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Thread: Cnotes NBA Draft - News - Notes - Etc.

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    Default Cnotes NBA Draft - News - Notes - Etc.

    Cavs enter NBA draft unsure of LeBron
    June 19, 2018


    CLEVELAND (AP) LeBron James won't be picking any players during Thursday's NBA draft.

    At least not directly.

    With the trajectory of their franchise riding on where he decides to play next season and beyond, the Cleveland Cavaliers will enter this year's draft not knowing if they're choosing a player to help them - and James - contend for another championship, develop a prospect for the future or potentially take a player to trade.

    It's a guessing game.

    James has until June 29 to exercise his $35.6 million contract option for next season or decline it and become an unrestricted free agent, officially making him the planet's best and most coveted player.

    The 33-year-old is not expected to reveal his intentions until after the draft.

    By that time, the Cavs, still stinging from a Finals sweep at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, hope to have chosen a player that makes them more appealing to the three-time champion, who is mulling whether to leave them - and his Northeast Ohio home - for the second time in his career.

    Anything seems possible at this point. James and his representatives have kept an air-tight lid on their plans.

    The Cavs, too, have been secretive while general manager Koby Altman prepares for his first draft by consulting with his staff on what to do with the No. 8 overall pick, the one they received last summer in the seismic trade that sent All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics.

    It's quite a quandary for Cleveland, and James isn't helping the Cavs by keeping them in suspense.

    It's also possible that James hasn't made up his mind.

    Following Game 4 in the Finals, James said he'll factor in his family's well-being along with his thirst to win more titles into a decision that once again has Cleveland edgy.

    ''I still want to be in championship mode,'' he said. ''I think I've shown this year why I will still continue to be in championship mode.''

    And while there are numerous unknowns, there is one indisputable fact: the Cavs must upgrade their roster to have any chance of keeping James and continuing a relationship that was resurrected in 2014.

    After yielding to Irving's request and trading him, the Cavs spent all last season trying to replace him. They never came close, and without a dependable second scoring option or a guard, James was forced to shoulder a heavier load than ever. He succeeded in getting to his eighth straight Finals, but was then overmatched by the deeper Warriors.

    To remain viable contenders and keep James happy and healthy, the Cavs must address their backcourt issue this summer, either in the draft, through free agency or a trade.

    With this year's draft top loaded with quality big men, there's a strong possibility the Cavs will have their pick of one of the elite guards, perhaps Oklahoma's Trae Young or Alabama's Collin Sexton - two players James has praised in the past.

    Young was college basketball's most electrifying player last season, averaging 27.4 points and 8.7 assists even while teams designed defenses specifically to stop him. James kept an eye on the 6-foot-2 scoring phenom from afar and is intrigued by not only his ability to break down teams but his unselfishness.

    Young could be gone by the time the Cavs are on the clock, but Sexton would be a nice backup plan. The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 19.2 points and 3.6 assists as a freshman and showed he's got a big-game gene, carrying the Crimson Tide on a run in the SEC tournament that secured the school's first NCAA berth since 2012.

    Sexton worked out for the Cavs at their training facility and owner Dan Gilbert referred to the 19-year-old as ''a very interesting draft prospect'' on Twitter.

    There's also a chance that Cleveland could select a guard to use to entice a major trade. The Cavs have long been interested in Charlotte's Kemba Walker, who will be a free agent after next season, and landing a player of that caliber would send a resounding message to James that they intend to keep chasing championships.

    Walker might not be enough to keep James here, but he would give the Cavs a new star to build around.

    James has remained off social media since the playoffs began in April, and his self-imposed blackout has continued since the Finals ended.

    He's been quiet, but there's no doubt he's watching.

    Every move.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Wizards, Knicks set for London in 2019
    June 20, 2018


    LONDON (AP) The NBA will return to London next year with a regular-season game between the Washington Wizards and the New York Knicks.

    Tickets for the Jan. 17 game at the O2 Arena go on sale in the fall.

    It will be the NBA's ninth regular-season game in London, all sellouts. The Knicks have played there twice, facing the Detroit Pistons in 2013 and the Milwaukee Bucks in 2015. This will be the Wizards' debut in London.

    International players on the rosters include Wizards center Marcin Gortat of Poland, Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis of Latvia and Knicks point guard Frank Ntilikina, who was born in Belgium to Rwandan parents and grew up in France.

    The game will be shown by the NBA's broadcast partners across Europe, the Middle East and Africa and on NBA League Pass International.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Hornets to trade Dwight Howard to Nets
    June 20, 2018


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Charlotte Hornets have agreed to trade eight-time All-Star center Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets for center Timofey Mozgov and two second-round draft picks, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

    The Hornets will get the Nets' second-round pick Thursday night (45th overall) and a second-round pick in 2021, the person said. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the teams have not announced the trade and the league cannot approve the deal until the trade moratorium ends on July 6.

    The 32-year-old Howard played only one season for Charlotte, averaging 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. He is due to make $23.8 million this season, the final year of his contract.

    Brooklyn will be Howard's fourth team in as many seasons. He had pushed for a trade from Orlando to the Nets during the 2011-12 season in hopes of joining Deron Williams, then changed his mind and recommitted the Magic, who instead dealt him to the Lakers that summer.

    After later spending three seasons with the Houston Rockets, Howard was acquired by his hometown Atlanta Hawks in 2016 as a free agent and signed a three-year contract. But he wore out his welcome after one season and was dealt to Charlotte. The Hornets, in the midst of a major organizational shake-up, having already replaced their general manager and coach, could be on the verge of shaking up their roster, too.

    Howard struggled to mesh with guard Nicolas Batum, and the Hornets failed to make the playoffs despite what former coach Steve Clifford considered the team's most talented roster in half a decade.

    This is a reunion of sorts for Mozgov. Recently hired Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak signed Mozgov to a four-year, $64 million deal in 2016 when both were with the Los Angeles Lakers.

    While the move allows the Hornets to unload Howard's contract and save about $7 million under this year's salary cap, it is a bit of a gamble because Mozgov has two years remaining on his current deal at $16 million per year.

    Mozgov's numbers pale in comparison to Howard's.

    He played in only 31 games last season for the Nets, averaging 4.2 points and 3.2 rebounds. Acquired along with D'Angelo Russell, Mozgov began the season in the starting lineup but quickly fell out of the rotation entirely on a team that preferred to play small and shoot 3-pointers.

    The 7-foot-1 Mozgov has not played a full 82-game season since 2013 and has averaged in double figures only once during his eight-year NBA career. By contrast, Howard has averaged 17.4 points, 12.7 rebounds and two blocks per game since joining the league in 2004.

    His rim protection should help what has been a poor defensive team and he could help in the pick-and-roll with Russell and Jeremy Lin, but the biggest incentive to the Nets is likely for salary reasons with Howard's contract expiring after next season.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Doncic set to join college stars in draft
    June 20, 2018


    NEW YORK (AP) Luka Doncic is about to become an NBA player, though he's unlike the other top prospects who will be drafted.

    He's already a pro. He's already a champion.

    And he might just be the most accomplished and intriguing player in this class.

