NBA free agency rumors: Kyle Lowry too smart not to realize he needs Raptors

Kyle Lowry is no dummy.

This is a guy who has been in the NBA for 11 years, who was the 24th pick in the 2006, just behind Josh Boone and well behind his Villanova teammate, sixth pick Randy Foye. Lowry had to battle Mike Conley for playing time in his early days in Memphis, and he did not come upon his first major NBA contract until he re-signed with the Raptors in the summer of 2014, inking a four-year deal worth $48 million.

During its history, First Take has often gone on the road during big sporting events like the NBA Finals and the Super Bowl.

Since I started working on this program, I’ve been amazed and impressed by the fact that when we take this show on the road, there are several hundred people waiting as early as three or four hours before the program even starts in line just to get in and get a seat in the studio, most recently during the NFL Draft in Philadelphia. We expect that will be the case in Oakland, Cleveland or, in the case of Boston, if the Celtics pull of what people consider would be a major upset of the Cavs, Roberts said. It gives talent an opportunity to interact with fans.

If you’ve ever experienced it in person, it’s just like one big party going on. There’s several hundred to a thousand people sitting in the audience just enjoying themselves. The talent really enjoys it as well.

If Portland keeps all three picks, another $4 million would be added to the cap, which means $10 million more in tax payments. That could be deferred by choosing overseas players who remain out of the NBA next season.

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Magic Johnson on trading D’Angelo Russell: ‘What I needed was a leader’ in L.A.

Magic Johnson threw some shade at D’Angelo Russell Friday, explaining the Lakers traded the guard to the Nets this week because he needed a leader and somebody that players want to play with.

The Lakers surprised many observers when they traded Russell, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Los Angeles also sent center Timofey Mozgov to Brooklyn in exchange for Nets center Brook Lopez and the No. 27 overall pick in the NBA Draft.

Johnson picked an unusual spot to explain his reasoning. As the Lakers introduced Lonzo Ball to the media Friday at the team’s practice facility, the Lakers president of basketball operations explained why the team traded Russell to the Nets.

Nick Horvath is hit by a pitch, walking in Jonathan India. it’s 3-1 Gators.

Christian Hicks intentionally walked. Now Andrew Baker is in to pinch run for the Gators at first. Bases loaded, no outs for Florida. Anything outside the infield could result in a run.

Mike Rivera gets the sac bunt, advancing Jonathan India and Austin Langworthy to second and third, respectively. One out for the Gators with Christian Hicks up to bat as a pinch hitter in place of Ryan Larson.

Zack Hess walks Austin Langworthy with the full count. Gators now have two runners on base with no outs.

Jonathan India gets his second hit of the night, a double, to start the eighth inning. Extra runs for the Gators would be a killer for LSU here.

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NBA trade rumors: LeBron James, Kyrie Irving wooing Jimmy Butler to force deal to Cavs

LeBron James and the Cavs lost the arms race.

After upsetting the Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals, the Cavs watched Golden State acquire four-time scoring champion and former MVP Kevin Durant last offseason. Last week, the Warriors took care of Cleveland in five to capture their second title in three seasons. Adding Durant to a roster that included Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green made the Warriors simply too much for the King and all his men to seriously challenge.

So, now, they’re calling for reinforcements. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Cleveland players, including James and Irving, have been reaching out to Bulls forward Jimmy Butler, and the three-time All-Star is willing to push Chicago’s management to make the deal happen.

Pregame.com also notes the wise guys in Vegas are heavy on the Warriors, while the betting public is heavy on the Cavs — natural given the payout gap combined with a perception of relative equality between the two teams.

Those who are gutsy enough to bet on a Cleveland sweep will earn a massive payout if the Cavs pull it off. A Cleveland sweep pays 50/1, while a Golden State sweep pays 8/1.

The 2016 NBA Finals went the full seven games. This year’s edition of Cavs vs. Warriors, their third consecutive finals meeting, is not expected to last as long. Pregame.com gives the series a 30 percent chance to go seven games. The 2016 NBA Finals, for what it’s worth, lasted six games.

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NBA Draft rumors: Potential Sixers-Celtics trade will reveal Danny Ainge’s plan

How long a game is Danny Ainge playing, anyway?

