they are.  It’s a cyclical part of the NBA, and what’s changed, and maybe Jalen can talk about this, is if you look at it, when is the last time the Boston Celtics signed a big-time free agent?  When is the last time that the Philadelphia 76ers have signed big-time free agent?  When is the last time the New York Knicks have signed a big-time free agent?
The days of those teams automatically signing those guys isn’t happening.  Guys are going and playing other places.  They understand that you don’t have to play in the biggest markets to have success as well as get endorsements and all.  Look at Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City; look at the team down in San Antonio.
To put that on Kobe, I’m not buying it.  The guy is one of the all-time great competitors.  I think he’s an easy target right now because Kobe is not a warm and fuzzy guy, and he’ll step up to the plate and compete every night, but I just think that’s wrong to put all this on his plate.
ROSE:  And I’ll second what Doug said because great teams in today’s era, the elite teams have three guys playing at All-Star levels; the contending teams have two; playoff caliber teams, especially in the East, can have one.  Kobe was great when he had Shaq.  He was a champion when he had Gasol.
I look back at one decision that changed the Lakers’ fortune that probably is going to put Kobe in a position not to get a sixth ring.  It was the decision to hire Mike D’Antoni over Phil Jackson.  Now, for a guy that’s won five championships with your franchise, and we know about the personal relationship he has with Jeanie Buss, but just professionally, when they decided to go to Mike D’Antoni, well, who else was in tow with Mike D’Antoni?  Steve Nash.  Well, Steve Nash we all know is already out for the season and Mike D’Antoni has been fired.
Those were the two catalyst decisions to me that put Kobe in a position to now say, of course I’m going to ask for maximum dollars.  I see the team that’s probably a shell of itself taking me into my twilight, so of course, who am I going to leave money on the table for?  So he looks at a young team and he looks at a situation that’s in flux, and he says, I’m going to be a pro, I’m going to get healthy, I’m going to show the world I can come back and average 25 points.  But when he does that, he’s coming back to a Western Conference that 32 wins won’t get you in the playoffs, and I think that’s what they’re looking at.
Q.  Feeding off that, comment on the notion that free agents don’t want to go play with Kobe.
       
COLLINS:  When you’re a great player in this league, I mean, LeBron James had two choices:  LeBron was either going to stay in Miami or he was going to go home.  He wasn’t going to go to his third city.  At the end of the day, Carmelo was not going to leave New York City and what that brings to him.  I think that’s really unfair to say guys don’t want to go play with Kobe.
I think there’s a lot of chatter and all that kind of stuff or whatever, but I don’t buy that at all.  I’m sorry, but I don’t buy that.
ROSE:  It relates to one All Star caliber player who’s listed around a top 10, top 15 player, and that’s about Dwight Howard, and since they didn’t click initially and Dwight didn’t stay, that was the other domino that I talked about with the other scenarios. Then all of a sudden you lose an All-Star guy to Houston and you don’t get anything in return.
Q.  Clearly the biggest storyline of the offseason was LeBron returning home to Cleveland.  What storylines are you most intrigued by as we’re getting ready to open up the season?
       
COLLINS:  For me, obviously to watch this Cleveland team as they grow through this period of time.  Some of these guys are going to be under the greatest scrutiny they’ve ever been under as players.  You’ve already seen it.  Kevin Love makes a little statement I need more touches to get going, and basically LeBron gets the guys together and says, guys, understand that every word we say is going to be parsed.  Don’t you find it interesting that every press conference that they had in Miami, he and Dwyane Wade did them together?  We’re going to make sure that we’re on the same page every single day, so it can’t be divide and conquer. This guy said this, this guy said that.
To watch them, David Blatt is a terrific coach.  I think his biggest challenge is going to be handling the media and all that goes with this team as it continues to grow.
I think it’s going to be interesting with the Chicago Bulls.  They’ve got new pieces.  Jalen and I differ on this a little bit.  I think they have the right pieces, but I think that’s going to take a while longer.  Derrick Rose coming back, they’re still not solidified yet with that starting situation.  I’m of the belief that McDermott would be a better starter and Dunleavy coming off the bench would solidify that second unit, but I think Tibs is concerned about having the best possible team he can have out there to start the season so they don’t get off to a slow start.
How do you incorporate Pau Gasol into the low post?  They played through Joakim Noah last year.  Now he’s playing as a power forward.  He’s not catching the ball as much.  He’s not much of a playmaker because you have Rose and you have Pau Gasol.  Jimmy Butler has already got an injury.  So there’s a lot of stuff going on there that we know they’re going to be great defensively.  Can they get good enough offensively to be a team that can win a championship?
And then to me the West Coast, I mean, it’s unfortunate the injury to Kevin Durant, but you’ve got eight teams that made the playoffs last year.  If any team is going to be able to break through, can the Pelicans break through?  They’ve got six really good players.  Do they have enough depth?  Can they stay healthy?
Phoenix Suns had a feel-good season last year.  Can they build on that?  So to me there are 10 teams in the West for eight spots.  How far is Oklahoma City going to drop with the injury to Durant?
I think as much as the Clippers had a great year last year, I think they still have some questions.  Jalen and I both talk about I’m concerned about their size on the wings and on the perimeter.  When it comes to playing teams, they really struggled against Oklahoma City last year, size on the perimeter.  That three-spot right now is by committee.  J.J. Redick has got to stay healthy.  There’s a lot of things going on out there.
To me, so many storylines in the West, but the East, last year we were talking about two teams.  Start of the year we said Indiana and Miami are going to be there in the Conference Finals, and they were.  This year in the East, we’re talking about two teams:  Cleveland and Chicago and everybody else, so it’ll be interesting to watch for me.
ROSE:  And I’ll give you a couple of quick nuggets because Coach killed it.  The return of Derrick Rose.  If he can play at an all NBA level, I feel like they should win the Eastern Conference.  LeBron’s return to Cleveland, I mean, just the maturation to forgive the letter written by Dan Gilbert, but also that means an acknowledgment of his transgressions that he felt like he could have done things a lot different with the organization and with the fans, then to turn around and be able to recruit Kevin Love, Shawn Marion, Mike Miller, James Jones and possibly Ray Allen.  Stay tuned for that one.
On the West, working the NBA Finals and being at those games, just appreciating the Spurs fans, I just have a soundtrack in my head that just literally says, Go Spurs Go!  I think I’m so wound up that I might just blurt it out every now and then because that’s how dominant they were and how impressed I am with the way they do things.
Their offseason included re-signing Pop, re-signing Tony, re-signing Tim, Patty Mills, Boris Diaw and Matt Bonner, and they’re hoping to obviously get an extension going with Kawhi Leonard.
They’re back in tow, along with what Coach said, the Clippers.  Is it their turn?  CP3, Blake Griffin, all-NBA performers.  DeAndre Jordan is going to be in position to lead the league in field goal percentage and blocks and rebounds, probably the first guy to be able to do that in NBA history.
So I’m trying to see if it’s going to be the Clippers’ turn because I think they have what it takes to push the San Antonio Spurs.
COLLINS:  Just to build on what Jalen said, too, to me there’s some really intriguing teams in the West.  Golden State, can they cut down on their turnovers?  Steve is really working on having a more free flowing offense.  Can they keep their defensive integrity?  You look at a team like Portland; last year their starters were healthy most of the entire year.  They win 54 – they hope to be able to have some internal improvement.  They’ve added Chris Kaman and Stevie Blake.  Can C.J. McCollum help them?  Can they have a bench?
To me, Memphis, all these teams, first of all, the success of every team as Jalen knows is all based upon health.  So given every team stays healthy, to me it’s going to be interesting to see at the end of the day who comes out of the mix.
ROSE:  And also, me and Coach really love Dallas and we didn’t mention them.
 
