ESPN’s Katie Nolan snuck into LeBron James’ ESPYs after-party by posing as USWNT star Rose Lavelle

ESPN’s Katie Nolan snuck into LeBron James’ ESPYs after-party by posing as USWNT star Rose Lavelle

Every year after the ESPYs, LeBron James hosts an “Uninterrupted” after-party that the ESPN host Katie Nolan says is “famously impossible to get into.”

During this past week’s episode of her podcast “Sports?” Nolan shared her experience of successfully crashing this year’s edition.

Nolan told listeners that she wasn’t on the list to get in but that her fellow ESPN reporters and close friends Dianna Russini and Cassidy Hubbarth were invited. She said, however, that even being on the list didn’t guarantee access.

Nonetheless, Nolan said she tagged along with Russini and Hubbarth after the main ESP

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Drake is bringing LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s Uninterrupted to Canada

Drake is bringing LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s Uninterrupted to Canada

Four years after its initial 2015 founding, LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s digital media startup Uninterrupted is expanding beyond American borders for the first time. James and Carter have struck a partnership with Drake to launch Uninterrupted Canada, which will bring the company’s unique blend of culture, sports, and media to Canadian fans—and, importantly, business partners.

“Expanding into Canada with some incredible partners puts Uninterrupted on a global scale and creates new opportunities for even more athletes and fans to be a part of what we’re building,” said James, in a statement.

Uninterrupted Canada will be run by CEO Scott Moore, a veteran Canadian sports media exec, and chief creative officer Vinay Virmani, a film producer and actor. The new Can

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LeBron James Loses His Mind And His Shoe At Bronny’s AAU Games

LeBron James Loses His Mind And His Shoe At Bronny’s AAU Games

Back in the summer of 2000, a 15-year-old LeBron James, playing for an AAU team in Oakland, rolled through his pregame layup line with a double-scoop ice cream cone in hand. It was apparently very funny. It’s the summer of 2019 and LeBron James is still enjoying himself in the AAU layup lines—lately, by yamming off-the-backboard dunks while his son and teammates look on. (Just like he did this time last year, only with different dunks.) This is what LeBron Jameses Jr. and Sr. got up to over the weekend:

During a different game, Bronny’s teammates Dior Johnson and Devontes Cobbs connected on a through-the-legs alley-oop in transition. The play did not involve his son at all, and LeBron James still lost his left shoe during the ensuing celebration. No one can deny that this is a man who loves and will die right now for his Sport and for SPORTS in general. “But for real my shoe really jump off my foot in excitement,” James wrote later.

James is an extremely online and enthusiastic father. At age 34, he is effe

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Drake Teams With LeBron James’ Uninterrupted to Launch Canadian Offshoot of Sports-Media Brand

Drake Teams With LeBron James’ Uninterrupted to Launch Canadian Offshoot of Sports-Media Brand

Drake, the Canadian music artist and Toronto Raptors mega-fan, is getting into the sports-media business with a major assist from NBA superstar LeBron James.

Uninterrupted, the athlete-empowerment brand and media company founded by James and his longtime business partner Maverick Carter, is launching in Canada in partnership with Drake. Uninterrupted Canada is the first international expansion for Uninterrupted, which launched in the U.S. in 2015 with backing from Warner Bros. and Turner.

“Expanding into Canada with some incredible partners puts Uninterrupted on a global scale and creates new opportunities for even more athletes and fans to be a part of what we’re building,” LeBron James said in a statement.

Drake commented, “Uninterrupted has been an incredible platform for athletes to tell their stories and connect with fans. I’m honored to partner with LeBron to bring Uninterrupted to Canada, a country that continuously supports innovation and creativity.”

Like the U.S. version, Uninterrupted Canada will produce “athlete-driv

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ESPN’s Katie Nolan pretended to be Rose Lavelle to get into LeBron James’ post-ESPYs party

ESPN’s Katie Nolan pretended to be Rose Lavelle to get into LeBron James’ post-ESPYs party

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This was a night Katie Nolan won’t forget anytime soon. 

The ESPN personality and host of “Always Late with Katie Nolan” hosted the ESPYs red carpet show prior to the event with coworkers Dianna Russini and Cassidy Hubbarth. After partying with the U.S. women’s national squad, the trio headed to LeBron James’ exclusive post-ESPYs bash. 

“Every year LeBron has this party, the Uninterrupted party – famously impossible to get into,” Nolan recounted on her podcast, Sports? last week. 

The USWNT had made it to James’ party before the ESPN trio. As they waited in line, Rose Lavelle, the breakout star of the World Cup-winning squad, was leaving the party. The group was sure to take note of that.

“The (host) has her little iPad with the list on it. Again, to reiterate: Cassidy and Dianna, on that list. Me, no, not at all,” Nolan said. “Never even sniffed it. So Cassidy goes first. She’s like, ‘Cassidy Hubbarth.’ The woman looks, ‘You’re all set.’ Diana. ‘Dianna Russini.’ ‘You’re all set.’

“I’m very aware of where I stand on a list of people going to a party. And I’m OK with it. I’m just not going to go, because I’d rather not go and not feel bad that I can’t get in.”

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LAVELLE: USWNT star’s teacher once said she wouldn’t go pro

Then came Nolan’s turn to enter. The host asked for her name.

“Dianna goes, ‘It’s L-a-v-, Rose how do you spell your last name?'” Nolan explained on the podcast.

At that point, Nolan picked up on the

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Girls Trip director Malcolm D. Lee joins the squad for Space Jam 2

Girls Trip director Malcolm D. Lee joins the squad for Space Jam 2
Photo: Francois Durand (Getty Images)

Well, it looks like Space Jam 2 really is happening, with LeBron James filling the Michael Jordan role, Sonequa Martin-Green possibly playing his wife, and Don Cheadle playing some third character, and now Deadline says that director Terence Nance has made an “amicable” departure from the film, with Warner Bros. quickly replacing him with Girls Trip director Malcolm D. Lee—who has a nice box-office track record thanks to the financial success of the aforementioned Girls Trip and the Tiffany Haddish/Kevin Hart vehicle Night School. He’s also the creator of HBO’s Random Acts Of Flyness.

The Deadline story is pretty light on other news about Space Jam 2, but we can assume it’ll be about LeBron James playing basketball against aliens with the Looney Tunes, possibly with a surp

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Kevin Hart and Tons of Celebs Celebrate at his 40th Birthday Party

Kevin Hart and Tons of Celebs Celebrate at his 40th Birthday Party

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Can LeBron make this Lakers roster work?

Can LeBron make this Lakers roster work?

This is the story you know:

Last summer as the Los Angeles Lakers built their team around new star LeBron James, they loaded up on ball handlers who were light on shooting ability and passed on adding reliable big men, assuming James would play more in that role. It was a plan, ratified by James, that included playing up-tempo and taking playmaking pressure off him as he moved into the later stage of his career.

It did not work. The Lakers couldn’t shoot and the floor shrunk on James. They ended up going on a monthslong quest for big men. Point guards Lonzo Ball and Rajon Rondo got hurt. James took over the majority of the ballhandling anyway; he played the fastest pace of his career at age 34; and two months in, he suffered the worst injury of his career. The Lakers finished 37-45 and missed the playoffs.

Now, the Lakers want to write a new story. It goes like this:

James will be the primary playmaker — as he has been on his teams for the past 16 seasons, planned or not — with Rondo back as a probable backup making $7 million less. The roster now has a spate of 3-and-D players, with Danny Green, Avery Bradley and Jared Dudley joining a re-signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

A blockbuster trade for Anthony Davis, the return of Kyle Kuzma and the addition of DeMarcus Cousins will give the Lakers a dramatically more robust front line, with Davis there to share James’ scoring and playmaking load.

Put James and Davis in a pick-and-roll, spread the floor with those shooters (who also will work hard at the other end) and let the magic happen. Throw in the possibility of adding a champion such as Andre Iguodala and another veteran role player along the way — perhaps even another shooter such as Kyle Korver — and the formula is there.

“There’s no question this is a much stronger team that fits around LeBron better,” said one league executive.

“They started backups a lot last season, and they had some guys on their bench that shouldn’t have been in the league,” said one scout. “If they stay healthy, they have a playoff lineup now.”

“They added Anthony Davis; if they did nothing else, they were going to be way better,” said another league executive.

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‘NBA 2K20’ Player Ratings Revealed

‘NBA 2K20’ Player Ratings Revealed

As the anticipation surrounding NBA 2K20 keeps growing, 2K has finally revealed the ratings for the top 20 players in the upcoming game.

Similar to last year’s ratings LeBron James remains at the top spot with 97 overall followed by recent 2019 NBA Finals MVP and champion Kawhi Leonard, his new West Coast rival, right behind him. Rounding out the top five are MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant and James Harden all with a rating of 96.

NBA 2K20 arrives for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC September 2 and features Dwayne Wade and Anthony Davis as cover stars.

Check out the top 20 NBA 2K20 player ratings below. And in related gaming news, Pokémon GO is launching a One Piece crossover event.

1. LeBron James – 97 overall
2. Kawhi Leonard – 97 overall
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo – 96 overall
4. Kevin Durant – 96 overall
5. James Harden – 96 overall
6. Steph Curry – 95 overall
7. Anthony Davis – 94 overall
8. Paul George – 93 overall
9. Damian Lillard – 92 overall
10. Joel Embiid – 91 overall
11. Kyrie Irving – 91 overall
12. Nikola Jovic – 90 overall
13. Russell Westbrook – 90 overall
14. Klay Thompson – 89 overall
15. Karl-Anthony Towns – 89 overall
16. Jimmy Butler – 88 overall
17. Kemba Walker – 88 overall
18. Donovan Mitchell – 88 overall
19. Rudy Gobert – 88 overall
20. Blake Griffin – 88 overall


















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Raptors didn’t lose in free agency, but Kawhi Leonard certainly won – Sportsnet.ca

Raptors didn’t lose in free agency, but Kawhi Leonard certainly won – Sportsnet.ca

Oh, to be Kawhi Leonard: to vacate a championship city and leave a smoking, emotional crater and go to one of the biggest media markets in the world after forcing your new team to strip itself of every future asset:

And still have people wish you God speed.

Forget Board Man getting paid. This is Teflon Man getting paid.

From the best available reporting, it now seems as if Leonard not only ended up in the city he wanted to be in all along — remember, he wanted to be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers when the San Antonio Spurs were fixing to move him last season — but he also played a little hardball, too. He did what NBA stars have done since LeBron James took his talents to South Beach, only in a quieter, closed fist-inside-a-velvet-glove kind of way.

Richard Deitsch, my co-host from 4-7 p.m. on Sportsnet 590, debated this very notion on Friday: Where could Kawhi Leonard best continue to build on his legacy? We both agreed the Lakers were a little whorish. Deitsch said Toronto and I said the Clippers, where I’d felt he was headed all along.

I still feel that Leonard chose the ballsiest path: throwing in his lot with the Clippers and lifting that franchise into favoured status over LeBron and Anthony Davis and the Lakers, who truth must be told have been dining off their history for the past five years. The teams share a city and an arena, but they don’t share the hearts of the city’s basketball culture.

Now Leonard can maybe win a third title with a third different team — he’s taken less money to do so and now has a chance to maybe settle all the ghosts surrounding a franchise that was the Buffalo Braves before moving to San Diego; a franchise that has had some nice players and some pretty moments but was also once owned by Donald Sterling, a man who was forced to sell the franchise because of racist comments. Pro sports has had some truly awful owners — to make it on the Mt. Douchemore of that list is something. But Sterling managed it.

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Sources: Fear of Lakers dynasty drove Clips’ deal

Sources: Fear of Lakers dynasty drove Clips’ deal

As fears mounted that the Los Angeles Lakers had pushed to the cusp of creating an unprecedented Big Three, the LA Clippers made a blockbuster trade for Oklahoma City‘s Paul George — and cleared the path for free-agent Kawhi Leonard to sign a four-year, $141 million contract with the Clippers, league sources told ESPN.

The Clippers became the last line of defense for the balance of power in the NBA — never mind the franchise’s own future. The Clippers had come to believe that, without a deal for George, Leonard was prepared to sign with the Lakers and create a Staples Center partnership with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, sources said.

Had Leonard joined the Lakers, they would have been overwhelming title favorites, and it perhaps would have thrust the Clippers back into the franchise’s dark ages. Now the Clippers are in Western Conference contention, shoulder-to-shoulder with the Lakers — as well as the Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz.

George and Leonard wanted to play together, and George and his agent, CAA’s Aaron Mintz, approached Thunder general manager Sam Presti in recent days and requested a trade, league sources said. Leonard’s message to Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank was essentially this: Get George, and you’ll get me.

Before free agency started, the Clippers knew they needed a second star to lure Leonard but had no idea whom he wanted. The Clippers inquired on deals for Washington‘s Bradley Beal and New OrleansJrue Holiday, but those guards weren’t available in trades. Eventually, Leonard made his intentions known to the Clippers: Paul George.

To Leonard, the cost was immaterial. He wanted to walk into a championship contender and believed George represented the co-star he needed to combat James and Davis, sources said. Leonard wanted to play for Doc Rivers, a coach with whom he could feel a kinship he felt was similar to his relationship with Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri, sources said.

In the end, Presti made the best of an impossib

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Analysis: Warriors’ loss of Kevin Durant will hurt for years to come

Analysis: Warriors’ loss of Kevin Durant will hurt for years to come


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SportsPulse: Kevin Durant is headed to Brooklyn and may have just created the new super team. As Jeff Zillgitt explains, despite Durant likely missing all of next season the Nets are in prime position for years.
USA TODAY

For the Golden State Warriors, Kevin Durant’s departure for the Brooklyn Nets is even more devastating than the sight of Durant going down with a ruptured Achilles during the NBA Finals.

Chances are, Durant will recover from the injury.

Chances are, the Warriors will not recover from the loss of Durant — “recover’’ being measured by their five-year status as a juggernaut in the NBA Finals, winning three titles during their run as Western Conference favorites.

Signing Klay Thompson to a five-year, $189.6 million max deal is an important step forward in securing the Splash Brothers. Thompson and Steph Curry likely will remain together for at least another three years, with Curry entering the third year of a five-year, $201 million deal. But on Sunday that felt like a consolation prize after Durant agreed to a max deal with the Nets.

TRACKER: Analysis, numbers on all the big names and big deals

Yes, Curry and Thompson remain arguably the best shooting backcourt in NBA history. On top of that, Draymond Green, the Warriors’ All-Star forward, has gone from good to great. And the Warriors’ bench is deep and talented. 

The Warriors also could lose DeMarcus Cousins, who at times looked formidable during the NBA Finals, to free agency. And Thompson, who is recovering from a torn ACL suffered during the NBA Finals, is expected to be sidelined at least until December. But those are minor issues compared to Durant’s departure.



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The Brooklyn Nets hit the jackpot while the New York Knicks were left with jack squat. USA TODAY Sports Jeff Zillgitt breaks down the winners and losers in the early going of NBA free agency.
USA TODAY

During the NBA Finals, the Toronto Raptors exposed how Durant’s absence weakens the Warriors. And with the Los Angeles Lakers having added Ant

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Ex-teammate Kendrick Perkins: Kevin Durant ‘finally got his own team’ as face of the Nets

Ex-teammate Kendrick Perkins: Kevin Durant ‘finally got his own team’ as face of the Nets

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Ex-teammate Kendrick Perkins: Kevin Durant ‘finally got his own team’ as face of the Nets

Former teammate Kendrick Perkins said Kevin Durant has signed on for a “golden opportunity” as the new face of the Brooklyn Nets.

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The Brooklyn Nets hit the jackpot while the New York Knicks were left with jack squat. USA TODAY Sports Jeff Zillgitt breaks down the winners and losers in the early going of NBA free agency.
USA TODAY

Former teammate Kendrick Perkins said Kevin Durant has signed on for a “golden opportunity” as the new face of the Brooklyn Nets and that the Golden State Warriors were “taking him for granted.” 

