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Tuesday, July 17, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

At the moment, in the wake of the $6.3 million agreement with Ellington for 2018-19, the Heat payroll is at $127 million, with a 1.5 dollar-for-dollar tax kicking in for the first $5 million a team spends in payroll above the $123.7 million 2018-19 NBA tax line. The penalty increases to 1.75 dollar-for-dollar penalty for exceeding $128.7 million, which, at the moment, appears almost assured. Sun Sentinel

"We all know what the accounting situation is with us," Heat President Pat Riley said of the luxury tax as the Heat headed into free agency. It is why the Heat might prove especially reluctant to utilize much in the way of salary-cap exception money -- exceed the tax line by more than $10 million in salary and the tax rises to 2.5 dollars for each dollar in payroll above that threshold. Sun Sentinel

Dwyane Wade: The ball remains in his court, with an open invitation to extend the roster encore he made with his Feb. 8 return. While he is eligible for the $2.3 million veteran minimum for a player with 10 or more seasons of NBA tenure, the belief is he will seek the $5.3 million mid-level exception the Heat hold as a team operating above the luxury-tax threshold. Any decision above the minimum (which would only count at $1.5 million again the salary cap) could significantly impact the Heat's tax liability. Sun Sentinel

The Clippers are expected to keep guard Milos Teodosic despite their crowded backcourt, according to an NBA official not authorized to speak publicly. Teodosic exercised a $6.3-million option last month. Had the Clippers waived him before Sunday, only $2.1 million would have been guaranteed. LA Times

Michael Porter Jr. did not play for the Nuggets during NBA summer league; the first-round draft pick is still recovering from back surgery that wiped out the bulk of his only college season at Missouri. Neither did second-round selection Jarred Vanderbilt, who is still hobbled by multiple foot injuries that limited his college career at Kentucky. Still, Denver arrived in Las Vegas with story lines to follow on the Cox Pavilion floor. Could point guard Monte Morris earn a promotion from a two-way contract to a full deal? How would Malik Beasley look in his third summer league? What about Denver’s European draft-and-stash prospects? Would somebody emerge as the next Torrey Craig, an undrafted player whose summer performance leads to a shot in the NBA? Denver Post

The Memphis Grizzlies have signed second-round pick Jevon Carter to a multiyear deal. Terms of the contract announced Sunday were not disclosed. Boston Herald/AP

There were 81 referees — mostly from the G League — working games at the NBA summer league in Las Vegas, which ends Tuesday. All 81 have been exposed to multiple classroom sessions with current and retired NBA officials, who are there to essentially groom the people who could one day replace them. Programs like this have been in play for years, although it's no secret that the NBA wants to increase its pool of referees by 25 percent before 2020. That's why this summer might provide more big breaks than usual for those blowing the whistles at games. The overwhelming majority of refs working this summer won't see the NBA anytime soon, and many never will, but for some the call is closer than ever before. Star Tribune

Karl Malone: "I am so tired of AUU. It’s a money pit. It doesn't help the NBA. You can get a lot more finding a coach and having your child 1-on-1 instruction instead of that ball-hogging. What it’s telling you now is just, ‘Go dunk.’" Deseret News

The Big3 half-court basketball league is making a stop in Miami for the fifth week of its 10-week schedule. And yes, that means plenty of former Miami Heat players will be making their return to their former home arena for a night of basketball. In total, 11 former Heat players are in the league as either players or coaches. That list doesn’t include Rick Barry, the former Miami Hurricanes great, who serves as one of the league’s eight coaches. Miami Herald


Sunday, July 15, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

Former Lakers point guard Isaiah Thomas has agreed to a one-year deal with the Denver Nuggets, according to multiple media reports. Thomas was a second-round draft pick for the Sacramento Kings in 2011 but became a two-time All-Star during his two-plus seasons with the Boston Celtics from 2014 to 2017. Last offseason, he was dealt to Cleveland as part of the trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Celtics. LA Times

What’s key to remember in the Thunder-Anthony split is that OKC has time. While the Thunder would like to find a workable trade for Anthony sooner rather than later, it also has until Aug. 31 until the option expires to stretch his remaining $27.9 million in salary over three seasons starting this season. After Aug. 31, Anthony could still be traded or bought out. But that deadline is the key to the last luxury tax saving move completely under the Thunder’s control, savings amounting to close to $100 million this season. Oklahoman

The Bulls, or whoever trades for Anthony, isn’t keeping him, so Anthony will waive his no-trade clause. It's why the Thunder allowed Anthony to speak with Houston and Miami in Las Vegas this week. The team he'd briefly be traded to wouldn't want his services, but his expiring contract for flexibility going into next offseason’s deep free agent class of Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, DeAndre Jordan, Karl-Anthony Towns, DeMarcus Cousins, and Jimmy Butler, among others. Oklahoman

It appears James Michael McAdoo is headed to Italy. The former Warriors big man is nearing a deal with Fiat Torino of Italian Serie A, according to Sportando. In 2015, McAdoo won two championships with the Warriors -- one in Golden State and one in Santa Cruz. He appeared in 15 regular-season games with Golden State that season, averaging 4.1 points and 2.5 rebounds. NBC Sports Bay Area

Furkan Korkmaz wants and needs to show more consistency. In two NBA Summer League performances, the swingman looked like someone who can have a major role in the 76ers’ future. In two other summer performances, the 20-year-old looked a ways away from making any kind of impact.

So, where do the Warriors go from here? Head trainer Drew Yoder will stay on and assist in completing the staff that operated under Lane. A new strength and conditioning coach will have to be hired. Much of Gelfand’s load -- and maybe his role as Shaun Livingston’s personal practice partner -- will fall upon Pabail Sidhu, who spent last season working with Gelfand. There is one more notable departure, this one sentimental. Team security manager Ralph Walker, who doubled as Curry’s individual protection, is retiring. Though the former Oakland cop had no voice in personnel, training, scouting or analytics, his understated approach made him popular with players and staff alike. NBC Sports Bay Area

After retiring at 30 due to a series of injuries that derailed his NBA career, Yao enrolled in China's Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2011. Due to time spent on charity work, it took Yao seven years to finish all his courses, but he earned his degree in economics on Sunday. "At a certain stage in the future, you should try to combine your future with the future of the society, because that's how you can find larger space for yourself to explore," Yao said in a speech at the graduation ceremony. Houston Chronicle

The Wizards' free agent deal with Dwight Howard had been agreed upon for over a week, but it was not made official until Thursday afternoon when the team made the announcement following the long process of first completing a trade and a buyout from the Hornets and the Nets. Though it took some time to get things in order, Howard is now a member of the Wizards. Team president Ernie Grunfeld explained what Howard will bring to the team in a statement. NBC Sports Washington

Howard was signed to a two-year deal worth $11 million with the second year a player option. NBC Sports Washington

Free-agent forward Jonas Jerebko has signed a one-year, veteran-minimum deal with the Warriors, the team announced Thursday. News of his signing comes five days after Jerebko, 31, was waived by the Utah Jazz. After no team claimed him and guaranteed his $4.2 million salary for next season, he became a free agent Monday. SF Chronicle

Denver PostDenver assistant coach Micah Nori is leaving the Nuggets to join the Detroit Pistons’ staff, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Nori has been a longtime assistant of Nuggets coach Michael Malone, both in Denver and in Sacramento. Nori also spent 15 seasons with Toronto, including four as an assistant coach. Denver Post

The Oklahoma City Thunder announced Thursday morning that reserve point guard Raymond Felton has re-signed with the organization. Though terms were not released, it has been widely reported that Felton agreed to a one-year, $2.4 million contract. Norman Transcript

Los Angeles Lakers center and former Michigan standout Moritz Wagner's Summer League session will be cut short. Wagner bruised his left knee during Tuesday night’s Las Vegas Summer League game against the New York Knicks. An MRI exam Wednesday confirmed the extent of the injury and Wagner will sit out the rest of the games. Detroit News

Former New York Knicks star Charles Oakley is being accused of gambling fraud after a wager at a Las Vegas casino last weekend, casino regulators said Thursday. Oakley was arrested Sunday at the Cosmopolitan casino-resort on the Las Vegas Strip on suspicion of committing or attempting to commit a fraudulent act in a gaming establishment, the Nevada Gaming Control Board said in a statement. The agency said Oakley is suspected of "adding to or reducing his wager" on a game after the outcome was known. Star Tribune/AP


Wednesday, July 11, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

The Nets met with Celtics restricted free agent Marcus Smart on Monday. Now the question is how much interest the sides have in each other. While the Nets played a summer league game Monday night at Cox Pavilion, Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks was playing a different game. He was spotted having a conversation with Smart and his reps in the evening at Thomas & Mack Center. NY Post

Smart and agent Happy Walters are taking meetings in Las Vegas, according to the Boston Globe. And according to a league source, the combo guard is now willing to take a salary under $15 million per season. NY Post

The Nets have a little under $11 million to spend, and Smart told ESPN that he’s worth $12 million to $14 million. Even if the Nets managed to create some more cap space and get Smart to ink an offer sheet, there still are hurdles. NY Post

Speaking after the NBA's Board of Governors meeting on Tuesday night, Silver said he thinks the league is ready to scrap the rule requiring players to be out of high school for a year before becoming eligible to enter the draft. That one should be relatively simple to move forward now, while notions such as how to find more competitive balance are still a puzzler to the league and its commissioner. "I'm not here to say we have a problem," Silver said. "And I love where the league is right now. But I think we can create a better system." Star Tribune/AP

Part of that better system, he thinks, will be reverting back to the policy that will allow players to go into the league right out of high school — something that should be in place in time for the 2021 NBA Draft, though that timeline has not been formally announced. Silver was a proponent of making the eligibility age older, up to 20 instead of the current 19, though has changed his stance on that in recent weeks. "My personal view is that we're ready to make that change," Silver said. "It won't come immediately. But when I've weighed the pros and cons, given that Condoleezza Rice and her commission have recommended to the NBA that those one-and-done players now come directly into the league and in essence the college community is saying 'We do not want those players anymore,' I think that tips the scale in my mind." Star Tribune/AP

The NBA commissioner said after last night’s Board of Governors meeting that, while he has no problem with the Warriors doing everything they can to improve under the current rules, he’d like to see some curbs on the rich getting richer. And by “the rich,” he means not only teams that have collections of good players, but more the franchises in larger markets, where better revenue streams (local radio and TV deals, etc.) make those clubs more able to digest the luxury tax payments designed to deter them from hoarding high-salaried talent. It might be a while before the league and Players Association can get together on this, but if significant changes are, indeed, in the offing, the Celtics could feel the effects as they try to keep together a team with three max-worth players (Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford) and deal with the post-rookie contracts of Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and Jayson Tatum in coming years. Boston Herald

The Celts are already likely to step into luxury tax territory if they can sign restricted free agent Marcus Smart to a multiple-year deal. (They could stay beneath the mark if Smart decides to just accept the qualifying offer of $6,053,719 and become an unrestricted free agent next summer.) And staying beneath the tax threshold can be a significant benefit in that it helps to avoid the repeater tax, which hits teams at a higher rate if they’ve been in the tax three of the previous four seasons. If the Celts are able to keep this group intact and pay the individuals at market rate, they’ll be writing some large checks to the league in the future. Boston Herald

Some Bulls fans were upset at the idea of matching LaVine’s four-year, $78 million offer, not exactly understanding the value of “asset retention”. And that same subsection of Bulls fans would be in hysterics should the team sign Parker, the former No. 2 overall pick with a well-documented injury history. But the idea is the same as matching LaVine’s offer from Sacramento. No one is arguing that LaVine will have to prove that he is worth the four-year commitment from the Bulls. And no one is saying that Parker would be a perfect fit on the Bulls, as clearly the team would have to cater some aspects of the offense to him to maximize his potential. But the idea of nabbing a player who put up 20.1 points per game on a 56 percent true shooting percentage just two seasons ago should be an enticing one for a franchise trying to make real progress through their rebuilding years. NBC Sports Chicago

But after three games playing for the Bulls' entry this summer, top draft pick Wendell Carter Jr. has drawn nearly unanimous acclaim as an NBA-ready big man capable of making an immediate impact as a rookie. Carter has made a big impression as a rim protector with 11 blocked shots, while also showing the lateral quickness and close-out ability to defend smaller players on pick and roll switches. As you'll recall, that was one of the biggest question marks about Carter after playing a lot of zone defense in his one college season at Duke. NBC Sports Chicago


Tuesday, July 10, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

The primary concern is about their teammate. So until Wayne Ellington's status is determined, NBA free agency remains an ongoing process for Miami Heat players. "Wayne makes things real easy on me," Kelly Olynyk said amid his visit to summer league. "So I'd love it if he came back." Sun Sentinel

But the secondary concern is about the road ahead. And while their team is not necessarily a leading contender in the Eastern Conference, Heat players appreciate the next playoff race will be unlike anything they've experienced the previous four seasons. "I think it's open," said Josh Richardson, who, like many NBA players, is in Las Vegas for the league's annual union meeting. "The last decade, basically it's been LeBron [James] out of the East every year. I feel like everybody feels they kind of have a clean slate to go ahead and attack this year with more of an open chance." Sun Sentinel

For the moment, the Heat, if anything, will come back intact at best, with the free agency of Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem also yet to be resolved, as well as the pricier issue with Ellington. The advantage, Richardson said, is what the Heat can do from within. Sun Sentinel

Why would any team that Carmelo wants, and that wants Carmelo, trade for him, when he’s going to be free and available on the market within a matter of weeks? The leaking of the Thunder’s desire to part ways with Carmelo’s $27.9 million salary means OKC has no leverage. If a team is eager to sign Carmelo, the Thunder can’t sit there poker-faced threatening to keep Carmelo. That’s OKC’s only card, but with a luxury tax hit in the $100 million range just on Carmelo, that’s no option. So teams know Carmelo will be on the market soon. And as a free agent, Carmelo can go where he wants to go, same as he can with the trade power. Oklahoman

The Thunder is hamstrung on draft picks. OKC has its 2019 first-round pick and can’t trade it, because of the NBA rule that forbids the trading of first-round picks in successive years. The Thunder did not have a first-round pick in 2018. The Thunder’s 2020 first-round pick goes to Philadelphia, though it is top-20 protected (which then reverts to a future second-round pick). The Thunder has its 2021 first-round pick and can’t trade it. Oklahoman


Sunday, July 8, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

After several frenetic summers, this one has been mostly quiet for the Celtics. They have thus far added just first-round pick Robert Williams and free agent guard Brad Wanamaker, and the focus has shifted almost entirely toward the status of guard Marcus Smart, a restricted free agent. A source close to Smart said Friday that the 24-year-old guard is hurt by the Celtics’ lack of communication during free agency, and that he is “over it’’ and prepared to ultimately sign a one-year qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent next season if it comes to it. Boston Globe

Robert Williams’s difficult early going with the Celtics continued Friday when he left the summer league opener with a bruised left knee, sustained in the first half of the 95-89 win over the Philadelphia 76ers at the Thomas & Mack Center. Boston Globe

The Dallas Mavericks believe they got the best player in the draft by trading up to select Slovenian swingman Luka Doncic with the third overall pick. "He was the top player on our board," Mavs owner Mark Cuban told ESPN. "It wasn't even close."