    After capping his brilliant stay in Spain with another title, the Slovenian guard heads the list of international players expected to be selected Thursday, a teenager whose resume is already more complete than even some of the most season veterans.

    ''He may be the most accomplished European teenager to ever come into the draft,'' ESPN draft analyst Jay Bilas said. ''You know, there's very little that is unknown about him. He's not some workout wonder that people are projecting. He's accomplished things, and he has been seen in 5-on-5 against high-level competition for a number of years. He's played professional basketball since he was 13.''

    Doncic couldn't join Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III and the other headliners in New York on Wednesday because he was en route from Spain after finishing off his dream season by helping Real Madrid win its ACB league championship Tuesday. The 6-foot-7 guard made a 3-pointer off one leg with the shot clock running down and Real Madrid clinging to a three-point lead, and his team held on to win the series in four games and allow him to get to Barclays Center in time for Thursday's festivities, rather than stay behind for a Game 5.

    He had already been the MVP of both the Euroleague season and its Final Four, the youngest player ever to win both honors, as Real Madrid won that title as well.

    ''I'm speechless,'' he told the team's website after Tuesday's victory. ''It has been the season of my life. It's incredible.''

    The Phoenix Suns have the No. 1 pick and are widely expected to draft Arizona center Deandre Ayton, even though new coach Igor Kokoskov coached Doncic last summer on the Slovenian national team that won the nation's first EuroBasket gold medal.

    Then it's Sacramento, Atlanta, Memphis and Dallas, and any of them could consider a player who's only 19 but has been playing against some of the toughest competition outside the NBA for years. And while there may always be some skepticism of European players because Darko Milicic bombed so badly after being taken right behind LeBron James and ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade 15 years ago, it would be a surprise if Doncic failed after all he's already done.

    ''He should easily transition to the league really well,'' Miami guard Lonnie Walker IV said. ''I mean, look at what he's doing in the Euroleague. You've got to respect what he's doing. You can't say he's not good and he's the MVP and everything of that spot. So pay respect where it's due. He's a great player. All you can say is tell him to continue to work hard and prove everyone that's doubting him wrong.''

    Even with Ayton, a native of the Bahamas, and Doncic at the top of the list of international candidates, the strength of this draft is at the college level. Power programs such as Duke (Bagley and Wendell Carter Jr.), Michigan State (Jaren Jackson Jr. and Miles Bridges), national champion Villanova (Mikal Bridges and Donte DiVincenzo) and Kentucky (Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander) could have multiple players taken in the top 10-15 selections of the two-round draft, and teams looking for point guards could choose between freshmen Trae Young of Oklahoma and Collin Sexton of Alabama.

    They could give the NBA a second straight strong rookie class, after Utah's Donovan Mitchell, Boston's Jayson Tatum and 2016 No. 1 pick Ben Simmons of Philadelphia all helped their teams advance to at least the second round of the postseason.

    ''I think it's a transformational class,'' Missouri's Michael Porter Jr. said. ''I think we've got a lot of different kinds of players: Deandre, Marvin, the big dudes who are special, and then me along with a couple other wings who can do a lot of different things, and then point guard, Trae, Collin Sexton, and then I heard that Luka dude - I ain't seen much on him but I heard he's special, too. So I think we're a great draft, one of the best in a while.''
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Sexton to begin pro career in NBA draft
    June 20, 2018


    NEW YORK (AP) Collin Sexton isn't asking for much.

    All the point guard wants out of Thursday's NBA draft at Barclays Center is to be picked by a good team. Then, he wants a long and injury-free career. Playoff and championship runs would be an obvious - and desired - bonus.

    ''And to just be happy,'' Sexton said Wednesday. ''Because that's the main thing. Be happy with what you're doing because now it's a job. It's something that's going to feed your family. You have to take it seriously.''

    This is a 19-year-old speaking.

    Opting for the fast lane, Sexton declared for the draft after his freshman season at Alabama, a program that hasn't had a player drafted in the last decade. He's only the second Crimson Tide freshman to do so, the first since the one-and-done rule was installed in 2006.

    That year was enough.

    ''It was amazing,'' Sexton said. ''I learned a whole lot - good, bad, everything. I feel like just being there and being around the group of guys I was with, I connected pretty well and had a good season.''

    Sexton helped the Crimson Tide reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in six years. He then scored 25 points in a victory over Virginia Tech to send Alabama to the second round, a feat it had not accomplished in 12 years.

    The Southeastern Conference named Sexton SEC Co-Freshman of the Year - with Kentucky's Kevin Knox, who is also in the draft - and The Associated Press awarded him Newcomer of the Year. Sexton finished second in the conference with 19.2 points per game, adding 3.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists per contest. He had 29 double-digit scoring games - 16 were 20 or more points, three were 30-plus points.

    ''A guy who plays extremely hard, he's an overall great competitor,'' said Oklahoma's Trae Young, the draft's other top point guard prospect. ''Whenever you're a competitor like me, you like playing against people like that.''

    The Young Bull - a nickname Sexton plans to keep in the NBA - grew up fast.

    ''Well, you have to,'' he said. ''Because you have to leave.''

    But he hasn't had to say goodbye. Not yet.

    Alabama coach Avery Johnson has been keeping up with Sexton and will be at draft. Johnson, a former NBA champion and coach, taught Sexton everything he could as a player and as an adult. He keeps reminding the young star to embrace this opportunity, soak it all in because it only happens once.

    ''Also, off the court, he just told me to always respect people,'' Sexton said. ''You never know what they can do for you, and you never know who's watching.''

    Good advice, considering all the eyes on him this week.

    Sexton's eyes are wide, too. The excitement he feels is obvious. A smile sneaks on his face every time he talks about Thursday's festivities. It's a relief knowing all his hard work has paid off, and there's an eagerness to get back out there.

    Since Alabama's season ended, Sexton has been working on his individual game. He's already fast but thinks he can be faster. He went back and watched film to figure out where he can improve - and has done so.

    Next time he's on the court?

    ''It'll be a big surprise,'' Sexton said.

    There's that excitement.

    A year ago, Sexton was fresh out of high school - his days at Pebblebrook High School in Mableton, Georgia, he said `feel like forever ago' - and had just moved into his dorm at Alabama, where he watched the 2017 draft. Pick after pick, he enjoyed players' reactions. They were so genuine; that has always been his favorite part.

    ''I just envisioned myself doing it one day,'' Sexton said.

    That day is here. It's his turn to experience that life-changing moment and, as he said, just be happy.

    It'll be both a dream come true and a job for the future.

    ''You grow up wanting to do this,'' Sexton said. ''Everybody knows what's going to come with it.''

    ---
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Casey: Pistons have plenty of talent
    June 20, 2018


    DETROIT (AP) Dwane Casey looks at the roster of the Detroit Pistons and sees a core of players capable of a lot more than the team accomplished last season.

    ''Our time is now,'' Casey said.

    The Pistons introduced Casey as their new coach Wednesday, over a week after hiring him to replace Stan Van Gundy. Casey inherits a team built around Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, but the roster has little flexibility and the team gave up its first-round draft pick this year to acquire Griffin.

