Archive for the ‘NBA’ Category

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The Cleveland Cavaliers need to fix up before winning any bids to host All-Star weekend.

NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum informed the Cavaliers that they won’t host the 2020 or 2021 All-Star Game festivities if construction on upgrades to Quicken Loans Arena isn’t underway by Sept. 15.

Tatum’s letter to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was obtained by Robert Higgs of Cleveland.com. It explicitly states that the NBA will look elsewhere if the renovation project remains stalled.

The league initially pushed back its decision to accommodate Cleveland, but evidently cannot wait any longer.

The $140-million proposal to upgrade the 22-year-old Quicken Loans Arena includes adding a glass facade that would expand the interior space for restaurants and bars. Construction is expected to finish in 2020.

Cost estimates, however, are unclear. They range from the current $140 million to as much as $282 million over the next 17 seasons, according to Cleveland.com. The Cavaliers will pay $122 million toward the total, while the city of Cleveland plans to commit $88 million in taxpayer funds.

A disagreement over the allocation of those tax funds is holding up the proposal in the Ohio Supreme Court. A coalition led by the Greater Cleveland Congregations argues that those funds would be best served to address poverty, unemployment, and living conditions in Cleveland neighborhoods.

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Golden State Warriors star and reigning NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant is making his way to India next Thursday.

“I’m excited to travel to India to help promote the game of basketball and meet the prospects at the NBA Academy India,” Durant told ESPN’s Chris Haynes. “I’ve wanted to visit India for a long time, and I can’t wait to experience the country’s unique culture and share my knowledge with the kids there.”

As part of his journey, Durant will arrive in New Delhi and donate two basketball courts to the Ramjas School on behalf of his charity, the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation.

He’ll then host a massive youth basketball clinic in Noida at the NBA Academy, with roughly 5,000 male and female kids from the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program slated to participate.

“We are thrilled to host 2017 Finals MVP Kevin Durant in India,” said NBA India’s managing director Yannick Colaco. “Kevin is coming off a historic season with the Golden State Warriors. Having one of the very best players in our league interact with the basketball-playing youth of India will serve as great inspiration to the next generation of players here, especially the high-performing prospects at the NBA Academy India.”

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There is $170 million waiting on the table for John Wall, and all he needs to do is sign his name.

But Wall is biding his time for some unknown reason, and is apparently in no rush to agree to a four-year extension that would instantly see him rewarded as one of the highest-paid players in the league.

Wizards team owner Ted Leonsis, however, remains confident that he will retain his franchise player.

“I told everyone that when John was coming off his rookie contract, we would sign him and he would be our bedrock player,” Leonsis told Candace Buckner of The Washington Post.

“I told everybody that we would keep Bradley Beal, and already everyone is talking about the (Wall) extension,” Leonsis continued. “So my prediction is John Wall will sign his extension. He wants to be here, and my goal is to have no drama.”

Washington has yet to win 50 games or advance to the Eastern Conference Finals in Wall’s seven seasons in the capital. They’re also capped out for the foreseeable future after matching a maximum offer to Otto Porter, so it’s difficult to imagine a realistic path to championship contention in the near future.

Leonsis’ pitch to Wall is that he will spend whatever it takes to win, which is fairly evident given that he awarded nearly $100 million to Ian Mahinmi, Jason Smith, and Andrew Nicholson last summer. But that points to another problem altogether.

“I think we’ve proven that we have as much resources and as much tools as anybody in the league and we’re in the tax,” Leonsis said. “We’ll spend whatever we need to get better, but we’re going to get better by keeping our core together and then adding to it.”

Wall – a four-time All-Star – averaged 23.1 points, 10.7 assists, and two steals for his first All-NBA nod last season.

 NBA: Utah Jazz at Sacramento Kings
Gordon Hayward is officially bound for Beantown, with the Boston Celtics announcing Friday they signed the prized unrestricted free agent.

After spending the first seven years of his NBA career with the Utah Jazz, Hayward tested the open market for the first time this summer, meeting with his incumbent team in addition to the Celtics and Miami Heat.

In a saga documented by his agent, Mark Bartelstein, Hayward changed his mind multiple times before making the “gut-wrenching” choice to leave the only club he’s ever known for greener pastures in Boston.

Hayward personally announced the decision with a post on The Players’ Tribune, indicating he thinks he can win a title with the Celtics, who reached the Eastern Conference finals this past season. The Indiana native is also excited to reunite with Brad Stevens, who was his coach at Butler and currently mans the sidelines for the men in green.

