NBA: Cavs and Celtics Swap All-Star PG’s In NBA’s Biggest Off-Season Trade

Cleveland Cavs trade Kyrie Irving to the Eastern Conference rival Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas in All-Star point guard swap:

Via The Associated Press:

Kyrie Irving was tired of being teammates with LeBron James. Now he has to figure out how to beat him. Cleveland’s All-Star guard, who asked owner Dan Gilbert to trade him earlier this summer, was dealt Tuesday night to the Boston Celtics for fellow All-Star Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ unprotected 2018 first-round draft pick.

“It’s extremely rare to trade for a 25-year-old player that’s done what he’s done, the offensive weapon that he is,” Celtics president Danny Ainge said. “We feel like his best basketball is still ahead of him.

“We have a player that’s proven to be a sure thing. We know how unpredictable the draft can be. You do pay a heavy price for a player of that age and that caliber.”

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The Las Vegas NBA Summer League Is Becoming A Very Popular Destination

NBA Summer League in Las Vegas is drawing big crowds as media interest and buzz continues to rise even during the offseason: 

Via the NY Times:

LAS VEGAS — The games may be exhibitions, and most of the players may be fringe candidates to make N.B.A. rosters, but the operation is highly professional.

“We provide a credible product,” said Warren LeGarie, executive director of the N.B.A.’s Las Vegas summer league. “We also know we have to put on a show.”

Featuring 24 of the league’s 30 teams and the top five picks from the recent N.B.A. draft, the Las Vegas summer league is the most important event on the N.B.A.’s summer calendar. “We are the Burning Man of basketball,” LeGarie said, later trying out an analogy involving the Mos Eisley cantina from “Star Wars.”

N.B.A. teams are testing their rookies, and scouting players for the end of the bench. Foreign teams are searching for players who are not good enough for the N.B.A. but good enough for Greece or South Korea. Executives are here to wheel and deal, owners are here to meet with one another, and the news media is here to talk with sources.

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NBA: Warriors Defeat Cavs In Finals Rematch To Win 2nd Title In 3 Years

Kevin Durant wins his 1st title & Finals MVP in his 1st season w/ Warriors as Golden State defeats Cleveland to regain NBA throne:

Via SI’s Ben Golliver:

OAKLAND —  Steve Kerr’s wet hair was spiked into a mohawk, Kevin Durant’s champagne goggles still hung around his neck, and Stephen Curry’s championship hat was still perched backward on his head, and yet the painful memories from last year and the jubilation of the present moment had already given way to a different conversation: Dynasty.

Golden State defeated Cleveland 129-120 in Game 5 of the Finals on Monday, claiming their second title in three seasons and avenging last year’s unprecedented 3–1 collapse. On the final night of their near-perfect 16-1 run through the postseason, the Warriors did it with nearly equal measures of their two MVPs, one returning and one recruited, who ultimately proved able to share control of one of the most dominant teams in NBA history.

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Boston Celtics Win The NBA Lottery; Lakers and Sixers Also Big Winners

Eastern Conference Finalists, The Boston Celtics, land the No.1 overall pick as Lakers & Sixers also win big on NBA Lottery night:

Via The Associated Press:

NEW YORK (AP) — The Boston Celtics have won the NBA draft lottery, capitalizing on a trade they made with the Brooklyn Nets four years ago.

The Los Angeles Lakers were other big winners, moving up one spot to second to hold onto their pick. They would have had to trade it to Philadelphia if it fell outside the top three.

The Celtics will go from No. 1 seed to No. 1 pick after their 25 percent chance of winning came through Tuesday night. They beat Washington in Game 7 of the second round on Monday and open the Eastern Conference finals at home on Wednesday against Cleveland.

“It’s two completely different situations: One is a lot about the future, and one is in the present,” Celtics president Danny Ainge said. “This team is a lot of fun to be around this year.”

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North Carolina Wins Another National Title Defeating Gonzaga In Men’s Final

North Carolina Tar Heels avenge last year’s title game loss to Villanova to surge past Gonzaga to win sixth NCAA hoops title:

Via USA Today:

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — For a whole year, the North Carolina Tar Heels wondered if they’d get another chance.

For a whole year, the Tar Heels thought about what might have been.

When Monday night’s slugfest with Gonzaga came to a merciful end, the Heels had all their answers: The national title was theirs, the nets were hanging around their necks, the redemption tour was a success.

Their 71-65 win will not be mistaken for a work of art. But for anyone who bleeds Carolina Blue, it sure was a thing of beauty.

“This is what we worked for,” junior guard Joel Berry II said. “And the ups and downs we’ve had? It’s all worth it.” The story starts with the downs. When Villanova’s Kris Jenkins hit his 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat Carolina in the 2016 final, coach Roy Williams buckled over like a man who’d just been punched in the gut, put both hands on his knees and tried to figure out to explain it.