“They’re going to miss him when he’s gone,” Perkins, a close friend who played with Durant with the Oklahoma City Thunder, told The Undefeated. “I talked to KD and he is happy.”

Durant turned down a five-year, $221 million deal with the Warriors to sign a four-year, $164 million contract with the Nets. The two-time NBA Finals MVP will likely miss all of the 2019-20 season after injuring his Achilles in Game 5 of this summer’s Finals with the Warriors. While Durant’s legacy in Golden State included two championships, the star was portrayed as an add-on to an already title-contending team alongside Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. 

“Finally, he got his own team,” Perkins said of the move to Brooklyn. “It was time for him to leave Golden State.”

Durant will play alongside Kyrie Irving, an All-Star who helped LeBron James win an NBA title in Cleveland before becoming the face of the Celtics — where it didn’t pan out.

“I love it for KD. It’s great for KD and Kyrie to be in the New York area,” Perkins said. “I have no doubt they will co-exist. Kyrie needs to be able to play freely and just be himself and let KD be the leader and the playmaker. I think Kyrie will fall in line. After he left Cleveland he called ‘Bron to apologize to him. He realized that he is not that dude and that he needs to play alongside a guy like KD.”

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Frank Vogel Is Prepared to Live Under the Microscope With the Lakers

Frank Vogel Is Prepared to Live Under the Microscope With the Lakers

LAS VEGAS — There’s a story Frank Vogel likes to tell. It was 2006, and Vogel was a year removed from being let go as part of Jim O’Brien’s staff in Philadelphia. He spent most of the ’05-’06 NBA season as a regional scout, bouncing around arenas in the Northeast, filing reports to the Lakers and Wizards.

He was a college video coordinator turned pro one, an NBA coach with two teams and four years on his resume.

Then, Rick Pitino called.

He had an opening on his staff, at Louisville.

Was Vogel interested?

“Rick had his lead assistant, Kevin Willard, take a job with the University of Delaware,” Vogel recalled to Sports Illustrated. “They offered him the job. Rick called me and wanted me to come and replace him—and I was set to do so. And I guess Delaware rescinded their offer once it was brought to the board of trustees and basically pulled out. And Kevin went back to Louisville. I did not go to Louisville.”

A year later, O’Brien landed the top job at Indiana.

Some three and a half years later, Vogel was the head coach, transforming the Pacers from a scuffling outsider to a playoff team, molding a young, talented roster into a hardened, two-time conference finalist. He spent two years in Orlando before landing in Los Angeles, taking on the NBA’s most high-profile position.

The lesson: In sports, timing can be everything.

Frank Vogel

This will be a fascinating season in Los Angeles. The Lakers have LeBron James, still one of the NBA’s most dominant players but not quite the most dominant player anymore. They have Anthony Davis, an All-NBA weapon who could be the NBA’s most dominant player. They have a collection of largely castoffs around them, a group frantically assembled in the second week of free agency, when Kawhi Leonard decided he preferred another locker room in the Staples Center.

And they have Vogel, the team’s third choice to run the show, who will have to monitor James’s minutes, develop chemistry with a new roster, all while having his job security questioned, weekly.

Sounds fun, right?

“The Lakers have always been on the forefront and anywhere LeBron has been, has been on the forefront,” Vogel said. “The best experience I’ve had is being in the conference finals against LeBron because that’s exactly what it was like then. Every word I said then was blasted all over the world, all over Twitter and SportsCenter.

“That’s going to be the case here with the Lakers. It’s not something that I’ve not been a part of, but it’s just part of this job. You know, I understand it. I don’t think there’s anything negative about it. I love

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Welcome to the Jam: Don Cheadle Joins ‘Space Jam 2’ Cast

Welcome to the Jam: Don Cheadle Joins ‘Space Jam 2’ Cast

Space Jam 2 cast

Don Cheadle (Avengers: Endgame) knows it’s time to slam now, and there’s a real jam going down over at Warner Bros. in the form of Space Jam 2, a sequel to the awful-yet-somehow-beloved live-action/animation hybrid from the 1990s which featured basketball legend Michael Jordan teaming up with the Looney Tunes. Current NBA superstar LeBron James has been trying to get a sequel off the ground for years, and he’s actually managed to make it happen – and now Cheadle is the latest addition to the cast.

To quote the immortal lyrics of the first movie’s theme song: Hey you, whatcha gonna do? If the “you” in question is Avengers and Ocean’s Eleven actor Don Cheadle, the answer is, “Join the cast of Space Jam 2.” Deadline reports that Cheadle is on board, though his role is being kept under wraps.

That secrecy means the possibilities for his character are practically endless. He could be playing an exaggerated version of himself. He could be voicing a creature similar to Mr. Swackhammer, the sc

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Can LeBron James Win a Title for Lakers Without a Superteam?

Can LeBron James Win a Title for Lakers Without a Superteam?
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James laughs as he waits to check in to the team's NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets during the second half Friday, March 29, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 129-115. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

“Superteam” is not an objective concept around the NBA. Its definition varies by situation and opinion.

Do two stars count as a superteam? What about one plus an absurd amount of fringe-star depth? Is three stars the minimum? Or did the Golden State Warriors numb us to the it-takes-a-trio model and make it so superteams now need four?

Three stars feels like the baseline. One-two punches are commonplace. Cobbling together four max-level players is almost impossible without capitalizing on a perfect storm of circumstances: salary-cap spikes, rookie-scale contracts, below-market deals, etc.

Superstar trios remain the conventional dream. And it is by that model LeBron James has won his three titles. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade flanked him in Miami, while Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love joined him in Cleveland.

Even the Los Angeles Lakers have subscribed to this three-star format since signing James. After giving up the moon for Anthony Davis, they jumped through the necessary hoops to pursue another big name. They swung and missed on Kawhi Leonard, but the importance of bagging that third star shone in their willingness to wait out a decision.

Somewhat lost amid the Lakers’ failed coup is a sobering possibility: This was probably their last chance to build a superteam with LeBron in tow. If they’re going to win a championship before he leaves or retires, they’ll likely have to do so without a Big Three.

That is neither a potshot at the Lakers’ offseason nor a doomsday scenario. The Toronto Raptors just hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy with one, maybe two superstars on the docket, depending on your view of Kyle Lowry. Amassing All-NBA cornerstones remains the most efficient path to a title, but high-end role players and overall depth can have a similar impact.

Still, the absence of a third star in Los Angeles matters, if only because the Lakers themselves have nodded to its significance.

“It gives us the ability to not only contend in the short term with the players we wanted but also add a superstar or max player in that July of 2021,” general manager Rob Pelinka said of the team’s offseason, per the Los Angeles TimesTania Ganguli. “If that’s something we want to look to do.”

Getting that max player in 2021 will be difficult unless the Lakers are planning to move on from James, who holds a player option that summer.

They have just three guaranteed salaries on the books, but LeBron, Davis’ projected cap hit if he re-signs and Luol Deng‘s dead money would total $83.9 million on their own. That’s assuming James doesn’t opt out. He’d count against the ledger for slightly more on the open market if they carry his cap hold.

Factor in empty roster charges, and they’d be looking at around $94.2 million against a $125 million cap. That $30.8 million in space wouldn’t even be enough to bankroll the smallest max with a starting salary worth 25 percent of the cap ($31.3 million). A first-year max for the next tier up (aka Giannis Antetokounmpo) will run $37.5 million.

The ship may have sailed on the Lakers adding a third star to the LeBron-AD duo.

The ship may have sailed on the Lakers adding a third star to the LeBron-AD duo.Adam Pantozzi/Getty Images

This says nothing of the collateral damage it’d cost to open up that flexibility. Both Kyle Kuzma and Talen Horton-Tucker will be restricted free agents in 2021, and they wouldn’t be able to sign any longer-term deals between now and then. That includes their 2020 first-round pick.

Projections can change. James will be gearing up for his age-37 season in 2021. Perhaps he’ll be willing to sign at noticeably less than the max. At the same time, maybe not. He’s LeBron James. Plus, by that point, the over-38 rule comes into play. It’ll be difficult for him to concede short-term gains in exchange for a big-picture windfall.

Trading for a third star is pretty much off the table. The Lakers will have some interesting salary filler after Dec. 15, but their only real blockbuster anchors are Kuzma and Horton-Tucker. Short of entering the Chris Paul sweepstakes with four- or five-for-one packages at midseason, they don’t have the assets to pursue a seismic splash.

Developing a star in-house is similarly out of the question. The Lakers don’t have the picks or the gradual timeline to groom youngsters. Kuzma is about their only hope, and he’s more than a singular leap away from exploring stardom. As Bleacher R

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The ESPN Daily: The annual Madden ratings beef, the summer league’s hottest kicks and a marriage of champions

The ESPN Daily: The annual Madden ratings beef, the summer league’s hottest kicks and a marriage of champions

THINGS TO CARE ABOUT

The annual Madden ratings beef … Exactly four players got 99 ratings in this year’s version of Madden, which means they’re the only ones who have nothing to complain about. Everyone else has the potential for some serious beef. Some players took to Twitter to protest their overall ratings. Others took issue with their strength or speed numbers. Tyrann Mathieu (87 overall, not bad) went to bat for Tom Brady, Pat Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and Drew Brees. Fun times for everyone! Except for the people at the bottom of the list. That definitely can’t be fun. Read More

Overwatch truly goes global … Most of the matches in the first two seasons of the Overwatch League have taken place at Blizzard Arena in California, but that’s about to change. Next season, teams will host “homestand” events, during which entire weeks of games will take place locally. It’s not quite the way traditional sports operate, with teams traveling constantly to face opponents at their home venues, but it’s a big step for a young league. Given the success of homestands this season in Dallas and Atlanta, it’s pretty clear that the hype level will be through the roof in 2020. Read More

Marriage of champions … It’s rare for Julie Ertz’s schedule to align with her husband Zach’s. She’s playing in the National Women’s Soccer League or for the U.S. national team, while he’s catching passes as a tight end for the Eagles. It’s the kind of relationship where much of it is spent on the phone, but the stars aligned this year for Zach to watch his wife help Team USA win its fourth Women’s world cup.
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COP OR DROP?

The summer’s hottest kicks … The NBA’s summer league is over for this season (congrats to the Grizzlies!) but its true legacy will be the incredible sneakers its


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‘Space Jam 2’ Taps Mahershala Ali To Play LeBron James

‘Space Jam 2’ Taps Mahershala Ali To Play LeBron James

All the latest entertainment coverage from The Onion, America’s finest news source.
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Way-Too-Early 2019-20 MVP Rankings: Who’s Coming for Giannis’ Throne?

Way-Too-Early 2019-20 MVP Rankings: Who’s Coming for Giannis’ Throne?

Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

Hobbled and looking a little hefty, Joel Embiid didn’t exactly flash top form in the 2019 playoffs. In fact, compared to his regular-season efforts, both of his career playoff trips featured downticks in both shooting efficiency and usage. This is why Embiid’s top priority in 2019-20 must be improved fitness.

That might cost him.

Due to slippage from the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics, the Philadelphia 76ers will be even greater threats to reach the Finals next year. With so much at stake, they should proceed with extreme caution when it comes to Embiid. That should mean giving him several nights of rest throughout the season.

There’s no doubting the talent. Last year, Embiid finished seventh in MVP voting, sixth in ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus and third in Jacob Goldstein’s Player Impact Plus-Minus. It’s just that the smartest course for all parties involved seems to be limiting him to around 60 games. Bill Walton is the only MVP ever to play fewer than 71 games in an 82-game season.

          

James Harden, Houston Rockets

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LeBron James offered a warning to those playing against his son after Bronny nearly threw down a monstrous poster dunk: ‘Just hope it’s not you’

LeBron James offered a warning to those playing against his son after Bronny nearly threw down a monstrous poster dunk: ‘Just hope it’s not you’

Bronny James is still at least four years away from a potential NBA career, but that hasn’t stopped fans from fawning over his skills as a young player.

As the eldest son of LeBron James, Bronny has high expectations, and at a recent tournament with his AAU team, North Coast Blue Chips, he nearly brought the house down with a thrilling posterizing dunk.

LeBron shared a video of the near dunk on Instagram on Wednesday, captioning the highlight with a warning to his son’s future opponents.

“Getting closer and closer ladies an

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Report: Raps feel used as leverage by Kawhi – TSN

Report: Raps feel used as leverage by Kawhi – TSN

Kawhi Leonard told ESPN on Wednesday he was very close to picking either the Toronto Raptors or Los Angeles Lakers before the Clippers made it an “easy” decision for him to sign by acquiring Paul George.

However, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, the Raptors believe Leonard used the team as leverage during his negotiations in free agency. He adds though that the team never felt misled by the NBA Finals MVP.

Leon

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Zion Williamson signed a $75 million shoe deal before ever playing an NBA game. It could represent the biggest emerging threat to teams in today’s NBA.

Zion Williamson signed a $75 million shoe deal before ever playing an NBA game. It could represent the biggest emerging threat to teams in today’s NBA.

As the NBA world ponders what’s next in an era of increasing player power, Zion Williamson’s shoe deal with Jordan Brand could serve as a worst-case scenario.

On Tuesday, it was announced that Williamson partnered with Jordan Brand to create his first signature shoe. Adam Zagoria reported the deal was worth $75 million over seven years, the second-biggest shoe deal ever for a rookie, behind only LeBron James. However, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Wednesday reported that the deal extends five years, making it the richest shoe deal for a rookie in NBA history.

ESPN’s Nick DePaula reported that other companies were offering deals worth over $10 million annually, while The Action Network’s Darren Rovell reported that Williamson turned down more money from other companies.

Williamson has yet to suit up for a real game for the New Orleans Pelicans, who unexpectedly landed the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft and took the Duke superstar. Williamson made a brief appearance at Summer League in Las Vegas but was shut down after one game with knee soreness.

While it will sound dramatic — and there is nothing to suggest that Williamson has an exit from New Orleans on his mind — in today’s NBA, the Pelicans may now be on the clock. Williamson’s shoe deal could be a reason.

The next step in the player-empowerment era

This NBA season saw players take their futures into their hands like never before. Anthony Davis requested a trade with over a year left on his contract. Months later, Paul George requested a trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder with at least two full years left on his deal.

Elsewhere, superstars like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, and Jimmy Butler took less money to join other teams in free agency. Leonard signed just a three-year deal with an opt-out after the second year with the Los Angeles Clippers. He could dip his toes back into free agency in two years.

Read more: NBA free agency has exploded. Here are the biggest signings so far and the best remaining players.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote that the NBA is “reckoning post-Kawhi with what the endgame of player empowerment might look like.” Lowe wondered if players could choose to gambl

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All the King’s Records: Projecting LeBron’s All-Time Blocks, Steals and Rebounds

All the King’s Records: Projecting LeBron’s All-Time Blocks, Steals and Rebounds
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, top, blocks a shot by Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) during the first half of Game 7 of basketball's NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, June 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Eric Risberg/Associated Press

As LeBron James enters his 17th NBA season, Bleacher Report is taking a look at where the four-time MVP sits in the history books in several statistical categories now, after his projected 2019-20 season and following the remainder of his Hall of Fame career.

Already near the top of the all-time leaderboards in numerous categories, James has passed some of the game’s greatest players, and even more legends are about to be bumped down the rankings.

First up in this series was total minutes played, both in the regular season and postseason. In part two of All the King’s Records, we look at where James could finish his career in all-time blocks, steals and rebounds.

         

Blocks: 2019-20 and Future Projections

When attempting to predict James’ stats both now and in the future, we’ll once again be basing his numbers on 71 games played per season, as that’s the average amount of time he’s spent on the court over the past five years. That allows James to miss 11 total games for injury or rest.

Projecting his final career standings for all stats is done under the assumption he’ll play five more years, meaning a retirement at age 39 following 21 total seasons.

