Category Archives: NBA

Dennis Schroder back with Los Angeles Lakers on one-year, $2.64 million deal

Free agent guard Dennis Schroder is finalizing a one-year, $2.64 million deal to return to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and new coach Darvin Ham reached out to Russell Westbrook in recent days to tell him that they planned to sign a veteran guard to the team’s 14th roster spot, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Ham and Schroder spent five seasons together on the Atlanta Hawks. “We are extremely pleased to welcome Dennis Schröder back to the Lakers,” said Pelinka in a statement announcing the signing.

“Not only do Dennis and Coach Ham share a player-coach history together, but they also reflect one another’s mentality of toughness with an extremely competitive edge. Dennis will add both depth and an on-ball defensive presence to our core at the guard position. He is also a proven scorer and playmaker. We are really excited for Dennis to get to camp and get back to work in L.A. after his highly successful run with his national team this offseason.”

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Schroder averaged 15.4 points and nearly six assists during his 2020-21 campaign with the Lakers and turned down an extension worth north of $80 million during the season.

He later struck out in free agency, however, eventually settling for a one-year deal with the Boston Celtics for $5.9 million.

Schroder produced for the Celtics, averaging 14.4 points and 4.2 assists in 29 minutes per match, but was traded to the Houston Rockets in a deal for Daniel Theis. He played just 15 games for the Rockets.

Schroder, who turned 29 earlier this week, boasts career averages of 14.2 points and 4.7 assists across nine seasons in the NBA. Five of those seasons came with the Atlanta Hawks, were The news comes hours after Schroder and Germany lost to Spain in a EuroBasket 2022 semifinal game.

Schroder, who led all scorers with 30 points in Friday’s game, played a key part in helping Germany’s deep run which resulted in a bronze medal.

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Brooklyn Nets, Kevin Durant meet, agree to ‘move forward’ together after star’s trade demands

Kevin Durant is staying in Brooklyn, according to a statement from Nets general manager Sean Marks.

“[Coach] Steve Nash and I, together with [governors] Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai, met with Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman in Los Angeles yesterday,” Marks said in a statement. “We have agreed to move forward with our partnership. We are focusing on basketball, with one collective goal in mind: build a lasting franchise to bring a championship to Brooklyn.”

Durant originally asked for a trade on June 30 and reiterated that desire in a meeting with Joe Tsai in London earlier this month, sources confirmed to ESPN. During that meeting, Durant wanted Tsai to choose between him and the brain trust of Nash and Marks.

Instead, Nash and Marks will retain their jobs, while Durant will stay in Brooklyn, New York, as the four-year, $198 million extension he signed last offseason kicks in this season.

The Nets have spent the better part of the offseason dealing with upheaval from stars Durant and Kyrie Irving.

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Irving, who played in 29 games last season after choosing to not get the COVID-19 vaccine, created a list of teams he would have liked the Nets to consider working with on a sign-and-trade deal. However, no viable trade materialized and Irving opted into the final year of his contract.

The Nets could still trade him as an expiring contract (although Irving would have no formal voice in a potential landing spot) and have until June 30 of next year to work out an extension before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

With Irving and Durant still with the team, the Nets will look to improve upon last year’s first-round playoff exit and hope Ben Simmons will be a part of that.

Simmons was traded to Brooklyn in a deal that sent James Harden to Philadelphia, but he has not yet made his Nets debut. Simmons underwent a microdiscectomy procedure in May to address pain located in a herniated disk in his lower back, but he is expected to be healthy for training camp.

According to Caesars Sportsbook, the Nets’ odds to gain the NBA championship moved from 18-1 to 9-1 after the Nets announced Durant will stay.

The 9-1 odds push Brooklyn ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers for fourth-best odds to win the title behind the Celtics (+450), Warriors (+650), Suns (+800), Clippers (+800) and Bucks (+800).

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Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James hold ‘productive’ contract extension talks

LeBron James and the Lakers had a “productive” discussion in regards to their future together on Thursday, Rich Paul, CEO of Klutch Sports Group, told ESPN.

No new deal has been agreed upon yet, however, sources said.

James and Paul met with Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka as well as new Lakers coach Darvin Ham in the war room at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo, California, on Thursday. It was the first day James was eligible to sign a two-year, $97.1 million contract extension with the Lakers.

