Raptors finally at centre of ring in NBA’s free-agency spectacle – Sportsnet.ca

Raptors finally at centre of ring in NBA’s free-agency spectacle – Sportsnet.ca

Welcome to Basketball Christmas.

After nearly a year of build-up, arguably the most anticipated day on an NBA fan’s calendar has finally arrived.

The point where months of never-ending NBA gossip finally materializes into real things that really happen.

There’s nothing else like it; a slow-motion earthquake of fun that gives way to a volcano of news.

For Canadian hoops fans, a twist: after decades as a wallflower, hoping to get someone’s attention, the NBA champion Toronto Raptors are in the centre of the ring. They’re trying to fend off contenders on all sides for Kawhi Leonard, the most coveted free agent of them all, a two-time Finals MVP who holds the Raptors’ future in his massive claws and would change the future of whatever team he decides to join if he leaves.

In a sport where one player can alter the direction of a franchise and tilt the axis of a league, the free-agent deadline – which has been moved up this year to 6 pm EST on June 30th to make for better prime-time viewing than the traditional 12:01 July 1 tip-off – is the moment when the league’s present and future collide in an annual Big Bang.

And, like Christmas, sometimes it’s just too tempting to not open a few presents the night before, so on Saturday night came the hints and ‘sources’ and the whisper of moves all but finalized – Kemba Walker to the Boston Celtics; Kyrie Irving to the Brooklyn Nets and Jimmy Butler everywhere.

It’s fun. Essential theatre for even casual fans. It’s a formula other leagues would do well to emulate but never quite will.

Even the NBA got here much by accident. The league went through two work stoppages to rein in player costs and make it easier for teams – of all market sizes – to keep their own stars while also protecting owners from over-paying aging or injured players on deals that used to run eight, nine or 10 years or more.

But those victories came with some unintended consequences.

A cap on individual salaries meant that the league’s best players are paid under the market value – imagine Leonard’s actual worth in a world where the Lakers, Clippers, Raptors and Knicks were able to get in a bidding war – so money being largely equal, NBA stars prioritize things like the market they want to play in, the teammates they want to have and the coach they prefer rather than something as reductive as a paycheque, which is going to be largely the same wherever they go.

Meanwhile, the four- and five-year maximum contract lengths (five years for incumbent players; four years for players on the move) the NBA established in the 2012 lockout means a steady churn of stars closing in on a new deal and a new round of uncertainty.

In turn, teams are so conscious about not losing an itchy-footed superstar for nothing in free agency even players a year or two ye

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WOJ: NEXT UP FOR KYRIE IRVING AND THE NETS? SIGNING ON THE DOTTED LINE – NetsDaily

WOJ: NEXT UP FOR KYRIE IRVING AND THE NETS? SIGNING ON THE DOTTED LINE – NetsDaily

It’s all over but the signing. In a series of tweets early Saturday evening, Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Kyrie Irving is in New York to sign his new contract with the Nets. And he added, with Irving’s arrival, D’Angelo Russell will now depart the team he led to the NBA playoffs.

The Nets are expected to announce Irving’s new deal shortly after 6 p.m. Sunday when free agency begins. They will then turn their attention to signing the second —and bigger— star in what they hope will be a Dream Summer, Kevin Durant. Durant will meet with the Nets as well as the Knicks, Clippers and his current team, the Warriors in New York over the next few days.

Marc Stein said that while Irving’s signing is important, even crucial, to the Nets pursuit of KD, Durant has said he can’t be recruited.

The 27-year-old, who was a Nets fan as a child in New Jersey, will become at once the highest paid Nets player ever, their biggest free agent signing ever and the first All-NBA player to join the franchise since the Nets traded for Deron Williams nearly a decade ago.

Irving is also the Nets most accomplished player since Jason Kidd, with an NBA championship, Olympic and FIBA World Cup gold medals, six all-Star appearances and two All-NBA selections, including this year. He won his NBA ring and Olympic gold medal within a matter of two months in 2016. Only three other players —his then teammate LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen— had done both in the same year. He followed that up with the 2017 FIBA world cup title, winning the MVP.

Last year, in an admittedly disappointing second season with the Celtics, Irving averaged 23.8 points, 6.9 assists, 5.0 rebounds and shot 48/40/87. Many in Boston blamed Irving for the Celtics limited success, but in recent weeks, there?

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Who Should the Lakers Target as Their Third Star?

Who Should the Lakers Target as Their Third Star?

The Lakers have already landed one superstar this summer and all indications are pointing to them adding another in free agency. So who will it be?

This year’s free-agent crop it loaded with intriguing options and potential fits alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. With Davis declining his $4 million trade kicker, and the Lakers dumping more salary in the AD deal, Los Angeles now has enough cap room to add a third max player, adding yet another layer of intrigue to what’s expected to be a crazy NBA summer.

The best max player on the market is Kawhi Leonard, the league’s reigning Finals MVP and the man who dethroned the Warriors and carried the Raptors to their first title earlier this month. While Leonard would give the Lakers a mind-boggling Big Three of LeBron, AD and Kawhi, the backup options aren’t so bad either. Kyrie Irving, LeBron’s former running mate in Cleveland, is also reportedly a Lakers target. As is D’Angelo Russell, the former Laker who is now open to returning after Magic Johnson’s departure.

But the big names and big dreams don’t end there. To figure out which available star would be the best fit in purple and gold, The Crossover paneled its NBA experts and asked which third star the Lakers should target this summer.

Kawhi Leonard

Rob Mahoney: There are some players effective enough to blot out questions of fit, so talented as to render the premise irrelevant. Kawhi is that sort of player. If you can sign him to a long-term contract, you do—and then you reconceptualize a fit around all that he brings to the table. Leonard is about as good as the best shooters the Lakers could sign: a 41% three-point shooter off the catch, per NBA.com, an outstanding mid-range shooter under duress, and one of the most unyielding shot creators in the league. Whatever perimeter defenders the Lakers might find in free agency, Leonard can do their jobs better and then some. None are more proven in the playoffs, better on the boards for their position, or more stressful for opponents. The argument for the Lakers to split up their cap space among two or three players to better balance their team is fairly persuasive. It just doesn’t really apply where Kawhi is concerned. The Lakers have a three-man team, at present, and Kawhi does pretty much everything. Therein lies the fit.

D’Angelo Russell

Andrew Sharp: Let’s be clear: If the Lakers can get Kawhi Leonard they should get Kawhi Leonard, and Kyrie Irving probably falls in the same category. But if those two dream scenarios fall through, I like the idea of gambling on Russell. There are limited options elsewhere—Klay’s probably not leaving, Kemba’s probably going to Boston—and Russell will be cheaper and younger than most everyone else. He shot almost 37% from three–point range on eight attempts per game last season, he could theoretically fit well on the ball or off-ball, and the Lakers need a point guard who isn’t Alex Caruso or Rajon Rondo.

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Lakers News: LeBron James Suggests He’ll Wear No. 6 Jersey in Cryptic Tweet

Lakers News: LeBron James Suggests He’ll Wear No. 6 Jersey in Cryptic Tweet
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 21: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans fight for position during a game on December 21, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

LeBron James has worn the No. 23 for the majority of his 16-year NBA career, but as the Los Angeles Lakers are set to acquire six-time All-Star Anthony Davis, the King has reportedly decided to give up his number for his new teammate.

And it appears as though the four-time NBA MVP could be making the move back to No. 6.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported Thursday afternoon that James will be “gifting” Davis the No. 23. Haynes noted that the Lakers superstar had not settled on a new number, though No. 6 was the expected choice.

Hours later, James took to social media to post a cryptic message that may have confirmed his new number:

In other words, this may soon be a reality:

James has sported the No. 23 for 12 years, spannin

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Report: LAL ‘swinging for the fences’ on Kyrie – TSN

Report: LAL ‘swinging for the fences’ on Kyrie – TSN

Could a LeBron JamesKyrie Irving reunion be in the works? 

The Los Angeles Lakers are “swinging for the fences” on Irving now they they’ve opened another max contract slot, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times. 

Stein adds that Irving seems as much of a target for the Lakers as Kawhi Leonard despite all signs pointing toward Irving and Kevin Durant landing in Brooklyn.

The Lakers opened another max contract slot on Thursday by expanding the Anthony Davis trade to

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Report: Magic plans to help Lakers in free agency but can’t join meetings – theScore

Report: Magic plans to help Lakers in free agency but can’t join meetings – theScore

Magic Johnson plans on helping the Los Angeles Lakers during free agency but won’t be allowed to join official meetings with available players due to NBA rules, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.

“A friend of mine called and says Kawhi (Leonard) wants to meet with you,” Johnson said, according to Shelburne. “I said no problem. I’m available if that’s what this man wants.”

“But I got a great life. I’m not trying to mess with anybody’s job.”

It was previously reported that Johnson was planning on joining Lakers owner Jeanie Buss in a meeting with Leonard’s camp. However, Johnson claimed that neither the Lakers nor Buss have asked him to participate

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Report: Lakers Land Kawhi Leonard Meeting in Los Angeles

Report: Lakers Land Kawhi Leonard Meeting in Los Angeles

LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Magic Johnson are rumored to be part of the pitch to bring Leonard to the Lakers.

Kawhi Leonard’s people reportedly plan on meeting with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and Magic Johnson next week when free agency starts, according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times. The meeting will most likely be in Los Angeles, per Turner.

Johnson, Los Angeles’s former president of basketball operations, abruptly stepped down from the organization in April during an impromptu press conference before the team’s game against the Trail Blazers. Leonard reportedly made a personal request to the team that only Buss and Johnson be involved in the meeting, per ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

Johnson is not allowed to be a part of official team meetings with prospective free agents, and he told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that neither the Lakers nor Buss asked him to help.

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Magic Johnson Feels Responsibility to LeBron James; ‘He Had a Big Brother in Me’

Magic Johnson Feels Responsibility to LeBron James; ‘He Had a Big Brother in Me’
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 20: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat, sitting with the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) trophy, is interviewed by NBA legend Magic Johnson following the Heat's victory against the San Antonio Spurs in Game Seven of the 2013 NBA Finals on June 20, 2013 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Former Los Angeles Lakers team president Magic Johnson said Friday he still feels a responsibility toward LeBron James since he played such a key role in the recruitment of the four-time NBA MVP.

“He signed knowing I was here. That we had a plan,” Johnson told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. “He knew he had a big brother in me as well. He could run things by me. He can still do that.”

The Basketball Hall of Famer stepped down from the Lakers organization in April, stating in an impromptu press conference that the front-office role was too restrictive.

“I want to go back to having fun,” he said at the time. “I want to go back to being who I was before taking on this job.”

It doesn’t appear he’s done trying to help the Lakers build a championship contender, though.

Earlier this week, Johnson told Bill Oram of The Athletic he still reaches out to members of the Lakers brass, including CEO Jeanie Buss, with his take on the team’s potential moves.

“I’ve sent messages, I’ve left her messages,” he said. “… I call her assistant or whoever and just like I say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to do [the Anthony Davis trade].’ I left them all a message: ‘You’ve got to do it.’ Beca

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Kyle Kuzma Tweets Perfect Response to LeBron James’ Jersey Switch to No. 6 – 12up

Kyle Kuzma Tweets Perfect Response to LeBron James’ Jersey Switch to No. 6 – 12up

The reports came in. The on-set “Space Jam” photos came next. And now, LeBron James is ready to make it official: he’s gifting his No. 23 jersey to Anthony Davis, and will resume playing with the famous No. 6 he donned as a member of the Miami Heat.

Amid separate buzz that suggested he’d be re-adopting his old pregame “chalk toss” ritual, Lakers teammate Kyle Kuzma had just one thing to add to

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LeBron James teased a change to his jersey number on Twitter, and some fans think it’s a hint that the Lakers will sign Kawhi Leonard

LeBron James teased a change to his jersey number on Twitter, and some fans think it’s a hint that the Lakers will sign Kawhi Leonard

The Los Angeles Lakers were the first team to make a splash in the NBA offseason, trading away young players and picks to bring Anthony Davis to the purple and gold.

Since then, the Lakers have stayed busy, pulling off several moves in the span of just a few hours on Thursday that put the team in position to sign another superstar and form a new “Big 3” alongside Davis and LeBron James.

Read more: The Lakers made 2 huge moves in a matter of hours that set them up perfectly to add another big star

One critical part of the Lakers having enough space to bring in another player was Anthony Davis’ decision to waive a $4 million trade kicker that he was entitled to, giving Los Angeles the $32 million necessary to offer a max deal to a potential incoming free agent.

When news broke that James had opted to give Davis No. 23 just hours after Davis gave up his $4 million bonus, fans on Twitter were quick to get conspiratorial, believing the two decisions were related.

Read more: Anthony Davis gave up a $4 million bonus to help the Lakers, and fans on Twitter believe it’s part of a grand conspiracy

A cryptic tweet from LeBron kicked speculation into high gear

NBA fans might have left things there, but a cryptic tweet from James late Thursday night

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Sources: LeBron James giving Anthony Davis the No. 23 with Lakers – Yahoo Sports

Sources: LeBron James giving Anthony Davis the No. 23 with Lakers – Yahoo Sports

LOS ANGELES — Lakers superstar LeBron James is gifting Anthony Davis his No. 23, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The league has been notified of the pending jersey change, sources said.

Davis, 26, has worn No. 23 throughout his entire seven-year NBA career as a member of the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Lakers’ No. 23 will be worn by a new player this season. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

James is laying the groundwork to make his soon-to-be new teammate as comfortable as possible, and the six-time All-Star was extremely grateful for the gesture, sources said.

James has worn No. 6 with the Miami Heat and No. 23 with the Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers.

It is unclear what number James will select for the 2019-20 season, sources said. The Nos. 8, 13, 22, 24, 25, 32, 33, 34, 42, 44 and 52 are retired by the Lakers.

The trade that sent Davis to the Lakers i

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5 new jersey numbers LeBron James should’ve considered

5 new jersey numbers LeBron James should’ve considered

This is the online version of our morning newsletter, The Morning Win. Subscribe to get irreverent and incisive sports stories, delivered to your mailbox every morning.

The stunning news Thursday rocked the basketball world: LeBron James will give up his No. 23 Lakers jersey — the one he wore for the entirety of a storied 2018-19 campaign that saw him miss nearly half the season as the franchise crumbled around him — to newly acquired teammate Anthony Davis.

In a frenzied whirlwind of intrigue ahead of the Lakers potentially signing a third max player and a bunch of randos and scrubs to fill out their roster, James set the NBA world afire by tweeting out a tiny numeral 6 with the praying-hands emoji — a transmission widely understood to mean that he is returning to the number he wore during his largely successful but once wildly lamented four-year tenure with the Miami Heat.

This is big, folks. It means, for one thing, that everyone who shelled out for a No. 23 LeBron James Lakers jersey will now need to either remove “JAMES” and screenprint “DAVIS” onto the back or shoulder the humiliation that comes with wearing outdated gear.

Sadly, it also demonstrates a complete lack of originality in the main basketball guy, who’d previously been known for his general avoidance of such missteps across his 16-season tenure in the NBA spotlight. C’mon, LeBron James. You already wore No. 6! Why not pick something new and fresh to show that this go-around in Los Angeles is a new and different thing from the years in Miami that brought you your first two championship rings?

Presumably a one-man industry like LeBron did not come to such a decision without input from the brands, and it’s not hard to imagine a boardroom full of sneaker executives and creatives pouring over digits to determine which ones could be manipulated into cool new logos to be emblazoned on T-shirts and sold at outrageous markups to willing human billboards. Maybe they settled on No. 6 not for LeBron’s history with the jersey but for its extreme and unforeseen popularity in their rigorous market research.

LeBron James with the Heat in 2011. (Jesse Johnson/US PRESSWIRE)

Still, LeBron should’ve chosen a different number, because he’s simply too cool and good to retrace his old steps. It’s a known fact that bands turn crappy as soon as they start consciously trying to sound like themselves instead of just making the music they’re inclined to make. If you read a music review about a legacy rock group “getting back to basics” and attempting to recapture “their classic sound,” that album sucks.

The numbers 8, 13, 22, 24, 25, 32, 33, 34, 42, 44 and 52 are retired by the Lakers, so those, obviously, are right out. 44 would’ve been OK, though. Here are five numbers LeBron could’ve picked that would be better than No. 6:

1. #82: Did you know that no one in NBA history has worn the number 82

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Anthony Davis gave up a $4 million bonus to help the Lakers and fans on Twitter believe it’s part of a grand conspiracy

Anthony Davis gave up a $4 million bonus to help the Lakers and fans on Twitter believe it’s part of a grand conspiracy

Anthony Davis is waiving his $4 million trade kicker, according to ESPN.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers were “scrambling to reshape the parameters” of the trade after it was announced because of a lack of cap space.

Now it seems they’ve figured it out.

The trade, which formerly included just the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Orleans Pelicans, now includes a third team — the Washington Wizards. The Lakers will send a 2022 second-round pick to the Wizards, and the Wizards will send the Pelicans cash.

While the trade has been agreed to, it does not become official until July 6, when the league’s transaction embargo is lifted.

As a result, the Lakers will be able to pursue a max-contract free agent with $32 million to spend toward completing a “Big Thr

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Report: Davis waiving $4M trade kicker, Lakers to have max slot – theScore

Report: Davis waiving $4M trade kicker, Lakers to have max slot – theScore

It appears the Los Angeles Lakers will be able to make a major signing when free agency begins.

Anthony Davis is waiving his $4-million trade kicker in his move to Los Angeles, league sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Davis’ decision – in conjunction with an agreement with the Washington Wizards – will leave the Lakers with $32 million in cap space this offseason, enabling them to sign a max player or divide the money up among multiple players.

Los Angeles cleared money by dealing Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones to the Wizards, which made the Davis trade with the New Orleans Pelicans a three-team deal, league sources told ESPN’s Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe.

Meanwhile, Washington will r

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Lakers Trade Mo Wagner, Isaac Bonga, Jemerrio Jones to Wizards, Free Up Enough Cap Space for Max Contract – Def Pen

Lakers Trade Mo Wagner, Isaac Bonga, Jemerrio Jones to Wizards, Free Up Enough Cap Space for Max Contract – Def Pen
Mo Wagner
Mo Wagner was sparsely utilized by the Lakers in his rookie season. (Gary A. Vasquez/USAToday Sports)

The Los Angeles Lakers have finally capitalized on their lack of players under contract next season and have now gained even more flexibility under the salary cap following their latest move.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers have offloaded three contracts they had been seeking to move all offseason. LA will trade Mo Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones to the Washington Wizards, setting themselves up with the ability to go out and sign a max player in free agency if they wish.

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Lakers Rumors: Latest on Kawhi Leonard and Post-Anthony Davis Trade Plans

Lakers Rumors: Latest on Kawhi Leonard and Post-Anthony Davis Trade Plans
New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) participates in warm ups before an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, Monday, March 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

All eyes remain on the Los Angeles Lakers as a triumphant front office next turns its attention to carving out a nice supporting cast for the duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. 

Or add another superstar, of course. 

This is the Lakers, so the expectation remains the superstar duo and front office could still lure another max-type player to town, such as Kawhi Leonard, then worry about actually filling out the rest of the roster. 

