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  • Kings give record rookie deal to Bogdanovic
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 28, 2017

    The Sacramento Kings are making major changes to their roster in a youth movement, and apparently they are not afraid to spend money in that pursuit.

    • The Kings made European star Bogdan Bogdanovic the highest paid rookie ever by reaching agreement a three-year, $36 million contract, the Sacramento Bee reported Wednesday.

      He was the Turkish League MVP while leading Fenerbahce to its first EuroLeague title last month. He also helped Serbia win a silver medal in the 2016 Olympics.

      Known as an excellent outside shooter, the 6-foot-6, 24-year-old Bogdanovic averaged 14.6 points and hit 43 percent of his shots from 3-point range.

      Bogdan Bogdanovic is unrelated to Washington Wizards guard Bojan Bogdanovic, who is from Croatia.

      Bogdan Bogdanovic cannot sign the deal until July 6 when the moratorium on free agent deals ends.

      Bogdanovic was drafted by the Phoenix Suns three years ago, so his contract does not have to abide by the limitations of the rookie salary scale.

      The Kings were about $52 million below the projected salary cap of about $99 million, according to the Bee, which gives them plenty of maneuverability.

      The Kings declined to make Ben McLemore a qualifying offer, so he will become a free agent, according to the Bee. That means general manager Vlade Divac no longer has any players who were under contract with the Kings when he took over in 2015.

      Sacramento acquired the rights to Bogdanovic last year during the NBA Draft in a trade with the Phoenix. The Suns had taken Bogdanovic with the 27th pick in 2014, but in 2016 they sent his rights, along with the 13th and 28th picks in the 2016 draft, to Sacramento for the eighth pick in the draft. The Suns then took Marquese Chriss, who averaged 9.2 points and 4.2 rebounds as a rookie.

      The Kings used their picks to take center Georgios Papagiannis at No. 13 and forward Skal Labissiere at No. 28.

  • NBA notebook: Rockets acquire Paul in 8-player deal
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 28, 2017

    The Houston Rockets acquired All-Star guard Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers in a blockbuster eight-player trade on Wednesday.

    • Paul, 32, will join James Harden in the backcourt with the Rockets, who sent Sam Dekker, Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, DeAndre Liggins, Darrun Hilliard, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Wiltjer, a top-three protected 2018 first-round pick and $661,000 to the Clippers.

      "Any day you can acquire a Hall of Fame-level player is a good day for the franchise," Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said. "... It's a weapons race in the NBA, and you're either in the weapons race or on the sidelines. We felt with Harden in his prime, Chris Paul in his prime, this gives us a real shot to chase the juggernaut teams that are out there and puts us right there with them."

      Houston will attempt to add more firepower in the form of Paul George, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.

      ESPN reported Paul's relationship with management and head coach Doc Rivers, who also serves as president and personnel boss, led to the split.

      According to ESPN's Michael Eaves, Paul and Rivers developed an untenable relationship over time, and that was the motivating factor in Paul's decision to move on.

      --The Rockets made some other moves Wednesday.

      The Pistons traded guard/forward Darrun Hilliard to the Rockets in exchange for cash considerations. Hilliard then became part of the deal for Paul.

      The Hawks traded forward Ryan Kelly to Houston, also in exchange for cash considerations.

      The 76ers acquired a 2018 second-round pick and cash considerations from Houston, which obtained the player contract of forward Shawn Long in return.

      --The New York Knicks parted ways with team president Phil Jackson after three disappointing seasons.

      Knicks owner James Dolan had been weighing Jackson's future role running the franchise despite the two years and $24 million-plus left on his contract, league sources told The Vertical. Dolan and the 71-year-old Jackson talked about the possibility of a parting on Tuesday with free agency beginning on Saturday, according to the report.

      Dolan's decision was accelerated this week when the franchise decided it would not buy out star forward Carmelo Anthony, sources told ESPN. Jackson previously said multiple times he felt it was best for Anthony and the organization to part ways.

      --The Toronto Raptors promoted Bobby Webster to general manager.

      In addition, the organization promoted Dan Tolzman to assistant general manager and vice president of player personnel, and Keith Boyarsky to vice president of basketball strategy and research.

      Masai Ujiri will continue to oversee basketball operations as team president.

      Webster was promoted to assistant general manager and vice president of basketball strategy in September 2016.

      --Golden State Warriors star forward Kevin Durant plans to wait until later this summer before re-signing with the NBA champions.

      The NBA Finals MVP decided last week to decline his $27.7 million player option for 2017-18 to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 before re-upping with the Warriors. He reportedly notified Golden State of that decision this week.

      The 28-year-old Durant, a 10-year NBA veteran, wants the team to complete the bulk of its summer business before re-signing, ESPN's Marc Stein reported Wednesday.

  • Rockets acquire Hilliard, Kelly, Long in 3 separate deals
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 28, 2017

    The Houston Rockets were busy on Wednesday.

    • Aside from a blockbuster deal with the Los Angeles Clippers for guard Chris Paul, the Rockets made deals with three other teams -- the Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers.

      The Pistons traded guard/forward Darrun Hilliard to the Rockets in exchange for cash considerations.

      Hilliard, 24, appeared in a career-high 39 games (one start) last season in limited play with averages of 3.3 points and 9.8 minutes per contest.

      The Hawks traded forward Ryan Kelly to Houston, also in exchange for cash considerations.

      Kelly, 26, appeared in 16 games for the Hawks last season, averaging 1.6 points and 1.1 rebounds in limited play.

      The 76ers acquired a 2018 second-round pick and cash considerations from Houston, which obtained the player contract of forward Shawn Long in return.

