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  • Sunday, August 31, 2014
    Report: Durant offered $265 million-plus shoe deal
    By The Sports Xchange

    Nike pulled out all the stops to prevent Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant from signing a shoe deal with rival Under Armour.

    • Durant's seven-year contract with Nike is expiring and Under Armour offer him a 10-year deal worth $265 million to $285 million. However, Nike exercised its right to match any rival shoe company's offer to the All-Star guard, according to ESPN.

      Nike officials on Saturday told Durant and his representatives at Jay Z's Roc Nation Sports that they would match Under Armour's offer. Nike also endorses Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant.

      According to the report, Durant will probably make more money from Nike over the next two years than the $41.2 million the Thunder owe him in during that span. He can be a free agent after the 2015-16 season.

      "For Nike, this was nothing to them," said analyst Omar Saad, senior managing director of ISI's luxury, apparel and footwear team. "They could easily build Durant's business enough, assuming normal margins, where they could generate a cash flow of $60 million a year. And Nike is really good at monetizing its marketing assets, way better than anyone else."

      Saad said Durant's signature "KD" shoes generated $175 million at retail in the past year, according to SportsOneSource, a market retail tracking firm. Nike reportedly left lots of money on the table with Durant's shoe at $125 and fairly limited distribution to stores. Raising the price of the shoes and more widely distributing them for sale could make the deal worth it.

      It is not clear if Nike simply matched Under Armour's deal or offered more. Under Armour's offer included 10 percent stock, which could make its offer worth more than its current value.

      Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank believed that getting Durant would be crucial to competing in the basketball shoe business and internationally.

      ESPN sources said Durant's decision weighed on him but he feels relieved returning to Nike. There were strong indications that he would go with Under Armour.

      Under Armour did manage to sway Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry from Nike, but lost out on Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, who returned to Nike.

  • Saturday, August 30, 2014
    Spurs showing interest in Allen
    By The Sports Xchange

    The San Antonio Spurs have joined the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Ray Allen sweepstakes.

    • ESPN reported that the Spurs and perhaps the Los Angeles Clippers are vying for the 18-year veteran's services.

      Last month, Allen said he was not sure if he would come back for a 19th season. Despite not being certain about wanting to return, some of the league's elite teams are courting the 3-point specialist who played for the Miami Heat last season.

      Since LeBron James decided to return to Cleveland, the Cavs have been considered the leading contender to land Allen. Allen would be another long-range option for the Cavs, who also signed Mike Miller and James Jones from the Heat.

      ESPN also said that the Dallas Mavericks might have interest in signing Allen.

      Allen holds the record for most 3-pointers made both in regular-season play (2,973) and the postseason (385). He is not expected to make a decision until September.

  • Thursday, August 28, 2014
    Warriors sign PG Barbosa
    By The Sports Xchange

    Guard Leandro Barbosa agreed to a one-year deal with the Golden State Warriors.

    • Barbosa played 20 games last season with the Phoenix Suns and is participating in the FIBA World Cup for Brazil.

      Barbosa, 31, averaged 11.9 points and 2.3 assists in 11 seasons with the Suns, Celtics, Raptors and Pacers. He was a first-round pick of the San Antonio Spurs in 2003.

  • Thursday, August 28, 2014
    Lakers work out Beasley a second time
    By The Sports Xchange

    Since being selected second overall in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Miami Heat, Michael Beasley has done very little in the league.

    • In six seasons, he has played for four teams and has a career average of a little more than 13 points per game.

      On Wednesday, Beasley got a chance with a handful of other free agents to impress the Los Angeles Lakers, who missed out on signing Carmelo Anthony in July.

      The 25-year-old Kansas State product, who couldn't stick a second time with Heat last season, worked out for the Lakers for a second time, USA Today reported.

      Also working out Wednesday were centers Dexter Pittman and Greg Stiemsma as well as guards Toney Douglas, Ben Hansbrough and Malcolm Lee.

      The Lakers only have 13 players on their roster, which means there are two spots available.

      After being drafted by Miami, Beasley played for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns before returning to the Heat last season.

      Beasley has been dogged by off-court problems, including an August 2013 arrest on suspicion of marijuana.

  • Wednesday, August 27, 2014
    Heat add G Brown
    By The Sports Xchange

    Free agent guard Shannon Brown signed a one-year, $1.3 million contract with the Miami Heat on Wednesday.

    • The deal was announced by Priority Sports, which represents Brown.

      Brown was with the New York Knicks at the end of last season after signing with the team in late February and then staying on through the summer to help new coach Derek Fisher put in the triange offense.

      The 28-year-old Brown has averaged 7.7 points per game during his career and adds a veteran presence in the backcourt to help the Heat with depth.

  • Wednesday, August 27, 2014
    Clippers, Rivers agree to contract extension
    By The Sports Xchange

    Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers on Wednesday agreed to a contract extension through the end of the 2018-19 season.