The Jazz and Celtics reportedly discussed sign-and-trade options involving Hayward and small forward Jae Crowder, but Danny Ainge ultimately elected against compensating his new star’s former club.

Although nothing materialized on that front, Boston did need to clear cap space in order to pay Hayward the max, so the organization shipped off starting shooting guard Avery Bradley – who has one year and $8.8 million left on his contract – to the Detroit Pistons.

The Celtics rolled out the red carpet for the 27-year-old Hayward, enhancing their recruiting meeting with a video at Fenway Park and appearances from stars he’d join in Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford.

Hayward’s coming off his best season yet, as he averaged 21.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and a steal over 73 games. He also earned his first All-Star nod and led the Jazz to the West semifinals.

In Boston, he’ll round out a talented Big Three and boost the club’s chances of taking down the Cleveland Cavaliers, who eliminated the Celtics in five games in the East finals.

OKC Thunder Paul George

Just like the rest of the NBA world, Paul George was stunned to learn he’d been traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder on the eve of free agency.

While the move may have caught the 6-foot-9 forward by surprise, George said he’s happy to be part of a true contender, believing the combination of him and Russell Westbrook will give the Thunder a solid shot at winning a championship.

“It was surprising. This team wasn’t one of the teams that we had in mind,” George told ESPN’s Royce Young. “I thought I was going to four or five other teams that were pretty active in trade (talks). When I found out it was OKC, I was quite surprised but at the same time I was happy about the trade. I was thrilled, I was looking forward to it. All I wanted was a chance and an opportunity to play for something special and ultimately to try and win a championship and right off the bat I think I can do that here playing alongside Russ.”

The Pacers began engaging teams about potential deals for George after the four-time All-Star reportedly told the franchise he intended to leave Indiana as a free agent in 2018. While a number of teams expressed interest in the 27-year-old, Oklahoma City rarely came up as possible destination.

George averaged 23.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.6 steals on 46.1 percent shooting this past season.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Sacramento Kings

The Boston Celtics jersey has been Photoshopped on his image, and the next chapter in Gordon Hayward‘s career is about to begin.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, despite all reports of Hayward “agonizing” over his decision to part ways with the Utah Jazz, the writing was very much all over the wall prior to his official announcement.

Brooklyn Nets forward and former Jazz player Trevor Booker told the Tribune the weight of having the Utah franchise on his shoulders was something Hayward never wanted.

“Gordon’s a guy who doesn’t really want to be the man,” Booker said. “… I’m not sure he wanted a franchise on his shoulders. Gordon’s a great player, and one of the best players in the league. But I wasn’t really surprised at his choice. I heard the rumors.”

As the Tribune outlines, the Jazz spent most of the past year trying to orchestrate the correct moves that would keep Hayward in Utah, which most recently prompted them to acquire point guard and expert playmaker Ricky Rubio from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for a first-round draft pick.

While the Jazz worked on creating a strong core for Hayward, his inclinations to leave have been apparent to others since before this year’s draft. Sources told the Tribune that Hayward made it clear to teammate and friend George Hill in a phone call that returning to Utah “was nowhere close to guaranteed.”

riley

Everyone in the league has their own solution to address tanking, but Miami Heat president Pat Riley’s suggestion might be the most entertaining.

Riley wants non-playoff teams to play a tournament for the right to select first overall, instead of having a random lottery with weighted odds determine their fate.

“What I’d like to have is a two-out-of-three lottery playoff … The lottery teams play a tournament for that (No. 1) pick,” Riley told Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel on Monday.

Riley added, “No more tanking at the end … so play for it. Let’s have a little playoff for the top pick in the draft.”

The current rules reward those at the bottom and penalize teams that come closest to making the playoffs. A franchise like the Los Angeles Lakers that had no aspirations of winning landed the second pick for a third straight year, while a team like the Heat that refused to tank after a 11-30 start got the No. 14 selection following a brilliant finish.

Under Riley’s structure, there would always be an incentive to build the strongest roster possible. The Heat didn’t make the playoffs, but their roster would have ranked as a favorite to win the lottery sweepstakes and take the top pick. At the very least, it would create an entertaining product.

But there are flaws, too, with Riley’s plan. Low playoff seeds might choose to tank into the lottery if they prefer a strong chance at a pick over a small chance in the postseason. This structure might also leave poor franchises without any chance of upward mobility through the draft.