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Denzel Valentine on lack of playing time: ‘I still have a dream job’

Jul
30

Cracking an NBA lineup can be difficult for even the most talented rookies.

Denzel Valentine entered the league as the 14th overall pick by the Bulls in the 2016 draft, but he has found playing time hard to come by behind Chicago’s bevy of experienced guards.

The former Michigan State star was somewhat of a surprise lottery pick after playing with the Spartans all four years and suffering some knee injuries later in his college career.

Questions about his speed and athleticism arose during the draft workouts, but Chicago’s Fred Hoiberg spotted something he liked in the senior leader, who became one of Tom Izzo’s all-time favorite players.

“There was several scenarios discussed at that time,” Gilbert said in reference to Irving’s meeting with Cavs brass a few weeks ago. “I don’t feel it’s appropriate to really get into the details of all those scenarios, and again, I don’t know the sources of the report that there was a trade request made, I read it in the media like some of you reported and some of you read, but we talked about widely the possibilities of the future at that time, we had not assigned Koby yet as general manager, and there were a few other moves I believe that were made at that time, so these things are fluid.”

They may be fluid, but they also appear to be true. Gilbert would go on to confirm later that the Pacers tried to deal Paul George to the Cavaliers but that they, “could have done better.”

Altman went on to say what any GM on his introduction to the media would say: Irving is a core part of the team and he is an outstanding player.

It is going to be tough to trade Irving no matter what. The Cavs would have to get a huge haul back for the All-Star and Irving wants to go to a contender and contenders are not likely to give up assets that would hamper their future, so it’s a bit of a catch-22.t_rangers_051-115x115

Miguel Cabrera is 34 and signed until he’s in his 40s.

Jul
29

Authentic Mens Cortez Kennedy Jersey So the division is probably out of the question, but what about the two Wild Card spots? The Tigers are only 6.5 games out there, which sounds better, and maybe technically it is, but it’s at least worth noting that there are eight teams between Detroit and the second Wild Card. So even if the Tigers get hot, if one of the teams ahead of them gets hot as well, they’re still likely to miss the post-season.

Add to this that the Tigers have the sixth-oldest roster in baseball, and possibly one of the oldest cores in baseball. Their rotation is led by Justin Verlander (34), Jordan Zimmermann (31) and Michael Fulmer, who at 24 is the rare player who is both young and good. Their bullpen is a collection of almost-30s, but it’s the lineup that should be worrying Tigers fans.
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Miguel Cabrera is 34 and signed until he’s in his 40s. Victor Martinez is 38 with another season on his deal after this one. Although his $12 million team option is affordable enough to be picked up after this season ends, Ian Kinsler is 35. Justin Upton will be 30 next season, but can also opt out of his current deal after this season. The rest of the roster is made up mostly of role players. The end result is a team with not a lot of hope for this season or next.

You’re kidding yourself if you think anyone’s untouchable on the Marlins. Bour would costs plenty in terms of players, but you can bet the Yankees’ brass watched the powerful left-handed hitter go toe-to-toe with Aaron Judge during the Home Run Derby at Marlins Park and left Miami dreaming of what might be possible. Start with a package including Greg Bird and add a couple of mid-level prospects and see whether the Marlins bite.

Warriors come back from 22-point first-quarter deficit to beat Spurs

Jul
27

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The Golden State Warriors stunned the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night at San Antonio’s AT&T Center, coming back from 22 points down in the first quarter to win 110-98. This was a game with serious NBA playoff implications, too. The No. 2-seed Spurs now trail the top-seeded Warriors by 3.5 games in the Western Conference standings with seven and six games remaining in the regular season, respectively.

Steph Curry finished with 29 points and 11 assists, while Klay Thompson added 23 points.

This game came just two days after the Spurs destroyed the Cavaliers 103-74 and one day after the Warriors handled the Rockets on the road 113-106.

Krause and Reinsdorf fired coach Doug Collins and replaced him with Jackson.