COLLINS:  Yes, sir, absolutely, I’m glad you mentioned them.  They’ve got a great coach.  I like Tyson Chandler going there, Chandler Parsons.  They’ve got depth.  They’re going to be able to score the ball, but the big thing is can they defend well enough to win a championship.
Every team, as great as their strengths are, every one of them is flawed.  There’s not a team out there that doesn’t have a flaw.  You say Spurs, the only flaw they would have is they’re older.  Other than that, they play beautiful basketball.  They’re locked in, they’ve got the corporate knowledge, they’ve never had a back to back champion.  Can they do that?  There’s so many things to talk about.
ROSE:  And also Houston with Harden and Dwight Howard, you add Trevor Ariza who I really like, can Terrence Jones become a guy that’s consistent as his career high nights.
Q.  I just want to get your impressions on Brad Stevens, his second season.  What kind of coaching job do you think he did in his first season, and how do you manage a roster like I’m sure you did where everybody is about even, you’ve got one star but you’ve got,  the rest of the guys have got chips on their shoulders, something to prove, maybe have underachieved in other places and it’s pretty even?  How do you manage that?
       
COLLINS:  I think Brad is a terrific coach.  The first thing, when you’re Brad Stevens, you’re walking in, you’re navigating basically an 80-game season, and you’re coming in. I mean, we saw what he did at Butler.  That team was as well coached as any team that was in college basketball.  He’s got a great feel for the game.  He’s got a nice demeanor.  He’s a terrific teacher.  The hardest part is dealing with the losses.  I mean, he’s never lost before.  The guy has been to two Final Fours with Butler.
So when you go in, and understand doing your job on a daily basis, and a lot of it was almost like a developmental league team, D League team, where your job is as much to try to get players better and create the assets of your team to put your team in a position to move forward as it is to focus in on how many games you can win.  That’s tough because as a competitor, all you think about is winning that next game.
I give him a lot of credit.  Brett Brown had 63 losses last year.  That’s tough to take to keep your energy up, the positive energy, to walk in practice every single day, to continue to teach, to do the things you do.
I’m a big Brad Stevens fan.  I think he did a wonderful job, and he’s going to be more comfortable this year because the second year going through it, you’ve got a better feel for the pacing of everything.  Your practices, the days off, who needs extra work, who doesn’t.
You know, I had a team in Philadelphia when I went there, probably Andre Iguodala on paper was our best player.  He became an All-Star my second year there.  Drew Holiday became an All-Star my third year there.  But when I looked at our team, I thought we had strength in numbers, and I thought if we could get seven guys averaging in double figures and develop a bench, we had a chance to get a lot better, and we went from 27 wins to 41, a 14-game improvement, was the second most in the league.  We got an identity of how we wanted to play, we defended, we didn’t turn the ball over.
But the two keys for me were Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young.  They were two of my five best players, and I went to them and I asked them if they would come off the bench for me to make us a better team.  They would play crunch time minutes.  Lou became the leading scorer for me.  Thad was one of my best players.  Lou was second in sixth man of the year, I think Thad was five.  Our team grew and we got better.
But it was because those players were willing to step up and play a role because they were two of my five best players and we got off to a 3-and-13 start that year, and for the guys to hang with it and for it to turn, it was a fun thing to watch.  But when you’re losing every single night and you’re trying to build something, it’s hard because I don’t care what any coach says, you go home, and it eats at your stomach when you’re losing basketball games.
I give Brad a lot, a lot of credit, and also I said, Brett Brown, to take those kind of losses, to start to build something for Philadelphia and Boston. I’ve got a lot of respect for both of those guys.
Q.  How do you feel about Sam’s approach toward rebuilding this franchise, especially the way you have kind of brought it up, especially the second year and the second round to see what’s happening now?  How do you feel about his approach and the state of the franchise?
       
COLLINS:  Well, I think, first of all, obviously I miss being in Philadelphia.  You know what that franchise means to me, so I always root for them.  I want them to do great.  It’s a little painful for me right now to be a former Sixer and see the losses and all.
But the one thing I remember when I left, I talked to Josh Harris, the owner, and I said, Josh, regardless of what you’re going to do, stick with the plan.  You can’t switch in mid-stream.  If it gets painful, it’s going to be painful and you’re going to have to ride through it, and once you make the choice to do what you’re going to do    and I felt they were going to do it, is to blow the team up and start all over again.  This is what we’re going to do, this is how we’re going to do, we ask you to stick through the pain of what we’re doing.
And you can see that Michael Carter-Williams last year was the Rookie of the Year.  Hopefully he’s going to be healthy and come back.  Nerlens Noel looks like he has a chance to be a high-energy activity defender, shock blocker, rebounder.  I don’t know if he’s ever going to be a big time scorer, but a guy who could be a part of a really, really good team.  Embiid, can he get healthy?  The Shved kid who’s overseas, all the draft picks and everything.
But there’s a lot of pain that goes with that, and that’s why I said I have a lot of respect for Brett Brown.  He’s a tremendous coach.  He walks in that gym every single day with great positive energy to teach that team.
It’s interesting when you get older you hope you can shoot your age in golf.  You don’t want to lose your age as a coach, and last year had I coached, it was 63 wins, that’s how old I am.  I did not want to lose 63 games.  At my age I just couldn’t go through that.
Sam has got a plan.  The most important thing is Josh, David Blitzer, and all the owners are on board, and they’ve made no bones about it with the city of Philadelphia, this is what we’re doing, stick with us.  We think it’s going to work.  Whether or not it does, I don’t think anybody knows, but that’s their plan.
Q.  Is there any scenario in which you could see Miami competing with Chicago and Cleveland in the East?
       
COLLINS:  I don’t see it unless there’s a major injury to one of those teams.  I think I just look at Cleveland, I think they’re going to be one of the most dynamic offensive teams in the league.  I said the first exhibition game they played, I think LeBron took seven shots, had two buckets, Kyrie didn’t play, and they had 122 points.  So they’re going to be a team that can score the ball.  I think the question is going to be for them as a champion.  Can they become a top-10 defensive team?  I think it’s going to be vital for Varejao and Tristan Thompson to stay healthy.  They’re their two big guys that they’re going to ask to give them some size.  They’re going to be a great rebounding team.  And I think at the end of the day, LeBron has a chance to lead the league in assists, and I think once again, he’ll become a first league all defender, and so I think that they’re going to be awfully tough to beat.
With Chicago, polar opposites.  Right now a team that is built on their defense.  Can their offense come up to snuff?  Can Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol give them extra points at all and make the game a little easier for them to where they don’t have to grind out every game every single night?
I’ve got a lot of respect for Miami.  I just – when I look at their team, I say, you know what, there’s still a lot of questions with Norris Cole, Mario Chalmers being your point guard, still a lot of questions about how many games Dwyane Wade is going to be able to play at a high level because of the injury to his knee that he suffered, can Chris Bosh be back to that No. 1 option, Josh McRoberts and Luol Deng filling in, what kind of bench play they’re going to get.  I know they’re going to be well prepared.  I know they’re going to compete.  I know they won’t beat themselves.  I just don’t see them being in the class of those other two teams.
Q.  As a coach, what do you think about running an offense through Chris Bosh?  Is that viable?
 
