Dwyane Wade defends LeBron James by piling on Charles Barkley

Dwyane Wade joined the masses Tuesday by offering his take on the LeBron James-Charles Barkley beef.

Wade is obviously going to be biased as he and James have a strong relationship, but his comments are still interesting. He seemed to be surprised with the rest of us that James finally stood up for himself, and he enjoyed seeing it.

“Thank God he finally said something,” Wade said Tuesday, via the Chicago Tribune. “LeBron, a lot of guys take a lot of shots at him for whatever reason. He just has kept his mouth closed and continued to focus on what he needs to. But it’s about time he said something, man. Guys ride him, especially ex-players.”

Wade’s comments are similar to the ones teammate Jimmy Butler said regarding the team last week after a different loss to the Hawks.

Butler said the team played “terrible basketball” in that loss, and it appears not much has changed.

Butler and Wade combined to score 73 of the team’s points Wednesday. Doug McDermott, who came off the bench, was the only only player in double figures with 10 points.

Chicago (23-24) had won its last two games before heading into Wednesday’s loss, so it’s not like the team was in the midst of some fantastic slump. But the two most senior and experienced members of the squad have clearly been unhappy with attitudes in the locker room.

This one has all the signs of getting ugly with Rajon Rondo still unhappy sitting on the bench. When two teammates call out the rest of its members someone is going to get angry.

Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg must be wondering why he left his comfortable job at Iowa State right about now.
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He has to dedicate himself to basketball more

NBA trade rumors: As Raptors seek new identity, efforts to deal Jonas Valanciunas still come up short
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Back in 2012 at the London Olympics, Lithuania national coach Kestutis Kemzura expressed some of the concerns he had about his young big man, Jonas Valanciunas, who was then 20 years old and coming into his first season in the NBA. Valanciunas had struggled in the tournament, and Kemzura told Sporting News, Sometimes, he wants to come in and do everything right away. In his head, he is working too fast. He is young, that happens.

Four years later, at the Rio Olympics last summer, Kemzura’s criticism of Valanciunas — who averaged just 6.7 points and 7.0 rebounds — was echoed by new coach Jonas Kazlauskas in much sharper terms.

Youth Jurickson Profar Jersey He has to dedicate himself to basketball more, Kazlauskas said. He was also asked why Valanciunas was struggling, and said, You’ll have to ask Valanciunas.

Acquiring Korver gives the Cavs one of the best 3-point shooters in NBA history. He provides instant offense off the bench and draws defenders’ eyes every time moves without the ball. Among players who attempt at least three catch-and-shoot 3-pointers per game, Korver is tied with Stephen Curry and Allen Crabbe for the second-highest 3-point percentage (45.5) behind only Otto Porter Jr. (46.6), per NBA.com.

With Kyrie Irving and LeBron James driving to the basket and Korver on the perimeter, opposing defenses face a brutal dilemma.

He’s so important to us, James said. Korver gives us another option to keep defenses honest. You have to pick your poison. If you collapse on me or Kyrie then you’re leaving him open. If you pay too much attention to him you already know what it is.

Cavs fan Justin Bieber played pick-up game in Steph Curry uniform

Does Justin Bieber have a new favorite NBA team?

The pop star, a known Cavaliers fan, recently shared a photo of himself on Instagram playing a pick-up basketball game in a full Steph Curry uniform while visiting Australia.

Is Bieber a bandwagoner? Or did he perhaps decide to switch teams after getting booed at the NBA Finals last year for picking LeBron James and the Cavs to win?

Tatum also moves up the board after a terrific final month of college basketball. Tatum has figured things out on this level and become the weapon that he was expected to be coming into the year. From Feb. 15 onward, Tatum averaged 19.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game for the Blue Devils while shooting 48 percent from the field, 36 percent from 3 and 89 percent from the foul line.

Put that into conjunction with a kid who is widely known to have a sterling reputation to pair with a hard-working personality, and it’s not out of the question that he gets into conversation for No. 1 overall if Duke goes on a run and he leads the way.

Jackson falls a touch here mostly due to the rise of Ball and Tatum. He’s still the same level prospect: a do-it-all wing who can score on or off ball, create plays for others through passing and play with an elite level motor. He’s still the first high-major freshman wing to put up averages of 16 points, six rebounds and three assists per game since Dwyane Wade (who did it in a Conference USA that was the No. 7 league in the country).steelers_124

Athletics’ Billy Beane: We hope to keep new players with stadium rebuild

Athletics executive vice president Billy Beane has his eye on two prizes: Successfully rebuilding the team and creating the ultimate ballpark.
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Beane said as the organization scouts for the perfect place to build their new stadium, he has already started on a full rebuild of the roster.
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We need to be disciplined with [a rebuild], particularly with how aligned with what we’re trying to do in the community as far as a stadium. There’s only one way to open a stadium successfully, and that’s with a good, young team, Beane told reporters, via ESPN.

