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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:

NBA roundup: Love in Cleveland for long haul (The SportsXchange)
(Tue, 26 Aug 2014 15:51:48 PDT)
The newest member of new-look Cleveland Cavaliers was introduced to the media on Tuesday and Kevin Love said he is committed to playing for the team long term. The 25-year-old Love is a three-time NBA All-Star and completes a new-look Big 3 for Cleveland along with forward LeBron James and guard Kyrie Irving. Love spent his first six seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves. In exchange for Love, Minnesota received Cleveland's 2014 No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins and 2013 No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett.

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.

F Scott lands new deal with Hawks (The SportsXchange)
(Tue, 26 Aug 2014 08:04:12 PDT)
The Atlanta Hawks announced Tuesday that forward Mike Scott re-signed with the team.

NBA roundup: Wait almost over: Love deal nears (The SportsXchange)
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 15:41:23 PDT)
The 30-day waiting period on the Kevin Love trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers ends Saturday and the Minnesota Timberwolves expect to land Philadelphia 76ers power forward Thaddeus Young in addition to No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins, according to multiple reports. The Timberwolves agreed weeks ago to send Love, a power forward, to Cleveland where he will team up with forward LeBron James and point guard Kyrie Irving. The Cavs will become the instant favorite in the Eastern Conference.

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.

Hawks re-sign G Mack (The SportsXchange)
(Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:07:58 PDT)
The Atlanta Hawks re-signed guard Shelvin Mack, the team announced Friday. In 73 games for the Hawks last season (11 starts), Mack averaged 7.5 points, 3.7 assists (second on the team) and 2.2 rebounds in 20.4 minutes while ranking seventh in the NBA in assist/turnover ratio (3.04). Mack scored in double-figures 22 times and had one double-double, leading the team in assists 14 times and in scoring once. In three NBA seasons with Washington, Philadelphia and the Hawks, Mack has played in 168 games (14 starts), averaging 5.5 points, 2.8 assists and 1.7 rebounds in 16.0 minutes.

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.

Hawks add two to coaching staff (The SportsXchange)
(Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:40:40 PDT)
The Atlanta Hawks added Charles Lee and Ben Sullivan to the coaching staff, head coach Mike Budenholzer announced Wednesday. Lee, who spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach at Bucknell, was the 2006 Patriot League Player of the Year for the Bisons and ranks 22nd on the school's all-time scoring list. Sullivan most recently worked in basketball development and as an assistant video coordinator with the San Antonio Spurs. He played collegiately at Cal-State Northridge and Portland.

NBA roundup: Veteran ref Bavetta retires (The SportsXchange)
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 15:46:53 PDT)
Longtime NBA referee Dick Bavetta is hanging up his whistle after 39 years.

Cavs hire Drew as assistant (The SportsXchange)
(Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:20:46 PDT)
New Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt added NBA head coaching experience to his staff.

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 : “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 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 : 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 - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at 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.

NBA roundup: Miller, Jones know their Cavs roles (The SportsXchange)
(Wed, 06 Aug 2014 15:47:47 PDT)
The Cleveland Cavaliers introduced two role players to next season's team on Wednesday to go alongside LeBron James as they try bring the first title to the city in 50 years. Newly signed forwards Mike Miller and James Jones, who won back-to-back titles with James and the Miami Heat, know exactly why they were targeted by general manager David Griffin. "Our goal is to win a championship," Miller said during his introductory news conference at Cleveland Clinic Courts. I was able to be a part of an unbelievable ride in Miami and for us to have a second chance at that here in Cleveland is a blessing and we are excited about the opportunity."

Knicks, Kings make four-player deal (The SportsXchange)
(Wed, 06 Aug 2014 15:01:37 PDT)
The New York Knicks traded forward-center Jeremy Tyler, guard Wayne Ellington and the rights to their 2016 second-round draft selection to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday in exchange for forwards Quincy Acy and Travis Outlaw.

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.

NBA roundup: Team USA roster pared to 16 (The SportsXchange)
(Tue, 05 Aug 2014 16:40:06 PDT)
Team USA trimmed its roster to 16 players as it departs Las Vegas training camp and shifts gears to Chicago for workouts and an exhibition showcase with Brazil.

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.

Team USA cuts roster to 16 (The SportsXchange)
(Tue, 05 Aug 2014 08:19:56 PDT)
Team USA trimmed its roster to 16 players as it departs Las Vegas training camp and shifts gears to Chicago for workouts and an exhibition showcase with Brazil.

Reports: Wall, Beal, Millsap cut from Team USA (The SportsXchange)
(Mon, 04 Aug 2014 20:43:11 PDT)
Team USA Basketball officials will announce on Tuesday that Washington Wizards guards John Wall and Bradley Beal and Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap have been released from the team, multiple media outlets reported Monday.

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.

Hawks name Spahija assistant coach (The SportsXchange)
(Mon, 04 Aug 2014 11:10:05 PDT)
The Atlanta Hawks named Neven Spahija as an assistant coach Monday.

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 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.

Raptors sign Nogueira, Cherry (The SportsXchange)
(Sun, 03 Aug 2014 10:20:12 PDT)
The Toronto Raptors signed center Lucas Nogueira and guard Will Cherry on Sunday.

F Scott to re-sign with Hawks (The SportsXchange)
(Sat, 02 Aug 2014 16:38:41 PDT)
Forward Mike Scott is staying with the Atlanta Hawks.

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.

NBA roundup: Woman named union chief (The SportsXchange)
(Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:46:42 PDT)
Michele Roberts was elected executive director of the NBA Players Association nearly 18 months after Billy Hunter was ousted. NBA commissioner Adam Silver confirmed the move late Monday. ---Forty-year-old Steve Nash appears to be leaning toward next season to be his last in the NBA. The veteran point guard has battled injuries the past two years with the Los Angeles Lakers, missing 66 games last season and 32 in 2012-13.

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