      Long appeared in 18 games with the Sixers last season after signing a 10-day contract on March 6 and a multi-year deal on March 16. He averaged 8.2 points and 4.7 rebounds.

  • Rockets acquire F Kelly from Hawks
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 28, 2017

    The Atlanta Hawks traded forward Ryan Kelly to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday in exchange for cash considerations.

    • Kelly, 26, appeared in 16 games for the Hawks last season, averaging 1.6 points and 1.1 rebounds in limited play.

      The 6-foot-11, 230-pound Kelly was originally signed by the Hawks in September 2016. He was waived and re-signed a few more times last season before re-signing a multi-year contract on Feb. 24.

      Kelly was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the 2013 NBA Draft. He owns career averages of 6.0 points and 3.1 rebounds in 163 games (59 starts).

  • Durant wants to wait before signing new deal with Warriors
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 28, 2017

    Golden State Warriors star forward Kevin Durant plans to wait until later this summer before re-signing with the NBA champions.

    • The NBA Finals MVP decided last week to decline his $27.7 million player option for 2017-18 to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 before re-upping with the Warriors. He reportedly notified Golden State of that decision this week.

      The 28-year-old Durant, a 10-year NBA veteran, wants the team to complete the bulk of its summer business before re-signing, ESPN's Marc Stein reported Wednesday.

      Free agency begins at 12:01 a.m. ET on Saturday and the first day teams can sign players to new deals is July 6.

      Sources told ESPN that Durant and business partner Rich Kleiman intend to work with the club in providing the necessary discounts on Durant's expected new two-year deal to help them retain free agents Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and other bench players.

      In addition, Warriors star guard Stephen Curry, who won back-to-back MVP awards in 2015 and 2016, also will become a free agent, but he is expected to sign a five-year "supermax" extension in July worth an estimated $205 million. He made just $12.1 million this past season.

      The 6-foot-11, 240-pound Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder last summer to sign with the Warriors. He played a big role this season in leading Golden State to its second NBA championship in three years over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

      In this year's Finals, Durant averaged 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists as the Warriors wrapped up the series in five games.

  • Rockets acquire G Paul in blockbuster 8-player deal
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 28, 2017

    The Houston Rockets acquired All-Star guard Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers in a blockbuster eight-player trade on Wednesday.

    • Paul, 32, will join James Harden in the backcourt with the Rockets, who sent Sam Dekker, Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, DeAndre Liggins, Darrun Hilliard, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Wiltjer, a top-three protected 2018 first-round pick and $661,000 to the Clippers.

      "Any day you can acquire a Hall of Fame-level player is a good day for the franchise," Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said. "... It's a weapons race in the NBA, and you're either in the weapons race or on the sidelines. We felt with Harden in his prime, Chris Paul in his prime, this gives us a real shot to chase the juggernaut teams that are out there and puts us right there with them."

      Houston will attempt to add more firepower in the form of Paul George, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.

      "Since winning back-to-back championships, the pursuit of a third title has remained the ultimate goal for our franchise," Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said in a statement. "We feel that combining two of the league's greatest players in James Harden and Chris Paul, operating in Coach (Mike) D'Antoni's system, gives us a championship caliber team that will compete at the highest level for years to come."

      ESPN reported Paul's relationship with management and head coach Doc Rivers, who also serves as president and personnel boss, led to the split.

      Paul later thanked the Clippers' organization and the team's fans on his Twitter.

      "Unbelievable amount of emotions right now -- I don't even know what to say," Paul wrote. "Lots of love and tears. I'm so blessed and thankful for the ability to play this game, this is the part that no one can prepare you for."

      Paul had until Wednesday to opt out of the final year of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent. The Clippers risked losing Paul for nothing in free agency.

      Paul could have signed a new deal with the Clippers that started at $34 million a year had he opted out of his contract. He will now be eligible to sign a five-year, $205 million maximum extension with the Rockets since he is being acquired in a trade.

      According to ESPN's Michael Eaves, Paul and Rivers developed an untenable relationship over time, and that was the motivating factor in Paul's decision to move on.

      "... Paul, and other players, felt Doc treated (backup point guard) Austin Rivers (Doc Rivers' son) more favorably than other players. He would yell at guys for certain things during games and practices, but not get on Austin in the same manner for similar transgressions," Eaves posted to his personal Facebook page.

      "But what really solidified Paul's dissatisfaction with Doc was a proposed trade involving Carmelo Anthony last season. New York offered Carmelo and Sasha Vujacic to the Clippers in exchange for Jamal Crawford, Paul Pierce and Austin Rivers, a deal to which Rivers ultimately said no. That event led Paul to feel that keeping his son on the roster was more important to Doc than improving the team. So, ultimately, Paul lost both trust and faith in Doc. As one league executive put it, 'Chris despises Doc.'"

      But that wasn't the only factor.

      Paul wanted to play alongside Harden, according to The Vertical. Paul and Harden reportedly discussed the possibility of a partnership at length and believe they can find a way to thrive together.

      Paul, who was acquired by the Clippers in a 2011 trade with New Orleans, is a nine-time All-Star, nine-time All-NBA player and a nine-time All-Defensive team member. He played six seasons with Los Angeles after six seasons in New Orleans.

      For his career, Paul owns averages of 18.7 points, 9.9 assists and 2.3 steals in 834 NBA games.

      LeBron James and Dwyane Wade tweeted congratulations to Paul, their Team USA Olympic teammate.

      "My brother off to a new journey! Best of luck @CP3!! H-Town y'all got a great one coming to your city. #Brotherhood," James wrote on Twitter.

      Wade tweeted: "When friends of mine are happy then I'm equally as happy for them. Congrats to my brother @CP3 on choosing his own direction. #Brotherhood."

