Archive for the ‘NBA’ Category

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is cementing his status as a living legend in Wisconsin, one step at a time.

During their playoff matchup against the Boston Celtics, the Milwaukee Bucksannounced Rodgers as a part-owner of the franchise as the 34-year-old sat in attendance alongside auto racing star Danica Patrick and Bucks co-owner Wes Edens. Rodgers was officially announced as a “limited partner”.

Edens headlines an ownership group that also includes billionaire investors Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan.

Rodgers has cultivated his status as a local icon since being drafted by the Packers in 2005, winning two MVP awards and helping to steer the team to a Super Bowl victory in 2010.

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Mike Malone is still the man in the mountains.

Denver Nuggets president Tim Connelly confirmed that Malone will return to coach the team in 2018-19, according to The Denver Post’s Gina Mizell.

When Malone joined the organization in June 2015, it was reported by Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski that the fourth year of his contract was a team option.

Given the progress the team has made under his watch, a divorce this summer seemed unlikely, despite the season ending on a down note. The Nuggets narrowly missed out on a trip to the playoffs after losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves on the last day of the season.

Still, at 46-36, the Nuggets saw their record improve for the third straight season since Malone took over behind the bench, and the campaign marked the Nuggets’ first winning record since 2012-13. With the coach back for Year 4, the team will continue its quest for upward mobility.

Kobe Bryant won’t be joining former Los Angeles Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal in the studio any time soon.

During a conference call with reporters Wednesday to discuss his new ESPN project “Detail,” which he’s writing, producing, and hosting himself, Bryant was asked if he has any interest in becoming a traditional analyst like O’Neal or Charles Barkley.

“Zero,” Bryant said. “Because I love what I’m doing now. I love coming to the office writing, editing, creating. Building a studio is no small task. It’s all encompassing. I just don’t have the time to sit at a studio and do that.

“If that was my passion, to be able to sit at a studio desk, do that day in, day out, I would certainly do it. That’s not my passion. My passion is writing, creating, putting beautiful stories together, weaving them in the form of a narrative.”

Bryant then explained what sets “Detail” apart from other analysis shows.

“Yes, it’s a basketball analysis show, but the way it’s woven together, you’ll actually see the natural narratives that are there in a playoff series,” he said. “We just kind of bring those to the light in terms of how it actually affects the outcome of plays and a series.”

More details have emerged about why the Philadelphia 76ers were so careful managing Joel Embiid‘s latest injury.

Embiid had multiple fractures in his orbital bone, sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. Given it was the second time he suffered damage to that part of his face – it happened when he played at Kansas in 2013-14 – the doctors determined he has a high risk of reinjury, so the 76ers spent 10 days developing a protective mask that would withstand the physicality of an NBA game.

“(The Sixers) did everything possible,” Embiid told Shelburne. “They were like throwing stuff at it to make sure it could withstand it.”

The big man’s agent, Leon Rose, even consulted with Richard Hamilton, the former NBA star most well known for playing with a mask, for tips on adapting to the facewear.

“(Hamilton) told us it’ll get better because you’ll feel more protected,” Embiid said.

The All-Star suffered an orbital fracture to the bone around his left eye and a concussion on March 28 when he collided with teammate Markelle Fultz. He missed the final eight games of the regular season and the first two games of the postseason, playing in Game 3 after expressing frustration over being “babied” in an Instagram post.

The 24-year-old Cameroonian posted 23 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and three blocks in his playoff debut in Thursday’s Game 3. The Miami Heatdidn’t go easy on Embiid, sending him to the free-throw line 11 times and even trying to break his mask in Philadelphia’s 128-108 win, which gave the Sixers a 2-1 series lead.

Embiid averaged 22.9 points, 11 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.8 blocks in 63 games as a sophomore in the healthiest year of his pro career. He was sidelined for two full years due to foot injuries after being drafted No. 3 in 2014, and was limited to 31 games in his rookie campaign.

Erin Popovich, the wife of San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, died on Wednesday, the team announced.

The two were married for four decades and had two children and two grandchildren together. Erin had been ill for an extended period of time, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

She was 67, according to ESPN’s Michael C. Wright, who added that she and Gregg were married while he worked as an assistant coach at the Air Force Academy from 1973-79.

“We mourn the loss of Erin,” Spurs general manager R.C. Buford said in a statement. “She was a strong, wonderful, kind, intelligent woman who provided love, support, and humor to all of us.”

Condolences poured in from around the NBA as well.

“I love Pop,” LeBron James said after being notified of the death on TNT’s broadcast of Game 2 of the Pacers-Cavs series. “Such a tragedy. My best wishes go out to Pop and his family … something like this puts everything in perspective.”

Charlotte Hornets guard Nicolas Batum added, via Twitter, “Life is short, enjoy your loved ones and don’t loose (sic) your time hating each other. Prayers and thoughts to Pop and his family.”

Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry is reportedly targeting a return during the second round of the playoffs – assuming the team beats the San Antonio Spurs in the first round – according to Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania.

Curry has been out of action since spraining his left MCL against the Atlanta Hawks on March 23.

For the first time in years, the Warriors are limping into the postseason – both literally and figuratively. Since their March 8 win over the Spurs, the reigning champions have gone just 7-14 with all four of their All-Stars missing games at various points, not to mention key reserves Andre Iguodala and Patrick McCaw.

Still, the Warriors will face a Spurs team all too familiar with absentee superstars of their own. With Kevin DurantKlay ThompsonDraymond Green, and a veteran bench leading the charge, the Warriors are well equipped to survive the final weeks of Curry’s recovery.

If the San Antonio Spurs put Kawhi Leonard on the trade block, the Los Angeles Clippers will be prepared.

Los Angeles is among many teams keeping tabs on the Leonard saga and is planning a trade package should he become available, a source told USA TODAY Sports’ Sam Amick.

The elite two-way small forward hails from California and is a favorite of Clippers consultant Jerry West. Los Angeles finished 10th in the Western Conference this season and has two first-round picks in June’s draft it could use to sweeten a package for Leonard, who finished third in MVP voting last year.

Leonard is away from San Antonio rehabbing a quadriceps injury that’s limited him to just nine games this season. He was not with the Spurs on Saturday when they were blown out in their first-round series opener against the Golden State Warriors, 113-92.

The two-time Defensive Player of the Year was cleared by Spurs doctors in February but remains out indefinitely until his independent medical staff indicates he’s ready to play. The distance of his rehab – Leonard’s believed to be in New York – and uncertainty of his return to the lineup has reportedly caused a rift between his camp and the Spurs.

The drama has led to speculation that San Antonio could move its superstar, with general managers around the NBA expected to inquire about him this summer.

Leonard, 26, is owed $20 million next season and could decline his player option for 2019-20 to become an unrestricted free agent. He’s eligible for a super-max contract extension this summer, and said last month he “for sure” plans to finish his career with the Spurs. The 2014 Finals MVP averaged 16.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and two steals in limited action this year.