Kevin Love Officially Traded From Minnesota To Cleveland For Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett Package

NBA: ESPN’s Brian Windhorst on how the Kevin Love- Andrew Wiggins trade came together and finally happened for Cleveland:

It was late last March, as a bad Cleveland winter drifted into spring, a frigid wind whipped snow outside the Cavaliers’ suburban practice facility.

Inside, the talk was of the team’s most recent nosedive. Owner Dan Gilbert had identified the season as when the team would take the step of making the playoffs but it wasn’t happening. The team had stumbled through the first 15 games after making a trade deadline deal for Spencer Hawes, losing 11 of them. It was the last attempt at a midseason-course correction, which included a trade for Luol Deng that hadn’t panned out, and the Cavs crashed to 18 games under .500.

Nobody was feeling good. The interim general manager, David Griffin, was unsure he’d keep the job. Coach Mike Brown was starting to fear, rightly, he was going to be fired just one season in. Gilbert’s patience had long since frayed and he was growing only more restless by the day.

It was at this low point — in some ways a deeper depth than that 26-game losing streak back in 2010-11, because this team had real expectations — that the Cavs’ front office huddled to consider what was, on the face of it, a ridiculous plan.

They were going to try to trade for Kevin Love. Read the rest of this entry

Team USA: Paul George’s Knee Fracture During USA Basketball Sidelines Pacers Star And Stuns Entire NBA Community

Pacers star Paul George breaks his right leg during Team USA scrimmage; will miss all of ’14-15 NBA season rehabbing injury while USA Basketball and his Pacers are now forced to regroup:

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Via NBA.com

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Indiana Pacers All-Star Paul George on Saturday underwent successful surgery on his broken right leg and is expected to remain in the hospital for about three days. The 6-foot-9 George had an operation at Sunrise Hospital to repair the open tibia-fibula fracture, USA Basketball said in a statement early Saturday morning. Dr. David Silverberg, Dr. Joseph Yu and USA Basketball team physician Riley Williams, were present for the surgery, the release said.

George suffered the gruesome right leg injury late in the U.S. national team’s intrasquad scrimmage Friday night. He leaped to contest a fast-break layup by James Harden with 9:33 left in the fourth quarter and his leg smashed against the bottom of the backboard stanchion and crumpled. Trainers immediately ran onto the floor and after roughly 10 minutes of stoppage, George was taken out of the arena on a stretcher. With players looking visibly upset, coach Mike Krzyzewski then announced to the crowd that the scrimmage would not be finished out of respect to George and his family. Read the rest of this entry

NFL: All Eyes On Johnny Manziel As Cleveland Browns Open Training Camp

Browns rookie QB Johnny Manziel debuts at Cleveland Browns training camp with plenty of buzz, distractions and excitement: 

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Via The Associated Press:

BEREA, Ohio — There were No. 2 jerseys everywhere, ringing the practice fields in various shapes, sizes and colors.

On the first day of training camp, Browns fans came out by the thousands, many of them to get their first live look at the popular and polarizing quarterback who electrified college football and who may one day lead Cleveland back to pro football glory.

They all came to see Johnny Manziel.

Strutting around the field with his usual swagger, Manziel went through his first training camp practice on Saturday, a workout that finally allowed the focus to be on his playing ability after months of his social life making headlines. A day after acknowledging he “made some rookie mistakes” with his off-the-field exploits, Manziel zipped passes and showed some of the elusiveness that earned him his Johnny Football nickname while at Texas A&M. “I have fun playing this game,” Manziel said. “I have fun going out on this field playing football. It’s what I live for, it’s what I love to do.” Read the rest of this entry

Plenty Of Story-Lines & League Business During Las Vegas NBA Summer League

ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz on the behind the scenes chatter among NBA Executives convening at NBA’s Las Vegas Sumer League:

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LAS VEGAS — Summer league is the closest thing the NBA has to an industry conclave, and industry conclaves tend to be more about the chatter than the official events. Even though the league unfurled its most anticipated draft class in years this past week, the insiders who populate the VIP sections of the Thomas & Mack Center and its little brother, Cox Pavilion, were consumed with the same stories that propelled the news cycle for fans.

Some of that can be attributed to a free agency period that bled into the summer-league schedule, or that LeBron James announced his decision to return to Cleveland nine hours before Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker squared off in their NBA debuts, or that none of the touted rookies really dazzled.

“Ask me in five years,” says one NBA head coach about the rookie crop.

Whatever the case, this year’s rookie class didn’t wow the league’s decision-makers. Read the rest of this entry

LeBron Returns Home To Cleveland; Leaves Miami Heat To Re-Join Cavs

NBA: LeBron James makes it official; releases a personal letter explaining why he’s returning back home to play for Cleveland:

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LeBron releases announcement letter via Sports Illustrated

Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.

Remember when I was sitting up there at the Boys & Girls Club in 2010? I was thinking, This is really tough. I could feel it. I was leaving something I had spent a long time creating. If I had to do it all over again, I’d obviously do things differently, but I’d still have left. Miami, for me, has been almost like college for other kids. These past four years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better player and a better man. I learned from a franchise that had been where I wanted to go. I will always think of Miami as my second home. Without the experiences I had there, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today.

I went to Miami because of D-Wade and CB. We made sacrifices to keep UD. I loved becoming a big bro to Rio. I believed we could do something magical if we came together. And that’s exactly what we did! The hardest thing to leave is what I built with those guys. I’ve talked to some of them and will talk to others. Nothing will ever change what we accomplished. We are brothers for life. I also want to thank Micky Arison and Pat Riley for giving me an amazing four years.