      Dekker, the 18th pick in the 2015 draft, missed all but three games as a rookie because of back surgery. Dekker, 23, appeared in 77 games this past season and averaged 6.5 points and 3.7 rebounds.

      Beverley, 28, received NBA defensive first team honors last week, and averaged 9.5 points, 4.2 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game.

      Williams, the 2014-15 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, was traded to the Rockets from the Los Angeles Lakers in February. Williams, 30, averaged 14.9 points and 3.0 rebounds in 23 games for Houston after the trade.

  • Raptors promote Webster to GM
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 28, 2017

    The Toronto Raptors promoted Bobby Webster to general manager on Wednesday.

    • In addition, the organization promoted Dan Tolzman to assistant general manager and vice president of player personnel, and Keith Boyarsky to vice president of basketball strategy and research.

      Masai Ujiri will continue to oversee basketball operations as team president.

      "We are excited to promote Bobby, Dan and Keith for their hard work and important contributions to our program," Ujiri said in a statement. "They have been invaluable across many aspects of the franchise, making decisions on our salary management, key input on scouting, analytics, strategy, player personnel and team building that has helped us develop a winning culture throughout our organization."

      Webster joined the Raptors' front office in 2013 as vice president of basketball management and strategy, and helped construct a roster that won three consecutive Atlantic Division titles (2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16) and back-to-back 50-win seasons for the first time in franchise history. The Raptors have compiled a 204-124 (.622) regular-season record since 2013 -- the best in the Eastern Conference the past four years.

      Webster was promoted to assistant general manager and vice president of basketball strategy in September 2016. He came to the Raptors after working for the NBA league office in New York for the previous seven seasons.

      Tolzman has served the past two seasons as director of player personnel and general manager of Raptors 905, the team's NBA Development League (now G-League) affiliate. He will continue to serve as Raptors 905's GM in his new role.

      Tolzman joined the Raptors as director of scouting in 2013 and organized the team's scouting efforts for the NBA Draft and free agency preparation. He was a member of Ujiri's staff in Denver, serving as scouting coordinator from 2011-13 and also worked in the media relations department from 2004-09.

      Boyarsky joined the Raptors as an analytics consultant during the 2009-10 season and served as director of analytics since 2013-14.

  • Knicks cut ties with Jackson after 3 years
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 28, 2017

    The New York Knicks parted ways with team president Phil Jackson on Wednesday morning after three disappointing seasons.

    • "After careful thought and consideration, we mutually agreed that the Knicks will be going in a different direction," Knicks owner James Dolan said in a statement. "Phil Jackson is one of the most celebrated and successful individuals in the history of the NBA. His legacy in the game of basketball is unmatched. We wish him the best and thank him for his service to the Knicks as both a player and an executive."

      Dolan had been weighing Jackson's future role running the franchise despite the two years and $24 million-plus left on his contract, league sources told The Vertical. Dolan and the 71-year-old Jackson talked about the possibility of a parting on Tuesday with free agency beginning on Saturday, according to the report.

      "The New York Knicks will always hold a special place in my heart," Jackson said in a statement released by the Knicks. "This team and this town launched my NBA career. I will forever be indebted to them. I am grateful to Mr. Dolan for giving me the opportunity to return here.

      "I had hoped, of course, to bring another NBA championship to the Garden. As someone who treasures winning, I am deeply disappointed that we weren't able to do that. New York fans deserve nothing less. I wish them and the Knicks organization all the best -- today and always."

      Dolan's decision was accelerated this week when the franchise decided it would not buy out star forward Carmelo Anthony, sources told ESPN. Jackson previously said multiple times he felt it was best for Anthony and the organization to part ways. Anthony has a no-trade clause in his contract and is still owed $26.24 million and $27.9 million in each of the next two seasons as part of the five-year, $124 million contract he signed in 2014.

      In addition, Jackson was considering trading 7-foot-3 Latvian star center Kristaps Porzingis ahead of last Thursday's NBA Draft. Porzingis, 21, has not been in contact with anybody within the Knicks' front office since the end of the season. He skipped exit meetings with Jackson and the team reportedly due to his frustration with the Knicks' dysfunction.

      Jackson was hired three years ago after a historic coaching career that included 11 NBA titles, but he struggled to make progress with the Knicks with a three-year record of 80-166 since he took over the role as president of basketball operation, including a franchise-worst 17-65 in 2014-15.

      The Knicks, who lost at least 50 games each year under Jackson, completed a 31-51 season in 2016-17 and missed the playoffs for the fourth straight year.

      Knicks general manager Steve Mills is expected to stay in his current role and lead the team during free agency, but his future is unclear.

      "While we are currently evaluating how best to move forward regarding the leadership of the organization, I will not be involved in the operation of the team," Dolan said. "Steve Mills, the team's general manager, will run the day-to-day business of the organization over the short term. Tim Leiweke, who brings tremendous expertise and experience in sports franchise management from both Toronto and Los Angeles and is our partner in the Oak View Group, will advise and work with Steve on an interim basis to help develop a go-forward plan."

      Jackson was a Hall of Fame coach with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, delivering titles with superstars Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. Jackson played for the Knicks when they won NBA titles in 1970 and 1973.

      Jackson remained confident in his abilities to turn the franchise's fortunes around as recently as last week in response to critics.

      "Well, I think, we know what we're doing," Jackson said to MSG Live. "That's what I can say to them. Although it's not been apparent in our record the last couple of years, we've grown from within."

      Jackson's departure was welcomed by Knicks fans such as film director Spike Lee, who posted a picture of himself on Instagram in a celebratory pose with a caption that read: " HALLELUJAH."

