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Ball Don’t Five: Top 5 players entering a make-or-break season (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 28 Aug 2015 13:14:46 PDT)
As we continue to work our way through the endless summer between the Finals and Opening Night, we'll pause each Friday to briefly consider and count down some NBA-related topic of note. We like starting lineups and round numbers, so we'll run through a handful of items each week. With a nod to our friends at Dr. Saturday , welcome to Ball Don't Five . This week's installment: The Top Five Players Entering a Make-or-Break Season. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] NOTE : I considered Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade, two injury-plagued superstars closer to the end of their careers than the onset, but their legacies are firmly intact. Derrick Rose came to mind, but he’s owed $21.3 million next year, and while this season is important, he could only be broken, not made. Likewise, Anthony Bennett, who along with the rest of the 2013 NBA draft class remains under contract through 2016-17, could be made but not broken. So, instead I focused on the five players with the greatest discrepancy between what they stand to gain or lose in 2015-16.

Sources: Kings sign Marshall Henderson (Yahoo Sports)
(Thu, 27 Aug 2015 21:27:19 PDT)
The former Ole Miss star will attempt to make the Kings during training camp.

Chris Jent to coach Bakersfield Jam in D-League (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 27 Aug 2015 15:58:46 PDT)
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) -- Chris Jent will coach the Bakersfield Jam, the Phoenix Suns' affiliate in the NBA Development League.

Ex-NBA star Darryl Dawkins, aka 'Chocolate Thunder' has died (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 27 Aug 2015 15:49:43 PDT)
Darryl Dawkins was once summoned in the Philadelphia 76ers' locker room to come meet a celebrity who wanted to meet the man known for dunking with backboard-breaking force. The guest was Grammy Award winner Stevie Wonder. The entertainer is blind, yet even he could tell there was something very unique about Dawkins' game.

NBA-National Basketball Association roundup
(Mon, 24 Aug 2015 16:33:16 PDT)
Aug 24 (The Sports Xchange) - The Phoenix Suns will induct two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Steve Nash into the team's Ring of Honor this season. Nash will be honored on Friday, Oct. 30 at halftime of the Suns-Portland Trail Blazers game at Talking Stick Resort Arena, the team announced Monday. Nash led the Suns to their best record in franchise history in 2004-05, and earned back-to-back MVP awards in 2005 and 2006. -- The Houston Rockets re-signed guard Jason Terry. Terry, 37, played in 77 games for the Rockets last season, averaging 7.0 points, 1.9 assists and 1.6 rebounds in 21. ...

Ball Don't Five: Top 5 Great Teams That Never Won a Title (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 21 Aug 2015 13:02:57 PDT)
As we continue to work our way through the endless summer between the Finals and Opening Night, we'll pause each Friday to briefly consider and count down some NBA-related topic of note. We like starting lineups and round numbers, so we'll run through a handful of items each week. With a nod to our friends at Dr. Saturday , welcome to Ball Don't Five . This week's installment: The Top Five Great Teams That Never Won a Title [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] 5. Jerry West’s Los Angeles Lakers This is a cop-out, and not an entirely accurate description to boot. Jerry West’s Los Angeles Lakers won it all in 1972 after steamrolling the league in a regular season that saw the squad win a then-NBA record 69 games, which was nice. For 11 years prior, however, West’s Laker clubs routinely bowed out in the playoffs to either superior St. Louis, San Francisco or Milwaukee clubs, or in the Finals at the feet of the Boston Celtics. That’s 11-straight runs featuring West and Elgin Baylor and eventually Wilt Chamberlain at their peaks, with no ring to show for it until Bill Sharman put the team over the top in 1972.

Meet the NBA Players' Association's new sports science guru (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 19 Aug 2015 13:55:14 PDT)
Coming off a season in which star after star was lost to serious injury, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA Players' Association executive director Michele Roberts have made player health one of the top priorities to address this offseason. With that in mind, the union hired Joe Rogowski, a former athletic trainer and strength and conditioning coach with the Orlando Magic and the Houston Rockets, as the director of sports medicine and research.

James Harden and Adidas officially agree to $200m endorsement deal (Ball Don't Lie)
(Thu, 13 Aug 2015 16:20:22 PDT)

Adidas sign NBA star James Harden to '$200 million deal'
(Thu, 13 Aug 2015 14:40:40 PDT)
German sports giant Adidas on Thursday agreed a sponsorship deal with NBA superstar James Harden which was reported to be worth $200 million in a major blow to heavyweight rivals Nike. The contract for the 25-year-old Houston Rockets star takes effect from October 1 and is understood to span 13 years. Adidas said it would not divulge the value of the long-term deal although American sports network ESPN claimed it was worth $200m (180 million euros).