Despite his size and athleticism, James has never been a true shot-blocking threat, as is the case with most wings. While he owns a highlight reel of chase-down blocks, spending 70 percent of his career court time at either small forward or a guard position and not in the paint has limited his rise in this category. His career high is 1.1 blocks per game, achieved during both the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons. Over James’ 16-year career, he owns an average of 0.8 rejections per contest.

Still, his longevity puts him near the top 100 players of all time, sitting at No. 110 overall heading into the 2019-20 season.

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 25:  LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers goes up for the block against Terry Rozier of the Boston Celtics in the third quarter during Game Six of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on May 25, 2018 in Clev

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Projecting where James goes from here can be tricky. Those who have watched his regular-season defense over the past few years know his effort level can be lacking at times, which certainly takes away the number of chase-downs. His 0.6 blocks per game last season tied for the second-lowest average of his career.

There’s also the matter of where the Lakers will choose to play him. In his final season with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017-18, James spent 63 percent of his court time at power forward and center, resulting in a spike in his blocks (0.9 per game). That number dropped to just 37 percent last year, which helps explain his lack of rejections.

With the additions of Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Jared Dudley, along with the returns of Kyle Kuzma and JaVale McGee, James could see even less time in the post.

The extra time on the wing, combined with a declining enthusiasm for regular-season defense in general, means James’ block average could continue to slip. But he’s averaged 0.6 blocks per game in three of the last four seasons, so that seems like an accurate projection for 2019-20, as well.

Swatting 0.6 shots per contest over a 71-game sample would result in 43 total blocks and move his career total from 921 to a projected 964. That would spark only a slight move up from 110th to 101st overall on the all-time leaderboard.

Such a jump would mean passing players like Scottie Pippen, Sam Perkins and former Miami Heat teammate Chris Bosh while putting James one block behind No. 100 Bill Laimbeer. James is also in the company of some current players (Paul Millsap, Al Horford, Robin Lopez, Rudy Gobert) who could either continue their climbs above him or surpass the 34-year-old in the standings.

If James maintains his 0.6 blocks per game over the next five years, here’s where he’d finish in all-time rejections without factoring in movement from other current

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LeBron James Reveals School He Founded Has Seen Huge Gains In English, Math, And Dunk Testing

LeBron James Reveals School He Founded Has Seen Huge Gains In English, Math, And Dunk Testing

AKRON, OH—Expressing pride that the curriculum he helped put in place was already bearing fruit in critical areas of study, LeBron James revealed Wednesday that students at his I Promise elementary school have seen huge gains in English, math, and dunk testing. “I’m truly humbled to be making a difference in my community, where so many of these kids tested way below the national average in tomahawk jams, and now they’re on pace to rank in the 90th percentile for both chemistry and alley-oops,” said James, who credited the school’

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At $4,500, Could You Do Some Grand Touring in This 1990 Chrysler LeBaron GT?

At $4,500, Could You Do Some Grand Touring in This 1990 Chrysler LeBaron GT?

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!  

While listed in its ad as a “LeBron” there’s no evidence that today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Chrysler has any connection whatsoever with hoops legend, LeBron James. Let see if its price is another of the seller’s devious misdirections.

Yesterday’s 1995 Toyota Previa S/C Alltrac was cool. It was also old, and when you’re looking to tool around in an old car you usually don’t want to take the whole family along for the ride. That’s why we buy fun classic cars—to get away from the people we love just long enough so that we can keep on loving them. Too few of you loved the Previa however, and with its 62 percent Crack Pipe vote, even fewer were smitten with its $5,000 price.

I was thinking the other day about the passing of Lee Iacocca. I had the opportunity to meet him on a couple of occasions a few years back, both times at events that feted cars Iacocca was instrumental in bringing to market. When you think about it, there are few individuals in modern auto industry history who have been as influential as was the cigar-chomping Iacocca. He did, after all bring us the Mustang—creating a new category of car while he was at it. He gave us the modern minivan too, which became an iconic part of the suburban landscape throughout the latter half of the 1980s and well into the ‘90s.

Lee also gave us the K-car, a model line that upon its launch saved the Chrysler corporation from financial ruin, and that served as the basis for about 80 percent of the company’s model line for the following decade and a half.

Today’s 1990 Chrysler LeBaron GT is one of the last hangers-on of the K-car line. This is actually built on the derivative J-platform, a fact that annoys me since it came after the K but is named for a letter that proceeds K in the alphabet. I’m just weird that way.

The LeBaron name is a venerated Chrysler cognomen going back decades during which time it was applied to various high-end Chrysler and Imperial models. The name originates from a Detroit area coachbuilder obtained by Chrysler in the ‘20s, and was initially adopted for the top model of the company’s then-new Imperial line.

This LeBaron GT is far more modest in its aspirations and its presentation. A smallish but fairly stylish two-door convertible (something else that Iacocca reinvigorated) the LeBaron was, in its day, still positioned as one of Chrysler’s top models, just for a new era.

The bodywork here, in Flash Red, carries a body kit that extends its rockers and both bumpers in what’s meant to be a sporty look. I’d say it’s hit or miss, but is at least all in very decent shape. Usuall

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Ladder Pre-Workout Supplement

Ladder Pre-Workout Supplement

LeBron James needed a supplement that delivered professional-caliber results but couldn’t find what he was after. So, along with his personal t

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Magic Johnson reportedly may have hurt the Lakers’ pursuit of Kawhi Leonard by violating the star’s request to not discuss free agency

Magic Johnson reportedly may have hurt the Lakers’ pursuit of Kawhi Leonard by violating the star’s request to not discuss free agency

Kawhi Leonard’s free-agency process was a bit of a mystery to the larger NBA world, in part because he wanted it that way.

While Leonard met with the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Toronto Raptors, he asked teams not to leak details to media or discuss the meetings, according to reports.

According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, Jovan Buha, and Shams Charania, one front-office executive who was involved in the process of free agency described the message from Leonard’s camp as: “It was basically, ‘Look, we would appreciate discretion.’ Which means, ‘Keep your f—ing mouth shut.'”

The same executive told The Athletic that the implication was that leaking details meant, “If you f— this up, you’re done, you’re out.”

Leonard wanted teams to operate in silence in free agency.
John Raoux/AP

During free agency, before Leonard decided to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Leonard’s camp told teams that leaking details would be “imperiling” to their chances of signing the NBA Finals MVP.

“The teams have simply been told this: If information on your presentation gets out, you’re really imperiling your chance to sign Kawhi Leonard,” Wojnarowski said.

Magic Johnson may have violated that request

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NBA phenom Zion Williamson signs shoe deal with Jordan Brand

NBA phenom Zion Williamson signs shoe deal with Jordan Brand

Zion Williamson, the most hyped NBA rookie since LeBron James, has signed a multiyear endorsement deal with Jordan Brand. Williamson, 19, was chosen first overall in the 2019 NBA draft by the New Orleans Pelicans. The deal was first reported by ESPN’s Nick DePaula.

Because of his unique size and athleticism — he’s 6-foot-7, 285pounds — in college he was featured on highlight shows making monster dunks and defensive plays during his one year at Duke University. Even in high school he was known for his flashy play, and he accumulated millions of followers on Instagram as a high-schooler. Most NBA players don’t have that many followers.

While starring as a freshman at Duke, one of his Nike shoes infamously ripped open during a game, which also makes his decision

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Aging with FaceApp all the rage but privacy concerns raised – Toronto Sun

Aging with FaceApp all the rage but privacy concerns raised – Toronto Sun

If you’re wondering why your social media feed is being flooded by photos of wrinkle-enhanced celebrities and (suddenly) old friends, thank FaceApp.

Personalities as varied as Drake, LeBron James, Gordon Ramsey and the Jonas Brothers have tapped the photo-editing app to fuel the future-self craze on Instragram, Facebook and Twitter. As of 11 a.m. EDT Wednesday, FaceApp was the top trending free offering in Apple’s App Store. FaceApp has altered photos for more than 80 million users since its 2017 release.

How does it work? Users can download the app (free for a three-day trial) from the App Store or Google Play, upload or take photos, and have 21 editing options to choose from: you can look older or younger, swap gender or add a smile or different hairstyle.

FaceApp differs from other photo-editing applications because it doesn’t just use artificial intelligence algorithms to alter the phot

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LeBron James posted a loving scouting report of his son Bronny on Twitter and fans are saying he’s a GOAT parent and player

LeBron James posted a loving scouting report of his son Bronny on Twitter and fans are saying he’s a GOAT parent and player

Bronny James has had some pretty high expectations thrust upon him.

As the eldest son of the greatest basketball player of all time, Bronny has had eyes on him and his potential development into an NBA talent since he was old enough to dribble.

This year, he’ll take another big step into the spotlight, joining a loaded roster at Sierra Canyon — a high-school powerhouse and California’s two-time defending state champions. MaxPreps wrote about James’ imminent arrival, noting that getting playing time as a freshman might not be easy, with so much talent already present at the school.

Read more: LeBron James confirms his goal is to play in the NBA with his son

In response, LeBron James tweeted out a loving and sincere scouting report of his son, saying that he was ready to be a team player and grow as an athl

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LeBron and Savannah James have been together for almost two decades. Here’s a timeline of their love story.

LeBron and Savannah James have been together for almost two decades. Here’s a timeline of their love story.

LeBron James is a bonafide NBA superstar. The Los Angeles Lakers forward is a three-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist who has been courting attention since he was first anointed “ The Chosen One” as a teen on the cover

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11 athletes who have a famous parents

11 athletes who have a famous parents

According to the 2018 edition of State of Play, a report created by the Aspen Institute, 69.1% of children age six to 12 play a sport at least one day a year.

It’s no surprise that the sons o

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Frank Vogel outlined his main offensive philosophy for the season: Spacing the floor around LeBron James and … – Silver Screen and Roll

Frank Vogel outlined his main offensive philosophy for the season: Spacing the floor around LeBron James and … – Silver Screen and Roll

Last summer, the Los Angeles Lakers deviated from an age-old tradition of surrounding LeBron James with shooters. Unsurprisingly, that experiment fell apart almost immediately and by the time the team recognized the problem, it was too late.

This summer, the Lakers decided not to tempt fate a second time and added three players that have shot at least 40 percent from behind the 3-point line for their career: Danny Green, Troy Daniels and Quinn Cook. Jared Dudley, a career 39.2 percent 3-point shooter, just missed the cut.

The Lakers’ decision to surround James and his new superstar teammate, Anthony Davis, with shooters was influenced by newly-hired head coach Frank Vogel, who told Kyle Goon of the OC Register that constructing the roster was fairly simple:

Vogel was influenced by James’ Miami teams, with whom he sparred twice in the Eastern Conference Finals. He started evolving during his two-year tenure in Orlando, he said.

“It’s a simple concept, put shooters around elite offensive talents and you are going to be pretty good because your guys are either going to score or they’re going to find shooters on the weak side,” he said. “That’s the way our roster has been set up and built and we got an army of guys on that weak side that can punish either with the three or making plays off the bounce.”

The roster would have l

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Would LeBron James Be An eSports Legend?

Would LeBron James Be An eSports Legend?
When you’re conspiring to join forces on Team Liquid in 2024
Photo: Getty Images

It is indeed one of the slowest sports weeks of the year, one in which basketbloggers no longer have Summer League to drool over, NFL access merchants try to get you jacked up for nascent training camps storylines that will be forgotten within minutes, the most exciting baseball thing to happen is the possibility of robot umps, sports talk radio hosts bust out the same sports movie rankings they always use (Bull Durham #1 again! Who’d have guessed?!), and I am once more reminded that the British Open is happening AS it is happening. You and I are trapped in dead zone, which is as good a time as any to wonder: Hey, if LeBron James decided at a young age to dedicate his life to being an esports god instead of a basketball wizard, could he have pulled it off? THAT, somehow, is the subject of this week’s Deadcast.

But, luckily for you, there are other discussion topics in play. Greenwell and I went ahead and did an entire Funbag podcast, answer

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Markieff Morris Denies ‘Crazy’ Rumor About Marcus, LeBron, Rich Paul, Clippers

Markieff Morris Denies ‘Crazy’ Rumor About Marcus, LeBron, Rich Paul, Clippers
FILE in this Sept. 19, 2017 file photo, NBA players Markieff, left, and Marcus Morris arrive at Superior Court for the second day of their aggravated assault trial in Phoenix.  Jurors are expected to hear closing arguments Thursday, Sept. 28,  for the assault trial of the NBA players.  The Morris brothers are accused of helping three other people beat Erik Hood on Jan. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

Matt York/Associated Press

Detroit Pistons forward Markieff Morris denied a rumor Wednesday that LeBron James and Rich Paul conspired to prevent his twin brother, Marcus Morris, from signing with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Ben Maller of Fox Sports reported Tuesday that Marcus Morris and those around him are “incensed” that Paul had him turn down a lucrative free-agent offer from the Clippers and that it was a result of the “underhanded work of LeBron James’ henchmen.”

In response, Markieff had a good laugh and dismissed the rumor completely:

Marcus Morris reneged on a two-year, $20 million agreement with the San Antonio Spurs to sign a one-year, $15 million deal with the New York Knicks. Afterward, Morris parted ways with Paul and Klutch Sports Group.

Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reported that Morris and his representation turned down a three-year, $41 million offer from the Los Angeles Clippers before settling for a one-year pact with New York.

That offer was later taken off the table when the Clippers acquired

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All the King’s Records: Projecting Where LeBron Will Finish in All-Time Minutes

All the King’s Records: Projecting Where LeBron Will Finish in All-Time Minutes
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 31:  LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates a defensive stop during the first half against the LA Clippers at Staples Center on January 31, 2019 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 Harry How/Getty Images)

Harry How/Getty Images

As LeBron James enters his 17th NBA season, Bleacher Report is taking a look at where the four-time MVP sits in the history books in several statistical categories now, after his projected 2019-20 season and following the remainder of his Hall of Fame career.

Already near the top of the all-time leaderboards in numerous categories, James has passed some of the game’s greatest players, and even more legends are about to be bumped down the rankings.

First up in this series is total minutes played, both in the regular and postseason. James’ longevity has become part of his lore, along with the incredible production that he’s been able to maintain now heading into his age-35 season.

          

2019-20 Regular-Season/Playoffs Minutes Projection

James is currently 15th in all-time total minutes played in the regular season. He’s already surpassed players like Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Bill Russell, and most recently, Paul Pierce.

He’s played 46,235 career regular-season minutes, which equates to an average of 38.6 minutes per game in his 1,198 total contests. To put that in perspective, only one player in the last five years (Jimmy Butler in 2014-15) has averaged that much playing time over a single season, let alone an entire career.

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 29: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks the ball against the Charlotte Hornets on March 29, 2019 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading a

Chris Elise/Getty Images

James’ combination of heavy usage, incredible durability and lengthy career fueled his rise up the all-time minutes leaderboard. He has averaged nearly 75 games per season, and he played in all 82 in his age-33 campaign with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017-18. He’s missed only 98 games across 16 seasons, many of which came last year with the Los Angeles Lakers because of a groin injury.

With James set to turn 35 on Dec. 30, the Lakers will have to continue to be cautious about his usage. While he didn’t miss a single game and led the NBA at 36.9 minutes per game in 2017-18, there’s no reason for him to log his usual workload in preparation for what L.A. hopes to be a lengthy playoff run.

The Lakers played 13 back-to-backs last season, and the league average as a whole was 13.9. While James likely won’t sit out every back-to-back in 2019-20, he’ll likely miss at least a few for load management. He could also rest for a few games toward the end of the regular season to prepare for the playoffs, and he might miss games because of nagging injuries as well.

His average number of minutes over the last five years (2,591.8) should be a good guideline. That comes out to around 71 games at 36.4 minutes per night. The Lakers should try to lower his playing time if possible, but playing in a loaded Western Conference could make that difficult.