  • Suns' Dudley out 3-4 months after surgery
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 27, 2017

    Phoenix Suns forward Jared Dudley will be sidelined for three to four months after undergoing surgery last week on his left toe ligament and bone.

    • Dudley underwent the procedure Friday at Methodist Sports Medicine in Indianapolis, the team announced Tuesday.

      The 31-year-old Dudley averaged 6.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 64 games last season -- his 10th in the NBA.

      Dudley spent the majority of 2016-17 coming off the bench after rookie Marquese Chriss seized the starting job in the eighth game of the season.

      In his second stint with Phoenix, Dudley owns career averages of 8.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in 740 games with Charlotte, the Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee, Washington and the Suns.

  • Lakers hire former Arizona standout as assistant coach
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 27, 2017

    The Los Angeles Lakers hired Miles Simon as an assistant coach, general manager Rob Pelinka announced Tuesday.

    • Simon has been serving as a prep coach with USA Basketball, guiding the U.S. Junior National Select Team over the World Select Team at the recent Nike Hoops Summit.

      The former University of Arizona standout also has been an assistant coach for the gold medal-winning national teams at various age levels in 2015 and 2016.

      Simon, who also has worked as a college basketball analyst at ESPN, was an assistant coach for three seasons at Arizona under Lute Olson. He led the Wildcats to the national championship in 1997 as a junior.

  • Warriors F Barnes pleads guilty to disorderly conduct, avoids jail time
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 27, 2017

    Golden State Warriors forward Matt Barnes pleaded guilty Tuesday to disorderly conduct stemming from an incident at a New York nightclub but avoided jail time.

    • Barnes was ordered to perform 10 days of community service and was allowed to complete the work in California. He has until his next hearing date on Aug. 29 to perform the community service.

      "Mr. Barnes was cleared of criminal wrongdoing and has agreed to accept responsibility for the violation," Barnes' attorney, Alex Spiro, told USA TODAY Sports. "He readily welcomed the opportunity to give his time to juvenile justice issues in California."

      The charges stem from an incident in the early hours of Dec. 5 when Barnes was a member of the Sacramento Kings.

      Barnes and then-Kings star DeMarcus Cousins were part of the incident in the nightclub. Video footage attained by police appeared to show Barnes as the assailant.

      Three people were assaulted in the incident. Two women reported being choked by Barnes and a man was sucker-punched when he rushed to the aid of one of the women.

      Cousins was accused of delivering the punch but was recently cleared of wrongdoing by police.

      A civil suit has been filed against Barnes and Cousins by plaintiffs Jasmine Besiso and Myrone Powell.

  • Wall hopes Wizards can pry George away from Pacers
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 27, 2017

    John Wall believes Paul George is the missing piece to the Washington Wizards' championship puzzle.

    • Wall told ESPN's The Undefeated on Monday that he is recruiting George to push for a trade from the Indiana Pacers to the Wizards in order to challenge LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for Eastern Conference supremacy.

      "I am talking to some guys -- Paul. I know his ultimate goal of where he wants to be. I'm trying to see if we can make something happen," Wall told the website before the NBA awards show.

      "Look at our team. We are one piece away. ... (George) is a guy that can guard LeBron and go back at LeBron. It's a piece that you're going to need to win. If you don't have a guy who can do that, you don't have a chance."

      Washington was eliminated by the Boston Celtics in a contentious seven-game series in the East semifinals this season. Boston went on to lose to James and Cleveland in five games in the conference finals.

      George, a four-time All-Star, has been a hot commodity on the trade market after telling the Pacers he does not intend to sign an extension with the team after next season. Several teams, including the Cavaliers and Celtics, are also rumored to be in the mix for George.

      The Palmdale, Calif. native is believed to be highly interested in joining his hometown Los Angeles Lakers after his contract with Indiana is up.

      Wall said his friendship with George began in the summer of 2010 when both were drafted, but noted that he is unsure of the chances of a trade between the two teams actually happening.

      Indiana and Washington are not currently engaged in trade talks about George, The Undefeated reports.

  • Westbrook earns NBA MVP award over Harden, James
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 27, 2017

    After a historic season filled with triple-doubles, Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook was selected the NBA's Most Valuable Player on Monday night at the league's first-ever awards show in New York.

    • Westbrook beat out Houston's James Harden, San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard and Cleveland's LeBron James to cap a season in which he broke Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson's single-season triple-double record. He also averaged a triple-double on the year.

      Westbrook received 69 first-point votes, which were worth 10 points and 888 overall points. Harden received 22 first-place votes and 753 points while Leonard received nine first-place votes and 500 points overall. James got one first-place vote and 333 points overall.

      The 28-year-old topped Robertson's 1962 mark on 41 triple-doubles, finishing with 42. Westbrook led Oklahoma City to 47 wins and the sixth seed in the Western Conference after Kevin Durant left the Thunder and signed with the Golden State Warriors as a free agent.

      Westbrook posted three 50-point triple-doubles. He scored a career-high 57 against the Orlando Magic and 54 and his first career buzzer-beating game-winner against the Denver Nuggets on the night he recorded his 42nd triple-double.

      He also became the first player since Moses Malone to win MVP on a team that didn't get at least 50 wins.

      Westbrook led the league in scoring at 31.6 points per game and averaged 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists in his first season without Durant, who won the MVP award in the 2013-14 season.

      In Oklahoma City's five-game first-round loss to Houston, Westbrook averaged a triple-double. He also recorded the NBA's first 50-point triple-double in the playoffs with 51 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds in Game 3.

      The six-time All-Star also recorded triple-doubles in seven straight games on two separate occasions (Nov. 25-Dec. 9 and March 22-April 4), becoming the first player to accomplish the feat.