    In other words, Detroit's performance in 2018-19 may depend largely on what Casey can get out of a group that fell short under Van Gundy.

    ''I'm telling the guys now: We're not developing, we're not two or three years away,'' Casey said. ''We want to win right now.''

    Casey took the Detroit job after being fired by the Toronto Raptors. He's a finalist for NBA coach of the year after leading the Raptors to a team-record 59 wins this past season, but he lost his job after Toronto was swept in the playoffs by Cleveland.

    ''I can hold my head high for what we built in Toronto,'' Casey said. ''That's part of the journey. This is a new chapter.''

    The Pistons made the playoffs only once in four seasons under Van Gundy, who was also president of basketball operations. Detroit hired Casey to replace Van Gundy as coach, but it's still unclear what the front office will look like going forward. Ed Stefanski was brought in as a senior executive reporting to owner Tom Gores. His job was to help with both the coaching search and the effort to reshape the team's basketball operations.

    ''We're going through a process here. We're thinking about, do we want to go a GM route? Do we want to get some younger guys in there and I can mentor them kind of thing? It's fluid,'' Stefanski said. ''I'm going to be very influential in the front office.''

    The Pistons went 39-43 last season. They got off to a promising start before Jackson, their point guard, went down with an injury in late December. About a month later, Detroit acquired Griffin in a blockbuster trade, giving up the first-round pick and taking on the star forward's big contract. That wasn't enough to push the team into the postseason, and it seems unlikely the Pistons will be able to make any major changes to their roster in the short term.

    ''I don't see us making a huge deal right now,'' Stefanski said.

    If the personnel stays mostly the same, the Pistons will have to hope for better health - and Casey will have to look for areas for improvement. The Pistons were fifth in the league in 3-point percentage last season, but they were only 16th in attempts from beyond the arc.

    ''We have to get up more 3s. We've got to play more of an analytical game,'' Casey said. ''Tom teases me all the time about being a modern man. No, it's about wanting to win, more than anything else, and you have to adapt.''

    NOTES: Gores just finished his seventh season as owner. He was asked how long he is committed to the team. ''Forever,'' he responded. ''This is not an equity deal.'' ... Stefanski talked a bit about Michigan coach John Beilein, who emerged as a candidate for the Pistons' job but is remaining with the Wolverines . ''Coach Beilein is an offensive genius in my mind,'' Stefanski said. ''I was mesmerized, because I'm a basketball guy, how good he is on the offensive end. ... He has a pretty good job at Michigan with, what he's telling me, a very good team coming back.''
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    LeBron Future Props
    June 11, 2018


    Bet on Where LeBron Will Play Next Season

    BetDSI.eu has opened odds on where LeBron James will play next season, and they are vastly different from other sportsbooks in the market. BetDSI has made L.A. the favorite landing spot to construct King James' castle, and ultimately his legacy as a member of the greatest franchise in league history. In recent weeks, teams with the lowest odds from other books have included Cleveland and Philadelphia.

    Let’s take a look at the latest odds and some information that could help us make the best choice for betting this prop.

    Odds Subject to Change

    LeBron James Team for 2018-19 Regular Season
    Los Angeles Lakers +200
    Philadelphia 76ers +350
    Miami Heat +500
    New York Knicks +750
    Houston Rockets +1000
    San Antonio Spurs +2000
    Cleveland Cavaliers +3000
    Golden State Warriors +5000
    Boston Celtics +5000
    Chicago Bulls +7500
    Oklahoma City Thunder +7500
    Washington Wizards +10000
    Field (Any Other Team) +1000

    Favorites

    The top three contenders to land LeBron are the Lakers, 76ers and Heat. James has until June 29 to opt out of the final year of his contract with Cleveland and it is expected he will do just that and become a free agent. The three teams that have the realistic salary cap space to sign LeBron are Cleveland, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. If you throw out the Cavaliers, which it may be too early to do, the two choices for LeBron are the Lakers and 76ers. If you pay attention to rumors you may have heard that there is a rumor on Reddit that James has already enrolled his two sons in the Brentwood school district in Los Angeles for next year.

    James said to the media after the Cavaliers were swept by the Warriors that his family will play a huge role in where he goes. "The one thing that I've always done is considered, obviously, my family," James said, "Understanding especially where my boys are at this point in their age. They were a lot younger the last time I made a decision like this four years ago. I've got a teenage boy, a preteen and a little girl that wasn't around as well.”

    When it comes to analyzing anything regarding LeBron, the best person to follow is ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst who said that anything is possible. Windhorst also said that family is a huge factor in the decision that LeBron will make. Windhorst said that he didn’t really think LeBron would head back to Cleveland and oddsmakers agree, as the Cavs are listed at odds of +3000.

    We noted earlier that only three teams have the cap space to sign LeBron, but Cleveland could pull off a sign-and-trade deal which would make it possible for a number of teams to land LeBron. It would be complicated, but not impossible, as the Clippers did it last year when they traded Chris Paul to Houston. Don’t forget about Houston this time around, as their general manager Daryl Morey has found a way to make unlikely things happen in the past.

    Windhorst said that the most plausible option is for LeBron to become an unrestricted free agent. The Lakers have a ton of cap space and they can sign LeBron and other free agents like Paul George. Philadelphia has a talented roster and a lot of cap space, but whether LeBron thinks he fits well with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons is the question.

    Not to be left out is Miami, as president Pat Riley is capable of bringing James back to the Heat. Riley has wanted James back in the past, but couldn’t pull off a deal. Maybe he can do it this time.

    Longshots

    The Knicks are listed at odds of +750, but it is hard to see LeBron wanting to have anything to do with owner James Nolan. All of the other teams are listed with odds of more than +1000.

    Veteran NBA journalist Chris Sheridan concurs with the oddsmakers at BetDSI. He breaks down the topic and odds in a column at GetMoreSports.com.

    In early February, BetDSI released props on the possibility of James and George playing for the Lakers during the 2018-19 season.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Early Futures - Best Bets
    June 11, 2018


    2019 NBA Championship Futures

    On Friday night, the Golden State Warriors completed a sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the oddsmakers have already installed them as pretty strong favorites for the 2019 NBA Championship futures.

    This shouldn’t come as a big surprise. With three titles in the bag, four finals appearances in as many years and the main components of the band coming back next season, this team is going to be as good as they were last year. There are some things they have to figure out with the cap, but they will make it work.

    As for the rest, it all hinges on LeBron James. Wherever he goes will determine who the next, big challenger is and could turn some of the odds below in to absolute gold mines.

    2019 NBA Championship Futures Odds - per BetOnline.ag
    1. Golden State Warriors +120
    2. Houston Rockets +450
    3. Philadelphia 76ers +500
    4. Boston Celtics +650
    5. Los Angeles Lakers +1400
    6. San Antonio Spurs +1400
    7. Cleveland Cavaliers +2500
    8-11. Miami, OKC, Toronto, Utah +5000
    12. Indiana Pacers +7500

    Full list is available here.

    The teams that LeBron is unlikely to consider are the bottom four teams starting with his former club, the Miami Heat. It says a lot about what the books think about Toronto in general after they won the most games in the Eastern Conference. Even a LeBron migration to the west wouldn’t boost the value of the Raptors.