COLLINS:  Well, I mean, the thing about it is, I think when you look at their team, that’s the way they’re built now.  It’s interesting to me because we played them in the playoffs the one year, and Bosh was a little bit more of an integral part of their offense.  I thought that first year where they ran out of timeouts, they got him the ball at the elbows, they ran some isolations for him, they started games running plays for him, they got him the ball in the paint a little bit more, and I thought as time went on he became more of a home run hitter, where he was depending so much on that three, a little bit what you’ve seen with Kevin Love in the preseason in Cleveland. I think Jalen and I did a game the other night and 22 of his 45 shots, Love shot it in from the three point line.
Chris Bosh is going to be a guy, you’re going to go back, throw the ball in the post to him.  It’s sort of interesting, but you go back to one of his quotes last year in the playoffs, he said, I don’t play down in the post anymore; I don’t take all that pounding.  Well, that’s where he’s going to be right now and we’ll have to see how he plays.
Q.  You touched on the Bulls and Derrick Rose a little bit.  I just wanted to get more elaboration on what you think Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic add to the front court.  Do you think that’s going to be enough to get past Cleveland, and do you think Rose can stay healthy for the whole year?
COLLINS:  Well, I sure hope that Derrick Rose can stay healthy because as a man who suffered injury, my heart aches when you see a great player, and I was never a Derrick Rose, an MVP, but I was a player who played at a pretty high level and loved to play.  When the game was taken away from me, it was heartbreaking that I couldn’t play.  I hope he can play.  He’s taken a lot of grief from being hurt.  Nobody wants to be hurt, and so for him to be back out there – I saw some great play from him in the preseason, and I think the question is going to be his building on the minutes.  But his efficiency has been terrific.
I think when you look at the Bulls, I don’t think people realize that you have a lot of the same pieces back, but they’re a very different team.  To me when I see Pau Gasol out there playing as a center, and I see Joakim Noah playing as a power forward, his defensive role has changed.  Last year he was the Defensive Player of the Year as a center. Now you’re going to see him playing at that four spot a lot when Pau is in there as a five.  You’ll see him play as a five when he’s out there with Taj Gibson.
But so much of what they did last year, their offense, they played through Joakim as an offensive player, not necessarily to score but to facilitate.
Now he’s got to find his role in that offense now because the ball is either going to be in Derrick Rose’s hands or it’s going to be in Pau Gasol’s hands in the post.  So that’s a little different.
To me it’s going to be interesting at the end of the day who Tibs ends up settling on to be the starter.  It looks like Dunleavy maybe to start the year, but that second unit has got to get an identity.  I thought in the preseason they were very inconsistent.
When you had McDermott out there, when you had him out there with Mirotic, two rookies; you had Aaron Brooks, who was a new guy; you had Taj out there; and you had Kirk Hinrich, so I thought they were struggling to find who they needed to be.
I’d go on record and say I feel like at the end of the day, if somehow Doug McDermott can be a starter, I think he’s going to get better shots with that starting unit being out there with Pau Gasol and with Derrick Rose, and it’s not going to depend so much on Jimmy Butler having to make as many shots. And then I think Mike Dunleavy is a guy who has played off the bench in his career, and to me with him out there and Taj Gibson and Kirk and Aaron Brooks, you’ve got a little bit more of a veteran feel to it.
I don’t know what kind of minutes Mirotic is going to get because I don’t know if Tibs can play four bigs, and we know there’s 96-minutes between Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson, and I think the interesting thing for Tibs is it’s going to be – last year, it was a given, the third quarter ended, Carlos Boozer put on his warm up, he ended the game with Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson.  Now Pau Gasol wants to finish those games, too, so what’s it going to be?  It might be from night to night he doesn’t always finish with the same two guys.  I think that’s a dynamic that he has to figure out.
With all this said and done and Chicago coming back, I think they have as much work to do as Cleveland in getting themselves together to where they want to be.
Q.  Quick question with regard to Coach Blatt in Cleveland.  What are some of the challenges as a first-time head coach do you think that he’s got, and do you think that he’s up to the challenge?
COLLINS:  Well, first of all, I think he’s up to the challenge.  This guy has been a success everywhere he’s been.  He’s coached everywhere, and he’s taken the talent of his team and he’s played that kind of basketball.  I know there was one team that he played, I can’t remember off of top of my head right now which one it was, but it was a team that they had to win with defense, and then he’s had some of the most dynamic offenses.
So I think he’s a guy that knows both sides of the ball.  I think to just say he’s a terrific offensive mind would be selling him short.  I love his assistant coach; he’s got T [Tyronn] Lue in there, who played for me.  I think LD, Larry Drew, is there with him, so he’s got a good group of guys. Jimmy Boylan I think is there.  So he’s got a good group of guys who understand the NBA.
To me it’s going to be managing people.  Every word that comes out of Cleveland is going to be parsed.  Miami was the most scrutinized team in the NBA when LeBron was there.  They’re going to be the most scrutinized team in the NBA with him back in Cleveland.  So to me it’s going to be just managing the media, dealing with the day to day, managing the personalities.  He has all the other stuff.  He has all the Xs and Os; he has all that stuff he needs, and I think he’s got the greatest sidekick you can have, a guy who’s locked arms with him, is LeBron.
LeBron is going home, and LeBron knows that at the end of the day, whether they rise or fall, the pressure is on LeBron James.  To me, it’s not on David Blatt.  When LeBron went back to Cleveland, he said, I’m stepping up, all the pressure is on me, it’s not on Kyrie Irving, it’s not on Kevin Love, it’s not on anybody else. It’s on me coming back to help make sure this works.
What I’m feeling from everything I’m reading and everything that he and David Blatt have gotten together, they have a wonderful working relationship.  But Cleveland hasn’t had a bump in the road yet, and until they have that first adversity where anything happens where they’ve got to fight through it, we don’t know how they’re going to be.  But I do know this:  There’s no more pressure in Cleveland LeBron is going to have on him than what he faced down in Miami on an everyday basis for four years down there.
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NBA TV To Salute San Antonio Spurs With Special ‘Champions Day’ Programming Monday, Oct. 27

NBA-TV-Logo“Champions Day” to Feature an NBA TV Originals Candid Conversation with Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker Reflecting on More Than a Decade of Excellence

NBA TV’s Special Programming to Include Champions Revealed: 2014 San Antonio Spurs,

Open Court: NBA Champions Edition, 2014 San Antonio Spurs: Go Spurs Go & NBA Finals Re-Airs

NBA TV will feature special daylong programming on Monday, Oct. 27, to celebrate the 2014 NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs. The network will premiere three original programs – Champions Revealed: 2014 San Antonio Spurs, Open Court: NBA Champions Edition and 2014San Antonio Spurs: Go Spurs Go – along with re-airs of past NBA Finals performances and season reviews from the Spurs’ five title-winning seasons.