If James does play around 2,600 minutes, he’ll move from 15th all the way up to seventh on the all-time list, passing the following legends:

Greg Swartz/Bleacher Report

While James could pass Kobe Bryant in 2019-20, Elvin Hayes will be untouchable. James would have to play all 82 games while averaging 46 minutes per night, which is out of the question even for him.

When it comes to the postseason, James can’t rise any higher.

He passed Tim Duncan for first place (10,049 total minutes) during the 2018 postseason and can only add distance between himself and the retired San Antonio Spurs star. The next-closest active NBA player is 31st-ranked Kevin Durant (5,598 minutes). With Durant expected t

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LeBron James’s Agent, Rich Paul, Starts a Sports Division at a Hollywood Firm

LeBron James’s Agent, Rich Paul, Starts a Sports Division at a Hollywood Firm

United Talent Agency, one of the leading representation firms in Hollywood, has joined with the influential N.B.A. agent Rich Paul to create a sports division for the entertainment company.

Paul, who represents LeBron James and 22 other N.B.A. players under his Klutch Sports Group banner, was named the head of U.T.A. Sports on Wednesday. The alliance calls for Klutch, with Paul as chief executive, to operate as United Talent’s sports division while retaining its own branding.

“We’ve been looking for the right sports opportunity for quite a while,” said Jeremy Zimmer, the talent agency’s chief executive. “We have taken a significant stake in Klutch, but Rich retains very substantial controls because we want it to be his business and we love what he’s doing.”

Neither side would divulge the amount of the stake, but Paul said “nothing changes” in terms of how Klutch’s basketball business operates and that the investment will enable him “to go out and further build Klutch.”

United Talent Agency represents several high-profile actors, including Angelina Jolie, Kevin Hart, Chris Pratt and Tiffany Haddish, as well companies such as Coca-Cola, General Motors and Delta Air Lines. Yet the firm, which restricted itself to off-the-field sports business until now, said it needs Paul’s muscle as it moves into direct competition with the established sports divisions at U.T.A.’s primary rivals in Hollywood: Creative Artists Agency and William Morris Endeavor.

U.T.A.’s move to recruit Paul to lead its sports division is the latest example of the rising influence that the biggest stars in basketball — and a power-broker like Paul — possess. Players and their representatives are exerting that influence more and more to orchestrate moves to the teams they want to play for, as seen repeatedly this off-season. Increasingly, they are carrying that influence into the entertainment industry.

Rather than try to start a sports division from scratch or seek a merge with an entertainment conglomerate to go head-to-head with C.A.A. and W.M.E., U.T.

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LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and more are among the athletes having fun with the #AgeChallenge

LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and more are among the athletes having fun with the #AgeChallenge

The FaceApp #AgeChallenge took social media by storm on Tuesday and it gave some athletes a chance to see what they might look like in 50 ye

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Chants of ‘I can’t breathe!’ erupt as officer in Eric Garner case won’t face federal charges

Chants of ‘I can’t breathe!’ erupt as officer in Eric Garner case won’t face federal charges

Federal authorities had a deadline of Wednesday — five years since Garner’s death — to decide whether to bring charges against NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo.

In a cell phone video, the officer appeared to have Garner in a chokehold shortly before Garner died. Pantaleo
denies that he used a chokehold.

But US Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said on Tuesday that there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Pantaleo acted “willfully” in violation of the federal criminal civil rights act.

“There is nothing in the video to suggest that Officer Pantaleo intended or attempted to place Mr. Garner in a chokehold,” Donoghue said.

The decision stemmed from concerns that prosecutors could not successfully prove the officer acted willfully, a senior Justice Department official said.

“While willfulness may be inferred from blatantly wrongful conduct, such as a gratuitous kick to the head, an officer’s mistake, fear, misperception, or even poor judgment does not constitute willful conduct under federal criminal civil rights law,” Donoghue said.

Federal investigators have been examining the circumstances of Garner’s death since 2014, after a grand jury in New York
declined to indict the Staten Island officer. The city of New York settled with Garner’s estate for
$5.9 million in 2015.

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Inside LeBron James’ I Promise Academy, One Year Later

Inside LeBron James’ I Promise Academy, One Year Later

For someone who has never seen the early morning rush at the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio, it is a joyful sensory overload at first. It feels like being in close proximity to the floor of a basketball court when the home team’s starting lineup is announced. Kids spill out of cars and into the school building, where they are greeted by a line of adults and older students who clap them into the building. The radio version of a DJ Khaled hit blares from speakers, pouring down the winding staircases at the entrance. Mostly, the students run through the line of clapping hands, jumping up for high-fives or strolling confidently, brushing off a white sneaker or a T-shirt in the process. On average, the whole ritual takes more than thirty minutes. 

It’s just a glimpse of the way in which LeBron James is trying to change public schooling in Akron for children labeled “at risk.” Warmth is key: If a student entering the building seems distressed or unresponsive to the enthusiastic ruckus, someone gently pulls him or her aside to check in. The people who work at the school know these kids well enough to decode a smile or lack thereof. “At the I Promise School, everything is different,” says Ciara DeBruce, who has a daughter heading into the fourth grade there. “Everyone genuinely cares.” 

The word “family” is peppered throughout the school: on walls, on shirts, on its materials, on a large black flag that sits at the school’s back door. Everything the school does is done to foster the idea that everything within the walls of the building is an extension of the family unit a student left behind to come to school that day. Everyone at the I Promise School has a nickname, Michele Campbell, the executive director of the LeBron James Family Foundation, tells me. She rattles them off matter-of-factly as each adult passes by. There’s Kit Kat, Tyga, someone who is simply nicknamed ” No. 1.” Everyone calls Campbell “Boss,” though in a way that is not necessarily tied to any rigid hierarchy. It’s more playful, endearing. “If you stay here long enough,” Campbell says, “we’ll get you a nickname, too.”

LeBron, of course, is adorned with the most famous nickname of all. The one that echoes both within these halls and far outside of it. When King James was a fourth grader, he missed 83 days of school. He moved constantly, burdened by instability at home. Through a network of people who believed in him and who saw the potential his future held, he flourished. Speaking with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols in 2018, he explained what might be considered a guiding philosophy of the I Promise School: “I think that’s what kids ultimately want: They just want someone to feel like someone cares about them. And that’s what we’re trying to do here.” 

The doors of the I Promise School are just a few stones throws away from where LeBron’s legacy took flight: St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. If you are an Ohioan of a certain era, you may have found yourself driving through the sometimes crummy weather of Northeastern Ohio on a fall or winter evening in the early 2000s. You may have found yourself standing in a line or hovering outside open gymnasium doors just to get a small glimpse of He Who Would Be King. So many of us in this state and beyond watched him in disbelief, climbing endlessly on the air during warmups, flinging passes through impossible slivers of unoccupied space. Now, James is reshaping the worlds of children who were like he once was. They might not yet have world-changing dreams beyond getting through the day and making it better than the day before it, but James is surrounding them with an entire roster of adults who believe in them. The I Promise School is the bridge from one past to several futures.


The second morning ritual at the I Promise School begins in a circle. After breakfast, students are asked to react to a song—how it makes them feel or not feel, what it inspires in them, what it reminds them of. On the floor of a dark classroom, students sit in a circle and crane their necks toward the wall, where a projector is playing the full eight-minute video for “We Are The World.” As the song churns forward, the group doesn’t fidget or squirm, as one might expect of young children. Instead, the students sit still, gazing at the video with fascination. One girl, maybe nine years old, leaps up and yells “CYNDI!” as Cyndi Lauper briefly flashes across the screen.

The post-song process of exploring the kids’ feelings and thoughts is miraculous to see—young people examining and expressing their feelings with their own language. Their desires are simple but profound. One student says he wants to have a good day, better than the last one. “How are you going to do that?” the teacher asks. The student ponders and then perks up and insists that he’s going to help his classmates, share and speak up when he has a problem. It’s the small things. Talk to the students like anyone else trying to figure out how to stumble through life the best way they can.

This is one of the numerous “trauma-informed” practices that the I Promise School employs to connect with its students. It’s part of a holistic approach to learning that the school’s trauma specialist, Nicole Hassan, boils down to simply being aware of what might be going on with a student and finding useful solutions to helping them work through their problems. It starts with getting students to identify whatever their baggage is, and then working to find a way to leave it at the door. “We encourage them to find the language to talk through what to do,” Hassan, who has taught in Akron Public Schools for 15 years, says. She took on her role at the I Promise School after studying the work of Bruce Perry, a doctor with a specialty in trauma and healing in children. “So now, it’s no longer about yelling or hitting someone.”

Much of the day at the I Promise School revolves around conversation, sitting in circles. “Getting the brain out of survival mode and to a place where it can think and process,” Hassan says. “It’s transformational.” By focusing on varying the modes of communication between students and adults, I Promise is, by extension, serving the parents. DeBruce has heard from other parents how the tools are transforming their lives at home. “I know a lot of parents that

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LeBron James came off the bench once in his career, and he did it to protect a teammate from being booed

LeBron James came off the bench once in his career, and he did it to protect a teammate from being booed

LeBron James has played in 1,437 games in his 16 years in the NBA between the regular season and the playoffs.

In 1,436 of those games, James was in the starting lineup. But for one game in December 2007, he decided to come off the bench to help a teammate.

While the story of James’ one game begun on the bench is more than a decade old, it was recently brought to the top of minds again on Reddit.

Read more: NBA POWER RANKINGS: Where all 30 teams stand after a wild summer that shook up the league

As Don McCormack wrote for Amico Hoops in 2017, James had missed five straight games because of a sprained left index finger and was set to return to the court on December 11, 2007, for a game against the Indiana Pacers in Cleveland.

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown planned on starting James that game, but the 22-year-old superstar asked to come off the bench — he wanted to enter at the same time as his teammate Anderson Varejao. At the time, Varejao had just ended a contentious holdout with the team, pla

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Kendall Jenner claps back at a meme that tried to turn her dating history into an NBA starting 5

Kendall Jenner claps back at a meme that tried to turn her dating history into an NBA starting 5

Kendall Jenner dropped the hammer on a Twitter user who attempted to turn her dating history into an NBA starting lineup.

Jenner’s roast came in response to a meme that showed images of D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Ben Simmons, Kyle Kuzma, and Blake Griffin, calling the five players “a playoff team.”

“2 out fo 5 accurate, thanks,” Jenner tweeted.

While she didn’t specifically identify which two players she was referring to, Jenner has been romantically linked to both Griffin and Simmons in the past two years.

Read more: 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin talks the team’s big trade for Jimmy Butler, his favorite Joel Embiid story, and why he likes Kendall Jenner

With regard to Russell and Kuzma, Jenner’s relationship has usually

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MLB players had a bunch of weird quotes during the All-Star break and it turned out to be a Jimmy Fallon prank

MLB players had a bunch of weird quotes during the All-Star break and it turned out to be a Jimmy Fallon prank

There were quite a few quizzical quotes from baseball’s best players over the All-Star break.

“It doesn’t matter how much jelly you have in the jar,” said Mets first baseman Pete Alonso ahead of his Home Run Derby win. “It’s about how you spread it on your English muffin.”

“Even a hungry turtle can do a jumping jack,” said reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich during an appearance on the MLB Network.

Read more: MLB Power Rankings: Where every team stands heading into the second half of the season

While some might have chalked this trend up to a bit of vacation-brain from baseball’s finest or assumed there was something in the water in C

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Brooks Koepka spurned Tiger Woods’ offer for a practice round in order to prevent Tiger from picking his caddie’s brain

Brooks Koepka spurned Tiger Woods’ offer for a practice round in order to prevent Tiger from picking his caddie’s brain

Tiger Woods is always looking for an edge, but as he found out ahead of the Open Championship at Royal Portrush, Brooks Koepka will not be the one to give it to him.

Woods said at a press conference before the Open that he had contacted Koepka ahead of the tournament, congratulating him on his stellar play at majors over the past two seasons and asking if he’d be up for a practice round ahead of the final major of the year.

Read more: Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and 10 others with the best odds to win the Open Championship at Royal Portrush

Top players walking the course and playing a practice round together ahead of a big tournament is nothing new, but Woods had a specific reason for wanting to play alongside Koepka — to pick the brain of his caddie, Ricky Elliott.

This is the first time Royal Portrush has hosted the Open since 1951, so information is at a premium for players such as Woods who have nev

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Athletes Can’t Believe What They Look Like With FaceApp Old Age Filter

Athletes Can’t Believe What They Look Like With FaceApp Old Age Filter

LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Dwyane Wade and more get in on the FaceApp craze.

If you’ve ever wondered what the world’s best athletes will look like in 50 years, FaceApp’s old age feature has your answer.

The mobile app, which went viral this week, has a filter that enables users to get a glimpse at the future, showing them what they might look like decades down the road. Several elite players across the NBA, NFL and MLB—including LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Yasiel Puig and JuJu Smit

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Malcolm D. Lee Assumes Director Role of Lebron James’ ‘Space Jam 2’

Malcolm D. Lee Assumes Director Role of Lebron James’ ‘Space Jam 2’

Last year, it was announced that Terence Nance would be directing the upcoming Space Jam 2 flick, but plans have now changed, with Malcolm D. Lee filling the director’s seat instead.

As the director of such works as Girls Trip and Night School, Malcolm D. Lee has a positive track record for making movies that earn substantially high returns. For example, Girls Trip grossed approximately $

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Lakers Rumors: Latest Buzz on Andre Iguodala Trade and JR Smith

Lakers Rumors: Latest Buzz on Andre Iguodala Trade and JR Smith
Golden State Warriors guard Andre Iguodala gestures after scoring during the second half in Game 6 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers Friday, April 26, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Warriors won 129-110. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers never stray far from the rumor mill.

That might be as true as ever now that the Purple and Gold employ both LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

As the Lakers bear down for what they hope will be a fruitful 2019-20 season, the latest buzz surrounds one player within their sights and one who apparently is not.

                 

Lakers Among Crowded Field of Suitors for Former Finals MVP

Andre Iguodala isn’t long for the rebuilding Memphis Grizzlies, and the entire NBA knows it. That’s why teams with even a smattering of championship hopes have kept close watch of the 2015 Finals MVP.

The Los Angeles Lakers are part of that group, per Marc Stein of the New York Times. Of course, so are the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets.

The asking price is reportedly a future first-round pick, per Stein, and there’s a belief the Grizzlies would enter the season with Iguodala if they’re unable to acquire it. Now, wanting a pick and being offered one are two different things. But if clubs were hoping Memphis would just give him away—or, even better, buy him out—it doesn’t sound like that’s happening, at least not any time soon.

While the Lakers have added a few perimeter stoppers—namely, Danny Green and Avery Bradley—they don’t have a lockdown defender who matches Iguodala’s caliber. Few teams do. The 35-year-old ranked sixth among all small forwards in ESPN.com’s defensive real plus-minus, and he did so while

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NBA Stars Have More Power Than Ever, But How Well Are They Using It?

NBA Stars Have More Power Than Ever, But How Well Are They Using It?

As the dust settled in the wake of the Russell Westbrook trade late last week, it became clear that among several factors compelling Houston to act, James Harden’s preferences were likely high on the list. Harden is a perennial MVP candidate, he’s the star who guarantees the Rockets will be relevant every season, and he’s also the star who allegedly had problems with Chris Paul. In May, after Game 6 and the end of this year’s Rockets-Warriors series, Paul left the arena almost immediately. Harden met with reporters and told them that he knew exactly what the Rockets needed to do this summer.

Last week, while plenty of outsiders wondered about the fit between Harden and Westbrook, ESPN reported that Harden called Daryl Morey on the day of the trade and told him not to worry. In the end, Houston made the deal.

Teams doing what superstars want has been a theme of the NBA summer. In Los Angeles, the Lakers and Clippers traded a combined eight first-round picks and four pick swaps in the 2020s, not to mention former lottery picks Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram. The teams agreed to those deals because a) LeBron James wanted to finish his career next to Anthony Davis and the Lakers couldn’t afford to miss on that opportunity, and b) Kawhi Leonard wanted to sign with the Clippers but refused to commit to them without another superstar already in place.