    • Terms of the deal were not disclosed for Rivers, who also serves as the team's president of basketball operations.

      In the wake of the scandal involving former owner Donald Sterling this year, Rivers previously expressed uncertainty about his future with the Clippers.

      Sterling officially sold the team earlier this month to Steve Ballmer, who bid an NBA-record $2 billion to purchase the franchise after the league suspended Sterling for life and ordered the sale of the team because of his racist remarks that were captured on tape.

      "This is an important day for this organization," Ballmer said in a statement. "I am excited to work with Doc for a long time as we build a championship culture that will deliver results both on and off the court.

      "Not only is Doc one of the best coaches and executives in the game, but he continually embodies the hard core, committed and resilient character and winning culture that the Clippers represent. It was one of my top priorities to ensure that he was firmly in place as the long-term leader of this team."

      Rivers, 53, took over as head coach of the Clippers in June 2013 and led Los Angeles to the best record in franchise history (57-25, .695) and a second straight Pacific Division title. He became president of basketball operations on June 16.

      "Steve has shown a clear and determined desire to make the Clippers one of the most elite, first-class and championship organizations in all of professional sports," Rivers said in a statement. "We know we have work to do to get there, but I am motivated by the challenge and thankful for the opportunity to stand together with Steve as we continue to move toward our goal of winning an NBA title."

      Entering his 16th season as a head coach, Rivers is one of just three active coaches (Gregg Popovich, Flip Saunders) to win at least 600 games and his 644 career regular-season wins is second among active coaches in victories. Rivers, the 1999-2000 NBA Coach of the Year, led the Boston Celtics to the 2008 NBA Championship.

      A former Clippers point guard (1991-92), Rivers coached in Boston from 2004-2013 and prior to that led the Orlando Magic from 1999-2003.

  • Tuesday, August 26, 2014
    Timberwolves' influx of young talent excited for season
    By The Sports Xchange

    ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Locals call the Minnesota State Fair, "The Great Minnesota Get-Together."

    • Years from now, the Minnesota Timberwolves hope the same moniker can be said about their newest young nucleus of talent.

      Three days after trading their best player, forward Kevin Love, to the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of a three-team deal including the Philadelphia 76ers, the Timberwolves introduced their three newest players -- wing Andrew Wiggins and forwards Thaddeus Young and Anthony Bennett -- as well as their own first-round pick, guard Zach LaVine, Tuesday in front of a friendly crowd at the State Fair.

      For Wiggins, the centerpiece of the deal, he's happy to have the month-long soap opera of where he would play finally over. After signing his rookie contract July 24, NBA rules stipulated he must wait 30 days before being traded -- despite the fact many knew it was only a matter of time.

      "It was a big relief. I'm situated in a spot where I know I'm going to be for a very long time. It's comforting," Wiggins said. "I wanted to play for a team that wanted me. I felt the love as soon as I got to the airport."

      Young, the only player of the four with NBA experience, said he was excited for a new opportunity. Philadelphia is in the midst of a long-term rebuilding project and offered the Timberwolves a chance to get back an established player that can and should immediately help fill the significant void Love leaves behind.

      And while Young hasn't put up the numbers Love has over his career, he did post career-best figures in points-per-game last season and is comfortable enough in his own skin to realize that he can't be, and likely won't be, Love.

      "I'm not trying to be that," Young said. "I'm not trying to get individual numbers, individual stats. I'm not trying to be a 26 and 12 guy, I'd love that, but at the end of the day, defense and team work wins championships."

      Where Young certainly appears to be an upgrade is in his willingness to be a better leader on and off the court. Love wasn't a bad guy in the locker room or off the court -- but he preferred to be a guy that let others take control of the locker room.

      That will work fine in Cleveland, where Love will defer to LeBron James. In Minnesota, where he was the best player, it often caused problems. While Young is only 26, he's already embracing the chance to share his veteran wisdom with his younger teammates.

      "I think for me, stepping into a leadership role, it's going to be great. I've been there, done it, seen it," Young said. "Coming in with these young guys, it's a great opportunity. I get a chance to take some of the things I have learned and put it into them and help them along the way."

      For LaVine, his infamous "(expletive) me" moment on draft night seems like a thing of the past. Tuesday, he was thrilled with the new blood that surrounded him.

      "Watching everything go down, I'm more excited than anybody here," LaVine said. "The new look of this team is crazy. I'm ready to get to work already."

      Finally healthy, Bennett said the opportunity to hit reset on his NBA career is refreshing. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft, Bennett struggled with foot and knee injuries his entire rookie campaign, limiting him to only four points, three rebounds and just under 12 minutes per outing.

      "I'm really excited. It's a new start, a fresh start. New coaching staff, new teammates, I'm just trying to have fun," Bennett said.