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Paul told ESPN he expects both sides to continue a dialogue moving forward.

James is entering his contract’s final year, worth $44.5 million, and will be 38 years old when his current deal is up.

The maximum length of a contract a player aged 38 or older can sign is two years, according to the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement.

James has until June 30 to sign the extension before becoming an unrestricted free agent.

It is probable James could seek a one-year extension, worth $47 million for the 2023-24 season, with an additional year with a player option for 2024-25.

The optionality could be intentional.

His eldest son, Bronny, is entering his senior year of high school, making him NBA eligible in 2024. James has repeatedly stated his wish to team up with his son on an NBA roster before he retires.

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Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum, responding to Kevin Durant trade speculation, says ‘I love our team,’ doesn’t wear GM hat

As speculation surrounding Kevin Durant’s future continues to hover over the NBA, Boston Celtics star swingman Jayson Tatum made it clear that as much as he respects Durant’s game, he is happy with how his team stands now.

“I played with [Durant] during the Olympics,” Tatum stated Tuesday night prior to the premiere of the Showtime documentary “Point Gods.” “Obviously, he’s a great player, but that’s not my decision. I love our team. I love the guys that we got.”

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported early Monday that the Celtics were among the teams to engage in talks with the Nets regarding Durant’s availability, after the two-time Finals MVP requested a trade from Brooklyn last month.

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Regarding the discussions surrounding Durant and the Celtics, Tatum stated he doesn’t “make anything of it” and emphasized several times during a brief question-and-answer session with a small group of reporters that he is happy with Boston’s roster as currently constructed.

“We got two new pieces [in Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari],” Tatum said. “I love our team. I just go out there and play with my teammates. I don’t put that [general manager] hat on to make decisions.”

Durant, who is an executive producer on the documentary, did not stop to speak to reporters.

He took a few photos on the carpet prior to the premiere, but quickly walked into the theater.

Durant’s manager and business partner, Rich Kleiman, also an executive producer on the documentary, declined to discuss the star’s request to be traded.

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Phoenix Suns, coach Monty Williams agree to long-term extension

The Phoenix Suns and Monty Williams, the NBA’s reigning coach of the year, have agreed on a long-term contract extension, sources told ESPN on Saturday.

Williams, who was voted the National Basketball Coach’s Association’s coach of the year in consecutive seasons, had two years left on his original five-year deal, and now moves under contract for several more years.

Williams’ impact on the Suns’ organization has been deep, including a trip to the 2021 NBA Finals and a franchise-record 64 regular-season victories last season.

Williams has gone 149-78 (.656) in his three seasons and delivered accountability and purpose to a wayward Suns’ program, transforming a team that had won 19 matches prior to his arrival into one of the league’s best teams.

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The Suns last season joined the 1969-70 New York Knicks as the only teams to finish with a better road victory percentage than every other team’s home victory percentage in a season.

The Suns were 47-0 when leading after three quarters — the best in the shot-clock era.

The only two other teams that went undefeated in that scenario in the regular season both included LeBron James — the 2017-18 Cleveland Cavaliers and the 2019-20 Los Angeles Lakers.

Among the Suns’ regular-season dominance last season: a franchise-record 18-game winning streak and three separate winning streaks of nine-plus games in a season when the rest of the NBA had a combined four streaks of nine or more victories.

The Suns were the only team to rank in the top five in offensive and defensive efficiency and went 33-9 in clutch-time games — the best record in such situations in the NBA since the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors.

Despite the league-best and franchise-record 64 victories, the Suns were blown out in a Game 7 at home to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals.

Phoenix reached the NBA Finals in 2021, losing in six games to the Milwaukee Bucks. Through the past season, Williams’ leadership was tested by the distractions of an NBA investigation into owner Robert Sarver’s behavior, stemming from an ESPN investigation.

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James Harden’s new deal with Philadelphia 76ers includes player option for 2023-24 season

Philadelphia 76ers free agent star James Harden is returning to the franchise on a new two-year, $68.6 million contract, including a player option for the 2023-24 season, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.

The deal guarantees Harden $33 million for next season and the chance to decline his $35.6 million player option and negotiate another free agent deal next summer, sources said.