Nobody needs me to be the 10,000th NBA writer to point out that today’s stars have more leverage than ever and aren’t afraid to use it. What became interesting this summer, though, is how amazingly transparent it all became. Would-be title contenders weren’t simply asked to cater to stars, but to mortgage long-term flexibility and make decisions that would be considered irresponsible in almost any other context. The Clippers were the most extreme example; they traded a star lottery pick (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander), a playoff-caliber starter (Danilo Gallinari), two pick swaps, and five first-round picks for Paul George, a 29-year-old who is currently recovering from surgery to both his shoulders.

If the George deal happened this coming February, it would have been considered one of the most incredible overpays in NBA history. In July, the terms of the Clippers deal were met with league-wide shrugs. “You’re not getting one player,” a rival executive told SI of the Clippers’ rationale. “You’re getting both. If you don’t do it? The guy you really wanted, he goes to… Well, I actually don’t think he’d go to the Lakers. But there’s a chance he goes to the Lakers. If you do it, you’re getting both those guys. You have two really good two-way players on your team. They can guard the s–t out of the ball and they can score it. They’re top five, top 10 players. I would start my team with those two and figure it out. Your odds are so much better now to win [a title]. It doesn’t matter if you messed up the future in 2025.”

That’s all very true. But grading the Clippers deal on that curve assumes that Kawhi’s trade-for-him-or-I-walk demand is a fixed element in the equation. If Kawhi wanted to be a Clipper, why are we so certain that it was a good idea for him to leverage his new team into a

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3 Winners and Losers From the Hectic NBA Offseason – 12up

3 Winners and Losers From the Hectic NBA Offseason – 12up

It really does feel like the NBA offseason is more entertaining than the regular season sometimes. This summer has shaken up the league tremendously with a bunch of old faces in new places, and plenty of mouths left agape after finding out who’s going where. Let’s take a look at some of the highs and lows of NBA free agency with a list of winners and losers.

1. Winner: Brooklyn Nets

Boston Celtics v Indiana Pacers – Game Three

Formerly dubbed the “the most hopeless franchise in the NBA”, the Nets built upon their outstanding 2018-19 season by signing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Although Nets fans will likely have to wait until the 2020-21 season to see the dynamic duo at full power, having a two-time Finals MVP and the holder of one of the biggest shots in NBA Finals history is a huge win.

2. Loser: Charlotte Hornets

Terry Rozier just raked in the dough with Charlotte

Terry Rozier is making how much? After low-balling Kemba Walker by offering $61 million short of a supermax contract, the Hornets replaced their franchise player with a three-year, $56.7 million contract for a backup point guard. You’re telling me Charlotte could’ve kept Walker for just $4 million more? The Hornets could be the worst team in the league for years to come after also losing their second-best playe

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Anthony Davis Needs to Stop Complaining and Get Ready to Play Some Center – 12up

Anthony Davis Needs to Stop Complaining and Get Ready to Play Some Center – 12up

Brand new Los Angeles Laker Anthony Davis hasn’t even been in Hollywood for a week and he’s already putting demands on head coach Frank Vogel.

While he did say that he would play center if Vogel needed him to, Davis made it perfectly clear that he prefers to play the power forward position rather than center.

This seems like a

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Sources — Waived JR Smith not headed to Lakers – ESPN

Sources — Waived JR Smith not headed to Lakers – ESPN

The Cleveland Cavaliers waived guard JR Smith on Monday before his contract for next season was guaranteed, allowing him to become a free agent once he clears waivers.

A reunion with former teammate LeBron James does not seem to be on the horizon. Sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the Los Angeles Lakers are an unlikely

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NBA 2K20 Player Ratings: LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard Top New Rankings

NBA 2K20 Player Ratings: LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard Top New Rankings
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, right, tries to move past Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 1, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The King still reigns supreme.

Even though Kawhi Leonard led the Toronto Raptors to their first championship in franchise history and Giannis Antetokounmpo won the league MVP, LeBron James is still the top-rated player in the NBA 2K franchise.

NBA 2K20 revealed the ratings of the top 20 players on a Twitter livestream on Monday, and James checked in just ahead of Leonard, Antetokounmpo and the rest of the field.

1. LeBron James, 97 overall

2. Kawhi Leonard, 97

3. Giannis Antetokounmpo, 96

4. Kevin Durant, 96

5. James Harden, 96

6. Stephen Curry, 95

7. Anthony Davis, 94 

8. Paul George, 93 

9. Damian Lillard, 92 

10. Joel Embiid, 91

11. Kyrie Irving, 91 

12. Nikola Jokic, 90

13. Russell Westbrook, 90

14. Klay Thompson, 89

15. Karl-Anthony Towns, 89

16. Jimmy Butler, 88

17. Kemba Walker, 88

18. Donovan Mitchell, 88

19. Rudy Gobert, 88

20. Blake Griffin, 88

James isn’t the only member of the Los Angeles Lakers who featured prominently in the stream, as new teammate Anthony Davis joined the broadcast and said it was “something you always dream of” when asked how he feels about being the cover athlete for the newest edition of the game.

Davis checked in at No. 7 in the rankings, which was good enough to be considered the best big man. He said he thought his rating would have been higher if the second half of the 2018-19 campaign didn’t unravel for his New Orleans Pelicans following trade rumors that connected him to the Lakers.

It was

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LeBron James Jr. Is 14. He Already Draws Curious Crowds…

LeBron James Jr. Is 14. He Already Draws Curious Crowds…

Though James did not attend the tournament, two of his close friends did; Chris Paul and James’s former teammate Mike Miller each watched Bronny play. At one game, Paul sat next to James’s wife, Savannah, and the couple’s young daughter in a corner of the gym that was near an exit and well fortified by security guards. Bronny’s grandmother and other members of the family circle watched, too.

(One of Bronny’s games last summer had to be shut down because of a fan who was heckling James, which may have explained why there was also a security guard stationed on the Strive for Greatness

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Diana Taurasi Steps Out in New Nike LeBron 16 Colorway

Diana Taurasi Steps Out in New Nike LeBron 16 Colorway

Since 2008, Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi has been seen extensively in player exclusive color ways of LeBron James’ signature sneaker line. Since then she’s remained a part of Team LeBron, equally finding a role next to the NBA star in the upcoming Space Jam sequel. After undergoing back surgery last season, Taurusi rejoine

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Anthony Davis introduced by the Los Angeles Lakers | NBA – ESPN

Anthony Davis introduced by the Los Angeles Lakers | NBA – ESPN

The Los Angeles Lakers introduce Anthony Davis in a press conference. Davis talks about how great it will be to play with LeBron James, who made an appearance at the press conference. Davis also talks about how he found out about the trade and having to wear No. 3 instead of No. 23. Davis claims he wants no part of load management and is looking to play as many games as possible this season.
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Anthony Davis Settles For Half Of What LeBron Wanted

Anthony Davis Settles For Half Of What LeBron Wanted
Photo: Ethan Miller (Getty Images)

When Anthony Davis officially became Laker, Los Angeles’ newest big man publicly celebrated the moment with LeBron James in a parking lot somewhere, and they took a picture together for Instagram. James had brought Davis a Lakers jersey with the number The Brow has worn throughout his professional career: No. 23. It was a gift meant to say “welcome to the team,” and symbolized James passing the torch of the number he had been wearing in recent years to a newer, younger talent. With LeBron literally handing that number off to AD, James teased a return of the No. 6 he wore during his tenure in Miami for the upcoming season.

In theory, this change was supposed to be easy as far as the logistics were concerned, but it seems like the Lakers’ inability to do almost anything right has made its way into even the most pedestrian decisions. A report from Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes revealed that the two will have to wait until next season for this switch that carried oh-so-much meaning to officially happen.

When the Lakers inquir

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Anthony Davis found out about Lakers trade on Instagram

Anthony Davis found out about Lakers trade on Instagram

It’s a perfectly millennial tale.

Anthony Davis, sitting in a hotel room in Malibu on a Saturday afternoon in June, was laying in bed watching a movie when his agent, Rich Paul, called him. Davis, still a New Orleans Pelican as far as he knew, let the call go to voicemail. He wanted to keep watching the flick, even though he doesn’t remember the name of it.

“Some sailor movie or something like that. I don’t know why it was on, but it was pretty interesting,” Davis said. “I was like ‘Ah, I’ll call him later.'” 

Paul rang again. This time, Davis not only didn’t answer, he sent it straight to voicemail. 

But then it hit the 26-year-old superstar. After all, his name had only been in trade discussions for months. 

“Now I’m blowing up (Paul’s) phone,” he said. 

So, when he couldn’t reach Paul, Davis popped open Instagram. That’s when he found out he’d been traded to the Los Angeles Lakers and would be teaming up with LeBron James. 

More: Anthony Davis to the Lakers: Winners and losers of the blockbuster deal

On Saturday, the Lakers introduced Davis in his No. 3 jersey to the media. General manager Rob Pelinka declared him as “the most dominant young basketball player in the world.” 

“This is really a history-shifting day for the Los Angeles Lakers,” Pelinka said. 

Pelinka reached inside his sports jacket pocket and pulled out a notecard and praised everyone from Lakers ownership to the Pelicans front office to the players Los Angeles traded away – Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart.

The expectations, understandably, are high heading into the 2019-20 season. No longer does the distraction of uncertainty weigh on Davis’ shoulders. He’s exactly where he wants to be.

“And that’s the biggest thing for me,” he said, “the relief of not knowing the unknown anymore and not knowing where I was going to be next season.”

“We want a decade of dominance ou

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Source: LeBron’s No. 6 to wait due to Nike issue

Source: LeBron’s No. 6 to wait due to Nike issue

LeBron James won’t be giving up his No. 23 to new teammate Anthony Davis after all.

The planned jersey swap for the 2019-20 season has been postponed due to potential production and financial issues with manufacturer Nike, a source told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, confirming a Yahoo Sports report.

James wore No. 23 during both of his stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers and last season with the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s also the number Davis wore during his seven seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans.

After the Lakers agreed to a blockbuster trade for Davis last month, James appeared to confirm on social media that he would switch back to No. 6 — whi

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Don Cheadle Joins the Cast of LeBron James’ ‘Space Jam 2’

Don Cheadle Joins the Cast of LeBron James’ ‘Space Jam 2’

Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Don Cheadle is joining the all-star cast of Space Jam 2, reports Deadline.

The Oscar-nominated actor has recently signed on to play an undisclosed role in the follow-up film. Speculations are suggesting that Cheadle might take on the same, if not similar, role that Bill Murray played in the original. Cheadle was last seen in Avengers: Endgame as War Machine/James Rhodes and in

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Report: LeBron James to Keep No. 23 in 2019-20, Anthony Davis Jersey Deal Delayed

Report: LeBron James to Keep No. 23 in 2019-20, Anthony Davis Jersey Deal Delayed

Nike reportedly could not work out a deal with the Lakers due to its sizable No. 23 James inventory.

LeBron James will be holding onto No. 23 next season, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes.

James gifted new teammate Anthony Davis the number on June 27, but Nike has delayed the plan as it “could not accommodate the request for this season,” per Haynes.

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Learn Like an Athlete

Learn Like an Athlete

I like Daniel Gross’ framework for learning. When I interviewed him, he told me to build a video game for myself. Like a video game, productive projects have multiple levels. They follow the Goldilocks Principle: not too easy, not too hard. The learning project needs to be challenging enough to demand focus, but easy enough to make consistent progress. That way, you can enter the optimal state of learning. 

If you get stuck, the “video game” is too hard. When this happens, you should stop. Work on a smaller step or retreat to a manageable challenge. Otherwise, you will lose your motivation to continue learning. Conver

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The NBA Is Officially Ridiculous

The NBA Is Officially Ridiculous

All hail pro basketball, the year-round usurper of news.

The latest NBA off-season stunner dropped on what was supposed to be a quiet Thursday sports night during baseball’s All-Star break (only one game, between the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers, was on the schedule. Who won? Who cares?) ESPN’s Adrian Wojranowski broke the news that 2017 NBA MVP Russell Westbrook, of the Oklahoma City Thunder, was being traded to the Houston Rockets, where he’ll pair up with 2018 NBA MVP James Harden to form the latest NBA super-team, in Texas.

This summer’s free agency has created four new NBA power tandems, at least on paper: Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, lately of the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics, respectively, joined forces on the Brooklyn Nets. (Though Brooklyn will have to exercise some slight patience: Durant, who injured his Achilles tendon in the NBA Finals, likely won’t play next season.) Anthony Davis, the game-changing big man from the New Orleans Pelicans, finally forced his way to the Los Angles Lakers via trade: He and LeBron James will strive to return the Lakers, who’ve become a case study in mismanagement, to championship glory.

NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard ditched Toronto for Southern California. He signed with the Los Angeles Clippers, who also acquired Paul George, an MVP finalist this past season, in a trade to give Leonard his running mate. And now the Rockets, with Westbrook and Harden. Not too long ago, the teams like the Boston Celtics (Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce), the Miami Heat (LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh) and the Golden State Warriors (Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thomp

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Learn like an athlete, knowledge workers should train

Learn like an athlete, knowledge workers should train

LeBron James didn’t always have thick calves, a raging six-pack, and arms like the Incredible Hulk.

Ask LeBron about his off-season training regimen, and he’ll share a detailed run-down of his workout plan and on-the-court practice routine. When he entered the NBA, LeBron wasn’t a strong shooter. I’d bet the house that early in his career, LeBron built his off-season training regimen around his weak jump shot and disappointing 42% field goal percentage during his rookie season. As his Instagram posts reveal, LeBron worked for his strength, agility, impeccable history of injury avoidance, and an outstanding 54% field goal percentage during his 14th N

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5 Years Ago Today LeBron Announced He Was Coming Back to the Land

5 Years Ago Today LeBron Announced He Was Coming Back to the Land

Five years ago, LeBron James announced he was coming back home to bring a championship to Cleveland. He fulfilled that promise and helped the Cavaliers win their first championship in 2016.

Watch the video above for more about LeBron’s return to the Land.

          

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Come on slam, and welcome Don Cheadle to Space Jam 2

Come on slam, and welcome Don Cheadle to Space Jam 2
Photo: Leon Bennett (Getty Images)

In a casting announcement that sounds almost too good for what we’ve come to expect from the Space Jam brand, Deadline is reporting that Don Cheadle has joined the cast of the long-rumored, now-finally-happening reboot with LeBron James. We don’t know who he’ll be playing, but assuming he’s not a Looney Tune and that the movie won’t be casting regular actors as basketball players, he could be taking over the Bill Murray role as “guy who is just there for some reason.” Or, barring that, maybe he’ll just be playing his character from the Marvel movies and War Machine will show up to join the battle against the Monstars. That would be pretty cool.

Space Jam 2, which might not actually feature many real NBA stars beyond LeBron James (sneaker

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DeMarcus Cousins is feeling healthy, and is excited to see what he, Anthony Davis and LeBron James can do for… – Silver Screen and Roll

DeMarcus Cousins is feeling healthy, and is excited to see what he, Anthony Davis and LeBron James can do for… – Silver Screen and Roll

Before game two of the Golden State Warriors’ first-round series against the LA Clippers in April, DeMarcus Cousins was finally starting to feel like himself again after having torn his Achilles tendon the year before. He was telling people close to him how “amazing” he felt, how he thought he was starting to be himself again.

Later that night, Cousins crumpled to the floor with what an MRI would later confirm was a torn quad tendon. Cousins would ultimately return for the NBA Finals and try to help the Warriors before the team fell to the Toronto Raptors, but he clearly wasn’t feeling 100 percent at that point.

That was probably a tough situation to go through, but you wouldn’t know it from listening to Cousins talk about it on a conference call with reporters after he officially signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. DeMarcus Cousins, a player (often unfairly) criticized for his attitude, actually seems to have had the most difficult years of his career turn him into sort of an optimist.