    Some of that has to do with them, but we also saw definitive improvements from Boston and Philadelphia. The only reason that I think Philly is favored over the super powered Celtics is because there’s the slimmest of chances that LeBron ends up alongside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

    Without turning this 2019 NBA Championship futures article in to a presumptive rumor mill about where LeBron would end up, let’s quick hit the better wagers here. Because of LeBron, there’s so much potential and curiosity. I can’t discuss it without mentioning a lot of “if LeBron goes here or there” things, but there’s a way to talk about how to bet this market today without getting silly and spitting hot takes.

    First and foremost, I would bypass bets on both the Lakers and Spurs, even if LeBron ends up in Hollywood. That Lakers team has no foundation despite a young core. It would require Paul George and LeBron landing in the same spot to have a remote chance, and even then, I don’t love that assembly of the Lakers anymore than the Rockets at +450. If you’re a Lakers fan, you can just go for it but just remember that you’re leading with your heart, not your brain.

    As for San Antonio, basketball nerd logic suggests that linking up with Pop is the smartest decision. LeBron and Kawhi would be the most destructive two-some in the entire league. They are seamlessly stronger than a George-James combination (which I understand is debatable). The reason I’m not leaning this way is because Kawhi remains a huge unknown. He’s going to get $200+ million somewhere, but there’s no telling what kind of condition he’s in. I’m not suggesting that Leonard is damaged goods, but there’s also a very low possibility of him coming to San Antonio. He has just as much of a chance of heading to Philly. I just don’t see it, even though I truly want to.

    By far my favorite bet in this market remains the Boston Celtics at a juicy +650. They were one win away from the NBA Finals without Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving. And now all of the accessory pieces – like Rozier and Tatum – took quantum leaps forward in skill, experience and progression.

    Let’s say that LeBron stays in Cleveland and the team has no chance of improving because of their lacking cap room. Are they going to somehow defeat a Boston team that’s going to advance by light years in 2018-19? Even if LeBron goes to Philly, you’d have to imagine that Boston would still be an outright contender in the east. The Celtics are right there having masterfully (and fortunately) crafted a team of hungry veterans, incredibly gifted youngsters and an NBA Champion in Kyrie Irving.

    All of this assumes your feelings about Houston and Golden State. The Warriors are the best, actual wager in the 2019 NBA Championship futures, but that +120 value isn’t going to get worse. And if LeBron does end up in Houston, then the Warriors will present a stronger, higher return on investment. No reason to jump in early on the Warriors.

    Within the Western Conference, it’s impossible to suggest that there’s a better bet than the Houston Rockets at +450. The biggest issue is the free agency of Chris Paul, and convincing the Cavaliers to take pack a package of Anderson, Gordon and a whole lot of scrap in a sign and trade. LeBron would more likely lean towards creating that opportunity so he doesn’t leave the Cavaliers high and dry if he does leave.

    However LeBron ends up in Houston, it immediately makes them an absolute gong show of a team. Who cares that they’re maxing out their cap room with three players taking (probably ) $100 million between the three? Everyone and anyone would be willing to take pay cuts to be on that airtight, seven man rotation of D’Antoni’s alongside that trio of Paul-Harden-James.

    If we’re looking at this 2019 NBA Championship futures board from an “invest early” standpoint, then there are no better takes than Boston at +650 and Houston at +450. Split the difference between the two conferences, take some chances and see how free agency pans out. So many teams have major question marks heading in to free agency. If you’re worried about Houston’s situation with CP3, then just bet a little heavier on the Celtics. That’s an understandable concern.

    Should you be looking to wager on any team outside of Golden State, Boston and “whatever team LeBron plays for next season” are essentially the ones that feel like solid plays. The difference between the two is that the Celtics are an insured commodity in this regard. I have no idea where the King will end up.

    I don’t think he does either.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NBA Draft Odds and Props
    June 20, 2018


    My favorite Non-Sporting, Sports Related Event is finally here and we have a ton of 2018 NBA Draft futures and props to throw at you. You can bet on literally everything, from where certain players will be selected to the 1st overall pick. Actually, let’s stop at the top and then highlight some of the marquee names!

    2018 NBA Draft 1st Overall Pick – DeAndre Ayton -2000
    The Phoenix Suns own the first pick, and when they won the lottery (so to speak), the thinking was that they were going to go with Slovenian superstar Luca Doncic. However, Ayton has emerged as “their guy” which makes sense given that he’s a bit of a local hero having attended Arizona for a year. The Bahamian Badass is as good as big man prospects get and seems a lock given the odds.

    Truth be told, it’s still the Phoenix Suns. They could (and usually) do anything they really feel like. For the odds to be this steep, someone’s got to know something. Given the absurdity and spectacle of the draft, however, it’s perfectly reasonable to launch a speculation play at “any other player +1200”. The Suns have a lot of needs to fill. Center is definitely one o them. Doncic seems like the better player overall, and also the more tuned in prospect, but Phoenix’s intentions have been made pretty clear.

    Alternative Bet: Luca Doncic +1200, Any Other Player +1200

    PLAYER PROPS


    These are basically over/under totals on where specific players are going to land. The oddsmakers establish a mark that they’ll be drafted and create odds on it. Let’s look at some of the more popular ventures here. I’ll list my preference between the two sides.

    Luca Doncic – 3rd or Worse -280
    The second pick in the draft belongs to Sacramento, and they have apparently targeted Marvin Bagley III out of Duke. Doncic remains a steal as the “best prospect” and I get why so many teams are down on him. European players regarded this highly have rarely panned out. However, the Slovenian seems to be a cut above the rest.

    He recently led Real Madrid to an ACB title, which says volumes about how good the swing forward already is against men. He’s so young, so versatile and so damn good at basketball already that it would be bonkers for Sacramento to pass up on him. But apparently that’s what’s happening. Doncic going 3rd or worse possesses a steep price, but is a virtual guarantee. Whatever it takes for you to make a profit on this is worth it.

    Mo Bamba – 6th or Worse +200
    Bamba has been all over the place on draft boards, ranking as high as third and as low as 14th. He’s currently sitting as a top-10 guy. He is a typical center at 7-foot-0 and 225 pounds, with strengths in rebounding and rim protection. There’s a little concern regarding his overall size but the foundation is obviously there. Bamba is labeled as a “physical specimen”. Basically, he’s a freak.

    The overall problem is that Bamba is one of a handful of prospects who didn’t work out for the Memphis Grizzlies, which he followed up with by stating that he emphatically doesn’t want to play there. Where this creates a problem is in perception of attitude.

    Almost every team needs a player that offers his skillset, but a lot of these top lottery teams are fragile entities that need more stability than he’s willing to offer. Dallas is picking 5th and would likely stray away from him given his recent outcry against Memphis only because they’re not willing to risk their future on a young man that is already flexing his proverbial ego. They already went through that with Nerlens Noel. The thought of stomaching that again is too much for the Mavericks.