Anchoring the programming block, Champions Revealed: 2014 San Antonio Spurs, an NBA TV Originals production, will feature a candid conversation between the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, at 9 p.m. ET.  The four principal figures sat down following last year’s NBA Finals win to reflect on the building of a dynasty, how their relationships have developed over the years and the satisfaction of this past year’s championship season.

The three-hour primetime block of original programming will tip off with 2014 San Antonio Spurs: Go Spurs Go, a look back at last year’s Spurs championship season, at 8 p.m. The hour-long program relives the Spurs’ fifth title run with exclusive interviews, highlights and behind-the-scenes footage.

The night will conclude with a champions-themed edition of Open Court at 10 p.m., with the critically acclaimed roundtable show featuring a cast of NBA Champions – Hall of Famers Shaquille O’Neal and Isiah Thomas, along with Rick Fox, Kenny Smith, Steve Smith and Chauncey Billups – with Sports Emmy Award-winning host Ernie Johnson. The panel of NBA greats reflects on championship experiences and discusses the perseverance it takes to win a title.

Earlier in the day, NBA TV will re-air season in review shows from the Spurs’ previous four championship seasons starting at 9 a.m., followed by encore airings of Games 1, 3, 4 and 5 of the 2014 NBA Finals, beginning at 2 p.m.

Excerpts from Champions Revealed: 2014 San Antonio Spurs:

Popovich on the beginning of the Duncan Era in San Antonio: “[Tim Duncan] came to training camp and David Robinson watched him play and about the second practice the whole offense changed. David was now in the dunker spot and Timmy was on the block catching the ball and David never even said a word…You know this new kid comes in and all of a sudden David’s not getting all of his touches…I never said, ‘David this is the way it’s going to be.’ We just did what we did and he knew it right off the bat and he loved it. Timmy just grew and grew from there, unbelievable.”

Parker on the quality of people in building the Spurs: “I like what TD said…we talked and he said we are good people at heart. I think that is the best thing when you choose the players, they are like good people, and all they care [about] is the team. It’s easy for everybody to follow.”

Duncan on Ginobili’s maturation through tough practices against Bruce Bowen: “I remember the first year you were here when we practiced; you’d have to play against Bruce [Bowen] a lot. And Bruce used to beat the absolute crap out of you. That’s where I started believing and started seeing that he was as good as advertised because Bruce would go at him and beat him up and try to slow him down and he’d play through all of it.”

Manu on witnessing firsthand the Spurs’ chemistry and execution last season: “I start on the bench so I get to see what’s going on more and there were some plays, especially this year, where it was like boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, wow, or those passes from Tony to a wing to Boris [Diaw] to you or an extra pass to the corner, it was fun… I said, ‘This is nice. We are playing at a really high level and if we could understand that this is the way to go on a daily basis it can be so special.’”

About NBA TV

NBA TV is a part of NBA Digital, the NBA’s extensive cross-platform portfolio of digital assets jointly-managed by the NBA and Turner Sports including NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA LEAGUE PASS, NBA LEAGUE PASS Broadband, NBA Mobile, NBADLEAGUE.com and WNBA.com.

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NBA Countdown Returns on ABC and ESPN

NBA-on-ESPN-logoNBA Countdown Returns on ABC and ESPN

  • Sage Steele Hosts Fridays and Sundays with Analysts Jalen Rose and Doug Collins
  • Doris Burke, Avery Johnson and Rose Return for Wednesday Shows
  • Countdown Hits Miami on Christmas Day

NBA Countdown – ABC’s and ESPN’s NBA pregame studio show – returns for the 2014-15 NBA season, beginning this preseason and will extend through the NBA Finals in June. Sage Steele, in her second season as host, will be joined by returning analysts Jalen Rose and Doug Collins for Friday shows on ESPN and Sunday shows, generally on ABC.

Steele, Rose and Collins will make their debut this preseason on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 7:30 p.m. ET, preceding ESPN’s NBA preseason doubleheader. The trio will then make its regular-season debut on Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m. for a one-hour show leading into ESPN’s opening night games. The Oct. 29 edition of NBA Countdown will include a live performance by International recording artist Aloe Blacc. Steele, Rose and Collins will resume their regular Friday schedule on Oct. 31 and regular Sunday schedule after Christmas Day.

NBA Countdown on Wednesdays

Regular Wednesday editions of NBA Countdown on ESPN will begin on Nov. 5, at 7:30 p.m. The trio of ESPN NBA Insider Doris Burke and analysts Jalen Rose and Avery Johnson will return for its second season together.

NBA Countdown in Miami on Christmas Day

For the first time, NBA Countdown will travel for on-site pregame and halftime shows during ABC’s and ESPN’s NBA Christmas Day schedule. Steele, Rose and Collins will appear on set at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Fla. for Countdown at 2 p.m. ABC will exclusively broadcast LeBron James’ return to Miami as the Heat host the Cleveland Cavaliers at 5 p.m.

@ESPNNBA preseason doubleheader

ESPN will televise an NBA preseason doubleheader on Wednesday, Oct. 22, beginning at 8 p.m. when the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James visit the Memphis Grizzlies and Zach Randolph. In the nightcap, the Phoenix Suns and Eric Bledsoe visit the Los Angeles Clippers and Chris Paul.

@ESPNNBA opening night coverage

ESPN’s regular-season NBA game coverage tips off on Wednesday, Oct. 29 at 8 p.m. when the Chicago Bulls and the returning Derrick Rose visit the New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony. At 10:30 p.m., the Oklahoma City Thunder and Russell Westbrook visit the Portland Trail Blazers and Damian Lillard. Full schedule details are available on ESPN Media Zone.

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NBA TV’s 2014-15 Regular Season Coverage to Feature 97 Live Games, Comprehensive Studio Coverage & Season-Long Original Programming

NBA-TV-LogoOriginal Programming Lineup Highlighted by Return of NBA Inside Stuff,

The Starters, The Beat & All-New Open Court Episodes

Day-Long “Champions Day” Coverage on Monday, Oct. 27, to Feature Champions Revealed: 2014 San Antonio Spurs, Followed by Open Court: NBA Champions Edition

NBA TV is the destination for fans seeking the most comprehensive season-long coverage of the league with 97 live regular season games, the most expansive highlights, news and analysis from a deep roster of marquee analysts, and compelling season-long original programming.

The network’s live regular season game schedule will tip off Saturday, Nov. 2, with a doubleheader when the Chicago Bulls and Derrick Rose visit the Minnesota Timberwolves and No. 1 NBA Draft pick Andrew Wiggins at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant visiting the Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry at 10:30 p.m.  NBA TV’s regular season schedule will include up to nine appearances by the NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs and Tim Duncan, the Cleveland Cavaliers and four-time league MVP LeBron James, and the Chicago Bulls with 2011 MVP Derrick Rose.