All the chips seem to be falling into place, too, with Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reporting Davis waived his $4 million trade kicker, meaning the Lakers have enough wiggle room to add another max player. The latest rumors only add more weight to the idea. 

      

Kawhi Leonard

Ben Margot/Associated Press

It turns out the Lakers should at least get a meet with Leonard. 

Leonard declined his player option with the Toronto Raptors and is at least doing his due diligence. And even if it doesn’t seem like any team could rip him away from the champions, the Lakers will at least apparently have a shot at trying. 

Wojnarowski reported the Raptors will always get a final shot at Leonard in any scenario, but he is visiting with both Los Angeles teams.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports added more: 

“Leonard intends to grant the Lakers and the Clippers meetings when free agency opens on June 30, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The meetings would be held in Los Angeles, sources said. Leonard, who declined his $21.3 million player option to become an unrestricted free agent, plans to meet with a handful of teams—including the Raptors—before making a decision about his future, sources said.”

At this point, Leonard doesn’t need much of an introduction. The two-time NBA Finals MVP is still only about to be 28 years old and put up a career-best 26.6 points per game in Toronto last year while shooting 49.6 percent from the floor and 37.1 percent from deep, never mind the usual two-way elite play. 

The “how” of a fit on the court with LeBron and Davis is something everyone will figure out later. He’d help the instant-contention idea right now and make the post-LeBron era smoother. But Leonard will have to decide whether he wants to join a “superteam” or if he’d prefer one of the other two locales. 

     

D’Angelo Russell and M

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Look: Map Shows LeBron James, Kevin Durant Are NBA’s Most Hated Players

Look: Map Shows LeBron James, Kevin Durant Are NBA’s Most Hated Players
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) talks to Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018, in Oakland, Calif. The Lakers won 127-101. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Tony Avelar/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durant find themselves constantly in the spotlight, and as it turns out, they are the two most hated players in basketball.

At least according to Twitter.

SportsInsider.com (h/t Drew Costley of SFGate.com) analyzed more than 100,000 tweets in the two weeks following the 2019 NBA Finals, diving into all of the tweets filled with “hating” or “disliking” players. And in the end, James and Durant were the two primary targets of the haters:

James claimed “victory” in a league-high 25 states, with Durant not far behind with 17 states. Meanwhile, Kyrie Irving (five states), Anthony Davis (two states) and James Harden (one state) also found themselves on the map.

While James will go down as one

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The Lakers made 2 huge moves in a matter of hours that set them up perfectly to add another big star

The Lakers made 2 huge moves in a matter of hours that set them up perfectly to add another big star

The Los Angeles Lakers are staying active in the NBA offseason.

After starting with a splash, trading a king’s ransom to the New Orleans Pelicans to bring Anthony Davis to the team, the Lakers made two critical moves on Thursday that put them in position to add another superstar when free agency begins on Sunday.

First, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Zach Lowe, and Bobby Marks, the Lakers added a third team — the Washington Wizards — to the Anthony Davis trade. The deal will now send the contracts of Mo Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones to the Wizards, freeing up millions for the Lakers to spend on another star.

In the same report, ESPN said Davis would be waiving the $4 million “trade kicker” — basically a bonus — that he was entitled to after being traded from New Orleans to Los Angeles.

With free agency set to begin on Sunday, it was initially unclear in the immediate wake of the Davis trade whether or not the Lakers would have enough cap space to chase another player demanding a max contract.

Read more: There is a funky timing complication to the Anthony Davis trade that

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Jalen Rose reacts to the JR Smith-Carmelo Anthony to the Lakers rumors | Jalen & Jacoby – ESPN

Jalen Rose reacts to the JR Smith-Carmelo Anthony to the Lakers rumors | Jalen & Jacoby – ESPN

Jalen Rose reacts to the rumors about JR Smith and Carmelo Anthony joining the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Sources: LeBron James Giving Anthony Davis The No. 23 With Lakers

Sources: LeBron James Giving Anthony Davis The No. 23 With Lakers

LOS ANGELES — Lakers superstar LeBron James is gifting Anthony Davis his No. 23, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The league has been notified of the pending jersey change, sources said.

Davis, 26, has worn No. 23 throughout his entire seven-year NBA career as a member of the New Orleans Pelicans.



The Lakers agreed to acquire Davis on June 15 in a blockbuster deal that sent a number of assets to New Orleans.

James is laying the groundwork to make his soon-to-be new teammate as comfortable as possible, and the six-time All-Star was extremely grateful of the gesture, sources said.

James has worn No. 6 with the Miami Heat and No. 23 with the Lakers a

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The Celtics are reportedly close to landing All-Star Kemba Walker and it would create a domino effect felt across the NBA free agency

The Celtics are reportedly close to landing All-Star Kemba Walker and it would create a domino effect felt across the NBA free agency

NBA free agency doesn’t officially begin until Sunday, but teams across the league are already jockeying for position to sign the superstars on the market.

On Thursday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski dropped the first of what should be many “Woj Bombs” to come: The Boston Celtics have emerged as the favorites to sign the Charlotte Hornets All-Star guard Kemba Walker.

Walker “is expected to be offered a four-year, $141 million contract from the Celtics — a deal that he’s increasingly likely to accept, league sources say,” Wojnarowski wrote.

Walker is eligible for a supermax deal, with his being named to an All-NBA list this past season. He has also been rumored as a potential third piece to join LeBron James and Anthony Davis in a new “Big Three” for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Read more: The 17 biggest questions facing teams as we head into what could be the wildest NBA summe

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Report: LeBron Gives Up Jersey Number so Anthony Davis Can Wear No. 23 With Lakers

Report: LeBron Gives Up Jersey Number so Anthony Davis Can Wear No. 23 With Lakers

James has yet to pick his jersey number for 2019-20.

LeBron James will give up his No. 23 with the Lakers in 2019-20, which allows Anthony Davis to wear the iconic number, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes

James has not announced

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Could D’Angelo Russell Return to the Lakers? | Open Floor Podcast

Could D’Angelo Russell Return to the Lakers? | Open Floor Podcast

NBA free agency will begin on Sunday and the rumor mill has been spinning since the end of the Finals. With Kyrie Irving likely headed to Brooklyn to play for the Nets, D’Angelo Russell might have to find a new home. Russell was shipped out of Los Angeles after his relationship with Magic Johnson and the team soured but with LeBron James and Anthony Davis now present with the Lakers, would it make sense for the All-Star to reunite with his former club?

The Washington Post‘s Ben Golliver and Andrew Sharp of the Open Floor podcast discuss Russell’s free agency options.

(Listen to the latest Open Floor podcast here. The following transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.)


Andrew Sharp: Adrian Wojnarowski said he thinks one focus for the Lakers will be the point guard position and they can get involved with D’Angelo Russell. He said Russell would have an open mind to return to Los Angeles. So what do you think of that Ben? You’re not the world’s biggest D’Angelo fan but to me it makes some sense. If they can’t get Kawhi Leonard and if they can’t get Kyrie Irving, what do you think of that idea?

Ben Golliver: I think D’Angelo Russell and his people should go back and watch any highlights of LeBron James over the last 15 years to get a sense for what his role would be on the team. Because this guy seems to love dribbling the ball and stepping into mid-range jumpers off balance late in games and trying to play the hero and his job is going to be to stand in the corner and watch LeBron do whatever LeBron wants to do.

So I think from a basketball fit standpoint, it’d be terrible for him now. I think that some of the drama from the Lakers—they’re already trying to mend those fences and Magic Johnson said a few things these last couple days about ‘hey you know he’s a d

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Updates From Bond 25, Swamp Thing, and More

Updates From Bond 25, Swamp Thing, and More
Bond Behind Blinds.
Image: MGM

Morning SpoilersIf there’s news about upcoming movies and television you’re not supposed to know, you’ll find it in here.  

Zachary Levi could be returning to the realm of spy-fi. LeBron James confirms production has begun on Space Jam 2. The Penny Dreadful spinoff City of Angels sets a bunch of new cast members. Plus, on set with the new Bond movie, what’s to come on Swamp Thing and iZombie, and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven heads to the small screen. Spoilers get!

Spy Guys

Deadline reports Zachary Levi has signed on to star in a new spy-comedy from director Jeff Tomsic (Tag) writer Adam Sztykiel (Rampage) and produced by The Lonely Island. According to the outlet, Levi plays “a super spy in the vein of Jason Bourne and Ethan Hunt who gets in a jam on an impossible mission and can only rely on the help of his moronic college friends who happen to be with him to work it out.”


Bond 25

James Bond returns to the Caribbean in an official set video from Jamaica.


The Eternals

HN Entertainment reports the production title for Marvel’s The Eternals is “Sack Lunch,” a reference to a fictitious film from the ‘90s sitcom, Seinfeld.


Space Jam 2

Elsewhere, LeBron James confirmed on Twitter production has officially begun on Space Jam 2.


Midsommar

Ari Aster’s Midsommar has been rated R by the MPAA for “ritualistic violence and grisly images, strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language.” You can check out our early, non-spoiler review here.


Untitled Disney+ Fantasy Movie

THR reports that LaKeith Stanfield and Olivia Cooke are both in talks to join a currently untitled Disney+ fairytale movie from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’s Susan Johnson, based on a script by Black List writer Cat Vasko.


Penny Dreadful: City of Angels

Michael Gladis, Lorenza Izzo, Adam Rodriguez, Thomas Kretschmann, Dominic Sherwood, and Ethan Peck have joined the cast of the Penny Dreadful sequel series. Gladis is said to play Councilman Charlton Townsend, “the ambitious head of the L.A. City Council’s Transportation Committee” while Izzo has been cast as the supernatural Santa Muerte, “the Angel of Holy Death and sister of the charismatic demoness, Magda played by Natalie Dormer). Rodriguez will play “righteous union leader” Raul Vega, while Kretschmann is Richard Goss, “an aristocratic and mysterious German architect with grand plans for the future of Los Angeles.” Sherwood will play Kurt, “the chauffer and bodyguard for Richard Goss” while Peck, finally, is Herman Ackermann “the charismatic second-in-command at the German-American Bund.”

[Deadline]


Station Eleven

Screen Rant reports Maniac’s Patrick Somerville is now producing a ten-episode miniseries based on Emily St. John Mandel’s post-apocalyptic novel, Station Eleven. The story concerns “survivors of a devastating flu as they attempt to rebuild and reimagine the world anew while holding on to the best of what’s been lost.”


Legion

David wages war…and that’s pretty much it, in the synopsis for “Chapter 24″ airing July 22.

David wages war.

Written by Olivia Dufault and Ben Winters;

Directed by Arkasha Stevenson

[Spoiler TV]


Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing rescues Virginia Madsen, then meets a somewhat schlubbier incarnation of the Phantom Stranger in images from this week’s episode, “Drive All Night.” Head over to Bloody-Disgusting for more.


iZombie

Liv gains a penchant for trenchcoats after eating the brain of a private eye in images from “Night and the Zombie City,” the July 11 episode of iZombie. More at KSiteTV.


The 100

Finally, things are about to ge

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Lakers Rumors: Latest Buzz on Pursuit of D’Angelo Russell, Kawhi Leonard & More

Lakers Rumors: Latest Buzz on Pursuit of D’Angelo Russell, Kawhi Leonard & More
Brooklyn Nets' D'Angelo Russell in action during the second half in Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers, Monday, April 15, 2019, in Philadelphia. 76ers won 145-123. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Chris Szagola/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers are all-in on maximizing their window with LeBron James. If this wasn’t evident when they first signed him last offseason, it became clear when they traded for Anthony Davis this offseason.

The big question for the Lakers now is how they can further improve their roster in free agency. They have holes to fill after trading the likes of Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram in order to acquire Davis. They would presumably like to add a third star player to the roster as well.

Brooklyn Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell currently appears to be at the top of the Lakers’ wish list. According to Fred Roggin of LA AM 570, Los Angeles is set to meet with him:

Russell makes sense for a couple of reasons. He can fill the void at point guard left by Ball, and he can add a bit of three-point shooting to the offensive end of the court—he made 36.8 percent of his attempts last season—something the Lakers desperately need around James and Davis.

There’s a level of familiarity with Russell too, as he was drafted by the Lakers back

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Celtics Rumors: Latest Buzz on Kemba Walker, Al Horford and More

Celtics Rumors: Latest Buzz on Kemba Walker, Al Horford and More
Kemba Walker may be in the Celtics' offseason plans.

Kemba Walker may be in the Celtics’ offseason plans.Duane Burleson/Associated Press

Everything was set up for the Boston Celtics to dominate the Eastern Conference this season.

When LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Celtics had their full complement coming back, led by All-Star guard Kyrie Irving and the return of Gordon Hayward to (nearly) full fitness, it seemed the path was wide open for Boston.

However, reality turned out to be a a slap in the face for the Green, as they were never more than lukewarm in the regular season and finished fourth in the Eastern Conference standings.

After a sweep of the Indiana Pacers in the opening round of the playoffs and a blowout of the Milwaukee Bucks on the road in Game 1 of their second-round series, the Celtics fell flatter than three-day-old ginger ale.

Milwaukee won the next four games and sent the Celtics home with a whimper. There were plenty of complaints during the season about Irving not being the leader they needed and Hayward having a difficult time readjusting following his gruesome ankle injury.

Few teams were more disappointing than Boston, and with free agency approaching, it appears players such as Irving, Al Horford and others could leave.

While those are key issues, the team will have money to spend on free agents if “The Departed, Part II” plays out in Boston. One of those free agents could be superstar Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets.

Marc

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Lakers Rumors: Execs See Carmelo Anthony Joining LeBron James, Anthony Davis

Lakers Rumors: Execs See Carmelo Anthony Joining LeBron James, Anthony Davis
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 20:  LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Carmelo Anthony #7 of the Houston Rockets wait for and inbound at Staples Center on October 20, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Harry How/Getty Images

NBA executives reportedly believe the Los Angeles Lakers are the “most likely destination” for free-agent forward Carmelo Anthony.

On Tuesday, Ian Begley of SNY.tv reported Anthony showed “interest” in rejoining the New York Knicks, but that possibility faded when free-agent target Kevin Durant suffered an Achilles injury. With the Knicks’ immediate future now less certain, joining LeBron James and Anthony Davis in L.A. is the top potential spot for Melo.

Anthony’s NBA future hinges on his willingness to accept a lesser role and then finding a way to excel without playing 30-plus minutes per night.

In April 2018, he shot down the idea of coming off the bench, a stance that ultimately led to his trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“I’m not sacrificing no bench role,” he told reporters at the time. “So that’s out of the question.”

The 10-time All-Star selection received limited interest after taking a buyout from the Atlanta Hawks last summer. He eventually accepted a one-year contract from the Houston Rockets.

Anthony made just 10 appearances for the team and struggled while mostly coming off the b

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Zion Williamson Is The Choosing One

Zion Williamson Is The Choosing One

The 1979 entries of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird into the N.B.A. were breathlessly awaited, given the prefabricated rivalry they developed while stalking each other along the way to the N.C.A.A. title game. Patrick Ewing, the prize of the first lottery in 1985, was hailed as a Knicks’ savior. At that point, the team’s championship drought had reached 12 years. Now it’s at 46, and counting.

For his part, Williamson suggested he would have been undaunted by New York had the Knicks, with their league-worst record, landed him.

“I don’t try to live

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Guillermo goes to NBA Media Day 2019, attempts to recruit players for his own team

Guillermo goes to NBA Media Day 2019, attempts to recruit players for his own team

Another year, another trip to the NBA Media Day for Guillermo.

This time there was no LeBron James for him to interview, sadly, so Jimmy Kimmel’s co-st

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A 14-year-old challenged LeBron James to a shooting contest and pushed the Lakers superstar to the brink

A 14-year-old challenged LeBron James to a shooting contest and pushed the Lakers superstar to the brink

LeBron James is not playing in the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.

But while James might not be playing for a title this year, he’s still finding plenty of places to stay competitive on the basketball court. Over Memorial Day weekend, James showed that he was still ready to put up some shots with the pressure on, accepting a 14-year-olds challenge to a shooting contest.

The young player in question was Gabe Cupps, who is a teammate of LeBron “Bronny” James Jr. on the North Coast Blue Chips AAU team.

Read more: LEBRON JAMES: How the king of the NBA spends his millions

Cupps challenged James to a three-point shooting contest and drilled three straight shots before missing his first bucket — an impressive showing from a young player putting the spotlight

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LeBron James won’t be in the NBA Finals for the first time in 9 years, but he is super excited about Taco Tuesday

LeBron James won’t be in the NBA Finals for the first time in 9 years, but he is super excited about Taco Tuesday

The NBA Finals begin on Thursday, and for the first time since 2010, LeBron James will not be playing.

It’s the end of one of the most dominant runs by a single player in the history of the league, with James missing the opportunity to even get back to the NBA Finals after the Lakers failed to make the postseason after a disappointing year.

But while the Raptors and Warriors prepare to compete for the trophy, James doesn’t seem to feel like he’s missing out on much. Rather than sulking at t

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Possible End of Warriors Dynasty Proves Exactly How Unlucky LeBron James’ Career Has Been – 12up

Possible End of Warriors Dynasty Proves Exactly How Unlucky LeBron James’ Career Has Been – 12up

After being unable to complete the NBA Championship three-peat and losing two of their best three players to injury, the Golden State Warriors have reached a possible end to their dynasty.

Coincidentally, this is all happening in the absence of LeBron James, proving just how unlucky he has been throughout his career.

From the start of his career, James has become accustomed to carrying teams either by himself or with little help from those around him. And while carrying those teams, he’s had to face All-Star stacked opponents.

This became especially apparent when LeBron faced some of the best teams this league has ever seen in the Golden State Warriors.

These teams started with Steph Curry and Klay

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Lionel Messi: Barcelona forward tops Forbes top 100 highest paid athletes

Lionel Messi: Barcelona forward tops Forbes top 100 highest paid athletes
Messi has scored 603 goals in 687 games for Barcelona

Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi is the world’s highest paid athlete, earning $127m (£99.8m) in the past 12 months, according to the Forbes top 100 ranking.

Juventus’s Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo is second on $109m (£85.6m) with Paris St-Germain’s Brazil forward Neymar in third on $105m (£82.5m).

Last year’s highest earner, boxer Floyd Mayweather, has dropped off the list.

Serena Williams is the only woman in the top 100, earning $29.2m (£22.9m).

Five-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and former heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua are the highest earning British athletes, sitting at 13th on $55m (£43.2m).

The American bu

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Anthony Davis has been traded to the Lakers and LeBron James

Anthony Davis has been traded to the Lakers and LeBron James

The New Orleans Pelicans have agreed to a trade to send Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

“The Pelicans have agreed to a deal to trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first-round picks – including the No. 4 overall in 2019 Draft, league sources tell ESPN,” Wojnarowski wrote on Twitter.

Twitter/WojESPN

On the surface, the trade looks like a big win for the Pelicans. They reportedly wanted an All-Star player, a young player with All-Star potential, and two first-round picks in exchange for Davis.