    That leaves the Magic, Bulls, Cavaliers and Knicks as the next teams in order and Bamba probably makes more sense in Chicago and Cleveland than anywhere else. There’s also reasonable concern that he’s a bit one dimensional. At best he’s Rudy Gobbert. At worst? He’s Tristan Thompson or someone along those lines. Considering how deep this draft is, I don’t see teams willing to take a chance on him in the same way that others might.

    Most Likely Team – Cleveland (8th)

    Michael Porter Jr. – 7th or Worse -105

    Porter is talented and gifted enough to be the second overall pick in this draft. If he didn’t have back problems and injuries that pretty much nixed his entire freshman year, we might be openly discussing him as the top overall pick. But those injuries resurfaced during his pro day and kept him from showing off his skills.

    Somebody is going to take a chance on him, but it will only be a team with a high tolerance for risk. The teams picking 7th and beyond mostly fit that bill, with the Bulls desperately seeking a superstar sitting right at 7th. The only team that could really muddy the waters here is Dallas at 5th.

    Most Likely Team – New York (9th)

    Jaren Jackson – 4th or Worse -180

    Anyone want a two-way big man who grades out like a young Jermaine O’Neal? I thought so. Jackson is a workhorse of a big man and is already 6-foot-11 with 235 pounds on that frame. He moves exceptionally well and has incredible balance on both sides of the floor. His shooting could improve, but you could say that about everyone. The ultimate problem for Jackson is that he doesn’t actually grade out higher than Ayton, Bagley or Doncic and he apparently won’t work out for Memphis either. Teams might sour on his attitude, but Dallas might be willing to take the chance on him. I see him going to the Mavericks above all other teams because of the flat out superstar potential he possesses.

    Most Likely Team – Dallas (5th)

    Collin Sexton – 10th or Better -150

    From where I stand, Sexton is a safer pick than the guy he’ll inevitably be compared to in the microcosm of this draft – Trae Young. He is as “instant offence” as guys get, despite being a bit undersized at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds. The proof is in the game tape. People are going to easily forgive Alabama’s loss to Villanova in the second round but will be drawn to Sexton overpowering Virginia Tech single handedly in the first round. He just knows when to emerge at the right time and there are a lot of teams that will be justifiably drawn to what he can deliver. If anything, he can make a team watchable again. He’s that good, so I don’t see him dropping past Orlando, Chicago, Cleveland or New York. If the Sixers get him, that’s unfair.

    Most Likely Team – Orlando (6th)

    Trae Young – 8th or Worse -120

    One of the big enigmas in this draft is Trae Young, a player who grades out on the level of Stephen Curry except he’s not as good. Comparing someone to a three-time champions and two-time MVP is a bit unfair, but it’s obvious that Young has modeled his game after Curry. He hoists long bombs. He’s got a decent handle. He’s also a huge, defensive liability.

    All that being said, people forget that Curry was an instant success in the NBA. You could see his ability right out of the gates, and Young is less polished. His polish, his handle and a lot of other little nuances of his game aren’t nearly as good as Curry at this level. But if that’s the standard that teams are setting for him, it’s going to be impossible for Young to deliver and his game tape will reflect that in spades.

    The Cleveland Cavaliers have long been associated with Young for obvious reasons but I do believe that Sexton is the better pick. We’ve seen a lot of players like Young come through the draft. The problem is that he hasn’t justified the hype. Oklahoma losing in the first round to Rhode Island, and young having a rough outing in the tournament, isn’t going to help his stock. There just isn’t a lot of flexibility here with his ceiling. If he’s as good of a shooter as people hope, then it’s a gangbusters steal. But his weaknesses far outweigh his strengths, so you can probably expect Young to tumble down draft boards and land where other risky picks like Sexton and Porter don’t.

    Most Likely Team – Cleveland (8th), New York (9th), Philadelphia (10th)
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    LeBron agrees to 4-year deal with Lakers
    July 1, 2018


    CLEVELAND (AP) LeBron James is leaving home for Hollywood and an iconic team.

    The Los Angeles Lakers have a new superstar - L.A.-Bron.

    The four-time NBA MVP announced Sunday night that he has agreed to a four-year, $154 million contract with the Lakers, joining one of the league's most storied franchises and switching conferences to try and dethrone the Golden State Warriors and grow his own legacy.

    For the second time in his career, James is saying goodbye to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who drafted the teenage sensation from Akron in 2003 and have to be satisfied with winning just one title in the 11 years they had him.

    Unlike his two previous forays in free agency, James did not drag out his decision and made the announcement less than 24 hours after NBA free agency opened.

    This Summer of LeBron was barely a fling.

    His management agency, Klutch Sports Group, announced his agreement with the Lakers with a simple, short release. It was a stark contrast from eight years ago, when a poorly conceived TV special to announce his departure from Cleveland backfired and damaged James' image.

    James isn't planning any more comments and there won't be a welcoming press conference or celebration in Los Angeles, a person familiar with his plans said Sunday night on the condition of anonymity. James will make his next public comments on July 30 in Akron when he opens a public school started by his family foundation.

    It was all different this time.

    The game's biggest star will now lead a young Lakers team - run by Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson - that has been overmatched in recent years while rebuilding. But the Lakers will instantly rise with James, a three-time champion who after being swept by the Warriors in this year's NBA Finals said he is still driven and very much in ''championship mode.''

    The Lakers' rich legacy is something that appealed to James and it wasn't long after his announcement that he heard from Kobe Bryant, who won five titles during 20 seasons with Los Angeles.

    ''Welcome to the family (at)KingJames,'' Bryant said on Twitter . ''(hash)lakers4life (hash)striveforgreatness.''

    James and Bryant were Olympic teammates and there has been a perceived rivalry between the pair of alpha males. They're now linked like never before and if James wants to prepare for his eventual life after basketball, who better to learn from than Johnson, who has made a fortune as a business entrepreneur, or Bryant, an Academy Award winner.

    The massive Los Angeles market will also provide James with a grander platform for his philanthropy and social activism. He already owns two homes in Southern California and has a film production company.

    This is the third time in eight years James has changed teams. After bolting from Cleveland in 2010, he returned in an emotional homecoming four years later, determined to make the Cavs champions. The 33-year-old had previously said he wanted to finish his career in Ohio, and although he's leaving again, Cavs fans are more forgiving after he ended the city's 52-year sport title drought in 2016.

    Shortly after the announcement, which came in a surprising manner, James posted a three-photo tribute to Cleveland fans on his Instagram account.

    ''Thank you Northeast Ohio for an incredible four seasons,'' James wrote. ''This will always be home.''

    But there will always be a portion of Cleveland fans disappointed that James left again and that he wouldn't give the Cavs a longer commitment. His deal with the Lakers is his longest since he signed for six years with Miami in 2010.

    James informed the Cavs on Friday that he was not exercising his $35.6 million option and becoming a free agent. While in Los Angeles following a family vacation, he spoke to Cavs general manager Koby Altman moments after free agency opened on Sunday, and it appears that was more a courtesy than a chance for Cleveland to make one last pitch.

    Cleveland's roster was exposed during this year's finals, and James may not have seen a way for it to improve enough to win a fourth title.

    The decision to join the Lakers was not a surprise to his innermost circle, with one person telling AP that it had been presumed for some time that he was headed to Los Angeles next season. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no one authorized that detail be released publicly.