“For the NBA fan, there is no offseason and that’s the way we approach NBA TV,” said Albert “Scooter” Vertino, general manager of NBA Digital and SVP of programming, Turner Sports. “With nearly 100 live regular season games, our NBA GameTime studio show and its deep roster of premier commentators, along with a broad spectrum of original programming, NBA TV is the year-round destination for those seeking the most definitive coverage of the league.”

All season long, NBA GameTime – the network’s signature studio show – will draw from its collection of former NBA icons to provide in-depth analysis and perspectives surrounding all of the storylines around the league. The nightly studio show will feature a deep rotation of top basketball analysts including Greg Anthony, Charles Barkley, Brent Barry, Rick Fox, Mike Fratello, Grant Hill, Stu Jackson, Shaquille O’Neal, Dennis Scott, Kenny Smith, Steve Smith, Isiah Thomas and Chris Webber. Hosts include Vince Cellini, Jared Greenberg, Rick Kamla, Kristen Ledlow and Matt Winer.

Highlights from NBA TV’s upcoming programming schedule and top returning franchises include:

NBA Rising

An NBA TV special program, NBA Rising will take a look at three up-and-coming stars who are coming off gold medal-winning performances at the FIBA World Cup this summer – Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried, Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson and New Orleans Pelicans center Anthony Davis – on Friday, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. The program will feature interviews with the players and a look at their progression as the next wave of NBA stars.

Champions Day

On the eve of the NBA’s Opening Night, NBA TV will feature special programming to celebrate the 2014 NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs.  The network will televise 2014 San Antonio Spurs: Go Spurs Go, a look back at the Spurs’ quest for the championship, at 8 p.m.  Anchoring the programming block, NBA TV will present Champions Revealed: 2014 San Antonio Spurs, a candid conversation featuring the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, at 9 p.m.  The night will conclude a champions-themed edition of Open Court at 10 p.m. Earlier in the day, NBA TV will re-air Games 1, 3, 4 and 5 of the 2014 NBA Finals, beginning at 2 p.m.

NBA TV Fan Night

The popular NBA TV Fan Night presented by Sprint will return for its sixth consecutive season with its first of 17 games on Tuesday, Nov. 4.  Fans will once again have the opportunity to vote for the matchup they most want to see each week via NBA.com, NBA.com mobile web, NBA Game Time App, as well as Facebook and Twitter voting.

Host Ernie Johnson and analysts Webber and Anthony will offer analysis during the AutoTrader.com Pregame Show, throughout the game telecast and halftime, and for NBA GameTime presented by Kia post-game coverage.

Last season, the NBA TV Fan Night presented by Sprint telecast featuring the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers on Tuesday, Dec. 10, netted the network’s most-viewed regular season game of all time with an average of 920,000 total viewers.

NBA Inside Stuff

Co-hosted by NBA legend Grant Hill and Kristen Ledlow, the groundbreaking sports and entertainment all-access show will return for its second season Saturday, Nov. 1, at noon.  The weekly 30-minute show will continue to feature in-depth interviews highlighting some of the NBA’s biggest stars, along with two of the franchise’s most celebrated segments – “Jam Session” and “Rewind.” Last season, “Jam Session” featured leading recording artists Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Iggy Azalea, Linkin Park, OneRepublic, Coldplay and Kendrick Lamar.

The Starters

The Starters, a collection of fan-focused voices with an unconventional take on the game, will return with a weekday show regularly airing at 6:30 p.m. ET.  In addition, The Starters will provide a weekly Friday podcastThe Starters: The Drop – and fantasy basketball segments airing within the show and NBA GameTime, and also available on NBA.com.  The Starters – co-hosted by J.E. Skeets and Tas Melas, along with contributors Trey Kerby and Leigh Ellis – produce original content across all NBA Digital platforms with a consistent social presence engaging with some of the NBA’s most avid fans.

Open Court

Open Court, the critically acclaimed NBA roundtable show featuring a combination of TNT and NBA TV analysts and special guests, is back for its fourth season. New episodes debut throughout the month of October, including a season preview show Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. and one focused on past NBA champions Monday, Oct. 27, at 10 p.m.

The Beat

Hosted by Cellini, The Beat is a weekly 30-minute show covering news and storylines across the league with David Aldridge and Sekou Smith, among others. The show premieres Monday, Oct. 27, and airs each Monday at 6 p.m.

About NBA TV

NBA TV is coming off a record-setting 2014 NBA Playoffs which delivered unprecedented audience growth for the network including its most-watched game coverage of all time and its two most-viewed telecasts ever. NBA TV’s seven originally produced live game telecasts averaged 720,000 total viewers to register the network’s most-viewed NBA Playoffs coverage ever and a 137% increase over the comparable playoff coverage last year. The network’s presentation of Game 6 between the Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks on Thursday, April 29, produced NBA TV’s most-viewed telecast ever with an average of 1,071,000 total viewers.

NBA TV is a part of NBA Digital, the NBA’s extensive cross-platform portfolio of digital assets jointly-managed by the NBA and Turner Sports including NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA LEAGUE PASS, NBA LEAGUE PASS Broadband, NBA Mobile, NBADLEAGUE.com and WNBA.com.

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Derrick Rose Featured on ESPN The Magazine’s NBA Preview Cover

espn-logoOn Newsstands Friday: ESPN The Magazine’s NBA Preview

The theme of this year’s ESPN The Magazine NBA Preview is POWER. Stemming from an offseason in which the narrative was all about the struggle for power, The Mag sought to capture that through three unique lenses: “The Third Coming of Derrick Rose,” and how his return has the potential to shift it in the Eastern Conference, if not the NBA; through the “Ultimate Power Player” Kobe Bryant, and how his lone-wolf approach to superstardom has served to undermine his Lakers team; and senior writers Pablo S. Torre and Tom Haberstroh reveal the “Power Grab that the NBA’s owners are attempting to make by utilizing a host of advanced and increasingly invasive tests on their players. Even within the team previews, The Mag has identified that it is not offense that creates wins, it’s defense—and using new, metrically based graphics has brought team defense alive on the court in a way that could never be done before.

On The Cover

Former MVP Derrick Rose has played a combined 49 games over the past three seasons. He’s undergone surgery for an ACL tear in one knee and a torn meniscus in the other. He’s watched his Chicago Bulls lose in the playoffs three times, twice in the first round. But now, with the Miami Big Three era over and two healthy knees, the power vacuum in the NBA is his for the taking. In “The Third Coming of Derrick Rose,”  The Mag’s Wright Thompson explores if – and how – one player can shift the league’s balance of power (even with a new Big Three in Cleveland).