Doncic sat out Dallas' summer league opener on Friday, a 92-85 loss to the Phoenix Suns and No. 1 pick DeAndre Ayton, who had 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, eight rebounds and a blocked shot in 22 minutes. Dallas is working to finalize Doncic's buyout with Real Madrid, but he will likely play only one game if at all during summer league, as the Mavs want their prized rookie to rest after his season in Europe ended two days before the draft.

It took Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and DeAndre Jordan a matter of seconds to make up a few years after the big man left the franchise at the altar in free agency. "There's like four guys I hold grudges with, and three of them are from grade school, maybe even before," Cuban told ESPN hours after Jordan officially signed with the Mavericks on Friday. "I just want to win. Look, only Dirk [Nowitzki] and J.J. [Barea] were there from that period anyway. All of our guys were like, 'Go get him! Go get him!' "I talked to him on the phone and he's like, 'Everything behind us?' I'm like, 'Let's go win.' He goes, 'Let's go to war.' Done."

The Clippers announced Friday that they had signed Angel Delgado to a two-way contract to play on their NBA development league team. Delgado, 23, had impressed the Clippers doing workouts, and that earned him a spot on the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario. Delgado played four seasons at Seton Hall University, where the 6-foot-10 center averaged 12.1 points and 11.0 rebounds over his career. LA Times

In Friday’s summer league opener, the Nets played without most of their big names. No matter. Shawn Dawson made the most of a chance to make a name for himself. With most of their foreign contingent missing, and rotation players Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert sitting, the Nets lost 86-80 to the Magic at Cox Pavillion. But the Israel-born Dawson — son of an experienced international pro — came off the bench with an eye-catching performance. NY Post

Four of the Nets’ seven internationals didn’t play. Two-time Chinese league MVP Ding Yanyuhang has left due to a knee injury. Rodions Kurucs (Latvia) and Dzanan Musa (Bosnia-Herzegovina) can’t play until their buyouts with Barcelona and Cedevita are done. Nets fans are familiar with Juan Pablo Vaulet’s ankle woes, but he’s out again after hurting his foot Thursday in practice. Vaughn said he will be re-evaluated Saturday. NY Post

After falling behind by 21 points at the start of the fourth quarter, the Timberwolves staged a huge rally but lost 70-69 to the Denver Nuggets on Friday night in their NBA Summer League opener in Las Vegas. Isaiah Cousins led the Wolves with 15 points and 6-9 center Amile Jefferson had 12 points and 14 rebounds. Star Tribune


Friday, July 6, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

As the Oklahoma City Thunder navigate an historic $310 million payroll and luxury tax bill, the franchise's front office is working through scenarios that will culminate in the inevitable this summer: An ending to the brief Carmelo Anthony partnership, which could deliver the Thunder over $100 million in cost savings. The massive financial implications of Anthony opting into his $27.9 million contract for the 2018-19 season -- coupled with a mutual understanding that his scaled back role isn't what he had signed up for to play with Oklahoma City -- have dictated that the two sides will part ways sometime this summer, league sources told ESPN.

Oklahoma City can use the stretch provision on Anthony's $27.9 million contract to eliminate a staggering $107 million off the team's 2018-19 payroll and tax bill, but the Thunder first plan to pursue trade possibilities with teams looking to acquire a massive expire deal to salary cap space in July 2019 free agency.

The stretch provision would slash $90 million in tax, dropping the Thunder's bill from $150 million to $60 million. The stretch provision spreads Anthony's salary annually onto the Thunder's cap for $9.3 million over three years.

The Toronto Raptors have announced that they have signed point guard Fred VanVleet to a two-year contract. The deal, worth a reported US$18 million, was reported earlier this week, but couldn’t be officially confirmed until the NBA’s free agency moratorium period ended on Friday. Canadian Press

Nemanja Bjelica, the intriguing forward with three-point range and a habit of missing 15-20 games per season, is done in Minnesota after three seasons. That was pretty much settled when the Wolves withdrew their qualifying offer and let him become an unrestricted free agent, then signed Anthony Tolliver to essentially take his role. But it’s confirmed as of this morning, with Woj tweeting that Bjelica is signing a one-year deal with the 76ers. Bjelica might have had more upside than Tolliver, having been in the league just three seasons, but he’s already 30 and probably is what he is to a certain degree. Tolliver, 33, definitely is what he is, but in terms of short-term production — two guys on one-year deals — I’m going to go ahead and say Tolliver is a slight upgrade. Star Tribune

Miami Heat assistant coach Eric Glass has one directive from his boss, head coach Erik Spoelstra, when it comes to summer league. “He said ‘do whatever you want and don’t be afraid to make a mistake,’” Glass said. “Which was huge for me. “He gave me incredible trust and leeway.” Palm Beach Post

Eric Glass, 34, is next in a line of Heat coaches who got their start in the video room, eventually moved to the bench and started to make their bones in summer league. With thousands of hours in the video room and for the last two years as the Heat’s player development coach, Spoelstra believes Glass is “more than ready” for the challenge. Palm Beach Post

The player with the most buzz on the Nets’ summer-league team isn’t first-round pick Dzanan Musa, or even rotation players Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert. It’s Ding Yanyuhang — nicknamed Dingsanity, the two-time reigning MVP of the Chinese Basketball Association. Now the question is when he’ll actually play. Ding participated in parts of practice Thursday, and the Nets are denying Chinese reports that he’s essentially been ruled out for summer league with a right knee injury, but it’s still up in the air whether the 24-year-old guard will play in Friday’s opener versus Orlando. NY Post

Tencent Sports reported that Ding had declined a two-way contract, and that after being diagnosed with tendinitis and undergoing acupuncture Wednesday was warned he could miss a month if he played in summer league. The Nets denied a two-way offer was made or rejected, and said his availability hasn’t been determined. NY Post

On the eve of their first summer league game, the Celtics announced yesterday that they signed first-round draft pick Robert Williams. The Celtics selected the big man from Texas A&M with the No. 27 pick last month. Per team policy, terms of Williams’ deal were not released, but he will have four years guaranteed. Boston Herald

Ice Cube and Amy Trask, the rapper and the lawyer, would make for a good sitcom if they weren’t so busy spearheading their rising 3-on-3 basketball league. The two are longtime friends, going back at least 20 years and bonded by their connection to the Raiders. Now they are business partners whose contrasting skill sets are combining to get Big3 basketball off the ground. “It’s been great just seeing how tough she is,” Cube told the Bay Area News Group on Thursday night. Mercury News

The league makes its Oakland debut with a four-game set at Oracle Arena on Friday night after averaging about 15,000 fans at its first two stops. This is what Cube, and co-CEO Jeff Kwatinetz, thought about when they started drawing up their blueprint for the league that launched in 2017: the courts and the uniforms and the DJ and the dancers. Mercury News


Thursday, July 5, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

According to ESPN's calculations, the only remaining teams with significant salary-cap space this offseason are the Chicago Bulls at $23 million, Atlanta Hawks at $21 million and Sacramento Kings at $18 million. Otherwise, the league appears down to salary-cap exceptions that max out at $8.8 million for the full mid-level exception. Sun Sentinel

The Philadelphia 76ers went from $15 million in cap space Tuesday to almost none with a trade for the Denver Nuggets' Wilson Chandler. The Los Angeles Lakers, the other team that entered the offseason with significant salary-cap space, have exhausted the entirety of their stash with the signings of LeBron James, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Rajon Rondo, among others. Sun Sentinel

The Heat lack cap space beyond the $5.3 million taxpayer mid-level exception, but can exceed the cap to re-sign Ellington due to his early-Bird Rights. The NBA free-agency negotiating period opened Sunday, with agreements not allowed to become finalized until Friday, at the close of the league's offseason signing moratorium. Sun Sentinel

The Thunder [will sign] Nerlens Noel as a backup center, and there’s no reason for anyone to be excited about a backup center in the modern NBA. And the Thunder has not made a big commitment to Noel, who reportedly will receive $1.7 million this season and has a player option for 2019-20. Oklahoman

Noel had a decent season in 2016-17, which was split between the 76ers and Mavericks. Then he foolishly rejected Dallas’ four-year, $70-million contract offer. And nothing close to that come back in. Eventually, Noel settled for a one-year, $4-million contract with the Mavs. It was one of the biggest negotiating blunders in recent NBA history. And no surprise, Noel had a dismal season in Dallas, with injury, lack of production and finally drug suspension. Oklahoman

Raul Neto reportedly met with the Utah Jazz brass on Monday to discuss his contract situation before attending the summer league opener at Vivint Arena. The very next day, the Brazilian floor general agreed to a two-year, $4.4 million contract, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. Deseret News

His teammate Dante Exum also reportedly followed suit on the same day, agreeing to a three-year, $33 million deal, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Deseret News

On Monday, the Jazz also locked in unrestricted free agent Derrick Favors on a two-year, $36 million deal with the second year non-guaranteed. Deseret News

The Lakers added LeBron James and several role players. The Warriors added DeMarcus Cousins in a stunning move. So it was time for the Rockets to make a move, and on Tuesday they did, reportedly agreeing to a deal with former Charlotte Hornets guard Michael Carter-Williams. According to ESPN, it's a one-year deal worth the minimum. NBC Sports Bay Area

Kevin Knox heard the criticisms while he was in Kentucky about his waning effort. The 18-year-old thought it was fair and — ahead of his first Summer League game with the Knicks on Saturday — said he has worked toward a solution by getting in better shape. “I heard that all the time. I just kept playing. People are going to talk all the time, criticize you. I listened to my parents, listened to my coaches. They said the same thing,” he said. “I kind of got better at — I worked on my conditioning a lot this summer as far as getting in extra sprints, so I keep my motor up the whole game.” NY Daily News


Tuesday, July 3, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

A post shared by DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) on

As he has long desired, DeMarcus Cousins will finally get a chance to play for a winner once he's healthy from a torn left Achilles tendon. When Boogie returns to the court this season, the volatile big man will give the Golden State Warriors five 2018 All-Stars in their starting lineup to chase another title — with Cousins trying for his first after never appearing in the playoffs. The center, who has had his problems with technical fouls, will sign with the two-time defending champions after the moratorium period is lifted Friday, a person with direct knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday night. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract is yet to be completed. Deseret News/AP

Welcome to Los Angeles, LeBron. Now make room for the guy who once sidled up to you on a basketball court and blew in your ear. Save a seat for the guy who essentially was thrown off a team during a playoff series for being a troublemaker. And, hey, clear some space for the guy best known for his frequent appearances on a nationally televised segment featuring NBA bloopers. LA Times

Not only do all three have histories of odd and unsettling on-court behavior, but none of the three can provide James with the expert shooter his game desperately needs. The Lakers still don’t have that shooter. They also don’t have fan favorite and greatly improved Julius Randle, who looked at the new landscape Monday, threw up his hands and moved to New Orleans. LA Times

Josh Hart picked up where he left off in the regular season and rookies Moe Wagner and Svi Mykhailiuk turned some heads, but the Lakers started summer league play with a 98-93 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Monday night in the California Classic at the Golden 1 Center. Hart and Wagner led the Lakers with 23 points apiece, while Mykhailiuk added 15, going 6 for 10 from the field (3 for 6 from 3-point range). Wagner, a late first-round pick out of Michigan, added seven rebounds and went 6 for 17 from the floor (2 for 8 from 3-point range) but 9 for 10 from the free-throw line, drawing his share of fouls with strong head-fakes and fancy footwork on the block. Daily Breeze

The California Classic is a four-day, four-team event in Sacramento before all 30 NBA teams convene in Las Vegas later this week for the traditional summer league. Hart, who had a strong finish to his rookie season, including a 30-point, five-rebound, five-assist effort in the season finale against the Clippers, is not expected to play in the Lakers’ two remaining California Classic games, and he might play in just one of the team’s five guaranteed games in Las Vegas. Daily Breeze

EuroLeague: After a magical season in which he helped Real Madrid win the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and Spanish League crowns, Rudy Fernandez signed a deal to remain with Los Blancos for the next two seasons. Fernandez (1.97 meters, 33 years old) averaged 7.4 points and 2.6 assists in 31 EuroLeague games last season, which was his seventh with the Spanish powerhouse. He helped Madrid win EuroLeague titles in 2015 and 2018 and reach the championship game in both 2013 and 2014. Fernandez has also won four Spanish League titles and was the finals MVP this season after scoring 27 points in the clincher. He has lifted the Spanish Copa del Rey four times since he arrived in Madrid, too.


Monday, July 2, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

Free-agent guard JJ Redick has agreed to stay with the Philadelphia 76ers on a one-year deal that will pay him in the $12-to-$13 million range, league sources tell ESPN. The 76ers moved quickly to close on Redick's deal once LeBron James chose the Los Angeles Lakers. Redick will be the Sixers' starting shooting guard by getting a second consecutive one-year contract.

