The premiere of the documentary NYC Point Gods drew an NBA crowd Tuesday night at the Midnight Theater in Manhattan, and the red carpet provided some interesting notes, which we’ll cover below.
Film producer Kevin Durant did not comment on his trade request, and his agent, Rich Kleiman, declined to explain why his client wants to leave the Nets.
But we did get a chance to catch up with a few current and former NBA players.
CELTICS STAR NOT INVOLVED IN KD RUMORS
With reports that the Celtics and Nets have discussed a trade involving Durant, Jayson Tatum said he’s happy with Boston’s current roster.
“I don’t think so. “I’m just playing basketball,” Tatum said. “I mean, I played with him during the Olympics. He’s obviously a great player. But this is not my decision. I love our team. I love the guys we have.”
The Celtics, who beat the Nets in the playoffs to reach the Finals, have reportedly offered Jaylen Brown over Durant. They also acquired Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari this offseason.
“We have two new pieces,” Tatum said. “I love our team. Like I said, I just go out there and play with my teammates. I don’t wear this hat and I don’t make decisions.”
Former Celtics great Paul Pierce was more dismissive of the Durant trade.
“They’re not going to do that,” Pierce said. “This is not happening. They don’t need to make any moves.”
BLAME STEVE NASH
NBA champion and current analyst Stephen Jackson said it’s unfair to blame Durant and Kyrie Irving for the Nets’ shortcomings last season.
Jackson singled out coach Steve Nash for his first-round loss against the Celtics.
“It was a lot, so I’m just saying it’s totally on them. For me, knowing the game and watching the game, I don’t like the coaching situation,” Jackson said. “I love Steve Nash, but I think there are a lot of things they could have done differently. With the lineups in the playoffs, with Blake (Griffin) not playing until the last minute. A lot of things went wrong.”
Jackson added that Durant’s trade request was a positive sign for player empowerment, citing how teams trade players all the time.
“It’s great to see players take control of their careers and their own destiny,” Jackson said. “And that’s what KD does. If he doesn’t want to be there, it’s all about winning. It’s not about where you play or who you play with, it’s about winning. And I think these guys understand that.”
TURN ON THE MUSIC
After playing in the heyday of youth basketball in New York, Ron Sandiford-Artest admitted the game wasn’t working and blamed it on gentrification killing the music.
“There’s a reason why it doesn’t work. It’s because when they started gentrifying the city, they started turning off the music,” Sandiford-Artest said. “So when people come from other countries, come live in our neighborhoods and complain about the music — you’re taking the music away from the tournaments in New York, you’re killing it. You are killing it. That’s what they did.”
Sandiford-Artest also mentioned the new court curfew, while he used to play basketball until 2 a.m.
“No one is fighting for it here. We need people who fight for it,” he said. “And basketball players in New York should only vote for those who aren’t going to turn off the music.”
WHAT COULD HAPPEN
Former All-Star point guard Mark Jackson believes he would have won a championship with the Knicks had he not been traded in 1992.
“I believe that we will win the championship. “We had a great team,” Jackson said. “We had a process. We have advanced. We had roping champions. That’s why I think we’ll win the championship if this team stays together.”
Jackson was acquired by the Clippers in a three-team trade that returned Charles Smith and Doc Rivers to New York. The Knicks, who lost to the Bulls in the conference semifinals in seven games of Jackson’s final season, lost to the Bulls in the conference finals in six games after the trade.
“We were in the fourth quarter of Game 7 with Michael Jordan on the team,” Jackson said. “They’re an all-time great team and he’s an all-time great player, but I think we had a chance to beat them and if we stayed together we would have.”