      With an established hand in Young, and young, explosive players like Wiggins and LaVine, and a player in Bennett who admitted he has a chip on his shoulder, it's clear the Timberwolves made the best of a bad situation in trading Love.

      It's also possible they got the best of the deal in the long-term. Wiggins thinks so.

      "We're young, athletic. We have a lot of freaks on this team," Wiggins said. "We are competitive and it's going to bring us to a whole other level."

      It's also a group that is driven to prove a lot of people wrong ... and prove many more right.

      "It's overwhelming. I've never been a part of something this big before," Young said. "I'm ready to get to work, ready to get this franchise back to the playoffs. It's been 10 years, it's been too long. It's been way, way, way too long. I'm looking forward to this."

  • Tuesday, August 26, 2014
    OKC unloads Thabeet to Philly
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday traded their third-string center Hasheem Thabeet to Philadelphia for a $1.25 million trade exception. The Thunder also will receive a heavily protected 2015 second-round draft pick.

    • The 76ers are expected to waive Thabeet, according to multiple sources. Thabeet became expendable this past season with the development of center Steven Adams.

      Thabeet, 7-foot-3, 263 pounds, averaged 1.2 points and 1.7 rebounds last season for the Thunder. He was the No. 2 overall pick by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2009 and is considered one of the bigger draft busts in recent history.

  • Tuesday, August 26, 2014
    NBA roundup: Love in Cleveland for long haul
    By The Sports Xchange

    The newest member of new-look Cleveland Cavaliers was introduced to the media on Tuesday and Kevin Love said he is committed to playing for the team long term.

    • The 25-year-old Love is a three-time NBA All-Star and completes a new-look Big 3 for Cleveland along with forward LeBron James and guard Kyrie Irving.

      Love spent his first six seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves. In exchange for Love, Minnesota received Cleveland's 2014 No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins and 2013 No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett. The Philadelphia 76ers entered trade talks and ended up sending Thaddeus Young to Minnesota for guard Alexey Shved and forward Luc Mbah a Moute, along with the rights to the Miami Heat's 2015 first-round pick through the Cavaliers.

      A phone call from James paved the way for Love to find his way to Cleveland.

      "LeBron signed to come back, and a few hours later he called me and I said 'I'm in,'" Love said. "That had a lot to do with my decision. It means a lot to be a part of this organization. ... Everything in my entire life for the last six years had led me up to this opportunity."

      Love said he is committed to Cleveland and bringing a championship to the city.

      "[An extension] hasn't been talked about," Love said. "I'm committed to this team and committed long term to the end goal, which is to win a championship."

      Love has averaged 19 points and 12 rebounds per game during his six-year career.

      --The Atlanta Hawks announced that forward Mike Scott re-signed with the team.

      The Hawks did not disclose contract terms, but the restricted free agent agreed to a three-year, $10 million contract with two years guaranteed and a team option earlier this month.

      A second-round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Scott played in 80 regular-season games for the Hawks last season and averaged 9.6 points and 3.6 rebounds. He started six times and averaged 14.0 points and 5.3 rebounds in those games.

      ---Last summer, the Utah Jazz traded shooting guard Kevin Murphy to the Golden State Warriors. Now they have re-signed Murphy, who had been released by the Warriors.

      Murphy was drafted in the second round out of Tennessee Tech in 2012. He saw action in only 17 games for the Jazz before being traded. In 34 games, he averaged 25.5 points playing for the D-League Idaho Stampede

      The Jazz also signed forward Brock Motum.

      In a move that has financial repercussions for the Clippers, Los Angeles unloaded forward Jared Dudley and a future first-round pick to the Milwaukee Bucks for swingman Carlo Delfino and center Mirolsav Raduljica.

      According to Yahoo Sports, Delfino's career is in doubt as he recovers from a fractured foot, and his contract is not guaranteed. Raduljica's contract is not guaranteed, either.

      Dudley, who struggled in his only season in with the Clippers and carried a $4.25 million contract for the upcoming season, would have found playing time on a deep Los Angeles bench. The move gives the Clippers the chance to remain under next summer's luxury tax.

  • Tuesday, August 26, 2014
    Love plans long-term relationship with Cavs
    By The Sports Xchange

    The newest member of new-look Cleveland Cavaliers was introduced to the media on Tuesday and Kevin Love said he is committed to playing for the team long term.

    • The 25-year-old Love is a three-time NBA All-Star and completes a new-look Big 3 for Cleveland along with forward LeBron James and guard Kyrie Irving.

      Love spent his first six seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves. In exchange for Love, Minnesota received Cleveland's 2014 No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins and 2013 No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett. The Philadelphia 76ers entered trade talks and ended up sending Thaddeus Young to Minnesota for guard Alexey Shved and forward Luc Mbah a Moute, along with the rights to the Miami Heat's 2015 first-round pick through the Cavaliers.

      A phone call from James paved the way for Love to find his way to Cleveland.