NBA Preview Show

To coincide with its release, The Mag will televise an hour-long NBA Preview Show on Wednesday, Oct. 15, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Host Cassidy Hubbarth will join analysts Tim Legler, Bruce Bowen and ESPN NBA Insider Chris Broussard to provide predictions and analyze key NBA storylines in advance of the new season. Additionally, the show will feature roundtable discussions centered on the aforementioned “power” themes of the issue, including key off-season moves and developments, the new balance of power in the East with a focus on Derrick Rose, an examination of Kobe Bryant’s role with the Lakers and a deeper look at how teams gather and evaluate personal health data from players. Special panelists for various segments will include ESPN The Magazine’s NBA deputy editor Ty Wenger and senior writers Ramona Shelburne and Pablo S. Torre. There will also be a segment devoted to this season’s predictions where Austin Clemens, a basketball analytics wizard, compiled data to graphically represent, in heat map form, each team’s defense. Within each heat map, The Mag had NBA Insider Ethan Sherwood Strauss annotate two spots — where the team projects to be strongest on defense, and where it projects to be weakest.

NBA Preview Issue Features

Kobe

The Mag takes an inside look at the league’s most dysfunctional marriage: between the NBA’s ultimate power player, Kobe Bryant, and its most storied franchise—and how the team can’t wait for its star’s retirement. By Henry Abbott

New biometric tests invade the NBA

The next battle between players and owners will be waged inside players’ bodies. The Mag reveals new, advanced biological testing occurring in NBA locker rooms and explore what that means for player privacy. By Pablo S. Torre and Tom Haberstroh

Team previews

For the first time, we are graphically projecting team defenses along with overall team analysis from various NBA insiders including Austin Clemens, Jordan Brenner, Bradford Doolittle, Amin Elhassan, Tom Haberstroh, and Kevin Pelton.

David Blatt is coming to America

After 20-plus years coaching in Israel and Europe, the Cavs hired David Blatt last summer as the first head coach to make the jump straight from overseas to the NBA. Now that Cleveland is loaded with LeBron and Kevin Love, though, there’s unparalleled pressure on the NBA newbie to deliver immediately. As we find out, though, he might just be perfectly equipped to handle it. By Jordan Brenner

Other Stories

Jim Harbaugh comfortable in chaos

Jim Harbaugh is an extraordinary coach: he’s taken his team to three NFC championship games in his four years. But his talent at turning losers into winners is matched only by his propensity to rub people the wrong way in the process. The only way to get close to this former quarterback — who seems to abhor even the idea of getting close – is to play a game of catch, of course.  By Seth Wickersham

The return of Philip Rivers

Through four weeks, NFL quarterbacks are more proficient than ever when it comes to Total QBR and completion percentage. Philip Rivers is among the best examples of this trend, seen through an examination of his efficiency. By Kevin Seifert

Additional NBA Preview Issue Highlights:

  • MLB: In her latest column, Mina Kimes writes how everyone is talking about the NFL’s women problem … but what about baseball? This column addresses the lack of gender equity in MLB and the other leagues—and why the problem is getting worse, not better.
  • CFB: At the midseason mark, insider Phil Steele makes his picks for the nation’s best position players, handicapping his favorites to win college football’s end-of-year awards.
  • ESPNFC: As Real Madrid and Barcelona prepare to face off in the first El Clàsico, The Mag’s Michael Cox examines the two squad’s new offenses.

ESPN & NBA Reach Nine-Year Agreement for Significantly Enhanced Multiplatform Rights

NBA-on-ESPN-logoIncreased TV, Digital, Highlights, Data, Audio & International Rights Through 2024-25

·         More Regular-Season Games, Greater Schedule Flexibility and Broader Exclusivity

·         NBA and ESPN Intend to Launch Over-The-Top Offering

 

image001ESPN has reached a forward-looking, nine-year, multiplatform agreement with the National Basketball Association, beginning with the 2016-17 season, which will significantly enhance the company’s NBA rights and content offerings. The agreement, effective through 2024-25, substantially increases ESPN’s television, digital, highlights, data, audio and International NBA rights. It was announced today by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and ESPN President John Skipper.

In addition, the parties have also established a framework for ESPN and the NBA to negotiate the launch of a new over-the-top offering in which the league would receive equity interest. Details for the new offering would be announced at a future date.

ABC will also remain the exclusive home of the NBA Finals.

In addition to the over-the-top service, the new and enhanced rights also include:

§  10 additional regular-season games for ESPN or ABC bringing the regular season total to 100;

§  10 more exclusive regular-season windows;

§  Increased team appearances to showcase the most popular teams and most compelling matchups more times throughout the season;

§  As part of the new agreement, ESPN will substantially increase its NBA-focused programming with 750 new hours of NBA content on linear and digital platforms, establishing a significant year-round presence for the NBA on ESPN;

§  ESPN has reached a multi-year extension for WNBA rights through 2025, which will include increased in-progress highlights on linear and digital platforms;

§  ESPN International – In Latin America, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand, ESPN will carry significantly more exclusive regular-season and playoff games on ESPN platforms, including expanded weekend windows during the regular season, increased first and second round playoff coverage, and the NBA conference finals and NBA Finals (including exclusivity in Australia and New Zealand). Additionally, ESPN will carry more NBA-themed programming throughout the year;

§  Increased ability to use NBA footage and highlights, plus in-progress highlight rights, on all linear and digital ESPN offerings, including, ABC; ESPN; ESPN2; ESPNEWS; ESPN Deportes; ESPN International; ESPN Audio; ESPN.com; ESPN3, WatchESPN, SEC Network, ESPNU, Longhorn Network, Grantland, 538, ESPN Films;

§  Live, national rights to NBA Summer League and NBA D-League across ESPN entities;

§  While increasing its English-language distribution rights, ESPN Audio will become the exclusive Spanish-language national rights holder through ESPN Deportes Radio on terrestrial radio, satellite and all forms of radio devices including digital and third party platforms;

§  Additional regular-season and playoff games for ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes+.

The new rights join these extensive continuing elements in the new agreement:

§  ABC will continue to be the exclusive broadcast home of The Finals;

§  The NBA post-season begins and concludes on ESPN networks, as ESPN and ABC combine for up to 44 NBA post-season games, including the Conference Finals;

§  ESPN Audio will continue its 20-plus year tenure as the exclusive, national radio home of the NBA, with coverage of the NBA Finals, NBA Conference Finals, NBA Playoffs, NBA All-Star Game and NBA regular-season games;

§  ESPN and ABC will continue with a significant television presence for NBA Christmas Day, the NBA’s season-opening week and NBA All-Star festivities such as the Celebrity All-Star Game;

§  Season-long prime time games Wednesdays and Fridays on ESPN and Sundays on ESPN and ABC;

§  NBA Finals streamed on ESPN3 or WatchABC and ESPN Deportes;

§  Extensive weekly studio programming on ESPN;

§  ESPN will continue to be the exclusive home to the NBA Draft, NBA Draft Combine and NBA Draft Lottery.

ESPN President John Skipper:

“The NBA has never been more popular and it continues to grow under Adam’s leadership. By acquiring significantly more NBA content for both existing and yet-to-be created platforms, we will establish a vibrant, year-round NBA presence for fans. For ESPN, this agreement continues our fruitful, longstanding relationship with the NBA and bolsters what is already the sports industry’s most impressive and impactful collection of media rights.”

This new agreement will ensure a 23-year continuous relationship between the network and league, which began in 2002. There are two years remaining on the existing rights agreement, which is effective through the 2015-16 season.