Harden, who had declined a $47.4 million player option for next season, delivered the 76ers salary-cap flexibility with his pay cut for 2022-23 — allowing them to sign free agents P.J. Tucker and Danuel House by using the midlevel and biannual exceptions, and facilitating the ability to get De’Anthony Melton in a draft night trade with Memphis.

Harden — a 10-time All-Star and a six-time first-team All-NBA guard — told Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey that he wanted to do his part to fortify the team’s roster and give it a better chance to fight for a championship. And declining that $47.4 million player option could also give the organization flexibility to make deals once this coming season is underway.

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The franchise is hopeful Harden’s commitment to winning will include him returning to preseason training camp in better physical condition than he played in both Brooklyn and Philadelphia last season.

Harden, who turns 33 next month, averaged 22 points and 10.3 assists across 65 games with the Nets and Sixers.

Brooklyn traded him to Philly in February as part of a blockbuster deal that included Ben Simmons joining the Nets. For the fourth time in five years, though, the Sixers were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.

Harden spent only a year in Brooklyn, after his wildly successful eight-year run in Houston ended near the start of the 2020-21 season, when he was sent to partner with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the Nets for a significant package of draft assets and players.

After a second-round loss to the Milwaukee Bucks two years ago, Harden’s relationship with the Nets deteriorated in the wake of Irving’s inability to play in New York due to the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

In Philadelphia, Harden was reunited with former Rockets general manager Morey, and they worked together to find a way to keep Harden a Sixer on this new deal and improve the franchise’s roster this summer.

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Serge Ibaka staying with Milwaukee Bucks; agrees to terms on deal

Serge Ibaka is staying with the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Bucks announced Tuesday that they have re-signed the center, who came to Milwaukee as part of a four-team deal at the Feb. 10 trade deadline. Terms of the deal weren’t released.

“Serge is an elite defender and shot-blocker who will continue to add depth for us at center,” Bucks general manager Jon Horst said in a statement. “He was a valuable acquisition for us last season, and we look forward to having him back in Milwaukee.”

Ibaka, 32, averaged 7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 17.8 minutes in 19 games with the Bucks last campaign.

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The Bucks acquired Ibaka while starting center Brook Lopez was still recovering from a back injury that required surgery and caused him to play just 13 regular-season games this past season. Ibaka’s playing time diminished after Lopez returned.

Milwaukee sent guard Donte DiVincenzo to the Sacramento Kings and forwards Rodney Hood and Semi Ojeleye to the LA Clippers in the deal that brought them Ibaka as well as a pair of second-round draft picks and cash.

Ibaka averaged 6.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in 35 games with the Clippers before getting traded. The three-time All-Defensive first-team selection led the NBA in total blocks four consecutive seasons while playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

He led the league in blocks per game in 2011-12 and 2012-13. His 1,752 career blocks rank him second among all active players, behind only Dwight Howard.

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Portland Trail Blazers recover from slow start to beat New York Knicks for second NBA summer league title since 2017

Brandon Williams scored 22 points to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to an 85-77 triumph over the New York Knicks in the NBA summer league championship on Sunday.

It marked the third time Portland played in the championship game since 2017, and its second title since.

The Trail Blazers got 36 points from their reserves, led by Jabari Walker, who concluded with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Trendon Watford finished with 19 points and seven rebounds for Portland and was a unanimous choice for game MVP honors.

“They made a run in I think the late third or the fourth,” Watford said. “We stuck together and when we came back in, we turned it up and I’m just proud of all these guys, man.

“It was big-time, our chemistry came together since day one and I’m just proud of all these guys.”

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The Knicks, with coach Tom Thibodeau sitting courtside, had five players finish in double figures, led by Quentin Grimes, who scored 19 points.

Miles McBride scored 17 points, while Jericho Sims contributed with 13 and Feron Hunt and Micah Potter each chipped in with 10 for New York.

Portland, which came into the game ranked third during the summer league with 42.8 rebounds per game, outrebounded the Knicks 37-32.

The Blazers, who defeated New York 88-77 earlier in the event, didn’t find their rhythm until the start of the second quarter of the championship, when they opened with back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers that gave them a 21-14 lead. They went on to hit seven 3-pointers in the quarter to build an 11-point lead they’d take heading into the locker room, 41-30.

