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Dunk History: Spud Webb knocks off 'Nique at the 1986 Slam-Dunk Contest (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 29 Aug 2014 05:14:04 PDT)
As the summer wears on, with training camps and preseason play still off in (what feels like) the distant future, we turn our attention to the past. Join us as we while away a few late-summer moments recalling some of the most scintillating slams of yesteryear, the most thunderous throwdowns ever to sear themselves into our memories. This is Dunk History . Today, Jay Busbee takes us back to a day when a short man broke through basketball's height-prejudiced ceiling ... and kept on rising. Here's a story that ought to be a fairy tale, or maybe a children's book: The Little Dunker That Could. Or, from another perspective, The Sure Thing That Wasn't. Growing up in Atlanta in the mid-1980s, you didn't exactly have a banquet of exquisite sports options. There were the Braves, still years away from the start of their everything-but-rings dynasty. The Falcons featured the planet's most eligible bachelor in quarterback Steve Bartkowski ... and little else. The Hawks, though -- the Hawks had some promise. Though, as always seems to be the case with Atlanta, the Hawks' finest moments came when someone else was just a little bit better.    Dominique Wilkins embodied and personified the 1980s Hawks. He would have been the most electrifying player in the league, were it not for Michael Jordan. He led a Hawks team that legitimately could have won at least one ring, were it not for the Boston Celtics. But 'Nique's not the whole story here. No, to get a sense of the frustrated potential of 'Nique, you only need look to his teammate, who at five-foot-seven literally played in his shadow. If Spud Webb didn't exist, high school coaches looking for a way to motivate their teams would have had to create him. Told all along that he was too short to play basketball, Webb just flat-out jumped over his critics and his doubters. He landed in Atlanta in 1985, more than a mascot, less than a credible threat. So it was no surprise that his decision to enter the 1986 Slam Dunk Contest was met with the kind of amused acceptance usually reserved for kids who say they want to be Batman when they grow up.  Check out the crop of contestants at that year's showdown:

Pelicans acquire veteran 6-foot-6 F John Salmons (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 26 Aug 2014 15:02:39 PDT)
METAIRIE, La. (AP) -- The New Orleans Pelicans have signed veteran small forward John Salmons to a free agent contract.

Hawks' Scott earns new deal with scoring surge (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 26 Aug 2014 08:52:17 PDT)
The Atlanta Hawks have re-signed Mike Scott, who improved his 3-point shot in his second season and almost doubled his scoring average. Scott, a second-round pick from Virginia in 2012, averaged 9.6 points last season, up from 4.6 as a rookie. Scott made 62 of 200 3-point attempts last season after missing his only 3 as a rookie.

Hawks re-sign backup guard Shelvin Mack (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 14:09:00 PDT)
ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Hawks have re-signed guard Shelvin Mack, who general manager Danny Ferry says proved to be a good fit for coach Mike Budenholzer's system.

US routs Dominicans in exhibition as Rose rests (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 19:20:17 PDT)
Derrick Rose heard the fans chanting his name, and yes, he would've loved to give them what they wanted. ''Just trying to protect myself, just knowing that this is a long, long schedule and this is the most basketball I'll be playing in two years,'' Rose said. ''I want to be out there, but at the same time my health is the No. 1 issue right now.'' With Rose sitting out, Kyrie Irving started and made all five shots, scoring 12 points as the U.S. James Harden also scored 12 in limited playing time for the Americans, who used their subs for most of the second half.

Pistons announce deals with Martin, Gray (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 18 Aug 2014 14:05:35 PDT)
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons have formally announced contract agreements with forward Cartier Martin and center Aaron Gray.

Coach K 'surprised' by Kevin Durant's withdrawal, says offensive changes ahead for Team USA (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 15 Aug 2014 11:23:25 PDT)
Kevin Durant's decision to withdraw from Team USA three weeks before the start of the 2014 FIBA World Cup due to to mental and physical exhaustion came as a shock to many observers who expected the Oklahoma City Thunder star to serve as the undisputed focal point and linchpin of the squad heading to Spain this month. One of those shocked observers, evidently, was the guy who coached Durant to gold medals at the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London: U.S. head coach Mike Krzyzewski. From Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago : "Yeah, I was [surprised]," Krzyzewski said after Team USA's practice in Chicago on Thursday. "No question. I was." Krzyzewski wasn't the only one surprised, but he might have been the most frustrated. Durant, the reigning NBA MVP, was expected to be the leader on and off the floor for Team USA. "It's one of those things; you don't replace Kevin Durant," Krzyzewski said. "You look different. And so we have today and [Friday] to look different before we play a really good team. That's of concern for me because we were pretty far along. We had our best camp ever in Vegas since I've coached [Team USA]. Those guys were terrific. We had more in [game plan-wise], but we had more in to play a certain way. And then Kevin deciding not to play ... it's concerning. "But hopefully we'll be good enough on Saturday, and then we use New York and Gran Canaria to get better and get better during pool play." The sheer downgrade in offensive firepower that comes with bidding adieu to a player who has led the NBA in points scored for five years running, who averaged 22.8 points in 28.2 minutes per game en route to winning 2010 tournament MVP honors , and who set an American Olympic tournament scoring record in London will obviously have a major impact on the U.S. squad. Coach K's bigger issue, though, seemed to be with the late-in-the-process timing of Durant's announcement, which left Krzyzewski and his staff with precious little opportunity to reconfigure their approach, according to Steve Aschburner of NBA.com : “We had a whole camp building what we’re doing around him,” Krzyzewski said. “So that’s the very first thing: You had one of the great scorers at the [power forward position]. So how does that change your offense? That changes your offense immensely. “You have to do more to get your guards shots. I mean, these guards are really good, but they were complementing one another – Kevin with those guards. … Now we have to look at developing our inside and getting the guards more involved.” Developing that inside game might have gotten a bit harder on Thursday, as center DeMarcus Cousins went down with a right knee injury during Team USA's first practice since Paul George suffered a horrific broken leg during a showcase scrimmage that closed the team's Las Vegas training camp. Thankfully, the Sacramento Kings big man's injury was nowhere near as severe — an MRI revealed no structural damage, USA Basketball officials listed Cousins as "day-to-day" and Boogie himself later tweeted to assure fans he's fine — but with the likes of George, Kevin Love , Blake Griffin and now Durant out of the mix, the U.S. can ill afford additional frontcourt injuries that put an even greater strain on the backcourt. Or, y'know, maybe that's not true. Remember, this isn't your average team's backcourt — this is some combination of James Harden, Stephen Curry, a back-in-business Derrick Rose, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard ... you get the idea. "Our guard play is amazing," Atlanta Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver, who could go to Spain as Team USA's designated zone-buster, told Aschburner on Thursday. "And that’s going to be the strength of our team now. A lot of what we do is going to be predicated off of our guard play. … I don’t think we’re going to get to the end of the shot-clock much.” The hope, then, is that Team USA's guards can handle the heavy lifting on both ends of the court — pressuring opposing ball-handlers up top to create live-ball turnovers that fuel the U.S.' open-court transition game, drilling enough 3-pointers from behind the shortened FIBA 3-point arc to pull defenders away from the rim, and using their off-the-bounce quickness and creativity to blow past their marks on the perimeter to get to the basket at will. If Krzyzewski can get enough productivity and pace-setting from his guards, and enough rim protection and rebounding from a frontcourt led by Anthony Davis and (based on reports of his impressive activity in camp) the Denver Nuggets' Kenneth Faried, that would decrease the two-way burden on the tweener forwards expected to step in for Durant and George, like Chandler Parsons of the Dallas Mavericks, Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz and the most recent addition to the U.S. training camp roster, Kings forward Rudy Gay, who was part of the 2010 squad that won gold in Istanbul, but isn't exactly a ready replacement for the best scorer in the world. “I wish I could play like the MVP,” Gay said Thursday . “No, I’m not coming here to fill his footsteps. I just want to play hard and help this team get a W. I’m not going to do it just like him.” Short of getting that dude who just moved back to Cleveland to break off his vacation in Greece and lace 'em up, nobody is. The question, though, is whether what's left on the roster is potent and varied enough to get the U.S. through to a gold-medal matchup and, if the bracket plays out as many expect it to, past a revenge-minded , very good and very big Spanish squad in the championship game. If Coach K and company can't shuffle the deck satisfactorily enough in the next couple of weeks to answer it in the affirmative, the result could be something even more surprising than Durant's late-in-the-game opt-out: the United States' first loss in a major international tournament since September of 2006 . - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.