“I was really feeling good at the time,” Cousins said of the night he hurt his quad. “That’s kind of a good thing because I know it’s possible to get back to that place, so that’s the positive I took out of that.”

Another positive to take forward? Cousins says his quad “is 100 percent healed” now, and that he’s working every day to strengthen his lower body so those injuries don’t happen again.

“I’m getting stronger, getting in better shape. My plan is to come into camp in tip-top shape. My goal is to play 82 games this season,” Cousins said. “I want a full season of health and going to the playoffs, and whatever happens, happens.”

And Cousins thinks some good things can happen for the Lakers, who had his former Pelicans teammates Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo recruiting him along with LeBron James. Cousins had a conversation with all three players that answered every question he had about an organization that he didn’t know very many other people in, and once they eliminated any potential reasons for concern, they all had the same, simple message for Cousins.

“Everybody’s message was the same: We’re all here this season to compete for a championship, and that’s that. I think we can all agree on that, and with that being said, it was an easy decision,” Cousins said.

How well the Lakers compete for a championship will be in part fueled by h

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9 Years Ago, LeBron and Bosh Joined Wade in Miami and the Heatles Were Born

9 Years Ago, LeBron and Bosh Joined Wade in Miami and the Heatles Were Born

Nine years ago, LeBron James and Chris Bosh took their talents to South Beach to join Dwyane Wade. The Heatles went on to win two NBA championships and change the free-agency landscape forever.

Watch the video above for more about these historic signings.

   

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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Kawhi Leonard turned down $39 million in an eyebrow-raising move that sets big stakes for the Clippers and free agency in 2021

Kawhi Leonard turned down $39 million in an eyebrow-raising move that sets big stakes for the Clippers and free agency in 2021

In a surprising move, Kawhi Leonard has taken a shorter contract with the Los Angeles Clippers.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Leonard is signing a three-year $103 million contract with the Clippers, with a player option for the third year.

Initial reports following Leonard’s move to the Clippers said Leonard would sign the four-year $142 million max contract with the Clippers.

The move marks the third time in two years that Leonard has turned down money on future contracts. Leonard would have been eligible for the five-year $221 million “supermax” contract with the San Antonio Spurs had he stayed there. It’s unclear if the Spurs ever offered the deal in an attempt to convince Leonard to stay. It seems likely that he would have signed it if the two sides never had a falling-out.

In free agency this summer, Leonard could have signed a five-year $190 million contract with the Toronto Raptors. He instead chose to leave Toronto.

Now, Leonard has signed a short-term deal with the Clippers that accomplishes two things: flexibility and the chance to recoup some money.

ESPN’s Bobby Marks said that if Leonard opts out after two years, the Clippers won’t have his full Bird Rig

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LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis and More Potential 2021 NBA Free Agents

LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis and More Potential 2021 NBA Free Agents
Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard celebrates after the Raptors defeat the Golden State Warriors 114-110 in Game 6 of basketball's NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, June 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Ben Margot/Associated Press

Teams were already carefully monitoring the NBA‘s 2021 free-agent class even before the group potentially added another surprise member.  

When Kawhi Leonard agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers last week, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported it would be for $142 million over four years. 

Instead, the reigning NBA Finals MVP signed a three-year, $103 million contract Wednesday, with a player option for the third year, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. 

In the wake of Leonard’s shorter-than-expected deal, here is a list of potential free agents in the summer of 2021, per Spotrac

         

Potential 2021 NBA Free Agents

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers*

Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers*

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers*

Chris Paul, Houston Rockets*

Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons*

Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers

Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans*

Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

Gordon Hayward, Boston Celtics

Mike Conley, Utah Jazz

DeMar DeRozan, San Antonio Spurs

CJ McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers

Julius Randle, New York Knicks**

JJ Redick, New Orleans Pelicans

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Lonzo Ball, New Orleans Pelicans

De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings

Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls

Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz

OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors

Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers

       

Indicates restricted free agent

*Indicates 2021-22 player option

**Indicates 2021-22 team option

        

The first thing that stands out with Leonard’s deal is how it directly ties him with Paul George in Los Angeles. 

When Wojnarowski reported the Clippers were surrendering five first-round draft picks (four unprotected), along with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari’s expiring contract to the Oklahoma City Thunder for George, they did it based on the message they received from Leonard. 

Get George, and you’ll get me,” Wojnarowski wrote about Leonard.

It’s more apparent now than it was when the deal was announced how important George was to Leonard. Both players will have two years togethe

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Kawhi Leonard: From ‘King of the North’ to banned at L.A. coffee shops – Global News

Kawhi Leonard: From ‘King of the North’ to banned at L.A. coffee shops – Global News

Kawhi Leonard’s decision to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers has found him banned from a popular Los Angeles-based coffee chain, Alfred Coffee.

Alfred Coffee’s owner, Josh Zad, is a diehard Los Angeles Lakers fan who took out his frustrations of missing out on the superstar by banning him.

In fact, Leonard, newly acquired star Paul George and the rest of the Clippers are also banned.


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Kawhi Leonard leaving Raptors for Clippers fresh off NBA championship win — reports

Lakers fans were dreaming of building a new super team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis but instead watched Leonard go to their cross-town rivals.

Just one week ago, NBA free agent and 2019 NBA Finals MVP Leonard was facing one of the biggest decisions of his life.

WATCH: Kawhi Leonard thanks fans for welcoming him to Toronto




Leonard had just given his all to help guide the Toronto Raptors to their first-ever NBA championship.

He had decided to walk away from his player option and had reported


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NBA Power Rankings: Where do Raptors land in post-Kawhi era? – Sportsnet.ca

NBA Power Rankings: Where do Raptors land in post-Kawhi era? – Sportsnet.ca

1. Los Angeles Clippers

We always said that wherever Kawhi Leonard lands becomes the title favourite, and his heading to the Clippers certainly doesn’t change that. It’s not just the two-way potential of superstar duo Kawhi and Paul George, but L.A. boasts an elite, well-fitting supporting cast that includes a mix of established veterans and up-and-comers. Sixth Man of the Year nominee Montrezl Harrell and back-to-back winner Lou Williams highlight a deep roster that also includes Patrick Beverly, Mo Harkless, breakout candidate Landry Shamet, and Canadian rookie big man Mfiondu Kabengele.

2. Denver Nuggets

Expect improvements all across the roster, including and especially projected MVP candidate Nikola Jokic. The 24 year-old centre was named All-NBA First Team last season and figures to continue to make his mark in the West leading a high-octane team bolstered by the underrated addition of forward Jerami Grant. If Kitchener, Ont.’s Jamal Murray builds off his breakout 2019 playoff performance and takes a step forward into all-star territory — a very real possibility — then Denver should continue to hold their place among the very top of the West.

3. Philadelphia 76ers  

Like with Denver and Jokic, expect another large-footed step forward for Philadelphia’s young stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. In the playoffs, Embiid led all players in the NBA in defensive win shares and remains the centrepiece of the new(ish)-look Sixers. The team lost key contributors in Jimmy Butler and J.J. Redick but stand to become a defensive juggernaut thanks to the additions of Josh Richardson and Al Horford — whose presence will also allow the team to exercise a load management protocol with Embiid, to the disappointment of the rest of the league.

4. Utah Jazz

The Jazz have been an elite defensive club in long need of a star-quality point guard and, over the past two seasons, have had to rely too much on 22-year-old guard Donovan Mitchell to carry the scoring load.

The team addressed nearly all of their needs this off-season, bringing in Mike Conley Jr. in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies and that addition alone changes Utah’s outlook entirely. Throw in lauded free-agent signing Bojan Bogdanovich, a high-end secondary scorer whose three-point stroke will flourish in Utah’s system and the Jazz boast as complete a team as there is in the NBA.

It remains to be seen how they’ll carry their success over into the playoffs but they have the talent and now an all-around attack that should keep them at or near the top of the West all season.

5. Milwaukee Bucks

They lost Malcolm Brogdon, which hurts, but retained their contender status by keeping key pieces to last year’s top-ranked team Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton.

2019 MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo alone can lead a team to the top of the East, but surrounded by a familiar roster and proven system there’s no reason for the Bucks to regress much at all.

6. Los Angeles Lakers

There’s no doubting the next-level potential of LeBron James and Anthony Davis but, as last season proved, the success of the Lakers will come down to good health and the supporting cast. Beyond James and Davis, two of the NBA’s top talents, the rest of the Lakers roster save maybe for third-year forward Kyle Kuzma is, like last season, a mostly-uninspiring and oddly-assembled veteran group.

It’s been reported that James will play point guard and it’s a move done out of necessity that could wind up leaving the Lakers vulnerable on the defensive end. They’ll win plenty of games — a healthy LeBron guarantees it — but the questions that remain after losing out on Kawhi Leonard are legitimate.

7. Houston Rockets

After buzz about turmoil in Houston and major roster changes afoot, the Rockets have been impossibly quiet during the off-season thus far. As it stands, they’ll return virtually the same roster, which still stars the game’s most unsolvable offensive problem in James Harden. We may have seen the playoff ceiling for this team already, but that doesn’t mean they’re still not a tough out on any given night.

8. Indiana Pacers

Contingent on if Victor Oladipo makes a full recovery from his season-ending knee injury and returns before the all-star break, the Pacers could be as good as any team in the East. Even without Oladipo last season they remained ultra-competitive and this summer added Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. Warren and Jeremy Lamb to a roster that already includes breakout big men Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis.

9. Golden State Warriors

Steph Curry in MVP mode is on the horizon but the Warriors remain one of the tougher teams to predict. The loss of Kevin Durant is obviously significant, as is Klay Thompson’

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The five most emotional, meaningful ESPY Award moments of all time

The five most emotional, meaningful ESPY Award moments of all time

The ESPYs have provided some of the sports world’s most compelling moments over the years, encapsulating seasons and memories from each sports year with moving speeches and bigger-than-sports moments. 

This year’s 27th edition of the ESPY awards in Los Angeles, hosted by Tracy Morgan, is sure to showcase a bundle of powerful moments. Bill Russell is set to win the Arthur Ashe Courage award, Rob Mendez — a football coach without arms or legs — is slated to take home the Jimmy V Award, and the World Cup-winning U.S. women’s soccer team will be up for the best team award. 

USA TODAY Sports highlights the five most emotional and meaningful moments in the award show’s rich history: 

1. Jimmy V’s speech (1993) 

Beloved college basketball coach Jim Valvano inspired a nation with his words at the 1993 inaugural show, providing words that are now etched on sports statues and t-shirts. Valvano, who went on to die from cancer less than two months later, told everyone to laugh, think, and cry each day, punctuating it with: “don’t give up, don’t ever give up.”

He added: “Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.”

His speech helped launch the V Foundation For Cancer Research, ultimately saving millions of lives. 

2. Stuart Scott’s speech (2014)

The Jimmy V Award has lent itself to some powerful speeches over the years, and the words delivered by ESPN and SportsCenter anchor Stuart Scott (best known for his catchphrase “boo yah”) were truly Jimmy V-esque. Scott, who went on to die less than six months after his 2014 speech, told his teenage daughters, Taelor and Sydni, in the audience: “I love you guys more than I will ever be able to express. You two are my heartbeat. I am standing on this stage here tonight because of you.”

He then addressed a nation: “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”

3. Pat Summit’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award (2012)

After being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the late University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach embraced everyone in the crowd by explaining how she was battling the illness, “I’ve

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Justin Verlander: The Astros’ Ace and Sleep Guru

Justin Verlander: The Astros’ Ace and Sleep Guru

It was early May 2018 and Alex Bregman, the Houston Astros’ star third baseman, had only one home run on the season. His teammate Justin Verlander, one of the best pitchers of this generation, noticed Bregman’s low power and hints of fatigue, and asked how many hours Bregman had slept the night before.

Six, Bregman answered. And his normal amount? Six, as well.

The responses bewildered Verlander. He promptly told Bregman, 25, that he slept at least 10 hours a night and said Bregman should start getting more hours himself.

“I felt like that’s overdoing it,” Bregman said. “You shouldn’t sleep that much.

“Then I started sleeping that much and, next thing you know, I hit 30 homers after that.”

If Verlander doesn’t throw another pitch, he has a strong case for enshrinement in the Hall of Fame: He is an eight-time All-Star, won the 2011 American League M.V.P. and Cy Young Awards, and helped the Astros to the 2017 World Series title.

Yet at 36, Verlander is still pumping fastballs in the mid-90s and relishing a late-career resurgence with the Astros. He has a sterling 2.98 E.R.A. and has allowed the fewest walks and hits per inning (0.813 WHIP) among major league starting pitchers for the second straight season. On Tuesday in Cleveland, he will take the mound as the A.L.’s starting pitcher in the All-Star Game.

One of the secrets to Verlander’s dominance at this age: a lot of sleep. He regularly gets nearly 50 percent more than the average American’s 6.8 hours (per a 2013 Gallup poll), and has added one more unofficial title to his résumé: Astros’ sleep consultant.

“That’s Verlander: the Tom Brady of baseball,” said Bregman, comparing his teammate to the New England Patriots quarterback who, with plenty of sleep and an eccentric diet and fitness routine, won his sixth Super Bowl title last season at 41.

Verlander aims for 10 hours a night. “And if I need more, I’m not afraid to just sleep more,” he said. Sometimes eight or nine hours leaves him refreshed. Other times he gets 11 or even 12.

To help him doze longer, Verlander uses blockout blinds. When there aren’t any in his hotel room, he uses pillows to pin the shades shut. He also puts

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The Clippers-Lakers rivalry has never been this loaded – Clips Nation

The Clippers-Lakers rivalry has never been this loaded – Clips Nation

Growing up in Los Angeles, it would be hard to say that the Clippers and the Lakers really had a rivalry. The Lakers were one of the preeminent franchises in all of the NBA while the Clippers had to deal with the indignity of Donald Sterling. Among non-diehard fans, it wasn’t all that uncommon to root for both teams except for when they played each other.

Those niceties are long gone. Ever since David Stern’s veto sent Chris Paul to the Clippers instead of the Lakers, the Clippers were no longer the lovable losers to the Lakers behemoth. They were a real-life contender that demanded real attention, and that meant drawing some fault lines between the two team’s fanbases.

For much of the Lob City era, though, the Lakers weren’t a contending team, so that prevented the two franchises from having a real rivalry. Even last season, when the Lakers’ fortunes were supposed to change, they failed to make the playoffs, leaving the Clippers to continue their long-running California feud with the Golden State Warriors rather than really engaging with the Lakers. (To be clear, I’m not forgetting Patrick Beverley, but he engages with everyone.)

Now, everything has changed. The Lakers and the Clippers have the two best superstar duos in the NBA, and both teams expect to contend for a championship this season. This may not have been a real rivalry in the past, but it is now.

The Clippers closed the deal with Kawhi Leonard

The Clippers and the Lakers were two of the three teams in the hunt for Leonard in free agency, and being in direct competition for the hottest star on the market is a great way to start a feud. Both teams have been targeting Leonard for nearly a year — the Lakers believed they were Leonard’s top choice when he asked for a trade from San Antonio during the 2018 offseason, and the Clippers had meticulously put together a year-long pitch by rebuilding their front office and culture, and also just being present around Leonard, a lot. Ultimately, the Clippers won, and they get to lord that over the Lakers, who were forced to scramble for lesser free agents in the aftermath of Leonard’s decision.

The Clippers also got Paul George

It hurt the Lakers to lose out on their primary free-

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Lakers Rumors: LA Intends to Start LeBron James at PG for 2019-20 Season

Lakers Rumors: LA Intends to Start LeBron James at PG for 2019-20 Season
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James looks to pass during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Denver Nuggets, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Gregory Bull/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers are going to keep the ball in the hands of their best players next season, reportedly starting LeBron James at point guard to begin the year. 