Cavaliers in finals rematch on Christmas day
(Wed, 12 Aug 2015 22:20:07 PDT)
LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will visit the defending champion Golden State Warriors in a Christmas Day rematch of last season's National Basketball Association final, the league announced on Wednesday. The NBA unveiled the 2015-16 schedule and the Christmas Day contest between James' Cavs and Stephen Curry's Warriors is just one of five holiday contests planned.

The best day of each month of the 2015-16 NBA regular season (Ball Don't Lie)
(Wed, 12 Aug 2015 19:30:54 PDT)

Hawks' Horford in Dominican Basketball without Borders camp (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 12 Aug 2015 09:23:14 PDT)
NEW YORK (AP) -- Atlanta Hawks star Al Horford of the Dominican Republic will take part when a Basketball without Borders camp goes to his home country for the first time.

Dante's Inferno (Rotoworld)
(Mon, 10 Aug 2015 00:01:00 PDT)
Ethan Norof looks at Dante Exum's injury, Kobe Bryant's future and the Phil Jackson Files in this week's Offseason Beat.

James Harden and Klay Thompson go toe-to-toe in Drew League playoffs (Ball Don't Lie)
(Sat, 08 Aug 2015 06:37:13 PDT)
In case you'd forgotten, Nick Young isn't the only NBA star who likes to show up and show out at the Drew League , Los Angeles' premier pro-am hoops run, which has grown over the last four decades from a six-squad league to a 28-team Nike-sponsored competition featuring drop-ins from high-level hoopers of all stripes. Los Angeles natives James Harden and Klay Thompson have also been known to get a sweat in at the Drew, and the two All-Star shooting guards — last seen locking horns during the Western Conference finals, when Thompson's Golden State Warriors toppled Harden's Houston Rockets en route to the NBA championship — went mano a mano in the first round of the Drew League playoffs last weekend, much to the delight of the L.A. faithful: [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] Behind a near-triple-double (15 points, nine rebounds, nine assists) from the NBPA's MVP and the NBA's runner-up , Harden's LAUNFD squad topped Thompson's C.A.B.C. side, 78-71, to advance to the Drew's semifinals on Saturday. It might not quite be equal vengeance for Thompson's Dubs ending the Rockets' season, but hey, the Beard will take what he can get. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ] LAUNFD will take on top-seeded Citi Team Blazers, led by guards Kyle Gibson and former NBA first-round pick Marcus Williams, in one semifinal matchup, while M.H.P. — featuring Swaggy P and Toronto Raptors All-Star DeMar DeRozan — takes on the full-court-pressing Hank's Houdini All-Stars in the other contest. With the summerlong tournament now reaching the end of the line, it's likely that it'll take more star-caliber performances — whether from NBA ballers or the best from outside the league — to secure both the league title and bragging rights for the long cold winter ahead. Hat-tip to Ananth Pandian at Eye on Basketball . - - - - - - - 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 Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.

China named 2019 basketball World Cup host
(Fri, 07 Aug 2015 11:44:28 PDT)
China has won the right to host the 2019 basketball World Cup, beating the Philippines in Friday's vote in Tokyo. The sport's international ruling body FIBA chose basketball-mad China following a presentation by the country's delegation, helped by former NBA giant Yao Ming. "I'm very excited to bring the 2019 World Cup to China," said the one-time Houston Rockets great, who represented China at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

LA Clippers sign Argentine veteran Pablo Prigioni (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 07 Aug 2015 08:28:01 PDT)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- - The Los Angeles Clippers signed guard Pablo Prigioni on Thursday. Prigioni agreed to the deal in principle two weeks ago with the Clippers, who signed the Argentine veteran for the veteran's minimum of $981,000. The 38-year-old Prigioni averaged 4.1 points, 1.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists last season for the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets.