Sides both unnamed and on record continue to speak out on the Greg Monroe/Eric Bledsoe dramas (Ball Don't Lie)
(Tue, 12 Aug 2014 14:55:02 PDT)
Back to school fervor (gross) is in full swing, the days are getting shorter and it’s even downright chilly in some parts of the American Midwest – there’s still some summer left, but all the signs are there. Training camp is seven weeks away, which makes this the absolute midpoint of the NBA’s free agent season; and in two notable cases we’re right where we started in early July, even if certain camps claim the opposite. Detroit Pistons forward Greg Monroe and Phoenix Suns hybrid guard Eric Bledsoe are restricted free agents that are currently without a team, workers without a contract offer from another squad, and (to hear the players tell it) viable or even tangible offers from their incumbent outfits. Both Monroe and Bledsoe are very talented but somewhat flawed players who would look just fine as a second or third option on a good team, but with the initial wave of free agency long ago washed to the shore, these two have been left standing in staid water. Teams declined to waste their time offering Monroe (a clever scorer near or away from the basket) or Bledsoe (an emerging all-around talent at the NBA’s new and most fashionable position) a deal. Contract agreements for their probable value as unrestricted free agents would eventually be matched by Phoenix and Detroit, but not after the Suns and Pistons took a valuable and needed 72 hours of the other team’s free-agent time as they pursued options. It may not feel like it now, but in July entire franchises can be turned on their ear in half as many minutes. As a result, Bledsoe and the Suns are miles apart on figures, and a report out of Detroit was tossed out to warn the Pistons that Monroe could play for the qualifying offer next season, and become an unrestricted free agent in 2015, leaving Detroit for no compensation. Detroit and Phoenix, in the catbird seat with no real reason to bid against themselves, are in no big hurry to end this anytime soon; because even though the NBA ( smartly ) moved up its deadline to decide to Oct. 1, these franchises are using restricted free agency properly. For now, at least. First, let’s check in with that source around Monroe, who spoke to Vincent Goodwill at the Detroit News recently : While the Pistons big man has not pursued an offer sheet from another team, he has pursued sign-and-trade possibilities, and Monroe is “definitely” willing to take the one-year qualifying offer worth $5.3 million from Detroit in order to ensure his unrestricted free agency next summer, a source familiar with Monroe’s thinking told The Detroit News. The source went on to say that Monroe “likes” new Pistons president and coach Stan Van Gundy, and “likes what he says,” and it isn’t as if the Pistons have been completely ignoring Monroe during this offseason – they met with him at the outset of free agency. Still, Monroe was a little testy in response to the rumor that the Pistons have offered him either a five-year, $60 million deal, or a four-year, $58 million deal: " @millerfootball5 : Come on @M10OSE how can you reject a 5 year 60 million deal" < cant reject anything that was not offered to me...carry on — Greg Monroe (@M10OSE) August 10, 2014 @IamSimonHanna wasnt offered that either... — Greg Monroe (@M10OSE) August 10, 2014  In a lot of ways, it makes quite a bit of sense for Monroe to take the QO. We’ve discussed this at length before , but he’ll have myriad options as an unrestricted free agent in 2015. Working for “just” $5.3 million next season is clearly below his true market value, but even a frustrating, down year for him in 2014-15 should still result in several too-eager teams with plenty of cap space and few “star” options to chase pouncing on Monroe for as much money as they have available. We forget, as Sensible August sways along, just how ridiculous Stupid July can get. Detroit has fallback options should Van Gundy fall madly in love with Monroe and his game while observing from up close. They’ll be able to offer Greg more money than anyone else next summer should he take the QO/unrestricted free agent route. On the opposite end of that track is the idea that Van Gundy and the new Pistons regime are only smitten with Monroe to a point – would they be terribly crestfallen if some other competitor laughably overpays Greg Monroe next summer? Even if it meant losing him for no compensation? Even the disparate possibilities have value here. As would any possible trade involving a third team like the Philadelphia 76ers, taking in draft picks in exchange for helping a team like, say, the Atlanta Hawks clear cap space to encourage a deal. The issue on that end, in the wake of the Golden State Warriors gutting their draft future in order to acquire Andre Iguodala, is that these draft selections are now being overvalued to the point of absurdity. It’s also why, to the most appalling of optimists, the Pistons letting Monroe go for nothing next summer can be argued away: Detroit did get value in employing Monroe for five (admittedly unsuccessful) years on a cheapo rookie deal. On the Bledsoe/Suns side of things, the noise is coming from the opposite direction. From the owner (er, sorry, “managing partner”) of the Suns, Robert Sarver. He’s on record, as well, in talking to Paul Coro at AZcentral.com : Six weeks into free agency, Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver expressed how he still wants to sign Bledsoe to a long-term contract with the Suns. He also just wants to be able to talk to Bledsoe. “We value Eric as a player,” Sarver said. “I hope at some point we’ll be able to sit down and meet with those guys and make a deal…. “Maybe that’s just posturing and negotiating,” Sarver said of the reports (that the Suns relationship with Bledsoe soured). “We haven’t heard from the guy in four months, so I couldn’t tell you. I do know that when he played here, he felt good about the organization, his coaching staff and his teammates at the end of the season. We had the same feelings toward him.” ESPN’s Chris Broussard informed viewers recently that the relationship between the Suns and Bledsoe was “going downhill,” and it’s always a possibility ( despite the source ) that Bledsoe could figure to be the first truly disgruntled signee or qualifying offer-grabber to return to his team in the wake of extended restricted free agency negotiations. Eric’s not a disgruntled sort of dude, but it was bound to happen sometime. If it happens. The Suns actually have presented Bledsoe with a four-year, $48 million offer, which seems low at the outset but something that you can talk yourself into once you remember Bledsoe’s two meniscus tears, his iffy numbers when running the Phoenix offense without Goran Dragic last season, and similar contracts signed by other guards of his current (Bledsoe has considerable potential) ilk. The issue for Bledsoe is not only the disparity between that figure and what he thinks he’s worth, but the calculated indifference 29 other NBA teams sent his way this summer. New’ish Suns general manager Ryan McDonough took great pains last season to throw the scent off when asked about Bledsoe’s impending restricted free-agent turn, coming just short of guaranteeing that his Suns would match just about any massive offer sent Bledsoe’s way. This has clearly scared teams off, as McDonough’s forward-thinking paid off. It seemed an intelligent bit of calculation on the Suns’ part, but it’s always hard to calculate for August, September, and what could happen if Bledsoe returns for the four-year deal after capitulating, or if he decides to take his own qualifying offer of $3.7 million. These are individuals with feelings that are sometimes unable to be modified or controlled in spite of friendly intentions, and Bledsoe can’t be expected (despite nice, if not value-approximate, compensation) to be a good soldier merely because Roy Hibbert (in signing with another team and returning) and Ben Gordon (in signing the QO) played things cheerfully the next season. Shockingly, after all this waiting, we still have a while to work with. Another month and a half, even. As always, it’s a long NBA summer. UPDATE: Some 1300 words later, USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt is reporting that Monroe, indeed, has decided to accept the Pistons' qualifying offer of over $5.7 million, making him an unrestricted free agent in the 2015 offseason. Monroe's trade options are limited in 2013-14, and the Pistons will still have until Oct. 1 to finagle a sign-and-trade for Monroe if he decides not to put the pen to paper until the last minute. More from NBA.com: - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops

Draft Guide Preview: MPG (Rotoworld)
(Sat, 09 Aug 2014 02:46:00 PDT)
Minutes per game drive fantasy value and that's why they're a cornerstone of our Draft Guide. Aaron Bruski has the preview.

US men's basketball chooses 16 roster finalists (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 06 Aug 2014 06:25:15 PDT)
Paul George's broken right leg has already created questions about the future of NBA players in international competitions. The Americans' immediate concerns are his health, and what they have to do to win without him. The Americans have 16 players left in their roster pool after cutting three Tuesday - and 25 days to determine which of them can fill the role that George would have handled. ''He's a guy that would demand significant minutes ... even on a U.S. team, where he probably would've been a starter,'' coach Mike Krzyzewski said during a conference call, noting that George could have played some power forward along with small forward.

USA cut basketball World Cup roster to 16
(Tue, 05 Aug 2014 08:24:06 PDT)
(Reuters) - Washington Wizards guards John Wall and Bradley Beal and Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap were cut by USA Basketball on Tuesday as they pared down to 16 finalists for the 12-man team for this month's World Cup in Spain. The 20-player pool had already lost Indiana Pacers forward Paul George, who suffered a compound fracture of his lower right leg while playing in a scrimmage on Friday.

USA Basketball cuts three players to reduce World Cup pool to 16 (Yahoo Sports)
(Mon, 04 Aug 2014 16:41:28 PDT)
John Wall, Bradley Beal, Paul Millsap were cut as USA Basketball shapes its roster for the World Cup.

