Isiah Thomas back in New York as Liberty president

Isiah Thomas is back at Madison Square Garden. Thomas has been hired to be president of the New York Liberty of the WNBA. Thomas also will have an ownership stake in the team. Garden CEO James Dolan, who owns the Knicks and Liberty and is an unflinchingly loyal Thomas supporter, said he began discussing the role with Thomas in the fall and he has been pleased with the results. “Now, we’ve agreed that it is time for him to take a lead role with the team as president, and through his ownership interest. He’s an excellent judge of talent, and I’m confident that he will put all of his energy and experience into making the Liberty a perennially competitive and successful team,” Dolan said in a statement.

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October 7, 2015 | 4:44 pm EDT Update
Sources said Fisher was at the LA home of Gloria Govan — Barnes’ estranged wife​,​ who stars on “Basketball Wives LA” — on Saturday. Fisher and Govan have been dating for “a few months,” a source said, after Fisher filed to divorce his wife of 10 years, Candace, in March. But when Barnes learned that Fisher was at his former home with Gloria, he drove 95 miles to LA to “beat the s–t” out of Fisher, sources said.
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October 7, 2015 | 4:05 pm EDT Update
The Memphis Grizzlies today announced the team has waived center Michael Holyfield. Holyfield (6-11, 270) signed with Memphis as a free agent on Sept. 28 and played eight minutes in the Grizzlies’ preseason opener last night against the Houston Rockets. Unselected in the 2015 NBA Draft following a four-year collegiate career at Sam Houston State University, the 22-year-old Albuquerque, N.M. native appeared in five games for Memphis during the 2015 Orlando Pro Summer League. The Grizzlies’ roster stands at 19 players.
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On the flight home the next night after we lost at Phoenix, Gilbert, teammate Javaris Crittenton, and several other players were in a card game that got real heated. While Gilbert was a dominating presence on the team, Javaris didn’t roll with some of his ways. The players were in seats facing each other with a pull-out table between them. I was in the seat next to them half asleep as we began our descent into DC. My eyes popped open when I heard Javaris say, “Put the money back. Put the [expletive] money back.” “I ain’t putting [expletive] back,” Gilbert replied. “Get it the way Tyson got the title. Might or fight or whatever you got to do to get your money back. Otherwise, you ain’t gettin’ it.” When Gilbert put the money in his pocket, Javaris lunged over the table to grab him. Antawn Jamison, seated across the aisle, leaped up, shoved Javaris’s shoulder down on the table, and held it there with the full weight of his body while telling him to calm down. I got up and yelled “Hey, everybody shut the [expletive] up. How much was in the pot?” It was $1,100. “It shouldn’t be that hard to pay what you owe him,” I told Gilbert. “We all make a great living, so just pay the money.” A man who has a $111 million contract shouldn’t be fighting over $1,100.
When I entered the locker room, I thought I had somehow been transported back to my days on the streets of Racine. Gilbert was standing in front of his two locker stalls, the ones previously used by Michael Jordan, with four guns on display. Javaris was standing in front of his own stall, his back to Gilbert. “Hey, MF, come pick one,” Gilbert told Javaris while pointing to the weapons. “I’m going to shoot your [expletive] with one of these.” “Oh no, you don’t need to shoot me with one of those,” said Javaris, turning around slowly like a gunslinger in the Old West. “I’ve got one right here.” He pulled out his own gun, already loaded, cocked it, and pointed it at Gilbert. Other players who had been casually arriving, laughing and joking with each other, came to a sudden halt, their eyes bugging out. It took them only a few seconds to realize this was for real, a shootaround of a whole different nature. They all looked at each other and then they ran, the last man out locking the door behind him. I didn’t panic because I’d been through far worse, heard gunshots more times than I could count, and seen it all before. This would have been just another day on the south side.
The story of Racine native Caron Butler’s extraordinary life is vividly captured in his new book “Tuff Juice: My Journey from the Streets to the NBA.’’ Butler describes in detail how he rerouted his life from being a gun-toting, drug-dealing 12-year-old to becoming a highly respected, contributing citizen. While Butler touches on some of his most memorable moments as a star basketball player in his autobiography, like when he was the 10th pick in the 2002 NBA draft, and reflects on some of the sports icons he has encountered over the years, such as former Los Angeles Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant, it’s his compelling stories about growing up on the streets of Racine that make “Tuff Juice: My Journey from the Streets to the NBA,” written with Steve Springer, hard to put down. Butler’s book, which goes on sale to the public Oct. 7, is laced with poignant stories, some that make you shudder in disbelief, some that clearly illustrate the stark contrasts in our society between the haves and have-nots.
October 7, 2015 | 2:55 pm EDT Update

Nazr Mohammed mulling retirement

So, if I’m really being honest with myself, I want to play basketball, but if I had to sign today or tomorrow, the answer would be “No!!” I look at it like this: I’m not willing to play the role that I’ll be needed for right now, which is to provide veteran leadership, a locker room presence, insurance in case someone gets hurt, etc. In a few months, if the right team that has an identity and a need for what I bring calls me, then maybe. Rosters are full and everybody is trying to figure out what type of team they want to be. I’ve watched training camp practices on NBA TV and I don’t have a desire to go through that right now. I don’t think I need to be on a roster – and go through pre-season – for a team that doesn’t quite need me yet, doesn’t have an identity or know what they are going to be in the future. I have an identity and I know what I bring to a team. I’d rather sit back and enjoy my family and see my kids off to school every morning than sign with a team that has so many unknowns.
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I don’t want to repeat my experience of the last couple of seasons as the “in case of emergency” guy, which was very hard. My mental preparation is intense, and I didn’t like getting myself mentally prepared, going through my game routine, lying to myself saying “tonight’s the night I’m going to play and help us win,” then not getting the chance…over and over again. The letdown at the end of the night was tough. That experience ate at my ego and made my confidence waver. It made me wonder if I was good enough or if I still belonged in the NBA. Luckily the respect and confidence that my teammates had for me kept me motivated to work hard and stay ready. To be prepared and know there’s more than a 90 percent chance that you’re not going to play is very hard. It was a lot less playing than I expected. After a long summer of training and competing, I realize that I can still contribute but “fit” is more important at this stage in my career.
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And while I’m preparing to move on from the game, I’m still leaving that window open a little bit! If the right situation were to present itself, I will take a strong look at it. When I say the “right” situation, I mean this: if a team needs a big man who can knock down open jump shots, can guard his man in the post, understands good team defense, who has played in every different kind of basketball offense known to man AND can provide leadership, then I am a fit. If a team only needs my locker room leadership and my Ph.D. from playing for the best coaches and organizations for the last 20 years (college included), then I’m not your man. But I may be the man you need in your front office (humble brag). Truth is, I still love this game, I still have that competitor in me and I still feel like I can help a team. And regardless of what happens, I plan on staying in basketball shape.
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October 7, 2015 | 1:47 pm EDT Update
October 7, 2015 | 12:55 pm EDT Update

No deal in sight for Tristan Thompson

Tristan Thompson remains a hold out as he and the Cleveland Cavaliers are in a stalemate with his restricted free agency. Thompson decided not to sign the Cavaliers’ qualifying offer and he’s been unable to agree upon terms on a multi-year deal. “I think it will take a third party event to bridge the gap here,” said Windhorst on Zach Lowe’s podcast. “I actually believe it will probably go months,” said Windhorst. “This will go well into the regular season.”
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