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Zion Williamson brings rare potential to New Orleans

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Eventually, as with every NBA Draft, there will be a “re-draft” of the Class of 2019. That’s the irresistible exercise in hindsight from media outlets that rank a particular year’s prospects not on their projected value but on actual demonstrated value five, 10 or more seasons into their professional careers. Some players will rise. Others will fall. “Bust” and “sleeper” tags will be dispersed accordingly. This team or GM will be lauded for an especially savvy selection, that one will be razzed for the quality player or players on whom it whiffed. But the through line of the dreams-come-true event Thursday night (Friday, PHL time) at Barclays Center, the lone selection that will not or at least should not change, is Zion Williamson. Williamson is the sure thing, the “can’t miss,” consensus No. 1 pick bound for the New Orleans Pelicans. He’s a 6'7", 285-pound freshman from Duke whose comps aren’t merely established players currently in the NBA but some of the game’s legends. So think Blake Griffin, sure. But also think LeBron James. And Charles Barkley. And, for that matter, every other wide-body who’s ever played with muscles on muscles, above-the-rim explosiveness, balletic body control and an instantly recognizable game that’s as charismatic as it is freakish. Yeah, awfully small subset. “I’m looking forward to playing against everybody,” Williamson said soon after his selection. “I want to be the best. I feel I have to earn everybody’s respect.” It’s not just a matter of Williamson’s game tickling NBA fans’ fancy, either. He managed, in almost his first official pro moment, to capture a lot of their hearts too. No sooner had Williamson – the first No. 1 pick to be born in this millennium (July 6, 2000) – strode to the stage in his cream-white suit, tugged on a Pelicans draft cap and embraced NBA commissioner Adam Silver, he dropped his guard to let the world share his emotions in the moment. His status as college basketball’s best and his draft position had been established months ago. There was no new mystery as to when his name would be called by Silver at the podium. And yet, when the first ESPN microphone was poked in front of him, with his mother Sharonda Sampson at his side, the big guy lost it. He choked up and blinked back tears, not quite winning that battle. “My mom sacrificed a lot for me,” Williamson said. “I wouldn’t be here without my mom. She did everything for me. I just want to thank her.” Several interviews and maybe 20 minutes later, Williamson explained how the horribly kept secret of his No. 1 selection could trigger his response. “Because I love the game of basketball,” he said. “You can hear people say things like, ‘Oh, it was likely I was going to go No. 1.’ But I guess you don’t know until you actually go through it.” What mattered most to Williamson about his mother’s role in his life? “Tough love,” he said. “She was always be the first one to keep it real with me. … She put aside her dreams just so me and my brothers could have a chance at ours.” The love already heading Williamson’s way in New Orleans was less tough and more unconditional at this stage, for the teenager represents a re-birth for a Pelicans franchise rocked by the loss of All-Star forward Anthony Davis. Davis, coincidentally, was the No. 1 pick in 2012 and generally considered the top prospect to hit the Draft before Williamson. But after six-and-a-half seasons and only two trips to the playoffs, Davis asked in December to be traded, despite having more than two-plus seasons left on his contract. David Griffin, the Pelicans' new vice president of basketball operations, had hoped that Williamson’s arrival might convince Davis to stay. When that didn’t happen, Griffin swiftly shifted to Plan B, arranging to trade the discontented big man to the Los Angeles Lakers in a deal that won’t be official until July. Now New Orleans, which has won just two playoff series in its 17 seasons and failed to qualify 10 times, has a new cornerstone. Williamson figures to be under team control contractually for as long or longer than Davis stuck around, with teammates relocated from L.A. such as Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart to run with him and Pelicans holdovers. “What excites me the most is the fact that they’re young and they’re close to my age,” said Duke’s third No. 1 overall pick (Elton Brand in 1999, Kyrie Irving in 2011). “So they can help me a lot more, like how to deal with this transition. I think we can build something over there.” The essential block is Williamson, who swept college basketball’s major awards with a game that strains credulity. At 285 pounds, his listed weight is greater than almost every big man in the NBA, but he has quick-twitch speed and thrives in the open court. He can stare down into the rim before slamming home dunks with unnerving ferocity, and he is a deft and willing passer. Williamson averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 30 minutes for the Blue Devils, while making 68 percent of his shots. He and fellow Top 10 picks R.J. Barrett (New York, No. 3) and Cam Reddish (Atlanta, No. 10) helped Duke reach the Elite Eight, with Williamson earning ACC Tournament MVP along the way. He’s not a perfect player – his jump shot and range need work – but he already is working to complement his transition and low-post repertoire. Defensively, Williamson has the motor and mobility to switch assignments and quick hands to dislodge the ball without fouling. As a rebounder, his verticality is matched by, well, his horizontality in controlling the air space above and around him. “His size, his athleticism, his power is visible,” former St. John’s coach and Naismith Hall of Famer Chris Mullin said. “But to me his speed is really incredible from end to end. “I would morph Charles Barkley and Shawn Kemp and put them together [as a comparison]. When he gets to the NBA and he plays with that extra space they have in the wide key, he’s going to be a monster.” Williamson arrives with hype – no, make that expectations, because of all he’s shown already on courts around America – that rival what James shouldered when he arrived from high school in 2003. His plan for lugging that responsibility: “Whatever the team needs me to do, I’m willing to do it, because I feel people remember winners.” The selections immediately after Williamson were nearly as predictable, based on intelligence and mock drafts that solidified in the days before the Draft. Murry State guard Ja Morant was chosen by Memphis at No. 2, and Barrett’s ensuing selection by the Knicks delighted their always boisterous fans in the stands at Barclay. The order of the next four choices was jumbled from some predictions. Yet by the time the smoke cleared, sure enough, the seven players projected to come off the board soonest had slotted into the night’s top seven spots. That included Virginia forward De’andre Hunter to Atlanta at No. 4 (via the Lakers, in the aforementioned Davis trade that has yet to be completed), Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland to Cleveland at No. 5, Texas Tech wing Jarrett Culver to Minnesota at No. 6 and North Carolina guard Coby White to Chicago at No. 7. Just because there wasn’t a lot of suspense at Barclays didn’t mean there was no intrigue. Much of that came from unusually heavy trade action – all technically unofficial – that had teams moving up, down and all around to snag picks, dump picks or clean up their salary-cap positions in anticipation of free agency that starts June 30. The timing of the Draft, relative to when the NBA’s new business year begins, had players donning caps of teams they’ll never play for, while speaking guardedly about those for whom they really were picked. A reported nine trades impacted draft decisions made in the first round alone. There even was a moment when Morant, in his post-Draft media session, gave a shout-out to veteran Grizzlies guard Mike Conley, whose spot he’ll presumably be taking once Conley’s trade to Utah officially goes through. But there’s no such uncertainty about Williamson, the through line of this year’s class, the true line in his heartfelt reactions Thursday (Friday, PHL time) and broad-shouldered hope of a Big Easy franchise in need. Williamson showed his grasp of the NBA’s and sports’ need for fresh icons, in effect accepting his status as a legend in waiting. “You know, times change,” he said. “That’s why there are so many debates about who people think the greatest players of all time are. If you were in the time of Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell, you’d probably say one of those two. If you were in the time of Jordan, you’d say Jordan. In our generation, a lot of them say LeBron. “So times changes and I think younger fans like younger players.” You don’t have to be young, though, to have your eye on Zion. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 21st, 2019