USA Basketball's embarrassment of riches on display at 34-player Vegas minicamp (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 07 Aug 2015 08:22:03 PDT)
On Thursday, USA Basketball announced the list of players expected to attend in its three-day summer minicamp, set to begin Tuesday in Las Vegas. As anticipated, the 34-participant list includes a who's who of NBA stars, including eight members of the U.S. men's national team that won gold at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and 11 members of the 2014 FIBA World Cup-winning squad, which suggests that Team USA decision-makers Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski are going to have one heck of a time picking the final 12-man roster that will represent the red, white and blue at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] From USA Basketball's roster release: Added to the 2014-16 USA National Team roster and participating in the Aug. 11-13 USA National Team training camp are eight NBA standouts, including Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors); Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls); Michael Carter-Williams (Milwaukee Bucks); Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies); Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors); Tobias Harris (Orlando Magic); DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers); and Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic). USA National Team members confirmed for the 2015 Las Vegas minicamp include: LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs); Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks); Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards); DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings); Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors); Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans); DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors); Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder); Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets); Rudy Gay (Sacramento Kings); Paul George (Indiana Pacers); Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers); James Harden (Houston Rockets); Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz); Dwight Howard (Houston Rockets); Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers); LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers); Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs); Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers); Chandler Parsons (Dallas Mavericks); Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers); Mason Plumlee (Portland Trail Blazers); Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors); John Wall (Washington Wizards); and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder). “With this being a summer where we do not have an official competition that we need to prepare for, this year’s minicamp is an opportunity to continue and expand the brotherhood and camaraderie that has been built,” said Colangelo, who has served as managing director of the USA National Team since 2005. “It will be a celebration of all that we've accomplished with USA Basketball since the National Team program was formed in 2006 while also looking ahead to 2016. The minicamp is going to be low key with light workouts, no contact, and the USA Basketball Showcase on Aug. 13 will be a fun all-star type game." I think we're all in agreement that we don't really care how fun this summer's showcase is, so long as everybody makes it out in one piece . [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ] The 34-player roster represents a seven-participant cutdown from the 41-name list released last month . Gone from the final list are Dallas Mavericks point guard Deron Williams, owner of two gold medals from Team USA's wins in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012; '12 medalists Tyson Chandler of the Phoenix Suns and Andre Iguodala of the Golden State Warriors; and the Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose, who performed poorly on last summer's World Cup side , had an up-and-down 2014-15 NBA season marked by another knee surgery , and has likely worn his national team's colors for the last time . Others left off the final list include Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard, who recently said he didn't see a reason to attend after being cut from last summer's World Cup squad; Atlanta Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver, still rehabilitating from his season-ending ankle surgery ; his teammate, forward Paul Millsap, a late addition to the 2014 World Cup tryouts who didn't make the squad; and Boston Celtics forward David Lee. One of the eight previously reported training-camp additions, Utah Jazz point guard Trey Burke, didn't make it to the final invitee list, seemingly replaced in the process by the Bucks' Carter-Williams. The Jazz might not mind that too much, though, considering their recent run of misfortune related to their point guards playing for their national teams . The 6-foot-11 Jordan adds yet another elite big man to a group that already features World Cup standouts Davis and Cousins, 2008 gold medal center Howard, 2014 depth bigs Drummond and Plumlee, and five power forwards — Love, Griffin, Aldridge, Faried and the also-newly-added Green — who could play up a spot in the international game. Managing director Colangelo "has made attendance in Vegas mandatory for any player who wishes to be considered for the 2016 Olympic team," according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein , but that doesn't mean all 41 players will fully participate in the workouts. LeBron, for example, will attend USA Basketball's Monday meeting before heading back to Akron, Ohio, for his foundation's annual charity event . Ditto for the Pacers' George , who still has his sights set on suiting up in Rio even after shattering his leg during last summer's USA Basketball Showcase. A handful of All-Star participants recovering from season-ending surgeries — Anthony , Durant , Irving , Love and Parsons — have reportedly already been excused from on-court work, as well. “We recognize and understand that some of our players’ availability to participate is still up in the air," Colangelo said in a USA Basketball statement . "Some players are coming off of injuries and are not yet ready to actively participate, or they are getting ready for their NBA seasons. So, it’s a good thing that we don’t have a competition to get ready for this summer." But even with no tournament this summer — the U.S. is exempt from this summer's FIBA Americas Tournament and earns an automatic bid to the 2016 Olympics by virtue of winning last summer's World Cup — there's still plenty of work to be done in chopping this 34-player pool down to the final 12 that will go to Brazil. Whittling down a wing pool that includes 12 of the 15 members of this past NBA season's All-NBA teams — a number that does not include the likes of KD, 'Melo, Love, Howard, Wall and the top two finishers in Defensive Player of the Year voting, by the way — seems like the sort of task that could justifiably take the next 11 months, even with some strong coffee and all-nighters sprinkled in. My first pass at a 12-man roster, for example — the Brow, Love, Blake and Boogie up front; LeBron, KD, George and 'Melo on the wing; CP3, Steph, the Beard and Kyrie on the ball — left off Westbrook, Wall, Dwight and Kawhi, which makes me feel like I need to go to confession. Even if this is obviously one of those very, very, very good problems to have, I don't necessarily envy Colangelo and company as they begin the process of solving it next week. - - - - - - - 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 Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.