Two seasons later, the Bulls began a run of six championships in eight seasons as Jordan became the most famous athlete on the planet. The 1995-96 team — led by Jordan after his first retirement, Pippen, recently acquired Dennis Rodman and Toni Kukoc — set the NBA record with a 72-10 mark that stood until the Warriors broke it last season.

Yet Krause’s mercurial relationship with Jackson and Jordan always was a topic of discussion in Chicago, even as the team succeeded.

After the Bulls’ final title of the Jordan era in 1998, Jackson left, vowing never to coach again. When Jordan was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, Krause wasn’t in attendance.

Bruce Carter Authentic Jersey Krause retired as the Bulls’ GM in 2003. The next season, Chicago went 23-59, and still hasn’t won an NBA title since that ’98 championship.

He is a finalist for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this year as a contributor to the sport.

NBA fines Monroe, Young, Russell for skirmish between Lakers and Bucks

Jul
23

Greg Monroe, Nick Young and D’Angelo Russell are paying the price for their involvement in the skirmish between the Lakers and Bucks on Friday night.
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The NBA announced Sunday it has fined Monroe ($35,000), Young ($25,000) and Russell ($15,000) for their roles in the incident late in the third quarter of the Bucks’ 107-103 win against the Lakers at Staples Center. Young sparked the incident when he shoved Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon. Monroe immediately stepped in and shoved Young, and Russell then became involved.

D’Angelo only responded after Monroe had grabbed Nick by the neck and thrown him, Walton said, via the Associated Press. So if D’Angelo didn’t push him, I would have been (mad) at D’Angelo. He did the right thing. So for the NBA to say that the two of them did the same thing and just canceled each other out is absolute crap to me.

For now, at least. The Knicks will go into Thursday looking to push veterans onto the rest of the league, hoping to bring back draft picks. But the contracts given last summer to guys like Courtney Lee (four years, $50 million) and Joakim Noah (four years, $72 million) are proving to be difficult to move. The possibility of dealing Derrick Rose for Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio emerged on Tuesday, but that would lock the Knicks into the remaining two years and $29 million of Rubio’s contract. By dawn on Thursday, Rose looked bound to stay in New York.

Youth Brent Grimes Jersey Regardless, should the deadline pass without a Knicks move, the team will revisit Anthony’s future with him in the offseason. Anthony was reluctant to waive his no-trade clause this month because he didn’t like how the organization handled his situation. But a Knicks-Melo divorce still feels inevitable.

Blazers’ Jusuf Nurkic out at least two weeks with fractured fibula

Jul
21

The Trail Blazers received crushing news Friday when center Jusuf Nurkic was ruled out for at least two weeks with a non-displaced right leg fibular fracture.

Nurkic, who has been a revelation in Portland since being traded by the Nuggets midseason, underwent an MRI on Friday and will be re-evaluated in two weeks. He will miss the remainder of the regular season.

That’s fair, considering Boogie is not a grown person’s name, and saying it in person feels weird and juvenile. But here’s the catch: We call Rivers “Doc,” and that is not his name. He is also not a doctor. He’s told us as such!

Rivers’ real name is Glenn, but according to the Los Angeles Times, the only people who called him that were his mother and Pat Riley when he was angry. He got his nickname from former Marquette assistant coach Rick Majerus because Rivers was wearing a Dr. J (Julius Irving) shirt at basketball camp.

Nicknames are fun. Doc is a cooler name than Glenn, and we’ve grown accustomed to calling him that.

So this is ironic, Glenn. If you’re not going to call DeMarcus by his nickname, then he should be allowed to call you Glenn, Glenn.

Just take a look at the following possession. The Celtics begin the quarter with Thomas, Smart, Terry Rozier, Gerald Green and Kelly Olynyk, each of whom are capable 3-point shooters that are comfortable putting the ball on the floor against closeouts. With the Trail Blazers focused on cutting off lanes to the basket for Thomas, Olynyk makes them pay by popping to the 3-point line when Thomas comes off of the screen.