Analysis: Anthony Davis trade a win-win for both sides

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press The saga is over. When this trade is done, everybody can say they won. The Lakers, the Pelicans, Rich Paul, LeBron James, they all can take a victory lap. The trade that will be official in the coming weeks sending Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Los Angeles Lakers for Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and three first-round draft picks — first reported by ESPN, later confirmed to The Associated Press by several people with knowledge of the matter — is perfect for both sides. James gets the superstar teammate he wanted. Paul, the agent James and Davis share, pulls off a power move. The Lakers instantly become major players in a suddenly open Western Conference. Davis finally gets his wish to leave New Orleans. The Pelicans don’t begin Zion Williamson’s era with a disgruntled superstar in the locker room. They load up on young players and have tons of draft chips to play around with. For the Pelicans, it’s a new beginning. For the Lakers, it’s about winning now. Draft picks, including No. 4 in this year’s class, smartly were not overvalued by the Lakers — a team with a superstar who is turning 35 in December and should be doing anything necessary to help him win a fourth championship before his window closes. The Lakers have tons of money to spend starting June 30 and the sales pitch to Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving or anyone else changes mightily after this move. Before Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) it would have been Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka saying, “We’re trying to get Anthony Davis.” Now it’ll be Pelinka saying, “We’ve got Davis, we’ve got LeBron and they want you with them.” That’ll be a tough offer for anyone to ignore. James is going to get another Big Three out of this: It was Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and him in Miami; Kevin Love, Irving and him in Cleveland; Davis, him and TBA with the Lakers. Clearly, the focus will be on a guard, which is why the rumor mill will be all about either Walker or Irving going to Los Angeles in free agency. The offseason is already in high gear. Hard to believe it really just got started. This deal got agreed to before the newly crowned NBA champion Toronto Raptors — this is true — hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy on Canadian soil for the first time. They won Thursday night at Oracle Arena to end Golden State’s reign, then stopped for a party in Las Vegas before the parade in Toronto on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). Not even 48 hours after they popped corks, the Lakers were starting their own celebration. Williamson will get drafted No. 1 overall on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time), and he’ll go to New Orleans in the awkward spot of being an 18-year-old (he doesn’t turn 19 until July 6) with a franchise on his shoulders. The Lakers will still be drafting No. 4 overall, though they’ll be doing so on New Orleans’ behalf because the trade cannot be consummated beforehand. The Pelicans need a center, and will likely look at the trade market. The Pelicans have to watch an incredible player, one of the league’s very best, leave. But David Griffin — the man tasked with rebuilding the Pelicans — clearly had concluded that there was no way of convincing Davis to not leave as a free agent next summer anyway. Had Griffin waited to make a deal in-season, there’s almost no way he could have pulled off this kind of haul in return. The longer he waited, the less the value. So they push the reset button and move on, which was the most prudent play. Let the ripple effects begin. The Warriors not only have to figure out what to do if Kevin Durant leaves, but how to contend next year without the Achilles-rehabbing Durant and the ACL-rehabbing Klay Thompson (for at least much of the season). Other contenders in the West — Houston, Denver, Portland — will be viewing the Warriors’ woes as opportunity, so they’ll be looking at ways to get better as well. And Boston will be dealing with the reality that not only are its hopes of landing Davis gone, but that Irving is likely leaving as well. There will be countless big moves in the coming weeks. The Lakers, who have missed the playoffs in the last six seasons and have been stuck in dysfunction mode for the last couple months following the resignation of Magic Johnson and soap opera that followed, got the first one of the offseason to go their way. Welcome to summer. Game on. ___ Tim Reynolds is a national basketball writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at treynolds@ap.org.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 16th, 2019

Seven takeaways from Lakers reported trade for Anthony Davis

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com Here are seven takeaways on the reported blockbuster trade sending New Orleans star forward Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers. 1. Davis gets what he wanted all along Davis and his camp, fronted by agent Rich Paul, first made noise about getting out of New Orleans in January, when he still had a year and a half to go before he even reached the player-option year in his Pelicans contract extension. New Orleans management, notably GM Dell Demps, resisted the power play then. Of course, Demps lost his job after resisting the trade demand and seeing the ripple effects undermine his own team’s season. Demps’ replacement, David Griffin, took over on a more traditional timeline -- one year out from the dreaded possibility of having a star free agent walk without compensation. After apparently trying to change Davis’ mind, Griffin did what he felt he had to do. So the six-time All-Star doesn’t have to wait until the summer of 2020, or even the trade deadline in February, to swap a less glamorous market for the bright lights and a franchise that has never won for the Lakers’ legacy of champions built around elite big men. 2. Will future franchise players do the same? What cost did Davis pay for his trade demand? Not much. His playing time plummeted from about 37 minutes in the first four months of 2018-19 to 22 in the 16 games he actually played after Jan. 18 (Jan. 19, PHL time). He did not participate at all in 21 games as New Orleans tried to protect its asset, which derailed any ambitions with which the Pelicans began the season. They went 12-24 in those 36 games to fall into the lottery – and land the No. 1 pick. But that didn’t concern Davis. He got what he wanted. The Pelicans got what they could. 3. Right package at right time for Pelicans There’s a time-value to money and there’s a time-value in trades, too. The best time for Griffin to deal was now, with the No. 4 pick in this year’s Draft in play to team with the No. 1 pick that presumably will be on Duke’s Zion Williamson. Landing that, along with two more first-round picks from the Lakers, a Draft pick swap, and players Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart (per ESPN’s report), shifts New Orleans into full rebuild mode with an exciting core of current and maybe future young players. Could Griffin have gotten more had he waited deeper into the offseason or heading toward the in-season trade deadline? Perhaps. But Boston, the other oft-purported suitor for Davis, no longer could count on teaming Davis with Kyrie Irving, who will explore free agency (and likely leave). Besides, the Celtics never did want to part with Jayson Tatum, so what they could offer the Pelicans was limited. Didn’t matter, anyway. Griffin didn’t want to drag this into a new season. In fact, he might work the phones to find point guard Jrue Holiday’s market value. As strong as Holiday is as a leader and two-way player, at 29 with 10 seasons in, he’s out of sync with the new era in N’Awlins. 4. Griffin should have held out for Kyle Kuzma OK, the Lakers had committed publicly to keeping Kuzma, the overachieving forward and No. 27 pick in 2017, out of the deal. And as noted above, the Pelicans were on the clock to make a clean break with Davis pre-Draft. But would the Lakers really have scuttled the deal if Griffin had held out for Kuzma? Some say yes, as the time factor gave them leverage. I’m not so sure. I’m reminded of the blockbuster deal that sent Kevin Garnett from Minnesota to Boston in 2008. Word eventually got out that Kevin McHale, the Wolves’ president of basketball operations, had wanted a raw point guard named Rajon Rondo in the package of players Minnesota received. His Celtics’ counterpart and buddy, Danny Ainge, pushed Sebastian Telfair instead. But with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen on board, and Garnett so close to his wearing o’ the green, would Ainge have blown up the trade over young Rondo? Same applies here. So the positive spin on Kuzma staying put is, the Lakers did well to keep him. 5. LeBron gets his greatest sidekick yet That statement might offend a few folks. Dwyane Wade for one. Maybe Irving, Chris Bosh or Kevin Love, too. Heck, Davis might bristle at the idea of being anyone’s “sidekick” after being the man in Mardi Gras to this point in his career. But the truth can’t be controversial, and the success of this deal will be measured in the short-term by how well Davis meshes with James in the superstar’s quest for a fourth ring and beyond. Some believed that agent Rich Paul, who represents both James and Davis, was more concerned with helping the former than the latter, which Paul refuted a few days before news came out on this blockbuster trade. Who’s to say AD wouldn’t have thrived and won sooner in Boston had the Celtics and Pelicans worked out a Kawhi-like rent-a-player price? What if James not only is past his best years, but his most durable ones, and injuries intervene as he heads to age 35 and beyond to stymie title hopes? For James, though, there’s no downside to this. Ingram, because of the blood clot issue that cut short his 2018-19 season, is an unknown for now. Ball isn’t essential with James as a ball dominator. Hart actually backslid in his second season. And James has little or no use for draft picks at this stage of his career. Davis is good enough to carry the bigger load relative to James, more than any of his past Super Friends who all caught him in his extended prime. But it’s still to be determined how they’ll work that out – the two previous elite big men that he played alongside, Bosh and Love, wound up as No. 3 options once they teamed with James. 6. Kemba Walker might be next in Lakers’ sights Walker is a free agent who has served his time in Charlotte, a team that might not want to be locked into a super-max deal for their lone star anyway. He would be a nice backcourt complement to James and Davis, another scorer if not the pure shooter L.A. would seem to need. Speaking of which, that suggests other free-agent implications as the Lakers search for shooters. Say, if not J.J. Redick himself, then the next Redick perhaps. 7. So long Warriors, hello Lakers in 2020 Finals? You’ve got to admit, it would be something to see LeBron James pop up on the Western Conference’s finalist vying for a championship, in what lately has been Golden State’s accustomed spot. That’s what some anticipated for this June, until the Lakers went sideways with injuries and dysfunction. But with ESPN’s report of the Davis trade, a team that already was ranked atop the NBA’s contenders for 2020 saw its odds improve. Caesars Sportsbook put the Lakers as 7-2 favorites, ahead of the Bucks (6-1), the L.A. Clippers (6-1), the newly crowned Raptors (8-1), the Rockets (8-1) and what would be a distinctly different Warriors team (11-1). Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 16th, 2019