Read the rest of this entry

Teams With Superstar Max Players Like LeBron Face Obstacles Under New CBA

Grantland’s Zach Lowe on the complexities the Miami Heat face in keeping their expensive Big 3 under new financial landscape:

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In a time of hushed meetings and amorphous potential offers, the Rockets have transformed a thought exercise into a real thing by presenting Chris Bosh a concrete choice: take a pay cut to stay in Miami, or earn your full maximum salary over a four-year deal in Houston.

It’s not quite the ideal test case for a new collective bargaining agreement designed with perhaps one eye on engineering “competitive balance” by making it harder for teams to retain superstar clusters. Adam Silver trumpeted that catchphrase every chance he got during the 2011 lockout, but the league’s primary goal during that torturous offseason was to transfer cash from players to owners.

Silver is sincere in his desire for greater parity, and the easiest path to achieving it is to prevent in-their-prime superstars from teaming up. The new CBA attempted to do that by installing a super-harsh luxury tax. Spend a lot on players, and you’re going to face a crippling tax penalty that gets more severe as you add payroll. Superstars are expensive to sign and even more expensive to keep; the tax was crafted to make the “keeping” part prohibitive.

Read the rest of this entry

NBA Draft Recap: Team By Team Picks, Grades, Trades and Top Storylines

Wiggins goes No.1 to Cavs, Jabari No.2 to Bucks, Embiid No.3 to Sixers; NBA Draft grades after a busy and entertaining NBA Draft:

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Via Yahoo Sports:

Readers will notice a fair amount of very good grades in our take on the 2014 NBA draft. This is because the league’s front offices are getting smarter, scouting is becoming more advanced and this is one of the deeper drafts in NBA history. It’s early, but we think these marks were earned.

Onto the grades …

Atlanta Hawks

The haul: Adreian Payne, Walter Tavares, Lamar Patterson

Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has yet to put together a championship contender in Atlanta, but he’s done well to secure low-cost talent while avoiding some (or, all, really) of the financial mistakes made by his predecessors. The loss of Al Horford to injury in 2013-14 turned Atlanta’s season on its ear, and while Payne is nowhere near the sort of contributor the former All-Star is, his ability to spread the floor while playing competently on the other end will fit in with a team that likes to do its damage from the perimeter. Finding a go-to backup and spot starter at No. 15 was good news. Read the rest of this entry

San Antonio Spurs Win 5th NBA Title Routing The Miami Heat In 5 Games

NBA Finals: Tim Duncan’s Spurs avenge last seasons NBA Finals loss to Miami by defeating the Heat to win another NBA Title:

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Via NY Times:

SAN ANTONIO — The arena rumbled. It was only the first half on Sunday night, but there was already a growing sense of inevitability with each passing possession. Having withstood the best that LeBron James could offer, the Spurs were closing in on another championship.

Tim Duncan backed down an opponent before throwing in a baby hook. Manu Ginobili raced end to end for an emphatic dunk that nearly blew the top off AT&T Center. And James, the Miami Heat’s resident superstar and the best player on the planet, was rendered powerless by the Spurs’ slow march to history.

With their 104-87 win in Game 5 of the N.B.A. finals, the Spurs celebrated their fifth championship in 16 seasons as black-and-silver confetti fell from the rafters. San Antonio turned the series into a coronation by winning four of five games, including the last three, with the bonus of snuffing Miami’s well-publicized quest for a third straight title in the process.

Read the rest of this entry

A Busy NBA Finals Off Day Down In Miami With Boxing Legend Mike Tyson

Sports Media World and Sports Illustrated connect on a feature on Boxing Legend Mike Tyson in Miami Beach during the NBA Finals:

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MIAMI — Archeologists recently discovered the remnants of an ancient Native American civilization in downtown Miami. Surrounded by towering, glittering buildings, whatever is left of the Tequestas, whose history dates back thousands of years, has slowly been uncovered. The findings have included portions of a village and even a burial ground, which the Miami Herald reported was destroyed to make way for a hotel long ago. The discoveries have slowed development projects, as city officials decide how to proceed while weighing this history against the future.

Just minutes from one of these sites, Mike Tyson plops down on a brown couch in a Brickell high-rise condominium. The 47-year-old Tyson happens to know a thing or two about buried skeletons, and he admits that he can feel the tug from the past as he tries to craft a new, functional life after retiring from boxing eight years ago.

Nevertheless, he is plowing forward in earnest with his latest venture as the frontman, namesake and promoter for Iron Mike Productions, which is staging made-for-TV fights. His fingerprints are all over the new company’s efforts, from selecting the matchups, to mentoring the younger fighters, to attending the events to generate buzz, to leveraging his name to land national television broadcasts. Read the rest of this entry

NBA Finals Preview: The San Antonio Spurs vs Miami Heat Rematch

CBS Sports NBA with a NBA Finals preview as the defending champion Miami Heat face the veteran Spurs once again:

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With the San Antonio Spurs winning the Western Conference Finals in six games a day after the Miami Heat wrapped up the East in six, we’re about to get a rematch of one of the greatest NBA Finals we’ve ever seen just one year after it happened. The Spurs are making back-to-back NBA Finals appearances for the first time in franchise history, and the Heat are looking to complete a three-peat for the first time since the 2000-02 Lakers.

What do we have in store for this 2013 Finals sequel? Let’s take a quick look ahead to what the series will look like:

Season series: The Heat and Spurs split the season series 1-1. Read the rest of this entry