As far as this year, it’s hard to envision a scenario where something is going to change overnight and he’s going to be able to come in here and contribute to help us win games, given the down time and where he is, Huntington said. Again, for next year, it’s uncertain. We’ll see how the offseason plays out.

Kang was arrested in December in his native South Korea and charged with driving under the influence for the third time. Due to his repeated violations, a court sentenced him in March to eight months in jail, with the term suspended for two years.

The 30-year-old infielder hoped the latter part of the sentence would allow him to rejoin the Pirates in time for the regular season, but he has been unable to secure a visa to enter the United States despite getting assistance in the effort from MLB and the players’ association.

The Raptors plan to waive and stretch C Justin Hamilton after acquiring him from Nets

The trade market for Paul George has changed significantly since last season’s trade deadline, now that he has reportedly informed the Pacers he will enter free agency in 2018 with his sights set on the Lakers. Los Angeles is looking to acquire George this summer rather than waiting until July 2018, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein.

Can the Lakers now land Paul George by offering Thursday’s No. 27 and 28 picks and either Julius Randle or Jordan Clarkson? They’re trying.

Carroll, whose 31st birthday is July 27, has played 10 seasons, including two-year stints at Utah (2011-13), Atlanta (2013-15) and Toronto (2015-17). He played in 72 games last season, averaging 8.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.0 assists.

UPDATE: ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported the Raptors will waive Hamilton and use the stretch provision to spread out his money over additional years. More importantly, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the move will put the Raps under the luxury tax threshold this season.

The Raptors plan to waive and stretch C Justin Hamilton after acquiring him from Nets, league sources say.

Buried at the bottom of this ESPN.com article is a tasty nugget: Anthony is willing to waive his no-trade rights to join James Harden and Chris Paul (and play for Mike D’Antoni again) in Houston. New York reportedly is looking to jettison Anthony as it embarks on a youth movement, and Anthony reportedly is excited about joining the Rockets’ stars. The ESPN.com report said no deal is imminent and a third team would likely be needed.
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Game Kids Mark Fayne Jersey The Raptors are back in trade discussions, this time with the Pacers. Toronto is finalizing a sign-and-trade that would send Cory Joseph to Indiana in exchange for C.J. Miles, according to ESPN.

David Griffin backs out of Knicks GM job, report says

The idea of David Griffin as general manager of the Knicks barely got off the ground before it came crashing down.

The former Cavaliers GM took his name out of the running after he and the team couldn’t agree to negotiations, ESPN’s The Undefeated reported, citing a source.

Apparently Griffin and the Knicks just couldn’t make it work because the two sides couldn’t agree to the proper role for Griffin.

With Steve Mills still acting as president after the organization fired Phil Jackson, he wasn’t keen on allowing Griffin to bring in his own staff or allowing him to have more control over basketball decisions.

Griffin spent three years as the Cavaliers’ general manager, during which the team went to the NBA finals three times. He and the team agreed to part ways at the end of June.

Since Griffin has no known offers from other teams at the moment, he is expected to take on an analyst role with ESPN this upcoming season.
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Limited Kids Langston Galloway Jersey I tend not to like deals where teams pay for upside rather than production, but this one fits a need, and the Grizzlies structured it so that he fits into the taxpayer mid-level exception if they end up going into luxury tax. Currently, the team is operating over the cap due to their cap holds, but do have some tough decisions to make on JaMychal Green and Zach Randolph that could push them in that direction.

There will be more steady players who get less money than McLemore, but I’m not sure there will be one who has upside and fills the needs of Memphis more clearly.

the Celtics fought hard to earn the top seed in the East

Thomas, who had a tooth knocked out by Wizards forward Otto Porter on an incidental play in the first game, needed dental surgery on three teeth Monday. He was not sure he would play in Game 2 and told coach Brad Stevens he was a likely no-go. Thomas had to return to the hospital because of the severity of the postsurgical swelling in his mouth. Worse, Thomas had to wear a mouthguard, and had trouble engaging in his favorite player-to-player dialog because of it.

“I tried, but it wouldn’t let me so I had to take it out,” Thomas said. “I like to talk trash, that’s just the game of basketball, but I had to get used to it. I was stuttering a few times in the first half, I was just — I had to learn how to take it out with my tongue.”

There were hard fouls, like when Al Horford was sent tumbling into the first row after Morris chucked him down in a chase for a rebound — Morris injured his ankle in Game 1 when he landed badly on Horford’s foot after a jump shot, though Morris declined to accuse Horford of trying to hurt him. After the game, though, Morris was vague about whether he was sending Horford a message.

While some teams were resting their stars down the stretch (Cleveland), the Celtics fought hard to earn the top seed in the East. Led by All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas, Boston boasts one of the most versatile lineups in the NBA.

Thomas averaged 28.9 points per game this season while hitting 46 percent of his shots. Quick off the dribble and dangerous from beyond the arc, Thomas has the talent and passion to lead this Celtics team deep into the postseason.