Tina Charles, Candice Dupree lead WNBA All-Star 2019 reserves

WNBA press release NEW YORK – The New York Liberty’s Tina Charles and the Indiana Fever’s Candice Dupree lead the list of 12 players – six guards and six frontcourt players from across the WNBA – who will serve as reserves in AT&T WNBA All-Star 2019.   The reserves were selected by the league’s head coaches, who voted for three guards, five frontcourt players and four players at either position regardless of conference. The coaches were not able to vote for their own players. Joining Charles and Dupree as frontcourt reserves are the Phoenix Mercury’s DeWanna Bonner, the Minnesota Lynx’ Sylvia Fowles, the Los Angeles Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike and the Connecticut Sun’s Alyssa Thomas. Reserves at the guard position are the Chicago Sky’s Diamond DeShields, Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot, Minnesota’s Odyssey Sims, the Washington Mystics’ Kristi Toliver,  and the Indiana Fever’s Erica Wheeler. The 10 starters for AT&T WNBA All-Star 2019, announced on July 11, were selected by fans, current players and media. As the two All-Star starters who finished with the most fan votes during WNBA All-Star Voting 2019 presented by Google, Washington’s Elena Delle Donne and the Las Vegas Aces’ A’ja Wilson will serve as team captains and draft the All-Star Game rosters from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves. AT&T WNBA All-Star 2019 featuring Team Delle Donne vs. Team Wilson will be played on Saturday, July 27 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, home of the Aces. The 16th WNBA All-Star Game will be televised live by ABC at 3:30 p.m. ET. Joining Delle Donne and Wilson as starters in the frontcourt are Las Vegas’ Liz Cambage, Phoenix’s Brittney Griner, the Seattle Storm’s Natasha Howard and Connecticut’s Jonquel Jones. The four starting guards are Los Angeles’ Chelsea Gray, Seattle’s Jewell Loyd, Las Vegas’ Kayla McBride and New York’s Kia Nurse. Delle Donne and Wilson will select their respective rosters in the WNBA All-Star Draft by choosing first from the remaining pool of eight starters and then from the pool of 12 reserves.  By virtue of finishing with the most fan votes, Delle Donne will make the first pick in the first round (Starters).  Wilson will have the first pick in the second round (Reserves). Additional details about the All-Star Draft will be announced at a later date. Las Vegas head coach Bill Laimbeer and Washington head coach Mike Thibault have earned spots as the head coaches for AT&T WNBA All-Star 2019. With Las Vegas having clinched the best record in the WNBA through July 12 (10-5, .667), Laimbeer and his staff will coach Team Delle Donne. Thibault, whose Mystics posted the second-best record through July 12 (9-5, .643) will guide Team Wilson. AT&T WNBA All-Star 2019 Reserves - DeWanna Bonner, Mercury (3rd All-Star selection): The WNBA’s leading scorer (19.4 ppg), Bonner was named to the All-Star Game for the second consecutive season after sitting out the 2017 campaign when she gave birth to twins. A two-time WNBA champion with Phoenix (2009, 2014), Bonner began her career by winning WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year honors three straight seasons (2009-11). - Tina Charles, Liberty (7th All-Star selection): Charles, who this season moved into sixth place in WNBA history with 3,014 rebounds, also ranks 12th with 5,727 points. Earlier this year, she added filmmaker to her resume when the documentary she produced about her father Rawlston Charles and his Brooklyn-based record store and music label debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival. - Diamond DeShields, Sky (1st All-Star selection): Chicago’s leading scorer (14.9 ppg), DeShields, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 Draft, is one of three Sky guards named to the All-Star Game along with Quigley and Vandersloot. - Candice Dupree, Fever (7th All-Star selection): Now in her 14th WNBA season, Dupree recently moved past Lisa Leslie and into sixth place in league history with 6,267 points. She also ranks eighth in career rebounds with 2,880. - Sylvia Fowles, Lynx (6th All-Star selection): The WNBA’s MVP in 2017 and Finals MVP in 2015 and 2017, Fowles became the WNBA’s career leader in double-doubles (158) this season. She also ranks fourth in league history with 3,201 career rebounds, behind only Rebekkah Brunson (3,356), Tamika Catchings (3,316) and Lisa Leslie (3,306). - Nneka Ogwumike, Sparks (6th All-Star selection): Ogwumike leads the Sparks with 15.5 ppg and 9.5 rpg. The top pick in the 2012 draft, she is one of five No. 1 overall picks in this year’s All-Star Game, along with Tina Charles (2010), Brittney Griner (2013), Jewell Loyd (2015) and A’ja Wilson (2018). - Allie Quigley, Sky (3rd All-Star selection): A two-time WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year (2014, 2015), Quigley has earned three consecutive All-Star appearances since becoming a full-time starter for the Sky in 2017. Quigley won the Three-Point Shooting Contest at the 2018 WNBA All-Star Game in Minnesota. - Odyssey Sims, Lynx (1st All-Star selection): After spending the past two seasons with rival Los Angeles, Sims was acquired by Minnesota from the Sparks via a trade in April. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 draft, she leads the Lynx with 15.7 ppg and a career-high 5.4 apg and is the only player in the league ranking in top 10 in scoring and assists. -  Alyssa Thomas, Sun (2nd All-Star selection): Thomas, who made her All-Star debut in 2017, is the Sun’s No. 2 scorer (11.6 ppg) and rebounder (7.2 rpg) behind Jonquel Jones, an All-Star starter. - Kristi Toliver, Mystics (3rd All-Star): An All-Star for the second consecutive year as a member of the Mystics, whom she helped to the WNBA Finals last season, Toliver also represented the Sparks in the 2013 All-Star Game. - Courtney Vandersloot, Sky (2nd All-Star): Vandersloot leads the league with 8.2 assists per game a year after she set a WNBA single-season records with 8.6 apg and 258 total assists. She returns to the All-Star Game for the first time since her rookie season of 2011. - Erica Wheeler, Fever (1st time All-Star): Wheeler is the only undrafted player among the 22 players selected for AT&T WNBA All-Star 2019 and the first undrafted player named to the Game since Erika de Souza in 2014......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News2 hr. 11 min. ago