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Turner Broadcasting and the National Basketball Association Reach Nine-Year Media Rights Extension

nba-on-tntTNT to Add 12 Live Regular Season Games Each Year;

Network to Televise 64-Game Regular Season Schedule Under New Agreement

Enhanced Package of Digital Media Rights for Bleacher Report

Turner Sports to Continue Managing NBA Digital Portfolio Including NBA TV,

NBA.com, NBA Mobile, NBA LEAGUE PASS, WNBA.com & NBADLeague.com

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., and the National Basketball Association (NBA) have reached a new nine-year media rights agreement that will include the addition of 12 live regular season games airing on TNT each year and expanded digital media rights and sales opportunities, it was announced today by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and David Levy, President of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.  Turner Sports will also continue to manage NBA Digital, the league’s robust multimedia portfolio including NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA Mobile, NBA LEAGUE PASS, WNBA.com and NBADLeague.com.

This new agreement will extend Turner’s relationship with the NBA to more than 40 years and will increase TNT’s regular season coverage to 64 live games annually.  Additionally, Turner will have enhanced digital rights to NBA content for Bleacher Report, its top-rated Team Stream app, and the brand’s social media handles. Turner acquired Bleacher Report, a leading digital sports destination, in 2012.

“This is a significant deal for our company and we are pleased to continue our long-standing partnership with the NBA, its fans, owners and players,” said Levy.  “The agreement locks in some of the most valuable, original, premium live sports programming that we’ll continue to monetize across TNT and all other platforms within our extensive portfolio and will help further grow our businesses into the next decade.”

Effective with the start of the 2016-17 NBA regular season and extending through the 2024-25 campaign, TNT will have the following rights:

  • The network will be the home of NBA Opening Night;
  • Exclusive Thursday Night regular season doubleheaders;
  • TNT’s additional 12 games will air over the second half of the season on another night of the week than the network’s traditional Thursday Night doubleheaders;
  • Exclusive coverage of NBA All-Star Weekend signature events including NBA All-Star Saturday Night and the NBA All-Star Game;
  • More NBA Playoff games than any other network. TNT’s coverage of the NBA Playoffs will include live first round coverage, exclusive second round game telecasts and one Conference Finals (alternating between the Eastern and Western Conference each year).

Under the terms of the new agreement, Turner Sports will also maintain TV Everywhere rights that allow for all NBA content airing across Turner Broadcasting networks to be streamed live across the company’s multiple digital platforms. Additionally, Turner will have enhanced digital rights to have the NBA deliver content for Bleacher Report.  This includes authenticated streaming rights for NBA on TNT games, the opportunity to develop and distribute new NBA content and programming for Bleacher Report, as well as rights to highlights for incorporation into the brand’s popular team- and topic-centric Team Stream Now video offerings.

The new agreement will provide Turner with expanded activations including the creation of an all-new NBA Awards Show and other ancillary events surrounding key NBA pillars such as Opening Week and the NBA Playoffs.

Since partnering with the NBA to manage the league’s multimedia portfolio in 2008, Turner Sports has delivered a number of innovations that have changed how the NBA is presented; as well as increasing the amount of original content that continues to resonate with fans including the introduction of NBA Fan Night and Open Court, along with the re-launch of NBA Inside Stuff last year.  In addition to TNT talent featured on NBA TV including Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Marv Albert, the network also features additional league voices adding analysis and commentary including Grant Hill, Chris Webber, Greg Anthony and Steve Smith.

“We’re honored to be entrusted by the league to continue to manage the day-to-day operations of its NBA Digital portfolio,” added Lenny Daniels, President of Turner Sports.  “The partnership has delivered tremendous results for both entities and we look forward to continuing to drive innovation across all screens.”

Turner first agreed to a deal with the NBA in 1984 and this marks the eighth agreement between the two organizations over the past 30 years. The critically acclaimed NBA on TNT traditionally delivers the highest-rated and most-viewed NBA regular season and playoff coverage of any cable television network.  Under the current agreement, the NBA on TNT has delivered its six most-viewed regular seasons in the 30-plus year history with the league. Additionally, over the last 10 years, the NBA on TNT has registered nine of the top 10 overall programs airing on the network.

About Turner Sports

Turner Sports, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., is an industry leader in the delivery of premium sports content across all multimedia screens. Turner Sports’ television coverage includes the NBA, Major League Baseball, NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship and professional golf.  The company also manages some of the most popular sports destinations across broadband and mobile platforms including Bleacher Report and its top-rated Team Stream app, NCAA.com and the critically-acclaimed NCAA March Madness Live suite of products, PGA.com and the Sports Emmy Award-winning PGA Championship LIVE, as well as an accompanying collection of mobile sites and connected device apps.  Turner Sports and the NBA also jointly manage NBA Digital, a robust collection of offerings including NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA LEAGUE PASS, NBA Mobile, the NBA Game Time App, NBADLEAGUE.com and WNBA.com.

About Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, creates and programs branded news; entertainment; kids and young adult; and sports media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.  Turner brands and businesses include CNN/U.S., CNN International, CNN.com and HLN; TBS, TNT, truTV and Turner Classic Movies; Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Adult Swim; and Turner Sports.

Visit the Turner Sports online press room for additional press materials; follow Turner Sports on Twitter at @TurnerSportsPR

 

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Celtics Basketball on Comcast SportsNet Returns Monday 10/6

CSNNE_LogoBroadcast Duo Mike Gorman & Tommy Heinsohn Return for 34th Season; Brian Scalabrine Joins Broadcast Team asColor Commentator for Road Games; Abby Chin Returns as Sideline Reporter; and Kyle Draper as Studio Host

Network Announces “Deep Green” — New Weekly Feature in Celtics Pre/Post-Game Show Airing Every Friday

CSNNE.com to Provide the Best Digital & Social Media Experience for Celtics Fans

BURLINGTON, MA, October 2, 2014 – Comcast SportsNet will once again televise every single Boston Celtics game during the 2014-15 season. The Celtics pre-season tips off with the first of eight pre-season games on Tuesday, October 6th as the Celtics take on the 76’ers. The Celtics regular season tips off on Wednesday, October 29th as they face the Brooklyn Nets at The TD Garden beginning at 7:00PM.

Comcast SportsNet’s Celtics’ schedule starts out with a robust month of November with 13 games including the Cleveland Cavaliers; the San Antonio Spurs; Oklahoma City Thunder; and two matchups against the Chicago Bulls. The overall schedule features 90 total telecasts – eight preseason games and 82 regularseason games.

As part of every Celtics telecast, second-year Celtics Coach Brad Stevens will talk exclusively with Comcast SportsNet prior to each game, at halftime, and following each game to give his perspective as the night unfolds.

In addition to a full game schedule, Comcast SportsNet will return this season with broadcast duo Mike Gorman (@celticsvoice) and Tommy Heinsohn (@CSNTommy) in their 34th season as Comcast SportsNet’s primary telecast team for all home games.  This season, fan-favorite Brian Scalabrine (@Scalabrine) will join Comcast SportsNet as color analyst for 35 road games and will contribute to other aspects of Comcast SportsNet’s Celtics coverage including 13 Pre/Post-Game Live shows, weekly appearances on Celtics Insider, and inclusion on other ancillary programming. Cedric Maxwell will join as color analyst on select road games, while Kyle Draper (@KylerDraperTV) and Abby Chin (@TVAbby) will return to the Comcast SportsNet telecasts this season as studio host and courtside reporter, respectively.