      While leading the league in scoring for the second time in three seasons, Westbrook topped the NBA in games with at least 20 points (72), 30 points (44), 40 points (18) and 50 points (four).

      He became the 10th guard to win the award. It is the third straight season a guard won the award after Stephen Curry captured the honor the previous two seasons.

      Harden was the runner-up after averaging 29.1 points, 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds. He became the first player to post 2,000 points and assist on 2,000 points in the same season.

      Westbrook was presented with the award by commissioner Adam Silver and invited teammates Victor Oladipo, Nick Collison, Andre Roberson and Enes Kanter on stage to express his appreciation as he called them his "brothers."

      He broke into tears and grew emotional as he thanked his family, specifically his mother, brother and wife, who were in attendance.

      "I couldn't thank everybody, but thanks you guys, to everybody, who helped me along the way," Westbrook said in his acceptance speech.

      Overall 11 players received a vote where voters could give out second-place, third-place, fourth-place and fifth-place votes.

      Curry finished sixth with 81 points.

  • NBA awards: Gordon named top sixth man; Brogdon wins ROY
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 26, 2017

    Milwaukee Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon won NBA Rookie of the Year, and Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon won the Sixth Man of the Year Award on Monday night at the first-ever NBA awards show in New York.

    • Brogdon beat out two Philadelphia 76ers, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric.

      Brogdon made history by becoming the first player not picked in the first round since the common draft era began in 1966 to win the award. He also became the first Buck to win the award since Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the 1969-70 season.

      Gordon beat out teammate Lou Williams and Golden State's Andre Iguodala.

      The Bucks used the 36th overall pick to select Brogdon in the 2016 draft and he helped Milwaukee reach the postseason by averaging 10.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in 75 games (28 starts).

      Brogdon also shot 40.4 percent from 3-point range and shot 86.5 percent from the foul line. His assists (4.2) and steals (1.1) per game were tops among rookies, while his 3-point and free-throw percentages ranked second.

      "Malcolm worked tirelessly to improve his game and became a valuable contributor," said Bucks coach Jason Kidd, who won co-Rookie of the Year honors with Grant Hill in 1995. "In fact, he was so reliable it was easy to forget that he was a rookie. Malcolm has a boundless future and we want to congratulate him on winning this well-earned award."

      Brogdon said in a statement released by the team. "I am both humbled and honored to win this award. As the oldest rookie to win this award in decades, I know it is the culmination of many special people who believed in me, starting with my mother, and continuing with my owners, my teammates, Coach Kidd and the entire Bucks' staff.

      "My five years at Virginia truly prepared me for the NBA and for life after the NBA. Thanks to Coach Bennett for a great education in basketball and for making me better. Thanks to the great fans of Milwaukee. Their work ethic truly inspires me every night."

      Gordon signed with the Rockets and only came off the bench 19 times in his first eight seasons. He was a reserve in 60 of the 75 games he played in and averaged 17.6 points and his 206 3-pointers off the bench were 27 more than the previous record.

      The Rockets were 35-7 when Gordon scored at least 15 points.

      Giannis Antetokounmpo won the Most Improved Player of the Year award after becoming the first player to finish in the top 20 in all five major categories (points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals).

      In his fourth season, Antetokounmpo improved his scoring average from 16.9 points to 22.9 and his rebounding average from 7.7 to 8.8. He also improved his assists average to 5.4, his steals to 1.6 and blocks to 1.9.

      The 22-year-old from Greece also made those improvements while playing point guard and about the same amount of minutes per game.

      Antetokounmpo beat out Denver's Nikola Jokic and Utah's Rudy Gobert while becoming the first Buck to win the award.

      Golden State Warriors president of basketball operations/general manager Bob Myers was named NBA Executive of the year for the second time in three seasons. He is the 11th executive to win the award multiple times.

      Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni was named Coach of the Year, giving the team their first recipient since Don Chaney in 1991.

      D'Antoni beat out San Antonio's Gregg Popovich and Miami's Erik Spoelstra to win the award for the second time. He also won it in 2004-05 while coaching the Phoenix Suns.

      In his first season with the Rockets, D'Antoni guided the team to 55 wins, marking a 14-game improvement.

      Golden State forward Draymond Green won the Defensive Player of the Year after heading the All-Defensive First team.

      Green finished as the runner-up in the last two seasons, but this time he beat out San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard and Utah's Rudy Gobert to become the first Warrior to win the award.

      Green became the first player to average at least 10 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and one block since blocks and steals were first recorded in the 1973-74 season.

      He was the first Warrior to total at least 150 steals and 100 blocks in the same season. He also became the first NBA player to record a triple-double without scoring in double figures when he totaled 11 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals Feb. 10 at Memphis.

  • Timberwolves waive C Hill
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 26, 2017

    Center Jordan Hill was waived by the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday as the team tries to save money ahead of free agency.

    • The Timberwolves signed Hill to a two-year contract last season, but only the first year was guaranteed. He was slated to make $4.18 million next season and the team faced a Friday deadline to decide on retaining Hill.

      Hill only played seven games last season and averaged 1.7 points and two rebounds. Since entering the league as a first-round pick of the New York Knicks in 2009, Hill has career averages of 7.9 points and 5.8 rebounds in 409 regular-season games with the Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers and Timberwolves.

      Hill was the second big man to be waived by Minnesota in the last week. Last Tuesday, Nikola Pekovic was waived after missing all of last season with ankle injuries and not appearing in a game since Jan. 31, 2016.

  • NBA notebook: Brogdon, Saric highlight All-Rookie first team
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 26, 2017

    Guard Malcolm Brogdon of the Milwaukee Bucks and forward Dario Saric of the Philadelphia 76ers were unanimous selections for the NBA All-Rookie first team, the league announced.