Read more: The clock

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LeBron James’ Son Pulls A Dad Move In Spectacular Chase-Down Block

LeBron James’ Son Pulls A Dad Move In Spectacular Chase-Down Block

In a defensive stop Sunday reminiscent of his father’s NBA Finals heroics, the younger James chased down a fast-breaking opponent and leaped to block his layup from behind. (Watch the clip below.)

Sure, the circumstances were very different. The 14-year-old “Bronny,” as he is known, was competing in an AAU age-group game. His pop spectacularly rejected a sure 2 points by the Golden State

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Toronto Raptors Eliminate Bucks for First Trip to the N.B.A. Finals

Toronto Raptors Eliminate Bucks for First Trip to the N.B.A. Finals

Kawhi Leonard had 27 points and 17 rebounds, leading the Toronto Raptors into the N.B.A. finals for the first time with a 100-94 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night.

The Raptors overcame a 15-point deficit and won the series in six games. They will host the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the N.B.A. finals on Thursday night.

Pascal Siakam scored 18 points, Kyle Lowry had 17, and Fred VanVleet had 14 for the Raptors, who used a 26-3 run late in the third quarter and early in the fourth to turn the game in their favor and reach the championship round after having repeatedly fallen short against Cleveland.

They needed something more to get further, and they found it the acquisition of Leonard, the most valuable player of the 2014 finals, who was acquired from San Antonio and has carried the Raptors in this postseason.

“He’s the best player in the league, and we’re happy he’s in Toronto,” said Masai Ujiri, the Raptors’ president.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 21 points and 11 rebounds, but the bid b

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LeBron James’ role in the Anthony Davis trade talks had a brutal impact on his Lakers teammates

LeBron James’ role in the Anthony Davis trade talks had a brutal impact on his Lakers teammates

The Los Angeles Lakers season went off the rails when LeBron James went down with a groin injury on Christmas and when Anthony Davis requested a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans.

With the team spiraling with its best player sidelined, the trade rumors involving nearly everyone on the roster only added drama.

The optics also didn’t look great for James when he created some controversy by saying he would love to play with Davis.

There was a perception that James was trying to orchestrate a trade for Davis.
Tyler Kaufman/AP

Then Davis requested a trade through his agency, Klutch Sports, which is run by Rich Paul, James’ agent and childhood friend. It appeared James was trying to help facilitate a Davis trade, and it hurt the Lakers’ chemistry.

Read more: The aftermath of the Anthony Davis trade saga has turned ugly for the Lakers and the Pelicans

Speaking with Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher, Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo said James’ supposed involvement hurt the team.

“Every guy on our team, LeBron was their favorite player growing up,” Rondo told Bucher. “Ever

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Raptors forward Leonard named NBA Finals Most Valuable Player

OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) – Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard joined elite company on Thursday by winning the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award for the second time after his team’s championship victory over the Golden State Warriors.

Jun 13, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) and Toronto Raptors center Serge Ibaka (9) celebrate with the Larry O’Brien Trophy after the Golden State Warriors in game six of the 2019 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Leonard, who also won the award in 2014 while playing for the San Antonio Spurs, joins basketball greats Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James as the only players in NBA history to win Finals MVP with two different franchises.

“This is what I play basketball for,” said Leonard “This is what I work out for.”

Playing in his first season with Toronto, Leonard averaged 28.5 points during the best-of-seven Finals, leading Canada’s only NBA

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‘Just the beginning’: LeBron James welcomes Anthony Davis to Lakers

‘Just the beginning’: LeBron James welcomes Anthony Davis to Lakers


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SportsPulse: It’s the trade we’ve all been waiting for and one that will shape this offseason and the NBA landscape for years to come. It also makes the Lakers an instant contender in the West.
USA TODAY

Finally, Anthony Davis is headed to Laker Land

The New Orleans Pelicans agreed to trade the superstar big man Saturday in a blockbuster deal, ending months of speculation and shaking up the NBA landscape.

And just like that, the Los Angeles Lakers, who have missed the postseason for a franchise-record six consecutive seasons, are on the path to title contention yet again. And LeBron James couldn’t be happier.

James, 34, took to Instagram Saturday night to welcome his new teammate. 

“AD on da way!! @antdavis23. Let’s get it bro! Just the beginning.. #LakeShow,” James wrote as the caption to an edited photo of himself standing next to Davis on the court — both wearing Lakers jerseys. 

Davis — who is represented by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group, who also represents James — had been linked to the Lakers since he requested a trade from the Pelicans in January, but a deal never came to fruition. 

James told ESPN earlier in the season that it would be “amazing” to play alongside Davis — comments that frustrated some small-market general managers across the NBA.

Still, James got his wish.

In Davis, the Lakers will add a top-tier talent and formidable defensive presence who has career averages of 23.7 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks. The 26-year-old has one year remai

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LeBron James calls for ‘swift action’ against Warriors minority owner who shoved Kyle Lowry during NBA Finals

LeBron James calls for ‘swift action’ against Warriors minority owner who shoved Kyle Lowry during NBA Finals

Game 3 of the NBA Finals was forced to pause early in the fourth quarter on Wednesday night after a fan sitting courtside shoved Kyle Lowry, who had leaped into the crowd to chase after a loose ball.

On Thursday, Axios reported the fan who shoved Lowry wasn’t just any fan sitting courtside but that it was Mark Stevens — a billionaire venture capitalist who also owns a minority stake in the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors later confirmed his identity.

Read more: Fan who shoved Kyle Lowry from courtside seats at the NBA Finals is a billionaire investor and part-owner of the Warriors

On Instagram, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James called out Stevens for his actions, echoing Lowry’s sentiment that there is no place for such behavior in the NBA.

“There’s absolutely no place in our BEAUTIFUL game for that AT ALL,” James wrote. “There’s so many issues here. When you sit courtside you absolutely know what comes with being on the floor and if you don’t know it’s on the back on the ticket itself that states the guidelines. But he himself being a fan but more importantly PART-OWNER of the Warriors knew exactly what he was doing which was so

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LeBron James’ agent reportedly complained to the NBA commissioner that Luke Walton was not the right guy to coach the Lakers

LeBron James’ agent reportedly complained to the NBA commissioner that Luke Walton was not the right guy to coach the Lakers

LeBron James’ agent, friend, and business partner, Rich Paul, reportedly made several people aware, including NBA commissioner Adam Silver, that he did not believe Luke Walton was the right coach for the Los Angeles Lakers.

According to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, Paul met with Silver for lunch in November. During their meeting, Paul suddenly spoke up to tell Silver that he did not think Walton should coach James and the Lakers.

According to Holmes, Silver “shrugged” off the comment and asked Paul who he thought should coach the Lakers. Paul reportedly told Silver he thought ex-Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue would be right for the job.

Holmes also reported that Paul told people, including journalists, through “back-channels” that he didn’t support Walton.

As Holmes noted, it’s not unusual for agents to make their voices heard (often on behalf of their clients) on team matters, but a

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LeBron James may not be in NBA Finals, but he is making an impact

LeBron James may not be in NBA Finals, but he is making an impact


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SportsPulse: If the Warriors hope to rebound in Game 2, there’s one Raptors player they really need to contain, and it’s not Kawhi Leonard or Pascal Siakam. It’s Marc Gasol.
USA TODAY

TORONTO — When Game 1 of the NBA Finals tipped off Thursday, a superstar was missing from the league’s marquee event for the first time in almost a decade.

LeBron James. 

As the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors commenced play, James’ absence may have gone unnoticed in Scotiabank Arena but probably not in TV and NBA executive offices.

James was rendered a spectator for the first time since 2010 — that’s eight consecutive Finals — after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2005.

When James left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Los Angeles Lakers last summer, it opened the door in the Eastern Conference for a different team to advance. It was the Raptors who capitalized, earning their first trip to the Finals in their 24-year existence.

Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry couldn’t even say James’ name during Tuesday’s NBA Finals media day. “I’ve run into one guy for a while. We were given the opportunity – he left – and we beat a really good team in Milwaukee.”

The Warriors faced James four consecutive times in the Finals, losing to the Cavaliers in 2016. 

“It’s weird not playing against him,” Warriors guard Shaun Livingston said. “For so long, he was the hurdle we had to get over. It’s weird being somewhere else other than Cleveland in the Finals.”

It’s a good bet the NBA is trying to assess how James’ absence will impact TV ratings –which have dipped during this year’s playoffs – and how his potentially extended absence from the Finals has reshaped the narrative.

Meanwhile, fans have watched as other players have made headlines.

“I haven’t thought about it at all to be honest with you,” Charles Barkley, an analyst for TNT, told USA TODAY Sports before Game 1. “No disrespect to LeBron. Everybody knows he’s a great player.

“(But) Kawhi Leonard and Steph Curry, their emergence, that to me says it all. Go back to the beginning of the playoffs. It started with Giannis (Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks), the second round had Kawhi and then you thought Portland had a chance to get to the Finals when Kevin Durant gets hurt. Steph goes crazy.

“There have been some amazing story lines, and that’s all I’ve been thinking about.”



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SportsPulse: The Raptors quieted the experts who felt this would be a quick series by beating the Warriors in Game 1. Now we have to ask: Is Golden State desperate to get Kevin Durant back?
USA TODAY

Viewership down for playoffs

The NBA is armed with data showing this hockey-mad country actually cares about basketball, too. According to Canada TV ratings supplied by Numeris:

► More than one-third of TV viewers in Canada watched Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Raptors and Bucks.

► The 2018-19 NBA season was the most-watched NBA regular season in Canada, with viewership up 29% year-over-year across Sportsnet and TSN.

►Game 1 of the NBA Finals was the most-watched NBA game ever in Canada with a total audience of 3.5 million viewers across three networks, the NBA announced Friday evening. 

Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals between the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors delivered a combined average audience of 3.5 million viewers across simulcast coverage on Sportsnet National+, SportsnetOne+ and RDS+, making it the most-watched NBA game ever in Canada.

But the TV audience so far in the playoffs on ESPN, TNT and NBA TV has averaged 3.95 million viewers, a 16% dip from 2018 over the same period, according to Niel

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NBA Rumors: Kyrie Irving wants to play with Anthony Davis, and someone close to LeBron James thinks Irving is… – Silver Screen and Roll

NBA Rumors: Kyrie Irving wants to play with Anthony Davis, and someone close to LeBron James thinks Irving is… – Silver Screen and Roll

Now that the Los Angeles Lakers have gotten their blockbuster trade to pair Anthony Davis with LeBron James out of the way, they can move forward and figure out what other star they’re going to try to bring to L.A. to join them, and there are increasing signs that Kyrie Irving might be a possibility.

Irving and the Lakers have been linked a few times, with reports that Irving has spoken to people about playing for L.A., and other rumors that James is already recruiting him.

While the Brooklyn Nets still appear to be the favorites for Irving, it may not be safe to rule out the Lakers just yet, especially after Saturday’s trade for Davis, according to David Aldridge of The Athletic (emphasis mine):

If Davis waives his $4.7 million trade kicker, the Lakers will be able to add another star in free agency on a max contract. Whether it’s Kemba Walker, whom the New York Times’ Marc Stein reported as a potential Lakers target, or Kyrie Irving, whom sources have maintained for months wants to play with Davis, someone dynamic will likely be on the ball next season in L.A. (Cap guru Albert Nahmad pointed out Saturday that the Lakers might wait 30 days after the June 20 draft to officially execute the trade so Davis could keep his trade bonus.)

According to Bobby Marks of ESPN, the Lakers will have either $27.8 million in cap space, or $32.5, depending on when they finalize the deal for Davis, and if Davis keeps or waives his $4 million trade kicker. The latter number is only a hair under the max contract that Irving is eligible for, meaning that he might not have to sacrifice much financially to leave the Boston Celtics for L.A., or at least not compared to leaving for any other team, as Boston can still offer him an extra year and more money annually.

But all signs point to Irving being done in Boston, and according to Sam Amick (also of The Athletic), there are some in the know who think that Irving joining the Nets may not be a foregone conclusion (again, emphasis mine):

And now, with the Lakers still capable of creating enough cap room for another max-salary player in time for the start of free agency on June 30, there’s a very real possibilit

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WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The biggest NBA Draft busts of all time

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The biggest NBA Draft busts of all time

If the NBA draft has taught us anything over the years, it’s that the whole thing is a crapshoot.

While some players who seemed destined for greatness live

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The Warriors Finally Meet Their Match: A Raptors Team With Their Playbook

The Warriors Finally Meet Their Match: A Raptors Team With Their Playbook

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors openly admitted it when these N.B.A. finals began. The two-time defending champions said they didn’t know the Toronto Raptors as intimately as they would have liked at the start of a series this big.

“Not very familiar with this team” were the words Klay Thompson used after Golden State’s Game 1 defeat in Toronto. Warriors Coach Steve Kerr said as much even before Game 1 tipped off, noting that the Warriors “hardly know” the Raptors.

They know now.

The Warriors are all too aware, four games into these finals, that Kawhi Leonard is better than ever. It’s clear that the rest of the Raptors, under a sharp rookie coach in Nick Nurse, have taken on a good bit of their star’s unflappability — and were all ready for this moment with that withering defense they play.

Suddenly facing a three-games-to-one deficit in a best-of-seven series, Golden State won’t be overly concerned by the smothering “We the North” passion that surely awaits in Toronto for Monday night’s Game 5 at Scotiabank Arena.

For the Warriors are facing a team that believes it is Warriors North. That is the real issue.

That and the Warriors’ health woes, which remain significant.

“I give them the credit,” Kerr said Friday night, after Leonard’s near-flawless Game 4 (36 points, 12 rebounds and 0 turnovers in 40 minutes) led Toronto to a second straight win at Oracle Arena. “They have just played really well offensively, and they’ve got a lot of threats out there, a lot of shooters, a lot of passers.”

Kerr could easily point to the injury absence of Kevin Durant as the true culprit, along with the fact that so many of his regulars — Thompson, Andre Iguodala, DeMarcus Cousins and Kevon Looney to name four — were playing hurt in what history tells us was a must-win game. One suspects that a clutch of pundits will do that for Kerr and slap an asterisk on the end of this series if the Raptors can clinch the first title in franchise history on Monday.

Don’t expect the Warrio

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Warriors embrace a new NBA Finals challenge with Raptors

Warriors embrace a new NBA Finals challenge with Raptors

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — After four straight years of facing LeBron James and Cleveland in the NBA Finals, this feels refreshing for the two-time defending champion Warriors.

“For sure,” Shaun Livingston said with a smile of taking on the upstart Raptors, “for sure, we’ll leave it right there.”

Off to Toronto, finally a fresh team that’s tops from the East. Golden State is embracing every part of this new-look — well, the other half of it, at least — finals.

“I love it,” Stephen Curry said Monday following Golden State’s first game-planning practice ahead of the series opener Thursday night in Toronto.

The Warriors coaches gathered Sunday to prep once they had an opponent, with the players taking a day off. Golden State is well-rested after wrapping up its Western Conference finals sweep of Portland on May 20 — giving the Warriors nine full days off between games.

Toronto won the Eastern Conference finals with a Game 6 victory against Milwaukee on Saturday.

This certainly isn’t the familiar Cavaliers.

“That was the exception. This is more the rule,” coach Steve Kerr said. “You’re not supposed to play the same team every year. So that was a special era, a special rivalry and we’re thrilled to be back. Cleveland has moved on and their team has broken up and with LeBron leaving the East, things were wide open.

“It was a hell of a ride through that East playoffs for Philly, Boston, Milwaukee, Toronto, all great teams, quality of play was something to watch. Toronto obviously emerged as the best team of the East and well deserved. The scene the other night was amazing to watch, too. The fans in Toronto have been amazing over the years. I’ve compared that arena to Oracle many times. When I was in broadcasting both the Raptors and the Warriors were

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Watch A Kid Challenge LeBron James In A 3-Point-Shooting Contest

Watch A Kid Challenge LeBron James In A 3-Point-Shooting Contest

NBA great LeBron James has certainly faced higher stakes when it comes to making clutch baskets ― but getting challenged by a kid to a 3-point-shooting contest still left him open to ridicule if he lost.

Gabe Cupps, an Amateur Athletic Union teammate of James’ 14-year-old son, LeBron James Jr., called out King James for a duel beyond the arc ― and the king accepted.

In a clip James posted Sunday, the two traded buckets until a winner emerged.

“Told him about a certain switch I can hit when needed and he didn’t believe me,” the victorious James wrote on Instagram. “Well he found out the hard way!”

The Lakers star also called Cupps one of the “best shooters” and

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LeBron James Demands ‘Swift Action’ Against Warriors Owner Who Shoved Kyle Lowry

LeBron James Demands ‘Swift Action’ Against Warriors Owner Who Shoved Kyle Lowry

LeBron James called for “swift action” against a Golden State Warriors minority owner who shoved Toronto Raptors player Kyle Lowry during game three of the NBA Finals Wednesday night. 

The Los Angeles Lakers star and philanthropist wrote a lengthy post on Instagram Thursday, denouncing the recent behavior of Mark Stephens, a venture capitalist who joined the team’s ownership group as an executive board member in 2013. 

“There’s absolutely no place in our BEAUTIFUL game for that AT ALL,” James wrote in a caption below a video of the incident. Stephens can be seen shoving Lowry after the Raptors guard fell into the crowd as he pursued a loose ball heading out of bounds – something considered an ordinary occurrence at NBA games. 

“When you sit courtside you absolutely know what comes with being on the floor,” James wrote before suggesting that Stephens should especially be held accountable for his actions as a part-owner.

He later added, “He knew the rules more than just the average person sitting watching the game courtside so for that Something needs to be done ASAP! A swift action for his actions.”

Stephens was escorted out of Wednesday night’s game at the Oracle Arena in Oakland after he got physical with Lowry. The Warriors later issued a statement apologizing to Lowry and the Raptors, saying Stephens’ behavior “did not reflect the high standards that we hope to exemplify as an organization.”

Later on Thursday, the Warriors and the NBA delivered a joint statement announcing that Ste

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Drake appeared to call the Warriors ‘trash’ during argument with Draymond Green after the Raptors’ big Game 1 win in the Finals

Drake appeared to call the Warriors ‘trash’ during argument with Draymond Green after the Raptors’ big Game 1 win in the Finals

The Raptors superfan Drake made sure he was heard throughout Toronto’s Game 1 win over the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals on Thursday night.

Sitting in his usual courtside seats, Drake began his trolling early, wearing the jersey of the Warriors superstar Stephen Curry’s father, Dell, who finished his career with the Raptors.

Read more: Drake trolled Stephen Curry at Game 1 of the NBA Finals by wearing Curry’s dad’s Raptors jersey

Drake continued his antics throughout the game and could regularly be spotted in the arena and on television cheering loudly, getting the crowd involved, and, on occasion, chirping in the ears of the visiting Warriors players.

But Drake’s boldest moment of the night came, unsurprisingly, after the Raptors had finally won. Once the final buzzer sounded, Drake could be seen getting into something of a heated verbal altercation with Draymond Green, with Curry looking

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Lakers Rumors: Kemba Walker and Jimmy Butler are among ‘top priorities’ in free agency, team also plans to pu… – Silver Screen and Roll

Lakers Rumors: Kemba Walker and Jimmy Butler are among ‘top priorities’ in free agency, team also plans to pu… – Silver Screen and Roll

The Los Angeles Lakers may have agreed to terms on a trade to acquire Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, but they aren’t done yet. According to multiple reports, the team still has big plans for free agency, plans that could include names like Kawhi Leonard, Kemba Walker or Jimmy Butler.