“We have a fantastic Celtics broadcast team starting with Mike & Tommy, the best duo in the business, and the return of Kyle and Abby after great debut seasons last year,” said Bill Bridgen, President and General Manager of Comcast SportsNet New England. “We are also thrilled to welcome Brian Scalabrine to the broadcast team this year.  His knowledge of basketball and remarkable TV presence, combined with the rest of our team, will no doubt entertain viewers and fans throughout the season.”

Draper will host Celtics Pre-game Live presented by Ace Ticket, Halftime Live presented by McDonald’s, and Celtics Post-game Live presented by New England Ford for every Celtics matchup. Joining Draper in-studio will be a rotating roster of experts including Heinsohn, Scalabrine, and Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix.

As part of this season’s PGL’s, Comcast SportsNet will debut “Deep Green”, a series of off-the-court features appearing weekly in Friday’s Pre/Post-Game Live shows beginning in December.  The first feature will premiere in the Celtics Preview Show on October 24th at 8PM and will be entitled “The Education of Marcus Smart”. Viewers will get to see what Smart has learned through the adversity he has experienced growing up and throughout his life. For every pitfall, Smart recounts the lessons he has learned to become a better man. Now as a member of the Boston Celtics, he is a talented rookie with wisdom beyond his years from an education gained through the lessons he learned throughout his life.

Social media will be a big part of CSNNE.com’s coverage of the Celtics. The online home to Comcast SportsNet will feature Celtics Pulse, which is the best way to track all the in-game social media chatter on the Celtics, including Tweets from CSNNE.com Celtics Insider A. Sherrod Blakely (@sherrodbcsn), @CSNTommy and all Comcast SportsNet talent. Celtics fans can share their comments on Celtics Pulse by using #CelticsTalk. In addition to Celtics Pulse, CSNNE.com will feature all of Blakely’s reporting plus video news coverage from Chevrolet SportsNet Central and Town Fair Tire Sports Tonight.

About Comcast SportsNet New England

Comcast SportsNet New England reaches more than 4 million households in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Comcast SportsNet’s programming includes the Boston Celtics, New England Revolution, Chevrolet SportsNet Central, Arbella Early Edition, Town Fair Tire Sports Tonight, Sports Sunday, Celtics Insider, The Baseball Show, Quick Slants, New England Tailgate, New England Football Night, Football Day in New England including pre and post-game programs surrounding all Patriots games, CAA football, basketball and more. CSNNE.com, the online home of Comcast SportsNet, provides continuous news, video and in-depth, up-to-the-minute coverage of New England sports. Comcast SportsNet New England is part of the NBC Sports Group. Visit www.csnne.com for more information. Check local listings for the specific channel location for your area.

# # #

Download the PDF file .

NBA TV’s Critically Acclaimed Open Court Returns with “NBA 50 Greatest & The Next 10” Episode Tuesday, Oct. 7, at 6:30 p.m. ET

Editor’s note – video clips from the first episode of NBA TV’s Open Court:

Shaquille O’Neal’s Next 10 List: http://on.nba.com/1rPbMfM

Isiah Thomas on Reggie Miller: http://on.nba.com/1x2Btd0

Charles Barkley on Chris Webber: http://on.nba.com/1rzhCTf

Panel reaction on Steve Nash: http://on.nba.com/1E4mhAP

Panel on the makeup of great players: http://on.nba.com/1E4mjsj

 

NBA-TV-Logo 

October 2, 2014

NBA TV’s Critically Acclaimed Open Court Returns with

“NBA 50 Greatest & The Next 10” Episode Tuesday, Oct. 7, at 6:30 p.m. ET

Hosted by Ernie Johnson, NBA 50 Greatest Players Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Isiah Thomas Join Panel Featuring Hall of Famer Reggie Miller, NBA Champions Kenny Smith & Chauncey Billups & Five-Time NBA All-Star Chris Webber

Hour-Long Roundtable Discussion Focuses on the Original “NBA 50 Greatest Players”

& Those Who Should be Added as All-Time Legends

Thomas – 50 Greatest Honoree & Selection Panelist – to Live Tweet During Tuesday’s Telecast

NBA TV’s critically acclaimed Open Court series will return Tuesday, Oct. 7, at 6:30 p.m. ET with a compelling roundtable discussion centered on the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players and the 10 players the panel believes should be added as all-time legends. The hour-long show features a cast of NBA icons including “NBA 50 Greatest” honorees Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Isiah Thomas discussing their inclusion in the original list, players who should be added to the original 50, and the criteria used to measure greatness.

Open Courts “NBA 50 Greatest & The Next 10” episode is hosted by Sports Emmy Award winner Ernie Johnson with Barkley, O’Neal and Thomas, along with Hall of Famer Reggie Miller, NBA Champions Kenny Smith and Chauncey Billups and five-time NBA All-Star Chris Webber.

The panel – featuring a combination of TNT and NBA TV analysts, along with the recently retired Billups – considers the credentials of current and recent stars including Kevin Durant, Jason Kidd, Tracy McGrady, Steve Nash, Paul Pierce and Dwyane Wade, as well as omissions from the original list such as Bob McAdoo and Dominique Wilkins.  While quick to acknowledge sure-fire additions – Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Allen Iverson and LeBron James – the discussion intensifies when the group weighs the merits of panelists Miller and Webber.

Thomas, a member of the original “50 Greatest” selection panel in 1996, will live tweet during Tuesday’s episode via the @NBATV twitter handle.

The Open Court series will continue weekly throughout October with three additional new episodes – “The Game is Changing” on Tuesday, Oct. 14, at 9:30 p.m.; “2014-15 Season Preview” on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m.; and “NBA Champions Edition” on Monday, Oct. 27, at 10 p.m.

Excerpts from the season premiere of Open Court:

O’Neal on being named one the original NBA 50 Greatest Players: “When they named me to the top 50, I felt my name was added a little too quickly. It was my third or fourth year [in the league]…I took a lot of flak for being on the list. I felt like names like Bob McAdoo should have been on that list before me.  Alex English, Dominique Wilkins could’ve easily been on that list before me.”

Barkley on what it meant to be at the ceremony: “When we were all in the room, it was amazing…basketball more than any other sport, especially with the All-Star Weekend…We do such a good job of celebrating our past. I was kind of in shock. You sit around and say, ‘Wow, that’s Wilt Chamberlain. Wow, that’s Bill Russell. That’s Jerry West.  That’s Elgin Baylor.”

Thomas on why Bob McAdoo should be added to the list: “Bob McAdoo was the MVP of this league. When you talk about changing the game, he’s a 6-11 dude shooting threes. He was the first ‘stretch four.’ The original. The real one. He totally changed the game.”

Miller on whether two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash should be added to the list: “If we were all GMs, and you had Jason Kidd, Gary Payton and Steve Nash all lined up, he [Nash] would be the third point guard taken. That’s why I can’t put him on there.”

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