    • Center Joel Embiid gave the 76ers two players on the first team, which was rounded out by guard Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings and center Willy Hernangomez of the New York Knicks.

      Brogdon, Saric and Embiid were finalists for the NBA Rookie of the Year.

      The first team featured a record four international players, topping the previous mark of three. Brogdon is the only American player on the unit.

      --Draymond Green of the reigning champion Golden State Warriors was among the selections for the NBA All-Defensive first team, the league announced.

      Green is joined on the squad by two players he was competing with for the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award -- Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert and San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard.

      In helping the Warriors to their second NBA title in three seasons, Green garnered 198 points overall and 99 first-team votes to narrowly edge Gobert (196/97) and Leonard (192/93).

      Joining the finalists for the NBA's top defensive award on the first team were guards Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers and Patrick Beverley of the Houston Rockets.

      --The Cleveland Cavaliers are continuing to pursue a trade for Indiana Pacers All-Star forward Paul George.

      The Cavaliers talked to the Pacers and Nuggets on a three-team trade that would send George to Cleveland and All-Star power forward Kevin Love to Denver, ESPN reported Sunday.

      The 27-year-old George informed the Pacers recently he won't resign with the team and plans to become a free agent after next season.

      Love, 28, has two guaranteed seasons remaining on his contract, worth $46.7 million, and a player option for $25.6 million in 2019-2020.

      --Kentucky coach John Calipari is fine if the rule changes to allow high school players to go directly to the NBA, agreeing with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski about the one-and-done issue in basketball.

      Calipari said he is in favor of the "baseball rule" -- Major League Baseball allows a player from high school to go to the pros or go to college and then not be eligible to be drafted until after his junior season -- but he voiced caution about the motivation behind proposed changes by the NBA.

      "I'm good with the baseball rule. As long as they're going directly to the NBA, they're paying them what they deserve to be paid and then it's on them to look after these kids and give them a gap year if they think they can do that in the NBA," said Calipari, speaking on the SEC coaches' summer teleconference.

      Krzyzewski said last week he would be in favor of the baseball rule for basketball.

  • Calipari cautious backer of one-and-done change
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 26, 2017

    Kentucky coach John Calipari is fine if the rule changes to allow high school players to go directly to the NBA, agreeing with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski about the one-and-done issue in basketball.

    • Calipari said he is in favor of the "baseball rule" -- Major League Baseball allows a player from high school to go to the pros or go to college and then not be eligible to be drafted until after his junior season -- but he voiced caution about the motivation behind proposed changes by the NBA.

      "I'm good with the baseball rule. As long as they're going directly to the NBA, they're paying them what they deserve to be paid and then it's on them to look after these kids and give them a gap year if they think they can do that in the NBA," said Calipari, speaking on the SEC coaches' summer teleconference.

      Krzyzewski said last week he would be in favor of the baseball rule for basketball.

      NBA commissioner Adam Silver said before Game 1 of the NBA Finals that the one-and-done system is "not working for anyone" and changes need to be made.

      Currently, any player entering the draft must be at least 19 years old. For players in the United States, they must also be at least one year removed from high school. Silver said the rule will continue to be discussed between the league and the players' union.

      "My sense is it's not working for anyone," Silver said. "It's not working certainly from the college coaches and athletic directors I hear from. They're not happy with the current system. And I know our teams aren't happy either in part because they don't necessarily think that the players coming into the league are getting the kind of training that they would expect to see among top draft picks in the league."

      Silver said the NBA favors raising the age to 20, while the union wants to lower the minimum age to 18.

      Calipari, who coached in the NBA with the Nets, defends Kentucky's use of the one-and-done rule, saying his players have thrived in the NBA.

      "Let's not look back a generation from now," Calipari told reporters, "and say well we did this because we want these kids better prepared to play basketball, we did this because we're trying to eke out this and this and have more control over our 'assets.' We think we can do a better job of teaching when you're talking about a 17-year-old leaving his bed in his home with his mother who is waking him up and walking into a man's world right now. Or you go to college and get a gap year, maybe you stay two years."

      Calipari said it would be a misguided plan if the NBA lowers the age limit with the intention of sending players to the development league -- the NBA recently renamed the D-League to the NBA Gatorade League (NBA G-League) as part of a multiyear partnership between the league and Gatorade beginning with the 2017-18 season.

      "Whatever we do, I'll be on record, if we're trying to get kids to go the D-League and it's a baseball rule and they're going to get $20 million contracts right out of high school and the NBA thinks they can deal with that, I'm good. I'm fine," Calipari said. "If they're trying to get high school kids to go to the D-League, I will be shouting from mountaintops saying what is this going to do to a generation of kids who say, 'all right, I'm going to do this,' you get one or two years to make it and now you're out without any opportunities. Who's taking care of those kids now?"

      Krzyzewski, appearing on ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike" last week, fought back on the suggestion he has altered the way he recruits in the one-and-done era.

      "People say that we've changed our recruiting philosophy," Krzyzewski said. "We haven't changed our recruiting philosophy. We've always recruited really good players who are good students and good kids, and now that combination has produced one-and-dones. ...

      "We've had a number of guys who early on, like 10, 20 years ago, they would be one-and-dones right now. So that's who we have attracted. We're not going to stop recruiting them, but it doesn't mean we've changed our philosophy. The world of basketball has changed, and we're trying to adapt to those changes."

  • Warriors' Green heads NBA All-Defensive First Team
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 26, 2017

    Draymond Green of the reigning champion Golden State Warriors was among the selections for the NBA All-Defensive first team, the league announced Monday.