      "LeBron signed to come back, and a few hours later he called me and I said 'I'm in,'" Love said. "That had a lot to do with my decision. It means a lot to be a part of this organization. ... Everything in my entire life for the last six years had led me up to this opportunity."

      Love said he is committed to Cleveland and bringing a championship to the city.

      "[An extension] hasn't been talked about," Love said. "I'm committed to this team and committed long term to the end goal, which is to win a championship."

      Love has averaged 19 points and 12 rebounds per game during his six-year career.

  • Tuesday, August 26, 2014
    Cost-cutting Clippers swap Dudley to Bucks
    By The Sports Xchange

    In a move that has financial repercussions for the Clippers, Los Angeles on Tuesday unloaded forward Jared Dudley and a future first-round pick to the Milwaukee Bucks for swingman Carlo Delfino and center Mirolsav Raduljica.

    • According to Yahoo Sports, Delfino's career is in doubt as he recovers from a fractured foot, and his contract is not guaranteed. Raduljica's contract is not guaranteed, either.

      Dudley, who struggled in his only season in with the Clippers and carried a $4.25 million contract for the upcoming season, would have found playing time on a deep Los Angeles bench. The move gives the Clippers the chance to remain under next summer's luxury tax.

      The first round pick that the Bucks receive won't be until 2017 at the earliest. Los Angeles' 2015 first-round pick is headed to the Boston Celtics as compensation for Doc Rivers becoming the Clippers' coach last summer.

  • Tuesday, August 26, 2014
    Sixers, Hinkie had youth in mind in Young trade
    By The Sports Xchange

    PHILADELPHIA -- Like the rest of Sam Hinkie's other transactions since becoming president and general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers last May, his most recent trade was not designed to make the team better. At least, not in the short term.

    • After weeks of speculation, a three-team deal was finally made official Saturday. It sent Thaddeus Young out of Philadelphia to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Luc Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved. The Sixers also picked up Miami's 2015 first-round draft selection, which came by way of Cleveland.

      "Obviously, this is a move that we think moves our program forward and one we chose to do collectively," Hinkie said on a conference call with the media on Tuesday afternoon. "I think in a trade like this, (there's) several components that matter."

      Philadelphia might not have parted with an All-Star like Kevin Love -- who went to the Cavaliers from Minnesota -- but the key to the deal from the Sixers' end was the draft pick, the type of futures investment Hinkie has been stockpiling with an eye on a turnaround. This June, the Sixers selected Joel Embiid (third) and Dario Saric (12th) in the first dozen picks of the draft; as long as Miami stays out of the top 10 this year, where they have the pick protected, it'll be twice in two years that Philadelphia owns a pair of selections in the first round.

      "Nobody anticipates Miami will be in the top 10, they'll be a very solid team this year and we'll see how that plays out," Hinkie said. "That (pick is) important, you don't see a lot of first-rounders trading hands these days."

      In getting rid of Young, Hinkie moved one of the more popular Sixers in recent memory. Drafted by Philadelphia with the 12th overall pick in 2007 after just one year at Georgia Tech, Young spent the first seven seasons of his NBA career in the City of Brotherly Love, appearing in 516 games (294 starts) for the franchise.

      He leaves after easily his individual season as a pro, where he averaged a career-best 17.9 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while also dishing out 2.3 assists and picking up more than two steals per game. But more than that, his professionalism and work ethic endeared him to the blue-collar city, and to the organization.

      "During all of my time here he really was a day-to-day pro and something that's really, really appreciated," Hinkie said. "You don't say (that) very much, but I don't think you find people like Thad very much. He's straight down the middle, he's professional, he loves his wife, he's close to his kids, (and) he surrounds himself with great people."

      What the Sixers are getting back in terms of on-court assets isn't quite as impressive as what they sent away. Mbah a Moute, a seventh-year pro out of UCLA, has career averages of 6.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, while Shved, a 6-6 guard and Russia native, has averaged 6.5 ppg and 2.5 apg in his first two years in the league.

      Where Hinkie is hoping the two can have an impact is off the court, especially in regards to the oft-traded Mbah a Moute -- like Embiid, a native of Cameroon -- who will be on a new team for the fourth time since 2013.

      "We're definitely in the mode of player development, that's really important," Hinkie said. "Sometimes that's about ‘this is the way life in the NBA works, this is what the rhythm is like, this is how to take care of your body … I'm hopeful, based on the high character that is a guy like Luc, that it may prove helpful with Joel and with other players."

  • Tuesday, August 26, 2014
    Jazz, SG Murphy reunite
    By The Sports Xchange

    Last summer, the Utah Jazz traded shooting guard Kevin Murphy to the Golden State Warriors. On Tuesday, Utah announced they had re-signed Murphy, who had been released by the Warriors.

    • Murphy was drafted in the second round out of Tennessee Tech in 2012. He saw action in only 17 games for the Jazz before being traded. In 34 games, he averaged 25.5 points playing for the D-League Idaho Stampede

      The Jazz also signed forward Brock Motum.