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported Monday the team’s plans to have James and recently signed Danny Green as the starting backcourt for 2018-19.

James has mostly lined up as a forward in his career, but he has sparingly played point guard and has always been an elite passer, averaging 7.2 assists per game in the NBA.

He has been even better in this area as of late, averaging 8.8 assists per game over the past three years including 8.3 per game last year with the Lakers. The move could be especially beneficial for the 34-year-old as he looks toward the future:

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Dwyane Wade Would Only Unretire for Heat, Not Lakers, Jokingly Recruits Butler

Dwyane Wade Would Only Unretire for Heat, Not Lakers, Jokingly Recruits Butler
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) acknowledges the crowd's cheers after playing in the final NBA basketball game of his career, against the Brooklyn Nets, Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Kathy Willens/Associated Press

Dwyane Wade shot down the notion he would consider a reunion with LeBron James and join the Los Angeles Lakers

The future Hall of Famer responded to a tweet by saying he’d only come out of retirement to play for the Miami Heat. He then playfully recruited Jimmy Butler to South Beach:

Wade, 37, was never directly connected to the Lakers, though the team did have interest in him two years ago before he wound up with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Los Angeles also needs to fill out its roster after agreeing to trade six players to the New Orleans Pelicans and Washington Wizards.

As for Wade’s comment about Butler, ESPN.com’s Zach Lowe reported the four-time All-Star could hav

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NTWRK moves into live IRL events

NTWRK moves into live IRL events

NTWRK, is a fascinating experiment in live video shopping for the iPhone set. It’s been described as a blend of QVC and Twitter and Twitch and they just got a new slice of money from investors like Drake and Live Nation to expand into physical events.

There’s been a bunch of attempts at this kind of hybrid event shopping experience, but none of them have quite hit a home run yet. NTWRK was a pretty compelling experience even at launch last year. The core experience is a live show presented only in NTWRK’s app, where guests can talk about products which become available in the app as the show airs.

There was a built in opportunity to offer limited availability streetwear and sneakers, and an audience that founder Aaron Levant knew very well from his time running ComplexCon and Agenda, two big streetwear and marketing shows.

One of the first shows starred Ben Baller and Jeff Staple, and featured a drop of a new colorway of Staple’s iconic Pigeon Dunk from Nike . I tuned in and found the experience to be compelling in its own way. The live show provided context for the product and the interface let you purchase in a couple taps of a button (the shoes sold out immediately and the app inevitably crashed from the rush of hype beasts). The stream and app have gotten more stable since then.

IMG 6407

Since the launch, NTWRK has experimented with various product areas and promotions. The latest funding is enabling expansion back into physical events and some new angles on the NTWRK model.

After getting kicked out of high school in 10th grade, Levant (who had a passion for graffiti) went on to work in graphic design, sales and marketing for an LA streetwear brand. That led to trade show attending and eventually to Levant founding his own show, Agenda in 2003. Agenda got bigger over the next 10 years, becoming one of the biggest action sports, streetwear and lifestyle tradeshows in the world. He sold a majority of Agenda to ReeedPOP, which owns Comic Con and stayed on in a development role. Eventually, he developed other shows including ComplexCon, a smash hit culture and sneaker show in partnership with Complex.

Last year, Levant left to found NTWRK.

“That transition really happened through a conversation that I had with Jimmy Iovine in September of 2017,” Levant told me in an interview last year. “I got introduced to him by a friend. He expressed his interest in a new company for him and his son, and we had similar interests and ideas around that. That night that I met him, I went home, stayed up all night to 4:00

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Video: Watch Zion Williamson Arrive at 2019 NBA Draft Wearing White Suit

Video: Watch Zion Williamson Arrive at 2019 NBA Draft Wearing White Suit
Duke forward Zion Williamson (1) reacts after getting called for a foul against Central Florida during the second half of a second-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Sunday, March 24, 2019, in Columbia, S.C. Duke defeated Central Florida 77-76. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

Sean Rayford/Associated Press

Widely expected to be the first player off the board in the 2019 NBA draft, former Duke star Zion Williamson took a page out of a former No. 1 pick’s book when it came to his draft-day suit. 

The 6’7″, 285-pound Williamson showed up to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on Thursday wearing an all-white suit:

One couldn’t help but notice the similarities between Williamson’s suit and the one LeBron James wore to the 2003 NBA draft:

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LeBron James Previews Lakers-Themed Nike LeBron 3s

LeBron James Previews Lakers-Themed Nike LeBron 3s

When LeBron James attended the NBA Summer Leagues last weekend, we couldn’t help but notice a pair of Los Angeles Lakers-themed Nike LeBron 3s on his feet.

The Nike LeBron 3 “Lakers” PE are tinged in the team colors of the Lakers, with purple on the left side and

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The ESPN Daily: Team USA are champs again, Kawhi the quiet recruiter, and Westbrook could be on the move

The ESPN Daily: Team USA are champs again, Kawhi the quiet recruiter, and Westbrook could be on the move

THINGS TO CARE ABOUT

Kawhi the quiet recruiter … Perhaps we’ve been underestimating The Klaw. Sure, he has garnered respect as one of the best in the game on the court, but what about how he handles his business off of it? The reluctant star, thought to be extremely reserved, has had a whole lot to say when it comes to recruiting for the LA Clippers. From pitching Kevin Durant to prompting Paul George to request a trade, Ramona Shelburne breaks down how Kawhi Leonard finessed NBA free agency. Read More

Rockets ‘long shot’ to grab Westbrook … One is the loneliest number. Just ask Russell Westbrook, the lone superstar left in Oklahoma City. With Paul George requesting a trade to join Kawhi in L.A., Westbrook — who has played all 11 seasons of his career with the Thunder — is likely on the move. Will he reunite with James Harden in Houston? Could he take his talents to South Beach to team up with Jimmy Butler? Grab your popcorn, folks, because the NBA madness isn’t over just yet. Read More


THE CHAMPS ARE HERE

USWNT runs it back … There have been eight Women’s World Cups. The USWNT has won half of them. Pretty, pretty good. After a scoreless first half, the U.S. came alive to defeat the Netherlands 2-0 on goals by Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle. “Back-to-back world champs” has a nice ring to it. Read More

‘U-S-A’ chants turn to ‘equal pay’ … The patriotism was turned all the way up on Sunday, as passionate USWNT fans celebrated the team’s fourth Women’s world cup title. But then FIFA president Gianni Infantino prepared to hand out medals, and the “U-S-A” cries turned into something different: “Equal pay.” The Dutch fans joined in, making a united show of support for the women’s game at large. FIFA will award $30 million in prize money for the tournament, a staggeringly small sum compared to the $400 million awarded for the men’s tournament last year. Read More

Social media erupts with support for the four-time Wo

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Lakers GM Rob Pelinka Is Reportedly Learning How The Salary Cap Works In Real Time

Lakers GM Rob Pelinka Is Reportedly Learning How The Salary Cap Works In Real Time
Photo: Kevork Djansezian (Getty)

The Los Angeles Lakers are going to enter next season with a roster of extremes. On one hand, LeBron James and Anthony Davis seem like the league’s most seamless pick-and-roll partnership. On the other, the team seems determined to add a third maximum salary player to its books, which will inherently require the Lakers to stock their bench with second-round picks and the cheapest possible free agents. The precise amount of money the Lakers have to spend, however, isn’t determined yet, and it might be because GM Rob Pelinka reportedly doesn’t quite grasp the concept of the salary cap.

The Davis trade has not been formally completed, and it is not expected to be until either July 6 or July 30. The timing matters, and that’s partially because of the inclusion of the fourth overall pick in tonight’s draft. July 30 is the earliest date first-round picks can be traded after signing contracts with their new teams, which means the Lakers would be allowed to clear that player’s salary off their books if they included him in a trade.

If the trade is instead finalized at the end of the free-agent moratorium on July 6, the drafted player’s salary won’t count towards the trade. The mechanics of salary matching are very complicated, but the difference in timing would be significant. A July 6 trade would leave the Lakers with $27.7 million in cap space, whereas a July 30 trade would leave them with $32.5 million.

That gap could be the difference between the Lakers being able to sign another max player or not, or simply having another $5 million to use to sign a warm body. Whichever path they take, they’ll need all the space they can muster, though it sounds like the Lakers didn?

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All Your Assets Are Belong To The Pelicans

All Your Assets Are Belong To The Pelicans
Photo: Tom Pennington (Getty)

The trade that sent Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Los Angeles Lakers was a good one. The Lakers got a superstar to pair with LeBron James, and the Pelicans got a hefty package of young players and draft picks to put toward rebuilding their roster. One of the top assets to change hands in the deal was the fourth pick in Thursday night’s draft—with New Orleans holding the top overall pick and locked into selecting Duke’s Zion Williamson, gaining control of the fourth pick put the Pelicans tantalizingly close to the chance to add Williamson’s Duke teammate, best pal, and fellow super-prospect R.J. Barrett.

But there’s been a problem. The Knicks, holding the third pick, are reportedly determined to pick Barrett. The Grizzlies, picking one slot ahead of the Knicks, are reportedly determined to select Ja Morant of Murray State. The only way for the Pelicans to draft Williamson and then get to Barrett before the Knicks is to leapfrog them in a trade with the Grizzlies, but if they were to do so, the Knicks would almost certainly pivot and select Morant, leaving the Grizzlies without a chance to grab the guy they want to replace the recently traded Mike Conley. There’s gridlock at the top of the draft, and the Pelicans cannot move up.

Since there’s nobody the Pelicans especially want with the fourth pick, and they can’t move up in the order, they’ve done the next best thing and moved down, sending the fourth pick to the Atlanta Hawks and returning a haul of later picks and salary cap relief in the process.

So the Pelic

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Bow to this rock-skipping master

Bow to this rock-skipping master

There are rock skippers and then there’s this guy and all his zen-like moves. This is overall world stone-skimming champion Keisuke Hashimoto, an office worker from Saitama, Japan, who has been called the “LeBron James” of the sport.

Here’s another video of him, this one from 2017. It shows his first attempt as a failure:

(Reddit)

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Kawhi Leonard is now making power moves at a LeBron James level – Kendrick Perkins | The Jump – ESPN

Rachel Nichols, Nick Friedell, Amin Elhassan and Kendrick Perkins discuss the new-look LA Clippers, who got Kawhi Leonard and Paul George thanks to a power move from Kawhi that reminded Perk of LeBron James’ dealings on the Los Angeles Lakers.
#TheJump

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Video: Lakers’ LeBron James, Anthony Davis Talk to Jerry West After Kawhi Deal

Video: Lakers’ LeBron James, Anthony Davis Talk to Jerry West After Kawhi Deal
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 18: Steve Ballmer and Jerry West attend an NBA playoffs basketball game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on April 18, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)

Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Game recognize game.

During NBA summer league action in Las Vegas, LeBron James and Anthony Davis spoke briefly with Los Angeles Clippers consultant Jerry West on the baseline.

Perhaps James and Davis were congratulating West for his role in helping execute the two biggest moves of the offseason.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Clippers agreed to a four-year, $141 million deal with Kawhi Leonard and acquired Paul George from the Oklahoma

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Lakers Miss out on Kawhi, Make AD Official; Were the Sacrifices Worth It?

Lakers Miss out on Kawhi, Make AD Official; Were the Sacrifices Worth It?
Los Angeles Laker players LeBron James, center, and Anthony Davis, right, take in an NBA summer league basketball game between the New York Knicks and the New Orleans Pelicans, Friday, July 5, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Steve Marcus)

Steve Marcus/Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — Saturday should have been a day of celebration for Los Angeles Lakers fans. The team finally executed its trade with the New Orleans Pelicans, pairing Anthony Davis with LeBron James. The Lakers can boast two of the best players in the league, and yet Kawhi Leonard turned his back on what could have been a superteam, choosing instead to join the Los Angeles Clippers.

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka then rushed through Plan B signings, including DeMarcus Cousins, Danny Green, Quinn Cook and two returnees (JaVale McGee and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope). The team will also bring back Rajon Rondo and Alex Caruso and add Jared Dudley and Troy Daniels. Depending on exactly how the deals are structured, Los Angeles may still have its $4.8 million room exception to add to the mix.

While the Lakers suddenly have considerable depth, they didn’t get Leonard, and that’s a tough pill to swallow.

Dating back to the team’s last playoff appearance in 2013, the year Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles tendon, the Lakers have been trudging through a rebuild. Lottery after lottery, they’ve groomed players with the hope they’d either develop into stars or, more realistically, become the trade bait needed to build a superteam.

The goal was James, Davis and Leonard, but the Lakers fell short. They may still have enough to win, and a title would certainly make the sacrifices worthwhile. Still, they gave up a lot of talent through the yearsplayers better than those scooped up on Plan B.

D'Angelo Russell

D’Angelo RussellChris Szagola/Associated Press/Associated Press

Pelinka, with former executive Earvin “Magic” Johnson, traded D’Angelo Russell, the team’s No. 2 pick in 2015, to dump the contract of Timofey Mozgov. To be fair, Mozgov was inherited, but the Lakers gave up an eventual All-Star to open up cap room they hoped to use on Paul George last

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Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to Join the Clippers in Stunner

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to Join the Clippers in Stunner

It was true during the N.B.A. playoffs and again in a stunning free-agent twist that played out early Saturday morning: Kawhi Leonard does things his own way — and at his own pace.

After a week of deliberations that generated much curiosity but also impatience around the league, Leonard decided to leave the Toronto Raptors, not even a month after leading them to the championship, and to commit the next four years of his career to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Leonard did so only after the Clippers managed to swing an equally stunning trade to acquire Paul George from the Oklahoma City Thunder, ensuring that Leonard would be joined by another elite player on his new team.

Leonard was pursued aggressively by the Clippers, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Raptors. Toronto could offer a five-year deal worth $190 million, while the Lakers pitched the opportunity to form the league’s starriest trio alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

By persuading Leonard to accept their four-year, $142 million offer, Clippers officials upstaged their competition after being dismissed by many league observers over the past week. Outdueling the more celebrated Lakers, in particular, gave the Clippers bonus satisfaction reminiscent of the Nets’ recent coup in beating out the Knicks to reach agreements with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

[The Hall of Famer Jerry West is a special consultant on the Clippers. He talked to The Times last year about his role.]

This caps a particularly tumultuous free-agency period with upward of 50 players shifting in deals amounting to more than $3 billion.

When the Fourth of July holiday passed without a decision from Leonard, after pitch meetings from his three primary suitors, numerous league observers openly wondered what was taking so long. It turns out that Leonard was using the extra time to recruit George to join him with the Clippers, who have labored in the Lakers’ shadow in Los Angeles for nearly four decades.

Leonard successfully persuaded George to request a trade away from the mercurial point guard Russell Westbrook and the Thunder, according to two people close to the negotiations who were not authorized to discuss them publicly. The Clippers then presented Oklahoma City with a substantial trade offer that the Thunder could not refuse, especially when the alternative was keeping Westbrook and George with little financial fl

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The Clippers reportedly decided to make the biggest trade for a superstar in NBA history because they feared the Lakers forming a Big 3 with Kawhi Leonard

The Clippers reportedly decided to make the biggest trade for a superstar in NBA history because they feared the Lakers forming a Big 3 with Kawhi Leonard

The Los Angeles Clippers pulled off a stunning series of moves in the early hours of Saturday, trading for Paul George, then signing Kawhi Leonard to a max contract.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski Leonard informed the Clippers that he would sign with them if they landed George, a superstar he wanted to play with and believed could make them an immediate contender.

The package the Clippers sent the Oklahoma City Thunder for George is the biggest in NBA history: four unprotected first-round picks, a protected first-round pick, two future pick swaps, second-year guard

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NBA fans were baffled when they woke to the news that Kawhi Leonard signed with the Clippers

NBA fans were baffled when they woke to the news that Kawhi Leonard signed with the Clippers

Kawhi Leonard has made his decision.