The 2014 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot featured lots of sweet dunking, trick-shot-making challenges (Videos) (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 04 Aug 2014 10:46:45 PDT)
The NBA's annual Rookie Photo Shoot would be wonderful enough if all it gave us was awkward still shots of each year's Kelly Olynyk . In recent years, though, the photo opp has turned into an impromptu dunk contest , with members of the rookie class strutting their stuff, showcasing their springs and instantly sharing the fruits of their labors via social media. The rooks added an extra wrinkle to this summer's mid-shoot exhibition — a bit of a "can you top this?" competition featuring direct Twitter challenges. It all seems to have started with Minnesota Timberwolves second-rounder Glenn Robinson III calling out his new teammate , lottery-pick high-flyer Zach LaVine, to top this 360-degree windmill dunk: As you might expect, given the UCLA product's résumé , LaVine accepted, pulling off this off-the-wall, through-the-legs righty throwdown: ... before paying the challenge forward to No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins, rocking ( for now , at least) the wine and gold of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The former Kansas standout responded in kind, making the act of getting airborne, spinning, switching hands behind your back and finishing look entirely too easy: Here's another look at that from the baseline: Wiggins kicked the challenge over to fellow Canadian and Phoenix Suns point guard Tyler Ennis, who ... well, took things in a different direction. (More on that in a sec.) The dunking displays didn't stop, though, with Sacramento Kings guard Nik Stauskas getting creative on the floor before getting in the air: ... and Boston Celtics point man Marcus Smart showing some power with the off-the-bounce double-pump reverse: ... and Charlotte Hornets power forward Noah Vonleh looking awful springy in those super-cool purple-and-teal duds : ... and Toronto Raptors mystery man Bruno Caboclo displaying his remarkable wingspan with a through-the-legs reverse: There was also quite a bit of teamwork at the shoot, with multiple freshmen-to-be showing off their love of the extra pass to set up a fellow rook for a furious finish. The young Wolves who lit the candle on the competition showed their love of sharing, with Robinson III setting up LaVine: ... and LaVine returning the favor: Celtics draftee Smart set aside future Atlantic Division beef to set up Brooklyn Nets second-rounder Markel Brown, his former Oklahoma State teammate, for a whirling slam: Atlanta Hawks big man Adreian Payne got to be the beneficiary of multi-pass work on a couple of occasions, with Orlando Magic point guard Elfrid Payton and Los Angeles Lakers power forward Julius Randle doing the honors once: ... and a handful of fellow rooks — Payton, New York Knicks wing Cleanthony Early, Celtics swingman James Young, Randle and Magic forward Aaron Gordon — setting him up for another: The crispest three-way dance came courtesy of former Michigan men Stauskas, Oklahoma City Thunder big man Mitch McGary and Robinson III: McGary proved to be quite a nimble facilitator for a 6-foot-10, 255-pounder, offering a soccer-inspired feed to fellow OKC draft pick and future D-Leaguer Josh Huestis: McGary's most triumphant work, however, came in this unparalleled feat of athleticism and acrobatics: Not to be outdone, the Magic's Gordon showcased the brand of panache that leaves children's ankles pulverized with this off-the-wall homage to Michael Finley : I'm not sure that tops McGary's flawless floor work, but it's an admirable attempt, if nothing else. Back to the aforementioned Ennis: Since the Suns point guard couldn't match his north-of-the-border-bro Wiggins in feats of aerial assault, he decided to introduce H-O-R-S-E style shot-making into the proceedings: Ennis' trip behind the basket opened the door for some of the not-quite-as-high-flying members of the Class of 2014 to get in on the fun. Rodney Hood of the Utah Jazz checked in from the not-so-short corner: Chicago Bulls sharpshooter Doug McDermott offered his spin on Kobe Bryant's favorite H-O-R-S-E shot : The San Antonio Spurs' Kyle Anderson got a little trickier (and, to be fair, a little closer, too) with his take: Jabari Parker, the No. 2 overall pick of the Milwaukee Bucks, went behind the back: ... and Miami Heat point guard Shabazz Napier topped him by making Parker's short shot from long distance (albeit on his sixth try ): And last, but certainly not least, here's recuperating Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, walking boot and all, taking a page out of the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's book: Hi, Rihanna . My personal quick picks for best of the bunch: the Smart-to-Brown Oklahoma State connection, the Michigan three-man weave, Napier's behind-the-back heave and, of course, McGary's tumble. Feel free to share yours in the comments below. - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.

Paul George thinks Pacers lost their title hopes after first losing their edge (Yahoo Sports)
(Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:54:17 PDT)
Paul George is still miffed over how the Pacers ended their season.

Mavs sign F Ivan Johnson after year in China (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:54:06 PDT)
DALLAS (AP) -- The Dallas Mavericks have signed forward Ivan Johnson after he started all five games for their summer league team.

Kyle Korver was traded in 2003 for a copy machine, kind of (Ball Don't Lie)
(Tue, 29 Jul 2014 13:49:04 PDT)
It’s hard to consider, in an era where the Milwaukee Bucks can be sold for half a billion dollars and the Los Angeles Clippers can fetch a $2 billion asking price even with absolutely no leverage on their side, but we’re not that far removed from NBA teams doing everything they can to pinch every penny. The lackluster world economy in 2003 had quite a bit to do with it, but even a Finals-contending New Jersey Nets team wasn’t above selling draft picks over a decade ago just to pay for a Summer League inclusion and soon-to-be-outmoded office equipment. Former Nets general manager Rod Thorn relayed as much in a Grantland feature fixated on Atlanta Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver, who was selected by the Nets just 11 years ago and dealt to Philadelphia so that the Nets’ front office could tidy up their finances. From Zach Lowe’s report : With none of their preferred choices on the board, the Nets brass selected Creighton forward Kyle Korver with the 51st pick — and immediately sold his draft rights to the Sixers for $125,000. That covered summer league. With the leftover cash, the Nets bought a new copy machine. The Nets were past the era of the Secaucus Seven counting every bit of scratch, but even following two straight Finals runs the recently-deceased former owner Lewis Katz still didn’t want to bother with Korver in the face of six figurers’ worth of cash. With Paccelis Morlende and Remon Van de Hare sandwiching Korver with the 50th and 52nd picks, it’s understandable that the Nets thought Korver expendable. Even if, bloody hell, he would have been fantastic next to Jason Kidd on the Nets. As Lowe points out , Korver blossomed in Philadelphia, initially finding success alongside Allen Iverson by making himself available for the easy pass in transition. Korver’s career also straddled the line between the modern NBA, and the thankfully-passed days of yore when Larry Brown and Doug Collins-types talked up 18-footers like they were worth 10 points a pop. From his feature : It’s a telling contrast with Korver’s first season in Philly, when Randy Ayers, the team’s head coach, pushed Korver away from the 3-point arc. Ayers wanted his rookie to develop a midrange game and attack the basket before launching triples. p>That changed when Philly fired Ayers and hired Jim O’Brien, late of the Celtics, before Korver’s second season in 2004-05. In the team’s very first practice, Allen Iverson ran a two-on-one fast break with Korver filling the wing. Iverson dished to Korver behind the 3-point arc. Korver took two dribbles, nailed a 17-footer, and waited for the applause. O’Brien was livid. He screamed for Korver to look down at the 3-point line. O’Brien told him that if Korver ever passed up another open 3-pointer, he would remove him from the game. Korver remembers one thought flying through his head during O’Brien’s tirade: This is awesome. Thankfully for Korver, he missed both Brown and Collins’ tenures in Philadelphia, finding success with the Sixers, the Utah Jazz, the Chicago Bulls and currently the Atlanta Hawks. Korver led the league in True Shooting Percentage last season while hitting an astounding 47 percent behind the three-point arc. That figure nearly matches the 48 percent mark that Korver hit during his final season in Creighton, working off of a shorter three-point line some 11 years ago. As Lowe explains , Korver’s game has developed as the league grew up around him. To these eyes, he remains an underrated defender, and his ability to draw the defense and make the extra pass reminds of Reggie Miller’s semi-career resurgence in the early part of the last decade. Korver is much more than a specialist, even as he works his way into his mid-30s. That still doesn’t take away from the mind-boggling fact that outfits in New Jersey, Philadelphia, Utah and especially Chicago all let Korver go merely to save money. The Jazz thought him redundant with rookie Gordon Hayward (who shot 30 percent on three-pointers last season and will make nearly $8.5 million more than Korver next season) on board. Philly dealt him for an expiring deal, and the Bulls declined to make an offer for Korver in 2012 after gaining the excuse to go cheap after Derrick Rose’s injury. He’s highly valued in Atlanta, where he’s actually taking fewer three-pointers per minute than in his rookie season, but working expertly in the Hawks’ space-laden system. Korver turned 33 toward the end of 2013-14, but his game features to age well. Even over a decade after his draft night, there’s just nobody like him. You can’t copy a guy like Kyle Korver. (Sorry about that last line.) - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops

Eric Bledsoe: 'I can understand the Phoenix Suns are using restricted free agency against me' (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:17:37 PDT)
Eric Bledsoe got to play starter's minutes last season for the first time after a summertime trade from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Phoenix Suns, and he quickly proved deserving of the opportunity. The tough, explosive guard was one of just six players to average at least 17.5 points, 5.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game last season; the other five were the league's MVP (Kevin Durant) and runner-up (LeBron James), two perennial All-Stars (James Harden and Russell Westbrook) and arguably the best guard in the Eastern Conference last year (Kyle Lowry). He was a two-way menace who paired with Goran Dragic to give first-year coach Jeff Hornacek one of the league's best backcourts, a hard-charging duo that helped propel the Suns from basement dwellers to the  brink of a playoff berth in a brutal Western Conference. Bledsoe's breakout campaign was limited to just 43 games and 1,416 minutes by January surgery to remove a piece of the meniscus in his right knee. But despite the worrying nature of a second meniscus surgery in 27 months, the Kentucky product looked just as quick, strong and productive after returning from the procedure, and looked to be in line for a big-time payday as he entered free agency this summer. As we near August, though, a full four weeks after the NBA's annual free-agent frenzy began, that payday has yet to come. Multiple reports indicate that Phoenix has offered a four-year contract worth $48 million, the same deal that Lowry got , while Bledsoe and agent Rich Paul want a five-year max offer that could top $80 million. The bad news for Bledsoe is that there doesn't appear to be any reason for the Suns to get into his preferred price range; all's quiet on the Bledsoe front, because the 24-year-old is a restricted free agent, governed by a different set of rules than those players who hit the market free and clear. Bledsoe gets why things are taking so long ... but that doesn't mean he likes it. From Kyle Burger of WVTM-TV in Bledsoe's hometown of Birmingham, Ala. "First off, I'm going to let my agent handle it," Bledsoe said [of the contract negotiations] while attending a "Ball Up" streetball tournament in Birmingham. "I can understand the Phoenix Suns are using restricted free agency against me. But I understand that." There wasn't any malice, really, in the way the quiet and soft-spoken Bledsoe offered that assessment. It was a flat statement of fact, and it's not wrong — the Suns have just about all the leverage, leaving Bledsoe mostly to sit and wait. As Larry Coon explains in his  NBA Salary Cap FAQ , "An unrestricted free agent is free to sign with any other team, and there's nothing the player's original team can do to prevent it. Restricted free agency gives the player's original team the right to keep the player by matching a contract the player signs with another team. This is called the 'right of first refusal.'" As BDL Editor Kelly Dwyer wrote in November , restricted free agency exists largely to help front-office decision-makers, allowing them to pass on bidding against themselves for players near the end of their rookie-scale contracts in favor of exploring the league-wide market for a player's services before making a long-term decision. This can come back to bite you. The Utah Jazz, for example, now probably wish they'd given Gordon Hayward the "deal in the four-year, $50-million plus range" he sought last summer, rather than letting him hit restricted free agency and eventually having to match a four-year, $63 million offer sheet . But while the Jazz might be kicking themselves for not getting a deal done early after having three years of time to weigh the value of a player they drafted, the Suns had seen Bledsoe in purple and orange for all of one game before the deadline to offer him an extension of his rookie contract. First-year Suns general manager Ryan McDonough decided instead that he'd use the leverage afforded him by restricted free agency — and by his work to clean up the Suns' salary-cap sheet by getting rid of big money and/or long-term deals for  Jared Dudley , Caron Butler , Michael Beasley and Marcin Gortat — to let Bledsoe sing for his supper. If McDonough didn't like the tune, then he would have avoided larding up the books with a pricey deal for a player who didn't take well to an increased role. If everything sounded sweet, he could match any offer a competitor made, keeping a valuable contributor at the market rate. As it turned out, things broke just about perfectly for McDonough; he does like Bledsoe, and a month into the offseason, nobody has tested just how much he wants to keep his rising star guard in the fold. Maybe that's because McDonough said all along that the Suns will match any offer for Bledsoe, leading prospective poachers to decide they'd just be wasting their time. Maybe it's because there weren't very many suitors due to league-wide depth at the point. Maybe it's because the teams who might've been in the Bledsoe market got spooked by the prospect of offering him a max deal after that second meniscus surgery. Maybe some teams have lingering questions about how effective Bledsoe would be as a full-time lone lead guard, given that the Suns' offense — fantastic when Bledsoe and Dragic played together, scoring an average of 108.4 points per 100 possessions according to NBA.com's stat tool, which would have been the league's fifth-best mark over the full season — fell apart when Dragic sat (just 100.4-per-100, which would've finished 24th) but kept cooking when Bledsoe wasn't available (108-per-100, which would've been eighth). Maybe it's because the collective bargaining agreement provides a three-day window after you sign a restricted free agent to an offer sheet for their previous employer to exercise that "right of first refusal" — a 72-hour period during which you can't spend that promised money elsewhere, and that could end with your other free-agent targets getting snapped up by competitors. (As Grantland's Zach Lowe wrote last week , that period can actually last even longer than three days, too.) Maybe it's a bit of all of the above. Whatever the explanation, the reality is that there haven't been any bites, and that after a month of free-agent shopping, there aren't very many teams with enough cap space left to throw a heavy deal at Bledsoe. The Philadelphia 76ers, who have about $31.85 million on the books for the year ahead, could offer Bledsoe a max contract without blinking, but Sam Hinkie and company are less interested in adding big-time future money for players who could help them win more games this year than they are being inexpensive, collecting another high lottery pick and seeing where cheap internal development will lead them. The Milwaukee Bucks still have a little over $10 million in cap room and could create more by jettisoning some unguaranteed salaries, but look to be a long way from tendering the kind of offer that might make Phoenix blanch and have decided to round out their guard rotation with short-term, short-money deals (Kendall Marshall and, reportedly, Jerryd Bayless). Ditto for the Orlando Magic (Ben Gordon, Luke Ridnour, Willie Green) and Atlanta Hawks (Shelvin Mack, Kent Bazemore). The team most likely to offer Bledsoe an eight-figure deal, then, is the one that currently employs him ... and Phoenix won't outbid itself by $32 million just to be nice. That said, Bledsoe isn't entirely without options. He could work to negotiate a shorter deal that would limit the Suns' financial outlay while allowing him to hit free agency again in a couple of summers, like LeBron James and Lance Stephenson have this offseason. And if he can't come to terms with the Suns, he could sign his qualifying offer, play the 2014-15 season for $3,726,966 , and hit the market next summer as a completely unrestricted free agent. Such options — including that dicey last one — would represent Bledsoe taking something of a loss in his first crack at a lucrative post-rookie contract, and would sacrifice the prospect of long-term financial stability, which you'd think might matter to someone who has had two meniscus surgeries since coming into the pros. But they'd also represent Bledsoe and his representatives gambling that he's only going to get better and put up bigger numbers with more opportunities in the Suns' go-go offense — even after the addition of fellow restricted free agent point man Isaiah Thomas — and put himself in position to lock up that full max deal as soon as he hits the market unrestricted. As ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne wrote last winter in a great feature on Bledsoe, "In Bledsoe's mind, it is never wrong to bet on himself." We might soon learn just how much he's willing to wager in his first crack at big-time dollars. In the meantime, the Suns still hold just about all the cards, including the "right of first refusal" trump, and Bledsoe can't do much besides stew at the rules of this particular high-stakes game. - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.

