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How rising star Bradley Beal can get even better

April 24, 2014 | 07:59 AM ET Update

The Hall of Fame coach also didn’t sound overly concerned when asked if he believed it would be “a disaster” if Anthony leaves the Knicks to sign elsewhere. “I’m all about moving forward,” Jackson said at the team’s practice facility in Greenburgh. “Just deal with what is and move forward. If it’s in the cards, man, are we fortunate. If it’s not in the cards, man, are we fortunate. We’re going forward anyway.” New York Daily News

A key Lakers star has pressed on the organization to make “significant changes.” His name is not Kobe Bryant. His name is Pau Gasol, who will become a free agent in July and could leave the Lakers on his own after pleading endlessly for them to keep him the past three years amid never-ending trade rumors. “Re-signing for the Lakers is a possibility, but I’m not sure whether to say it’s a remote one,” Gasol wrote Wednesday on his personal Web site. “If there’s anything or anyone who could make me stay it’s Kobe Bryant. I’d stay for him, but there’d have to be significant changes. I’ve said it many times: I want to be in a team that has a solid chance to win another tournament and where I can be an important factor in the game.” Los Angeles Daily News

Kupchak said last week “there’s great interest in re-signing Pau.” But Gasol is unlikely to make the $19.3 million he made this season. Gasol’s future with the Lakers also hinges on who they draft with their first-round pick and who else becomes available on the open market. “Money isn’t important to me,” Gasol wrote. “I have other priorities. A contract lasting several seasons, the make-up of the team that signs me: I’ll need to think long and hard. I won’t just go to the franchise that offers me the biggest salary, I know that.” Los Angeles Daily News

He has become the star of the NBA playoffs, and as LaMarcus Aldridge dressed Wednesday after another playoff marvel, he was asked whether he wanted to do his postgame press conference alongside fellow standout Damian Lillard, or wait to do his separately. “Same time is fine,’’ Aldridge said, his socks not yet on, his jewelry yet to be carefully administered. Then he remembered something and quickly changed course. “Nah, nah, nah. He goes first. I don’t want to overshadow,’’ Aldridge said. “Remember the time when you all put me up there with Brandon (Roy) and I didn’t get no questions?’’ Oregonian

Has he not felt that before during his eight years in Portland? “No. I haven’t. I haven’t felt it like this before. Never,’’ Aldridge said. “This is the first time I felt where 1 through 15 on the roster is happy for me. And this is the first time where 1 through 15 knows when I’m going, they want to ride that wave. ‘’ Oregonian

“I came from poverty and a tough household where we didn’t have enough money to really eat, to where I am now,’’ Aldridge said. “I know it was God giving me the guidance. I am one of his children and He’s let me glorify His name with my game.’’ His mother, Georgia, has beaten her cancer, and was in Houston to watch his historic performances. She has fostered his faith from a young age, when she established the mantra: “God first, everything else second.’’ “I think this season has been a blessing for him,’’ Georgia Aldridge-Young said. “I think he’s playing a different game. He’s just more comfortable and he’s more of a leader.’’ Oregonian

The only thing missing from the scene was the Rocky theme song, which would have been the ideal soundtrack as Blair’s former club was unable to match his energy in a 113-92 Mavericks victory that evened the best-of-seven series at 1-1. “He had a physical impact,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “He gave us a huge lift. He was on the boards, he got deflections. The only way we win a series against a team like this is to have guys play at full capacity, and he did that.” San Antonio Express-News

Blair played only 14 minutes on Wednesday. But the 6-7, 265-pound forward made the absolute most of his limited court time, amassing eight points, seven rebounds, four steals and, every bit as important, three fouls. “That’s my whole plan,” said Blair, who went scoreless in five minutes in Dallas’ 90-85 loss in Game 1. “We don’t have nobody on this team that can do that, and I know that if I play, I can come in and bring that physicality and just do what I do, play my game.” In doing so, Blair appeared to get under the Spurs’ skin. Tony Parker stared Blair down after he wrapped his ex-teammate up on a layup attempt. (Blair promptly fouled him again on the next possession.) Blair even got Tim Duncan to engage in what appeared to be — gasp! — a brief bout of trash talk, an accomplishment in and of itself. “Timmy’s a good friend of mine,” Blair said, “so it’s cool.” San Antonio Express-News