Summer League winds down, and now, maybe, some NBA rest

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press They'll hand out T-shirts to the Summer League winners following the championship game between Memphis and Minnesota in Las Vegas on Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time), and then things will finally slow down a bit in the NBA. Maybe. And probably not for long. It's been a hectic month since Toronto won the NBA championship and the so-called offseason commenced. Already this summer, 18 current and former All-Stars have changed franchises, and that number will rise to 19 if Vince Carter finds a new home for his final season. Recent NBA Finals MVPs Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala all were among those on the move. And another three past finals MVPs — Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki and Tony Parker — all retired. So when next season begins, very little will look the same. "I think there's going to be a lot of parity," Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson said. "That's my gut." NBA Commissioner Adam Silver expected this summer to be loaded with player movement, and wasn't complaining about so many big names — Durant, Leonard, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, Paul George, Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Jimmy Butler and many more — needing to file change-of-address cards. "At the end of the day, it's positive for the league," Silver said. "I will say, though, I'm mindful of this notion of balance of power, and I think it applies in many different ways. An appropriate balance of power between the teams and the players ... at the end of the day, you want to make sure you have a league where every team is in a position to compete." There were some clear winners in free agency: Brooklyn (who got Durant and Irving), the Los Angeles Clippers (who got George and Leonard) and the Los Angeles Lakers (who got Davis) were among them. It could be argued that the Oklahoma City Thunder won as well — no, they won't be as good this season as they were this past season after trading George and Westbrook, but general manager Sam Presti has enough draft picks now to enjoy flexibility for years. The losers are clear as well: Toronto lost Leonard and Danny Green and Golden State lost Durant, so last season's finalists certainly aren't favorites to be this season's finalists. It's also easy to say that New York lost after coming up empty on the big-name free agents, but the Knicks got plenty of good players on deals that ensure the team will have money again next summer. A lookahead at what's coming, and some notes on what's gone down: SO NOW WHAT? Any NBA withdrawal will really only last about three weeks, until roughly three dozen players return to Las Vegas for USA Basketball's training camp leading up to the FIBA World Cup in China that starts on Aug. 31. San Antonio's Gregg Popovich is coaching the Americans, assisted by Golden State's Steve Kerr, Atlanta's Lloyd Pearce and Villanova's Jay Wright. Zion Williamson, knee permitting, may take part in camp as one of the young players brought in to help the more-established pros get ready. If Williamson impresses, he may get a shot at joining the varsity club. Also, this season's NBA schedule is likely to come around the second week of August, if recent years are any indicator. WHO'S LEFT? Plenty of free agents remain unsigned, and that'll still be the case even in September as training camps get ready to open. It's still hard to see the Thunder keeping Paul, acquired in the Westbrook trade to Houston, so expect at least one more blockbuster trade before too long. Or can a player who is owed $121 million over the next three seasons be bought out? Stay tuned. Carter wants to come back for a 22nd NBA season, which would be a league record. If he gets into a game after Jan. 1, he'll also become the first NBA player to appear in four different decades. Jamal Crawford remains out there as well, and contenders should be calling him. LOADED WEST Philadelphia, Boston, Brooklyn, Indiana and Miami all likely got better in the East. Milwaukee kept most of its team that won an NBA-best 60 games. The East will be good. The West might be bloody. The Clippers, the Lakers, Houston, Golden State, Denver, Utah, Portland and San Antonio could end up as the eight playoff teams in the Western Conference. It's plausible; they're probably the most realistic eight picks right now. But at least four of those teams — most of them with superstar duos that are all the rage now — won't be in the second round of next season's playoffs. LONGEVITY AWARD For now, Golden State's Stephen Curry is the longest-tenured player under contract to one team. He's entering his 11th season with the Warriors. With Nowitzki (21 seasons with Dallas) retired, Mike Conley (12 seasons with Memphis) traded to Utah and Westbrook (11 seasons with Oklahoma City) traded to Houston, no current player has had a longer uninterrupted run with one team than Curry. But if Udonis Haslem re-signs with Miami, it'll be his 17th season with the Heat. THE NUMBERS Including the $196 million extension for Portland's Damian Lillard, a $170 million extension for Denver's Jamal Murray and another in-the-works $170 million extension for Philadelphia's Ben Simmons, NBA teams have committed to spend roughly $4 billion in new deals that were struck in the last three weeks alone. And that's with 100 more signings to come, at least. That $4 billion figure is twice what the total payroll was a decade ago for every team in the league, combined......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated News14 hr. 50 min. ago

End of an era: Westbrook exits Oklahoma City

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com LAS VEGAS – Just when you thought it was safe to step out from under a doorway, another seismic tremble rumbled through the NBA Las Vegas Summer League Thursday evening (Friday, PHL time). Earthquake again? Nope, just more Thunder. Get your first look at the NBA’s top Rookies during NBA Summer League LIVE on NBA League Pass! Oklahoma City and general manager Sam Presti were back at it, this time reportedly sending former Kia MVP Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for guard Chris Paul, first-round draft picks in 2024 and 2026, and pick swaps in 2021 and 2025. Six days earlier, OKC had stunned the pro hoops world by trading All-Star wing Paul George to the LA Clippers, serving up the co-star that coveted free agent Kawhi Leonard wanted as a condition of signing with Staples Center’s other NBA team. That deal yielded for the Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari and guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, along with five first-round picks and swap rights on two more. The biggest difference in moving Westbrook was that this one was anticipated. George had gone to Presti quietly after conspiring with Leonard, requesting the trade in a way that enabled the OKC GM to work behind the scenes. Presti had leverage on the Clippers, since he in essence was delivering both two-way stars – George and Leonard, who otherwise might have re-signed with Toronto – simultaneously. The deal Thursday (Friday, PHL time) paired Presti with Rockets counterpart Daryl Morey. Given their trade-happy track records, it wasn’t surprising that, if an NBA fan listened closely, he or she might have heard the sound of gods bowling. George’s departure and OKC’s subsequent trade of forward Jerami Grant to Denver made it clear which direction the Thunder were heading. Getting ousted from the playoffs’ first round for three consecutive years made the team’s $146 million payroll (and the luxury taxes it triggered) untenable. “People [within the league] knew they were going to do something pretty profound,” one GM told NBA.com earlier this week. “What they got for George was more than a king’s ransom. And if they end up trading Russell for all the tea in China, it will be the same deal again, right?” There were other suitors, most notably Miami, fueling speculation that Presti might not be done. How about Chris Paul to the Heat for expiring contracts, a prospect or two and more draft assets? As it is, the Thunder already have lassoed or retained an outrageous 15 first-round picks over the next six years. That sets up Oklahoma City ridiculously well, on paper, for the medium- and long-term. Short-term? Meh. A crew of Paul (if he stays), Gallinari, Gilgeous-Alexander, Andre Roberson, Steven Adams and Terrance Ferguson seems undermanned in the wild, wild West. But Presti has amassed enough picks that Thunder fans won’t have to worry about their favorite team tanking -- they can just root against the Clippers, the Heat and the Rockets in hopes of desirable draft positions. Westbrook deserves credit for spending the first 11 years of his career in an unglamorous, small-revenue market (though $168 million in NBA earnings had something to do with it too). He had two MVPs (Kevin Durant and James Harden) and one MVP candidate (George last season) leave via trade or free agency before he did. Now he has a chance, re-teamed with Harden in Houston, to step into the void opened by Golden State’s anticipated decline in 2019-20 (Durant’s departure from the Bay has something to do with that). The Rockets and Morey have to be on the clock, their extended window as championship contenders not likely to stay propped open for long. Westbrook and Harden, a tandem of past MVPs, should have most of their statistical and usage itches scratched by now. Each badly needs a ring on his resume. Paul, meanwhile, might find himself hooking up with Jimmy Butler with the Heat, a pairing that makes more sense than Butler-Westbrook at least in terms of basketball compatibility. Presti’s performance over the past 10 days or so has been “breathtaking,” according to the rival GM. But with so many folks in and outside OKC so eager to spin the Thunder’s picks and prospects forward, a nagging question remains: What should we make of their past? In Presti’s 12 seasons, beginning with the franchise still in Seattle in 2007-08, his team has won 50 games or more six times (counting the 47-19 equivalent in lockout-shortened 2011-2012). Over the Thunder’s first 10 seasons in Oklahoma, only the San Antonio Spurs won more often. The Thunder have reached the postseason nine times, winning 14 series. They lost the Finals in five games to Miami in 2012, and got bounced three times from the conference finals, once from the West semifinals and four times from the first round. There were injuries and close calls, sure, but those are a part of it for everyone. Drafting, Presti strung together Durant (No. 2 overall in 2007), Westbrook (No. 4, ’08) and Harden (No. 3, '09). His record deeper into the first round has been predictably mixed: Reggie Jackson (No. 24, ’11) and Adams (No. 12, ’13) on one side of the ledger, fellows such as Perry Jones (No. 28, ’12), Mitch McGary (No. 21, ’14) and Cameron Payne (No. 14, ’15) on the other. The Thunder’s two most notable trades prior to this summer involved Harden going out and George coming in. When they sent out Harden -- the league’s reigning Kia Sixth Man of the Year award winner in 2012 -- it was an anticipatory financial move that for a time kept them out of luxury tax trouble ... as well as the Finals. When Presti traded for George in 2017, the players he gave up, Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, had a better first season in Indiana than George in OKC. But as with Westbrook, Presti got George to sign a *cough* long-term extension, and the former Pacer finished third in MVP balloting this spring. So bottom line, which is it: Should the Thunder’s extended run as a contender in the West be applauded? Or should they be considered underachievers, considering the three MVPs they had – Durant in 2014, Westbrook in 2017 and Harden (with Houston) in 2018 – as well as George? OKC got a total of 25 seasons from those four players, 23 of them in tandem or as a trio. Only Durant as a rookie and Westbrook in 2016-17 worked as a solo act, star-wise. Those two plus George made a total of 17 All-Star appearances while playing for the Thunder, and in seven of the past nine seasons, OKC sent two to the February gala. That’s a lot of firepower for a fairly limited payoff (the lone Finals trip). So as excited as the Thunder and their fans might be for what’s headed their way, they’re right to feel melancholy over what’s done and now gone. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 12th, 2019