Atlanta's Paul Millsap added to Team USA roster (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 19:34:29 PDT)
Paul Millsap has long been one of the more underappreciated players in the NBA, a do-it-all forward who has toiled in anonymity while playing in Utah and Atlanta. Now he's going to get a chance to really make a name for himself with Team USA. Millsap was invited to Team USA's training camp Sunday, with chairman Jerry Colangelo hoping the Hawks forward's versatility will help the team's frontcourt that has been hurt by several high-profile withdrawals in recent weeks. ''Paul has prior experience at the national team level having participated in the 2009 national team mini-camp and offers us veteran inside player who possesses attributes that can be beneficial for us,'' Colangelo said.

National Basketball Association roundup
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 18:00:51 PDT)
(The Sports Xchange) - Byron Scott said in a television interview that he is the new coach of the Los Angeles Lakers but the team insisted that an agreement has not yet been reached. ESPN reported Saturday that the Lakers and Scott agreed on a four-year, $17 million deal. The Lakers hold a team option on the final year of the deal. I always wanted to coach the Lakers, especially when I got to coaching.

U.S. adds Paul Millsap to pool of World Cup players (Yahoo Sports)
(Sun, 27 Jul 2014 15:02:16 PDT)
Hawks forward Paul Millsap could help offset the loss of Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge.

Hawks sign first-round pick Adreian Payne (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 25 Jul 2014 14:38:25 PDT)
ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Hawks have signed power forward Adreian Payne, the team's first-round pick last month.

NBA Offenses by the Numbers (Rotoworld)
(Mon, 21 Jul 2014 16:41:00 PDT)
Ryan Knaus digs deep into each NBA team's offensive repertoire, including play types, in the latest edition of The Numbers Game.

Oklahoma City's Thunder decline to celebrate Seattle's 1979 championship with a jersey patch (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 21 Jul 2014 12:05:35 PDT)
It was recently revealed that a change is due to the uniforms of the 17 NBA teams that have won an NBA championship in the league’s history. Well, 16 of the 17 teams, but we’ll get to that in a second. The back of the uniforms will project a gold band signifying the franchise’s championship past and number of titles on the collar of each jersey, with the NBA also tossing its own logo to the back in order to make way for advertisements on the front of the jersey because the NBA values money over aesthetics and don’t ever forget that. Meanwhile, the owners of the Oklahoma City Thunder also value money over aesthetics, and James Harden, making that clear as day when they lied to fans of the team when it played out of Seattle, and left to set up shop in Oklahoma City as soon as former commissioner David Stern deemed it NBA-legal. Many of those fans in Seattle celebrated the NBA champion that played in Washington during the 1978-79 season, but the Thunder won’t be celebrating that team’s title run with a gold patch. Just to rub it in a little bit, I suppose. From the Oklahoman, who talked with the NBA’s director of outfitting, one Christopher Arena : “As of right now, they are not wearing it,” Arena said. “They actually would have had to have told us that some time ago, and that was their choice. We have several teams who have a lineage that exists prior to the city that they’re in ...Some teams embrace that past, some teams don’t. Whether it’s because of ownership changes or perhaps the lineage is too great of a distance or the team nickname changed or whatever it may be, that’s their decision.” Cody Stavenhagen went on to note that other teams in new cities – both the Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings – will be honoring their championship past with the gold stamp. The Kings, not unlike the Thunder, also changed colors and the team’s name when they moved, but still decided to embrace its roots. The Oklahoma City Thunder’s owners? Not so much. There is likely a rather vocal subset of Seattle SuperSonics fans that would want nothing to do with the team’s lone Finals win being celebrated on OKC jerseys, but that’s not the point in this instance. The least the Thunder’s owners could do is throw a bone to the community that it lied to prior to failing to make an honest attempt to keep the team in Seattle. The team has apparently decided not to. In the NBA’s latest and crassest attempt to cram more money into its coffers, the Oklahoma City Thunder still managed to come off as the crassest of all. Well done, gentlemen. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops

Free-agent roundup: Jimmer gets another shot, Mavs ink Summer League star, backup point guards ahoy (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 18 Jul 2014 14:33:59 PDT)
Like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of the post-star-and-significant-role-player-signing-period of NBA free agency. Let's continue our consideration of the smaller deals getting worked out in the league, beginning with a trip to the Big Easy. *** • The New Orleans Pelicans added three perimeter players to fill out their wing rotation, agreeing to terms with free agents Jimmer Fredette and John Salmons, and bringing back Darius Miller. Fredette, the 25-year-old former BYU superstar and No. 10 pick in the 2011 NBA draft, will receive a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum of $981,084 , according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein . Salmons, 34, will earn $2 million on a one-year deal to join his sixth team in 13 NBA seasons, according to Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com . Terms of Miller's deal were not disclosed, according to Brett Martel of The Associated Press ; as John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune notes , the Pelicans declined to extend a $1.15 million qualifying offer to the 24-year-old Miller, whom New Orleans selected in the second round of the 2012 draft, making it likely (as Dan Feldman of ProBasketballTalk surmised ) that Miller got a minimum deal of $915,243). While the Pelicans ranked sixth in the NBA in 3-point accuracy last season, knocking down 37.3 percent of their triples as a team, they ranked second-to-last in the league in makes and attempts per game. Whether you attribute this lack of long-distance proficiency more to head coach Monty Williams' offense, which has ranked in the bottom half of the league in long balls taken and drained in each of his four seasons on the bench, or to the horrendous plague of injuries that excised three of the Pelicans' top four 3-point shooters (Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon and Jrue Holiday) from the lineup for significant stretches, the fact remains that New Orleans desperately needed floor spacing and shot-making ... and that was before their top beyond-the-arc marksman, Anthony Morrow, skipped town for a new three-year deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Free-agent roundup: LeBron's shooting buddies head to Cleveland, Wizards add frontcourt depth and more (Ball Don't Lie)
(Wed, 16 Jul 2014 17:47:46 PDT)
While we're still seeing some larger contracts, like the ones agreed to by Dwyane Wade and Lance Stephenson , the smaller-scale deals continue to trickle in. Let's run through some of them, starting where everything seems to be starting in the NBA right about now — Cleveland, Ohio. *** • LeBron James is bringing a pair of his sharpshooting buddies with him to the Cleveland Cavaliers, as free-agent wings Mike Miller and James Jones both agreed to terms to once again let it fly alongside the King. Miller turned down more lucrative offers from the likes of the Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard , to accept what will be a two-year, $5.5 million deal with a player option for Year 2, according to Yahoo Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowki . Miller will make $2.7 million in 2014-15, with the option year carrying a slight pay raise up to $2.8 million, according to Tom Withers of The Associated Press . Jones, on the other hand, took a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum of $1,448,490 , according to Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal . In one sense, the moves are about adding floor-spacing 3-point shooting to a Cavaliers team that ranked 23rd among 30 NBA teams in points scored per possession last year, and 18th or worse in 3-point makes per game, attempts per game and accuracy, as well as the share of points they generated from beyond the arc. In another sense, the moves are about making LeBron happy by importing guys he likes. These two things are not unconnected. After having to act as a 1-4 flat one-man army in Cleveland before learning how much more wonderful life could be in an offense where other stuff was going on, James understands better than perhaps any other player just how valuable spacing and the threat of shooting can be for an offense. He loves to play with dudes that opponents have to guard 20-plus feet away from the basket, because it creates all kind of room for drives and post-ups inside; he loves playing with dudes who can drill the open shots they get, because he really enjoys dropping dimes; he loves forcing defenses to have to decide whether to commit extra resources to stopping him from getting to the interior or whether to stay at home and prevent getting relentlessly sniped from the short corners and the weak side on ball swings. Miller and Jones are two such dudes. Miller has shot 40.9 percent from deep over the course of his 14-year professional career, and after being amnestied by the Heat last summer — a luxury-tax-bill-reducing move that reportedly "disappointed" LeBron — he caught on with the Memphis Grizzlies on a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum. Against all odds, the famously forever-wounded Miller stayed healthy in his return trip to Tennessee, acting as the only Grizzly to appear in all 82 games — the first time he's done that since his 2000-01 Rookie of the Year turn with the Orlando Magic — and finishing second in the league in 3-point accuracy (45.9 percent) behind Atlanta Hawks marksman Kyle Korver (47.2 percent) for a Memphis squad that extended the Oklahoma City Thunder to seven games in the first round of the postseason. The 6-foot-8 Jones, a 40.3 percent 3-point shooter in his 11-year career, was largely excised from Erik Spoelstra's rotation for the bulk of the Big Three era, as the plethora of superior wing options led to Jones logging just 1,123 minutes over the past three regular seasons and only sharply limited minutes during the Heat's back-to-back title runs. He found himself back in vogue during Miami's first-round playoff matchup with the Charlotte Bobcats, though, getting 16 minutes a night and shooting 43.8 percent from 3-point land in the four-game sweep. After Spoelstra returned him to the shelf to start Round 2 against the Brooklyn Nets, LeBron made a public call for more Jones, as detailed by ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst : “We have to find some minutes for him, I don’t see why he shouldn’t play,” James said. “He’s huge for our team when he’s in the lineup.” Jones is 10-of-20 on 3-pointers in the playoffs and he and James complement each other well on the floor. Because Jones is an elite spot-up shooter, James likes to play on the same side of the floor and force defenses to choose between the two. When playing together in the playoffs, Jones and James have combined to shoot 56 percent from the field. [...] “The space James provides and his ability to shoot the ball is great for us,” James said. “You can’t do both when he’s out on the floor. You can’t help on my drives and contest 3-pointers on him. They have to keep an eye on him.” Jones got only spot minutes over the remainder of the Heat's playoff run, but the vote of confidence spoke volumes; as the wheels began to turn on James' return to Cleveland, reports began to circulate that the Cavs were targeting Jones , too. Miller's a more significant potential game-changer than Jones is, by virtue of his superior passing ability, rebounding acumen and defensive versatility; if he can pull the upset of staying upright for another 82 games, he'll give new Cavaliers head coach David Blatt a slew of small-ball lineup options. Whatever he and Jones are able to provide, though, the signal sent here is unmistakable: we're thrilled to have you back, LeBron, and since we only know for sure we've got you for the next year or two , we're going to try to surround you with shooters you like, with whom you've won championships and who make you happy, to try to play the way you like and win as much as we can, as fast as we can. Seems like a pretty solid strategy to me. *** • The Washington Wizards built out their frontcourt depth, bringing back Drew Gooden and agreeing to sign-and-trade deals to land veteran power forwards Kris Humphries and DeJuan Blair.