Paul George is staying. It began with an ESPN report that George had returned to Oklahoma City earlier Saturday to attend a Saturday night party, hosted by Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, near Lake Arcadia. And by 11 p.m., the news that party was teasing became the story itself. George, the forward who arrived in Oklahoma City from the Indiana Pacers prior to last season, who opted out of the last year of his contract to become a free agent, has committed to signing a new deal with Oklahoma City. Norman Transcript

Forward Jerami Grant, also a free agent, will be re-signing with the Thunder, getting a three-year, $27 million deal. Then came the terms of George’s deal. According to Wojnarowski, it is a max deal for four years and $137 million, with a player option after the third year. It had been believed the Thunder were willing to offer even more, a max five-year deal worth $176 million. Norman Transcript

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After securing a commitment from LeBron James on a four-year deal worth $154 million, the Lakers agreed Sunday to one-year deals with three veterans. They will pay Kentavious Caldwell-Pope $12 million, Lance Stephenson $4.4 million and JaVale McGee $2.4 million, according to people familiar with the agreements who were not authorized to speak publicly. None of the deals can become official until Friday when the league’s moratorium on signing contracts lifts. LA Times

Two contracts did become official. The Lakers signed first-round draft pick Moe Wagner, which means he cannot be traded for at least 30 days. They also signed Malik Newman, a rookie out of Kansas, to a two-way contract. LA Times

Caldwell-Pope spent last season with the Lakers on a one-year deal worth $18 million, after spending the first four years of his career with the Detroit Pistons. He hit the market late because the Pistons waited until mid-July to renounce their rights to him after they were unable to reach an agreement on a new contract. LA Times

New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins received phone calls from the Pelicans and the Los Angeles Lakers on the first day of NBA free agency on Sunday, a source told ESPN's The Undefeated. Cousins, a four-time All-Star, could meet with the Pelicans and Lakers on Sunday, but it is uncertain if such meetings would take place in person or over the phone. Cousins is currently in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama.

A first-time unrestricted free agent, Cousins might be a stronger target for the LeBron James-seeking Lakers after free-agent guard Paul George decided to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Cousins could be re-signed by the Pelicans to a two-year deal. The Lakers, however, are a team that Cousins expressed interest in being traded to during his latter years with the Sacramento Kings.

The Detroit Pistons have agreed to a two-year contract with small forward/shooting guard Glenn Robinson III, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports. Robinson, who played two seasons at the University of Michigan, is a 6-6 wing who appeared in 23 games last season with the Indiana Pacers, averaging 4.1 points. He missed most of the season due to a sprained ankle. Michigan Live

The Knicks reached an agreement with their first free agent, coming to terms on a one-year deal to bring back Luke Kornet Sunday. The second-year big man will sign a one-year contract for $1.6 million, a league source said. A stretch power forward/center, Kornet averaged 6.7 points and 3.2 rebounds while shooting 35.4 percent on three-pointers in 20 games with the Knicks. NY Newsday

The Knicks have an offer on the table for 6-foot-8 Orlando combo forward Mario Hezonja for a portion of the $8.6 million, midlevel exception on a one-year deal, according to an NBA source. The sharpshooting Hezonja was seeking a multi-year deal, but if he settles, the Knicks’ Michael Beasley era likely would be over. NY Post

The Knicks still are keeping tabs on veteran power forward Anthony Tolliver as president Steve Mills, GM Scott Perry and coach David Fizdale all have talked to him since free agency began, Sunday at midnight, according to a source. Tolliver, too, is looking for multiple years and has a handful of suitors, including Dallas. NY Post

The Warriors have reached out to JaVale McGee to express interest in re-signing him, a source has confirmed with The Chronicle. But weeks after playing a factor in the NBA Finals, McGee, 30, is also receiving interest from the Thunder, Lakers and Pelicans. McGee, who averaged 4.8 points and 2.6 rebounds this past season, probably couldn't command more from the Warriors than the veteran's minimum. Whether he can get more elsewhere likely depends on how other moves shake out. SF Chronicle

Point guard Fred VanVleet had made that saying his catch-phrase after going undrafted following a stellar career at Wichita State and now he’s a rich man, having agreed in principle to a two-year, $18-million deal with the Toronto Raptors on Sunday morning, per multiple reports. Contracts cannot become official until July 6. The Raptors — primarily assistant general manager/G League boss Dan Tolzman — aggressively pursued the Rockford, Illinois native on what was a disappointing night for him and landed VanVleet on a partially-guaranteed two-year deal. Toronto Sun


Saturday, June 30, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

The Dallas Mavericks will decline Dirk Nowitzki's $5 million option for next season, but intend to re-sign the longtime face of the franchise, according to multiple reports. It's more of a paperwork move that was a mutual decision to clear cap space in the Mavs' pursuit of free agent center DeAndre Jordan. The Mavs and Nowitzki are expected to reach an agreement in July. Fort Worth Star Telegram

Another big man is hitting the free agent market this summer. DeAndre Jordan has declined his player option for the 2018-19 season with the Los Angeles Clippers. The story was first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Jordan, a 10-year NBA veteran, declined $24 million to become an unrestricted free agent. NBC Sports Washington

The Golden State Warriors aren't in the best position to make a splash in free agency, but that won't stop them from trying anyway. The New York Times' Marc Stein, citing league sources, tweeted that the Warriors "will at least explore their free-agent chances" with big man DeAndre Jordan. Jordan opted out of his deal with the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, and officially became a free agent. NBC Sports Bay Area

On Jeff Green: Maybe the Knicks can get close to his teammate, LeBron James, in 2019 but for now they are looking for a stopgap power forward on a one-year deal in the mid-level exception ($8.6 million) range. Green still is athletic and averaged 10.8 points on 48 percent shooting. NY Post

The Dallas Mavericks are making another run at DeAndre Jordan, three years after the center jilted them in free agency to stay with the Los Angeles Clippers. Jordan has opted out of the final year of that contract he signed with LA in 2015, and the Mavericks intend to pursue him as an unrestricted free agent, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Friday.

New York Knicks center Enes Kanter has made it official, exercising his $18.6 million player option for the 2018-19 season, his manager confirmed to ESPN on Friday. Kanter had referenced his decision earlier Friday afternoon on Twitter.

New York is currently projected to have an $8.6 million non-tax midlevel exception and a $3.4 million biannual exception to offer 2018 free agents.

According to a report from Michael Scotto of The Athletic, the Portland Trail Blazers are not extending a qualifying offer to backup shooting guard Pat Connaughton, thus, Connaughton now becomes an unrestricted free agent when free agency begins on July 1st. NBC Sports Northwest

Shooting guard Allen Crabbe, coming off a career year in his first season with the Brooklyn Nets, reportedly saved his best assist for his hometown of Los Angeles. In a story first reported by TMZ and confirmed by ESPN via a league source, Crabbe donated a significant amount to Frederick K.C. Price III Christian School in South Los Angeles in an effort to keep the school from closing.

The place where Wilt Chamberlain famously banged a large portion of his alleged 20,000 hookups is for sale ... and can be yours for a small fee of $18.99 MILLION!! You know the story ... the NBA legend claimed the number of women he slept with was in the tens of thousands -- and the mansion that harbored his "sex room" and presumably the majority of those trysts has now hit the market. TMZ Sports


Friday, June 29, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

LeBron James has a huge decision to make before free agency begins Sunday. He has until 11:59 p.m. Friday to opt in or out of his $35.6 million player option with the Cleveland Cavaliers for next season. James would become an unrestricted free agent by opting out. Philadelphia Inquirer

The 76ers could have an outside chance of luring James even though Cleveland and the Los Angeles Lakers appear to be the likely destinations if he becomes a free agent. Another Sixers target, Paul George, reportedly told the Oklahoma City Thunder that he plans to opt out of the $20.7 million salary for the final year of his deal with the team before Friday’s deadline. The Lakers are in the running to sign George as well.

ESPN reported Thursday that James texted expected free agent Kevin Durant about joining him to play for the Lakers. However, Durant, who led Golden State to the last two NBA titles, is likely to re-sign with the Warriors.

James would be eligible to sign a five-year, $205 million free-agent deal with Cleveland this summer if he opts out. George is eligible to sign a five-year contract worth $176 million if he stays with the Thunder.

If James signs with another team, his max salary would be $152 million over four years. George’s max with another team would be $130 million over four years.


Thursday, June 28, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

The Dallas Mavericks have made center DeAndre Jordan their primary target as free agency nears, league sources told ESPN. Jordan, who infamously spurned the Mavs in 2015 free agency after making an oral commitment to come to Dallas, has a deadline of 11:59 p.m. ET Friday to make a decision about the player option that would pay him $24.1 million next season.

If Jordan declines the option with the Los Angeles Clippers, league sources say the Mavs plan to aggressively pursue him in free agency, which begins Sunday. The interest is mutual, according to league sources, as hard feelings from three years ago have been forgiven.

A deal with Dallas would almost certainly send shooting guard Wesley Matthews Jr. to the Clippers. Matthews is due $18.6 million in the final season of his contract.

The San Antonio Spurs are engaged with several teams in trade talks on All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard, including the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, league sources told ESPN. The Spurs are clearly open to making a deal in the short-term, but remain in pursuit of a major return of assets for Leonard, a two-time first-team All-NBA player. San Antonio has had hopes of repairing its tattered relationship with Leonard and ultimately get to a comfort level with offering the $219 million super maximum contract extension.

Leonard can opt-out of his contract and become a free agent next summer.

For now, the urgency of the Lakers July 1 free agent push for LeBron James and Paul George places a clock on its talks with the Spurs.

According to an ESPN report June 27, the Cavaliers are attempting to clear cap space. But to make it possible for the Cavaliers to make a legitimate offer to a star free agent, they would need to move some combination of Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, George Hill or Jordan Clarkson without taking any money back in return — an impossibility. The Cavaliers will likely only be equipped with minimum contracts and their tax-payer’s mid-level exception in free agency. Per ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the exception totals $5.3 million and could lure a valuable veteran role player but not a key cog. News Herald

On Paul George: The Sixers are interested in pursuing the five-time NBA all-star to play alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, according to sources. His opting out doesn’t mean that George ruled out playing for the Thunder. He’s considering a return to Oklahoma City as a free agent, according to reports. He would be eligible to make more money under that scenario. Philadelphia Inquirer

Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George has informed franchise officials that he will not be opting in for the final year of his contract and will become an unrestricted free agent, league sources told ESPN. George has an 11:59 p.m. ET Friday deadline to formally decline to opt in.

George, who will decline a $20.7 million salary for the 2018-19 season, remains seriously interested in returning to the Thunder in free agency, league sources said. The Los Angeles Lakers will receive serious consideration too, sources said.

The 2018 Memphis Grizzlies summer league roster includes veterans Ivan Rabb, Kobi Simmons, Wayne Selden Jr, Deyonta Davis and Myke Henry, and rookies Jaren Jackson Jr. and Jevon Carter. Inside Hoops

Should LeBron James choose to leave the Cavaliers, Fanatics, the world's largest licensed jersey seller, would be on the hook for potentially millions of dollars in exchanges. The brand softly launched a program called Jersey Assurance in November that allows fans to exchange a player's jersey free of charge if that player changes teams within 90 days of the purchase. The company more boldly announced the details of the program in January, with an additional partner in American Express. If an NBA jersey was purchased with an AMEX card on Fanatics, that fan got a year to exchange jerseys if a player is no longer affiliated with that team.

The BIG3 says players in the 3-on-3 league of former NBA players are allowed to use cannabidiol (kan-uh-bih-DY'-ahl), or CBD, for pain management and recovery. Under the change announced Wednesday, the BIG3 becomes what's believed to be the first professional sports league in the United States to allow use of the marijuana ingredient for pain management and recovery. Houston Chronicle/AP

Klay Thompson's tour of China lost some of its goodwill flavor after one of his friends was the victim of a brutal foul during a street ball game. The episode happened during an exhibition game in Taiyuan on Wednesday. From video posted to social media, you can see one player undercut Thompson's teammate as he's driving to the basket, sending him dangerously flipping over. Thompson, who was not on the court at the time, rushes over as a fight breaks out. SF Chronicle

American-Israeli basketball coach David Blatt has signed a two-year deal to coach a Greek team amid rumors that he would return to the NBA. Blatt, 59, signed Wednesday with Olympiacos Piraeus for a reported $1.8 million. He coached Darussafaka Istanbul for the past two years.

While waiting to see if they're in LeBron James' plans, the Cavaliers intend to extend a $3.4 million qualifying offer to Rodney Hood, making him a restricted free agent and protecting the club if he receives any offers. The team will make the offer to Hood before Friday's deadline, said a person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the club is not publicly discussing its plans ahead of free agency starting Sunday. Star Tribune/AP

Acquired from the Utah Jazz at the Feb. 8 trade deadline, Hood averaged 10.8 points and 2.6 rebounds in 21 games with the Cavs, shooting .442 from the field and .352 from 3-point range. His average was significantly lower than his 16.8 points in 39 games in the structured offense of the Jazz. Akron Beacon Journal

Although the Lakers have not made clear how serious they are about re-signing forward Julius Randle, they have ensured that he will be a restricted free agent on Saturday at 9:01 p.m. PDT. The Lakers extended a $5.6-million qualifying offer to Randle on Wednesday, ensuring they retain the rights to the power forward as he heads into free agency this weekend. LA Times

If Randle signs an offer sheet with another team, which he can do starting July 8, the Lakers will have 48 hours to match the offer. Randle’s agent may begin negotiations on July 1. In the meantime, Randle will count for slightly less than $12.5 million against the Lakers’ salary cap. LA Times

Kyrie Irving minorly alarmed Boston Celtics fans when he said it wasn’t a good time to discuss a contract extension with the team from a financial perspective, and the guard has been relatively vague about how he views his future with the team going forward. Irving, who will be a free agent after next season, starred in his first season with the Celtics, but saw his season end early after undergoing a procedure on his knee in April. The 26-year-old star is excited about the team’s potential for the upcoming season, especially with him and Gordon Hayward both expected to be fully healthy for the start of the season.