Calderon's response from Game 1 to Game 2 shows that he got the message. As things appeared to be coming apart at the seams, Calderon and the team regrouped and got back on track. "Sometime when it's low, everybody gets so crazy too quickly," Calderon said. "I've had some bad games or could have done better, but we're 15 guys. Coach makes the decision. It doesn't [matter] who plays more minutes. Whoever is in there is going to try to do the best for our team to win. "That's what everyone has to understand. It's not about who got more points on our team. It's about who got more points as a team. That's what basketball is about." ESPN.com

While Calderon will be the consummate teammate and gladly step to aside for a teammate if he's not delivering, he's still a proud guy who wants to have a positive impact on his team. He was able to rise to the occasion and display some shooter's amnesia as his third-quarter performance was instrumental in Dallas' ability to steal the home-court advantage. "I always try to go out there and play the best basketball I can and make every shot possible, but there's nights you're shooting and the ball isn't going to fall. I'll keep being aggressive and hopefully they can keep falling." ESPN.com

Jackson was talking about wanting Carmelo Anthony to take less money in free agency in order for the Knicks to have more flexibility. He cited Tim Duncan, who has done it in San Antonio to help keep the Spurs together and contending. But right after Jackson praised the Spurs, he retracted his statement and gave them a little zing. “Tim Duncan making the salary he's making after being part of a dynasty - not a dynasty, I wouldn't call San Antonio a dynasty -- a force, a great force,” Jackson said. “They haven't been able to win consecutive championships but they've always been there. San Antonio has had a wonderful run through Tim's tenure there as a player. He's agreed to take a salary cut so other players can play with him so they can be this good. And that's the beginning of team play.” Newsday

Herb Kohl tapped the NBA’s revolving loan fund twice in 2009 and three times in 2010, according to personal financial filings from his final year in the U.S. Senate that shed light on his statement that he spent “well over $100 million” keeping the Bucks afloat. “I went into debt,” Kohl told me in an interview. “The league has a credit facility and we got to the limit of what we could borrow. It turned out fine. I have no complaints on the money side.” Business News

After the news April 17 that Kohl agreed to sell the Milwaukee Bucks for $550 million, I asked him about the return on his initial 1985 investment of $18 million to $19 million. Kohl pointed out that he had spent “well over $100 million” keeping the Bucks in business and went into debt with the NBA, but would not give a specific dollar figure. “I didn’t invest for the money and it doesn’t take into account the money I’ve put in over the years to keep the team afloat during the times when the (NBA’s) economic model was broken,” Kohl told me. “It was well over $100 million, so you can just start subtracting from what I received here.” Business News

Kohl’s last day in the Senate was Jan. 2 after 24 years. His sale of the Bucks, of which he is the sole owner, still requires NBA approval. The buyers are New York City investment executives Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens. “Some people will look at it and say, ‘Herb Kohl is making $550 million on this,’” Kohl told me. “I’m saying, ‘Hey, that’s not true.’ It’s a business that has risks. When I bought the team, the NBA was a very small, shaky enterprise. There were many problems in the NBA when I bought this in the middle-’80s. Some of my investments have turned out better, some worse.” Business News

This will be one of the most memorable nights of Shawn Marion's life. His massive contributions to the Dallas Mavericks' first playoff win since they popped champagne bottles in Miami a few years ago were a mere footnote. Marion wasn't available to the media after the Mavs evened the series with a 113-92 rout of the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night, but he had a really good reason for bolting out of the AT&T Center visitor's locker room after the win. He rushed to the airport to hop on a private jet to get to his hometown of Chicago for the birth of his first child, a source confirmed to ESPNDallas.com with the approval of the proud new father. ESPN.com

Which Eastern/Western dynamic duo will get it done?

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