There is no scenario where the Lakers can acquire all three, obviously, but they do appear to have plans to pursue all of them and see who comes, with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports being the latest to link L.A. with Butler and Walker:

With James and Davis as the cornerstones of the franchise, the Lakers still have room to add one more star in free agency.

Charlotte guard Kemba Walker and Philadelphia forward Jimmy Butler are top priorities, sources said.

This isn’t the first we’ve heard of the Laker’s interest in Walker in the aftermath of the Davis trade, as he was almost immediately reported as a top target for the team. There have also been rumblings of the team’s interest in Butler for a while, and increasing smoke about Kyrie Irving as well. It’s almost like the Lakers — a basketball team — wants to sign good basketball players! Or something.

They actually also may want one of the best basketball players in the world, as according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the team is planning to pursue new NBA champion Kawhi Leonard as well:

To even have a shot at Walker—or any other pricey free agent—the Lakers will have to wait to officially complete this deal. If it were to go through before July 6, the Lakers wouldn’t be able to create the $32.7 million necessary to sign Walker or another max free agent, such as Kawhi Leonard, who league sources say the Lakers will pursue.

Before we get to anything else, we should address that these are two different reporters saying these things, so one saying that Walker and Butler are “top priorities” does not mean that Leonard isn’t up there just because another reporter didn’t use the same phrasing. Common sense dictates that the Lakers would li

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Obama took a small jab at Kobe Bryant while talking about Michael Jordan and the NBA Finals

Obama took a small jab at Kobe Bryant while talking about Michael Jordan and the NBA Finals

Former President Barack Obama stole a bit of the celebrity limelight away from Drake at Game 2 of the NBA Finals in Toronto on Sunday night.

While Drake was in his usual courtside seats, Obama entered the arena just before tip-off, wearing a sharp leather jacket and sitting with NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

Read more: Obama showed up for Game 2 of the NBA Finals in a sharp leather jacket that earned rave reviews

At one point while walking through the back of the arena, Obama came across ESPN’s Michael Wilbon, with whom he discussed his last time attending an NBA Finals game, and in the same breath, took a thinly veiled shot at Kobe Bryant.

“The last time I was at the Finals, Michael Jordan was playing Gary Payton,” Obama told Wilbon. “I was actually telling some young people, and I said, ‘Payton actually was one of those guys who could guard Jord

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Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens fined $500,000, barred from the team for one year after shoving Kyle Lowry in the NBA Finals

Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens fined $500,000, barred from the team for one year after shoving Kyle Lowry in the NBA Finals

The Golden State Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens has been fined $500,000 and barred from attending NBA games and team activities for one year.

The announcement was made in a joint statement from the Warriors and the NBA, which cited “pushing and directing obscene language toward” Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry during Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night.

The fracas began early in the fourth quarter when Lowry leaped into the crowd to chase after a loose ball. While he was getting up, a fan sitting courtside reached over and shoved Lowry and was later escorted from the courtside seats.

Read more: A Warriors fan shoved Kyle Lowry during an NBA Finals game, and the Raptors star wants him barred from NBA games for life

Before the identity of the fan was known, Lowry had already called for him to be barred from NBA games for life. When it was revealed that it was Stevens,

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How the Raptors built an NBA Finals team with a bold gamble and without any lottery picks

How the Raptors built an NBA Finals team with a bold gamble and without any lottery picks

The Toronto Raptors are in the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.

One year ago, this would have sounded ludicrous. Last season, after a franchise-best 59 wins, the Raptors were swept out of the playoffs by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, raising major questions about

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Obama attended Game 2 of the NBA Finals with commissioner Adam Silver and shared a moment with Drake before the game

Obama attended Game 2 of the NBA Finals with commissioner Adam Silver and shared a moment with Drake before the game

Former President Barack Obama took a different sort of international visit on Sunday, trekking up to Canada to take in Game 2 of the NBA Finals between the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors.

Obama, an avid basketball fan, sat with NBA commissioner Adam Silver, arrived just before the opening tip.

While entering the arena, he ran into Raptors superfan, Drake, and exchanged welcomes.

Obama has been known to make time for a basketball game, having last made headlines when he was in attendance for the Duke-North Carolina game at which Zion Williamson infamously ripped through his own shoe.

Read more: Camera caught Obama’s reaction the moment Zi

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Report: Kawhi’s L.A. focus is Clippers, not Lakers – theScore

Report: Kawhi’s L.A. focus is Clippers, not Lakers – theScore

If Kawhi Leonard returns to his hometown of Los Angeles in free agency, he’ll likely do it by joining the Clippers and not the Lakers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who added that Leonard may not even take a meeting with the latter.

As it stands now, the Lakers do not have a max salary slot for a player like Leonard in the wake of trading for Anthony Davis. The only way the team can add a max slot is if the New Orleans Pelicans agree to wait un

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NBA awards 2019: Complete list of winners for MVP, more – Sporting News

NBA awards 2019: Complete list of winners for MVP, more – Sporting News

Giannis Antetokounmpo is the 2019 MVP.

The Bucks star took home the trophy at the NBA awards show Monday. Rockets guard James Harden and Thunder wing Paul George were also finalists for the honor.

Antetokounmpo averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists this season. He shot 57.8% from the field and added 1.5 blocks per game, as well.

Mavericks guard Luka Doncic was named the Rookie of the Year while Raptors forward Pascal Siakam secured Most Improved Player.

Here is a complete list of the 2019 NBA award finalists and winners:

Most Valuable Player

Winner: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

Other finalists: Paul George, Thunder; James Harden, Rockets

Rookie of the Year

Winner: Luka Doncic, Mavericks

Other finalists: Deandre Ayton, Suns; Trae Young, Hawks

Coach of the Year

Winner: Mike Budenholzer, Bucks

Other finalists: Michael Malone, Nuggets; Doc Rivers, Clippers

Sixth Man Award

Winner: Lou Williams, Clippers

Other finalists: Montrezl Harrell, Clippers; Domantas Sabonis, Pacers

Defensive Player of the Year

Winner: Rudy Gobert, Jazz

Other finalists: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks; Paul George, Thunder

Most Improved Player

Winner: Pascal Siakam, Raptors

Other finalists: De’Aaron Fox, Kings; D’Angelo Russell, Nets

NBA Cares Community Assist Award

Winner: Bradley Beal, Wizards

Other finalists: Jarrett Allen, Nets; Mike Conley, Grizzlies; Tobias Harris, 76ers; LeBron James, Lakers; Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers; Khris Middleton, Bucks; Donovan Mitchell, Jazz; Dwight Powell, Mavericks; Pascal Siakam, Raptors

Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award

Wi

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Obama showed up for Game 2 of the NBA Finals in a sharp leather jacket that earned rave reviews

Obama showed up for Game 2 of the NBA Finals in a sharp leather jacket that earned rave reviews

Former President Barack Obama once against showed off his keen sense of style on Sunday night, impressing in a sharp leather jacket while attending Game 2 of the NBA Finals between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors.

Obama earned high praise for his custom bomber jacket that he wore to watch Duke play North Carolina earlier in the year, but decided to opt for a new look this weekend.

Read more: Obama wore a personalized $595 jacket to the game between North Carolina and Duke — and knockoffs are already being made

You can watch Obama enter the arena in the simple, impressive look below.

On Twitter, fans were quick to compliment Obama on his stylish look.

Obama exchanged pleasantries with Drake as he entered the arena, before settling in

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Fred VanVleet lost a tooth after a scary elbow as the Raptors took a dominant 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals

Fred VanVleet lost a tooth after a scary elbow as the Raptors took a dominant 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals

The Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors on Friday night, 105-92, to take a dominant 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.

After the Warriors had controlled the opening stretch of the action, the Raptors stormed back with a near-flawless third quarter to take a lead that they would never give up.

In the middle of it all, Raptors guard Fred VanVleet lost a tooth.

While going up for a rebound in the fourth quarter, VanVleet caught a brutal elbow right in the face from the Warriors Shaun Livingston. He hit the ground hard and later left the court with the Toronto medical staff.

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Billionaire Warriors part-owner barred from games after altercation with Raptors’ Lowry – Article – BNN – BNNBloomberg.ca

The NBA banned Golden State Warriors part-owner Mark Stevens from attending any league games or team activities for one year and fined him US$500,000 after he pushed Toronto’s Kyle Lowry during a game on Wednesday night.

Stevens pushed and swore at Lowry after the player dived into the stands chasing a loose ball during Game 3 of the series in Oakland, California. The billionaire venture-capital investor was ejected after the incident.

“Mr. Stevens’s behavior last night did not reflect the high standards that we hope to exemplify as an organization,” the team said in a statement. “We’re extremely disappointed in his actions and, along with Mr. Stevens, offer our sincere apology to Kyle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors.”

The incident looked like an encounter with an ord

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LeBron James Contemplates His Basketball Career in New RIMOWA Campaign

Here's The Newest Music Acts To Watch

Here’s The Newest Music Acts To Watch

HYPEBEAST picks the latest UK sounds you need to hear.

JW Anderson Mixes Tailored Cuts With Knits for SS20

JW Anderson Mixes Tailored Cuts With Knits for SS20

While unconventional silhouettes stole the show.

Gucci Drops Antique Gold Crystal-Embellished Tiger Head Ring

Gucci Drops Antique Gold Crystal-Embellished Tiger Head Ring

Inspired by the Hattie Carnegie-era of jewelry design.

The North Face & National Geographic Unite for Upcycled Plastic Collection

The North Face & National Geographic Unite for Upcycled Plastic Collection

Sourced from various national parks across the States.

BMW Unveils $120K USD 8 Series Gran Coupe M850i

BMW Unveils $120K USD 8 Series Gran Coupe M850i

Equipped with a 526 BHP twin-turbo V8 engine.

ih nom uh nit Debuts More 'Stranger Things' Tees During SS20 Runway Show

ih nom uh nit Debuts More ‘Stranger Things’ Tees During SS20 Runway Show

Eleven steps down in Milan.

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Raptors Rally To Take 3-1 Lead Over Warriors In NBA Finals

Raptors Rally To Take 3-1 Lead Over Warriors In NBA Finals

OAKLAND, California, June 7 (Reuters) – The Toronto Raptors produced a strong second half to defeat the Golden State Warriors 105-92 in Oakland on Friday to take a 3-1 lead in the Finals and move one win away from the franchise’s first NBA championship.

The Warriors jumped out to a 23-17 advantage in the first quarter behind some stout defense but the Raptors were able to cut the lead to four going into halftime.

The tide turned in the third quarter when the visitors outscored the two-time defending champions 37-21 behind five-for-seven shooting and five free throws from Kawhi Leonard, who finished the game with 36 points.

The only team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in th

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Giannis third-youngest to win MVP since 1980

Giannis third-youngest to win MVP since 1980

Giannis Antetokounmpo joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the second Milwaukee Bucks player to win the Most Valuable Player award. The award was announced on Monday at a ceremony in Los Angeles.

At just 24 years old, Antetokounmpo became the third-youngest player to win MVP over the past 40 seasons, behind Derrick Rose and LeBron James. The native of Athens, Greece, is the fifth player born outside of the United States to win the award.

Antetokounmpo received 78 of the 101 possible first-place votes. Houston’s James Harden came in second with the other 23 first-place votes. Every voter had either Antetokounmpo or Harden No. 1 or No. 2 on their ballot.

Oklahoma City’s Paul George came in third, followed by Denver’s Nikola Jokic and Golden State’s Stephen Curry.

“MVP is not about stats and numbers. It is all about winning and all about making sure yo

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Flight Club Will Sponsor LeBron James Jr’s Blue Chips Team

Flight Club Will Sponsor LeBron James Jr’s Blue Chips Team

Flight Club has signed a deal to sponsor the AAU North Coast Blue Chips throughout the season of 2019/2020. The team is most prominently known for being the place where LeBron James Jr. is plying his trade and the sponsorship will consist of the store designing the new jerseys for the

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Latest on Kawhi Leonard’s free agency – TSN

Latest on Kawhi Leonard’s free agency – TSN

Now that the NBA season has come to an end, the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy has been handed out and the parade has wrapped up, it’s time for Kawhi Leonard to focus on his future in what promises to be a monumental off-season.
 

What’s he thinking?

While the rumours have been swirling about his free agency since he was acquired by the Raptors, Leonard said just a few weeks ago that he wasn’t giving his big decision any thought.

Leonard points out that although at the time of the interview (June 7) he wasn’t thinking about free agency, he knows what he wants. But what does that mean?

ESPN Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski spoke with Get Up Tuesday morning, pointing out what Kawhi might have meant by that statement.

Woj said that one thing Kawhi Leonard knows is that he wants is to be in Lo


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Video: Watch LeBron James’ Son Bronny Slice the Defense and Sink Game-Winner

Video: Watch LeBron James’ Son Bronny Slice the Defense and Sink Game-Winner
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 28: LeBron James Jr. smiles on the court before the LA Clippers game against the Los Angeles Lakers on December 28, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

LeBron James‘ son Bronny James carved his way through the defense to hit a game-winning shot for the North Coast Blue Chips on Saturday. 

The Overtime sports network provided highlights from the game:

Even if you didn’t know the name of the person who made that shot, it would be easy to assume they were related to LeBron. His form was nearly identical to his dad’s game-winner for the Cleveland Cavaliers in last year’s Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Toronto Raptors

LeBron has often said his greatest achievement would be playing in th

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The Clippers reportedly looked into buying Kawhi Leonard’s signature logo from Nike to woo him in free agency

The Clippers reportedly looked into buying Kawhi Leonard’s signature logo from Nike to woo him in free agency

The Los Angeles Clippers are one of several teams who will be vying for Kawhi Leonard’s services in free agency this summer, and they’ve gone to unusual lengths to gain an advantage.

According to The New York Times’ Marc Stein, the Clippers’ methods have included looking into buying Leonard’s personal “Klaw” logo from Nike to woo Leonard in free agency.

Leonard reportedly designed the logo, which is a drawing of his hand that forms the initials “K.L.,” when he was still with Jordan Brand. It was dubbed “The Klaw,” which is also his nickname because of his massive hands.

via YouTube/Sneaker News

Read more: Kawhi Leonard’s most impressive play in a huge win against the Bucks was a subtle move that seemingly bent the laws of physics

According to Stein, a source from Nike said the company would be unlikely to give up the logo, which would free up New Balance, Le

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Drake took a piece of lint out of Steph Curry’s at the NBA Finals and posted it on eBay — and people bid thousands of dollars to get it

Drake took a piece of lint out of Steph Curry’s  at the NBA Finals and posted it on eBay — and people bid thousands of dollars to get it

The Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors are playing each other in the 2019 NBA Finals — and no one might be happier than Drake, the famous rapper and Toronto native who has been sitting courtside at all of the Raptors home games over the NBA playoffs.

On Thursday night, during Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the two teams, Drake cheered on the Raptors while also doing his best to get under the skin of the Warriors players. For instance, Drake wore a Raptors jersey formerly worn by Dell Curry, the father of Warriors guard Stephen Curry, in an attempt to jinx the rival team.

Drake also spent time getting in the Warriors’ faces throughout the game. At one point, he got in the face of Curry, and this happened:

Yes, that is Drake picking out a piece of lint from Curry’s hair as the two have an animated discussion.

Drake then took his prank one step further: He took a pic

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Andre Iguodala gave an eyebrow-raising answer about defending Steph Curry from ‘peers’ who are ‘jealous’

Andre Iguodala gave an eyebrow-raising answer about defending Steph Curry from ‘peers’ who are ‘jealous’

Andre Iguodala was the hero for the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday, hitting the dagger three-pointer to put the Warriors up five with seven seconds left. The Warriors won the game and evened the series at 1-1.

Iguodala has been playing through a calf injury severe enough that he had to get an MRI after Game 1. On Sunday, Iguodala also took a shot to the head from the Toronto Raptors’ Marc Gasol on a screen and briefly left the game.

After the win, Iguodala was asked what motivates him to continue to play through the pain, particularly amid a fifth straight Finals run. Iguodala gave a surprising answer about wanting to play for Stephen Curry.

“I like Steph,” Iguodala said. “He’s a good dude, good guy to be around. That’s really the only reason why I like playing basketball. That’s the only reason why I play.”

Iguodala said he wanted to defend Curry’s legacy because there are “peers” who criticize Curry and are jealous of his accomplishments.

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Dwyane Wade and Draymond Green had some words of encouragement for little-known draft prospect after Zion Williamson overshadowed him

Dwyane Wade and Draymond Green had some words of encouragement for little-known draft prospect after Zion Williamson overshadowed him

During Zion Williamson’s media availability on Wednesday leading up to the 2019 NBA Draft, a photo of the former Duke University star went viral because of its clear illustration of what many call “the Zion effect.”

The photo showed Williamson surrounded by media, while another projected first-rounder, Goga Bitadze, was sitting at the table next to him looking over.

The photo caught fire rapidly on Twitter, but it also caught the attention of some big names in the game.

Dwyane Wade and Draymond Green took to the photo posted on Instagram to offer some words of encouragement to the 19-year-old from Georgia, a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia.

“Use it as fuel,” Wade commented.

“He should frame this pic… look at it everyday and grind!” Green added.

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Khabib Nurmagomedov is officially set for his first fight since defeating Conor McGregor — and it comes against an opponent on a vicious 5-fight win streak

Khabib Nurmagomedov is officially set for his first fight since defeating Conor McGregor — and it comes against an opponent on a vicious 5-fight win streak

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s next fight is officially set.

According to UFC President Dana White, Nurmagomedov will take on interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier in September in Abu Dhabi. The fight will take place on September 7 and is the first of a new deal that White’s company has made to bring a title fight to Abu Dhabi for the next five years.

“We told Dustin he’d get the shot,” White told ESPN. “We didn’t know what Khabib’s plans were — he’s ready to fight.”

Nurmagomedov has not fought since retaining his lightweight championship against McGregor in October 2018. After forcing McGregor to tap in the fourth round, Nurmagomedov jumped the cage and started a post-fight brawl that ended with him earning a nine-month suspension.

Read more: Khabib Nurmagomedov made Conor McGregor tap with a tight neck crank — he then jumped the cage and almost incited a riot

In Nurmagomedov’s absence from the division, Poirier has stepped up to win the interim lightweight ch

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Two of England’s biggest football clubs played the Europa League final in a half-empty stadium thanks to some poor planning by UEFA

Two of England’s biggest football clubs played the Europa League final in a half-empty stadium thanks to some poor planning by UEFA

The Europa League final went on with a whimper, not a bang, on Wednesday night, with Chelsea handily defeating Arsenal 4-1.

The scene should have been an electric one, with two crosstown rivals from London facing off for the opportunity to lift a trophy. It was also a chance for Arsenal to earn a coveted spot in next year’s Champions League.

But despite the stakes and the history between two of London’s perennial contenders, the match was something of a snoozefest, with a lack of energy in the stands that translated its way onto the pitch and then through the broadcast to all those watching at home.

