A look at NBA players/coaches/GM’s who may get a Santa boycott this year.
Pat Riley: Beef with Chris Bosh creating a permanent divorce, refusing to engage in the free agent negotiations with Dwyane Wade, anticipating Wade, at the end of the day, would stay put, anticipating Hassan Whiteside is an elite player that can carry a team, still having a LeBron James grudge match, bringing personal emotions into business decisions- all of it has put the Heat squarely in the 2017 lottery. This was a bad Riley year. Now the Heat are in full rebuilding mode.
Phil Jackson: Signing Joakim Noah to a ridiculous contract you can’t move because Noah is a broken player that is marginally productive when he is not injured put more attention on whether Jackson can do this job. He called LeBron’s friends and business associates a “posse” causing the face of the league to throw shade Jackson’s way. Jackson then followed that bit of racial invective with Carmelo beef. Isn’t it time for Jackson to retire? Can we say he’s failed as a GM? One lucky pick (Kristaps Porzingis) doesn’t give him lifetime immunity.
Draymond Green: Kicking players in the you know where more than once and then getting suspended for too many techs in the playoffs which costs the Warriors the NBA title means Santa should just pass his house until the Warriors next title. Always throwing shade on someone is not the best example of leadership, neither is having your man area circulating all over the internet because you hit the wrong button on your phone. Having a famous meltdown at half time at OKC that almost sent the police into the locker room thrust the Saginaw native into apology mode. Draymond has little impulse control and as great as he is as a player, his immaturity crops up at the wrong time. His classic line was when he said he didn’t think he needed to change. Really?
Rajon Rondo: Throwing a towel in the face of an assistant coach because he was mad he was subbed out a game at Dallas, a venue where he is hated and where Rondo wanted to show the fans something, was a repeat of the Rondo we have come to know and not love and a reminder people don’t change. Yes, you can be talented and still lack basic manners.
Matt Barnes: Barnes spent much of 2016 throwing shade at Derek Fisher because Derek Fisher did two things he shouldn’t have. He began a relationship with Barnes estranged wife and he then called the police and told them Barnes used his face as a punching bag. Barnes was fined by the league $35,000 for implying violence is sometimes worth it. Barnes has come full circle. In a fracas at a Chelsea nightclub with Barnes all in the middle of it, his impulses were tested again. He is being sued by his alleged assault victims and the NYPD, according to several reports, has enough evidence to file assault charges.
Kevin Durant: He couldn’t be the superstar he is being paid to be and carry his team over the finish line when he was up 3-1 in the Conference Finals. He then topped it off by joining the team that punked him. Furthermore, he left town without much of a goodbye, letting ESPN do his talking for him. And he tried to make it better by pretending every city he rejected had been in the running when it was clear he was going to the Warriors all along. Dude, just say the truth. You wanted Golden State.
D’Angelo Russell: Immaturity run amok, sort of like an 8th grader. He taped teammate Nick Young without his permission, asking very personal and invasive questions and the tape ended up going viral and Russell is shocked how that happened. Not ready for the NBA lifestyle. Respect your teammates private lives. Everything has consequences. Young’s home life was suddenly in shambles and Young, the victim, and not Russell, the perpetrator, was on the trade block. Evidence that talent and punishment are mutually exclusive.
Blake Griffin: Punched equipment guy in the face and broke his hand and it derailed the Clippers season. He let his teammates down. They had to figure it out without him. They couldn’t. They lost in the first round of the playoffs and Clippers fans were wondering what if…?
Utah Jazz: They were statues in the last three minutes of Kobe Bryant’s career. They had a 10 point lead when Bryant just went all Kobe on them and outscored them 15-0 to win the game and have a walk off for the ages, 60 points. The Jazz took horrible shots and couldn’t defend a tired and broken 37 year old. Like the Toronto Raptors when Kobe had 81, the Utah Jazz were immortalized.
George Karl: He took a job he never should have taken, one that everyone knew was a disaster. He was almost fired twice in-season until it was rescinded and the last time Vlade and Co. let him go it was a sigh of relief for everyone. Though it was probably the last time Karl will coach in the NBA, DeMarcus and Co. humbled Karl, re-introducing him to the modern NBA. It’s a brand new thing.
John Wall: Jamming up teammate Bradley Beal after Beal got paid, implying that now Beal can stop worrying about money and play without excuses, Wall sounded very non-leader like. Then, after he scored 52 points he called his teammates out for not playing hard. You can count the days until he’s out of Washington and playing in Sac town with Boogie.
Dwight Howard: He openly admitted he didn’t try in games and he went through the motions because he was upset with how he was being used. The front office sabotaged Howard in favor of James Harden and sensitive Howard couldn’t take it. Though this only makes him half naughty. I give Howard credit for owning up to it and pointing out he needs more emotional maturity and mental toughness.
photo via llananba