    James gave Cleveland something to remember in his final season. He played in all 82 regular-season games and then somehow carried a team that underwent several transformations to a fourth straight conference title and matchup against the Warriors.

    As has been the case in the past, James didn't have enough help as the Cavs were swept, dropping him to 3-6 in the NBA Finals - a record sometimes used to compare him to Michael Jordan.

    His stay with the Cavaliers will best be remembered for 2016, when he rallied the Cavs from a 3-1 deficit in the finals to stun the Warriors. James helped seal a Game 7 win with a chase-down block of Andre Iguodala, the signature moment of a career that has shown no signs of decay.

    With the Lakers, James will be playing in the Western Conference for the first time and just down the Pacific Coast Highway from the Warriors, the team that has stymied him three times in the past four finals.

    The chance to play for one of America's most storied franchises is a new challenge for James, who prides himself on knowing the game's history. In Los Angeles, championships are the standard and he'll feel new pressure in upholding the legacies of Johnson, Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West and other Lakers greats.

    It's now his turn.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Kings sign 1st-rounder Marvin Bagley III
    July 1, 2018


    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento Kings have signed first-round pick Marvin Bagley III to a contract.

    General manager Vlade Divac announced the deal with the No. 2 overall pick in last month's draft on Sunday.

    Bagley averaged 21 points and 11.1 rebounds and shot 61.4 percent in his one college season at Duke.

    He was one of four freshmen in the nation to average a point-rebound double-double and joined Clemson's Horace Grant (1986-87) and Wake Forest's Tim Duncan (1996-97) as the only players in ACC history to lead the conference in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage.


    *****************************

    Suns, Ariza agree to 1-yr, $15M deal
    July 1, 2018


    PHOENIX (AP) Trevor Ariza has agreed to a one-year, $15 million contract with the Phoenix Suns, a person with knowledge of the situation said Sunday.

    The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement cannot be officially announced during the free agent moratorium.

    The 33-year-old Ariza brings a reputation for winning and veteran leadership that general manager Ryan McDonough said the team needed around its young core that features Devin Booker, Josh Jackson and No. 1 overall draft pick Deandre Ayton.

    It's a nice raise for the 14-year NBA veteran, who earned $7.4 million last season, his fourth with Houston.

    Ariza averaged 11.7 points last season for a Rockets team that compiled the best record in the NBA at 65-17 before losing to Golden State in a seven-game Western Conference finals. Phoenix had the league's worst record at 21-61 and has missed the playoffs eight years in a row.

    Ariza has averaged 10.5 points per game, shooting 42 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3-point range, in a career that included stops with the New York Knicks, Orlando, the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans and Washington, as well as Houston.

    The move gives Phoenix a glut of players at the wing positions and uses up most of the team's available salary cap space. However, more space could be created with personnel moves.

    The team's biggest remaining need would appear to be point guard, where the top two currently are Brandon Knight, returning from knee surgery that cost him all of last season, and French rookie Elie Okobo, the first player drafted this year in the second round.

    The Suns also announced their Las Vegas Summer League roster. Ayton and fellow first-round pick Mikal Bridges are on it, as is Jackson. Dragan Bender is on the list but no Marquese Chriss.

    Ayton threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Sunday's game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants.


    *********************

    Raptors bringing back G VanVleet
    July 1, 2018

    The Latest on NBA free agency (all times EDT):


    10:45 p.m.

    Lance Stephenson is joining LeBron James in Los Angeles.

    Stephenson agreed to a deal with the Lakers on Sunday night, his agency, Priority Sports, announced on Twitter . That came just hours after James decided he would join the Lakers.

    The two have traded testy moments in the playoffs when Stephenson's Indiana teams faced James' squads in both Miami and Cleveland.

    Stephenson averaged 9.2 points last season.

    ---

    10:25 p.m.

    Glenn Robinson III has agreed to a deal with the Detroit Pistons.

    A person with knowledge of the agreement says Robinson has agreed to a one-year contract with a team option for 2019-20. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract has not yet been signed.

    Robinson returns to the area where he played college basketball. He was on the Michigan team that went to the Final Four in 2013.

    Robinson averaged 4.1 points and 14.7 minutes a game last season for Indiana.

    - Noah Trister in Detroit

    ---

    10:05 p.m.

    Aaron Gordon is staying in Orlando for big money.

    A person with knowledge of the negotiations says Gordon agreed Sunday night to a four-year, $82 million deal to remain with the Magic. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract has not yet been signed.

    Gordon is going into his fifth season. He averaged a career-best 17.6 points per game last year for Orlando, but was limited to 58 games.

    - AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds

    ---

    9:50 p.m.

    Mario Hezonja is leaving Orlando to play for David Fizdale and the New York Knicks.

    The No. 5 pick in the 2015 draft tweeted a picture of himself in a Knicks sweatshirt, writing that he was ''very excited to be joining the Knicks and play for coach Fizdale!''

    Hezonja averaged 9.6 points last season, easily the best of his three-year career. ESPN reported the Croatian native had agreed to a one-year deal worth $6.5 million.

    The Knicks had said they didn't plan to be active in free agency, hoping to save their cap space for 2019.

    ---

    8:25 p.m.

    LeBron James is signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time to join one of the NBA's most iconic franchises.

    James' agency made the announcement in a release, saying he has agreed to a four-year, $154 million contract. The game's best all-around player and biggest star will now lead a young Lakers team that has been overmatched in recent years while rebuilding but will instantly rise with James.

    Los Angeles also provides James with a larger platform for his business interests and social activism.

    This is the third time in eight years James has changed teams. He returned to the Cavs in 2014 after four seasons in Miami.

    The 33-year-old had previously said he wanted to finish his career in Ohio, and although he's leaving home again, Cleveland fans are more forgiving after he ended the city's 52-year sports championship drought in 2016.

    ---

    1:20 p.m.

    Derrick Jones Jr. has signed a minimum deal with the Miami Heat, after playing with them on a two-way contract last season.

    The 6-foot-7 wing played in 14 games with Miami last season, starting eight. His NBA career remains best known for his appearance as a member of the Phoenix Suns in the 2017 dunk contest at All-Star weekend, an invite that came even though he had spent the bulk of his time that season in the G League.

    He could help the Heat in at least two ways - one being depth, the other being affordability. Miami does not have much in the way of financial flexibility this summer, with the luxury tax threshold looming and the Heat trying to keep Wayne Ellington.

    Jones is playing in Summer League for the Heat, starting Monday in Sacramento.

    ---

    12:05 p.m.


    The Philadelphia 76ers are getting to make their pitch to LeBron James.

    Representatives from the team will meet in Los Angeles with James' agent Rich Paul on Sunday, a person familiar with the talks told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks. James will not take part in the meeting, the person said.

    The Sixers -and their fans- have made no secret of their desire to land James, who would instantly make them NBA title contenders. Philadelphia has young stars in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid to entice James, who was flattered earlier this year when a company erected billboards in Ohio urging him to join the Sixers.

    The meeting was first reported by ESPN.

    --- Tom Withers in Cleveland.