Normally, such a game would be played in front of a packed crowd, but the final was played in Azerbaijan — nearly 3,000 miles from London. The stands were instead largely empty, especially when you consider that

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Look: LeBron James Likes Instagram Photoshop of Kyrie Irving in Lakers Jersey

Look: LeBron James Likes Instagram Photoshop of Kyrie Irving in Lakers Jersey
Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James, right, and Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving chat during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, March 9, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

It seems we can count LeBron James among those who would like to see Kyrie Irving in purple and gold. 

On Friday, James liked a photoshopped image of Irving in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform on Instagram:

Also of note, James and Irving were spotted hanging out together in L.A. last weekend, according to ESPN’s Jordan Schultz.

James and Irving previously spent three seasons together as teammates with the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2014 to 2017, making three consecutive NBA Finals appearances and capturing the franchise’s first-ever championship in 2016. It was James’ block and Irving’s title-winning shot in Game 7 that will forever be a part of Cleveland lore.

However, their time as teammates came to an end when Irving forced a trade during the summer of 2017 as he reportedly no longer wanted to play

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Rajon Rondo becomes latest Laker to say Anthony Davis trade talks disrupted team – Yahoo Sports

Rajon Rondo becomes latest Laker to say Anthony Davis trade talks disrupted team – Yahoo Sports

Rajon Rondo said it wasn’t just the young players who were thrown off by the talks and how things were handled. Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report sat down with Rondo, who told a story about the impact.’ data-reactid=”20″>Rajon Rondo said it wasn’t just the young players who were thrown off by the talks and how things were handled. Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report sat down with Rondo, who told a story about the impact.

“Even some of the old guys were affected,” Rondo says. “I can’t say a name, but I remember me and the guy were on the bench for the Atlanta game right before the [All-Star] break. The guy was cussing and talking bad about the situation during the game. I was

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NBA Rumors: Lakers ‘Trying To Expand’ Anthony Davis Trade To Create $32 Million In Cap Space – LakersNation.com

NBA Rumors: Lakers ‘Trying To Expand’ Anthony Davis Trade To Create $32 Million In Cap Space – LakersNation.com

Two days after the 2019 NBA Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Orleans Pelicans finally agreed on an Anthony Davis trade nearly five months after initial discussions.

While the Lakers finally landed their second All-Star alongside LeBron James, all of the attention has shifted to the timing of the trade and how it impacts their cap space.

Depending on when the Davis trade is completed, the Lakers will have between $23.7-$32.5 million to pursue free agents.

Since Plan A is to sign a third All-Star player like Kawhi Leonard, the Lakers reportedly are ‘trying to expand’ the Davis trade, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

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Bronny James, Zaire Wade Reportedly Enrolling at Sierra Canyon High School in LA

Bronny James, Zaire Wade Reportedly Enrolling at Sierra Canyon High School in LA
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 28:  LeBron James Jr., son of LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers after the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers basketball game at Staples Center on December 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

B/R Hoops

Bronny and Bryce James, the sons of Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, will be enrolling at Los Angeles’ Sierra Canyon High School, according to the Los Angeles TimesTania Ganguli.

The two attended Crossroads School in Santa Monica this past year. Per Ganguli, LeBron and his wife, Savannah, believe Sierra Canyon will offer their sons a better opportunity to further their basketball careers.

Tarek Fattal of the Los Angeles Daily News reported Bronny’s move has been a “done deal for at least six weeks” and noted he’ll be joined by Zaire Wade, Dwyane Wade’s son.  

The 14-year-old Bronny has been putting together highlight reels for years now. While he moved to California when LeBron signed with the Lakers, the 5’10”, 150-pound teenager has continued to play for the North Coast Blue Chips: 

His play has already gotten the attention of Duke

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The ESPN Daily: Bruins take Game 1, another triple for Westbrook, and Bronny Jr.’s big weekend

The ESPN Daily: Bruins take Game 1, another triple for Westbrook, and Bronny Jr.’s big weekend

THINGS TO CARE ABOUT

Finally, a new opponent for the Warriors! But that’s not the only thing we’re looking forward to seeing … Add a dominant Kawhi Leonard, a fascinating Nick Nurse and a questionable Kevin Durant to that list. In this 5-on-5, our experts break down the things they’re most excited to watch. Read More

The dress rehearsals are over … After Sunday’s 3-0 win over Mexico, the USWNT will head to France healthy and ready for a world cup run. With many lineup questions lingering on, here’s a look at how everyone performed during their final tuneup. Read More

Who’s for real? An Astros-Dodgers World Series? How many games will the Red Sox actually win? Which bad teams are actually bad? We took a look at the standings and asked our experts to make sense of the season so far. Read More


THINGS TO WATCH

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Movlid Khaibulaev levels Damon Jackson with a flying knee, ending the fight in 10 seconds. For more PFL, sign up for ESPN+ https://plus.espn.com/.


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Like father, like son … Big weekend for Bronny Jr. — he finally got approval from his parents to get an Instagram account! Oh, and he did this … Out here looking just like his dad, LeBron James, with the chasedown block. Watch

Luck of the draw … Tiger Woods and Russell Westbrook walk into a casino … and of co

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The ESPN Daily: The heartfelt letter you need to read

The ESPN Daily: The heartfelt letter you need to read

THINGS TO CARE ABOUT

The latest NBA free agent intel … We haven’t seen an NBA free-agent market like this in years, and it’s very possible that we could see the league’s entire competitive landscape changed in a few weeks. Brian Windhorst has the latest inside information on which teams are planning on making the biggest splashes in this loaded market. Read More

Rating the NFL offseasons … Titles are won in the offseason (at least in part), and this NFL offseason was more eventful than most. From the Browns potentially becoming an offensive powerhouse to the Raiders’ latest rebuild, here’s how all 32 teams’ offseason moves stack up. Read More

Let Zion pick where he wants to play … Adam Silver recently expressed his concern about the mental health of NBA players, attributing many of their issues to the influence of social media. One factor that might play into it is that NBA players have zero say in where they get to play for the first seven years of their career — and subsequently, the city they’ll be living in and other things that can be taken for granted. Is it time to let players select teams rather than the other way around? Read More


ROB MENDEZ’S HEARTFELT LETTER

Dear football … He was born without arms or legs, but that didn’t stop him on his quest to become a high school football coach. Now that Rob Mendez is the deserving recipient of the 2019 Jimmy V Award for Perseverance, he has written a letter

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‘Space Jam 2’ with Lebron James Will Feature Both NBA and WNBA Players in Key Roles

‘Space Jam 2’ with Lebron James Will Feature Both NBA and WNBA Players in Key Roles

Space Jam 2 Basketball Players

After years of rumors, Space Jam 2 seems like it’s actually happening. Now that the NBA is in the off-season, superstar Lebron James has plenty of time to lead the sequel to the live-action/animated hybrid sequel. And despite having some trouble recruiting certain NBA superstars a few months ago, it sounds like plenty of names have been lined up with key roles in the film.

While the first Space Jam featured Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Mugsy Bogues and Shawn Bradley from the NBA, Space Jam 2 is bringing in names from both the NBA and WNBA, and the first list of players on the roster has reportedly been revealed. Find out who the Space Jam 2 basketball players will be below.

NBA reporter Shams Charania took to Twitter with a list of names who will be in the sequel. According to Charania, NBA players include Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers, Anthony Davis

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The NBA offseason is already seeing the ripple effects of Kevin Durant’s injury

The NBA offseason is already seeing the ripple effects of Kevin Durant’s injury

Kevin Durant’s injury has suddenly thrown a wrench into what was shaping up to be the biggest summer in the NBA in years.

Durant on Wednesday confirmed league-wide fears by announcing he had surgery on his ruptured Achilles tendon, suffered during his ill-fated Game 5 return to the NBA Finals. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has written that Durant will miss the 2019-20 season, though an exact timetable for his return hasn’t been made clear.

An injury to the most coveted free agent in a summer full of them has caused ripple effects throughout the league.

Read more: The 2019 NBA free agent class is stacked and has the potential to alter the league — here are the best players available

How do teams proceed with Durant perhaps shelved for a year and, based on history of torn Achilles, unlikely to be the same player when he returns?

Will the Lakers go all-in for Anthony Davis?

ESPN on Wednesday reported that the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics each were engaged with the New Orleans Pelicans on trade talks for Anthony Davis.

Read more: The clock is reportedly ticking on an Anthony Davis trade, and it could become a massive, complicated deal

According to ESPN, the Lakers seem to have taken the lead in discussions, with an offer that included Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and the fourth pick in the 2019 NBA draft. That pick may be used in a separate deal to net another player to send to the Pelicans.

According to both ESPN and The Los Angeles Times, the Lakers have not included third-year forward Kyle Kuzma in discussions, hoping to hang onto the young, versatile scorer as a piece to keep around a LeBron James-Davis duo.

Will the Lakers go all-in to pair Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
Jae C. Hong/AP

Most in the NBA world feel certain that Kuzma won’t become a sticking-point in these discussions. With James turning 35 in December, the Lakers have a small window to put a championship contender around him. If Kuzma is all that is standing in the way of acquiring Davis, he’ll likely be added to the deal.

Though the Lakers seem hesitant to go all-in at the moment (it’s unclear if they have also added third-year guard Josh Hart or future draft picks into their offer), they made eventually decide to because Durant is injured.

Whether Durant stays with the Warriors this summer or goes to another team, the Western Conference suddenly looks wide open. The Durant-less Warriors have looked dynamic at times this postseason, but could this current squad, without any major offseason additions, play at a championship rate for 82 games next year?

Knowing it could be their best chance to land a star player, in a West without a super-power, could convince the Lakers to go all-in.

Does Durant’s injury affect Kyrie Irving’s decision and an Anthony Davis trade?

Kyrie Irving’s future could affect an Anthony Davis trade.
Gerald Herbert/AP

The Celtics are in a difficult position with Davis.

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1 Trade to Help Get NBA’s Best Superstars over the Top

1 Trade to Help Get NBA’s Best Superstars over the Top

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    Jeff Haynes/Getty Images

    No disrespect to Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard or LeBron James, but it’s time some other superstars got to come out on top.

    For the past seven years, one (or two) of these players has won the title, a streak that will reach eight no matter who wins this year’s NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors.

    With Durant and Leonard about to hit free agency, we could see an opening at the top of each conference, just ripe for the picking for the rest of today’s top stars.

    We’re looking at you, James Harden. And we saw how close you made it this year, Giannis Antetokounmpo. And don’t think we forgot about the playoff run you just had, Damian Lillard. It’s OK to admit you need a little help. There are some damn good teams in the NBA right now, ones that just need a little push to reach that next playoff round or championship level.

    Ringless superstars, these trades are for you!

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Blazers Receive: PF Kevin Love

    Cavaliers Receive: SF Maurice Harkless, C Meyers Leonard, 2019 No. 25 overall pick

    Lillard’s spectacular postseason performance reinforced two previous beliefs.

    First, he’s a superstar and among the best guards in the NBA. Second, defenses will plan their attacks around stopping him, and the Blazers will need someone besides CJ McCollum to turn to for offense.

    Enter Love, who should be happy to move off a rebuilding Cavaliers team and return to his home area of Lake Oswego, Oregon.

    Given Love’s injury history and juicy remaining contract (four years, $120.4 million), the Blazers won’t have to give up McCollum or a great deal of assets. Simply including the expiring contracts of Harkless and Leonard, along with their late first-round pick this season, should do.

    Is Love still productive when healthy? His 17.0 points and 10.9 rebounds in just 27.2 minutes per game this season suggest so. Can he be the third-best player on a championship team? Again, check. Will his presence open the floor and create even more driving lanes for Lillard and McCollum? Absolutely.

    For Lillard and the Blazers, a trade for Love is well worth the risk.

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Thunder Receive: SG Bradley Beal, C Dwight Howard

    Wizards Receive: 2019 No. 21 overall pick (after selection is made), 2021 1st-Round Pick (unprotected), C Steven Adams, PF Jerami Grant, SG Terrance Ferguson

    After two years of failing to make it out of the first round, it’s clear the combo of Paul George and Russell Westbrook isn’t enough.

    Outside shooting is a need for the Thunder, who finished the regular season 22nd overall with a team three-point success rate of 34.8 percent. Beal is a career 38.4 percent shooter from deep and has evolved his offensive game to near superstar status.

    He won’t come cheaply, of course.

    Losing Adams would sting, as the 25-year-old center is coming off a 13.9-point, 9.5-rebound, 1.5-steal per game season. Grant is a springy 25-year-old three-and-D power forward, and the 21-year-old Ferguson fits in nicely with a rebuild in Washington as well.

    Because of the Stepien Rule, the Thunder wou

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Report: Zaire Wade, LeBron James Jr. Teaming Up at Sierra Canyon High School

Report: Zaire Wade, LeBron James Jr. Teaming Up at Sierra Canyon High School

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade spent four seasons together with the Miami Heat and won two NBA championships together.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade spent four seasons together with the Miami Heat and won two NBA championships together. Nearly nine years since they joined fo

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Traina Thoughts: It’s the 1-Year Anniversary Of One Of The Wildest Plays in NBA History and Greatest Memes of All Time

Traina Thoughts: It’s the 1-Year Anniversary Of One Of The Wildest Plays in NBA History and Greatest Memes of All Time

LeBron James’s frustration with J.R. Smith during Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals made for an epic meme.

1. May 31, 2018, Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Warriors and Cavaliers tied at 107 with 4.5 seconds remaining in regulation. Cleveland’s George Hill misses a free throw. J.R. Smith grabs the rebound a few feet from the basket AND THEN RUNS THE WRONG WAY. LeBron James tries to plead with J.R. that he needs to shoot, but it’s too late and the world is given one of the best sports memes in sports memes history.

Here is the full play in all its glory.

After that, Golden State swept Cleveland in four games to win the NBA title.

2. The newest SI Media Podcast dr

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LeBron James Is Very Excited About Space Jam 2; Steph Curry Confirms He’s Not In It

LeBron James Is Very Excited About Space Jam 2; Steph Curry Confirms He’s Not In It

Space Jam 2 is coming, and it appears filming is starting soon (if it hasn’t already). Star LeBron James, who plays the lead, wrote on Twitter today to talk about how he’s really very excited that the movie has finally come together.

“Man this really just hit me! I’m really shooting Space Jam 2!! This is so surreal and doesn’t even make sense to me! Where I come from man and what I saw growing up this doesn’t add up to me! I’m truly grateful and beyond blessed. This is CRAZINESS,” he wrote.

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LeBron James, Kim Jones and Yuja Wang Star in RIMOWA’s “Neverstill” Campaign Films

LeBron James, Kim Jones and Yuja Wang Star in RIMOWA’s “Neverstill” Campaign Films

Following a spread of brightly-hued seasonal suitcases, RIMOWA has introduced its latest campaign packed with contemporary creatives. In line with its 125th anniversary films, the luggage label links with several visionaries for “Neverstill”: Kim Jones, LeBron James and Yuja Wang.

“RIMOWA’s ‘Never Still’ is not a concept that loses steam after one campaign – it’s an idea on which to build,” RIMOWA CEO Alexandre Arnault explained in a statement. “As a brand dedicated to the heritage of consumer-focused craftsmanship, longevity and innovation, RIMOWA is

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Pelicans select Zion Williamson first in NBA draft

Pelicans select Zion Williamson first in NBA draft

NEW YORK — Welcome to the NBA, Zion Williamson.

The superstar forward out of Duke was selected No. 1 overall by the Pelicans in Thursday night’s NBA draft at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, confirming what had been inevitable once New Orleans won the draft lottery last month.

Williamson, a generational talent because of his combination of size, strength, speed and skill, was the dominant force in college basketball last season. As a freshman, he averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks, all while shooting 68% from the field as he wowed with one spectacular highlight play after another en route to being named the Wooden Award winner as the nation’s top player.

“I don’t think it’s feelings I can really describe,” Williamson said. “You know, as a little kid you say you want to go to the NBA. People basically say, you’ve got to have a Plan B because the chances of doing it is just little to none. For me to be selected No. 1, I mean, I can’t dream it no better than that.”

Williamson immediately steps in as the centerpiece for a new-look Pelicans team that agreed to trade star big man Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers last week. Williamson said he was excited about the challenge of turning things around in the Big Easy, and of partnering with Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, two of the players who will come in the Davis trade.

“What excites me the most is the fact that they’re young and they’re close to my age so they can help me a lot more, like how to deal with this transition,” Williamson said. “I think we can build something over there.”

Like Williamson, the second and third picks also went according to plan. Murray State point guard Ja Morant went second to the Memphis Grizzlies, and Williamson’s teammate at Duke, swingman RJ Barrett, went third to the New York Knicks.

Morant, an explosive athlete with a solid 3-point shooting stroke, led the Racers to the second round of the NCAA tournament, averaging 24.5 points and 10.0 assists while going from a mid-first-round pick before the season began to the clear No. 2 prospect entering draft night, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz.

Morant steps in to a Grizzlies team that on Tuesday agreed to trade point guard stalwart Mike Conley to the Utah Jazz for forwards Jae Crowder and Kyle Korver, the No. 23 pick Thursday night and a protected future first-round pick. Memphis later used that No. 23 pick to trade up to No. 21 and select Gonzaga‘s Brandon Clarke.

“It’s been crazy,” Morant said. “Obviously a wild moment for me, coming from my story, what I’ve been through to get to this point. I’m just very excited to be able to accomplish my dream.”

Barrett, meanwhile, had been hoping to join the Knicks all along. Barrett’s mother, who is from Brooklyn, met his father, Rowan, while she was a track star and he was a basketball star at St. John’s in Queens.

“It would mean a lot,” Barrett, who was born in Canada, said Wednesday of getting the chance to play for the Knicks. “My late grandfather, rest in peace, he was the biggest Knicks fan. He’d always tell me I’d play for the Knicks. It would mean a lot to me.”

When he got his wish, the crowd at Barclays Center exploded in cheers, and Barrett — resplendent in a pink suit and black shirt — walked onto the stage as the crowd chanted his name. Barrett cried into his father’s shoulder after his selection.

“That was crazy. That was one of the reasons why I was crying, because [my grandfather and I] used to watch the Knicks growing up and he would always tell me I was going to be a Knick,” Barrett said. “I’m sad he can’t be here to see it. But I’m just very happy, man.”

The presumptive No. 1 pick entering the college basketball season, Barrett’s star was surpassed by the comet

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Roger Federer scared the snot out of a French Open fan when he lost his cool and hit a ball into the stands

Roger Federer scared the snot out of a French Open fan when he lost his cool and hit a ball into the stands
  • Roger Federer lost to rival Rafael Nadal, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2, in the French Open semifinal on Friday.
  • In the third set, Federer showed a bit of frustration and shot a ball int

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Jimmy Kimmel has Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid, and other NBA stars read mean tweets about themselves

Jimmy Kimmel has Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid, and other NBA stars read mean tweets about themselves
  • “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” hosted stars of the NBA reading mean tweets about themselves in the latest edition of the shows recurring segment.
  • NBA players th

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RJ Barrett Asks Zion Williamson About LeBron James Comparison

RJ Barrett Asks Zion Williamson About LeBron James Comparison

Perhaps RJ Barrett has a second career in the media if the whole NBA thing doesn’t work out.