Dante Exum's torn left ACL could stem Jazz's hoped-for surge back to playoffs (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 07 Aug 2015 06:15:00 PDT)
After a fantastic finish to the 2014-15 season that saw them boast the NBA's No. 1 defense and sixth-best record after the All-Star break, the Utah Jazz entered this summer as a team on the rise, chock full of young talent under coach Quin Snyder and looking to have a chance to leap into the Western Conference playoff picture as soon as this coming campaign. The positive vibes took a major hit Tuesday, though, as point guard Dante Exum, the No. 5 pick in the 2014 NBA draft, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee while playing for his native Australia in an international exhibition game against Slovenia. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] The 20-year-old guard, who was suiting up for the Boomers as they tune up for the 2015 FIBA Oceania Championship later this month, landed awkwardly on a jump stop in the lane while driving to the basket. He appeared to be in pain as soon as he came down, without any contact from another player: Exum exited the game after just six minutes of playing time, and later returned to the Australia bench with his knee wrapped: Exum's @AussieBoomers status up in the air after knee injury overnight in Slovenia: http://t.co/EUmxn0CKjk pic.twitter.com/AOEtRKsySr — NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) August 4, 2015 The Jazz initially reserved comment on the severity of the injury until Exum had returned to Salt Lake City "for further medical evaluation by the Utah Jazz medical staff and official healthcare partner University of Utah Health Care." The team shared the results of that evaluation Thursday, confirming what initial reports  suggested and what Jazz fans feared: Exum's left ACL is torn, and will require surgical repair. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ] “First and foremost, our overriding concern is with Danté and his long-term health,” Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey said in the team's Thursday announcement . “We are continuing to work closely with our medical staff, Danté and his representation in order to reach an accurate diagnosis and recommended treatment so that we can provide him with the best possible care. We all know how hard he will work to make a full recovery and look forward to his return to play.” The Jazz didn't offer an expected timeline for Exum's return, but the typical recovery period after an ACL surgery slots in at around six months. "This injury will almost certainly cost Exum the full 2015-16 season," writes Grantland's Zach Lowe . Exum's injury will likely revive the sort of debates we saw last summer, after Indiana Pacers star Paul George's horrific broken leg during a USA Basketball scrimmage, about the relative risks and rewards of NBA players suiting up for national-team duty during summers off from their club teams. For what it's worth, as Falk noted , Utah's Lindsey recently struck a "gotta hear both sides" sort of tone on the matter, trumpeting the importance of a team protecting its interests and investments while also respecting players' "loyalty toward their home country" and crediting international competition as a development tool for players he's worked with in previous front-office stints with the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs. He need only look back to last summer as an indication of how major minutes for Team France in the 2014 FIBA World Cup helped turn Rudy Gobert into a shot-blocking, rim-protecting, dunk-detonating justification for trading Enes Kanter and a prospective pivot point for the franchise's fortunes. Add in the non-contact nature of the injury — which you could argue could just as easily happen during run-of-the-mill workouts, in five-on-five at summer hot spots like Impact Basketball, during a run at the Drew League or in the Seattle Pro-Am, or anywhere else players play when they're not in-season because, y'know, they're players — and it becomes tougher to see Exum's misfortune, as sad as it might be, as a tipping point in keeping NBA players off national teams in the years to come. (Especially since the call to transform international tournaments like the World Cup and Olympics into more youth-focused, 22-and-under events might not have spared the 20-year-old Exum anyway.)