Wednesday, June 27, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

The LA Clippers are trading guard Austin Rivers to the Washington Wizards for center Marcin Gortat, league sources say.

Some 2018-19 luxury tax savings for Washington with the addition of Austin Rivers. The guard is in the final year of his contract with a cap hit of $12.65M with the Wizards saving a projected $1.4M towards the tax. Marcin Gortat is also in the final year of his contract with a cap hit of $13.5M.

Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward detailed the reasons for his May surgery to remove hardware from his ankle and said he plans to be full-go for the start of the 2018-19 season in a post to his personal blog on Monday. In an entry entitled, "Won't Be Long Now," Hayward detailed how lingering pain in his surgically-repaired left ankle spurred a decision to have the follow-up surgery but stressed how he plans to be playing full-court, 5-on-5 basketball again by the end of July.

"[The follow-up surgery was] not something we were expecting to be a part of this recovery process but I'm happy to report that I'll be back out there resuming rehab soon, with my sights set firmly on being back to my usual self for the start of next season," wrote Hayward, who admitted the procedure was deemed "very rare" by his doctors.

Yogi Ferrell will officially become a restricted free agent after the Mavs tendered a qualifying offer to the second-year guard, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowksi . Dallas Morning News

Klay Thompson took a break from celebrating his Warriors championship in China this week to get his ass whooped in Pop-A-Shot ... BY A BALLER-ASS LITTLE GIRL!! The video is incredible ... a kid half of Klay's size hits shot after shot after shot -- while one of the NBA's greatest all-time shooters throws up bricks. TMZ Sports

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Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson said Tuesday he will step down from his role if the Lakers fail to attract marquee players in the free-agency periods of 2018 and 2019. “Next summer if nobody comes and I’m still sitting here like this, then it’s a failure,” Johnson said. “But if you judge us on one summer that’s ridiculous. Then a lot of dudes shouldn’t be in their roles. Because if we’re banking on one summer for the Lakers we’re in trouble, we’re in trouble. You have to give us time. This class, like I told you before I took the job and when I took the job, it’s going to be a two-summer thing for the Lakers. This summer and next summer. That’s it." LA Times

Free-agent center JaVale McGee told ESPN he wishes to return to the Golden State Warriors and has no desire to relocate. "I haven't thought about [another team] mainly because, hopefully, in my mind, I'm a Warrior for the rest of my career," he said to ESPN on Monday, six days before the free-agency period begins on July 1. "If that happens, it would be a blessing."

McGee, who made $1.4 million on a minimum contract this past season, remembers when he realized he wanted to try to make the Bay Area his long-term home.

Golden State has five other free agents to tend to in addition to McGee: Kevin Durant, Pachulia, Kevon Looney, Patrick McCaw and Nick Young.

Magic Johnson is betting his job on his free-agent recruiting skills for the Los Angeles Lakers. Johnson says he will step down as the Lakers' president of basketball operations if he can't persuade an elite free agent to sign with his club within the next two summers. Star Tribune/AP

And while the Mavericks have garnered praise for their NBA Draft day trade up for forward Luka Doncic, Rick Carlisle's bunch face long odds of returning to the playoffs next season. What's worse, the free-agency period has not been kind to the franchise over the years. So, let's unpack a few things. Fans, the front office and Mark Cuban all have dreams of snagging a top-of-the-market big man such as DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan, and maybe, just maybe, Clint Capela. Fort Worth Star-Telegram

As of right now, the Mavericks have $52,938,392. That means the front office has $31,806,734 in available cap space to fill out the roster. And the projected 123-million-dollar luxury tax means Dallas probably has a little bit more than that. Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Warriors forward Kevin Durant won the 2017-18 Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award at the 2018 NBA Awards on Monday night. Thanks to that award, which recognizes his philanthropic and charitable work, Durant’s charity of choice — the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Peninsula — will receive $25,000 from Kaiser Permanente and the NBA. SF Chronicle

Ayesha Curry may be known for her sit-down San Francisco restaurant, but when the Curry family eats out, they certainly love a food truck. In his new YouTube series "Five Minutes From Home," Stephen Curry took YouTube star Rudy Mancuso — you might recognize him as the guy in Curry's Brita commercial — to "one of the best food trucks in Oakland." The pair hopped in a Sprinter van to Scotch Bonnet, a Jamaican food truck that makes stops all around the Bay Area. SF Chronicle


Monday, June 25, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

LeBron James has until June 29 to sign his option to play for the Cavaliers in the 2018-19 season at a salary of $35.6 million. He will become a free agent on July 1 if he doesn’t pick up his option, and then the speculation of where he will play next will really amp up. He could re-sign with the Cavaliers or move to any other team. News Herald

According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, James will not keep the basketball world in suspense long. Windhorst in a recent podcast, said he expects James to make an announcement before July 4. James announced on ESPN on July 8, 2010, his decision to leave the Cavaliers to join the Heat. He wrote an essay in Sports Illustrated on July 11, 2014, his plans to return to the Cavaliers. News Herald in Las Vegas has made the Los Angeles Lakers overwhelming favorites to land James. The Lakers are listed as -325, meaning someone betting on James joining the Lakers would have to bet $325 to win $100 if he does sign with the Lakers. The Cavaliers are next at +325, meaning someone betting $100 on him staying with the Cavaliers would win $325 if he does stay home. News Herald

Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving has no problem with Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Collin Sexton wearing his old No. 2 jersey. "Go ahead, do what you do. He wanted to wear the number, let him wear the number. It doesn't matter," Irving said during a Q&A with reporters in Manhattan to promote his upcoming movie, "Uncle Drew."

Irving said earlier this month that he won't sign a contract extension with the Celtics this summer because it doesn't make sense financially. He instead will likely test free agency in the summer of 2019 and has braced himself for the daily barrage of questions and speculation about his potential free agency.

When asked if he's heard from any Knicks fans about his free agency, Irving said that he'd heard from members of that fan base -- and fans of other teams -- recently. He said he's been approached in person and has heard from many fans on social media.

The Washington Wizards have an opening on their coaching staff, as assistant Sidney Lowe has left the team to join the Detroit Pistons. Lowe, according to ESPN, will be the top assistant on new Pistons coach Dwane Casey's staff. NBC Sports Washington

The Toronto Raptors are hiring Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Adrian Griffin as the lead assistant on new head coach Nick Nurse’s staff, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Toronto made a strong push to secure Griffin from Oklahoma City, league sources said, where he has served as an assistant since 2016. After the season ended, the Raptors fired coach Dwane Casey, who was subsequently hired by the Detroit Pistons, and hired Nurse earlier this month. Yahoo Sports

The Denver Nuggets will decline Nikola Jokic’s team option for next season — making him a restricted free agent — and plan to reach agreement on a five-year, $146.5 million maximum contract with the 23-year-old star, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Jokic has become one of the NBA’s brightest young stars, a 6-foot-10 big man able to shoot from long range, handle the ball, pass, rebound and finish in the paint. The Nuggets’ selection of Jokic with the No. 41 pick in the 2014 NBA draft is a reflection of the franchise’s scouting under president of basketball operations Tim Connelly, and the center’s development as a near All-Star is a testament to the work of Jokic and the organization. Yahoo Sports

Denver could have exercised a $2.9 million, fourth-year team option for next season but that would have allowed Jokic to enter unrestricted free agency in 2019. Free agency begins on July 1 at midnight ET. Yahoo Sports

The billboards that have gone up in several cities around the country trying to recruit LeBron James have been a fun spectacle. But they aren't necessarily the type of pitch James is looking for as he considers whether to become a free agent this week. James has until Friday to pick up his $35.6 million player option with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

While James hasn't decided yet whether to pick up his player option, sources close to the situation tell ESPN that he has no intention of hearing elaborate pitch meetings from teams. James might meet or speak with a club official or owner at some point, but the elaborate presentations that have become common in NBA free agency over the years are unnecessary after 15 seasons in the league.

In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Wade, 36, who will become a free agent July 1, discussed what eventually might come next in his career. "I definitely want to be a part of ownership in the NBA," he said, already ingrained in the business world through his sneaker, apparel, luggage, watch and wine lines, along with other endorsements and projects. "I'm not going to try to buy a team. I don't have that kind of bread, but I definitely want to be a part of a great ownership group. Sun Sentinel

Asked about his preferred location for an NBA ownership stake, Wade spoke about neither his Chicago hometown nor his adopted South Florida home. "Seattle," he said. "I want Seattle's team, the Sonics, to come back. I think Seattle is a great basketball town. I would love to be a part of that." Sun Sentinel

EuroLeague: One of the most important players in CSKA Moscow history, Victor Khryapa, has parted ways with the Russian powerhouse. Khryapa, who will turn 36 in August, played 13 EuroLeague seasons for CSKA and helped it win continental crowns in 2008 and 2016. He played a major role in the 2016 final, scoring on a tip-in with 1.9 seconds left that forced overtime as CSKA went on to win the EuroLeague title.


Saturday, June 23, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

Altman and Lue seem determined to help the Cavs’ young talent grow, whether or not James opts out of his contract and departs again in free agency, which opens on July 1. That’s not to say they wouldn’t attempt to lure another All-Star to try to retain James. But Altman said on draft night that “every expectation” is to keep Sexton, who has the speed and explosiveness to direct the fast-paced offense Lue favors. Lue recently had his wisdom teeth out and didn’t want to speak much at Sexton’s introductory press conference Friday at Cleveland Clinic Courts. But when Lue did, he couldn’t contain his enthusiasm. Akron Beacon Journal

According to Joe Vardon of, the Cavs’ summer league roster will also include Osman, Zizic and Okaro White, who was signed to a 10-day contract during the regular season and was with the Cavs during the playoffs. There’s no doubt the Cavs are being forced into the player development business because of financial limitations. Their salary total of $137.7 million in 2017-18 was the highest in the league, barely above the Warriors, who won their third title over the Cavs in the past four years. Akron Beacon Journal

Nobody loves LeBron James more than those who make their living scalping tickets legally, a.k.a. the secondary ticket market. According to a study of its own prices done by TickPick, a secondary no-fee marketplace, the average price on the secondary market for a ticket to a Cavaliers game was $60.03 in 2013-14, LeBron’s last year with the Miami Heat. That same season the average cost for a Heat home game was $114.12. News Herald

James rejoined the Cavaliers for the 2014-15 season. Tickets on the secondary market for games at the Q jumped more than 80 percent to an average of $107.90. Predictably, they dipped in Miami, though not by the same margin ($92.89) because Dwyane Wade was still with the Heat and still a drawing card. Ticket prices dipped James’ second year back with the Cavs to an average of $92.69 while they remained about level in Miami. News Herald

Enes Kanter has an $18.6 million option that he needs to make a decision on by the end of the month. The Knicks are not expected to give him a multiyear deal if he opts out, so odds are Kanter, who loves New York, will pick up his option. The Knicks would be fine with that. NY Newsday

The Knicks’ resources will be limited this summer. Their goal is to have the money in 2019 when the likes of Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker and Kevin Love are free agents. There already are rumblings about Irving’s desire to join the Knicks. He listed them among his preferred destinations when he asked out of Cleveland. NY Newsday


Friday, June 22, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

New York Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis reached out to rookie Kevin Knox shortly after New York drafted him with the ninth overall pick on Thursday night. One of the topics covered during their conversation? Getting booed by Knicks fans on draft night. Knox, like Porzingis, heard some boos from Knicks fans who attended the draft at Barclays Center on Thursday. Porzingis also heard vociferous boos from New York fans when he was selected fourth overall in the 2015 draft.

Head coach David Fizdale said Knox will have an opportunity to earn a starting role at small forward in his first season. "Yeah, I'm looking at our roster right now, absolutely. Who's our starting 3?" Fizdale said.

Her son's introductory press conference to Dallas was over, but his whirlwind first day in Dallas, on a steamy Friday afternoon, was just getting warmed up. Mirjam Poterbin, who had become a social media sensation in her own right during the 17 or so hours since her son Luka was picked No. 3 overall in Thursday night's NBA draft, got her phone camera out to commemorate the special moments. Dallas Morning News

Deandre Ayton (Bahamas; University of Arizona) was selected 1st overall by the Phoenix Suns, becoming the 13th international player to be selected 1st overall and joining Mychal Thompson (1978) as the only Bahamian players ever selected 1st overall. Ayton becomes the first player from Latin America/the Caribbean to be selected 1st overall since Tim Duncan (U.S. Virgin Islands), who was the 1st overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft. Ayton participated in Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Global 2016 in Toronto, Canada and joins Andrea Bargnani (Italy; BWB Europe 2003; 1st overall in the 2006 NBA Draft) as the highest drafted former Basketball Without Borders campers ever. Inside Hoops

Marvin Bagley (Sacramento, 2nd) is the fifth Duke player taken with the second pick, joining Danny Ferry (1989), Jay Williams (2002), Jabari Parker (2014) and Brandon Ingram (2016). Inside Hoops

Consider me underwhelmed with what the Charlotte Hornets did in the first round of the 2018 draft Thursday night. I wanted the Hornets to pick Michael Porter Jr., the 6-11 forward with all-world potential and a problematic back. Instead, the Hornets ended up with Michigan State small forward Miles Bridges. He’s a nice player, sure, but he may not even be the best player named Bridges in this draft. Charlotte Observer

With Porter, I thought the Hornets had the chance to hit a home run or to strike out. And that’s what the Hornets need badly — a home run. If they strike out swinging, well, that’s not the worst thing ever — Charlotte may ultimately need to get worse before it gets better. To me, Bridges will not be a home run. He’s a safer pick than Porter, and you can see why new Charlotte Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak would want to start his tenure who was a second-team All-American last season rather than one in Porter who only played in three games because of his back injury. Charlotte Observer

Zhaire Smith of Texas Tech was selected 16th overall by the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft, but he won't stay in the desert. The Suns traded Smith and their 2021 first-round pick (from Miami) to the Philadelphia 76ers for Mikal Bridges. Chronicle

With the No. 28 pick of Thursday night’s NBA draft, the Warriors took Cincinnati forward Jacob Evans III. Evans is a do-everything wing who can defend multiple positions, hit the open three-pointer, organize an offense and block shots. As a junior last season, he led a Bearcats team devoid of top-end talent to a school-record 31 wins and a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. SF Chronicle

The Lakers took Michigan’s Moritz Wagner with the 25th pick in the draft. The forward helped Michigan to the national championship game, which Pelinka attended. Wagner led Michigan in scoring with 14.6 points and rebounds with 7.1 per game. LA Times

The New York Knicks selected Kentucky forward Kevin Knox with the No. 9 pick in the NBA draft Thursday night. Missouri's Michael Porter Jr., Villanova's Mikal Bridges and Michigan State's Miles Bridges were on the board when New York selected, but it chose Knox, a player who performed incredibly well in a group workout in front of Knicks coaches and executives earlier this month, sources told ESPN.