  • Tuesday, August 26, 2014
    F Scott lands new deal with Hawks
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Atlanta Hawks announced Tuesday that forward Mike Scott re-signed with the team.

    • The Hawks did not disclose contract terms, but the restricted free agent agreed to a three-year, $10 million contract with two years guaranteed and a team option earlier this month.

      "Mike has worked hard and continues to adapt, improve and expand his all around game," Hawks general manager Danny Ferry said. "We are very happy to have him with us going forward and we look forward to his continued growth with our group."

      A second-round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Scott played in 80 regular-season games for the Hawks last season and averaged 9.6 points and 3.6 rebounds. He started six times and averaged 14.0 points and 5.3 rebounds in those games.

      In the postseason, Scott averaged 9.4 points and 2.6 rebounds in the first-round series against the Indiana Pacers and had five 3-pointers in the second quarter of a game, the most 3-pointers in a quarter in NBA playoff history.

      With Scott in the fold, the Hawks currently have 13 players under contract next season.

  • Monday, August 25, 2014
    Lakers sign G Clarkson
    By The Sports Xchange

    Guard Jordan Clarkson, a second-round pick in this year's draft, signed a contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, the team announced Monday.

    • The Lakers acquired him from the Washington Wizards on draft night in a cash move. Washington selected Clarkson with the 46th overall pick.

      As a junior at the University of Missouri last season, Clarkson made second-team All-Southeastern Conference after averaging 17.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists.

      Clarkson also led the Lakers' summer league team in scoring (15.8 points per game) and rebounding (five boards per game). He shot 8-for-19 (42.1 percent) from three-point range in the Las Vegas competition.

      Prior to his lone playing year at Missouri, Clarkson played two seasons for Tulsa, making the Conference USA all-freshman team in 2010-11 and the C-USA first team in 2011-12.

  • Monday, August 25, 2014
    Lillard on cover of NBA Live 15
    By The Sports Xchange

    Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard has been selected for the cover of NBA Live 15 by EA Sports.

    • The video game company announced Monday that the latest NBA edition will be available Oct. 7 on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

      Lillard, 24, was drafted sixth overall by Portland in 2012 out of Weber State. After winning Rookie of the Year in 2013, Lillard was named third team All-NBA last season and made his first All-Star appearance.

      Lillard shared the news with a video he posted on Instagram. In the video, Lillard is holding a copy of the game.

      "I am so honored and I am so blessed to be in this position," Lillard said in the video. "I am thankful for EA Sports for making me the cover guy. It's a long time coming, took a lot of hard work and it's a dream come true."

  • Monday, August 25, 2014
    Irving get start at PG vs. Slovenia
    By The Sports Xchange

    Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers will start at point guard for Team USA on Tuesday against Slovenia in its final tuneup heading into the FIBA World Cup.

    • Coach Mike Krzyzewski said that Irving and Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls may rotate as the team's starting point guard during the tournament.

      Team USA begins the World Cup on Saturday in Bilbao, Spain, against Finland.

      "We'll see as this thing goes on," Krzyzewski said Monday. "We might alternate 'em. Both of them are going to play significant minutes."

      Krzyzewski also said the two star point guard may even play together during the tournament. Rose has played just 10 games over the last two seasons because of knee troubles.

      "I asked him today and he said, 'I feel great,' " Krzyzewski said. "He did everything. He's full go. I think there's a part of him that's like: 'Quit asking me how I feel. I'm good.' So I'm not going to ask him anymore."

      The ?Team arrived in Las Palmas Sunday morning and practiced for two hours Monday.

      With big men Mason Plumlee of the Brooklyn Nets and the Detroit Pistons' Andre Drummond as two of the final three players added to the 12-man roster, Krzyzewski has the flexibility to play New Orleans Pelicans' Anthony Davis at power forward next to Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.

      Instead of playing small-ball as it did in its previous two major competitions, Team USA can play much bigger in this tournament. That will allow the team to match up well in a potential championship game against Spain, which includes power forward/centers Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol and Serge Ibaka.

      Even though stars Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge and Russell Westbrook opted out, and Indiana Pacers forward Paul George is out with a broken leg, Team USA is still expected to easily emerge from Group C. That slate includes Turkey, New Zealand, Dominican Republic and Ukraine after Finland.

      "Our biggest (question mark) is how close we can become," Krzyzewski said. "That's where the other countries have the advantage. They've been together for years. We've been together for days. But these guys will do anything to help. They really want to be here. It's a group that wants to work."

  • Monday, August 25, 2014
    Wolves to hire shooting coach
    By The Sports Xchange

    Head coach Flip Saunders plans to hire a shooting coach to assist several veterans, including point guard Ricky Rubio.

    • Rubio and at least two other veterans on the roster are working with shooting coaches this offseason.