The 10-man rotation, starring Nancy Lieberman and dreams still not yet realized (Ball Don't Lie)
(Wed, 05 Aug 2015 13:27:04 PDT)
A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C : The Morning Tip and USA TODAY Sports . David Aldridge and Jeff Zillgitt talk with Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman about realizing her lifelong dream of becoming an NBA coach . [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] PF : BloombergView . Kavitha Davidson celebrates the fact that a pioneer like Lieberman actually gets to benefit from the fruits of her barrier-breaking labors, which is sadly not always the case. SF : VICE Sports . Howard Megdal on the remaining barriers to entry standing between female coaches and NBA opportunities, and what can be done to continue breaking them down. SG : Eye on Basketball . Matt Moore with a thoughtful consideration of the different rebuilding paths the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic are taking, and how this season will reveal just how far along each team is in its journey to relevance. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ] PG : Basketball Insiders . A helpful check-in from Steve Kyler on which teams still have salary cap space after a summer of spending and transactions, and which ones are in line to pay the luxury tax if they don't shed any guaranteed money before the end of the season (which, of course, is a looooooooong way off). 6th : Bleacher Report . Dan Favale on big men who can shoot from 3-point land, increasingly become necessity more than luxury at the NBA level. 7th : SB Nation . Jason Patt goes longer on some of the concerns I raised in Tuesday's Three-Man Weave : Did the Los Angeles Clippers' offseason moves really address their issues? 8th : The Triangle . Zach Lowe gauges the market for the draft class of 2012, who are now eligible for extensions of their rookie contracts. How much money will/should the Toronto Raptors be willing to cough up to keep Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross? What will the Houston Rockets do about the intriguing but still somewhat untested big-man tandem of Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas? 9th : The Guardian . A fascinating story from Les Carpenter on Sani Sakakini, a 6-foot-9 forward who dreams of both being the NBA's first Palestinian player and building a viable national basketball program in his wartorn homeland. 10th : Bryan Curtis' Facebook page . In which the Grantland staffer comes across a 1957 story about a trip to cover a New York Knicks-Philadelphia Warriors game written by a teenage Marv Albert. More NBA coverage: - - - - - - - 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.

Random NBA Players: Tom Gugliotta (Ball Don't Lie)
(Wed, 05 Aug 2015 08:00:28 PDT)
The internet is filled with hundreds of thousands of nostalgic tales, but that’s to be expected. As a wise man once said, “Nostalgia is a mild form of depression,” and everyone can get a little blue when thinking back to 1997. With the summer sun shining, however, we’re in a cheery mood. And with the NBA having settled down after a busy first few weeks of offseason transactions, we thought it best to highlight some random NBA players who may have done their best work a decade or two ago. This isn’t a list of your “Top 12 File Sharing Services of 2002” or “27 Ways Britney Ruled the VMAs.” No, this is … Random Players, NBA Edition We start with Tom Gugliotta. The Phoenix Suns were supposed to be great, and Tom Gugliotta wasn’t ever supposed to be anyone’s consolation prize. After an incredibly wacky 1996-97 season, the Suns entered 1997-98 with five major assets in hand. They had a warm climate and a gem of a player’s coach in Danny Ainge. They featured Jason Kidd at lead guard, and the recently acquired Antonio McDyess at big forward. The seemingly superfluous Steve Nash was the NBA’s second-biggest bit of trade bait, after Mitch Richmond. They also had cap space for the summer of 1998, heaps of it, with the knowledge that they’d be able to surround Kidd and McDyess with all manner of high-priced free agent talent. A Scottie Pippen here, a Vlade Divac there. Perhaps an Ike Austin coming in off the bench. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball ] The problem for the Suns is that there really was no summer of 1998 for the NBA, as the league’s owners locked out the players until the first week of January in 1999. Nash was dealt for a pick that turned into Shawn Marion, no troubles there, but Ainge had to wait until late January of 1999 to execute a plan that was by then two years in the making — and he had but a few days to pull it off. Divac, shockingly at the time, went to the Sacramento Kings after flirting with the Seattle SuperSonics. Pippen engineered a sign-and-trade to join some other greybeards with the Houston Rockets. Ike Austin went to Carl’s Jr. and apparently never came back. McDyess, to the surprise of the entire league , re-signed with the same Denver Nuggets team that he engineered a trade away from just 16 months earlier. The Suns still had one more pop at a home run, though, and they got it with Tom Gugliotta. Seemingly in his prime at age 29, Googs had made the All-Star team as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1997 before an injury-plagued 1997-98 season (he played at an All-Star level but missed 41 games) scuttled a return engagement to the midseason classic. With the Wolves ready to handle the power forward reins to Kevin Garnett full time, they had no room to financially compete for the services of Gugliotta, and the Suns pounced on their opportunity. They would be getting a star who had averaged 20.6 points and 8.7 rebounds with 4.1 assists the year before, making more than half his shots. He was athletic enough to finish on the break while still versatile enough to run a pick-and-pop game with Kidd. This was their guy, and with other veteran helpers on hand to sop up minutes (Clifford Robinson, Danny Manning, Luc Longley), the Suns rolled over their cap flexibility to the summer of 1999. The Suns would go on to produce a top five offense and a 27-23 record during the lockout-shortened season, with Gugliotta averaging a team-leading 17 points per contest. With that cap space on the docket, the team’s ears perked up when the John Gabriel-led Orlando Magic signaled that they thought its current roster had gone as far as it could go. The Magic would be rebuilding under rookie head coach Doc Rivers, and the Suns pounced in time to snag star guard Penny Hardaway in a sign-and-trade deal. It wasn’t Kidd, McDyess, Vlade and Pippen, but a core of Kidd, Googs and Penny was still pretty fearful. Shaquille O’Neal even put down his animus toward Hardaway long enough to call the loaded Suns the Los Angeles Lakers’ top expected rival in the West, regardless of the fact that the defending champion San Antonio Spurs were standing right there. The Suns did improve in Gugliotta’s second season, and though the forward started every game he played in, one frightening incident in the second month of the season cast a pall on the entire season. Just hours after a 17-point, 14-rebound appearance against the West’s best club in the early-going of the season (the Portland Trail Blazers), Gugliotta collapsed on the Suns’ team bus while talking on a cell phone with his wife Nikki. He had recently begun taking an over-the-counter nutritional supplement that was used as a sleep aid that went by the name of gamma butyrolactone, or GBL. From an account a few months after the incident, penned by Gugliotta, at ESPN the Magazine : After the game, I showered, had a soft drink, filled the dropper in the GBL bottle to 5 milliliters and took the stuff. I got on the team bus and called my wife, Nikki. As I talked, it felt like low voltage electricity was going through my body. I heard a humming noise in my head. The skin on my face started twitching. I was feeling a little loopy and queasy. That's how I imagine an OD would feel — like I took a drug, but skipped passed any buzzed feeling and went straight to sick. Nikki says I started babbling. I could tell I was passing out, and didn't want her to hear, so I tried to cut off the cell, but I guess I dropped it. Still on the line, Nikki heard my teammates yelling for an ambulance. The trainer started slapping my face, but my eyes kept rolling back and my chin dropped to my chest. Luckily, there was still an EMT crew around. As they were taking me from the bus to the ambulance, I started foaming at the mouth and shaking. That's what GBL can do to you. It knocks you out and slows your breathing, sometimes to the point of stopping it. That's what happened to me. Nikki was aware that her husband had been taking the supplement in attempts to get better rest. She immediately called the wife of Suns teammate Rex Chapman, who then called Chapman on the bus to ask the medical personnel to rifle through Gugliotta’s duffle bag in order to find the supplement’s label. The antidote the EMT staff gave Gugliotta saved his life, due to some quick thinking on his wife’s part.