Former Duke forward R.J. Barrett likely answered questions about fellow freshman Zion Williamson throughout the 2018-19 season, so it’s only right he turned the tables on Zion during a media availability on Wednesday. 

Williamson met with the media in New York on Wednesday, less than 36 hours before the NBA draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. But Barrett snuck through the media scrum undeterred and posed a key question to Zion.

“What does

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A Rational Conversation About What Happens When NBA Titles Are Not Enough – The Ringer

A Rational Conversation About What Happens When NBA Titles Are Not Enough – The Ringer

Chris Ryan: We are about to kick off the 2019 NBA Finals, but I find myself pretty consumed with what will happen during 2019 NBA free agency. The two are related. There’s a good chance that no matter which team wins the Larry O’Brien paperweight, both participants could see their best player leave this summer. Kevin Durant could bounce from Golden State, and Kawhi Leonard might not renew his lease in Canada.

What does it mean if the NBA Finals are not enough? Maybe this is a matter of the only two players capable of making whatever team they join NBA finalists. Leonard has just proved how quickly he can turn around a franchise’s fortunes, and a healthy Durant would probably have the same if not greater impact on whatever team he inks with.

I’m not particularly scandalized by the notion of walking away from a winning situation for parts unknown, but it seems different than when Durant left Oklahoma City to get closer to a championship, or when LeBron James left Cleveland for the second time. The reasoning behind a possible Leonard departure would presumably be that he doesn’t like the cold? He never chose Toronto; Toronto chose him? For Durant, it’s even harder to parse. Maybe it’s time to prove he can do it on his own. Maybe he is tired of hearing that he ruined basketball and the Warriors will always be Steph’s team. Either way, neither player will leave for money, and neither will leave to have a better shot at winning. It seems like we’re entering a new era. The Age of Inscrutability?

Justin Verrier: Or maybe we’re resetting to a time before Michael Jordan became the archetype. Titles always mattered—it is, y’know, the point of the game. But Jordan’s single-mindedness, and all of the stories trumpeting Jordan’s single-mindedness, bred a sort of rings masochism, best represented by Kobe Bryant. Even as LeBron James established a new paradigm by teaming up with two other max players in Miami, his decision was being made in service of the same goal: to win as many championships as possible. Not one, not two, not three …

But think of how that mind-set is received today. Jordan is a crying disembodied head. Slap an extra s or two on “rings” and the word warps into a term of derision. “LeBron is post-titles” is a real thing that real people say. Maybe it’s the product of something as far-reaching as a shift in culture, but at the very least, the public pressure to stack championships no longer seems all-consuming. As a result, players are beginning to weigh other priorities more heavily. You still play to win the game, but it’d be nice to also play in a cosmopolitan city with all your friends.

If Durant were to join a blank slate in New York to be near his businesses, or whatever motivations he would have for choosing to work for Jim Dolan, it would seem closer to when Shaq left the Magic, fresh off a second straight Eastern Conference finals appearance, for the Lakers, fresh off a loss in the first round, in no small part because of his interests in Hollywood and interest in extending his endorsement reach. Isn’t that closer to how things work in soccer, too?

Ryan: Yeah, so, the soccer thing. This is in the air a bit, with Marc Stein’s interview with Adam Silver about possibly introducing a League Cup to the NBA. Your comparison to Shaq is on the money, but I wonder whether someone like Neymar would be more accurate. Neymar is from Brazil, is one of the four or five best players in the world, and, during his time at Barcelona, was part of maybe the greatest attacking trio in the history of the game, playing alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez. In 2015, Barcelona won the treble (league, league cup, Champions League). In 2016, they won a domestic double. In 2017, Neymar helped or

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LeBron James Welcomes Anthony Davis to Lakers: ‘Let’s Get It Bro’

LeBron James Welcomes Anthony Davis to Lakers: ‘Let’s Get It Bro’

LeBron is excited for Anthony Davis to come to Los Angeles.

LeBron James welcomed his new teammate Anthony Davis to the Lakers in an Instagram post on Saturday night.

Just a few hours after the Pelicans reportedly agreed to trade Davis to Los Angeles, James posted a picture of himself and the forward in Lakers jerseys.

“AD on da way!! Let’s get it bro! Just the

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Plum scores 19, Aces cruise to 100-65 win over Liberty

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Plum scores 19, Aces cruise to 100-65 win over Liberty

Kelsey Plum scored a season-high 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting and the Las Vegas Aces never trailed in a 100-65 win over the New York Liberty

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Kelsey Plum scored a season-high 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting and the Las Vegas Aces never trailed in a 100-65 win over the New York Liberty on Friday night.

Kayla McBride had 18 points, Liz Cambage scored 17 and A’ja Wilson 14 for the Aces. All 10 players who saw action for Las Vegas (3-3) scored at least three points.

McBride’s 3-pointer a little more than two minutes into the game gave the Aces a double-digit lead and Dearica Hamby’s free throw with 2:04 left in the first quarter made it 32-12. Las Vegas made 11 of its first 13 shots and set a season high for points in a quarter with 35 in the first. The Aces finished the first half shooting 67.6%, while the Liberty shot just 9 of 34 (26.5, and missed all 11 of their 3-point attempts before halftime.

Kia Nurse, the only New York (2-5) player to score in double figures, finished with 12 points on 3-of-13 shooting.

NBA stars Russell Westbrook, LeBron James and Chris Paul watched the game courtside.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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The King Maker: Why Rich Paul Will Own the NBA Summer

The King Maker: Why Rich Paul Will Own the NBA Summer

Late one late March afternoon NBA player agent Rich Paul, 38, whose professional manner swings between stone-faced cool and startling focus, is chewing through his third tangerine and detailing how he’s been singled out as the reason that two franchises, the league at large, and—why not?—American sports are going straight to hell when something reminds him of his childhood friend Squirrel. “An unbelievable kid, killed for no reason,” Paul says. And for the first time in three hours of talking, his bearing breaks.

“His girlfriend loved him so much, you know what she did?” he says, voice rising as he recalls the brutal last seconds of 18-year-old Starr Hudson and Kenneth Johnson, 21. Now Paul is up behind his desk and standing, transported 18 years and 2,053 miles, from Los Angeles to the battered east Cleveland neighborhood of Glenville: Legs spread, right hand firing at the floor with an imaginary gun. “When the guy was standing over on top of him, shooting him like this, she got on top of him. Guy killed them both. They buried them together. That’s the type of s— that I’ve been through.

“So: All ... this?” His arm describes a wide arc meant to encompass today’s galaxy of panelists, pundits, vulturous rivals, flummoxed general managers, hoops bloggers: the whole whispery, shouty basketball-industrial complex. “What are we talking about? Do you understand what I just said? She laid on top of him to die with him. That type of s—, that is what’s important to me. I come from a place where there was no way out. How do you get out of there? How do you go from the ’hood to Hollywood? You don’t, right? So the discredit, the disrespect is the one thing I’m not going to tolerate.”

He sits and—just like that—balance is restored. Glenville dissolves, and Paul is again ensconced in the sunny upstairs office in one of those boxy modern L.A. homes (small pool, smaller yard) that you’d call “cute” until hearing that it went for $3 million in 2016. Paul lived here sparingly until last summer, when he spent $4.35 million for another, bigger house nearby and began converting his first buy into the western beachhead for his Klutch Sports Group. Soon after, Anthony Davis, the Pelicans’ all-world big man, fired his agent and hired Klutch, which, though hardly the richest or biggest agency handling NBA talent, has become the most discussed, admired, loathed, ridiculed, daring and feared operation in the business.

Of course, buzz has been a Rich Paul constant since 2012, when he—along with bestie LeBron James—rattled the league’s power structure by bolting Creative Artists Agency and establishing Klutch. It was easy, at first, to dismiss him as a King James tool, yet each new client (Eric Bledsoe, John Wall, Ben Simmons and now 25 others) and brokered contract ($972.1 million, Paul says, and counting) increased Paul’s clout. And nothing signaled Klutch’s raw challenge to the status quo more than last January, when Davis told New Orleans not only that he wouldn’t sign a five-year, $240 million super-max extension with the team this summer, but also that, with a year-and-a-half left on his contract, he wanted to be traded—and Paul made the demand public.

Rich Paul

Coming just 10 days before the trade deadline, with prime Davis suitor Boston sidelined by complex contract rules until summer, the maneuver walked and quacked like a demand to send Davis to the rudderless Lakers and, more to the point, James’s desperately welcoming embrace. It was also seen as one of the most naked power moves in recent memory. “We cannot,” Charles Barkley said on TNT, “have players and agents colluding to stack super teams.”

Paul’s Who? Me? protestations aren’t very convincing and, in truth, he doesn’t try that hard. He claims no control over L.A.’s personnel decisions and takes umbrage at the suggestion that he’d send Davis—still, for the moment, a Pelican—into a less than ideal situation to help the man who changed his life and made him rich.

“Did you say that to David Falk? Would you say that to Arn Tellem?” Paul says of two agents who juggled vast stables of clients without charges of conflict of interest. “You’re only saying that because you feel like, ‘Well, Rich wouldn’t be in this position without LeBron,’ right? My thing is: Take LeBron off the Lakers. Are the Lakers not a great destination for an arguably top-two player that went to Kentucky and won a national championship, signed with Nike? For a team that’s had centers from George Mikan to Wilt Chamberlain to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Shaq?

“So now, when you add LeBron, that’s what? The cherry on top. LeBron’s 34 years old. Anthony Davis is 26. So when LeBron’s done playing, the Anthony Davis trade is still rolling. What better place to do it than L.A.? If it was L.A.—I never said ‘L.A.’ But there’s no negative to that. Who gives a s— what you’re talking about, about me trying to help LeBron out? No, I’m not. I’m trying to help Anthony Davis. Now, if helping Anthony Davis helps LeBron in the long run? So be it. But my goal is Anthony Davis.”

He veers off to speak of the Knicks as an equally alluring destination for AD. “The only difference is, they don’t have as many championships as the Lakers,” Paul says. “They got a tradition. It’s a big market—not that it’s only big markets. They have cap space, flexibility, they’re able to absorb more than one star. What’s wrong with that?”

The Pelicans? Even though New Orleans landed the No. 1 pick, presumably Duke forward Zion Williamson, in the 2019 draft lottery, and even though its new general manager, David Griffin, is trying valiantly to change Davis’s mind, every report and hint still has AD standing by his demand.

Boston? Davis’s father told ESPN in February that he wouldn’t want his son playing for the Celtics, and Paul confirms that he has warned off Boston management.

“They can trade for him, but it’ll be for one year,” Paul says. “I mean: If the Celtics traded for Anthony Davis, we would go there and we would abide by our contractual [obligations] and we would go into free agency in 2020. I’ve stated that to them. But in the event that he decides to walk away and you give away assets? Don’t blame Rich Paul.”

Posturing? Maybe. But get ready for another year of it, because Paul says Davis won’t be signing an extension anywhere this summer.

“Where he’s going to land? I have no idea,” Paul says. “And it don’t matter. We’re going into free agency. Why does it matter to me where he goes? Earth: We’re going into free agency. He has a year, he has to play. But after that, I can’t say it no bigger: WE ARE GOING INTO FREE AGENCY. 2020: ANTHONY DAVIS WILL BE IN FREE AGENCY.

Of course it matters: Whatever team Davis plays for next season will be able to offer him more money to stay than any of his other suitors. And though reports have Pelicans owner Gayle Benson loath to do the Lakers any favors, and though many believe L.A. lacks the deftness to pry Davis away, the spin that he would be ill-served playing in purple-and-gold won’t let Paul alone.

“See, everybody wants to fabricate the facts when it’s me,” Paul says. “That’s just like saying, ‘No, A-Rod, don’t marry J-Lo. Are you out of your f—in’ mind, man?’ This is Jennifer Lopez! I mean, who would you rather me marry? The Lakers are Jennifer Lopez. You don’t want me to date Jennifer Lopez? Give me a reason I shouldn’t date J-Lo!”


Rich Paul

Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Funny, no? It’s a kick to hear a deadpan Paul riffing outrage, and important to note that he’s good company. For all the high stakes, agentry is at base a service job, and Paul came to it with none of the usual credentials—no law, business or even undergrad degree. Even by non-NBA standards, he’s hardly imposing, with slim shoulders and smallish hands (“I’m 5’8″,” Paul says. He seems more 5’6″. “Come on: 5’6″? That’s f—–’ ri-DIC-ulous.”)

But it’s striking how many who have come into Paul’s orbit, even those critical, offer testaments to his “social talent” or niceness—echoing James’s first impression of hearing “humbleness and generosity” in the tone of Paul’s voice. No one doubts that he can be ruthless and calculating. But he does so while posing question after question, never fronting an expertise he doesn’t possess, and giving the impression that he’ll always tell his truth.

“Rich is a good listener, has humility, has worked as much as anyone trying to learn and, most important, he’s sincere and has an empathy,” says Tellem, Davis’s first agent and, until he took over as Pistons vice chairman in 2015, one of the most accomplished player reps in league history. “So he connects and understands what his clients are trying to achieve. He builds incredible personal relationships, and they believe in him. That’s the essence of a good agent.”

But as the prime facilitator of all things LeBron—whose unprecedented forays into roster assembly, franchise-hopping, and TV and film production have expanded the bounds for an elite athlete beyond recognition—Paul’s every move bristles with a uniquely cutting edge. He has become the go-to agent for the aggressively restless player. “When I’m done [playing] and I’m not around the media every day, I hope that somebody’s continuing to fight off the narrative: You’re the athlete? Can’t have power, and can’t be in control,” James says. “Because you can.”

Money used to be the primary marker of that power, but with the advent of the rookie wage scale in 1996 and ensuing restrictions on max salaries, the expression of clout—and of an agent’s skill—shifted.

“That changed the perspective,” Tellem says. “If the salaries are roughly similar, what can a player control? It’s no longer financial. Where he has his say, then, where he has some control, is in the choice of where he plays and with whom he plays.”

Keep in mind: Agents have long meddled in team affairs. Tellem single-handedly steered Kobe Bryant to the Lakers in 1996, and Falk essentially brokered the 12-player, four-team deal in 2000 that sent Patrick Ewing from New York to Seattle. But with a LeBron-led trend toward shorter contracts now making “pre-agency” speculation a year-round staple, the league seems awash in grass-is-greener syndrome. Or, perhaps, it’s just that top-line talent is capitalizing on increased leverage.

“Other players are seeing the power, influence and control that a great player like James has over an organization, and are striving for that same control, power and influence,” says ESPN commentator and former coach Jeff Van Gundy. “It’s the next level. And now you h

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LeBron James Trade Rumors: Star Could Demand Deal If Lakers Whiff in Free Agency

LeBron James Trade Rumors: Star Could Demand Deal If Lakers Whiff in Free Agency
Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) during an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 24, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

If the Los Angeles Lakers don’t make a big splash in free agency or on the trade market this offseason, LeBron James‘ tenure with the team reportedly could end soon.

During an appearance on ESPN LA (h/t Pro Basketball Talk’s Dan Feldman), Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times revealed the LeBron-related rumblings:

“I’m hearing that, if they whiff on free agency, and if they whiff on a trade—which I don’t know how likely that is, but if that happens, they’ve got big trouble with LeBron. Why would LeBron—I mean, the LeBron era could be over before it starts here.

“I heard this for the first time yesterday. Somebody very connected said, ‘You know what, if they whiff, LeBron’s going to say either, ‘I’m out of here,’ or ‘Get me out of here,’ or the Lakers better just might as well just get him out of here.”

The Lakers went just 37-45 in James’ initial year with the team, marking the first time a LeBron-led squad did not reach the playoffs since 2004-05.

Several factors contributed to the Lakers’ struggles in 2018-19—with injuries near the top of that list. James missed a career-high 27 games, while Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball both missed significant time.

The Lakers also couldn’t land a second star in free agency, which forced them to bring in veteran role players Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee and Lance Stephenson instead. L.A.’s best chance was seemingly Paul George, but he re-signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Additionally, there appears to have been dysfunction within the organization. Magic Johnson resigned as president of basketball operations just before the end of the season, and head coach Luke Walton “mutually parted ways” with the team at its conclusion.

In recent weeks, Johnson has been vocal about his belief that general manager Rob Pelinka operated behind his back at times.

Given the negativity surrounding the organization, it’s fair to wonder if players will avoid the Lakers in free agency. That would be tough pill for the team to swallow since the 2019 class could be among the most stacked of all time, as it will likely include Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker, Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic.

The Lakers can also continue their pursuit of New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis on the trade front, since Davis has yet to give the Pels any assurance he will re-sign with them.

Regardless, L.A. needs to add one or two more stars alongside James to be a threat in the Western Conference next season.

If the Lakers can’t, then trading LeBron for a king’s ransom and restarting their rebuild may be their best chance for su

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Lakers Rumors: Latest on Potential Lonzo Ball Trade, Bradley Beal, Draft Targets

Lakers Rumors: Latest on Potential Lonzo Ball Trade, Bradley Beal, Draft Targets
Los Angeles Lakers' Lonzo Ball (2) during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, in New York. The Nets won115-110. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

The 2019 NBA offseason is going to be a pivotal one for the Los Angeles Lakers—perhaps even more so than the 2018 equivalent.

Yes, that was when the Lakers added LeBron James. However, as this past year has shown, not even James can lift Los Angeles into the top tier of Western Conference teams by himself. The Lakers likely would have been a playoff team if James hadn’t missed significant time with a groin injury—they were fourth in the conference when he went down—but it will take a couple more significant pieces to make L.A. a legit contender.

This is why the 2019 offseason—and the coinciding quest for those pieces—is so important.

Armed with the fourth overall pick in the draft and some intriguing young players, the Lakers have options. Trading for a top-tier talent like the New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis is ideal, but that is far from the only option.

Let’s take a look at some of the latest Lakers buzz as the offseason draws nearer.

                    

Lonzo Ball and Bradley Beal

Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

The list of aforementioned young players includes Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma. Ball, in particular, appears to be a player the Lakers could leverage in a trade.

“People just don’t grasp how good he is,” an unnamed source said of Ball, per Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington.

By moving Ball, the Lakers could add a player like Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal.

Washington could move Beal, who has been linked to Los Angeles. According to Standig, Ball is the player the Wizards would want in return for him. But why would the Lakers want to give up a promising young player for a guy the Wizards are willing to deal?

The first reason is that Beal is a fairly consistent sh

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LeBron James Can Add to His Trophy Case and Bank Account If Liverpool Wins UCL

LeBron James Can Add to His Trophy Case and Bank Account If Liverpool Wins UCL

LeBron James may have missed the NBA playoffs, but he could still win a title this year.

He owns 2 percent of English soccer team Liverpool, and they will play in the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday.

Watch the video above to find out more about LeBron’s stake in the club.

                                  

Connect to the stories, teams, athletes and highlights that make the game more than a game.

Speaking of the game, it’s time to take your sports knowledge to the next level! Download the free Bleacher Report app to catch all the moments that matter in one place. Get the app to get the game.