      Saunders identified Rubio and Chase Budinger as players who had partnered with shot-focused coaches. Rubio shot 38 percent from the field in 2013-14 and with All-Star Kevin Love, the team's top threat inside and outside, moved to Cleveland via trade, defenses will clamp down on Rubio and rookie guard Andrew Wiggins.

      Minnesota finished 21st in adjusted field goal percentage last season.

      Saunders said Monday he wasn't confident the Love trade would happen.

      "There were so many different dynamics and so many working parts, I wasn't sure a trade was going to get done," Saunders said.

  • Saturday, August 23, 2014
    NBA roundup: Love trade to Cavs official
    By The Sports Xchange

    The wait is finally over.

    • The Kevin Love trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers was made Saturday, the Minnesota Timberwolves announced.

      The Timberwolves sent Love, an All-Star power forward, to the Cavaliers in exchange for guard/forward Andrew Wiggins and center Anthony Bennett from Cleveland. Wiggins was the No. 1 pick in this year's draft and Bennett was the top draft choice in 2013. The Timberwolves also get a trade exception believed to be worth at least $4 million.

      The Timberwolves also received forward Thaddeus Young from the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers also confirmed the deal.

      Minnesota dealt Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Alexey Shved and a future first-round draft pick to Philadelphia.

      The teams had to wait 30 days to make the trade public after Cleveland signed Wiggins on July 24. Draft picks who sign cannot be traded until at least 30 days afterward.

      With the addition of Love, the Cavaliers are expected to be the top contender to win the Eastern Conference next season. Star forward LeBron James left the Miami Heat and signed a free agent deal with Cleveland. The Cavaliers also have point guard Kyrie Irving.

      ---The Cleveland Cavaliers signed second round draft pick Dwight Powell.

      Powell, a forward out of Stanford, averaged 10.8 points and 6.3 rebounds in 26.2 minutes over 136 games (105 starts) in four years. The 6-foot-11, 240-pound Canadian is a two-time First Team All-Pac 12 selection.

      Last season, Powell averaged 14.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 steals and was the Pac 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He also represented Canada in the World University Games in the summer of 2013.

      ---USA Basketball trimmed its roster to 12 players for the FIBA World Cup tournament that starts next week in Spain.

      Among those making the team were centers DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Drummond and Mason Plumlee. The cuts included NBA All-Star point guard Damian Lillard and small forwards Gordon Hayward, Kyle Korver and Chandler Parsons.

      The rest of the U.S. roster includes guards Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Rose and Klay Thompson; guard-forward DeMar DeRozan; forward-center Anthony Davis; and forwards Kenneth Faried and Rudy Gay.

      The USA opens the 2014 World Cup on Aug. 30 against Finland, and then faces Turkey on Aug. 31 in a rematch of the 2010 FIBA World Championship gold medal game, which the USA won 81-64.

  • Saturday, August 23, 2014
    Team USA sets final roster
    By The Sports Xchange

    USA Basketball trimmed its roster to 12 players for the FIBA World Cup tournament that starts next week in Spain.

    • Among those making the team were centers DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Drummond and Mason Plumlee. The cuts included NBA All-Star point guard Damian Lillard and small forwards Gordon Hayward, Kyle Korver and Chandler Parsons.

      The announcement was made after Team USA's 112-86 victory over Puerto Rico on Friday night in Madison Square Garden in New York -- the final tuneup before heading to Spain.

      The rest of the U.S. roster includes guards Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Rose and Klay Thompson; guard-forward DeMar DeRozan; forward-center Anthony Davis; and forwards Kenneth Faried and Rudy Gay.

      "Since taking over the USA basketball men's national team program in 2005, this was without doubt the most difficult selection process we've gone through," U.S. managing director Jerry Colangelo said in a statement. "I can't stress enough the outstanding effort and commitment that has been given by each finalist.

      "I also want to make it clear that this is not just about talent -- each player is incredibly talented and each player offered us unique skills. In the end, it was about assembling the best team, selecting guys who we felt would be able to best play the kind of style we envision this team playing."

      Team USA's starters in the last two exhibitions were Irving, Curry, Harden, Faried and Davis.

      "The first thing is we are very pleased with the overall effort of every player who was a part of the process," coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. "To select 12 was difficult, because our pool is so good. As we go forward, we not only go forward as 12, we go forward as a pool for USA Basketball. As a staff we want to thank the players who are not going forward.

      "I'm excited about the 12 players selected and feel we have excellent versatility and the makings of a really good defensive team."

      The USA opens the 2014 World Cup on Aug. 30 against Finland, and then faces Turkey on Aug. 31 in a rematch of the 2010 FIBA World Championship gold medal game, which the USA won 81-64.

  • Saturday, August 23, 2014
    Love deal finally done
    By The Sports Xchange

    The wait is finally over.