The NBA's all-time starting five: Houston Rockets (Ball Don't Lie)
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 13:11:46 PDT)
You’re in your second semester of AP Basketball History, you love really good teams, and you love lists. With precious little drama left in the NBA’s 2015 offseason, why don’t we hit the barroom and/or barbershop, pour ourselves a frosty mug of Barbicide, and get to arguin’ over each franchise’s most formidable starting five-man lineup. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball ] Because we don’t like making tough decisions, the lineups will reflect the All-NBA line of thinking. There will be no differentiation between separate forward and guard positions, and the squads will be chosen after careful consideration of individual merits only – we don’t really care if your team’s top shooting guard and point guard don’t get along. These rankings will roll out based on when each franchise began its NBA life. We continue with the Houston Rockets, who have never been uninteresting. C: Hakeem Olajuwon . Possibly the most versatile center in NBA history, easily one of the most dominant in an era that was made up of dominant big men. Averaged 22.5 points, 11.4 rebounds and five combined steals/blocks as a Rocket, despite spending three seasons sharing the low post with Ralph Sampson and three other seasons sharing it with Charles Barkley. A 12-time All-Star, two-time champion and absolute unstoppable force on both ends of the ball. Still, somehow, maybe even underrated. F: Tracy McGrady . Much maligned for his inability to drag the Rockets into the second round of the playoffs and for his nagging back injuries, McGrady nevertheless turned in four killer seasons (and two not-so-great seasons) as a Rocket small forward. Averaged 22.7 points and a combined 11.1 rebounds/assists as a Rocket, willingly ceding touches to center Yao Ming in Jeff Van Gundy’s offense. F: Rudy Tomjanovich . Rudy T’s frightening punch to the face from Kermit Washingtonin 1977 too often overshadows what was a brilliant career as a Rocket hybrid forward. A five-time All-Star, Tomjanovich only played for the Rockets, and he averaged 17.4 points and 8.1 rebounds in just 33 minutes a contest while with the team. His fantastic work as a head coach does not factor into his placement in this starting lineup: Rudy T could play . G: James Harden . If you think this is an overshoot after just three seasons as a Rocket, that’s fair, but when you brush up to the top of the heap when it comes to the MVP vote you tend to leave more tenured players behind. Harden has averaged 26.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.8 steals as a Rocket, and he was part of the team’s first Western Conference finals appearance in two decades in 2014-15. He is already the 48-year old franchise’s 14th-leading scorer. G: Calvin Murphy . At a time when the NBA valued size above all else, Murphy’s role as a scoring (and not always playmaking) lead guard was in a way just as unique as Magic Johnson’s role with the Lakers during the same era. At just 5-9 (maybe) Murphy averaged 17.9 points per game on a series of Rockets teams that had several mouths to feed, and finished his career with an 89.2 free throw percentage. The Rox run deep, which is why several other Rocket contributors have a legitimate claim to this starting five. We don’t even have the time nor space to get into the heaps of role-playing helpers that surrounded Hakeem as he won those two titles. They know who they are . Elvin Hayes, for one, was a scoring and rebounding machine during his four years with the San Diego/Houston Rockets, averaging nearly 28 points per game and 17 rebounds in his first four seasons. The Rockets brought him back for a second tour of duty late in his career, which lessened his overall per-game statistics with the club. He has a legitimate gripe when it comes to being left off of either forward spots. Moses Malone nearly led the Rockets to a title while working out of the low post in Houston, a town he would remain in to train and live even after joining the Philadelphia 76ers. Center Yao Ming, meanwhile, was briefly the best center in basketball before foot injuries sadly derailed his career. Please, always tell tale of his 2006-07 season, one that saw him average 26.6 points per game and 10 rebounds before things went wrong. Sigh. Ralph Sampson, a three-time All-Star, was also well on his way to stardom before the injury bug hit. Dwight Howard, even after just two years in Houston, could retire as yet another Rocket legend. Otis Thorpe made one All-Star team in Texas and was a key piece in the franchise’s 1994 title, and his presence allowed the team to deal OT for Clyde Drexler, who turned in three and a half stellar seasons of all-around ball for the franchise. Charles Barkley and Steve Francis’ respective eras with the team may have been disappointing overall, but they did have their moments. Previous entries : Golden State . Boston . New York . Detroit . Sacramento . Los Angeles Lakers . Atlanta . Philadelphia . Washington . Chicago . - - - - - - - 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