In a late-night, blockbuster move on Friday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Leonard would be leaving the Raptors, spurning the Lakers, and shocking the NBA world with his decision to join the Los Angeles Clippers on a four-year, $142 million max contract.

The move did not come cheap for the Clippers, as the team traded a record-setting bounty of picks away to the Thunder in exchange for Paul George, but between the two players, Los Angeles put together one of the most formidable pairs in the NBA and instantly became contenders to win the 2020 title.

For NBA fans, the news was stunning. The Lakers had gained momentum in recent days according to fans following the rumor mill on Twitter, with nu

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Zion Williamson Creates Raucous Atmosphere in Summer League Debut

Zion Williamson Creates Raucous Atmosphere in Summer League Debut

LAS VEGAS — In this age of hyperbole, it would be apt to say the Thomas & Mack Center nearly exploded on Friday evening—even before considering an actual earthquake stopped live play. Five years ago, when Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker dueled across the concourse in the smaller Cox Pavilion, the venue buzzed with the energy of a sweaty AAU gym, when teams, spectators and college coaches all pack the Sunday night 17U championship bout. Zion Williamson’s NBA debut, a clash with the New York Knicks and his former college teammate R.J. Barrett, would have broken any barometer used to measure crowd hysteria in 2015. 

Zion’s debut quickly morphed into a moment more than a meaningless July basketball game. Few sporting environments truly deserve to be described as palpable. Make no mistake this was one of them. The noise crescendoed and seemed inextinguishable, oddly reminiscent of the dosimeters in HBO’s recent portrayal of the Chernobyl disaster. Tracking unprecedented levels of radiation, the devices would click uncontrollably the deeper scientists and staffers waded towards the nuclear eruption.

An NBA dosimeter would have whirred to life the moment LeBron James took his seat courtside in Thomas & Mack for the Lakers-Bulls matchup that preceded Pelicans-Knicks. During one pause in that game’s sleepy fourth quarter, James turned around to scan the crowd. A young Lakers fan shrieked the moment their eyes locked and The King waved. With five minutes remaining in the opening act, Floyd Mayweather’s eight-person Money Team of absurdly large bodyguards strolled into the arena. Mayweather employs nearly as many security staffers for the number of dwindling hours that separate Zion’s Pelicans and Anthony Davis for good. 

That impending trade is, of course, the backdrop for Friday’s radioactivity. We’ve known the particulars which will send Davis to Los Angeles since the terms were agreed upon on June 18. The trade will finally be r

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Danny Green on Potentially Joining Lakers: ‘They Have 2 F–King Superstars’

Danny Green on Potentially Joining Lakers: ‘They Have 2 F–King Superstars’
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 4:  LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Danny Green #14 of the Toronto Raptors exchange a hug during the game on November 4, 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

The ability to team up with four-time NBA MVP LeBron James and six-time All-Star Anthony Davis is a big reason why the Los Angeles Lakers are among free-agent guard Danny Green’s top suitors this summer.

“They have two f–king sup-, they have two superstars there,” Green said on the Inside the Green Room podcast Thursday (around the 14:24 mark). “Speaks for itself. … When you have those two guys, you know the sky’s the limit.”

Green noted the Toronto Raptors, Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks are among the interested teams as well.

As the Lakers are in the midst of a franchise-record six-year playoff drought, they have spent the offseason making moves to try to bolster James’ supporting cast and return to championship contention. They have reportedly agreed to acquire Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, and subsequent moves have cleared enough space for a max contract in free agency.

As a result,

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Another eyebrow-raising $10,000 bet was placed on the Lakers to win the 2020 NBA Championship, and some think it’s a sign they will sign Kawhi Leonard

Another eyebrow-raising $10,000 bet was placed on the Lakers to win the 2020 NBA Championship, and some think it’s a sign they will sign Kawhi Leonard

After a blistering start to NBA free agency, Kawhi Leonard’s future remains a mystery.

While most of the big names have made their deals, either signing with new teams or getting a big payday from their old ones, Leonard has remained on the sidelines of free agency.

But on Monday night, an eyebrow-raising $10,000 bet was placed on the Los Angeles Lakers to win the 2020 title, and it could be the best indication yet that Leonard is close to joining LeBron James and Anthony Davis in purple and gold.

According to Arash Markazi at the Los Angeles Times, the bet was placed at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook at 7-4 odds.

It’s possible there was simply a confident bettor who felt like putting a hefty bet on the Lakers. But as Markazi notes, the last time a $10,000 bet in came on the Lakers, it was just minutes before the team announced that they had traded for Anthony Davis.

Read more: An eyebrow-raising $10,000 bet was placed on the Lakers just minutes before the team traded for Anthony Davis

“I’m sure it was with knowledge, but that’s why we have liability limits in place,” Jeff Sherman, the manager at the Westgate, told Darren Rovell of The Action Network after the first bet was made.

James and Anthony Davis.
AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman

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A simple model of Kawhi Leonard’s indecision

A simple model of Kawhi Leonard’s indecision

As a free agent, he is being courted by his current team, the Toronto Raptors, as well as the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers (now the team of LeBron James). And the internet is making jokes about him taking so much time for the decision.  In Toronto, helicopters are following him around.

Due

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The Charlotte Hornets embarrassingly mismanaged the only great asset they had in Kemba Walker

The Charlotte Hornets embarrassingly mismanaged the only great asset they had in Kemba Walker

NBA free agency started with a bang on Sunday with plenty of talented players either re-signing with their team or taking their talents to a new city.

One of the biggest names to change teams at the start of free agency was former Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker, who after eight seasons with the club, opted to sign with the Boston Celtics on a four-year deal worth $141 million.

Keeping Walker was never going to be easy for the Hornets. Charlotte was already strapped for cash due to some painful contracts still on the books. And thanks to his All-NBA selection this year, Walker was eligible for a super-max contract from the Hornets that could have paid him as much as $221 million over five years.

But according to the Charlotte Observer, the Hornets offer was for roughly $160 million over five years — a lower annual salary than his deal with the Celtics by more than $3 million.

Read more: NBA free agency has exploded. Here are the biggest signings so far and the best remaining players.

That the

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The ESPN Daily: Alex Morgan sips the tea, the collapse of the Warriors’ dynasty and stars align at Wimbledon

The ESPN Daily: Alex Morgan sips the tea, the collapse of the Warriors’ dynasty and stars align at Wimbledon

THINGS TO CARE ABOUT

The UFC’s Hall of Fame moments …Only 22 fighters have been deemed worthy to enter the UFC’s Hall of Fame, with the latest three (Michael Bisping, Rashad Evans and Rich Franklin) heading for induction Friday. Want to relive their absolute best moments, from the league’s early days to the present? We’ve got you covered. Read More

The Warriors’ abrupt collapse … With the acquisition of Kevin Durant, the Warriors looked like they had established a dynasty that would last for a decade. Now, only two years and one championship after that 2017 crown, that team is gone. Durant will play for the Brooklyn Nets. Andre Iguodala? He’ll don a Memphis Grizzlies jersey. Time will tell if this new version of the Warriors will keep winning, but the team that created something we’d never seen before fell apart at a stunning pace, Zach Lowe writes. Read More

The pair the people want… “If you guys really want it, then maybe I’ll do it,” Serena Williams responded coyly to a reporter earlier this week when questioned about potentially playing mixed doubles with Andy Murray at Wimbledon. On Tuesday night, after days of speculation, the partnership was confirmed. On behalf of delighted tennis fans everywhere, thank you, Queen Serena. Read More


THEY’RE GOING TO THE ‘SHIP

And that’s the tea… The USWNT is on to the next (and final) one at the Women’s world cup. Unless you’ve been residing under a rock the past few weeks, you already know Megan Rapinoe’s been putting on a clinic all tournament, so her absence from Tuesday’s semifinal had U.S. fans shook. But the Americans managed to outlast England nonetheless. The victory came off goals from Christen Press and birt

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These Knicks Do Not Belong in Today’s N.B.A.

These Knicks Do Not Belong in Today’s N.B.A.

James L. Dolan might have been a perfectly fine custodian of a professional basketball team had his father given him one 50 years ago. But not in the 21st century.

Before there was such a thing as free agency, back when the privilege of ownership essentially included the players along with the franchise, Dolan’s imperious ways would not have cost him transcendent talent. His self-defeating stubbornness would not have ruined the curb appeal of Madison Square Garden, the self-proclaimed World’s Most Famous Arena.

If he didn’t have to compete for the likes of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, Dolan might have been a contender, instead of the steward of a team that just lost a franchise-worst 65 of 82 games for the second time in five seasons and has won just a single playoff series since 2000. Which happens to be about when the Knicks began to play by the byzantine Dolan house rules.

On the subject of past and present, the evolution of the game, I stumbled upon a fascinating article while researching an archival book project on the N.B.A. for The New York Times last year — written for the newspaper in April 1977 by that famed Boston-based journalist, Arnold (Red) Auerbach.

The headline read: “Pride and Integrity: Pro Basketball Has Changed.” In the piece, Auerbach bemoaned the federal court rulings heralding the earliest form of free agency and the gradual shifting of bargaining power to where it rightfully belonged. “By and large, we’re seeing an erosion of basic values — things like pride and integrity and dedication,” Auerbach warned. “We’ve created a system that works against motivation, desire and discipline.”

To the contrary, the N.B.A. is a global phenomenon now precisely because its stars became max-leveraged commodities, soaring to once-unfathomable commercial heights in the age of techno-connectivity. The league’s 2019 free-agent signing season, newly timed to kick off Sunday at 6 p.m. Eastern, was a Super Bowl of player empowerment and stimulating competitive realignment, commencing with the bombshell that the Nets — and not the Knicks — would be landing Irving and Durant.

A tactical

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Anthony Davis and Dwyane Wade are the cover stars for the “NBA 2K20” video game

Anthony Davis and Dwyane Wade are the cover stars for the “NBA 2K20” video game

Along with the start of the NBA’s incredibly active free agent signing period, the first day of July brought us the new cover stars of “NBA 2K20.” Anthony Davis will officially be featured on the standard version of “NBA 2K20” while Dwyane Wade will grace the cover of the Legend Edition.

Wade retired at the end of the 2019 regular season, putting an end to a hall-of-fame career. Wade earned three NBA Championships and a finals MVP award and made 13 all-star games during his 15 seasons. His final games were celebrated across the league as he swa

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Nike pulls ‘Betsy Ross flag’ shoes after Colin Kaepernick said they were offensive

Nike pulls ‘Betsy Ross flag’ shoes after Colin Kaepernick said they were offensive

Nike has pulled its planned “Betsy Ross flag” shoes after Colin Kaepernick apparently expressed his concerns that the design was offensive.

The shoe, the Nike Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July, was slated to hit stores for the Fourth of July holiday and featured the original 13-stars version of the American flag on the heel (though whether or not Ross actually created the famous flag is a matter of debate).

But the Wall Street Journal reports Nike has shelved the shoe after Kaepernick and others expressed concern about certain historical aspects of the flag.

After images of the shoe were posted online, Mr. Kaepernick, a Nike endorser, reached out to company officials saying that he and others felt the Betsy Ross flag is an offensive symbol because of its connection to an era of slavery, the people said. Some users on social media responded to posts about the shoe with similar concerns. Mr. Kaepernick declined to comment.

In a statement to the WSJ, the company said, “Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July as it featured the old version of the American flag.” Mashable has reached out for additional comment. 

Kaepernick has yet to comment publicly on the matter.

Nike’s decision to pull the shoes has created two new issues for the company. 

First, the shoes were already shipped to retailers, according to the WSJ. They have asked those retailers to return the shoes back to the company to prevent their release. 

Second, Nike is facing more backlash due to its relationship with Kaepernick. In September 2018, Nike unveiled Kaepernick as one of the faces of a new segment of its classic, ongoing “Just Do It” ad campaign which included an inspirational ad. That announcement was met with a mixture of support and derision, based largely around Kaepernick’s national anthem protests.

And, as with everything connected to Kaepernick, the social media echo chamber exploded with reactions on the shoes’ cancelation. 

Fox News pundit Laura Ingraham, the same woman who told LeBron James to “shut up and dribble” and once compared migrant child detention centers at the U.S.-Mexico border to “summer camps,” was predictably irate, as were others who saw the decision as a direct attack on every

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Anthony Davis & LeBron James or Kevin Durant & Kyrie Irving: Better duo in 2020-21? | The Jump – ESPN

Anthony Davis & LeBron James or Kevin Durant & Kyrie Irving: Better duo in 2020-21? | The Jump – ESPN

On The Jump, Rachel Nichols, Nick Friedell, Dave McMenamin and Matt Barnes debate which duo, Anthony Davis and LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers or Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the Brooklyn Nets, will be better for the 2020-21 NBA season.

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Jimmy Butler leaves 76ers for Heat in four-year, $142 million deal

Jimmy Butler leaves 76ers for Heat in four-year, $142 million deal


CLOSE


The Brooklyn Nets hit the jackpot while the New York Knicks were left with jack squat. USA TODAY Sports Jeff Zillgitt breaks down the winners and losers in the early going of NBA free agency.
USA TODAY

Jimmy Butler has agreed to a sign-and-trade deal that will allow him to ink a four-year pact with the Miami Heat for a maximum contract of $142 million, a person familiar with the negotiations told USA TODAY Sports.

They were granted anonymity because terms of the deal will not be final until July 6, when the NBA’s moratorium period ends.

The Heat will have to send wing Josh Richardson to the Philadelphia 76ers, as well as other assets potentially, in order to get the deal done.

The move gives Miami the star presence it has lacked since the breakup of the LeBron James-Dwyane Wade-Chris Bosh core. The Heat have been treading water the last five seasons, with two playoff appearances as Pat Riley has refused to fully embrace a rebuild.

Miami seems to be betting on Butler’s acquisition attracting more free agents in 2020 when the Heat will be able to clear significant salary cap space.

With the 76ers re-signing Tobias Harris to a five-year, $180 million contract earlier Sunday, it became clear Butler would be headed elsewhere.

The Sixers acquired Butler from Minnesota early last season, and he was crucial to Philadelphia’s success, especially as a late-game performer who created offense and defended.

He brings intensity to the court and locker room, an

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Anthony Davis Opens Up on Lakers Trade, Admiring LeBron James and His Own Legacy

Anthony Davis Opens Up on Lakers Trade, Admiring LeBron James and His Own Legacy

“Anthony Davis is not going to be a great basketball player because of the amount of money he makes, it’s going to be about what he achieved on the court and also off the court. That’s all part of my legacy, and I think that’s way more valuable than any monetary value.”

The trade to the Lakers came a little less than five months after he formally requested to be dealt by the Pelicans. The public trade request resulted in one of the most awkward final stretches in NBA history, with the Pelicans limiting Davis’ minutes despite his desire to pl

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Stephen Curry reportedly learned of Kevin Durant’s free agency move on the way from China to meet him but continued anyway to say thank you to his former teammate for their time together

Stephen Curry reportedly learned of Kevin Durant’s free agency move on the way from China to meet him but continued anyway to say thank you to his former teammate for their time together

After winning two NBA championships and two NBA Finals MVP awards in three seasons, Kevin Durant is leaving the Golden State Warriors, joining the Brooklyn Nets along with Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan in a rush of signings to start this year’s blockbuster free agency season.

Durant’s move was one of the biggest questions looming over the 2019 offseason. He had long been rumored to be leaving the Warriors, but after his injury in the NBA Finals left him likely sidelined for the upcoming season, some thought there was a chance he would return to Golden State.

On Sunday, those hopes faded as Durant’s move to the Nets became official. According to Marcus Thompson II at The Athletic, Warriors sharpshooter Stephen Curry was on a plane from China to New York City to see Durant when the news broke. But rather than cancel his trip, Curry carried on, now heading to New York not to pitch Durant on another year together, but to thank him for the three years they did spend as teammates.

“His trip to New York was seen as a last-ditch effort to keep Durant,” wrote Thompson.

He continued:

“But C

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