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Lakers Turn To Franchise Icon Magic Johnson To Run Basketball Operations

Lakers legend Magic Johnson takes the rein as new President of Basketball operations, hopes to restore Lakers back to respectability:

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Via LA Times:

On one of the most dramatic days in the history of the Lakers, the woman at the center of it all made drastic changes Tuesday aiming to help resuscitate the team.

Jeanie Buss, the Lakers’ governor and president, fired her brother, Jim Buss, the head of basketball operations.

She fired general manager Mitch Kupchak, who has been a Laker for more than 35 years.

She fired John Black, the team’s spokesman for more than two decades.

She handed the reins of the franchise to a man she has known since she was 17 years old, one who calls her a sister. Magic Johnson, perhaps the best to ever play for the Lakers, is now the team’s president of basketball operations. Read the rest of this entry

SB 51: Patriots Stun Falcons Completing Biggest Comeback In Super Bowl History

Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady and the New England Patriots trailing 28-3 in the 2nd half comeback to beat the Atlanta Falcons in overtime to win Super Bowl’s greatest comeback and epic collapse:

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Head coach Bill Belichick, Tom Brady #12 and LeGarrette Blount #29 of the New England Patriots celebrate after defeating the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. The Patriots defeated the Falcons 34-28. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Via The New York Times:

A new standard has been set, as Tom Brady of the New England Patriots became the first quarterback in N.F.L. history to win five Super Bowls, leading his team to a 34-28 overtime victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

It looked like a blowout in Atlanta’s favor, with the Falcons racing to a 28-3 lead, but Brady, who had endured a great deal of pressure for much of the game, held tight and reeled off 25 consecutive points before the overtime period, getting a great deal of help from a circus catch by Julian Edelman that will help erase the Patriots’ painful memory of being sunk by David Tyree’s helmet catch in Super Bowl XLII.

After forcing the first overtime in Super Bowl history, the Patriots got the ball first and, as they have done so many times in Brady’s career, marched down the field, going 75 yards on eight plays, winning on James White’s 2-yard touchdown run.

“We all brought each other back,” said Brady, who was named Super Bowl M.V.P. for a record fourth time. “We never felt out of it.”

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NBA Announces NBA All-Star Game Starters, February 19th, New Orleans

Jimmy Butler, Anthony Davis & DeMar DeRozan named All-Star starters for 1st time as NBA officially names ASW starting lineups:

Via NBA dot com:

East Starters: DeMar DeRozan, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jimmy Butler
West Starters: Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, James Harden

Russell Westbrook might be the most dynamic player in the NBA this season, scoring a league-best 30.6 points and averaging a triple-double through his first 44 games. But unless an injury occurs, Westbrook will not be a starter in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game.

The starting lineups were revealed Thursday for the 66th NBA All-Star Game, which will be played Sunday, Feb. 19, in New Orleans at the Smoothie King Center. And apparently Westbrook’s first-half performance wasn’t impressive enough to crack the Western Conference’s top five.

Then again, the West’s starting guards each have a pretty good case for inclusion. Golden State’s reigning two-time MVP Stephen Curry will make his fourth All-Star appearance. Alongside Curry will be Houston’s James Harden, who is second in the NBA in points (28.9) and first in assists (11.6) in his role as point guard for the Rockets.

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Clemson Edges Alabama In Thrilling Rematch To Win 2017 National Title

Deshaun Watson and the Clemson Tigers avenge last year’s title loss to beat Alabama on final play to win College Football Playoff:

Clemson's Deshaun Watson and Shaq Smith (5) celebrate a last second touchdown during the second half of the NCAA college football playoff championship game against Alabama Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Via Bloomberg Sports:

Tampa, Fla. (AP) — Deshaun Watson took the snap, rolled right and with one of the easiest throws he had to make all night, completed Clemson’s journey to the top of college football.

A frantic fourth quarter and a championship rematch between Clemson and Alabama was decided with 1 second left on a 2-yard touchdown toss to Hunter Renfrow.

“I couldn’t hear the crowd,” Watson said. “I just felt at peace.”

Watson and the Tigers dethroned the defending champs and became the first team to beat Nick Saban’s Alabama dynasty in a national title game, taking down the top-ranked Crimson Tide 35-31 Monday night in the College Football Playoff.

A 35-year title drought for Clemson is over. The Tigers are national champions for the first time since 1981.

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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Talks NBA & Social Issues w/ The Undefeated

ESPN’s The Undefeated talks to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver about hoops, race, social issues & NBA demographics in new interview:

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Of all America’s professional sports leagues, none are feeling the aftershocks of the Obama-to-Trump transition like the NBA. Commissioner Adam Silver went from leading an organization whose employees dapped up and played with the current president to one in which players are questioning whether its 2017 champion will even show up for the traditional visit to the White House.

The head of North America’s most racially-conscious league listened as NBA players and coaches vented publicly about the election of Donald Trump and a possible boycott by an entire team. Now, he weighs in:

“To me, if a player were to choose not to go to the White House, whether they were choosing not to go to the current White House or a future White House, my response would be: ‘That’s a lost opportunity,’ ” Read the rest of this entry