Three-Man Weave: Which Western Conference contender is most vulnerable? (Ball Don't Lie)
(Tue, 04 Aug 2015 08:26:49 PDT)
With the draft and the bulk of free agency now behind us, it's time to start taking stock of what's transpired this summer and how it all figures to impact the upcoming NBA campaign. First up for consideration: Which Western Conference contender looks most vulnerable heading into next season? *** Kelly Dwyer : Last October I picked the Memphis Grizzlies to miss the playoffs , not because I’m a complete and utter idiot (I totally am, never forget this), but just because I chose them as the Random Western Team That Can’t Afford a Major Injury. It turned out that the Oklahoma City Thunder was that team, and they needed three major injuries to barely keep them out of the playoffs by the hair on their chinny-chin-chin . I still think the Grizzles can be that team, heaven forbid, and I also think they can win a championship in 2016. Such is life in the West (the Grizzlies play in the Central time zone, and just barely). [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] The Houston Rockets are ostensibly contenders based on their Western Conference finals appearance from last year, but the team has a lot to figure out on the fly. Sure, Houston will hopefully be healthier once spring hits, but it will also have to deal with the weird push/pull that is Dwight Howard’s career. Is he slowly working his way back from his injury concerns and about to have one last prime season, or was last year the peak? Presuming Ty Lawson is in a sound state of mind as he deals with his admitted sickness, is he a fit or an odd match? The San Antonio Spurs are a hard read. They’ve never been a destination point, losing out on gathering free agents from other teams in 2000 and 2003, and while you would trust Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, a penknife and flask of Canadian whiskey at the scene of a major accident to solve all issues, this is still a roster that has to learn how to develop on company time. LaMarcus Aldridge is as determined and versatile as they come, but the depth is lacking and his teammates are old. I also wrote those last four words in 2006. *** Ben Rohrbach : I’m working under the assumption that the Golden State Warriors, Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Grizzlies, Spurs and Thunder will contend out West. The Portland Trail Blazers and Dallas Mavericks regressed this summer, and while the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz are poised to take steps forward, none of those four teams will challenge the aforementioned sextet, customary health caveat withstanding.