    ---

    11:10 a.m.

    The Toronto Raptors aren't letting guard Fred VanVleet get away.

    A person with knowledge of the contract says the club has reached an agreement with VanVleet on a two-year, $18 million deal. The person spoke with The Associated Press Sunday on condition of anonymity because the deal can't be finalized until Friday.

    In his second season with Toronto, VanVleet, a restricted free agent, averaged 8.6 points and was a valuable backup to Kyle Lowry. VanVleet bounced between the D-League and Raptors in his 2016-17 rookie season, but the former Wichita State improved his game and has been rewarded.

    - AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds

    ---

    9:50 a.m.

    Aron Baynes, who started virtually every game last season with Boston, is staying with the Celtics.

    A person familiar with the negotiations says Baynes has agreed to a two-year deal worth $11 million. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been finalized.

    The second year is at Baynes' option, meaning he could be a free agent again next summer.

    Baynes had 19 double-figure scoring games last season for Boston, including playoffs - and the Celtics went 17-2 in those games.

    The 6-foot-10 center averaged 6.0 points and 5.4 rebounds last season.

    - AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds

    ---

    3 a.m.

    A person familiar with the discussion says LeBron James was in contact with the Cleveland Cavaliers when NBA free agency opened.

    Shortly after the 12:01 EDT a.m. start on Sunday, Cavs general manager Koby Altman spoke on the phone to both James and his agent Rich Paul, said the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the discussion.

    James is an unrestricted free agent and the Cavs are hoping to re-sign the three-time champion, who is weighing whether to change teams for the third time in eight years. James was in Los Angeles and is also being pursued by the Lakers, who have enough salary-cap space to sign him and another star player.

    There was a flurry of big-name signings in the first hours of free agency, but James remained noncommittal. The 33-year-old is not expected to drag out a decision that could reshape the league's landscape.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Durant to sign 2-year deal with Warriors
    June 30, 2018


    Kevin Durant is staying put for now. So are Paul George and Chris Paul.

    Meanwhile, LeBron James' next move remains unclear.

    Durant has decided to sign a two-year deal with the Golden State Warriors, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Saturday because the deal cannot become official until the league's offseason moratorium ends on Friday. The deal comes with a player option for 2019-20, so Durant can - and likely will - become a free agent again next summer.

    So much for the notion that stars would wait for James to decide his future before they would decide theirs.

    Things went a very different way.

    Durant, Paul and George all knew what they were going to do even before the NBA's moratorium - and the start of free agency - officially kicked in at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Sunday. So did plenty of other players, and by the time the moratorium was 2 hours old nearly $700 million worth of deals had been agreed upon, based on figures confirmed to AP by people involved in the various decisions.

    Durant's move is a win on multiple levels for the two-time defending NBA champion Warriors. Not only do they get to keep the 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals MVP, but they also get some financial flexibility in the deal.

    Durant will be paid about $30.5 million this coming season, about $5 million less than he could have commanded if the deal was structured differently. That savings will give Golden State options for other moves this summer, as the Warriors look to bolster their bench for a run at what could be a fourth title in a five-year span.

    They might need the boost, because the Western Conference is going to be loaded again.

    George took the stage at a party in Oklahoma City on Saturday night and announced that he will be staying with the Thunder, a move that might have been unexpected a year ago when he was traded away by the Indiana Pacers - presumably because of the belief that he was already focused on joining his hometown Los Angeles Lakers in free agency.

    That move isn't happening.

    Not now, anyway, and barring a trade not for at least three years in what will be considered a massive victory for the Thunder and general manager Sam Presti. George agreed to a four-year deal that will be worth roughly $135 million, though he can opt out of the final season, according to a person familiar with the terms.

    ''I'm here to stay,'' George told the crowd at the party.

    Down in Houston, Paul has told Rockets fans the same thing.

    ''UNFINISHED BUSINESS,'' Paul wrote on Twitter at the exact moment that the calendar flipped to July 1 in the East, meaning the NBA's free agency frenzy was officially open for the summer.

    His meaning was clear. The Rockets were tantalizingly close to a trip to the NBA Finals this spring, and Paul's coming back to get over that hump.

    Houston took Golden State to seven games in the Western Conference finals back in May. Paul missed the last two games of that series with an injury, and the Rockets wasted big leads in both of those games - then had to watch the Warriors sweep Cleveland for the NBA title.

    Paul averaged 18.6 points and 7.9 assists last season with the Rockets, who went 65-17 led by Paul and newly minted NBA MVP James Harden. ESPN reported he is signing a four-year deal that will be worth $160 million.

    Meanwhile, James created a frenzy on Saturday without saying a word.

    James spent the week vacationing in Anguilla, and hopped aboard a private Gulfstream jet in the morning to fly to the Los Angeles area. By the time he arrived around midday - after his flight plan was tracked online - reporters and at least one news helicopter were waiting for the Cleveland Cavaliers star, who decided to become an unrestricted free agent and not opt-in to a $35.6 million deal for this coming season.

    The Lakers have long been mentioned as a top destination for James, and they have more salary cap space this summer than any team in the NBA. But going to L.A. on Saturday doesn't necessarily provide any hint about his team for next season, since James has homes in Southern California.

    But if James is going to be the next superstar to follow in the legacy that Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson built for the Lakers, it's already fairly evident that not everyone in the NBA will be thrilled by the development.

    ''The Lakers are FOREVER gonna be Kobe's and Magic's team.... Process that,'' Philadelphia star Joel Embiid wrote on Twitter.

    Philadelphia has been one of the teams often mentioned as a club that would pursue James this summer, and that still may be the case.

    With Durant, George and Paul off the board, James is the biggest name left to decide his intentions when it comes to free agency. His agent Rich Paul was expected to meet by phone with Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman early Sunday, and there has been no indication when James will announce his plans for next season and beyond.

    For Dallas, persistence paid off. The Mavs finally are getting DeAndre Jordan.

    Jordan agreed to sign with Dallas three years ago, then changed his mind and social media went beyond abuzz over what happened next. Former teammate Blake Griffin and coach Doc Rivers were part of a contingent that went to his house and stayed with him until the deal was official.

    But he agreed quickly this time to a one-year, $24.1 million deal and will finally be part of the Mavericks.

    Denver added to the huge night of spending out West when it got Will Barton to commit to staying in what will be a four-year deal that could be worth more than $50 million if he doesn't opt out a year early, and that move comes on the cusp of the Nuggets getting talented big man Nikola Jokic to stay in what will be a five-year deal worth nearly $150 million.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    The Latest: McGee taking his 2 rings to join LeBron in LA
    July 2, 2018


    The Latest on NBA free agency (all times EDT):

    9:35 p.m.

    Julius Randle is going to play alongside All-Star Anthony Davis.

    Randle agreed to sign with the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, doing so quickly after his rights were renounced by the Los Angeles Lakers hours earlier. His decision was confirmed by a person familiar with the negotiations and speaking on condition of anonymity because nothing has been signed.

    ESPN, which first reported the Randle agreement, said it was a two-year, $18 million deal.

    The move pairs Randle in the Pelicans' frontcourt with Davis, another former Kentucky star.