The Chicago Bulls selected Wendell Carter Jr. with the seventh pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night. Carter, who averaged 13.5 points and 9.1 rebounds in his lone season at Duke, should be able to help stretch the floor in head coach Fred Hoiberg's offense.

The Memphis Grizzlies used the fourth pick in the NBA draft to take Michigan State's Jaren Jackson Jr., a power player who would fit alongside highly skilled Marc Gasol in the frontcourt. The 6-foot-11, 240-pound Jackson can play power forward or center for the Grizzlies. Memphis had several potential trade partners leading into Thursday, but sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski in the hour before the draft that Jackson had grown comfortable with the prospect of Memphis taking him and provided team officials with the requisite personal information they requested.

Texas center Mo Bamba, who touts an NBA draft combine-record 7-foot-10 wingspan, was taken by the Orlando Magic with the sixth pick in Thursday's NBA draft. Bamba, who has celebrated his New York roots while in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center, has drawn comparisons to Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert. Unlike Gobert, however, Bamba has developed a 3-point shot to go with his 7-foot, 234-pound frame.

The Mavericks acquired the draft rights to Luka Doncic after the Hawks selected the European star with the third overall pick in Thursday night's NBA draft in New York. In return, the Hawks acquired the draft rights to Trae Young, who was selected by the Mavs at No. 5 overall.

The move has minor cap ramifications for Dallas. The cap hit for Doncic will be $6.6 million and not $5.4 million had the Mavericks stayed at 5. Dallas still is positioned to be aggressive in free agency, with coach Rick Carlisle acknowledging that center will be the franchise's priority in this summer's market, when DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Jordan will be among the unrestricted free agents.

EuroLeague: Anadolu Efes Istanbul continued the rebuilding of its backcourt with the signing of guard Rodrigue Beaubois to a two-year deal. Beaubois (1.90 meters, 30 years old) arrives from KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz, where he spent the past two seasons. He averaged 12.4 points and 1.8 assists as a part-time starter in 33 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague games last season.


Thursday, June 21, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

Would the Cavaliers trade Kevin Love? Will Kawhi Leonard be traded from the Spurs soon? Who do the Kings want to draft: Luka Doncic or Marvin Bagley? All these questions, and many more, will be answered soon.

The 2018 NBA Draft will take place on Thursday, June 21, 2018 and will feature the best young basketball players in the world landing across the NBA. Here's what you need to know to watch. Time: 7 p.m. EST. Where: Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. TV channel: ESPN.

Bagley thrived in his one season at Duke and doesn't expect that to change once he's a pro. "I want to be the greatest player to ever play the game of basketball, and I mean that in the most humble way possible," he said. "Not to sound cocky or come off as arrogant, but that's just the mindset that I have. I always say, if you don't want to get to that level or be the best, then there's really no need to play." Boston Herald/AP

Lakers legend Kobe Bryant will not be asked to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences even though he won an Oscar earlier this year along with director Glen Keane for the animated short film “Dear Basketball, it was reported Thursday. Under the academy’s procedures, Oscar winners and nominees are automatically considered for, though not guaranteed, membership, with the ultimate decision of who gets admitted to the group residing with the 54-member board of governors. LA Daily News


Wednesday, June 20, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

The Charlotte Hornets have agreed to send Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets for center Timofey Mozgov, two second-round picks and cash, league sources told ESPN. Charlotte was determined to move Howard, who has a $23.8 million expiring contract.

The Hornets will receive the Nets' second-round pick (No. 45) in Thursday's NBA draft and a 2021 second-round pick, league sources said. Mozgov has two years and $32.7 million left on his contract.

As the Howard-to-the Brooklyn Nets deal illustrates (it can’t be official until July), draft week fosters trade talk. It’s only natural that point guard Kemba Walker’s name will come up in discussion, whether or not the All-Star guard comes close to being moved. The 11th pick is far enough down in the order that lots could happen before the Hornets are on the clock Thursday (ESPN, 7:30 p.m. for the picks to start). Charlotte Observer

Could the remaining season on Kemba Walker’s contract be traded for a high pick in Thursday’s draft? Maybe top 10, unlikely top 5. The Cleveland Cavaliers hold the No. 8 pick from a prior trade with the Boston Celtics. The Cleveland Plain-Dealer mentioned Walker as a possible trade target, particularly if the Cavs want to do everything they can at making it attractive for All-Star LeBron James to stay. Charlotte Observer

Julius Randle’s status as an impending restricted free agent means the Lakers could need help at center. They also could use another shooting guard and more depth off the bench at all positions. The Lakers have plenty of options, which makes this another intriguing draft for them. OC Register

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The Spurs appear to be putting on a full-court press in attempts to keep Kawhi Leonard in the fold. Coach Gregg Popovich traveled to San Diego on Tuesday to meet with the disgruntled star forward, league sources said. Express News

The news comes four days after sources close to Leonard told various media outlets the two-time All-Star wanted out of San Antonio. With the NBA draft looming Thursday, the detente with Popovich was meant to gauge Leonard's thought process and determine whether the relationship could be salvaged. The Spurs have not engaged on trade offers for Leonard so far, but that could change in the next several hours as the team further weighs its options. Express News

San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard met with coach Gregg Popovich on Tuesday in San Diego, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The meeting between the two faces of the Spurs’ franchise was done professionally and confidentially, league sources said. Yahoo Sports

Leonard attended the private memorial service for Popovich’s late wife, Erin, in San Antonio after the season ended, and he interacted with team officials. Leonard, 26, is under contract for two more seasons and owed $41.4 million, but has a player option for 2019-20. Yahoo Sports

Leonard wants a trade to Los Angeles, preferably the Lakers over the Clippers, league sources said.

He has privately maintained that he no longer wants to play in San Antonio, and will eventually alert rival teams considering trades for him that his intentions are to sign in Los Angeles -- preferably with the Lakers -- when he can become a free agent in 2019, league sources said.

Leonard had told confidants that he did not want to sit down with Popovich and has been purposely difficult for the Spurs to reach recently.

A group of Inglewood residents filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging the city violated state laws by entering into an exclusive negotiating agreement to develop public land for the Los Angeles Clippers' new stadium. This is the second lawsuit filed in the past three months against the City of Inglewood related to the Clippers' proposed stadium.

Yet another longtime sports personality has been shown the door at NBC Sports Philadelphia. Molly Sullivan, who has been the network’s Sixers sideline reporter since 2012, announced on Twitter Tuesday evening that NBC Sports Philly is moving in a “new direction,” a decision she called “heartbreaking.”

Another Stephen Curry game-used mouthguard is going up for sale. This particular one was used by Curry in Game 4 of the 2018 NBA Finals as the Golden State Warriors completed their sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers. It will hit the auction block in California-based firm SCP Auctions' next sale that begins July 26 and concludes Aug. 11.

Houston Rockets fans are still so bitter at being knocked out of the playoffs by the Warriors, they've gone to Yelp to take out their frustrations on Ayesha Curry's new Houston restaurant. Steph Curry's wife is opening International Smoke in Houston in July -- and a bunch of haters have already bombarded the page with anti-Warriors trash talk, as first pointed out by NBA reporter Tomer Azarly. TMZ Sports


Monday, June 18, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

Jamelle McMillan, who has steadily risen in the Pelicans ranks since joining Monty Williams’ staff in 2012-13, is headed to the Phoenix Suns to join new coach Igor Kokoskov’s staff, a league source confirmed to The Advocate. ESPN’s The Undefeated first reported the move. McMillan was retained by Alvin Gentry when he arrived in New Orleans in 2015, climbing from intern to player development coach to an assistant coach during his stay with the franchise. He also led the Pelicans’ summer league team in 2017. The Advocate

During his NBA career, he was known as having a joking, outgoing, clown-type of personality. Now, former NBA point guard Nate Robinson opened up about having depression. Robinson, an 11-year NBA veteran, told Bleacher Report that he began going to therapy sessions in the 2012-13 season when he played for the Bulls. He said he would struggle with having an angel and a demon inside of him. NBC Sports Chicago

On Thursday night, a select group of people will be huddled in a room at the 76ers’ complex in Camden, making decisions that could affect the future of the franchise. At the head of that group is Brett Brown, the long-tenured head coach and newly appointed interim general manager, wielding more power than he ever has. Signing off on the decisions Brown makes are owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer. But it won’t just be the three of them in the draft-night war room. A diverse team of basketball minds will be scrutinizing every pick, every deal, every player that the Sixers target. Not only will the decisions have implications for the team’s roster, but possibly for the longevity of the front-office positions held by many in that room.

A former Bulls point guard will soon be back on a basketball court near Chicago. Illinois State head coach Dan Muller announced the hiring of Chris Duhon earlier today. Duhon has been added to the coaching staff for the 2018-19 season. NBC Sports Chicago

Enes Kanter’s father, Dr. Mehmet Kanter, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison by the Turkish government, who issued an arrest warrant for him. The charges are unclear. He is likely to be brought into custody this morning, according to Bleacher Report. The Knicks center, who has been an outspoken critic of Recep Tyrrip Erdogan’s totalitarian government, views this as the government punishing him. NY Post

Former NBA player J.J. Hickson faces charges of armed robbery after breaking into a home near Atlanta, stealing $100,000 from the house, and physically assaulting a teenager who was inside, authorities said Monday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Hickson, who played eight seasons in the NBA with four teams before his brief appearance in Washington, is currently being held in Coweta County Jail without bond. NBC Sports Washington

The Boston Celtics are on the clock for Kawhi Leonard. That's what I took from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reporting Friday, after we learned that Leonard wants to be traded by the San Antonio Spurs, that the Celtics are interested in making an offer after attempting to deal for Leonard at the trade deadline. With ample young talent, copious draft picks and even some veteran All-Stars who could be available in the right trade, Boston is an easy first choice for any team looking to deal a star at this point. However, finding a fit between the Celtics and Spurs might not be as easy as it looks.

Boston has what might comfortably be termed a good problem: a lack of bad salary. There's nobody on the Celtics scheduled to make between $6.7 million (Jayson Tatum) and $20.1 million (Kyrie Irving) in 2018-19, which makes it tricky for them to find salary to match Leonard's identical $20.1 million salary unless one of their All-Stars is included.

A league memo obtained by ESPN states that “eligibility rules” for the draft may shift as early as 2021, which isn’t surprising considering that NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the league’s players union have recently discussed the possibility of ending the one-and-done rule. If the change really is implemented in the 2021 draft, the price the Heat paid to acquire Dragic will be higher than they anticipated. Palm Beach Post

The Heat are currently the only team with an unprotected 2021 first-round pick committed elsewhere, which is part of the package Miami traded to Phoenix for Dragic. The Heat’s first-round selection in Thursday’s draft also belongs to the Suns. Palm Beach Post

The 76ers are looking for Connor Johnson to apply what he learned with them to the Delaware Blue Coats. That’s part of the reason Johnson has been named head coach of the Blue Coats, the Sixers’ NBA G-League affiliate. “This is great timing for me, having spent so much time with the Sixers,” said Johnson, who’s been a Sixers staff member since 2014.

Like they have in previous seasons, the Sixers will send some of their seldom-used young players down to Delaware to get quality practices and meaningful playing time. So part of Johnson’s role will be to serve as an extension of the Sixers’ coaching staff.

Euroleague: Days after it completed its domestic season by winning its seventh straight VTB United League championship, CSKA Moscow began its preparations for next season by locking up Nikita Kurbanov on a multi-year contract extension. CSKA and Kurbanov (2.02 meters, 31 years old) agreed to a two-year deal with an option for a third season. The veteran forward is a product of the CSKA youth system and has played parts of 10 seasons with the senior club.

Roger Randolph, the brother of Kings player Zach Randolph, was killed Saturday morning in Indiana, local police have confirmed. Roger Randolph was killed in an early morning shooting at a bar in Marion. His body was found outside Hop's Blues Room, between two cars, after gunfire erupted about 5 a.m. local time. Sacramento Bee


Sunday, June 17, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

Kyrie Irving took partial responsibility for Gordon Hayward’s season-ending injury during the Celtics’ season opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers in October. “I’m the one that threw the pass for the alley-oop, and I was just like holding on to that for a while,” Irving told Simmons. “I’ll take part of the responsibility because he wasn’t really open — I saw D-Wade (Dwyane Wade) over there . . . He just came down wrong, and I was like, ‘Ah, f.'”

Brooklyn is unlikely to be in the sweepstakes for Kawhi Leonard, despite his affinity for New York and GM Sean Marks’ good relationship with Leonard’s uncle/advisor from his time in San Antonio. NY Post

The Nets have the 29th, 40th and 45th picks in Thursday’s draft but are looking at moving up. They may need to do so to get Musa. “I think I’m a lottery pick for sure,” said Musa, who doesn’t lack for confidence. That isn’t shocking considering he went pro at 16 as the ninth-youngest player in EuroLeague history. He averaged 10.5 points in just 20 minutes on 47.5 percent shooting and 36.4 from deep. That will improve with better decision-making. NY Post

The 20th player selected in Thursday night’s NBA draft is due — as set by the league’s rookie-pay scale — a starting salary approaching $2 million. It’s a predetermined number that doesn’t begin to answer this question facing a Wolves organization that must decide whether to trade the pick or keep it: Just what is a first-round draft pick really worth? Star Tribune

The quick and easy answer is more than it once was in a league changed two years ago by a new $24 billion television contract that floated a lot of boats. That deal inflated the salary cap beyond $100 million per team and now leaves the Wolves evaluating — as the luxury-tax threshold looms by 2019 — whether they can pay maximum contracts to already-signed Andrew Wiggins as well as young star center Karl-Anthony Towns and four-time All Star Jimmy Butler and still assemble a competitive roster around them. Star Tribune

Euroleague: Buducnost VOLI Podgorica added size and experience to its frontcourt by signing a one-year deal with forward Earl Clark, the club announced on Saturday. Clark (2.09 meters, 30 years old) arrives from Besiktas Sompo Japan Istanbul where he spent the last two season. He posted 8.6 points and 5.2 rebounds in the Turkish League last season, and averaged 13.8 points and 5.6 rebounds in 16 matches in the Basketball Champions League.