Thunder sign G Morrow (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 16 Jul 2014 12:42:18 PDT)
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The Oklahoma City Thunder say they have signed free-agent guard Anthony Morrow.

Hawks get Sefolosha in trade with Thunder (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 15 Jul 2014 18:36:16 PDT)
ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Hawks have acquired guard/forward Thabo Sefolosha in a sign-and-trade deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Free-agent roundup: Lakers, Rockets, Hornets turn to Plan B; OKC lands Morrow; Mavs nab Jefferson; etc. (Ball Don't Lie)
(Tue, 15 Jul 2014 13:39:24 PDT)
After LeBron James announced his choice to head back to Ohio on Friday afternoon, the free-agent dam burst, with plenty of players and teams whose activities were on hold while waiting for LeBron's move getting back to work and coming to terms in the hours thereafter and over the course of the weekend. We have already touched on some ; let's dig into some more now, starting in Los Angeles. *** • The Los Angeles Lakers agreed to bring back a pair of their own free agents, forward/center Jordan Hill and guard Nick Young, the inimitable (although I suppose that's not exactly true ) shot artist known as "Swaggy P." (I guess the billboard campaign worked.) The 6-foot-10-inch, 235-pound Hill got a two-year, $18 million contract with a team option for Year 2, according to Yahoo Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski . After playing the 2013-14 season for the veteran's minimum of just over $1.1 million, Swaggy receives a rich reward for leading the woeful Lakers in scoring — a four-year pact worth $21.5 million, according to Shams Charania of RealGM . Young's got a player option for the final year, allowing him to opt out and test free agency following the 2016-17 season, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com . ( Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com had the first word of Young's agreement.) These moves came on the heels of the Lakers' Friday trade importing Jeremy Lin, plus first- and second-round picks in the 2015 NBA draft , from the Houston Rockets in exchange for the rights to Ukrainian center Sergei Lishouk, cash considerations and the commitment to cover the 2014-15 balloon payment that Rockets general manager Daryl Morey built into the offer sheet that Lin signed back in the summer of 2012. (The New York Knicks declined to match Lin's sheet in part because of that wrinkle, which earns him a $15 million cash payout for the year ahead, even though he only counts for $8,374,646 against the salary cap .) As many Lakers fans and league observers noted, this represented Plan B for Mitch Kupchak and the Busses, after Los Angeles' attempt to woo free-agent scorer Carmelo Anthony proved unsuccessful . It lacks the panache and impact of adding a seven-time All-Star, but Mitch Kupchak did manage to fill up three roster spots with likely starters for roughly the same amount 'Melo will make next year. For a Lakers team that entered Friday with only three players (Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Robert Sacre) under guaranteed contract for the year ahead, plus a pair of rookies (Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson) and a couple of not-yet-firm commitments (the unguaranteed deal of point guard Kendall Marshall, the qualifying offer to 2013 draftee Ryan Kelly) on the books, that's something, at least.

Patterson hopes Raptors can continue winning (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 14 Jul 2014 15:42:46 PDT)
Patrick Patterson saw the Raptors bring back guards Kyle Lowry and Greivis Vasquez and coach Dwane Casey, and he wanted to stay along for the ride. So the 6-foot-9 forward re-signed with Toronto for a reported $18 million over three years in the hope that this past season's playoff run was just the start of something good. ''(We) still have that core group of guys that we can build on and have another successful year.'' The Raptors' turnaround began in December when they acquired Patterson, Vasquez, John Salmons and Chuck Hayes from Sacramento for Rudy Gay, Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy. In a statement announcing the deal over the weekend, general manager Masai Ujiri said the Raptors were ''very pleased with what Patrick brought to us both on the court and in the locker room last season.'' The feeling was mutual, so the 25-year-old restricted free agent felt little uncertainty about returning.

US chooses 19 players for men's basketball roster (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 14 Jul 2014 09:54:16 PDT)
Coach Mike Krzyzewski hopes Derrick Rose's NBA comeback begins in a USA uniform. Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, James Harden and Anthony Davis were the four holdovers from London, and there were new additions of Toronto's DeMar DeRozan and Chandler Parsons, who is leaving Houston for Dallas. Players will report to training camp this month in Las Vegas, where Rose will try to show he's recovered from his latest knee surgery. ''What we've heard is that he's in great shape.'' The rest of the roster: Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson (Golden State), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland), Blake Griffin (Clippers), Paul George (Indiana), Damian Lillard (Portland), Gordon Hayward (Utah), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento), Bradley Beal (Washington), Andre Drummond (Detroit), Kenneth Faried (Denver) and Kyle Korver (Atlanta).

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