Report: Adidas making $200 million bid to lure James Harden away from Nike (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 03 Aug 2015 13:10:27 PDT)

Flip Saunders swears he loves 3-pointers (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 03 Aug 2015 10:40:53 PDT)

Hakeem Olajuwon, playing in Africa, gives us one more Dream Shake (Video) (Ball Don't Lie)
(Sun, 02 Aug 2015 04:40:48 PDT)
Hakeem Olajuwon retired from the NBA in 2002. He has not made an All-Star team since 1997, and he is a full two decades removed from leading the Clutch City Houston Rockets to the 1994-95 NBA title. He is 52-years old, and recently he has been better known for crashing NBA drafts , and teaching both Dwight Howard and LeBron James how to work up jab-steps . [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball ] Olajuwon, who was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria before moving to the US to attend high school, college, and play professional basketball in Houston, Texas, made a surprise appearance in the NBA’s inaugural African exhibition game in Johannesburg. Both Hakeem and Congolese former Denver Nuggets center Dikembe Mutombo delighted the sold out stadium by walking out onto the court in the second quarter to play for Team Africa, wearing a pair of retro-retro-retro uniforms. That’s fun enough. But then Hakeem did this: Not quite a Dream Shake, but ... ah, heck let's just call it a Dream Shake, OK? Defender Nikola Vucevic, for those that understandably did not tune into many Orlando Magic games last season, is not known for his defense – but he’s still a fantastic player that averaged 19.3 points and 10.3 rebounds in 2014-15. And yet, at age 52, Hakeem still got him. Not bad for a guy who was born before anyone knew who The Beatles were. Here’s a clip of the whole show: Team World ended up winning by a 101-97 score . Team Africa was led by Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 22 points and Luol Deng’s 20 points and coached by Gregg Popovich, . ( The initial heads-up and clips courtesy of Ricky O’Donnell at SBNation .) - - - - - - - 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

Team World win first NBA match in Africa
(Sat, 01 Aug 2015 09:37:13 PDT)
Team Africa included NBA players from Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Senegal and South Sudan and they made the running against opposition consisting largely of American-born stars. There were surprise, brief second-quarter appearances for Team Africa by retired NBA stars Hakeem Olajuwon of Nigeria and Dikembe Mutombo from DR Congo.

Nuggets sign Emmanuel Mudiay to multiyear deal (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 31 Jul 2015 18:11:14 PDT)
DENVER (AP) -- The Denver Nuggets signed top pick Emmanuel Mudiay to a multiyear deal Friday.

NBA in Africa? 'Stay tuned' for regular-season game (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 30 Jul 2015 09:03:46 PDT)
The NBA is in Africa for an exhibition, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver expects more important games to come. ''Stay tuned,'' Silver said Thursday as 20 NBA stars, including Chris Paul and Luol Deng, prepare to play at a small arena in downtown Johannesburg - the first NBA game of any kind in Africa. Although he didn't give an exact time frame, Silver said a pre-season game and then a regular-season game on the continent was the logical progression for the NBA, which is on a ''fast track'' to build a brand in soccer-crazy Africa.

Agent: Timberwolves agree to terms with Andre Miller (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 29 Jul 2015 20:47:55 PDT)
Andre Miller agreed to terms with the Timberwolves on a one-year deal on Wednesday, his agent Andy Miller told The Associated Press. Adding the 39-year-old Miller gives the young Wolves a quality, veteran point guard to join a rotation featuring starter Ricky Rubio and rookie backup Tyus Jones. Miller visited the Wolves on Wednesday, met with coach Flip Saunders, GM Milt Newton and several team officials and toured the team's new practice facility.

Former NBA All-Star Vin Baker is training to manage a Starbucks (Ball Don't Lie)
(Tue, 28 Jul 2015 11:35:04 PDT)
Like countless other players, coaches and basketball obsessives, Vin Baker headed to Las Vegas Summer League last month looking for a job. The four-time All-Star, whose career ended in 2006 after years of on-court decline brought on by off-court struggles with alcohol abuse and ballooning weight, trekked to the desert on the invitation of Jason Kidd.

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