Barkley appeared on ESPN’s “Golic and Wingo” show and laid into Ball the way only Barkley can: “Everybody talking about how he might be a good father, this and that. No he’s not. He’s just exploiting his kids. … He’s all about Big Baller Brand. He has no foreseeable talent. He’s trying to make money on his kids, and I just feel sadness for those kids because they’re going to do whatever he tells them to do. I just don’t like the guy at all, plain and simple. And don’t tell me he’s a good father. Just because you exploit your kids, trying to make money because you have no talent, that does not make you a good father. That makes you exploiting your kids. And I don’t like the guy at all”. Barkley’s critiques of Ball are familiar, but the bluntness and delivery are all Barkley. The fact that when Barkley speaks, the basketball world listens gives extra weight to the criticism. Barkley didn’t save all of his anger for Ball, laying blame on media for promoting his antics. He said: “I just feel sadness that the media — CNN, ESPN — has given this guy a platform. He represents everything that is bad about sports”. Barkley’s been on a roll lately, with his LaVar Ball take coming on the heels of stumping in U.S. Senate race in Alabama to help elect Doug Jones over Roy Moore. And this isn’t likely to be the last we hear from Barkley on the Ball family. A response from LaVar, in the meantime, seems inevitable.
Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward shed his walking boot Wednesday, less than two months after his gruesome opening-night injury in Cleveland. In the latest step in his recovery from a fractured ankle, Hayward got the OK from his doctors to go boot-free Wednesday. Wearing just a small brace on his left ankle, Hayward was able to walk without an aid at a community event at the Boys & Girls Club of Boston.
Grizzlies center Marc Gasol said he would accept a trade if management approached him about a deal. Gasol professed his love for the Grizz and said, “If they think it is best, I would do anything for this franchise”. The 32-year-old veteran made it clear he isn’t seeking a trade, though, saying, “I have a responsibility to this city. I’m not gonna quit, no matter what”. Memphis is 14th in the Western Conference at 8-19, and it is in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2009-10. Per Spotrac, Gasol is in the midst of a five-year contract that will pay him more than $46 million in total over the next two seasons. A player option kicks in for 2019-20, meaning Gasol could opt for free agency. The Grizzlies fired head coach David Fizdale in November following a 7-12 start after he spent less than two seasons on the job. That gave rise to speculation that a rift between Gasol and Fizdale led to the coach’s firing, but Gasol said he didn’t request the move. Gasol is the best player in franchise history with 71.0 win shares, which places him ahead of point guard Mike Conley and his 63.4 win shares.This season Gasol is averaging 19.0 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.4 blocks per game, and appears well on his way to his fourth career All-Star nod. The 2012-13 Defensive Player of the Year is the face of the franchise in Memphis, but it hasn’t shied away from making some tough decisions recently, including allowing popular players Zach Randolph and Tony Allen to leave via free agency during the offseason. Trading Gasol would likely bring in some key pieces for a rebuild if the Grizzlies decide to go in that direction.