San Francisco's Barebottle Brewing Company is adding insult to injury after the Warriors swept the Cavs in the 2018 NBA Finals. Warriors fans can now drink the sadness of LeBron James and the Cavs. Kind of. On Saturday, Barebottle announced they have released a new IPA named "LeBron Tears." NBC Sports Bay Area


Saturday, June 16, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

The NBA on Friday sent teams a memo indicating that "eligibility rules" for the draft may shift as early as 2021 (but no earlier) as the league reviews issues "related to player development and the corruption investigation in college basketball," according to a copy of the memo obtained by ESPN. The memo does not mention the one-and-done rule by name, but it is meant to remind teams that the league and the players union could agree to scrap one-and-done before the expiration of the current collective bargaining deal in 2024 -- and perhaps well before then, sources say. The memo says that, as of now, the league does not expect changes in draft eligibility rules to take place at any time "prior to the 2021 or 2022 draft."

If such a change were to happen, it could create a single draft loaded with the best prospects from two consecutive high school classes. The memo serves as something of an advisory to teams that might think about trading away future first-round picks in the lead-up to Thursday's draft. "As we approach the NBA Draft on June 21," the memo states, "and the increase in trade activity that often accompanies it, please be reminded of this ongoing review and the possibility that the eligibility rules could change" between 2021 and 2024.

The league has long sought a true minor league system via its developmental G League. The G League will have 27 teams next season, with Portland, New Orleans and Denver the last NBA teams without G League affiliates. The NBA in April announced it will raise G League player salaries from a maximum of $26,000 per year to $35,000. The league last season introduced more lucrative two-way contracts for players who shuttle between the G League and the parent club.

In the wake of the Warriors sweeping the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, LeBron James is expected to opt out of his deal in Cleveland and become an unrestricted free agent. The Lakers are considered a logical destination, but the Clippers, behind special consultant, Jerry West also would be interested. If James were to come to either LA team, it’s anticipated that he would bring another All-Star with him. Kawhi Leonard fits the profile. And he wants out of San Antonio, according to multiple reports Friday. NBC Sports Bay Area

Leonard has one guaranteed year, at $20.1 million, remaining on his contract. He has a player option at $21.3 million in 2019-20. He played only nine games this season while rehabilitating from a quad injury. The Lakers will have more than $60 million cap space to spend on salary, with James speculated to absorb a considerable portion of that. NBC Sports Bay Area

What's more interesting is a piece of news from Wojnarowski on where Leonard wants to go next. Wojarowski reports that Leonard "has Los Angeles — preferably the Lakers — at the center of his preferences for a trade destination." Leonard is a Los Angeles native, and evidently he wants to return home. NBC Sports Philly

Wednesday, Wojnarowski reported that the Lakers and Sixers were both interested in Leonard. According to Wojnarowski, Leonard "has expressed nothing directly to Spurs about [his] future." NBC Sports Philly

Woj also reported that the Spurs have put their mis-spent season behind them and will sit down with Kawhi in the hope of finding out where his head is and, if still on Earth, wooing him back with the super-maximum $219 million extension only they can offer him. OC Register

Kawhi’s people have reportedly not conveyed his desire to be traded to the team. Without risking a tampering bust, they can’t have told the Lakers … although the Lakers not only know about it but are assuredly wide-eyed at the prospect, which would take precedence, even over James, who’s seven years older, almost two generations in NBA time. OC Register

The star forward’s desire to leave the San Antonio Spurs became clear on Friday morning, when the San Antonio Express News first reported he wanted to be traded. According to sources not authorized to speak publicly, the Lakers have long been Leonard’s preferred destination, though the Clippers are among the teams he would consider. Neither the Lakers nor the Clippers have had trade discussions with the Spurs yet, but both teams have concerns about the severity of Leonard’s quadriceps injury. That injury sidelined Leonard for most of last season. He spent several months away from the team while rehabbing, which led to public barbs from Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich about Leonard’s absence — an unusual move for the Spurs. LA Times

The Clippers don’t know what the future holds with starting center DeAndre Jordan and backup big man Montrezl Harrell. Because of that uncertainty, it was important for the Clippers to take a close look at Texas A&M center Robert Williams in a private pre-draft workout Friday at the team’s practice facility. LA Times

Harrell is a restricted free agent, but his asking price on the free-agent market could be too high for the Clippers to match. LA Times

Kevin Knox is beginning his NBA journey projected lottery pick in next week’s draft. The Sixers, who hold the No. 10 pick, got a closer look at the 6-foot-9, 215-pound forward Friday in a group workout. “He walked into the gym, it’s not hard to see the intrigue with his size and mobility, his frame,” senior director of basketball operations Vince Rozman said. “He’s 18, so there’s a lot to develop from.” NBC Sports Philly


Friday, June 15, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

Regardless of whether or not Gregg Popovich and Kawhi Leonard mend their reportedly fractured relationship, the Spurs head coach may actually be closer to retirement than many people previously thought. On Tuesday, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that people in the coach's "orbit" told him that next season could be Popovich's last as an NBA head coach (he's still set to coach the United States at the 2020 Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina). Fort Worth Star Telegram

Udonis Haslem wants to play basketball next season, but he’s just not sure if it’s going to be with the Heat. After spending the first 15 seasons of his NBA career with the Heat, Haslem said he will consider playing elsewhere next season to get more playing time. Elsewhere could mean playing in China or another overseas league. Palm Beach Post

Excluding cap holds, the Heat have 10 players under contract for 2018-19 who are due about $119 million: center Hassan Whiteside ($25.4 million), guard Tyler Johnson ($19.2 million), guard Goran Dragic ($18.1 million), forward James Johnson ($14.7 million), center Kelly Olynyk ($12.5 million), guard Dion Waiters ($11.6 million), forward/guard Josh Richardson ($9.4 million), forward Justise Winslow ($3.5 million), center Bam Adebayo ($3.0 million) and guard/forward Rodney McGruder ($1.5 million — assuming Miami guarantees his salary).

In case you missed it -- and apparently not many NBA fans did -- Lonzo Ball recently released a rap song called "Kylie Kuzma" where he pokes fun at the teammate he often spars playfully with on social media. But Ball also took what some consider a cheap shot at Kuzma with a line about the biological father Kuzma says he has never met. That led Karri Kuzma, Kyle's mother, to add her two cents worth on Twitter. "Everyone's had their fun," she tweeted under the handle Kuz Momma. "Now get back to work." Michigan Live

The Kings will host Duke forward/center Wendell Carter Jr. for a visit of the team facility and to meet with team officials Saturda. Carter will not work out this weekend. Kings general manager Vlade Divac and assistant general managers Brandon Williams and Ken Catanella attended a workout with Carter in Los Angeles on May 23. Sac Bee

On Trae Young: There are those who believe the 6-foot-2 freshman's innate scoring and passing ability wil translate seamlessly at the next level, at a time in the history of the NBA where those traits are as important as ever. Then there are those who believe, rightfully so, that the 175-pound guard will have immense struggles on the defensive end and withstanding the physcality of an 82-game season. NBC Sports Chicago

After hosting Bosnians Dzanan Musa and Ajdin Penava (who played college basketball at Marshall) and Lithuanian Arnoldas Kulboka for pre-draft workouts Wednesday, the Nuggets maintained an international theme by welcoming the 7-foot-1 Tryggvi Hlinason of Iceland to Thursday’s group session. Hlinason’s rise to a fringe NBA draft prospect has been swift. He grew up on a small-town sheep farm and has been playing organized basketball for less than five years. But last year he jumped from the top league in Iceland to Valencia Basket in Spain, which plays in both the best professional league in that country and in the prestigious EuroLeague. While playing in the 2017 Under-20 European Championships, Hilnason averaged 16.1 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.1 blocks and 2.1 assists. Denver Post

The draft is only one step in an NBA player’s path to generational wealth. The collective bargaining agreement includes a rookie wage scale that limits what players make in their first contract, in return for guaranteeing at least two seasons of salary for all first-round picks. That means a typical player’s second NBA contract is dramatically more consequential to his career than his first contract. So the right fit with an existing roster might be just as important as how early a player is drafted. Charlotte Observer


Thursday, June 14, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

Could the L.A. Lakers build a new big three of LeBron James, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard this summer? That's the kind of star-studded scenario Lakers fans have dreamed about since last making the playoffs five years ago, and that the rest of the NBA has feared. While it's a long shot, such a partnership is possible if the players involved really want it.

The Lakers signing George and James, both of whom can become unrestricted free agents if they decline 2018-19 player options, is easy enough. They can create sufficient cap room merely by waiving forward Luol Deng and stretching his contract, then renouncing the rights to their free agents. Adding Leonard to the mix makes the math trickier -- even before we account for the fact that he's still under contract with the San Antonio Spurs, who would have to sign off on a trade. (More on that in a bit.)

Though Leonard is making substantially less than the current max salary at $20.1 million for 2018-19, combining his salary with max ones for LeBron (an estimated $35.4 million) and George (estimated $30.3 million because he's two years shy of the experience necessary for the largest max bracket for players with 10-plus years in the league) puts the Lakers over $85 million in salary without considering any other players or the remaining amount of Deng's stretched salary.

As ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday, the Spurs and Leonard plan to meet sooner rather than later to discuss his future in San Antonio and a possible super-maximum designated veteran extension worth an estimated $219 million. If that offer doesn't come, or if Leonard wants out anyway, he'd have to inform the Spurs quickly that they should trade him -- and, in this scenario, that he'd be willing to re-sign only with the Lakers, limiting his value to other teams.

Kevin Durant will be back with the Warriors next season because it’s what he wants and because he’s man enough to dismiss the tone-deaf “humor” tossed his way before the championship parade on Tuesday. Growing up where he grew up, and how he grew up, Durant has heard much worse. NBC Sports Bay Area

He’s the surest of seven free agents to return to the Warriors next season. There is no way the other six all avoid the roster turnover that begins next month. NBC Sports Bay Area

Kevin Durant admitted to Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated that he didn't take the Cavs seriously in Game 1. “I disrespected Cleveland. I didn’t come in prepared. I didn’t pressure LeBron. I was shooting long jumpers and wasn’t getting to my spots.” On the eve of Game 2, even Steve Kerr publicly critiqued Durant's performance. NBC Sports Bay Area

The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday they have named Nick Nurse as the team’s new head coach. Nurse becomes the ninth head coach in franchise history after spending the past five seasons as an assistant coach with the Raptors along with successful coaching tenures in the NBA G League and overseas. Inside Hoops

The Sixers might host Kentucky forward Kevin Knox II for a predraft workout as early as Friday, league sources said Thursday. Knox, a 6-foot-9, 215-pound freshman, projects to go anywhere from 10th to the mid-first round next Thursday in the NBA draft.

If LeBron James wants to come back to play for the Miami Heat, Josh Richardson certainly isn’t going to fight it. The Heat’s 24-year-old starting small forward — and arguably its most enticing trade chip — said Wednesday he’s excited about the possibility of James, a four-time MVP, making his way back to South Florida this summer. Miami Herald

But Miami faces a lot of obstacles in upgrading the roster. The Heat has 11 players under contract for 2018-19 who are due $120 million (including a couple undesirable deals). That puts the Heat way above the projected $101 million salary cap and very close to the projected $123 million luxury tax line. Miami Herald

LeBron James has to decide by June 29 if he’s going to opt into the final year of his contract with the Cavs ($35 million) and potentially force a trade or hit free agency. The Heat’s only real chance at landing James is via sign and trade. Miami Herald

Wade, meanwhile, has yet to make a decision on his future, but reiterated Sunday he would prefer to continue playing with the Heat if he does return for a 16th NBA season. Wade is eager to be around more often to watch his 16-year-old son, Zaire, a 6-2 point guard at American Heritage School in Plantation. Miami Herald

At 6-foot-4, Mathias was a 3-point ace, the Boilermakers’ leading long-distance shooter his senior season. That could be attractive for the Pistons, who are in a tough spot. They need scorers and outside shooters, but don't have the financial flexibility to get them on the free-agent market of NBA veterans. Because they’re over the salary cap, the Pistons will look at some cheaper options, which could include getting good value with their second-round pick or finding a steal among minimum-salary free agents. Detroit News

Former NBA Coach of the Year Sam Mitchell is joining Anfernee Hardaway's first coaching staff at the University of Memphis. Hardaway told reporters on Wednesday that he had finalized a deal to hire Mitchell, who has never coached at the collegiate level.