    • Green, also named the league's defensive player of the year, was joined on the squad by two players who were competing for the award -- Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert and San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard.

      In helping the Warriors to their second NBA title in three seasons, Green garnered 198 points overall and 99 first-team votes to narrowly edge Gobert (196/97) and Leonard (192/93) in the all-defensive team balloting.

      Green is the first Warriors player to win the defensive player of the year award after he finished as the runner-up the past two seasons. He also was named to the All-NBA third team.

      Joining the finalists for the NBA's top defensive award on the first team were guards Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers and Patrick Beverley of the Houston Rockets.

      Green led the league in steals with an average of 2.03 per game in earning his third straight selection to the first team. He also became the first player in franchise history to register at least 150 steals and 100 blocked shots in a season.

      The 7-foot-1 Gobert paced the NBA with 2.64 blocked shots per game. He also averaged 12.8 rebounds and 14.0 points in his fourth season.

      Like Green, Leonard was named to the first team for the third time. He has won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year the past two seasons.

      San Antonio's leading scorer with a career-best average of 25.5 points, Leonard averaged 1.8 steals and was among three players in the league to post at least 130 steals and 50 blocks.

      Paul was named to the first team for the sixth consecutive season and seventh time overall while Beverley was selected for the first time.

      Named to the All-Defensive second team were guards Tony Allen of the Memphis Grizzlies and Danny Green of the Spurs, center Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans and forwards Andre Roberson of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, who was named the Most Improved Player.

  • Brogdon, Saric highlight NBA All-Rookie First Team
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 26, 2017

    Guard Malcolm Brogdon of the Milwaukee Bucks and forward Dario Saric of the Philadelphia 76ers were unanimous selections for the NBA All-Rookie First Team, the league announced Monday.

    • Center Joel Embiid gave the 76ers two players on the first team, which was rounded out by guard Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings and center Willy Hernangomez of the New York Knicks.

      Brogdon was named the NBA Rookie of the Year at the league's awards show on Monday night, Saric and Embiid also were finalists.

      The first team featured a record four international players, topping the previous mark of three. Brogdon is the only American player on the unit.

      A second-round pick (No. 36 overall) in the 2016 NBA draft, Brogdon is the first player since 1966 to win the top rookie award who was not drafted in the first round. He is also the first Bucks player to receive the honor since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1969-70.

      Brogdon led rookies in assists (4.2 per game) and steals (1.1), and also ranked second in 3-point field goal percentage (40.4) and free throw percentage (86.5).

      Saric was the No. 2 scorer (12.8) and third-leading rebounder (6.3) among rookies. He averaged 17.9 points and 7.3 rebounds over his last games.

      Embiid, who was limited to 31 games due to injury, averaged 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.45 blocks -- leading rookies in all three categories. It marked the first time since 2008 that one team had multiple first-team selections.

      Hield paced all rookies by knocking down 148 3-pointers and was the third-leading scorer among his class with an average of 10.6 points between the Kings and New Orleans Pelicans.

      Hernangomez topped all rookies by shooting 52.9 percent from the floor while averaging 8.2 points and 7.0 rebounds. He recorded 11 double-doubles on the season.

      Named to the All-Rookie Second team were Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown, Phoenix Suns forward Marquese Chriss, Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram and Dallas Mavericks guard Yogi Ferrell.

  • Cavs continue trade talk involving George, Love
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 26, 2017

    The Cleveland Cavaliers are continuing to pursue a trade for Indiana Pacers All-Star forward Paul George.

    • The Cavs talked to the Pacers and Nuggets on a three-team trade that would send George to Cleveland and All-Star power forward Kevin Love to Denver, ESPN reported Sunday.

      The 27-year-old George informed the Pacers recently he won't resign with the team and plans to become a free agent after next season.

      Love, 28, has two guaranteed seasons remaining on his contract, worth $46.7 million, and a player option for $25.6 million in 2019-2020.

      The Cavaliers engaged the Nuggets as a possible third team to facilitate a trade for George on draft night Thursday, but a source told Cleveland.com the discussion was "nothing serious" and "very unlikely" to happen now.

      ? According to ESPN, the Cavaliers don't plan to abandon their trade pursuit of George, believing potentially winning a championship next season alongside LeBron James is the one scenario that could convince George to give up his desire to join the Los Angeles Lakers as soon as possible.

      George, who averaged a career-best 23.7 points last season, has a major preference in joining the Lakers as he grew up in Southern California.

      The Lakers, Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs reportedly are among the teams that also pursued George trades aggressively on draft night.

      In addition, the Cavs are expected to be leading contenders for Carmelo Anthony should he secure an offseason buyout from the New York Knicks, league sources told ESPN.

      Anthony has a full no-trade clause in his contract and Knicks president Phil Jackson repeatedly says his desire is to trade the All-Star forward to a team in position to contend for an NBA title.

  • Mavericks plan to have Nowitzki for 20th season
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, June 25, 2017

    Dirk Nowitzki's $25 million contract option for next season will not be renewed, but ESPN reported Sunday that the Dallas Mavericks plan to re-sign him to a restructured deal in July.

    • The 39-year-old signed a two-year, $50 million contract before last season, but his production fell off in 2016-17 as he battled injuries and the Mavericks finished 33-49, which was their worst record since Nowitzki came into the NBA as a rookie 19 years ago and also the worst in Mark Cuban's 17 years as owner.

      Nowitzki averaged 14.2 points this season, his lowest since his rookie campaign (8.2). His career mark is 21.7.

      A new contract will allow the Mavericks more flexibility in free agency during the summer as Cuban attempts to make the team more competitive.

      The 2017-18 season will be Nowitzki's 20th with the Mavericks, which would equal Kobe Bryant's NBA longevity record with one team. Bryant spent 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers before retiring.

