The NBA trade deadline wasn’t even a day old before the next NBA storyline shoved trade reaction out of the news cycle. Instead of wondering what impact P.J. Tucker would have on the Raptors or why Jimmy Butler and Paul George stayed put, the conversation has been about the latest escalation of the feud between JaVale McGee and Shaquille O’Neal.
O’Neal once again targeted McGee for a video compilation of JaVale’s worst bloopers during Thursday night’s TNT broadcast. This infuriated McGee and led to a heated Twitter exchange between the two. On Friday, McGee’s coach Steve Kerr and teammate Kevin Durant came to his defense in the beef with Shaq, noting Shaq has been over the top in antagonizing the Warriors center throughout his career.
However, Durant and Kerr’s public statements weren’t the only efforts made by the Warriors to stick up for their center. According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes and Marc Stein, the organization contacted Turner Sports (which operates TNT and Inside the NBA) about Shaq’s constant taunting of McGee on air.
Sources told ESPN that the Warriors contacted Turner officials to express concern about TNT’s yearslong McGee coverage on the “Shaqtin’ a Fool” segment on the popular “Inside The NBA” show, with the team contending that the ongoing negative portrayal of the veteran center is doing unnecessary damage to McGee’s reputation.
A Turner source confirmed the discussions with the Warriors and told ESPN that “the matter has been discussed internally” after a Twitter feud erupted Thursday night between O’Neal and McGee.
Both Durant and Kerr noted that Shaq’s constant targeting of McGee’s miscues gave him a reputation as a dumb player and it was one that could affect how teams viewed him. Kerr even said he had a perception of McGee based partially off of the constant clips of McGee’s mishaps that he now felt was totally wrong.
While strange to have a team go to a media outlet over coverage of a player, Turner is an NBA partner (owning NBA TV and a significant portion of the NBA’s television rights). It will be very interesting to see how the Inside the NBA crew handles this situation next week, considering they’ve never been shy to test the boundaries with the league.