    Davis and DeMarcus Cousins formed perhaps the best 1-2 frontcourt punch in basketball last season before Cousins got hurt. And now, Cousins has gone to the defending NBA champions after agreeing Monday to a one-year, $5.3 million deal to sign with the Golden State Warriors.

    - Reporting by AP Sports Writer Brett Martel

    ---

    8:55 p.m.

    DeMarcus Cousins is heading to the Golden State Warriors, looking for a title.

    Cousins agreed Monday to accept a one-year deal to join the two-time defending NBA champions for $5.3 million. The terms were confirmed to The Associated Press by a person directly involved in the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract has not been signed.

    It's a low-risk, high-reward move for the Warriors, with Cousins set to return at some point this season once he completes his recovery from tearing his Achilles tendon in January.

    And immediately, Cousins' soon-to-be teammates welcomed the move. ''The 3rd splash Brother,'' Stephen Curry tweeted.

    Cousins averaged 25.2 points last season for New Orleans, and for his career the six-time All-Star averages 21.5 points and 11 rebounds.

    - Reporting by AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami

    ---

    6:30 p.m.

    The Boston Celtics signed guard Brad Wanamaker, who spent the last seven years playing in Europe.

    The 6-foot-4 former Pittsburgh Panther averaged 11.5 points for Fenerbahce Ulker last season, when the team won the Turkish league championship and he was named the finals MVP.

    He is a former European teammate of Celtic Daniel Theis.

    ---

    5:35 p.m.

    Rajon Rondo is teaming up with LeBron James.

    A person with knowledge of the situation says Rondo has agreed to sign a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.

    The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been finalized.

    ESPN, which first reported the agreement, said Rondo will make $9 million.

    James and Rondo have gone head-to-head 54 times in their NBA careers, 25 of those coming in the playoffs - the last of those matchups in 2012, when James and the Miami Heat rallied from a 3-2 deficit to beat Rondo and the Boston Celtics on the way to the NBA title.

    The Lakers become Rondo's sixth team. He averaged 8.3 points and 8.2 assists for New Orleans last season.

    - Reporting by AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami

    ---

    4:40 p.m.

    Veteran forward Anthony Tolliver is joining the Minnesota Timberwolves, returning to one of the nine NBA teams he's played for during his career.

    A person with knowledge of the agreement says Tolliver will sign a one-year contract for $5.75 million with the Timberwolves. The person spoke to The Associated Press Monday on condition of anonymity because the league's free agency moratorium is in place until Friday.

    Tolliver will likely replace Nemanja Bjelica off the bench, a sharp shooter who can back up both forward spots. Tolliver, who played for Minnesota in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, played for Detroit in 2017-18 while averaging 8.9 points and 22.2 minutes per game with a career-best 3-point percentage of 43.6.

    - AP Sports Writer Dave Campbell reporting from Minneapolis

    ---

    4:30 p.m.

    Jose Calderon is joining his former coach in Detroit.

    The veteran guard agreed to a contract with the Pistons, who recently hired former Toronto coach Dwane Casey. Calderon's agency, Priority Sports, announced the veteran's minimum deal in a tweet congratulating Calderon.

    The Spanish guard played last season for Cleveland, averaging 4.5 points in 57 games, including 32 starts. At 36, Calderon has lost some foot speed but remains a reliable shooter and respected teammate in the locker room.

    He began his career with the Raptors in 2005 and has also played with the Pistons, Dallas, New York, the Lakers and Atlanta.

    ---

    3:30 p.m.

    Derrick Favors was a top priority for Utah, and the Jazz have succeeded in their quest to retain him.

    A person with knowledge of the negotiations says Favors and the Jazz have come to terms on a two-year contract that could be worth up to $36 million, The person spoke to The Associated Press Monday on condition of anonymity because the deal remains unsigned, with the NBA's offseason moratorium still in place.

    Favors averaged 12.3 points last season for the Jazz, who reached the Western Conference semifinals.

    He turns 27 later this month and the deal represents a nice raise for Favors, who made $12 million last season.

    - Reporting by AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami.

    ---

    1:15 p.m.

    The massive LeBron James banner hanging in downtown Cleveland is being removed again following the superstar's announcement he's leaving the Cavaliers.

    The 10-story billboard, which shows James wearing his No. 23 jersey with his arms spread wide has become a city landmark. It was also removed in 2010 when he decided to join the Miami Heat. On Sunday, James agreed to sign a four-year, $153 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.

    A spokesman for Sherwin-Williams, which owns the building where the banner hangs, said Nike is taking the banner down later this week. Sherwin-Williams is evaluating what to do with the wall on its global headquarters.

    After learning the billboard was coming down, some people headed over to take photos in front of it.

    James' jerseys have been reduced by 40 percent in the Cavs' team shop at Quicken Loans Arena.

    ---

    12:50 p.m.

    JJ Redick is returning to the Philadelphia 76ers..

    A person familiar with the decision says the Sixers and Redick have agreed to a one-year contract. The person spoke to The Associated Press Monday on condition of anonymity because the deal was not been announced.

    Financial terms of the deal are not known.

    Redick averaged 17.1 points and shot 42 percent in his first season with the Sixers. He signed last summer to a $23 million, one-year contract and provided stout 3-point shooting and needed veteran presence on a young team.

    The 76ers won 52 games last season and lost to Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Philadelphia's ownership group met with LeBron James on Sunday but failed to sway him to sign with the team.

    Redick, who has also played with Orlando, Milwaukee and the Los Angeles Clippers, should again help stabilize Philly's lineup.

    - Reporting by AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston in Philadelphia

    ---

    10:40 a.m.

    JaVale McGee is moving a bit south.

    The two-time NBA champion with the Golden State Warriors is going to be part of the revamping by the Los Angeles Lakers, agreeing to a one-year deal worth just under $2.4 million, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

    The person confirmed the terms to The Associated Press under condition of anonymity Monday because McGee's deal is unsigned. The deal comes not long after LeBron James said he would be signing with the Lakers.

    The Lakers will be the sixth club for McGee, who had some spectacular moments in the NBA Finals against James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. McGee shot 16 for 20 - 80 percent - from the floor in the finals, and the Warriors were 7-1 in playoff games in which he started.

    - Reporting by AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami

    ---

    10:05 a.m.

    A person with knowledge of the deal says the Dallas Mavericks have reached an agreement to bring back center Salah Mejri on a one-year contract for the veteran's minimum of $1.6 million.

    The 32-year-old from Tunisia is set to be one of the backups to DeAndre Jordan, who has agreed with Dallas on a one-year deal. Jordan's contract will be for roughly the $24.1 million he was set to make before opting out of his contract with the Los Angeles Clippers.

    The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because contracts can't be signed until Friday.

    Mejri has been an intriguing shot-blocker who has provided energy off the bench in three years with the Mavericks. He averaged 3.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 12 minutes per game last season.

    Mejri and Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic were teammates with Real Madrid in Spain. The Mavericks traded up two spots in the draft to get Doncic, who was the third overall pick.

    - Reporting by AP Sports Writer Schuyler Dixon in Fort Worth, Texas
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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