      The deadline is Thursday for the Mavericks to inform the NBA of their intentions with the 6-foot-11 forward. ESPN reported that Nowitzki could sign another two-year deal but that the Mavericks will work with the future Hall of Famer on a contract of his liking.

      Nowitzki was slowed by an Achilles injury last season and Mavericks dug a hole with a 4-17 start that they were unable to escape. The highlight for Nowitzki was reaching 30,000 career points. He is now No. 6 on the NBA all-time scoring list with 30,260 points.

      According to ESPN, the Mavericks aren't planning to pursue big-name free agents. Their priority is to re-sign free agent center Nerlens Noel and build around a young core group that includes Harrison Barnes, Seth Curry and 2017 draft pick Dennis Smith Jr.

      "At the end of the day, I just can't imagine myself in a different uniform," Nowitzki said at the end of last season. "If we're rebuilding, then I'm the face of that."

      Nowitzki and the Mavericks won the NBA championship in 2011 but have missed the playoffs the past two seasons and have only played in the postseason twice since winning the title.

  • Wrongful death lawsuit filed against Marcus Camby
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, June 23, 2017

    Former NBA center Marcus Camby is the subject of a wrongful death lawsuit that was filed on Friday.

    • Camby was named as a defendant in the death of his 9-year-old autistic nephew, who drowned in a pond on Camby's property, according to KPRC-TV in Houston.

      The suit was brought by the child's father, Marcus Kendall McGhee, who said Camby failed to provide the proper supervision required by Marcus Carter McGhee.

      "Camby failed to supervise Marcus while he was at his house. Camby also put no protective measures in place to keep Marcus from the pond," the lawsuit stated.

      The lawyer for the child's father released a statement which said "the preventable death of nine-year-old Marcus McGhee prompted this legal action. ... Had Mr. Camby exercised the most basic of precautions to protect Marcus while he was at his property, he would still be here today."

      The 6-foot-11 Camby played for six teams over a 17-year NBA career before retiring after the 2012-13 season. He had career averages of 9.5 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots.

  • Clippers' Paul re-elected NBPA president
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, June 23, 2017

    Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul was re-elected as president of the National Basketball Players Association.

    • Paul's new four-year term begins immediately. He will be assisted by the union's newly elected vice president, Garrett Temple of the Sacramento Kings.

      "I'm humbled that my fellow players have voted to have me continue as president of the NBPA," Paul said. "We've accomplished a lot these past few years, most notably successfully negotiating a new CBA while avoiding being locked out. But there's more work to be done.

      "I look forward to helping new players understand and embrace everything the PA does for them, and working to create new opportunities for our players both on and off the court."

      NBPA executive director Michele Roberts applauded the move.

      "Chris' leadership has truly been remarkable, so we couldn't be happier to see him continue as our president," Roberts said. "With the most recent CBA behind us, we look forward to Chris' role in helping us protect and serve the best interests of our members."

      Temple, who replaced Kyle Korver of the Cleveland Cavaliers as vice president, will begin his three-year term immediately.

      The other members of the Executive Committee are LeBron James (first vice president), James Jones (secretary-treasurer), Carmelo Anthony, Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala and Anthony Tolliver (vice presidents).

  • Kings waive G Afflalo
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, June 23, 2017

    The Sacramento Kings waived guard Arron Afflalo on Friday, one day before his $12.5 million salary for next season would have become guaranteed.

    • Afflalo will receive $1.5 million instead.

      The 31-year-old Afflalo averaged 8.4 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 61 games this past season for Sacramento.

      Afflalo has averaged 11.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game during his 10-year career with the Detroit Pistons, Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic, New York Knicks and Kings.

  • NBA notebook: Griffin, Paul opt out of contracts
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, June 23, 2017

    Power forward Blake Griffin opted out of his contract with the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday and point guard Chris Paul will do the same sometime next week, according to multiple published reports.

    • The decisions would make both players unrestricted free agents on July 1.

      The departure of the two stars could possibly leave the Clippers in a reorganization mode after the current group has been unable to reach the Western Conference finals. Neither player is expected to fully close the door on a possible return.

      Speculation has Paul being a target of the San Antonio Spurs. The nine-time All-Star averaged 18.1 points and 9.2 assists last season.

      Griffin could be highly pursued by his hometown Oklahoma City Thunder to give Russell Westbrook a high-impact running mate that was missing last season after Kevin Durant's departure. The five-time All-Star averaged 21.6 points and 8.1 rebounds last season but has been plagued by injuries over the past three seasons.

      --Finding an identity under coach Fred Hoiberg meant trading the face of the franchise for the Chicago Bulls.

      All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler was relocated to the Minnesota Timberwolves after more than a year of simmering trade talks involving Butler, who reunites with former coach Tom Thibodeau.

      "What we've done," Bulls vice president John Paxson said, "is set a direction. We've decided to make the change and rebuild this roster. We're going to do it with young players we believe can play a system Fred is comfortable with."

      Last summer, the Bulls parted with Joakim Noah and traded former point guard Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks. Another step away from contention and into rebuilding mode was the best path, per Paxson.

      --Detroit Pistons shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been suspended two games without pay after his recent guilty plea in a drunk-driving incident, the NBA announced.

      Caldwell-Pope's suspension will take place for the first two games in which he is physically able to play during the 2017-18 campaign.

      Earlier this month, Caldwell-Pope received 12 months probation after pleading guilty to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated in Auburn Hills, Mich.

      Caldwell-Pope was arrested in March after being pulled over for driving 45 mph in a 25 mph zone, according to police. After a field sobriety test, he was arrested and a breathalyzer test displayed he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.08.