Thunder could send Chris Paul to Heat – reports

MANILA, Philippines – From a perennial title contender to a rebuilding team.  Chris Paul got the short end of the stick when he was traded by the Houston Rockets along with some draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Russell Westbrook .  The Rockets seemed to be the best chance ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJul 12th, 2019

Arsenal s 2019/20 home kit launched

adidas Football and Arsenal launched a progressive new era for the London club. Revealing a fresh new home strip design that nods to the iconic adidas shirts of the past with a distinctively modern twist, the debut collection sets the tone for an innovative new partnership. The all-new kit design for the 2019/20 season features a classic all-over red body, complimented by popping white sleeves and contrasting collar. The white high collar design is emblazoned with a central red stripe and black trimming. This design is repeated on both sleeves and the distinctive three stripes run across the shoulder in a bright white. The 2019/20 home kit kicks off the brand-new partnership between adidas and Arsenal, which aims to push the club forward both on and off the pitch. adidas Football General Manager Nick Craggs commented; “Arsenal has always had a unique culture that has seen them at the forefront of innovation, redefining the game, whilst staying true to their core values. We’re excited to be a part of that and, of course, delivering iconic kits that Arsenal fans love”. Managing Director of Arsenal, Vinai Venkatesham, said, “adidas’ core values mirror ours, they’re progressive and innovative and their bold ambitions for the club and the partnership are aligned with our own. We’re excited to have adidas by our side as we continue to develop and push boundaries together both on and off the field, the Arsenal way”. “The release is accompanied by a film ‘This is home’, which explores a timely and powerful message of inclusion; showing how first team players from around the world feel so at home in London and at Arsenal, they’ve become part of the fabric of the club and the community, adopting accents of North London and real Arsenal fans. The spot features players past and present alongside fans including Idris Elba, Ian Wright, Tony Adams, Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil, Vivianne Miedema and Mattéo Guendouzi.” The Arsenal home kit, which includes the home jersey (Php3,300), shorts (Php1,600), and socks (Php800) is now available at the Arsenal.com, adidas.com.ph and in stores. For further information please visit adidas.com.ph/football or follow @adidasfootball on Instagram or twitter to join the conversation......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 9th, 2019

Arsenal s 2019/20 home kit launched

adidas Football and Arsenal launched a progressive new era for the London club. Revealing a fresh new home strip design that nods to the iconic adidas shirts of the past with a distinctively modern twist, the debut collection sets the tone for an innovative new partnership. The all-new kit design for the 2019/20 season features a classic all-over red body, complimented by popping white sleeves and contrasting collar. The white high collar design is emblazoned with a central red stripe and black trimming. This design is repeated on both sleeves and the distinctive three stripes run across the shoulder in a bright white. The 2019/20 home kit kicks off the brand-new partnership between adidas and Arsenal, which aims to push the club forward both on and off the pitch. adidas Football General Manager Nick Craggs commented; “Arsenal has always had a unique culture that has seen them at the forefront of innovation, redefining the game, whilst staying true to their core values. We’re excited to be a part of that and, of course, delivering iconic kits that Arsenal fans love”. Managing Director of Arsenal, Vinai Venkatesham, said, “adidas’ core values mirror ours, they’re progressive and innovative and their bold ambitions for the club and the partnership are aligned with our own. We’re excited to have adidas by our side as we continue to develop and push boundaries together both on and off the field, the Arsenal way”. “The release is accompanied by a film ‘This is home’, which explores a timely and powerful message of inclusion; showing how first team players from around the world feel so at home in London and at Arsenal, they’ve become part of the fabric of the club and the community, adopting accents of North London and real Arsenal fans. The spot features players past and present alongside fans including Idris Elba, Ian Wright, Tony Adams, Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil, Vivianne Miedema and Mattéo Guendouzi.” The Arsenal home kit, which includes the home jersey (Php3,300), shorts (Php1,600), and socks (Php800) is now available at the Arsenal.com, adidas.com.ph and in stores. For further information please visit adidas.com.ph/football or follow @adidasfootball on Instagram or twitter to join the conversation......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 9th, 2019

Spurs draft picks strong in 106-96 win over Hornets

By Steve Reed, Associated Press The San Antonio Spurs' draft picks are stepping up in the NBA Summer League. Second-round picks Keldon Johnson and Quinndary Weatherspoon each scored 19 points and first-rounder Luka Samanic added 16 to lead the Spurs to a 106-96 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday (Monday, PHL time). Get your first look at the NBA’s top Rookies during NBA Summer League LIVE on NBA League Pass! Ben Moore scored 17 points and had eight rebounds for the Spurs (1-1), who shot 51 percent from the field. The Spurs had three picks in the top 49 in the NBA draft and will be counting on them in what is expected to be a highly competitive Western Conference. Samanic, the 19th overall pick, was 5-of-10 from the field with two three-pointers and had four rebounds for Spurs Summer League coach Becky Hammon. The Hornets, who are playing without their first-round pick PJ Washington due to a foot injury, got 23 points and seven rebounds from Miles Bridges, who competed in last year's dunk contest. Cody Martin, the team's second-round pick, had 15 points while Dwayne Bacon and Josh Perkins each added 14 for the Hornets (1-1). WARRIORS 80, RAPTORS 71 Jacob Evans scored 24 points and Jordan Poole added 21, and the Warriors held off the Raptors in a matchup of two franchises that reached the NBA Finals last month. The Warriors (1-1) shot 44 percent from behind the three-point arc. The Raptors were led by 21 points and 13 rebounds from Chris Boucher. Jordan Lloyd added 11 points for Toronto (0-1). NETS 74, CROATIA 58 Rodions Kurucs and Dzanan Musa each scored 15 points as the Nets (1-1) pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat Team Croatia. The Nets won despite shooting 5-of-22 from three-point range. Croatia (0-2) was led by 12 points from Roko Badzim and 11 each from Zeljko and Marjan Vukovic. TIMBERWOLVES 90, HAWKS 66 The Timberwolves spoiled DeAndre Hunter's Summer League debut, cruising past Atlanta. Josh Okogie led Minnesota with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Keita Bates-Diop added 11 points and 11 rebounds. Minnesota won despite shooting just 37 percent from the field. Omari Spellman led the Hawks with 16 points and eight rebounds. Hunter, the No. 4 pick in the draft out of Virginia, was limited to six points in 20 minutes on 2-of-8 shooting. NUGGETS 84, MAGIC 79 Terence Davis was 8-of-13 from the field with five three-pointers and finished with 22 points, five rebounds and three assists to lead the Nuggets (1-0) past the Magic. Brandon Goodwin had 16 points and seven rebounds, while Vlatko Cancar added 12 points. Behind Davis, Denver made 11 three's. Orlando was led by Erik McCree's 17 points. DaQuan Jeffries and Amile Jefferson each had 13 for Orlando (0-1). CAVALIERS 82, BULLS 75 Naz Mitrou-Long scored 21 points and had eight assists to help the Cavs edge the Bulls. JaCorey Williams and Dean Wade each added 11 points for Cleveland (1-1). Mychal Mulder had 18 points and Coby White 15 for the Bull (1-1)s. White, the seventh overall pick in the draft, also had six rebounds, five assists and a steal but committed seven turnovers. HEAT 93, JAZZ 81 Kendrick Nunn scored 22 points and Duncan Robinson added 20 to lead the Heat. Robinson also had 10 rebounds and Nunn had eight assists. Tyler Herro, the 13th overall pick had 16 points for Miami (2-0). Willie Reed had 14 points and George King and second-round pick Miye added 11 points apiece for the Jazz (1-1). SUNS 105, KNICKS 100 (OT) James Palmer Jr. scored 23 points, Jared Harper and Rayvonte Rice added 19 apiece and the Suns beat R.J. Barrett and the Knicks in the first overtime game in the Summer League. Rice hit the go-ahead three-pointer early in the two-minute extra session and Rice and Harper each hit a pair of free throws in the closing seconds. Rice hit five three-pointers and Palmer four for the Suns (1-0). Ignas Brazdeikis, a second-round pick acquired in a trade, scored 30 points for the Knicks (0-2), going 11-of-19 from the field with three triples, tying the game with a deep shot with 24 seconds left in regulation. Mitchell Robinson added 17 points. Barrett, the third overall pick, had eight points on 3-of-15 shooting along with eight turnovers but he also grabbed 10 rebounds. TRAIL BLAZERS 97, ROCKETS 87 Gary Trent Jr scored 31 points on 10-of-12 shooting, including 7-of-8 three-pointers, and the Trail Blazers topped the Rockets. With Anfernee Simons adding 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting from distance, the Blazers (1-1) went 14-of-26 behind the arc. Isaiah Hartenstein led the Rockets (0-2) with 22 points and Chris Clemons had 19. GRIZZLIES 87, CLIPPERS 75 Brandon Clark, the 21st overall pick, made a flashy debut in the Summer League with two big dunks in the first three minutes and scored 17 points to lift the Grizzlies over the Clipper. Clark was 7-of-11 shooting and had four rebounds and two blocks. Grayson Allen also scored 17 points for the Grizzlies (2-0). Mfiondu Kabengele scored 19 points for the Clippers (1-1) and Terance Mann had 12 rebounds. Memphis went 9-of-33 from three-point range and shot 32% overall......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 8th, 2019