The Blazers pushed their lead to 16 in the third quarter, with a 60-44 lead built on the strength of 10 points at the rim.

Portland rode its defensive tenacity to the championship, but it was New York’s defense that frustrated the Blazers to start the game. Both teams came out relatively sluggish, with a splash of sloppiness mixed in, as the Knicks shot 5-of-15 (.333) from the floor and the Blazers were just 3-of-12 (.250) from the field.

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Utah Jazz now willing to listen to Donovan Mitchell trade scenarios

After Utah earlier shut down inquiries about All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, rival teams say the Jazz are now showing a willingness to listen on possible trade scenarios, sources told ESPN on Tuesday.

The asking price appears to be steep, but in the wake of Utah’s recent Rudy Gobert blockbuster deal to Minnesota, the Jazz are no longer simply dismissing calls on Mitchell, sources said.

Jazz general manager Justin Zanik alluded to the possibility during a news conference Saturday when asked whether Mitchell was considered untouchable in trade discussions.

“Change is inevitable in the NBA,” Zanik said. “I’m not trying to be cryptic or anything else, but Donovan is on our roster and he’s a very, very important part of what we’re trying to do. Things evolve in the NBA, so I couldn’t sit here and say anybody is [untouchable]. We’re trying to build a championship team, but there’s no intent [to trade Mitchell], at all.”

The Jazz are open to trades across the entire roster, but Mitchell is indeed the organization’s most valuable and coveted player.

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Mitchell, 25, has averaged 23.9 points and 4.5 assists per game during his five-year career with the Jazz, and he has been an All-Star each of the past three seasons. He has four years and $134.9 million remaining on the maximum extension he signed during the 2020 offseason, but the final season is a player option for $37.1 million.

Utah has made the playoffs the past six campaigns, the longest current streak in the Western Conference, but the Jazz have not advanced past the second round during that span.

The organization has undergone major changes in the wake of this year’s first-round exit versus the Dallas Mavericks, including the resignation of coach Quin Snyder, the hiring of Will Hardy to replace him and trades of Gobert and starting forward Royce O’Neale.

“This season wasn’t very much fun this year,” Jazz CEO Danny Ainge said Saturday. “This draft wasn’t fun. Free agency wasn’t very much fun. You’re over the tax, no draft picks, and our team loses in the first round. It wasn’t fun for us. We want it to be fun for our fans and our players, but we just haven’t had much flexibility to do anything over the last little while.”

Ainge and Zanik agreed with Gobert’s assessment after he was traded to Minnesota that the win-now window in Utah had closed. The Jazz’s haul in that deal was headlined by four future first-round picks, as well as recent No. 22 overall pick Walker Kessler.

They received a 2023 first-round pick from the Brooklyn Nets in the O’Neale deal. “We fell short, so we need to recalibrate and try to go and open up the next window,” Zanik said. “Hopefully, it’s a long one. We’ve got work to do to start that.”

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New Orleans Pelicans draft pick E.J. Liddell suffers torn ACL in right knee, out indefinitely

New Orleans Pelicans second-round pick E.J. Liddell suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during Monday’s summer league contest and will be out indefinitely.

Liddell went down in the third quarter of the game against the Atlanta Hawks when his right knee buckled underneath him. In two games in Las Vegas, Liddell averaged 4.5 points and 4.0 rebounds.

The Pelicans feared the worst as soon as the injury happened on Monday as he was carried off the court by teammates.

An MRI on Monday night in Las Vegas confirmed the injury.

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Liddell, who spent three years at Ohio State, had a first-round grade for the 2022 NBA draft from many draft experts including ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, who had him as the No. 21 overall prospect. However, Liddell slid to the Pelicans at No. 41 overall.

Liddell was a third-team All-American during the 2021-22 college season while also being named to the All-Big Ten first team and All-Big Ten defensive team first team. He averaged 19.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.6 blocks per game in 32 games for Ohio State last year.

New Orleans has 15 guaranteed contracts on its roster after 14 carried over from 2021-22 and the team selected Dyson Daniels with the No. 8 pick in the draft.

The Pelicans could free up a space for a contract for Liddell or slot him into one of their two-way spots.

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