That’s the question coming out of the reported deal between the Sixers, who hold the third overall pick in this year’s draft, and the Celtics, who have the top pick. Dealing away the top pick likely means Boston will pass on the draft’s consensus best player, Washington guard Markelle Fultz. But it will set up the Celtics to choose Kansas small forward Josh Jackson, should they wind up with the No. 3 pick.

All they had to do was… hit 13 3-pointers in the first half and 24 for the game, both finals bests. Cleveland shot 53.3 percent from behind the arc for the game.

All they had to do was… tie the franchise-record for most points scored by a trio in a playoff game with Kyrie Irving (40), LeBron James (31) and Kevin Love (23) combining for 94.

All they had to do was… limit Stephen Curry, a two-time MVP who’d been averaging 28.6 points per game in three finals contests prior to Game 4 to 13 points. It was Curry’s worst scoring output in these playoffs. He went 4 of 13 from the field (30.8 percent), and 2 of 9 from 3-point range (22.9 percent), also lows for this postseason.

The three-year rule is especially pertinent under the current CBA. With rookies locked into four-year contracts, teams have the 2017 season to decide whether their 2014 draft picks are worth keeping around. They also need to make a decision on their first-round picks, who are eligible for a fifth-year option in 2018 but could also see a massive extension if they’re good enough.

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When is NBA Draft 2017? Date, time, draft order, how to watch

The 2017 NBA Draft has already been shaken up by a blockbuster trade between the Celtics and 76ers, which gave Philadelphia the No. 1 pick and, presumably, Markelle Fultz.

That, of course, shook up our latest NBA mock draft, which now projects the Celtics to draft SF Josh Jackson at No. 3. That assumes the Lakers still take UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball at No. 2, but Ball to the hometown Lakers may not even be a lock.

Green trolled James at the Warriors’ championship parade Thursday with a Quickie shirt (using the same Q as seen on the outside of Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena) after James sported an Ultimate Warrior look at the Cavs’ parade in 2016.

James responded with a that’s what she said joke on Instagram. It didn’t take long for Green to fire back with a comment on James’ newly shaved head, saying Them Dubs finally made him go bald!

From Romania, he was able to fly to London and with the help of Homeland Security, the State Department and others, he was able to fly back to the United States.

While that headache is over, Kanter’s struggles still continue. He’s still receiving death threats and says he hasn’t spoken to his parents in a little over a year. He wants to be a voice for others who may not have the same stage he does as a professional basketball player.

I’m getting death threats almost every day, still, Kanter told CBS. I believe when I leave this set, when I leave this room, I’m going to keep getting death threats, but you know what? I stand by what I believe.

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NBA Finals 2017: Cavaliers must make long list of fixes ahead of Game 2

After taking a 113-91 beatdown by the Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Cavaliers believe they have a recipe to turn things around in Game 2. There are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, though, and cooking it all up won’t be easy.

Among those ingredients: Turn the ball over less, play better transition defense, be more physical, get better production from role players and get in a better frame of mind.

That’s a pretty long list. Let’s look at each point.

Turnovers. In Game 1, The Cavaliers committed 20 turnovers that led to 21 Warriors points; Golden State turned the ball over just four times. The 16-turnover difference is the largest in an NBA Finals since at least 1970-71, when Elias Sports Bureau starting keeping track, per cleveland.com.

Before the series even started, Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue knew turnovers would spell disaster for his squad. If we’re turning the ball over, we’re dead, Lue said.

Mentally, you must be strong to come back from an injury like this, Parker told French website RMC Sport, translated via NBC Sports. I do not want people to think it was my last game, that I was not going to come back, because in my head, I will come back.

I hope that the Spurs will offer me a final contract. I will be entering my final contract year, it will be the first time in my career that I will be free agent. I’ve already said it several times, I want to play three more seasons, do the 20 seasons with the Spurs, and I think it’s two decades. I want to continue to perform well on the floor.

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Mets advance Tim Tebow to Advanced A League

Tim Tebow is moving up in the baseball world.

The former NFL quarterback was promoted to St. Lucie of the Advanced A League after several months with the Columbia Fireflies, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson announced.

“It’s not like he’s tearing up the league, but at the same time all of the indications are positive in terms of various things we look at — chase rates and exit velocity,” Alderson said, via ESPN. “The bottom line is the average isn’t there, but he’s improving.”