Leonard-George tandem turns Clippers into legit contender

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com At the moment of truth, Kawhi Leonard went against his persona and caused a shakeup that wasn’t so quiet after all. Quite stunning, actually, was the Friday (Saturday, PHL time) series of events that directly affected four teams, caused a major trade of unprecedented details, and influenced the NBA Finals MVP to sign a free agent contract with the Clippers and instantly turning a franchise without a banner into a hardcore contender. Get your first look at the NBA’s top Rookies during NBA Summer League LIVE on NBA League Pass! Leonard is now joined by Paul George, who finished third in the 2018-19 MVP balloting and who requested a trade from Oklahoma City at the 11th hour to essentially swap Russell Westbrook for Leonard. The Clippers are now bringing a pair of swingman who excel on both ends of the floor, giving them the sort of dynamic tandem that’s almost required to win a title these days. The price for George was steep — basically, the Clippers surrendered more for George than the Lakers did for Anthony Davis. They handed over a chunk of their future, with three unprotected first-round picks (2022, 2024 and 2026) belonging to the Clippers, a pair of coveted Heat first rounders (2021 unprotected and 2023 protected 1-14) that were owned by LA, and the option to swap first-rounders with the Clippers in 2023 and 2025. OKC also gets 20-year-old point guard Shai-Gilgeous Alexander and veteran shooter Danilo Gallinari. And so the Clippers drastically changed their personality in the span of a few years, replacing the “Lob City” era of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan with a feisty defensive club led by Kawhi, George, Pat Beverley and Montrezl Harrell. It’s also a team with three reputable scorers as well: Kawhi, George and Lou Williams. Imagine: The Clippers just upstaged the Lakers in an offseason where the Lakers added Davis to join LeBron James. Adding to the intrigue is the presence of Jerry West, the Laker Hall of Famer whose reign as general manager helped raise multiple banners, but whose touch as a consultant with the Clippers in this process is undeniable. Two summers ago when he joined the Clippers after serving the same role with the Warriors, it was West who persuaded the Clippers to trade Griffin, whom they just gave a maximum contract, to the Pistons. West believed Griffin’s best years were behind him and thought the Clippers would be better as a team with more salary cap flexibility going forward. Plus, West and GM Lawrence Frank traded Tobias Harris, the team’s leading scorer, to Philly at the February deadline rather than re-sign Harris this summer in free agency. All of this was done with the idea of signing an impact player in mind, and Leonard was that player and the Clippers’ top target over the last year. Leonard’s appeal to the Clippers was evident and easy to understand. He’s a player who can score 25 points and grab 7-8 rebounds and lock down his man on the other end of the floor. And of course, he just led the Raptors to a championship without being generously helped by a fellow superstar. Interestingly, Leonard had the option of having not just one, but two fellow superstars this summer had he chosen the Lakers. LeBron and Davis and Leonard would make for a championship favorite, especially when you add Kyle Kuzma to the mix. In the end, Leonard wanted to beat the Lakers, not join them. The Lakers still bring those three players, though, and will now garnish the team with minimum-waged players to fill out the roster. Already, Danny Green announced he’ll sign a two-year, $15 million deal with the Lakers, and Rajon Rondo is perhaps not far behind. Both the Lakers and Clippers could compete in the coming days for DeMarcus Cousins as well. The team harmed the most, at least in the immediate sense, is OKC. With the amount of top competitors in the West — Clippers, Lakers, Rockets, Nuggets, Jazz and Blazers among others — the Thunder likely will take a step back and could enter a semi-rebounding phase without George. Also: Could OKC be forced to part ways with Westbrook? The former MVP struggled at times last season and especially in the playoffs, and turns 31 in November, and is on a max contract. It’s not the type of atmosphere that fits Westbrook, who’ll soon enter his twilight. Thunder GM Sam Presti, if nothing else, has shown a willingness to do whatever it takes if it works for OKC. Lastly, there’s the Raptors, who must now go forward without their lone superstar. There are no other players on the level of Leonard that Toronto can chase this offseason. In addition, the core of their rotation is on expiring contracts — Marc Gasol, Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka. The Raptors will surely groom Pascal Siakam to take a lead role with Leonard gone, yet will face major decisions next summer as they attempt to reshape the team. All of this is because Leonard caused a domino effect that ultimately moved mountains. Something of this nature and this magnitude doesn’t happen often in the NBA and is never done virtually overnight, given the amount of pieces involved and teams who put their existence on hold while Leonard stretched his decision nearly a week since free agency began. Evidently there was a reason for that. He wanted the Clippers but only if they could add another major piece. When other options dried up — Jimmy Butler unexpectedly signing with Miami and Kevin Durant with Brooklyn, for instance — the Clippers had to go the trade route. And George had to be convinced by Kawhi to force a trade. And OKC had to agree to that, rather than risk going through a season with an unhappy player. When the Clippers coughed up a bevy for draft picks, that put the entire process in motion. And in the end, basketball in LA became the big winner. It would not be unusual or unexpected if the road to the next conference championship goes through Staples Center and gets decided by one of its two home teams. Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here, and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 6th, 2019

China, Croatia fall in NBA summer league debuts

By Steve Reed, Associated Press The Chinese and Croatian national teams both lost in their NBA Summer League debuts on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Both teams are competing with NBA teams in Las Vegas, marking the first time the league will feature two international teams. China previously played in the summer league in 2007. The Miami Heat had no troubles with China, jumping out to a 34-point halftime lead and cruising to a 103-62 victory behind 23 points from Tyler Herro and 20 points from Nick Mayo. Miami held China to 26.7 percent shooting in the first half, and outrebounded the Chinese 25-15 before intermission. Kendrick Nunn added 15 points and Duncan Robinson 14 for Miami (1-0). Zhelin Wang had 12 points and 14 rebounds for China (0-1), which shot just 23 percent from 3-point range. Detroit (1-0) got seven three-pointers and 26 points from Khyri Thomas and pulled away from Croatia in the fourth quarter for a 96-80 win. Svi Mykhailiuk from Ukraine added 17 points and five assists, and Todd Withers had 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting for the Pistons. Croatia (0-1) was outrebounded 37-26. 76ERS 107, BUCKS 106 The 76ers (1-0) jumped out to 17-point lead at halftime and held on to beat the Bucks behind 19 points from Marial Shayok and 16 from Jalen Jones. Christ Koumadje had 11 points, seven rebounds and seven blocks in 14 minutes, an encouraging start for the 76ers’ 7'4" rookie center from Florida State. The Bucks (0-1) got 25 points and 10 rebounds from Jock Landale, and Bonzie Colson chipped in with 22 points. Division II player of the year Daulton Hommes led the Bucks’ fourth-quarter comeback, as the former Point Loma star scored 18 points of 6-of-8 shooting off the bench. But two late turnovers by the Bucks sealed their fate. TIMBERWOLVES 85, CAVALIERS 75 Keita Bates-Diop scored 17 points and Kelan Murphy had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves (1-0). Josh Okogie added 14 points, making all 10 free throw attempts. Jarrett Culver, whose draft rights were acquired by Minnesota in a trade, isn’t allowed to join the team until after Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) when the trade is made official. Dylan Windler, one of three first-round 2019 draft picks for the Cavaliers (0-1) on the roster, was 6 of 13 from the floor and had 15 points and eight rebounds. Cleveland’s other two first-round picks, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr., did not play while recovering from injuries. Naz Mitrou-Long had 14 points for Cleveland (0-1)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 6th, 2019

