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.
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.”
ESPN’s The Undefeated talks to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver about hoops, race, social issues & NBA demographics in new interview:
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
With the new NBA season now underway, LeBron, Kyrie and the Cleveland Cavs look to defend their throne as NBA’s best team:
Via NBA dot com:
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ comeback from a 3-1 Finals deficit last June stands on its own: a moment of joy for a city and area that identifies so strongly with the success — and, more often, failure — of its local sports teams. Winning the city’s first major sports title since 1964 ended that narrative: what is Cleveland if not the city that fails?
But now, the Cavs are the NBA champions, and the Indians are two wins away from the World Series — they haven’t won it since 1948. There is a new tale to be told. (Though it still excludes the Browns, at least for a while.)
“I think for a long time, people just felt that Cleveland players really didn’t care about the legacy, and that the players never really embodied or embraced that burden. And we did,” forward James Jones said. “This team, that’s all we talked about. That’s all we talk about, being the group to change that narrative, being the group that redefines Cleveland professional sports history.”
Free Agent Kevin Durant Leaves OKC Thunder; Joins Rival Golden State Warriors Creating New Super Team
NBA Free Agency: Kevin Durant shocks the NBA by leaving the OKC Thunder, signs with Western rival Golden State Warriors:
Via The New York Times:
The biggest question of the N.B.A. off-season was answered Monday when Kevin Durant, one of the best players ever to hit unrestricted free agency in any sport, agreed to join the Golden State Warriors.
Durant’s decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Warriors, who won an N.B.A-record 73 games in the regular season, lets the rich get richer. Although Durant nearly led the Thunder to a stunning upset of the Warriors in the Western Conference finals this spring, the Warriors ultimately prevailed before losing to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the N.B.A. finals.
Now the Warriors, regrouping, have added the 27-year-old Durant, creating a virtual Dream Team out of a starting unit that also includes the All-Stars Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. The Warriors now become the overwhelming favorites to win next season’s N.B.A. championship, which would be their second in three years.
NBA: Retiring Kobe Bryant has a game for the ages in his final NBA game after 20 seasons; scores 60pts in his Lakers finale:
Via The Associated Press:
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kobe Bryant scored 60 incredible points. He carried a miserable Los Angeles Lakers team to an improbable comeback victory.
And with sweat and confetti all over his gold uniform for the final time, he expressed humble thanks to his fans and family for their loving support over two decades.”What else can I say?” Bryant asked. “Mamba out.” Now that’s a Hollywood ending to a remarkable career. Bryant utterly dominated his final game Wednesday night, wrapping up 20 NBA seasons with one last offensive showcase in the Lakers’ 101-96 victory over the Utah Jazz. He scored 23 points in the fourth quarter, posting his first 50-point game since February 2009 and rallying the Lakers from a 15-point deficit to win the final game of the worst season in franchise history.
(Video) Recapping NBA All-Star Weekend in Toronto, as retiring Kobe Bryant plays in his final All-Star game and Russ Wins MVP:
Video courtesy of the NBA
NBA: The Defending Champion Warriors remain unbeaten setting a new NBA record with the most wins to start the new season:
Via NBA dot com’s Scott Howard Cooper:
Will it be 34 wins in a row, in any stretch of the schedule?
Seventy wins in all in 2015-16, maybe even 73 for the full-season record?
Or this NBA stuff has become too easy and the Warriors will search for outside challenges? Stephen Curry will break 18 at Pebble Beach. The San Francisco 49ers will name Luke Walton coach — interim coach — and win the Super Bowl. Suddenly, nothing seems impossible.
They play without coach Steve Kerr nearly the first quarter of the season and minus center Andrew Bogut for six games, and wins pile up in historic ways. They fall behind the Clippers by 23 points on the road and not only rally to win late, but then play a good team — the Bulls — on the second night of the back-to-back in Oakland and win that too.
The Warriors let the possibility of the best start ever in the NBA build for several days … and then quickly end the suspense Tuesday night, letting the Los Angeles Lakers hang around Oracle Arena to watch the show. Read the rest of this entry
The New York Times on the economic and financial impact of local hero LeBron James’ return to Cleveland and NE Ohio:
When LeBron James announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in July, fans celebrated by hanging banners, getting drunk and digging old jerseys out of purgatory. They ran into the streets, honked horns and hugged strangers. And some of them started trying to figure out just how much money was about to rain down on Cleveland. According to one estimate, the return of the “king,” as James is known, will add $500 million a year to the city’s economy. “When people say this is just about an athlete making money, there’s more to it than that,” said Edward FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive, at a news conference devoted to the anticipated windfall. “Other people will make a living.”
James is certainly a good investment for the Cavaliers, who will probably cover his $20.6 million salary just from increased ticket sales. The last season James played in Cleveland, after all, the Cavs sold every available regular-season seat at an average price of $55.95, earning about $47 million. Last season, the Cavaliers sold just 84 percent at an average price of just $43.31, for a decline of $16 million. This year, season tickets sold out the day James announced his return, and demand is so overwhelming that the team is raffling the remaining single-game tickets so that everyone in Cleveland has a fair chance. Read the rest of this entry