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Lakers Rumors: Latest Buzz on Possible Anthony Davis Trade, Free-Agent Targets

Lakers Rumors: Latest Buzz on Possible Anthony Davis Trade, Free-Agent Targets
Los Angeles Lakers' Brandon Ingram during an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Incredibly, this offseason is somehow more important than the last for the Los Angeles Lakers

Coming on the heels of missing the 40-win mark despite the arrival of LeBron James and some head-scratching front-office turnover, the Lakers don’t have much wiggle room—they need to make another big splash and contend or they will fade again. 

It’s easier said than done, of course. Outside of the LeBron move, the Lakers still haven’t been able to consistently match the hype of expected major moves for the franchise in the ever-evolving NBA

The latest rumors carry some heavyweight names like Anthony Davis, though for the Lakers, nothing seems a guarantee these days. 

      

No Traction on Lonzo

Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

The Phoenix Suns are another team consistently looking to make major deals lately, which isn’t any surprise—trying to keep a star like Devin Booker in town will do that to a club. 

According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, the brass in Phoenix have made it clear the team would move the sixth overall pick this year for a veteran point. 

Just don’t expect that point to be Lonzo Ball. 

Arizona Sports 98.7’s John Gambadoro shot down the idea before it could gain some major traction: 

Ball makes some sense on paper for the Suns, at least. He’s just 21 years old and isn’t ball dominant, which would presumably work to get Booker and Co. in good positions consistently. He has averaged 32.4 minutes, 10 points and 6.4 assists while shooting 38 percent from the floor over 99 games. 

But the Lakers don’t have any reason to throw in the towel on Ball just yet. Things could be better, sure. And there was the whole unauthorized surgery thing while he works his way back from an injury, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania

But at this point, unless, the Lakers have a star coming in to take over the point, insiders are right to suggest Ball isn’t in any discussions. 

       

Marcus Morris Interest?

Morry Gash/Associated Press

While the headline-making items pertain to big-name free agents and possible big trades, the Lakers won’t succeed much at all if the depth isn’t there. 

Said depth might end up including Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris. 

Charania pointed out the Lakers

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AAU Team of LeBron James’ Son, Bronny, Lands Flight Club Sponsorship Deal

AAU Team of LeBron James’ Son, Bronny, Lands Flight Club Sponsorship Deal
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 28: LeBron James Jr. ties his sneakers on the court before the LA Clippers game against the Los Angeles Lakers on December 28, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Flight Club, a sneaker company focused on the sale of rare shoes, has reached an agreement on a sponsorship deal with the North Coast Blue Chips AAU team, which will feature LeBron James Jr., the son of the Los Angeles Lakers superstar, during the 2019 summer season.

On Thursday, Nick DePaula of ESPN.com reported Flight Club is set to provide the entire roster with sneakers, hoodies, basketball towels and duffel bags.

The rising star’s famous father, who’s locked into a long-term endorsement deal with Nike, has picked out the shoe designs for the squad. They are “presumably rare and vintage editions from his longtime Nike signature series now spanning 16 annual models,” per DePaula.

LeBron Jr., nickname

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Anthony Davis Trade Rumors: Celtics ‘Not Taking Foot off the Gas’ for Star

Anthony Davis Trade Rumors: Celtics ‘Not Taking Foot off the Gas’ for Star
DALLAS, TEXAS - MARCH 18: Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans walks off the court against the Dallas Mavericks in the first half at American Airlines Center on March 18, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The 2019 NBA offseason figures to be the Association’s most dramatic since LeBron James took his talents to South Beach in 2010, and New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis is one of the reasons why. 

Many teams should covet the star, who requested a trade in January, and the Boston Celtics are no exception per Sports Illustrated‘s Chris Mannix.

“From what I understand, they’re not going to take their foot off the gas when it comes to pursuing Anthony Davis,” Mannix said on his Crossover NBA Show podcast (h/t Michael Deprisco of NBC Sports Boston).

HoopsHype has compiled a seemingly endless list of rumors and speculation regarding Davis and the Celtics for months. There’s too much smoke to believe anything other than the C’s strongly coveting the six-time All-Star, who averaged 25.9 points, 12.0 rebounds and 2.4 blocks last season.

A few potential roadblocks exist, however.

First, Davis is a free agent after the 2019-20 season. The Celtic

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LeBron James Has Made His Presence Felt on Social Media During the Playoffs

LeBron James Has Made His Presence Felt on Social Media During the Playoffs

LeBron James ended his social media break and has kept timelines buzzing during the NBA playoffs. He may have missed his first postseason in 14 years, but he has returned to #NBATwitter’s second season in style. 

Watch the video above for the best of Social Media Bron.

    

Bleacher Report is the go-to destination for basketball fans everywhere. B/R’s NBA coverage delivers must-see on-court analysis and highlights on a daily basis. Connect to the NBA stories, teams, athletes and highlights that make the game more than a game.

Download the free Bleacher Report app to catch all the moments that matter in one place. Get the app to get the game.

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Report: Space Jam 2 Will Star Damian Lillard, Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson, More

Report: Space Jam 2 Will Star Damian Lillard, Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson, More
EL SEGUNDO, CA - MAY 20: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers smiles and looks on during a press conference to introduce Frank Vogel as the new head coach on May 20, 2019 at the UCLA Health Training Center in El Segundo, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)

Chris Elise/Getty Images

Anthony Davis may have just found a way to make back his $4 million trade kicker.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Davis, Damian Lillard and Klay Thompson will join LeBron James in the Space Jam 2 cast. WNBA stars Diana Taurasi, Nneka Ogwumike and Chiney Ogwumike are also slated for roles. 

Additional NBA and WNBA players are also expected to be part of the cast.

The film will begin production this summer and is scheduled to be released July 16, 2021. It’s been a long-rumored project that has been years in the making, with numerous starts and stops. The project was first announced in 2014 before going through numerous changes and ultimately finalizing its producers last year. 

The 1996 original featured Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Shawn Bradley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson and Muggsy Bogues in the main cast. A number of other NBA players made

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NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal, Lonzo Ball Trade, More

NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal, Lonzo Ball Trade, More
Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers Friday, March 29, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

Winslow Townson/Associated Press

Last year’s NBA offseason featured plenty of excitement and intrigue. LeBron James signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kawhi Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors, and Kevin Durant made the decision to stay with the Golden State Warriors.

With players like Durant and Leonard in the free-agent pool—and guys such as Anthony Davis and Bradley Beal possibly on the trading block—this offseason could be even more impactful. There’s no telling exactly what will transpire, but as usual, the rumor mill is churning out possibilities.

Let’s take a look at some of the latest NBA offseason buzz.

        

Kyrie Irving Leaning Toward Brooklyn, Los Angeles

It doesn’t appear that the Boston Celtics are going to retain Kyrie Irving this offseason. Seeing as how he failed to develop into a leader in Boston, that may not be a major blow to the franchise. However, it does mean that another talented scorer is headed to market.

Irving has been painted as a potential target for the New York Knicks for some time now, but according to Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report and Fox Sports 1, he’s more likely to end up with either the Brooklyn Nets or with Los Angeles—and former Lakers legend Kobe Bryant has gotten involved with the recruiting process.

“It’s between Brooklyn and the Lakers,” Bucher said on The Herd with Colin Cowherd. “…I was told in the last 24 hours Kobe has been recruiting Kyrie in particular, to get him to the Lakers. Everything I’ve heard I would still expect Kyrie is going to go to Brooklyn… He just bought a place in South Orange.”

Both of these options make some sense for Irving. The Nets were a playoff team this past season, and his addition could turn them into a strong Eastern Conference contender. In Los Angeles, he would be reunited with Cleveland Cavaliers teammate James.

According to Anthony Puccio of SNY, Irving “kept

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A LeBron-AD-Kyrie Lakers Superteam Would Be James’ Best Big 3 Yet

A LeBron-AD-Kyrie Lakers Superteam Would Be James’ Best Big 3 Yet
CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 17: LeBron James #23 Kyrie Irving #11 Anthony Davis #23 and Kawhi Leonard #2 of Team LeBron react against Team Giannis during the 2019 NBA All Star Game on February 17, 2019 at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice:  Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

LeBron James is no stranger to orchestrating superstar trios.

After teaming up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, he joined forces with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in Cleveland. He’s now in L.A. with Anthony Davis and, well, TBD.

With the Los Angeles Lakers already having agreed to trade for Davis, James should be on the recruiting trail to lure one of the top free agents and complete his newest Big Three.

One major factor to consider: the Lakers could be down to only $23.7 million in cap space if Davis refuses to waive his trade kicker and the trade becomes finalized July 6, according to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times

The Lakers are doing all they can to create a max cap slot, offering Mo Wagner, Jemerrio Jones and Isaac Bonga to teams in an attempt to reach $32 million in space, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Kemba Walker would be a great offensive option. Jimmy Butler would bring scoring, defense and intensity. Even bringing D’Angelo Russell back to L.A. makes sense now.

Out of all the stars available, James should first reach out to Irving.

A triumvirate of James, Irving and Davis would not only be the NBA‘s best, but it would be the greatest collection of superstars James has ever played with.

      

Convincing Kyrie

The thought of Irving willingly signing on to play with James again seemed impossible two years ago.

After the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cavaliers in the 2017 NBA Finals, James and Irving embraced in the Oracle Arena tunnel. With confetti falling behind them, James told Irving, “We’ll be back”.

That never happened.

Weeks later, Irving asked the Cavs to trade him, citing his desire to be the focal point of an offense and no longer wanting to play with James.

“I don’t think anybody in the organization sensed this coming,” James said of Irving’s trade request at the Cavs’ media day that September. “It was definitely a shock.”

This was the first time any teammate in James’ then-14-year-career had openly asked to leave him, which left him questioning what he did wrong.

Tony Dejak/Associated Press

“I had a ton of emotions,” James said. “I was wondering if there was something I could have did better to make him not want to be traded. …

“I tried to do whatever I could do to help the kid out, be the best player he could betry to help him be a better leader, a better scorer, a better floor general, a better defender, a better passer, getting guys involved, a better leader vocally. I tried to give him everything and give him as much as the DNA as I could. Because like I told you guys throughout the season, at some point, when he was ready to take over the keys, I was ready to give them to him.”

Irving was 22 and James 29 when they first teamed up in Cleveland. Now that they’re 27 and 34, respectively, it may finally be time for James to pass the keys.

The window t

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Lakers News: Latest Buzz on D’Angelo Russell, Talen Horton-Tucker and More

Lakers News: Latest Buzz on D’Angelo Russell, Talen Horton-Tucker and More
Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell gestures toward the crowd after hitting a three-point shot during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Friday, March 22, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Nets won 111-106. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The rumors and news surrounding the Los Angles Lakers were always going to get at least a little strange as the front office now turns its eyes toward fleshing out the roster surrounding LeBron James and Anthony Davis. 

Somehow, the post-draft news cycle for the Lakers has managed to loop in a guy by the name of D’Angelo Russell. 

Coming out of the draft, the front office has to use dwindling resources creatively to field a competitive roster, which means likely crossing the fingers for another superstar but ending up with a more grounded approach. 

After a quiet draft process, these are the most noteworthy Lakers items making the rounds. 

       

D’Angelo Russell Return?

On the rumor front, other than the expected “interested in every superstar available angle,” the dominant item pertains to the aforementioned Russell. 

The Lakers and Russell had an ugly split under Magic Johnson’s guidance not too long ago, which led to the point guard’s landing in Brooklyn with the Nets and blossoming into a star on his own. 

Naturally, the two have been linked again, this time by B/R’s Eric Pincus: “With [Magic] Johnson gone, some close to Russell have indicated he may be open to the idea if Brooklyn isn’t in the picture.”

This one could gain more traction faster than anyone might expect, too. While the Nets can match any offer on Russell thanks to his restricted status, they could end up cutting ties with him completely if it means they go out and buy up a max-contract player. 

If Russell hits the open market, the Lakers are suddenly looking at a 23-year-old point guard who averaged 21.1 points and 7.0 assists last year while shooting 43.4 percent from the floor and 36.9 percent from deep—all career highs. 

Granted, it would be a battle to rip Russell away from other teams willing t

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The futures of Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard seem to be hanging on every twist and turn of the NBA Finals

The futures of Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard seem to be hanging on every twist and turn of the NBA Finals

A high-stakes NBA postseason has come down to a matchup between two teams whose futures rest, in part, in the hands of two impending free agents — Kevin Durant with the Golden State Warriors and Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors.

Speculation about the futures of Durant and Leonard — who at various times have each been nominated as “Best Player in the NBA” in these playoffs — has played out all season long, but in the NBA Finals, their free agency decisions are front-and-center.

The NBA grapevine has suggested for most of the season that both players are goners this summer. Rumors have pointed to Durant leaving the Warriors, perhaps for the New York Knicks, while many believe Leonard, who was traded to the Raptors with little say in the matter, would like to move closer to home in southern California by joining one of the two Los Angeles franchises.

Read more: The Kevin Durant-Kyrie Irving free agency hype is reaching a fever pitch, and the Knicks are heavily involved

However, with the Finals taking twists and turns from game to game, so, too, rumors and speculation about their futures.

There was a belief that the Raptors needed an incredibly successful season to convince Leonard to stay in Toronto. Lo and behold, they won the Eastern Conference, with Leonard creating some all-time moments in the process.

Read more: Kawhi Leonard knocks out 76ers with dramatic game-winning shot that bounced on the rim 4 times before falling in

As a result, there is a growing buzz that perhaps Leonard would stay in Toronto.

David Thorpe of TrueHoop reported that sources have said that Leonard would consider staying in Toronto, even on a short-term deal.

On Monday, Toronto sports radio host Michael Landsberg reported that he had heard that Leonard recently bought property in Toronto.

There is growing buzz that Kawhi Leonard may stay in Toronto.
David Zalubowski/AP

Of course, a real estate purchase does

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Whoo Buddy, The Lakers Sound Like A Real Mess

Whoo Buddy, The Lakers Sound Like A Real Mess
Photo: Mark J. Terrill (AP)

Call ‘em the Showtime Lakers again, not because their utter organizational collapse of this past season was fun to watch—though it was definitely fun to watch—but because they melted down with levels of violence and obscenity that belong on premium cable. Luke Walton is gone as coach, replaced with a third-choice hire, and then a fourth-choice hire for when LeBron James decides he doesn’t like the first guy. Magic Johnson is gone as team president, resigning in favor of his new job: Obvious Tweeter and Burner of Bridges. Rob Pelinka is still there. So is LeBron, and all of LeBron’s hangers-on. That feels like more than enough shit to clog the fan.

ESPN’s Baxter Holmes has a big piece this morning with a wide remit—to determine what went wrong with the Pelinka/Magic/LeBron Lakers. The short answer is: So much went wrong, and at just about everybody’s hands, that it’s impossible to construct a single narrative from it. The executives were in over their heads. The power-seekers were indulged, not quarantined. The bosses were tyrants. There were too many cooks, all acting independently of each other and making sure they were insulated from any criticisms. Everyone, at seemingly all times, did what they shouldn’t have done, and made sure there was no one around to warn them that they shouldn’t do it. It’s all, frankly, a masterpiece of organizational rot—a well-run franchise couldn’t quickly achieve this level of dysfunction if it tried.

The Lakers, if it doesn’t become clear after reading Holmes’s story, or after, uh, paying attention to the entire last season, are not a well-run franchise. At well-run franchises, things like this don’t tend to happen:

In November, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Maverick Carter, LeBron’s longtime business partner, met for lunch. James’ agent, Rich Paul, was seated at a nearby table, and at one point, approached Silver to complain about Walton, multiple sources familiar with the interaction told ESPN. Paul said he didn’t believe Walton wa

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RIMOWA Taps Kim Jones & LeBron James for New Global Campaign

RIMOWA Taps Kim Jones & LeBron James for New Global Campaign

Last year RIMOWA debuted its “NEVER STILL” global campaign starring Virgil Abloh, Yoon Ahn, Roger Federer, Adwoa Aboah, and Nobu Matsuhisa. The brand continues the project into 2019, soliciting Kim Jones, LeBron James, and Chinese pianist Yuja Wang to feature in this year’s installment, furthering the conversation surrounding purposeful travel. The campaign provides us with a glimpse into each individual’s personal life on the go, detailing the hardships of being on the road and the drive that is necessary not only to endure but thrive.

First up for RIMOWA’s 2019 “NEVER STILL” campaign is Artistic Director Dior Men’s and fashion designer Kim Jones. Captured in Indian and Japan, Jones’ film was directed by Jonas and Julien, featurin

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Kyle Lowry explained how he kept his cool after Mark Stevens shoved him and said there is no place in the NBA for people like him

Kyle Lowry explained how he kept his cool after Mark Stevens shoved him and said there is no place in the NBA for people like him

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said there is no place in the NBA for Mark Stevens’ behavior after being shoved by the Golden State Warriors minority owner during Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Lowry thanked the Warriors and the NBA for their response to Stevens. The Warriors initially barred Stevens from attending any more Finals games. The NBA and Warriors later jointly announced that Stevens would be suspended for one season and fined $500,000.

Read more: Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens fined $500,000, barred from the team for one year after shoving Kyle Lowry in the NBA Finals

“It’s just what our league is about, protecting the players,” Lowry said. “Like I said last night, there’s no room in our game for that.”

Lowry confirmed reports that Stevens also cursed him out, repeatedly telling him to “go f— yourself.”

Kyle Lowry did not retaliate against Mark Stevens.
Tony Avelar/AP

“He’s not a good look for the ownership group that they have,” Lowry said. “I know [Warriors majorit

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High-school track sensation Matthew Boling has received unwanted attention based on his race, but a World Champion sprinter says it won’t matter because he is the real deal

High-school track sensation Matthew Boling has received unwanted attention based on his race, but a World Champion sprinter says it won’t matter because he is the real deal

Matthew Boling is just 18 years old, but his impressive speed and viral highlight reel on the track has already made him a national sensation.

But according to Adam Kilgore at the Washington Post, one aspect of Boling’s jump to fame was particularly frustrating for the young athlete — being bestowed with the nickname “White Lightning.”

“His races went viral under headlines referring to him as ‘White Lightning,’ a new nickname he didn’t want and wishes would disappear,” Kilgore wrote. “Boling said his competitors never mention the fact he is white, that his race means nothing on the track. It’s Instagram commenters and reporters who keep bringing up his skin color.”

According to Kilgore, while most of the attention Boling received was positive, some was negative and sometimes even “unthinkable.”

“There was somebody that left a message at Strake Jesuit saying he was the father of the Lord,” said his father Mark Boling, “and he commanded ‘White Lightning’ to go down and represent the white race.”

Asked his preferred nickname, Boling replied, “Matt.”

Ato Boldon won four Olympic medals and was a world champion in the 200 meters.
Piotr Hawalej/Getty Images for IAAF

While the unwanted nickname is a frustrating issue for Boling at this point in his young career, Olympic sprinter Ato Boldon gave him a reason to look forward to the future late

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Space Jam 2 Features All These NBA And WNBA Stars – Report

Space Jam 2 Features All These NBA And WNBA Stars – Report

The sequel to the cult classic basketball movie Space Jam is still in production, and now it’s been reported that it’ll have a stellar cast of famous basketball players. Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reports that a series of NBA and WNBA stars will join LeBron James in the movie.