Puppy love: Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla donate cages to Manila City Pound

MANILA, Philippines – Off-screen love team and animal lovers Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla donated 10 animal cages to the Manila City Pound in Vitas, Tondo on Monday, July 1. The Manila Public Information Office shared the good deed on Facebook, saying that the donation was made ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJul 3rd, 2019

Kisses, Donny love team buhayin

Parang hindi natulog ang mga fan nina Donny Pangilinan at Kisses Delavin, dahil madaling-araw na ay gising pa sila, at patuloy sa pakiusap sa ABS-CBN 2, lalo na sa mga namamahala ng “Maalaala Mo Kaya.”The post Kisses, Donny love team buhayin appeared first on Abante News Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  abanteRelated NewsJul 3rd, 2019

Summer of 2020 takes on added importance for Bucks

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com As important as the 2019-20 season and postseason are to the Milwaukee Bucks, in proving to themselves and to the basketball world they can take that next step (Finals) or two (championship), they pale next to the significance of the summer of 2020. That’s when Giannis Antetokounmpo, the NBA’s newly minted Kia Most Valuable Player, can sign a “supermax” contract extension worth approximately $254 million over five years. Or not. And the “or not” might have gotten a nudge on the first day of 2019 free agency Sunday (Monday, PHL time). The Bucks were in a tough situation as it was, with three free agents among the top five players from last season’s 60-22 team. Keeping all of them – wing Khris Middleton, center Brook Lopez and guard Malcolm Brogdon – was going to be a challenge, financially and realistically, given how much demand was outstripping supply in the marketplace (nearly $500 million in available cap space plus exceptions burning holes in 30 teams’ pockets). Milwaukee started scrambling in the days heading toward June 30 (July 1, PHL time) by moving or trying to move pieces such as Tony Snell, George Hill and Ersan Ilyasova for payroll and roster flexibility. Snell’s contract was traded to Detroit along with the No. 30 pick in the 2019 Draft, Hill was waived and Ilyasova essentially was sitting at the curb with a “Free” sign on him and his $7 million salary. It wasn’t enough. The free agent-palooza started well enough for the Bucks when reports leaked early that Lopez would be retained on a four-year, $52 million deal. Frankly, that’s a bargain -- $55 million over five years – if you add Lopez’s 2019-20 salary of $3.4 million, a ridiculously low rate for what wound up as a career-redefining season for the veteran big man. After taking a mere 0.5 percent of his 6,826 field goal attempts from 3-point range through his first eight seasons, Lopez let fly 65 percent of his shots from beyond the arc in his 11th. In hard numbers, that’s 31 attempts over eight years compared to 512 in 81 appearances for the Bucks. Factor in Lopez’s underrated defense and rim protection, and his free-spirit calm in the locker room, and he ranked arguably as the Bucks’ next most valuable player after Antetokounmpo. Soon thereafter, Milwaukee’s next move was reported: Middleton re-upping on an enormous five-year, $178 deal. The soft-spoken 6-foot-7 was named an East All-Star reserve en route to averaging 18.3 points and shifting even more of his offensive game to 3-point territory. But Middleton’s greatest leverage was being viewed as the Bucks’ No. 2 player overall and Antetokounmpo’s Scottie Pippen (relatively) for the past six seasons. And hey, his contract represents a $12 million discount from the $190 million “max” Middleton could have demanded. As it is, starting at an estimated $30.6 million salary, he’ll be getting about $5 million more than Antetokounmpo both this season and next. So two done and one … not done. Not done at all. Just when it appeared the Bucks would take care of their most pressing free-agency issues, the news came: Brogdon to Indiana on an $85 million deal over four seasons. In a sign-and-trade, which meant Milwaukee facilitated the restricted free agent’s departure, rather than match the Pacers’ offer and keep him. Brogdon’s value last season, to a team that got within two victories of The Finals, was evident analytically and by most eye tests. He became only the eighth shooter in NBA history to hit 50 percent of his shots overall, 40 percent of 3s and 90 percent of his free throws. He also showed an uncanny ability to take over for minutes at a time when the Bucks were desperate to generate offense. Brogdon’s threat as shooter enabled him to attack the rim at a high percentage, stopping opponents’ runs or sparking them for his side. Brogdon’s relationship with the Bucks seemed to get strained two years ago, when his reward for being named an unlikely Kia NBA Rookie of the Year was 20 bench appearances in the team’s first 37 games. Here Brogdon had won the award over the likes of Dario Saric, Buddy Hield, Jamal Murray and Jaylen Brown (Joel Embiid only made 31 appearances in 2016-17), yet his role was unclear once Phoenix made Eric Bledsoe available and Milwaukee pounced. Bledsoe pre-empting his own free agency by signing a four-year, $70 million deal with the Bucks raised questions about Brogdon’s spot in their pecking order again. So too, it appears, did Milwaukee nailing down the East’s No. 1 seed, then going 7-1 in the first two playoff rounds while Brogdon nursed a plantar fascia foot injury from mid-March into May. All of a sudden Brogdon’s deal was looking like the one to blame for pushing Milwaukee’s payroll up, up, up into luxury-tax range. And so he was sacrificed to Indiana, an Eastern Conference rival, for a reported first-round draft pick and a couple second-rounders, protections and years still not known. Bucks GM Jon Horst made a nice save in pulling back Hill from the free-agent pool, to the tune of a three-year, $29 million deal. But losing Brogdon was a considerable step backward for a team determined to go forward. Shedding Snell and having Nikola Mirotic head off to the Euroleague to play in Barcelona doesn’t help. As for the draft picks from Indiana and the $12 million trade exception the Bucks might have gained in the trade, the former are out of sync with the team’s life cycle – namely, Antetokounmpo’s ambitions and contract status – and the latter only matters if it’s used smartly. Everything Milwaukee does – has done, actually, since those four staggered defeats against Toronto in the conference finals – has to be about giving Antetokounmpo reasons to stay. That means improving, that means winning, that means at least being in the building when the championship is decided next June. The clock is ticking. The social media vultures will be circling for "The Greek Freak" soon. There is only one way to fend them off, and a part of that now will be playing for the Pacers. Horst, 2019 NBA Executive of the Year, and Mike Budenholzer, NBA Coach of the Year, might need to repeat if they and their team are going to chase the trophies – the Larry and the Giannis – that matter most. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 2nd, 2019