    • The Kevin Love trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers was made Saturday, the Minnesota Timberwolves announced.

      Previously, multiple media outlets reported that the teams involved in the deal called the NBA office.

      The Timberwolves sent Love, an All-Star power forward, to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

      Minnesota received guard/forward Andrew Wiggins and center Anthony Bennett from Cleveland. Wiggins was the No. 1 pick in this year's draft and Bennett was the top draft choice in 2013. The Timberwolves also get a trade exception believed to be worth at least $4 million.

      The Timberwolves also received forward Thaddeus Young from the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers also confirmed the deal.

      Minnesota dealt Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Alexey Shved and a future first-round draft pick to Philadelphia.

      "We are excited to add three young, talented and athletic players to our team in Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Thaddeus Young," Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders said in a statement. "With the additions of Wiggins, Bennett and Zach LaVine this summer, we have brought in three exciting young athletes who all have the potential to have an impact in this league. All three of them complement each other very well and we believe they will be foundations of our team for years to come. In Young we are getting a proven NBA player who is entering the prime of his career. Our fans will enjoy watching these exciting players this coming season and beyond.

      "I appreciate all that Kevin, Luc and Alexey have done for our organization and wish them the best of luck with their new teams."

      The teams had to wait 30 days to make the trade public after Cleveland signed Wiggins on July 24. Draft picks who sign cannot be traded until at least 30 days afterward.

      With the addition of Love, the Cavaliers are expected to be the top contender to win the Eastern Conference next season. Star forward LeBron James left the Miami Heat and signed a free agent deal with Cleveland. The Cavaliers also have point guard Kyrie Irving.

      The Timberwolves get help at power forward with Young after losing Love and some young talent with the addition of Wiggins and Bennett.

      "I want to personally thank Kevin Love for his six seasons with the Wolves," Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said in a statement. "On the floor, Kevin has worked hard to make himself a great player in the NBA. He also made it a priority to give back to the community through his Coat Drive and numerous other charitable endeavors. He represented the state of Minnesota well during his time with us and we wish him nothing but the best in Cleveland. I also want to thank Luc and Alexey for their contributions to the team and wish them well in Philadelphia.

      "I am truly excited to welcome Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Thaddeus Young to our team. Adding these young players, along with our No. 1 pick from this year, Zach LaVine, to our existing squad gives us a solid nucleus for the future."

      The Sixers get another draft pick to help build for the future and two expiring contracts to give them cap relief after next season to add more talent.

  • Saturday, August 23, 2014
    Cavs sign F Powell
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Cleveland Cavaliers signed second round draft pick Dwight Powell on Saturday.

    • Powell, a forward out of Stanford, averaged 10.8 points and 6.3 rebounds in 26.2 minutes over 136 games (105 starts) in four years. The 6-foot-11, 240-pound Canadian is a two-time First Team All-Pac 12 selection.

      Last season, Powell averaged 14.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 steals and was the Pac 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He also represented Canada in the World University Games in the summer of 2013.

      Powell averaged 5.0 points and 3.7 rebounds in 11.3 minutes over three games (one start) with the Cavaliers in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. He was acquired by Cleveland, along with center Brendan Haywood, in a trade with the Charlotte Hornets.

  • Friday, August 22, 2014
    NBA roundup: Wait almost over: Love deal nears
    By The Sports Xchange

    The 30-day waiting period on the Kevin Love trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers ends Saturday and the Minnesota Timberwolves expect to land Philadelphia 76ers power forward Thaddeus Young in addition to No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins, according to multiple reports.

    • The Timberwolves agreed weeks ago to send Love, a power forward, to Cleveland where he will team up with forward LeBron James and point guard Kyrie Irving. The Cavs will become the instant favorite in the Eastern Conference.

      The majority of the terms for the three-team deal involving the Wolves, Cavs and 76ers were agreed to on Aug. 8.

      According to reports, the Wolves will receive guard Wiggins, 2013 No. 1 pick and forward Anthony Bennett, Young and a trade exception believed to be worth at least $4 million that they can use to acquire a player in the next year without being strapped by salary-cap rules.

      ESPN reported that the Wolves are expected to surrender a future first-round pick along with the expiring contracts of Luc Richard Mbah A Moute and Alexey Shved to the Sixers for Young, who has two seasons left on his deal valued at $19.4 million.

      The three teams are expected to announce the trade Saturday after completing a trade call with the league office.

      The Sixers tried to get Bennett as part of the Young transaction, sources told ESPN, but Minnesota was determined to keep the second-year forward to be a key piece in its rebuilding effort despite Bennett's disappointing rookie season with Cleveland.

      ---As Phoenix explores possible sign-and-trade deals involving guard Eric Bledsoe, ESPN reported that the Suns reached out to Minnesota to gauge whether the Timberwolves would be a willing trade partner involving Love.