Now that they’ve established Olynyk as a shooting threat, Thomas can then make Meyers Leonard pay for standing in no man’s land by attacking the basket on the ensuing possession.steelers_106

Randolph is still a high-usage offensively player, posting a 29 percent usage rate last season.

Jul
16

I’m less sold on this signing than the George Hill signing. It’s a fine balance between stealing possessions from others and fostering the development of youth. Randolph’s style would seem to fit the former more than the latter, even if I do believe that having adults in the locker room helps far more than it hurts younger players.

Randolph is still a high-usage offensively player, posting a 29 percent usage rate last season. However, is he still worth that kind of usage for an organization, given that he posted a true-shooting percentage over six points lower than the league-wide average of 55.1 percent? In that vein, he’s only been near league average in terms of efficiency once in the last six years.

Will him taking up possessions as one of the last true back-to-the-basket bigs help matters for their young guards and forwards, or will it clog things up? Is he willing to take the step back that his production would warrant on a roster that doesn’t have much in the way of established talent?
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Game Mens Sean Rodriguez Jersey Those are significant questions at this stage. If the second year is a partial guarantee or some sort of team option, this deal makes a lot more sense. But I’m not sure his production or effect on the rest of this roster warrants a two-year, $24 million expenditure. Like with Hill, does the opportunity cost of other potential options exceed the value of what Randolph will provide? In Hill’s case, I believe it does. But in Randolph’s case, I do not believe it exceeds that threshold.

Nationals suffer latest setback, place Michael Taylor on DL

Jul
14

Limited Braylon Edwards Jersey No one ever said winning a World Series is easy.
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Ball was selected No. 2 overall by the Lakers last month, after his dad promised he would play for the Lakers well before the draft process even began. Fox went No. 5 overall, which will likely give him even more drive to outperform Ball.

While a summer game at the beginning of July is hardly a crucial game, it would have been nice to see Ball and Fox duke it out again.

It appears Fox might be Ball’s nemesis. For all the hype surrounding Ball, there are facets of his game that need obvious improvement. Fox is not a finished product himself, but he certainly knows how to shine against Ball, and may now even be in his head.

Ball said Monday that he has been dealing with the injury for a while, and it tightened up after the second summer game.

I definitely wanted to play, but they felt as a staff, it was better for me to sit this one out. It’s day-to-day, Ball said, via NBA.com.

Few would have batted an eye had the Lakers decided to rest Ball from a normal summer league game. But concocting a perceived phantom injury to avoid a showdown against Fox is not a good look for the Lakers or Ball, even if it is a meaningless game.

Hill is capable of playing both the 1 next to Hield, as well as the 2 next to Fox while sliding Jackson and Bogdan Bogdanovic to the 3. He’ll help to take pressure of the skinny, 19-year-old Kentucky product in his first year while adjusting to the NBA. He’ll also help to get the ball in good spots to the team’s still-developing big men in Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere and others, something that can be invaluable for young players, as well as help to space the floor and give them some time to operate.

I don’t know when his prime is going to stop.

Jul
13

Don’t think those laughs mean Whiteside isn’t serious about his game. He led the NBA in rebounding with a 14.1 boards per game and also poured in a career-high 17.0 points a contest. While his blocks per game dropped from 3.7 in 2015-16 to 2.1 per game this season, he still had a major impact on the defensive end, as opposing players shot 2.1 percent worse against him overall and 10.5 percent worse on field goals within six feet of the basket, according to NBA.com’s tracking statistics.

“Leading the league in anything is tough,” Whiteside said. “Last year, it was blocks. This year, it’s rebounding. Just having two big things that you want your center to do is pretty special.”

It’s easy to forget that Whiteside had only started 75 games combined in his previous four seasons in Sacramento and Miami. He came to the Heat with a reputation as a troubled star. Now he’s a key figure in the Spoelstra’s lineup, starting 77 games this season, and he’s quickly become a favorite of his teammates.