Durant, Irving make Nets the talk of the town in New York

By Brian Mahoney, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Just three seasons ago, the Brooklyn Nets were the worst team in the NBA. On Sunday (Monday, PHL time), they were the story of the league. They agreed to deals with superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving as part of a sensational start to free agency, giving the longtime No. 2 team in New York top billing in the Big Apple. They landed two of the top players available, both perennial All-Stars and NBA champions, and they weren't finished. They also added center DeAndre Jordan, who played with Durant and Irving on the 2016 U.S. Olympic team that won the gold medal, and veteran swingman Garrett Temple. It was such a powerful victory that the crosstown Knicks even put out a statement acknowledging their fans' disappointment, just three hours after shopping season had started. And it was even more remarkable given where the Nets were not long ago. An ill-fated trade with Boston in 2013, when the Nets acquired Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in hopes of competing for a championship but didn't even get out of the second round, cost them years of high draft picks and contributed to them becoming the worst team in the league. They bottomed out at 20-62 in 2016-17, when Durant won NBA Finals MVP in his first season with Golden State after the Warriors beat Irving's Cleveland Cavaliers for the title. Now those players will try to win one together. Irving, who grew up in New Jersey, said in a video posted Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) by his representation at Roc Nation Sports that he always wanted to play back home. Part of the video was shot with Irving on the Brooklyn Bridge. "I wouldn't change anything about this journey, at all," Irving said. "It's brought me back here and that's home, and home is where my family is. Home is where I want my legacy to continue. And, I'm happy to be in Brooklyn." .@KyrieIrving is home. pic.twitter.com/usvbxqkyZA — Roc Nation Sports (@RocNationSports) July 1, 2019 Roc Nation, which announced Sunday (Monday, PHL time) it is now representing Irving, said he had agreed to a four-year, maximum contract. Official: Kyrie Irving has agreed to a four-year maximum contract with the Brooklyn Nets. pic.twitter.com/bI7e09D9k6 — Roc Nation Sports (@RocNationSports) July 1, 2019 He might have to wait a year to play with Durant, who could miss next season while recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon. But with Irving taking controls of the offense and a promising young core around him, the Nets should be a playoff team, even while Durant recovers. The Nets got back to the playoffs last season after going 42-40, stamping themselves as a team on the rise. Brooklyn might be able to keep rising all the way to the top after Sunday's moves. Even after winning titles in his first two seasons with the Warriors, there was season-long speculation that Durant might leave. But much of that speculation had been focused on the Knicks, who had more than $70 million and the ability to sign two top free agents after trading Kristaps Porzingis during the season. Right city, but wrong team. The Nets felt confident with what they could offer, from their roster, to their medical staff, to their facilities. And when they made a cap-clearing trade last month, they became even more attractive by freeing up salary to bring in two stars. Irving wasn't expected to be one of them a few months ago, after he'd said last fall he planned to re-sign in Boston. But despite his good stats it was a bad season for him with the Celtics, who were considered an Eastern Conference favorite but instead lost in the second round. Irving became frustrated and reconsidered his plans, deciding his future was not in Boston, but in Brooklyn. Now he'll play for the team he watched while growing up in New Jersey, where the Nets played before moving to Barclays Center in 2012. Even when the Nets had better teams, the Knicks still got more attention and it sometimes felt as if they would always be the marquee team in the city. That changed Sunday (Monday, PHL time) in a New York minute. The Nets were not only the talk of the town but of the whole league, and when the Knicks were shut out early on, they took the rare step of commenting about their situation. "While we understand that some Knicks fans could be disappointed with tonight's news, we continue to be upbeat and confident in our plans to rebuild the Knicks to compete for championships in the future, through the draft, targeted free agents and continuing to build around our core of young players," Knicks President Steve Mills said in a statement. The Knicks eventually agreed to deals with forwards Julius Randle, Taj Gibson and Bobby Portis, so they did get something. Just nowhere near as much as the Nets......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 2nd, 2019

2019 FIBA U19 World Cup Preview: Philippines vs Russia

With two losses in their slate and a day's rest, our Gilas Youth U19 national team will plunge back into action later tonight against Russia on the final day of the group phase at the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup in Heraklion, Greece.    Despite their two losses, the Filipinos actually still have a shot at finishing among the top two teams in the group, though that entails beating Russia by at least 25 points.   Now given that beating Russia alone is already quite a tall order, doing so by a quarter century may just be asking for too much already.    Still, given how our boys have played, I wouldn't put it past them to spring a surprise or two.    Against Russia, head coach Sandy Arespacochaga's wards will be up against one of the tallest teams in the entire tournament. And though the Russians don't have anyone as tall as Kai Sotto (their tallest is rarely-used Vladislav Goldin at 6'11"), they have really big wingmen who are sure to give our perimeter guys hell for 40 minutes.    Leading the way is hotshot scorer Aleksandr Ershov, who at 6'6" will be a match-up nightmare around the arc against our own guards. Ershov is the 4th-best scorer so far in the tournament, averaging 19.0 points per game while shooting 54% from the field and sinking 2.0 triples per contest.    Another guy to watch is 6'7" guard-forward NIkita Mikhailovskii, who turned a lot of heads on Day 2 by registering a triple-double with 20 points, 13 rebounds, and 12 assists. It was the first triple-double in the U19 World Cup since 2013, when current NBA player Dario Saric recorded 32 points, 12 boards, and 12 dimes against South Korea.    Mikhailovskii was one of the All-Star Five players in last year's 2018 FIBA U18 European Championship, and his match-up with Dave Ildefonso should be one of the most tantalizing for this encounter.    Down around the basket, much of the damage will probably come from 6'8" Dmitrii Kadoshnikov, who had 13 points and14 rebounds against Argentina on Day 1, and 6'7 Anton Kvitkovskikh, who is averaging 13.0 points and 6.5 rebounds after two games.    To have a shot against Russia, Gilas Youth's perimeter defense will have to be airtight. The Russians love to swing the ball side to side to shift the opposing defense, and coach Sandy's scrambling defense has to be on-point to neuter their foes' dangerous sniping. Russia is 4th-best in terms of three-point shooting so far, making 34.0% of their attempts from beyond the arc, including hitting 9.0 treys per outing, so our team needs to key on that to have a chance at winning.    On the other end, the Philippines must limit its turnovers. We average more than 18 turnovers per game, which is just too much at this level. Our most turnover-prone guys have been Carl Tamayo, Gerry Abadiano, and Dave Ildefonso, combining for 11.0 turnovers per game, so if those three can take better care of the ball, then odds are we can keep in step with Russia and perhaps be in a great position to steal this game in the last few minutes. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 2nd, 2019

Banking on a new love team

Banking on a new love team.....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJun 28th, 2019

AP source: Lakers trading Wagner, 2 others to Wizards for cap space

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press The Los Angeles Lakers’ price tag for Anthony Davis got a little steeper on Thursday (Friday, PHL time), with the tradeoff being that the team now has the flexibility to bring another max-contract star to play alongside him and LeBron James next season. A person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press that the Lakers will send Moritz Wagner, Issac Bonga, Jemerrio Jones and a future second-round pick to the Washington Wizards as part of the deal that will bring Davis to Los Angeles. The Wizards will send cash to the New Orleans Pelicans in the deal, said the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the agreement cannot be finalized until July 6. The trade was first reported by ESPN, and the cash element was first reported by The Washington Post. Shedding those contracts — along with Davis waiving his $4 million trade kicker, as ESPN reported — will give the Lakers enough cap space to sign a max player, if they are so inclined. They could also spread that cap space out among multiple players, which could be the more prudent move considering the Lakers have virtually an entire roster to fill. Once this trade is executed, the Lakers will have only James, Davis and Kyle Kuzma under contract for next season, not counting a pair of restricted free agents. The Lakers agreed earlier this month to acquire Davis from New Orleans for Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and three first-round draft picks — one of them being De’Andre Hunter, who was chosen by the Lakers on draft night and will then be traded to New Orleans and flipped from there to the Atlanta Hawks. Thursday’s agreement means six players and four picks were the price the Lakers paid for Davis. It technically is not a 10-for-1 move, because the newfound cap space will bring at least one other player to Los Angeles. Wagner, Jones and Bonga were rookies last season. Wagner averaged 4.8 points in 43 games, Jones scored a total of 27 points in six games and Bonga scored 19 points in 22 appearances with the Lakers......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 27th, 2019

Batang PBA star Jaymalin to train in Canada

Fresh from helping the NLEX Road Warriors win the title in the Batang PBA 15-and-under categrory, teen prospect Liam Jaymalin is set to leave for Canada next month to get the necessary training in hopes of improving his skills. The 14-year-old Jaymalin played a huge part during the campaign of NLEX in the Batang PBA, and was a key contributor in the Road Warriors 102-85 win over TNT KaTropa in the championship game. Jaymilin, who played for the La Salle Antipolo basketball team, is set to leave July 3 for Vancouver. He is already enrolled and is expected to join the basketball squad of St. Patrick Regional Secondary School as a Grade 9 student. “He’ll study and train in Canada, hopefully for a better career in basketball,” said Liam's father Rjay Jaymalin, a businessman in Vancouver. “Since all of us are already here, including his three siblings who are all Canadian citizens, we decided to bring Liam to study here and at the same time be able to train.” “Here, as parents, we’ll be able to guide him and see his progress as a basketball player. Our hope is if he returns to our country, he’ll comeback as a better player,” added the elder Jaymalin, who played college ball for Mapua and Jose Rizal University. The young Jaymalin’s love for basketball began at early age at three-years-old when his father would bring him to games.  Jaymalin has joined several training camps, including the National Basketball Training Center (NBTC), the Jr. NBA and the Alaska Power Camp where he won two Most Valuable Player Awards.  His favorite players are Scottie Thompson of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks. “I hope to one day play in the professional league like my idols. I’m looking forward to improving my skills in Canada and when the time comes for me to comeback, it’ll help me compete against the best players in the country. I don’t know what the future holds but I’ll put in the hard work in training and in every game,” said Jaymalin, who now stands 5-foot-7......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 25th, 2019