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J.J. Barea Gets Parade in Puerto Rico

Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea became the first Puerto Rican-born player to win an NBA Championship earlier this month. He did his territory proud by draping himself in the Puerto Rico flag during the Mavericks’ trophy ceremony. Now Puerto Rico is paying him back with a parade and day in his honor. Check out the pictures via Earl K. Sneed and Tas Melas:

It’s a little disappointing they didn’t pass by the billboard that takes a shot at Kobe Bryant on the parade route, but that gives us a flavor of how popular Barea is in his home area.

Photo Credits: Jose Ayala PH, thegeorge164, JJ Barea

Bill MacDonald and John Ireland Are New Lakers Announcers, Spero Dedes to Knicks

The Lakers announced Tuesday that they are making changes to their play-by-play announcing teams on radio and TV. Bill MacDonald, who has been with Fox Sports West since it began in 1985, will be the new TV play-by-play voice, replacing Joel Meyers. Stu Lantz will remain as the team’s television color commentator.

On radio, John Ireland will be the team’s play-by-play voice, joining former Laker Mychal Thompson who is the analyst. Ireland has covered the Lakers as a TV sideline reporter since 2002 and he serves as a talk show host on 710 ESPN Radio in LA. Ireland informed LBS he will continue in his role as co-host of the Mason & Ireland show.

Spero Dedes was expected to become the team’s new TV play-by-play man and replace Meyers. Lakers spokesman John Black said “We had a verbal agreement with Spero to be our new TV play-by-play announcer. … He had a change of heart.” Tom Hoffarth of the LA Daily News reports that Dedes has accepted a job as the Knicks TV play-by-play announcer. Hoffarth adds that Dedes will be allowed to continue his play-by-play duties for CBS. Kevin Ding of the OC Register reports that Dedes wouldn’t have been able to continue with his national jobs if he accepted the Lakers position.

Clippers and Sixers Could Swap Andre Iguodala for Chris Kaman

The Clippers have been open to trading center Chris Kaman since the time he got hurt and backup center DeAndre Jordan began playing well. Likewise, it seemed inevitable that the Sixers would deal Andre Iguodala after he missed his season-ending exit meeting. Just last month the Philly Inquirer said the team was looking to trade him. There have been reports of an Iguodala for Kaman trade and Iggy supposedly would love to play with the Clips. Adding to the trade speculation is what Alex Kennedy wrote at Hoops Hype Monday.

Kennedy says Iguodala is open to a trade, that he doesn’t expect to be back in Philly next season, and that the Sixers don’t want a player who has a long-term contract in return. Kaman fits that profile well because he’s only set to make $12.2 million next season before his contract expires. Iguodala is set to make over $28 million the next two years and he has a player option for $15.9 million in three years, something he’ll definitely pick up.

Philly may not be inclined to trade Iguodala for Kaman straight up, but that’s an excellent basis for a potential deal. Perhaps the Clippers could add in another player or draft pick to make it more realistic. Either way, it seems as if Iguodala will be dealt and the Clippers seem like a possible trade partner.

Jeff Garlin Is No Fan of LeBron James

Curb Your Enthusiasm co-star Jeff Garlin was on Conan and got The Pardo Patrol treatment. Peppered during a game of word association, Jeff’s taste for danishes and dislike of LeBron James became evident. Check out the video:

Given the words “laborious, long-winded, skating by, overwritten, undeserving,” Jeff answered “LeBron James.” He ended by saying the “best thing in the world that Dallas won … it shows there’s a god.” Man, I knew that there were a lot of LeBron haters out there, but I didn’t realize Jeff was one of them. Rather, this just shows how much LeBron has invaded our collective consciousness.

Susie scream to Ball Don’t Lie for the video

Timberwolves May Want Pau Gasol, But Acquiring Him from Lakers Will be Difficult

The Minnesota Timberwolves have a surplus of attractive assets and will likely be a busy team over the next few days. They hold the second pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft and could take forward Derrick Williams. The Cavs reportedly are locked in on Kyrie Irving with the top overall pick and Williams is viewed by many people as the second-best prospect (our Patrick Crawley argued Williams should actually be the top pick).

In addition to holding the second overall pick, point guard Ricky Rubio, who was drafted two years ago, has arrived in the U.S. and is ready to play in the NBA this season. Because of Rubio’s arrival from Spain, countryman Pau Gasol has become an attractive trade target for Minnesota, according to Chad Ford.

Minnesota’s desire to acquire Pau Gasol is understandable; even if he played poorly in the playoffs, he’s still one of the top forwards in the League. The problem is a trade would be difficult to be arranged because of salary cap restrictions, as Eric Pincus outlined on Hoops World via Speculative Sports.

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Dominique Jones Gets Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy Tattoo on His Neck

Remember how Jason Terry got a tattoo of the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy prior to the season starting and said he would get it removed if the Mavs didn’t win the title? Well he played like a stud and earned the title, so the tattoo turned out to be fitting. Teammate Dominique Jones also got a tattoo of the trophy, but his seems less comfortable since he was just a bench player who has been out since February. Check it out via Mavs.com:

This isn’t Jones’ first NBA-related tattoo, so it really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. But don’t you think a guy should put in a little more work than that to earn the right to get such a tattoo? I would think so.

Chest bump to Eye on Basketball

Ricky Rubio Receives Rock Star’s Welcome at Airport in Minnesota

Ricky Rubio was drafted 5th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2009 NBA Draft but he waited two years before officially deciding to play in the NBA. There was speculation that Rubio didn’t want to play in Minnesota, that he was upset they drafted two more point guards in the same draft, and that he needed more experience in Europe before coming to the States. The patience by Minnesota’s organization paid off; Rubio announced last week he had reached a deal to play in the NBA. The flashy point guard finally arrived in Minnesota Monday and received the reception of a rock star. Check the pictures courtesy of the Minnesota Timberwolves twitter page (video below):

So Minnesota now has a superstar. With Kevin Love last season and Rubio deciding to play for the team next year, the T-Wolves should no longer be a doormat. Calling them a playoff team seems like a stretch, but there is little doubt they should be vastly improved. And you better believe Minnesota is stoked about the news — they already have a special Ricky Rubio ticket package available to fans.

Chest bump to Myles Brown who’s all over Rubio’s arrival

UPDATE - Video of Ricky Rubio’s arrival in Minnesota below courtesy of Tom Pelissero:

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