On Monday, Dwane Casey was hired as coach of the Detroit Pistons, one month to the day he was fired by the Raptors after seven mostly magical years in Toronto. On Tuesday, Nick Nurse emerged as Ujiri’s choice to replace Casey. And as those significant life events were unfolding, it’s safe to say the two men were not toasting each other’s good fortune with champagne and congratulatory repartee. Toronto Star

Forget their five largely successful years together on the Raptors bench. Forget that it was Casey who gave Nurse his first NBA opportunity, hiring him out of the developmental league back in 2013. Multiple NBA sources will tell you the one-time mentor and his long-time assistant have not been on affable terms in the midst of Toronto’s coaching-staff shakeup. Maybe nobody’s been in a good mood in Raptorland since the season came to its crushing end. Toronto Star

Kyrie Irving is letting Knicks fans dream for another year. The Celtics’ star guard, who has been rumored to have interest in signing with the Knicks should he opt out of his contract and become a free agent next summer, hinted at testing the free-agent market in 2019. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday for the first time since March, Irving said he had no intention of signing an extension with the Celtics before next season, his second since coming over in a trade with the Cavaliers last August. NY Post

“I think you guys can feel my attitude is really just redemption next year. Really integrating myself with our team again and really focus on winning a championship,” Irving said. “That’s the only thing I’m really worried about. “Until I get to that point, then I can’t really answer any questions. I’m pretty sure management and I will have a talk, but that talk won’t happen now.” NY Post

A star Irving didn’t wish to talk about Tuesday, LeBron James has a decision to make this summer and the playoff-ready Celtics could be an intriguing destination for the free agent. “In this business, I’ve experienced it all and I’ve seen a lot, so we’ll see what management decides,” Irving said of the possibility of reuniting with his former Cavaliers teammate, after their relationship ended on a sour note with Irving reportedly asking to be traded and step out from James’ shadow. NY Post

As LeBron James puts the 2018 NBA Finals in the rear-view mirror and looks ahead to a date with free agency this summer, suitors have begun to emerge. Some offer cap space. Some offer young stars. Some will fit the bill of making this move more of a family decision for James. The Los Angeles Lakers seem to fit the bill on all three accounts. NJ Advance Media

In an expected move, Washington Wizards guard Jodie Meeks exercised the player option of his contract for the 2018-19 season, according to league sources. Meeks’s return will signal a hit to the salary cap while also ensuring the Wizards will be shorthanded to start next season. Washington Post

With Meeks, the Wizards have 10 players under contract. The sharpshooter is expected to earn $3.45 million next season and though his individual income appears meager compared to the team’s core players John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr., the cumulative amount will push the team’s 2018-19 salary past $124 million. If the league’s salary cap remains similar to last season, Washington will likely return to the luxury tax for the second straight year. Washington Post

He has marveled many with his array of basketball skills while becoming a legend in Europe, leaving an abundance of NBA personnel folks intrigued about drafting the wondrous Luka Doncic. Yet the question NBA people wrestle with is how Doncic’s talents will translate from the competition he faced as a force with Real Madrid to the NBA, with its more athletic and talented players. Boston Herald/AP

Doncic has been linked to the Phoenix Suns, who have the first overall pick, because newly hired coach Igor Kokoskov coached Doncic on the Slovenia national team. Doncic has been linked to the Sacramento Kings, who have the second overall pick, because of team President Vlade Divac’s affinity for European players. Boston Herald/AP

For the first time ever, the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League will feature all 30 NBA teams. Each squad will play three preliminary contests before being seeded for the tournament-style portion of the event. The MGM Resorts NBA Summer League opens with a record 10 games on July 6 and runs through July 17 when the championship game will be held at 10 p.m. NBC Sports Philly

All 82 games over the course of the 12-day Las Vegas Summer League will air on live television, between ESPN networks and NBA TV. The Thunder doesn't have a first-round pick in this month's NBA Draft, but it has two second-round picks who could participate in Summer League. Two rookies from this season's team, guard Terrance Ferguson and center Dakari Johnson, are expected to play for OKC's Summer League team. Oklahoman

Steph Curry and Kevin Durant went champagne crazy at their victory parade on Tuesday ... 'cause the Warriors sprayed and drank HALF A MILLION DOLLARS worth of booze ... TMZ Sports has learned. Fresh off their $400k locker-room celebration after sweeping the Cavaliers on Friday, the Dubs had all the Luc Belaire Rare Gold, Luxe and Rosé they'd possibly need to keep the party going ... including 6-liter and HUGE 15-liter bottles!! TMZ Sports


Tuesday, June 12, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr doesn’t foresee any hiccups in his contract-extension negotiations this summer. "We’ll get that done pretty quickly," Kerr said Monday. "I don’t think there will be much to it. It should happen relatively quickly." SF Chronicle

Kerr and Golden State began to discuss an extension last summer, but Kerr opted to wait a year for final discussions to be sure he was healthy enough to make a long-term commitment. Now, after coaching every game in the Warriors’ run to the 2017-18 NBA championship, Kerr is ready to sign an extension. SF Chronicle

“Whenever he wants to start. We’ll figure it out,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said about Kerr. “I think the nice thing is we developed a camaraderie and we feel like he wants to be here. We want him here. We’ll work it out. If it happens later, it won’t be because it was put to the side. It was because organically it didn’t happen. But it’s going to happen. We can start whenever we want and however he feels comfortable beginning.” Mercury News

Lonzo Ball had a platelet-rich plasma injection in his left knee in early May and was able to get back on the court for basketball activities last week. Ball did not have any new setbacks, according to a source not authorized to speak publicly, but the procedure was to help the knee fully recover from the injuries he suffered during the season. LA Times

"I just got back [on the court]," Ball told ESPN at the Big Baller Brand Junior Basketball Association media day at Citizens Business Bank Arena, where he joined his father and brothers. "But I have been lifting weights. Nothing stopped me from doing that. I just got back on the court though, but everything is feeling good."

Ball said he is at 100 percent and fully healthy. At the team's exit interviews in April, Ball said Lakers president Magic Johnson told him that this would be the biggest summer of his life.

Despite a narrowing marketplace of salary cap space, one more formidable candidate could join the summer free agent class: Indiana Pacers forward Thaddeus Young. Young, 29, is seriously contemplating declining his $13.7 million player option for the 2018-19 season and becoming an unrestricted free agent, league sources told ESPN.

Thaddeus Young has until June 29 to make a decision on the option. Young's decision on whether to exercise his player option is rooted in searching out a longer-term contract in the prime of his career this summer. Young's value with the Pacers and elsewhere has been buoyed by his ability to guard multiple positions, a benefit in the evolving NBA game.

The Detroit Pistons announced today an agreement with Dwane Casey to join the organization as Head Coach. Casey, who will be formally introduced at a news conference in Detroit next week, is expected to start immediately with player meetings and staff development starting this week. “Dwane is one of the most successful and highly respected coaches in our league,” said Pistons Owner Tom Gores. “He’s a great communicator and a leader who will connect with our players and accelerate their growth. Having spent many hours with Dwane over the last few weeks, I’m confident he is the right person to get us to the next level. Inside Hoops

A month after being fired by the Raptors, Casey agreed to a five-year deal to become head coach of the Pistons, two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Monday. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the move, which was first reported by ESPN. Denver Post/AP

Last Friday, June 8, Boston Celtics guard/forward Abdel Nader underwent a right wrist arthroscopy and ulnar osteotomy. The purpose of the surgery was to correct lingering issues stemming from a fracture he suffered way back in high school. Nader should be able to return to basketball activities in around 2-3 months. The team thinks he’ll be at full strength for the start of training camp. Inside Hoops

Euroleague: Valencia Basket announced Monday that Jaume Ponsarnau will be its head coach for the coming season. Ponsarnau, 47, takes the position after serving as an assistant coach for Valencia the past two seasons. He has previously served as head coach for Manresa and Gipuzkoa Basket in the top league in Spain.


Sunday, June 10, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

LeBron James walked into his final interview of the NBA Finals with one last surprise: A dark brace on his right hand, covering an injury he's hidden for a week. "Pretty much played the last three games with a broken hand," James said. The cause: He punched something after Game 1 of the finals, his frustration having obviously boiled way over when the Cleveland Cavaliers let the series opener against the Golden State Warriors get away amid late-game miscues and one overturned call that left him seething. Boston Herald/AP

The Warriors completed the 4-0 sweep of James and the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals on Friday to become back-to-back NBA champions. With the power to become a free agent this summer, James now has a few weeks to figure out the most logical path to take down the dynasty Golden State has become. And according to multiple Las Vegas sports books and ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, the Heat will be one of the teams in the mix for James. Smith said this week the 14-time All-Star will “have a conversation” with seven teams this offseason: the Cavaliers, Warriors, Celtics, Sixers, Lakers, Rockets and Heat. Palm Beach Post

“I have no idea at this point,” James said after Game 4 when asked if he feels like his career with the Cavaliers is over. “The one thing that I’ve always done is considered, obviously, my family. Understanding especially where my boys are at this point in their age. They were a lot younger the last time I made a decision like this four years ago. I’ve got a teenage boy, a pre-teen and a little girl that wasn’t around as well. So sitting down and considering everything, my family is a huge part of whatever I’ll decide to do in my career, and it will continue to be that.” Palm Beach Post

James has to inform the Cavs whether he intends to opt out of the final year of his contract with the team by 11:59 p.m. on June 29. Should he opt out and become an unrestricted free agent, Cleveland can outbid any other suitor by offering him a five-year max contract worth approximately $205 million. Other organizations can pitch James starting on July 1, but the Cavs don't have to wait since he is already on their team.

There is no working list of teams that James is considering at this point, sources close to James told ESPN. In fact, his agent, Rich Paul, purposely delayed having that conversation until after the season was over so as to not take any focus off the Cavs' quest for a championship. Though James mentioned his family as an important factor in what he will ultimately decide, he reiterated the weight that the chance of winning additional championships would have.

James said at this stage of his career it is "uncomfortable" to start a team from scratch, which could be the scenario he finds himself in at training camp next fall. Then again, James basically had an entirely new team to figure out after the Cavs overhauled their roster in February, and he managed to make it back to the Finals.

Tyronn Lue confirmed to reporters after Friday's series-ending Game 4 loss in the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors that he intends to return as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers next season. Lue, who guided the Cavs to their first championship in franchise history after being elevated from associate head coach to the head coach midway through the 2015-16 season, when David Blatt was dismissed, has three years remaining on the five-year, $35 million contract extension he signed in the summer of 2016.

While the Knicks may not be in the running for LeBron James’ 2018 free agency, they are expected to have maximum cap space in 2019. Others to work out Saturday along with Bridges and Knox were Shake Milton, Bruce Brown Jr. and another Kentucky stud, New Yorker Hamidou Diallo. NY Post

After dropping a strong hint Friday on ESPN's First Take that he will be coaching the Detroit Pistons, Dwane Casey tapped the brakes a bit shortly after on another of the network's shows. Casey, appearing on The Jump with Rachel Nichols, said nothing is finalized with the Pistons but spoke glowingly of the organization and praised the roster. "I had a couple of great meetings, one with the management, with Ed Stefanski, who's a great GM, a great guy, he's a main reason why the job is appealing, along with (Blake Griffin) and also Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson," Casey told Nichols. Michigan Live

Klay Thompson really wants his father to know that he has more rings than his old man does. Following the Warriors' victory over the Cavaliers in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, Klay Thompson was asked by ESPN's Doris Burke what it was like sharing a moment with his father Mychal after the game, since Mychal Thompson played in the NBA and won two titles with the Los Angeles Lakers. "And I passed up my dad" "Yeah, and I passed up my dad so I'm pretty happy about that," Thompson said. SF Chronicle

Following the Golden State Warriors' victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, Nick Young, a.k.a. Swaggy P announced that from now on, he will be referred to as "Swag Champ." "Swag Champ now," Young says in a video posted to Instagram Saturday morning. "No more Swaggy P, Swag Champ." SF Chronicle

Villanova standout Mikal Bridges is scheduled to work out for the 76ers on Tuesday, sources have confirmed. 6ABC first reported the news. The Sixers have the 10th and 26th overall picks in the first round of the NBA draft later this month. They also have four second-round picks: Nos. 38, 39, 56, and 60.


Saturday, June 9, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

Though the talent divide separating it from the rest of the league has tightened, Golden State has long known that its biggest opponent is itself. In its 108-85 win over the Cavaliers in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena, the Warriors finally put it all together for four quarters, riding the same joy that made them the class of the league to their second straight championship and their third in four years. SF Chronicle

Before hundreds of empty maroon seats, with no gold confetti fluttering from the ceiling at the final buzzer, Golden State vaulted into rarefied territory. Stephen Curry and the Warriors joined Bill Russell’s Boston Celtics (1957-66) as the only teams that have reached four consecutive NBA Finals to win more than two. In addition to being the first franchise since Phil Jackson’s Lakers (2000-02) to win three championships in a four-year span, the Warriors are just the ninth team in NBA history to achieve a Finals sweep. SF Chronicle

Curry scored 37 points and hit seven three-pointers to pace Golden State. To put the finishing touches on his second consecutive Finals MVP award, Kevin Durant chipped in 20 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. And given all that the Warriors had to overcome to reach this point, they might appreciate their 2017-18 Larry O’Brien trophy the most. SF Chronicle

It's time for Oakland's near-annual tradition: a Golden State Warriors victory parade through the streets of downtown. The Warriors will be hosting their parade — celebrating their third NBA title in four years — on Tuesday. The parade will begin at 11 a.m. at Broadway and 11th streets. SF Chronicle

Offering a post on Snapchat and Instagram from the Heat locker room at AmericanAirlines Arena with a 2:20 a.m. Friday timestamp, [Hassan] Whiteside stressed that he is committed to improvement, even if he hasn't been public with such offerings this offseason. "Hey, you know what's crazy? You know what's crazy?" he said into the camera. "If people think just because you don't show it on social media, it ain't happening. And grind is always happening. "That's the problem -- too many people think stuff is given to you. Nuh uh." Sun Sentinel

Trade speculation began even before the close of the season, with Whiteside two years into the four-year, $98 million deal he signed on July 1, 2016. He is due $25.4 million next season as the team's highest-paid player and then hold a player option for $27 million in 2019-20 on the final year on his contract. Sun Sentinel

The Celtics are concerned about Kyrie Irving’s long-term future in Boston, in part because of his desire to flee for a division rival, according to one NBA insider. Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports said on his podcast the Celtics are “scared” Irving could leave next summer, and the Knicks are viewed as a potential destination. The 26-year-old Irving, who missed the playoffs following left knee surgery, can opt out of his contract next summer. The Celtics would be able to sign him to a five-year, $200 million max deal, if he wants to stay. NY Post

The Knicks, as well as the Spurs, Timberwolves and Heat, were on Irving’s wish list when he demanded a trade from the Cavaliers last offseason. But Irving did not have any leverage and the Cavaliers, in their opinion, got the best offer from the Celtics in a deal led by Isaiah Thomas and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick. Leverage won’t be a problem come free agency for the five-time All-Star. NY Post

“I’m trying to be as calm as I can,” Durant said. “I’m not going to lie, it’s exciting to be up 3-0 in the Finals – any player would say that but just knowing you have 48 minutes to focus and intensity in order for us to get to where we want to get to. That’s all you can ask for coming into the year is 48 minutes to win a championship.” Mercury News

The Kings will host Duke forward Marvin Bagley III for an individual pre-draft workout Monday at their practice facility at Golden 1 Center. Bagley was a consensus All-American and is the first prospect the Kings will host who is a legitimate option with their first-round draft pick, second overall, on June 21. Sacramento Bee

The Kings have a collection of young power forwards, but Bagley has the ability to be a star according to many draft experts who see him as perhaps the second-best prospect. The Kings are high on the potential of forward Harry Giles, who also played at Duke, but Giles was held out last season as he recovered from knee surgery. Sacramento Bee

The Heat confirmed that Eric Glass will lead the organization’s summer-league teams in Sacramento and Las Vegas this year. The 34-year-old Glass follows in the footsteps of Heat assistant coaches Chris Quinn, Juwan Howard and Dan Craig as head of the team’s summer program — Quinn coached the Heat’s summer-league team last year, Howard led the summer program in 2016 and Craig coached the summer rosters from 2013 through 2015. Palm Beach Post

Euroleague: Valencia Basket announced that head coach Txus Vidorreta will not be leading the team next season. Vidorreta, age 51, joined Valencia last season and helped the team finish it with a 12-18 Regular Season record in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. Vidorreta also helped Valencia reach the Spanish League playoffs, losing against Herbalife Gran Canaria in the quarterfinals, and won the Spanish Supercup title at the start of the season, which he finished with a 37-33 record in all official games.


