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The premier of the documentary ‘NYC Point Gods’ brought an NBA crowd Tuesday night to the Midnight Theatre in Manhattan, and the red carpet provided some interesting notes that we’ll detail below.
The producer of the film, Kevin Durant, didn’t speak amid his trade request, and his agent, Rich Kleiman, declined to address why his client wants to leave the Nets.
But we did get a chance to catch up with several current and former NBA players.
CELTICS STAR NOT GETTING INVOLVED IN KD RUMORS
With the reports suggesting the Celtics and Nets have discussed a trade involving Durant, Jayson Tatum said he’s content with Boston’s current roster.
“”I don’t think any of that. I just play basketball,” Tatum said. “I mean, I played with him during the Olympics. Obviously, he’s a great player. But that’s not my decision. I love our team. I love the guys we got.”
The Celtics, who swept the Nets in the playoffs and advanced to the Finals, reportedly offered Jaylen Brown for Durant. They also acquired Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari this offseason.
”We got 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 put that hat on and make decisions.”
Former Celtics great Paul Pierce was more dismissive of a Durant trade.
“They’re not going to do that,” Pierce said. “That ain’t happening. They don’t need to make no moves.”
BLAMING STEVE NASH
NBA champion and current analyst Stephen Jackson said it’s unfair to blame the Nets shortcomings last season on just Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Jackson specifically called out coach Steve Nash for getting swept in the first round against the Celtics.
“It’s been a lot going on so I just say it’s entirely 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’s a lot of things they could of done differently. With the lineups in the playoffs, with not playing Blake (Griffin) till the last minute. There’s a lot of things that went wrong.”
Jackson added that Durant’s trade request was a positive sign for player empowerment, referencing how teams trade players all the time.
“It feels good to see the players taking control of their careers and taking control of their destiny,” Jackson said. “And that’s what KD’s doing. 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 those guys understand that.”
TURN UP THE MUSIC
After playing in a heyday for youth basketball in NYC, Ron Sandiford-Artest acknowledged the game is down and he blamed music-killing gentrification.
“There’s a reason why it’s down. It’s because when they started to gentrify the city, they started to turn the music off,” Sandiford-Artest said. “So when people come from other countries come to live in our neighborhoods and complain about the music – you take the music away from the tournaments in New York City, you kill it. You kill it. That’s what they did.”
Sandiford-Artest also cited new curfews at the courts, whereas he used to play basketball until 2 a.m.
“We don’t have anybody fighting for that. We need people fighting for that,” he said. “And basketball players in New York City should vote for only people who aren’t going to turn the music off.”
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN
Mark Jackson, the former All-Star point guard, believes he would’ve won a championship with the Knicks if he hadn’t been traded in 1992.
“I do believe we win a championship. We had a great team,” Jackson said. “We had a process moving along. We advanced. We had the champs on the ropes. So I believe we win a championship if that team stays together.”
Jackson was dealt to the Clippers in a three-team trade that brought Charles Smith and Doc Rivers back to New York. The Knicks, who lost to the Bulls in the conference semis in seven games during Jackson’s final season, fell to the Bulls in the conference finals in six games after the trade.
“We were up in the fourth quarter of a 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 believe we had a chance to beat them and if we stayed together, we would have.”