Clarkson caught in NBA trade rumors
The suspense of the NBA Draft on Thursday last week is over, but the intrigue that surrounded it remains.
Caught in the machinations of competing California franchises is Filipino-American guard Jordan Clarkson of the Los Angeles Lakers.
After the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Kentucky power forward Karl-Anthony Towns as the first overall choice, the Lakers used the second overall pick on point guard-shooting guard D’Angelo Russell of Ohio State.
The Lakers made a titillating move in selecting Russell, a taller version of Chris Paul, instead of Jahlil Okafor, the Duke center with Tim Duncan-like skills who was taken third by the Philadelphia 76ers.
But trade rumors swirling around the league say the Lakers opted for a guard because they have designs of obtaining All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings themselves did not help squelch the gossip by picking Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein sixth overall, thus making Cousins’ future shakier than the Twist.
New Sacramento coach George Karl reportedly has a tenuous relationship with Cousins and wants to deal him for Lakers assets like injured power forward Julius Randle and Clarkson, who was in Manila on a goodwill visit recently.
Vlade Divac, the former Kings center and now the team’s vice president of basketball and franchise operations, has denied the possible deal. He says the team’s future plans include Cousins, who has three more years and $50 million remaining on his contract.
The rest of the top 10 selections in the 2015 NBA Draft were: No. 4 New York Knicks—Kristaps Porzingis, Latvia, power forward; No. 5 Orlando Magic—Mario Hezonja, Croatia, shooting guard; No. 7 Denver Nuggets—Emmanuel Mudiay, China, point guard; No. 8 Detroit Pistons
—Stanley Johnson, Arizona, small forward; No. 9 Charlotte Hornets—Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin, power forward; and No. 10 Miami Heat—Justise Winslow, Duke, shooting guard.
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Charly Suarez and Mark Anthony Barriga, elite fighters of the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines, are professionals, Games and Amusements Board Chair Juan Ramon Guanzon reiterated recently.
Suarez and Barriga are competing in the Aiba Pro League sanc tioned by the International Boxing Association to earn a ticket to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next year.
Guanzon is adamant in saying that the Aiba league is a professional boxing circuit and maintains that Suarez and Barriga have contracts.
“The manager is Abap and the promoter is Aiba,” Guanzon said recently. “I don’t understand why we can’t call them professionals.”
Guanzon insists that both Abap fighters must obtain licenses from the GAB. “If something happens to them, there is nothing we could do… Abap is responsible.”
But a GAB license is a no-no since it would be deemed government intervention by the International Olympic Committee and could result in a suspension for Abap whose fighters are the best hopes for the country’s first Olympic gold medal.
Abap executive director Ed Picson says the fuss about his boxers “is really a non-issue to my mind.”
The Aiba Pro League is a qualifying tournament for the 2016 Olympics where professionals will be allowed to compete for the first time.
But star boxers as we know them won’t be gloving up for their respective countries.
The Olympic boxing matches are open to professional boxers not older than 40, with less than 15 pro fights by the time Rio rolls around.