Friday, June 8, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

Kevin Durant will be back with the Warriors next season. The All Star forward put to rest any doubts or rumors Thursday night in an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols. “I’m planning on staying with the Warriors, and we’ll figure the rest out,” Durant said, before adding that only “small details” remain to be settled. Mercury News

Seven years after being the second overall selection in the NBA draft, Derrick Williams participated this week in Detroit Pistons free-agent mini-camp, trying to work his way back into the league. He worked out with 17 others at the Pistons practice facility, most with no NBA experience, several who played for the G League Grand Rapids Drive this past season. Michigan Live

"I told myself since I was on the Cavs, just play with energy, efficiency and effort," Williams said. "If you do those three, the sky's the limit. "I believe I'm an NBA player, I think a lot of people think so, too. I just got to prove it again." The Pistons free-agent mini-camp also included Drive players Nnanna Egwu, Jamel Morris, Speedy Smith and Derek Willis. Michigan Live

The New York Knicks have hired former NBA coach Keith Smart and three others as assistants on David Fizdale's coaching staff. Jud Buechler, Pat Sullivan and Royal Ivey were also added Thursday to join Fizdale, who was hired last month to replace Jeff Hornacek. Smart coached Cleveland, Golden State and Sacramento and was most recently an assistant to Fizdale, and later J.B. Bickerstaff, in Memphis. He also was an assistant along with Fizdale in Miami, working under Erik Spoelstra.

Jordan Bell’s downfall came to a head in a 116-107 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in late March. Inserted by coach Steve Kerr in the fourth quarter, Bell failed to bring the necessary effort to the floor. “I didn’t want to be out there,” Bell said of that game. “Because I knew I wasn’t healthy and my ankle was killing me and I was trying to tell myself, ‘Yeah, I’m good, play through it,’ but I know I couldn’t.” Said Warriors veteran Andre Iguodala: “We had some assistant coaches who had to stay on him. He’ll put in one extra day of work and think, ‘I worked hard today and that was my hard work of the week.’ He’s been doing that for a while now and understanding optional practice means mandatory for him. We’ve had to get on him, but you have to give him all the credit for buckling down and getting it done.” Mercury News

Nick Collison is less than a month removed from his NBA retirement. A documentary about him was in the works well before. The 37-year-old is the star of a short documentary entitled “Mr. Thunder,” which will debut at the 2018 deadCenter Film Festival on Saturday (9 p.m.) on the Great Lawn at the Myriad Gardens. Collison was content as a mostly peripheral figure throughout his 15-year career, but the film, produced by the Thunder, was meant to put him front and center. Oklahoman

Los Angeles County prosecutors say former NBA player Glen Davis has been charged with attacking a man outside a club in West Hollywood. The district attorney’s office said Thursday that Davis faces a felony assault charge.


Thursday, June 7, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

A video was posted on Twitter of a giant 'L' — yes, the letter L — being unloaded out of the back of a truck at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland Wednesday ahead of Game 3 of the NBA Finals. The tweet immediately went viral, with many Warriors fans hoping it was a sign the Cavaliers would also be delivered a figurative L in the form of a third straight loss in the series. SF Chronicle

Nuggets: One potential anchor to rid is forward Kenneth Faried. He was inactive from Feb. 3 through the end of the season, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski recently reported the Nuggets have been shopping to trade him for a year. Faried is Denver’s third-highest-paid player with a base salary of almost $13 million, according to Sportrac, and successfully packaging him with the No. 14 pick would give the Nuggets $26.7 million in cap space to work with. Another veteran with a hefty price tag who played sparingly in 2017-18 is Darrell Arthur; he carries a dead cap figure of $14.6 million and will be an unrestricted free agent in 2019. Denver Post

They’re not the only variables in play as the Nuggets re-evaluate their finances for next season. There’s also Wilson Chandler, who has a player option this season and is due $12.8 million should he choose to return, and Connelly said the Nuggets want to bring back guard Will Barton, who’s an unrestricted free agent. Denver Post

Connelly said Wednesday that with the No. 14 pick in the draft, the Nuggets are looking for a player with positional versatility who is skilled on the defensive end. Two one-and-done college players and probably first-round picks — Oregon’s Troy Brown (6-foot-7, 210 pounds) and Texas Tech’s Zhaire Smith (6-5, 195) — concluded predraft workouts at the Pepsi Center minutes earlier. Denver Post

Pacers: Can Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis coexist? Kevin Pritchard expects them to thrive. The Indiana Pacers president joined Brett Rump of WKJG-1380 AM in Fort Wayne on Wednesday and discussed the offseason. Pritchard said "there's no doubt" the young big men could share the court. Pritchard said the team can mesh Turner's shot-blocking and outside shooting with Sabonis' pick-and-roll game and inside presence. "They can really play together," Pritchard said. Indy Star

Leave it to one Warrior to not let a tense basketball rivalry keep him from getting a neck tattoo during a stay in Cleveland. With less than 24 hours to go before Game 3, video of a brave Nick Young getting tattooed at Cleveland's Focused Tattoo appeared online, TMZ reported. Young picked out a cupid drawing and had it inked on the right side of his neck by owner and artist Jimmy Hayden. Hayden's a known figure in the tattoo world and has tattooed the likes of, well, LeBron James. SF Chronicle

NBA star Kyrie Irving — who’s making his film debut this month in “Uncle Drew” — is back with DJ Chantel Jeffries, spies tell Page Six. The pair, who were linked in 2016, were spotted at the launch of new Long Island City rooftop pool Profundo Day Club at the Ravel Hotel, where Jeffries was spinning on Friday. NY Post


Tuesday, June 5, Basketball Rumors
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

A video that went viral on social media Monday showed previously unseen footage of the Cleveland Cavaliers bench at the end of regulation from Game 1 and LeBron James' emotional letdown upon learning from coach Ty Lue that the team had an unused timeout that could've been used when JR Smith lost track of the score. Reluctant to take himself back to the moment at first, James described his thoughts and emotions during the huddle on Tuesday.

During the ensuing huddle, James didn't interact with teammates and didn't respond when several tried to engage him, including Jeff Green. When Lue came into the huddle to discuss strategy for overtime, James asked if the team had a timeout left and appeared to be devastated when Lue confirmed that one was available.

James said he hesitated on calling a timeout when Smith was dribbling away from the basket because he wasn't totally sure the Cavs had one and it could've led to a technical foul.

"I actually tried to call timeout. ... I don't know if I had enough time because I was kind of a little bit still in shock of what was going on at that point in time," James said. "I got to the bench, first thing that came to my mind I was like, "OK, I was calling a timeout.' But hopefully, I'm glad maybe if we didn't have any, I'm glad they didn't give it to me. I didn't want another C-Webb (Chris Webber) incident. If that happened, then they go to make their free throws and the game is over."

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Steph Curry is the obvious choice for Finals MVP so far. Yes, it is only two games into the series, and as the Warriors know very well, anything can happen. But unless the Cavaliers were to come back and win the series, Curry has to be the odds-on-favorite. While he has had dominant moments in the Finals, his masterful play actually started at the end of the Western Conference Finals. Over the last three games (including Game 7 of the WCF) Curry is averaging 29.7 points per game on 45 percent shooting from the field, 49 percent shooting for deep (on a staggering 14 attempts per game) coupled with 9 assists and 7 rebounds. NBC Sports Bay Area

But just as Golden State fans began to fear that Durant’s isolation-heavy brand of basketball was holding Curry back, the two former MVPs finally formed a dominant tandem again, powering the Warriors to a 122-103 win over the Cavaliers in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday. Three nights after he looked out of sorts on both sides of the ball in Game 1, Durant was a two-way force, pairing sturdy defense on LeBron James with deliberate offense to finish with 26 points on 10-for-14 shooting, nine rebounds, seven assists and two blocks. Curry, back to his awe-inspiring ways, poured in a game-high 33 points and an NBA Finals-record nine three-pointers. SF Chronicle

With Curry sidelined for most of March and April, Durant settled in as the Warriors’ unquestioned No. 1 option. An offense built around Curry’s three-point exploits and spontaneous bursts of glee became reliant on Durant’s ability to beat his man off the dribble. By the time Curry returned for Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against New Orleans, Durant was accustomed to the one-on-one style he had made his trademark during eight years with Oklahoma City. It took an elite opponent, Houston, to expose the fault lines that had surfaced in the perennial All-Stars’ partnership. SF Chronicle

After a lackluster series against Houston, the Warriors' role players have been much more productive so far in the Finals. Despite missing their best bench piece in Andre Iguodala, the 'Strength in Numbers' mantra has held strong against the Cavaliers. In Game 2, David West made his fourth shot from deep on the season (and first in over six months), JaVale McGee and Shaun Livingston combined to shoot 11 for 11 from the field, and the two have combined to miss only one shot in the series thus far. NBC Sports Bay Area

Los Angeles Lakers guard and soon-to-be free agent " rel="nofollow">Isaiah Thomas needled his former team on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" on Monday night. Competing against Detroit Pistons Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas in Kimmel's NBA edition of "Generation Gap," the former Cleveland Cavaliers guard said, "I'm like the Cavs, I'm going to get swept." " rel="nofollow">

Monty Williams agreed to join the 76ers’ coaching staff as Brett Brown’s lead assistant coach. Williams, 46, had served as the San Antonio Spurs vice president of basketball operations the last two seasons.

He’ll replace former Sixers assistant Lloyd Pierce, who accepted the head coaching job with the Atlanta Hawks. Williams won’t have a tough time getting familiar with the coaching staff. Williams and Brown both have ties to San Antonio and Gregg Popovich. They worked together.

Ainge could easily kick back, use that 27th overall draft pick on a project center who may be ready in two years and keep his team intact. And that very well could be the plan. A team source said the Celtics want to bring back Marcus Smart and keep Terry Rozier for added depth and being a fully loaded roster next season, where they will be the favorites to win the Eastern Conference. But there are some tweaks Ainge could make to the roster to ensure the Celtics avoid the scoring slumps they faced last season and to make sure coach Brad Stevens doesn’t have to rely so heavily on youngsters to fortify the bench. Boston Globe

The Celtics have three unrestricted free agents in Shane Larkin, Greg Monroe and Aron Baynes. Larkin likely will procure a multiyear offer from another club as a backup point guard, substantially more than the $1.5 million he earned this season. Monroe likely is gone. He was such a defensive liability and a poor finisher at the rim that Stevens couldn’t play him extensively during the playoffs. Boston Globe

The Celtics need to keep Baynes but they don’t own his Bird Rights, meaning bringing him back would occupy salary cap space and the Celtics likely won’t be able to compete with other offers from teams with cap space. Baynes proved he could be a starting center on a contending team, was durable despite getting into series of ghastly collisions this season, and was a decent midrange and improving 3-point shooter. Boston Globe

Los Angeles Clippers center Boban Marjanovic has joined the cast of John Wick: Chapter 3, multiple sources have told Collider. Representatives for Lionsgate and Marjanovic did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Jordan Clarkson's a Cleveland guy now ... but the dude just can't shake his old stompin' grounds, 'cause the ex-Laker just dropped $3.2 MILLION on a brand new L.A. home!! The Cavs baller is currently in the NBA Finals ... but once the offseason hits, he'll be able to enjoy his 5 bedroom, 8 bathroom pad in Woodland Hills listed by Gabriel Ostrow.

It's been about six months since Kendall Jenner was linked to a rumored NBA BF, but as her biking date with Ben Simmons shows ... you never forget how to date one of 'em. Kendall was seen getting her ride on this weekend with the 76ers star point guard -- on a bicycle, folks ... relax. Eyewitnesses tell us they were cruising near The Grove in West Hollywood Sunday -- and we gotta say ... Kendall looks like the pro out of the two.

Euroleague: Unicaja Malaga announced on Monday that Joan Plaza will no longer coach the team after five consecutive seasons working together, highlighted by their 7DAYS EuroCup title in 2017. Plaza, 54, joined Unicaja before the start of the 2013-14 season, a few weeks after winning the Lithuanian League title with Zalgiris Kaunas. In his four Turkish Airlines EuroLeague seasons with the club, Plaza led Unicaja to a 43-59 record.


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