“Whitey is hilarious,” Heat point guard Goran Dragic told Sporting News. “He keeps us loose and makes it light. He’s always got jokes. When a player of his talent level is down to earth, it makes so much easier for the team.”

“I don’t know when his prime is going to stop. I don’t think it’s going to stop anytime soon. I think he’ll be able to continue what he’s doing for a long time. But that’s basketball. You’ve got to find a way to beat the best.”

Lowry ended the quote with some competitive edge, but it’s pretty odd to see an opponent speak like that in the middle of a playoff series. He seems to have at least given some thought about playing in the West, away from James.

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NBA playoffs 2017: Stephen Curry leads Warriors to decisive sweep over Trail Blazers

Jul
11

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The Warriors treated Monday’s Game 4 in their Western Conference playoff series against the Trail Blazers like they had some place to be the rest of the week.

Having already dispatched the Portland squad during the first three games of the series, Golden State completed the sweep with a decisive 128-103 win. The Warriors tied an NBA postseason record by scoring 45 points in the first quarter, and they never looked back.

I just try to put myself in position to help my teammates win no matter who is on the floor with me, James said. I try to empower them, try to make them better, try to make them believe that we can be great every night.

Myself, I just don’t settle for being not as great as I can be. It’s not going to result in this type of line like this every night. When my mind is fresh and my mind is in the moment, sometimes certain things like this happen. I don’t know. I can’t even really appreciate it. I’ll let you guys write your words about it and go from there.

Those of us who were watching know what we saw.

The Pacers in the first half looked more energetic, more dynamic, more athletic. In the second half, they looked 鈥?young. They gagged. There’s no other way to put it.
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Well, there is one other way: They got LeBronned. He scored 28 points in the second half, and he exerted such an overwhelming force that he vacuumed the defense away from Korver, Frye and Williams, who combined for five 3-pointers in the second half. They might be defensive liabilities in later games, but here the Indiana offense shut itself down by taking the pace out of its approach and, in some instances, by running away from the proper play.

John Calipari: If Hamidou Diallo is lottery pick, ‘I’m retiring, I’m done’

Jul
09

Authentic Justin Hardy Jersey Hamidou Diallo is taking the NBA Combine by storm. With his 44.5 inch vertical and all the other amazing numbers he is putting up, scouts and prognosticators are projecting Diallo to sneak into the NBA lottery this season despite the fact he sat the bench his entire time at Kentucky last season.

227.7. If things stay true to form, these two teams should have a high-scoring, entertaining set of games, even if the Celtics have no real chance at winning the series. In the playoffs, the two teams have combined to average nearly 230 points per 100 possessions. The Cavs lead all playoff teams, according to NBA.com stats, at 117.0 points per 100 possessions, and are far and away the best team in the postseason when it comes to true shooting percentage, at 61.6 percent.

Authentic Jermey Parnell Jersey The Celtics have been potent in the postseason. The play of Thomas has been inspiring for the past month, even as he has slowed down lately, and big man Al Horford has silenced critics with his all-around game. But Boston just can’t keep up with the James-led onslaught.

The Celtics have the home-court advantage, thanks to the Cavaliers’ late-season swoon and their general indifference toward the value of the top seed. That should be enough to get the Celtics a game in this series, but not likely much more.

It’s James. It’s always James. He’s the guy who is overshadowing the entire Eastern Conference these days, and has been since he left Cleveland to join the Heat in 2010. James’ teams have represented the East in the Finals for six straight years now, and with the way he is going, there’s little reason to think it won’t be seven.

In the first two rounds of the playoffs, James’ efficiency has been off the charts, as he has averaged 34.4 points (second-most for his playoff career) on 55.7 percent shooting, making 46.8 percent of his 3-pointers and getting to the free-throw line 11.5 times per game.