But let’s not forget the Bulls. Winners of seven of their last nine games to squeak into the playoffs, they boast a dangerous squad playing its best basketball. The Bulls have looked like a new team since inserting Rajon Rondo into the starting lineup, and Jimmy Butler averaged 23.9 points per game.falcons_109

he remained humble when told about Popovich’s statement.

Popovich usually avoids making statements like this, instead opting to praise the team as a whole. But even he has been amazed by what Leonard did against Memphis. After being primarily a strong defender when he entered the league, Leonard has grown into an offensive weapon.

He averaged 31.2 points against the Grizzlies in six games, all while maintaining his defensive efficiency. He averaged 2.0 steals and 6.0 rebounds, playing 37.5 minutes per game. Not many players can play such high-energy offense and defense throughout the majority of the game.

As for Leonard, he remained humble when told about Popovich’s statement.

Game Womens Justin March-Lillard Jersey I think a lot of guys are capable of doing that, he said. A lot of guys are taking care of their body. NBA players are some of the best-conditioned guys in athletics, in their sport, so they can definitely do it. I think a lot of times coaches get sidetracked by what other guys, what the media said or whatever. But you just got to go off what you feel, how the guys feel, how the players feel and what your team needs at this time. So, if Bron plays 46 minutes and [Kyrie Irving] plays 45 minutes and we win, then it’s worth it. And if we need them to play that many minutes to win in the playoffs, then it’s absolutely worth it.

Thunder coach Billy Donovan was asked about managing Westbrook’s minutes in the playoffs and said he wanted to play him more. While the guard did average more than he did in the regular season (34.6) it wasn’t a huge increase.
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Maybe Donovan now wishes he had played Westbrook a little more, but of course hindsight is 20/20.

Steve Kerr to travel with Warriors to San Antonio

The Warriors have been making mincemeat out of their opponents this postseason, and they got some unexpected great news Wednesday when they learned head coach Steve Kerr will make the trip to San Antonio for Game 3.

Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers confirmed Wednesday on 97.5 The Game that Kerr will travel with the team, and he came to the decision on his own.

Game Mens Andre Williams Jersey It’s great, we all respect him so much that we let him make those decisions, Myers said. I asked him what he was thinking, and he said he was ready to go. If we sensed he was harming himself by doing so we would have stepped in. But Steve is smart.

We’ve been working on this for six months and it’s a product of work we did in-house with our creative team in conjunction with Nike and the NBA, said team executive Charlie Metzger (via the Detroit News). It’s been a long time coming, but we’re excited about the logo itself and the move downtown and everything that’s happening with our organization. It’s a new chapter.

It’s a little bit of our new and a little bit of our city’s old, said Pistons center Andre Drummond, who was at the logo unveiling, per the Detroit Free Press. It’s got a little bit of new school with an old school feel to it. It’s a dope logo and I’m really excited to see how it looks on the floor and on our jerseys, too.

Metzger suggested that with the NBA’s new partnership with Nike, more new looks could be forthcoming.

Game Mens Jacquies Smith Jersey The Pistons have made the playoffs once in the last eight years, so while the logo may be similar, the team has a long way to go to replicate the Bad Boys’ success.

The Brewers had lost four of their last five games entering Thursday night’s win

With Eric Thames on the bench Thursday, Jesus Aguilar filled in admirably by collecting three hits, a home run, two runs scored and four RBIs. The Brewers possess a deep lineup which allows them to rotate frequently. That should bode well for them as the season progresses.
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The Brewers had lost four of their last five games entering Thursday night’s win, but they proved their ability to heat up in a hurry at the Reds’ expense.

Pitching could become a problem for the Brewers as their playoff push becomes more real after the All-Star break. Nelson and Chase Anderson, who is injured, are their only regular starters with sub-4.00 ERAs, and the bullpen lacks depth.

Still, the Brewers boast an impressive lineup, one that can stay in the hunt in this year’s mediocre NL Central. If they make a big splash before the July 31 trade deadline, they could even be postseason threats.

Why him? Davis’ credentials as a legit slugger are, well, legit — he has 88 homers since 2015; only four MLB sluggers have more — and it would be kind of awesome to see the 5-10, 195-pound Davis squaring off against the 6-7, 283-pound Judge. This needs to happen.

Why him? Because you can’t strike out in a home-run derby. Really, though, we all love to watch moon-shot home runs, and Gallo is a master of the moon shot. This season, only four home runs have been hit with an apex of at least 160 feet, and Gallo has two of those four. You don’t have to be selected to the All-Star Game to be in the Home Run Derby, and with a batting average under .200 most of the season (it’s .195 right now), Gallo won’t be picked even though he’s hit 20 home runs. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t belong in the derby.
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Why him? Stanton, who won the 2016 event with 61 total home runs, just had to be a part of this event. He’s the face of Miami’s franchise, and it wouldn’t have been right to have a Home Run Derby in Marlins Park without him. Glad that was taken care of quickly.