      The Arizona Republic also reported that the Suns had been in touch with at least one team about a potential sign-and-trade. Other teams have contacted the Suns, the Republic said. The Suns would not comment.

      Contract talks between Bledsoe, a restricted free agent, and the Suns have been described as "fractured" for weeks.

      The 24-year-old Bledsoe has been adamant about wanting a five-year, $85 million maximum deal from Phoenix.

      ---An optimistic Carmelo Anthony, who admits he was close to leaving New York, feels the new culture will make the difference for the Knicks this season.

      "I don't think we will have another season like we had last year (37-45 record). When I say, 'I believe that we will make the playoffs,' that's where I'm coming from. I think we will have a much better season than we did last year," Anthony said Thursday night at Barclays Center, according to ESPN.com.

      Anthony was serving as a coach in a celebrity basketball game sponsored by CC Sabathia and Robinson Cano's charities.

      ---The Charlotte Hornets signed first-round guard P.J. Hairston.

      The Hornets acquired the rights to Hairston (26th overall pick) and guard Semaj Christon (55th overall pick), along with a 2019 second-round draft pick and cash considerations, from the Miami Heat in exchange for the rights to guard Shabazz Napier (24th overall pick).

      The 6-foot-6 Hairston became the first NBA's Development League player to be selected in the first round of the draft. He was named to the D-League All-Rookie Second Team in 2013-14 as a member of the Texas Legends. Hairston averaged 21.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 32.3 minutes, while shooting .453 from the field (183-404), .358 from beyond the 3-point line and .870 from the free-throw line.

      ---The Atlanta Hawks re-signed guard Shelvin Mack.

      In 73 games for the Hawks last season (11 starts), Mack averaged 7.5 points, 3.7 assists (second on the team) and 2.2 rebounds in 20.4 minutes while ranking seventh in the NBA in assist/turnover ratio (3.04).

      ---The Houston Rockets re-signed unrestricted free agent guard/forward Francisco Garcia.

      Last season with the Rockets, the 6-foot-7 Garcia averaged 5.7 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.1 assist per game.

      Garcia is an eight-year veteran who was a first-round pick out of Louisville in the 2005 NBA Draft.

  • Friday, August 22, 2014
    Suns make last-ditch effort to trade for Love
    By The Sports Xchange

    As Phoenix explores possible sign-and-trade deals involving guard Eric Bledsoe, ESPN reported Friday that the Suns reached out to Minnesota to gauge whether the Timberwolves would be a willing trade partner involving Kevin Love.

    • The Arizona Republic also reported that the Suns had been in touch with at least one team about a potential sign-and-trade. Other teams have contacted the Suns, the Republic said. The Suns would not comment.

      Contract talks between Bledsoe, a restricted free agent, and the Suns have been described as "fractured" for weeks.

      Less than a day before a much-anticipated megadeal between Minnesota and Cleveland, involving All-Star Love and Andrew Wiggins, the top pick in this year's draft could be announced, the Suns made a last-ditch effort to resolve the issue surrounding Bledsoe.

      The 24-year-old Bledsoe has been adamant about wanting a five-year, $85 million maximum deal from Phoenix. He has made it clear, ESPN said, that he would consider a max deal in a sign-and-trade, which would be four years and $64 million, with any other team.

      Unless Bledsoe signs a long-term contract, other teams might be hesitant to trade for him. He becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer.

      If Bledsoe does not get a max contract, he has told the Suns he will sign a one-year qualifying offer worth about $3.7 million and then test free agency next summer.

      The Timberwolves agreed weeks ago to send Love, a power forward, to Cleveland where he will team up with forward LeBron James and point guard Kyrie Irving.

      Cleveland will send Wiggins as well as last year's top draft pick, Anthony Bennett and a first-round pick to the Timberwolves. The trade could not become official until 30 days after Wiggins had signed his rookie contract. That deadline expires at 12:01 a.m. Saturday and the deal is expected to be announced later in the day.

  • Friday, August 22, 2014
    Hawks re-sign G Mack
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Atlanta Hawks re-signed guard Shelvin Mack, the team announced Friday.

    • Terms of the agreement were not announced.

      In 73 games for the Hawks last season (11 starts), Mack averaged 7.5 points, 3.7 assists (second on the team) and 2.2 rebounds in 20.4 minutes while ranking seventh in the NBA in assist/turnover ratio (3.04).

      Mack scored in double-figures 22 times and had one double-double, leading the team in assists 14 times and in scoring once.

      In three NBA seasons with Washington, Philadelphia and the Hawks, Mack has played in 168 games (14 starts), averaging 5.5 points, 2.8 assists and 1.7 rebounds in 16.0 minutes.

      "Shelvin has proven himself to be an excellent fit in our program," general manager Danny Ferry said in a statement. "On the court, he plays well within our system and possesses a toughness and level of unselfishness that we truly value. At 24, he is still a young player with the type of work ethic that can allow him to continue to keep getting better."