Tebow was batting .222 with three home runs, 23 RBIs and a .311 OPS with the Fireflies. He also had 69 strikeouts and 23 walks in 212 at-bats.

Tebow signed with the Mets in September and was sent to Columbia as an outfielder, where he committed seven errors in 58 chances this season.

Both guards finished among the top 40 NBA rookies in games played this season, even despite spending time in the D-League. Baker was assigned to the Westchester Knicks six times last season, and VanVleet was assigned 16 times to the Raptors 905, according to Basketball Reference, as both players bounced between the NBA and the NBA D-League, which has been renamed the NBA Gatorade League (G-League).

Undrafted players who move between the two leagues can benefit from the creation of “two-way” contracts, which were agreed to in December 2016 by the NBA and NBA Players Association in a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Players who sign two-way contracts are guaranteed a baseline salary of $75,000, with the ability to earn up to $275,000, depending on how much time they spend in the NBA. That’s Cheap Ireland Jerseys a significant pay raise over regular D-League players who make $26,000 or $19,500, depending on their Cheap Ice Hockey Jerseys classification as a Level A or Level B player.

‘Celtics/Lakers: Best of Enemies’: Seven reasons ’80s NBA rivalry was the greatest

The Celtics and Lakers, led by superstars Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, engaged in that heated basketball rivalry that led to three head-to-head matchups in the NBA Finals in the 1980s.

It’s a chance to relive all that, and remember just how good those two teams were. Here are seven things to know about the Lakers-Celtics rivalry before watching…

These series are built around Magic and Bird, who began their rivalry in the 1979 NCAA men’s basketball championship game and took that to the next level. They were the epitome of do-it-all superstars. Bird averaged 23.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists head-to-head against Johnson, who averaged 23.4 points, 12.3 assists and 7.3 rebounds in those games.

There was a skirmish in a fight for a loose ball between Warriors center Zaza Pachulia and Cavs guard Iman Shumpert, during which Pachulia appeared to take swipe between Shumpert’s legs. Cavs forward Dahntay Jones was whistled for a technical foul from the bench. Even a Cavs fan was ejected from the game for a skirmish with Warriors reserve Matt Barnes.

Don’t expect the tension to let up.

It’s the finals, Thompson said. Guys are going to talk. We’re going to respond but they aren’t going to punk us. Not me. They’re not about to punk Tristan Thompson. You got the game f—ed up with that one. You can talk all you want but I’m definitely going to bark back. That’s just how I’m built.

The Cavs did not just bark, though. They fought back. They were not punked. And we’ll get a Game 5 as a result.

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Big Baller Brand releases ‘Sho’Time’ signature sneaker for Lakers’ Lonzo Ball

Moments after the Lakers selected Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Big Baller Brand announced the release of a new version of Ball’s signature sneaker, the ZO2 ‘Sho’Time’.

The only difference between the ZO2, which is a low-cut black and gold shoe, and the ‘Sho’Time’ version appears to be color scheme.

Ball’s new shoe rocks the famous Laker purple and gold.

The Big Baller Brand website is taking pre-orders for the shoes and says it ships February 10 — just in time for the 2018 All-Star Game in Los Angeles.

Many around the NBA compare Ojeleye to Jae Crowder, so it makes sense that Boston would value his mix of positional versatility on defense and shooting on offense. This is the second top-20 player they’ve taken on our board, despite picks No. 3 and 37 so far. Just an absolute home run.

This is one of the best picks of the draft. There is no better mix of talent and scheme than Bell in Golden State’s defense. He will wreak havoc as a role player for the Warriors as a switchable guy who can guard 1 through 5 and protect the weak side of the rim. This is going to be tough to top Cheap Hockey Jerseys Canada as the best value pick the rest of the night.

It makes sense for the team that employs Chris Paul to Cheap Heat Jerseys get Evans, who has a little bit of that style to his game. He got a top-20 overall grade from us, so this is an absolute steal for the Clippers to get him this late. He’ll be a great backup for them if Paul re-signs.

Charlotte gets this at No. 40. He’s at least an athletic wing with good size, and those players are tough to come by in the NBA. He needs to add to his floor game, but he has potential to stick.

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