Damian Lillard, Anthony Davis, and Klay Thompson will feature in the movie alongside WNBA stars Diana Taurasi, Nneka Ogwumike, and Chiney Ogwumike. “Several more” NBA and WNBA players will have roles in the film, Charania reported based on unnamed sources.

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Watch Bronny James Replicate LeBron’s Legendary Block at LA Memorial Day Classic

Watch Bronny James Replicate LeBron’s Legendary Block at LA Memorial Day Classic
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 28: LeBron James Jr. shoots around after a game between the LA Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers on December 28, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

Adam Pantozzi/Getty Images

Bronny James and the North Coast Blue Chips once again rolled to victory at the LA Classic Tournament, winning 63-43 in their second game of the event, according to Slam

Bronny sent social media into a frenzy when he replicated his dad’s legendary block from Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. The sequence was eerily similar to when LeBron James swatted Andre Iguodala’s shot attempt off the glass.

LeBron had a front-row seat to see his son continue to strengthen his on-court reputation.

Bronny won’t hit the college ranks until 2023, but Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, North Carolina

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SIMMONS: Thanks for the title, Kawhi! – Toronto Sun

SIMMONS: Thanks for the title, Kawhi! – Toronto Sun

If this is it for Kawhi Leonard, one season of mystery, magic and memories in Toronto, one year and one unexpected and exhilarating NBA championship, then, really, all you can say is thanks.

Thanks, and you’ll never be forgotten.

Thanks, and you pulled off what no one saw coming, maybe even yourself, a regular season of load management — a new term invented — uncertainty and basketball brilliance, with quiet steely eyed confidence, affecting everyone around you.

That’s what the special players do in any sport: They set the tone. They sing the lead. They tune the instruments. They direct the orchestra. Whatever needs to be done gets done — and along the way every teammate grew a little taller, a little quicker, a little smarter, a little more serious, a little more diligent, a little more consumed because Leonard was consumed.

Leonard brought toughness and calm and strength to this championship team. He brought responsibility. He brought basketball intelligence. He brought purpose.

He brought his own varied version of Wayne Gretzky. Sometimes I’d watch Gretzky in his prime and think he’s not having much of a game. Then I’d look at the scoresheet at the end and see he had four points. It’s the same with Kawhi in a different way. Some nights he would look tired or off or just not himself and then you’d look at the scoresheet afterwards and see he put up 30 points and brought down nine rebounds. The great ones are about numbers and not about numbers all at the same time.

Nick Nurse did a marvelous job in his first season coaching the Raptors, his first season coaching Leonard. He’s the ninth NBA coach and third in recent seasons to win a title in his first year on the job. The other two, Tyronn Lue and Steve Kerr, had LeBron James in Cleveland and Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in Golden State. And the message from that is rather clear. When you have the best player, you can win. Nurse had Kawhi. Your band sounds better when Paul McCartney sings along. The roster Dwane Casey was left with when he was fired as coach would never have won a championship. Those teams were fine, just didn’t have the right parts. They didn’t have a mega-star. You don’t

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Lakers get Horton-Tucker in 2nd round after trading top pick

AP
Published 1:01 a.m. ET June 21, 2019

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A few hours after the Los Angeles Lakers made a draft pick for another team, they made a solid addition to their own roster.

Although the Lakers gave up the fourth overall pick in the yet-to-be-announced trade for Anthony Davis earlier this month, they acquired the 46th overall pick from Orlando on Thursday night and used it on Iowa State’s Talen Horton-Tucker.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Horton-Tucker, who didn’t work out for the Lakers or meet with them at the combine. “Everybody grows up and wants to play for a team like that.”

Horton-Tucker is a Chicago native who played only one season with the Cyclones before entering the draft. He will still be 18 years old when the Lakers report to training camp.

He is also a client of Klutch Sports, the agency that represents Davis and LeBron James. Horton-Tucker trained for the draft in Los Angeles, and he called it his “dream destination.”

“It’s actually great to come in with two guys like that

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Highlights: Bronny James Leads Blue Chips to Easy Win at LA Classic Tournament

Highlights: Bronny James Leads Blue Chips to Easy Win at LA Classic Tournament
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 28: LeBron James Jr. dribbles the ball on the court before the LA Clippers game against the Los Angeles Lakers on December 28, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Bronny James had a successful return to the court Saturday, leading the North Coast Blue Chips to an easy 53-26 win over the West Coast Warriors at the LA Classic Tournament. 

The oldest son of LeBron James showed off his skill set in the blowout victory:

Despite being 14 years old, Bronny is generating significant attention from some of the nation’s most prestigious basketball programs. Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski saw his 16U Nike EYBL debut in April. 

It makes sense Krzyzewski would be keeping a close eye on things, since the Blue Devils and Kentucky have had standing scholarship offers for Bronny since he was 11 years old. 

“Yeah, he’s already got some offers from colleges; it’s pretty crazy. It should be a viola

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Highlights: Bronny James, North Coast Blue Chips Win LA Classic Tournament

Highlights: Bronny James, North Coast Blue Chips Win LA Classic Tournament
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 28: LeBron James Jr. shoots around after a game between the LA Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers on December 28, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

Adam Pantozzi/Getty Images

Bronny James and the North Coast Blue Chips took home two wins Monday at the Los Angeles Memorial Day Classic, winning the tournament.

James, the son of NBA superstar LeBron James, showed off an impressive skill set in the two games, hitting a number of threes and pulling off some nice assists.

His teammate, Gabe Cupps, also showed off his all-around offensive game.

The two wins came a day after both Bronny James and Cupps made headlines. 

James had a nasty chase-down block Sunday, reminiscent of his father’s block on Andre Iguodala in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. 

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NBA Draft Questions: Is Zion Williamson a Can’t Miss Prospect? | Crossover Podcast

NBA Draft Questions: Is Zion Williamson a Can’t Miss Prospect? | Crossover Podcast

NBA draft day has finally arrived and while players will live out their dreams of getting selected by a team, some questions still remain unanswered. 

On the latest Crossover Podcast, Chris Mannix and Jeremy Woo dive into Zion Williamson, potential sleeper picks, players with red flags and more.

(Listen to the latest Crossover podcast here. The following transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.)


Chris Mannix: Give me some of your sleeper guys in the draft?

Jeremy Woo: Yeah, I really do like Goga Bitadze. I have him as the top international guy ahead of Sekou Doumbouya. I think he’s a pretty safe pick. Granted, I haven’t seen him play in person but I’ve watched a lot of tape on him. He was so productive at a high level in Europe. Not a lot of teenagers are starting in the Euroleague and producing. He’s doing that and I think that’s a huge indicator just in terms of his readiness and I think he can get stronger. I like how physical he is. He can shoot threes. To me, he’s the best center in the draft and I would take him—his range starts at 10. I would probably take him at 10 but I think it’s more likely he falls in that next group. He’s a guy who I think might be a little bit undervalued but we’ve seen European centers like him kind of succeed.

Nic Claxton is a name that comes up a lot. I like him too. He’s grown on me from Georgia. He was good at the combine. Apparently he’s been working out really well for teams and if you look at how Pascal Siakam really changed the game for Toronto in the playoffs as a sort of a big guy who can handle the ball and can defend. I think that’s the idea with Claxton and not that he is going to

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Raptors’ Lowry has been speaking with DeRozan throughout playoffs – Sportsnet.ca

Raptors’ Lowry has been speaking with DeRozan throughout playoffs – Sportsnet.ca

DeMar DeRozan hasn’t been a member of the Toronto Raptors since 2018 but he remains unequivocally linked to the team’s journey to the 2019 NBA Finals.

So it isn’t entirely surprising that Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry has been in contact with his close friend throughout this entire playoff run.

“I’ve been speaking to him the whole way,” Lowry told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “One thing about him is that he legit cares about me as his best friend. He has texted everyone he has a relationship with and let them know how happy he is for us.”

DeRozan was the main piece Toronto sent to the San Antonio Spurs last summer in the trade that landed the Raptors Kawhi Leonard.

While the team and its fan base were excited at the thought of landing a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and Finals MVP like Leonard, it was a bittersweet departure for the player who has scored more points and played more games than anyone in Ra

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New ‘Space Jam 2’ Casting Rumors Include Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard & WNBA Stars

New ‘Space Jam 2’ Casting Rumors Include Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard & WNBA Stars

More Space Jam 2 casting rumors are circulating the internet, this time involving a number of players from the NBA and WNBA. According to sources, Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard and WNBA’s Diana Taurasi and Nneka Ogwumike have landed key roles in the LeBron James-helmed sequel. The rumors follow talk of Klay Thompson’s commitment to the film, with the announcement expected to be made soon since the 2019 NBA Finals are over.

James and the rest of the production crew are reportedly facing major casting hu

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LeBron James Calls out Warriors Part-Owner Mark Stevens for Kyle Lowry Push

LeBron James Calls out Warriors Part-Owner Mark Stevens for Kyle Lowry Push
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 05:  Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors is pushed by Warriors minority investor Mark Stevens (blue shirt) after falling into the seats after a play against the Golden State Warriors in the second half during Game Three of the 2019 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 05, 2019 in Oakland, California. According to to the Warriors, Stevens will not be in attendance for the remainder of the NBA Finals as they look further into the incident. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Golden State Warriors minority stakeholder Mark Stevens pushed Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry after he dove into the stands during Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night.

And Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James took to Instagram on Thursday to call out Stevens for his inappropriate actions:

“When you sit courtside you absolutely know what comes with being on the floor and if you don’t know it’s on the back on the ticket itself that states the guidelines. But he himself being a fan but more importantly PART-OWNER of the Warriors knew exactly what he was doing which was so uncalled for. He knew the rules more than just the average person sitting watching the game courtside so for that Something needs to be done ASAP! A swift action for his actions.

“Just think to yourself, what if @kyle_lowry7 would have reacted and put his hands back on him. You guys would be going CRAZY!! Calling for him to damn near be put in jail let alone being suspended for the rest of the Finals all because he was protected himself. I’ve been quite throughout the whole NBA playoffs watching every game (haven’t missed one) but after I saw what I saw last night, took time to let it manifest into my thinking. I couldn’t and wouldn’t be quiet on this!”

Kyle Lowry also spoke about the incident after the game:

The Warriors released a statement and said Stevens—who was ejected from the game after pushing Lowry—would not be in attendance for any remaining NBA Finals games:

James also responded to that announcement on Twitter:

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2019-20 NBA Title Odds: LeBron James, Lakers Favored After Raptors’ Finals Win

2019-20 NBA Title Odds: LeBron James, Lakers Favored After Raptors’ Finals Win
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, right, shoots as center Tyson Chandler, left, and Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell watch during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 22, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers, who finished 10th in the Western Conference with a 37-45 record in 2018-19, are 4-1 favorites to win the 2019-20 NBA title, per Caesars Palace:

Of course, the odds tell a far different story about the Lakers’ prospects than their 2018-19 record does. Los Angeles is heavily favored to land New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis, a six-time All-Star who averaged 25.9 points and 12.0 boards per game last season:

Pairing Davis with four-time NBA MVP LeBron James would make the Lakers formidable regardless of their surrounding talent.

However, a James-Davis Lakers squad would not enjoy a cakewalk to the NBA Finals if the odds are any indication.

There figures to be much more parity and suspense at the top of the league

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Golden State Warriors Part-Owner Gets 1-Year Ban from NBA Games

Golden State Warriors Part-Owner Gets 1-Year Ban from NBA Games
Dominic Fike Drops Two New Dreamy Singles

Dominic Fike Drops Two New Dreamy Singles

Titled “‘Açaí Bowl” and “Rollerblades.”

New Supreme Box Logo Worn by Chief Keef at Virgil Abloh Exhibit

New Supreme Box Logo Worn by Chief Keef at Virgil Abloh Exhibit

Sparking rumors of an Abloh and ‘Preme collab.

Future Returns With Syrupy Flow on 'Save Me' EP

Future Returns With Syrupy Flow on ‘Save Me’ EP

The follow-up to this year’s ‘Future Hndrxx Presents: The WIZRD.’

Avicii's 'Tim' Is a Stirring Ode to His Genre-Defining Career

Avicii’s ‘Tim’ Is a Stirring Ode to His Genre-Defining Career

The posthumous album from the Swedish dance producer is here.

Birkenstock Executive Speaks on Turning Down Supreme Collaboration

Birkenstock Executive Speaks on Turning Down Supreme Collaboration

“It was never about function for them, just logos.”

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Lakers News: JaVale McGee Talks Free Agency, Playing with LeBron James, More

Lakers News: JaVale McGee Talks Free Agency, Playing with LeBron James, More
PORTLAND, OR - NOVEMBER 03:  LeBron James #23,  JaVale McGee #7 and Kyle Kuzma #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers watch the action against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center on November 3, 2018 in Portland, Oregon.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers‘ franchise-record postseason drought extended to six seasons with a 37-45 drama-filled 2018-19 campaign, and center JaVale McGee gave the world some insight on the team Wednesday. 

During an appearance on FS1’s Undisputed, McGee touched on everything from the Lakers season to playing alongside four-time NBA MVP LeBron James to the early-season incident between Golden State Warriors stars Kevin Durant and Draymond Green (around the 4:00 mark):

Los Angeles went from rebuild mode to championship expectations following the signing of James last summer. McGee was among the veterans signed to a one-year deal to fill out the roster and supplement a young core.

While the Lakers quickly fell out of contention after the All-Star break, McGee—a two-time NBA champion—believes the team had the talent when healthy to make some noise.

“I feel like we definitely could have made it to the Western Conference Finals and met up with the Warriors,” McGee said when

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Giannis Antetokounmnpo, Not James Harden, Is the Real NBA MVP

Giannis Antetokounmnpo, Not James Harden, Is the Real NBA MVP

Giannis Antetokounmpo, not James Harden, is the real NBA MVP. The Bucks superstar led his team to the No.1 seed and the league’s best record.

Watch the video above for more about why Giannis should be crowned the new King of the East.

  

Bleacher Report is the go-to destination for basketball fans everywhere. B/R’s NBA coverage delivers must-see on-court analysis and highlights on a daily basis. Connect to the NBA stories, teams, athletes and highlights that make the game more than a game.

Download the free Bleacher Report app to catch all the moments that matter in one place. Get the app to get the game.

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The ESPN Daily: The Raptors take Game 1

The ESPN Daily: The Raptors take Game 1

RAPTORS MAKE A STATEMENT

Toronto controls Game 1 … The Raptors’ NBA Finals debut couldn’t have gone much better than it did Thursday, as they controlled the game from the opening tip to put the Warriors in a place they haven’t been during their current dynasty — down 1-0 in the championship series. Pascal Siakam led the way with 32 points and is currently the toast of Canada. Read More

THINGS TO CARE ABOUT

Tottenham vs. Liverpool … A ridiculous Champions League season ends Saturday at 3 p.m. ET, when Tottenham Hotspur take on Liverpool. Who has the advantage in this all-England final? We have the full breakdown, including the backstory for each team and our expert prediction. Read More

James to Wade all over again … If you’re a high school basketball player, competing against one of LeBron James’ sons would be difficult. Competing against him AND Dwyane Wade’s son? Absolute nightmare. Good luck to the kids who are going to have to do that this fall. Read More

Best season ever? Cody Bellinger is raking right now, practically lapping the field in average, OBP and SLG. On top of that, he’s playing stellar defense and making no mistakes. It’s still early, but Bellinger’s numbers are starting to put him on track for one of the best seasons in MLB history … and perhaps ever. Read More


WEEKEND BINGE READS

The shadow lingering over the NBA Finals … Regardless of whether the Warriors or Raptors prevail, the question of where Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard will end up next season is significant. You can bet the entire league will be analyzing each win, missed shot, and stray comment with that in mind. It’s fascinating that, in the modern NBA, the league’s championship event seemingly takes a backseat to the free agency sweepstakes. Read More

The toughest football player who ever lived … Pro Football Hall of Famer Bart Starr died Sunday, and his legacy is unrivaled — he won and was named the MVP of the first two Super Bowls, after all. But one thing that might have been lost in all the tributes was his toughness, which stood out even in the rough-and-tumble early NFL. Read More

The danger of foul balls … By

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The Warriors Aren’t Just Going To Be Able To Wait For This Mess To Go Away

The Warriors Aren’t Just Going To Be Able To Wait For This Mess To Go Away
Photo: Lachlan Cunningham (Getty)

A lot has happened since Raptors guard Kyle Lowry was shoved by a Warriors fan after falling into the seats during Game 3: Lowry was understandably angry; the fan got ejected; after the game Lowry said the fan had made “vulgar” comments to him; this morning, the fan was identified as Mark Stevens, a minority owner of the Warriors; the Warriors went into damage-control mode, saying Stevens would be would not be allowed to attend the rest of the NBA Finals; the NBA announced he was banned from all future NBA games as the “review of this matter” continues; the Warriors also said he had been barred from “team related activities.” Most importantly, though, LeBron James got involved:

If the Warriors had been planning to ride out the surge negative coverage and wait for everything to go back to normal, those plans will have to be changed. When LeBron James gets involved, nothing disappears. On Instagram, he wrote:

There’s absolutely no place in our BEAUTIFUL game for that AT ALL. There’s so many issues here. When you sit courtside you absolutely know what comes with being on the floor and if you don’t know it’s on the back on the ticket itself that states the guidelines. But he himself being a fan but more importantly PART-OWNER of the Warriors knew exactly what he was doing which was so uncalled for. He knew the rules more than just the average person sitting watching the game courtside so for that Something needs to be done ASAP! A swift action for his actions. Just think to yourself, what if @kyle_lowry7 would have reacted and put his hands back on him. You guys would be going CRAZY!! Calling for him to damn near be put in jail let alone being suspended for the rest of the Finals all because he was protected himself. I’ve been quite throughout the whole NBA playoffs watching

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Sources: Lakers hustling to create max salary slot

Sources: Lakers hustling to create max salary slot

The Los Angeles Lakers are scrambling to reshape the parameters of the Anthony Davis trade with New Orleans and create the capacity for $32 million-plus in salary-cap space when the free-agent moratorium ends on July 6, league sources told ESPN.

The Lakers were engaging additional teams on Tuesday to take on the contracts of three of the remaining five players on the team’s roster — Mo Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones — league sources said. Kyle Kuzma and LeBron James are the only other two Lakers remaining on the team’s end-of-season roster.

The Lakers are pursuing the purchase of second-round picks in Thursday’s NBA draft, understanding they need avenues to acquire inexpensive talent and

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These Are the Highest-Paid Athletes of 2019

These Are the Highest-Paid Athletes of 2019

Forbes has released the 2019 edition of its world’s highest-paid athletes list, with the top 10 competitors coming from the sports of football, boxing, tennis, American football and basketball.

Topping this year’s list is FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi with a total of $127 million USD in annual earnings. Rival Cristiano Ronaldo takes the number two spot with $109 million USD, followed by Paris Saint-Germain F.C.’s Neymar, who jumped from last year’s fifth slot to this year’s third with $105 million USD.

Following his four-year contract extension, Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is officially both the NFL‘s most valuable player and 2019’s highest-paid American athlete. Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers fall just below his fell

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How Rich Paul Orchestrated Anthony Davis’ Move to the Lakers

How Rich Paul Orchestrated Anthony Davis’ Move to the Lakers

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