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Monday, June 25, 2018

Basketball

Joel Embiid trolls Lakers on Instagram

Joel Embiid 76ers

The Los Angeles Lakers will be competing with the Philadelphia 76ers on the free agent market this summer, and that is (somewhat unsurprisingly) making them a target of Joel Embiid’s social media tomfoolery.

The Sixers center took to Instagram on Sunday to post a picture of himself posing with a quartet of men, including Harry Styles of the British band One Direction. In his caption, Embiid wrote “The Lakers starting 5” and tagged a number of Lakers players (namely, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac, and Andre Ingram) for good measure.

The Lakers starting 5

A post shared by Joel "The Process" Embiid (@joelembiid) on

Like they have in many offseasons prior, the Lakers will be shooting for the stars in free agency. That has led to jokes that their fans believe they will be signing everybody, be they superstars, retired players, or even celebrities.

As for the Sixers, they are jostling for position with the Lakers on both the free agent market and the trade market. Leave it to Embiid to make light of the competition with his customary Internet barbs.

LeBron sends fans into frenzy by changing social media themes

LeBron James

LeBron James is preparing to make one of the biggest decisions of his NBA career, and he may be tipping his hand with some big changes he made to his social media pages. As for what it all means, that’s anyone’s guess.

At some point on Sunday, LeBron changed his Twitter and Instagram profile pictures in addition to his Twitter cover photo. The theme was very clearly pro-Akron, which of course is the area of Cleveland in which LeBron grew up.

Naturally, the changes sent fans into a frenzy. Some feel that LeBron is hinting that he is going to re-sign with the Cavs, while others are convinced he has begun his farewell tour.

If you believe that Las Vegas always has the answers, LeBron has already decided which team he will sign with in the coming weeks. Whatever the case, the social media changes aren’t a coincidence. LeBron’s previous photos were Cavs-related, and everything he does is calculated. Fans are buzzing about it because he wants them to be.

Report: Multiple teams monitoring Enes Kanter situation

Enes Kanter Thunder

New York Knicks center Enes Kanter has a decision to make on his status for next season, and multiple teams are reportedly watching with vested interest.

According to Ian Begley of ESPN, opposing teams expect Kanter to excercise his $18.6 million player option for 2018-19, but if he doesn’t, the Milwaukee Bucks are one of several teams who would be interested in signing him.

Kanter is only 26 and is coming off a season in which averaged a double-double (14.1 points, 11 rebounds per game). He would absolutely be in demand. However, he seems to have some visions for his own future with the Knicks.

Las Vegas thinks LeBron James signing with Lakers is a ‘sure thing’

LeBron James

Several NBA reporters have insisted that LeBron James has not yet decided where he will sign as a free agent this summer, but oddsmakers in Las Vegas obviously are not buying it.

The gambling odds for where LeBron is going to end up this summer seem to be favoring the Los Angeles Lakers more by the day. As of the weekend, they were the overwhelming favorites to sign LeBron at -325. Vegas views James re-signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers as the second most likely result, though the odds of that happening are not great.

Sports books have made the Lakers the heavy favorite to sign LeBron in order to avoid potentially losing a ton of money. According to one report, sharp gamblers — also known as “wiseguys” — are convinced LeBron will wind up in L.A. and have been backing their predictions up with large wagers.

Given all the reports we have heard about where LeBron’s head is at, it’s no surprise the Lakers are front and center. With the draft having come and gone and the Cavs not making any major trades to bring in another star player, it almost seems as though they have accepted that they will once again be dealing with life after LeBron.

Report: Mavs willing to forgive DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan

The Dallas Mavericks were already fooled once by DeAndre Jordan, but they are reportedly willing to bet that he won’t fool them again.

Mavs insider Mike Fisher of 247 Sports reported on Saturday that the team has decided to let bygones be bygones and would forgive the LA Clippers center for embarrassing them as a free agent in the summer of 2015.

There is certainly a practical element here as the Mavs, who used their first-rounder this year on Luka Doncic, need a center. They are also one of the few teams with the cap space to easily absorb a player like Jordan this offseason.

Forgiveness might have seemed far off seeing as it was just three years ago that the All-Star big famously reneged on his verbal commitment to Dallas and barricaded himself in his house to re-sign with the Clippers. However, Jordan had already been speculated as a potential target for the Mavs this summer (along with some other big-name centers), and continuing to hold a grudge simply would not make sense for them from a basketball standpoint.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is cracking sex jokes again

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo cannot resist making those sex jokes.

The Milwaukee Bucks star was on Instagram Live answering questions from fans. One question he was asked was whether he plays Fortnite. His response was classic.

If that type of humor from surprises you, then you must have missed his Valentine’s Day present video.

Charles Barkley questions the competition Luka Doncic faced

Luka Doncic

Charles Barkley isn’t sold yet on Luka Doncic.

Entering Thursday’s NBA Draft, Barkley said he wouldn’t have taken Doncic with one of the top two picks. The TNT analyst says he has nothing against the Slovenian teenager, but Barkley questions the level of competition Doncic faced in Europe.

Chuck made his comments during an appearance on Scot Pollard’s “Planet Pollard Podcast.”

“I don’t trust the foreign competition. I have nothing against foreign players; I just don’t know what type of competition,” Barkley told Pollard. “At 18 years old [Luka Doncic] was the MVP. Well that tells me he’s playing against s—-y competition. Nobody at 18 should be dominating grown men.

“You go back and look at the NBA, there’s only one 18-year-old you can go back and say, ‘Oh, he’s the real deal.’ That’s LeBron James. People forget as great as Kobe Bryant was, he struggled for his first few years. Kevin Garnett struggled his first few years.

“They keep telling me that Doncic won the MVP 18 — I’m like, ‘who was he playing against?’ He should not be dominating grown men at 18.”

Barkley’s points are well taken, but the level of competition Doncic faced does not mean he will not be a good player. Even if it’s not the NBA, winning EuroLeague and being MVP at 18/19 is a big deal. Doncic also had success on the international level for Slovenia’s national team. Maybe Barkley needs to see it to believe it.

This is just another indication that the spotlight will be on Doncic when the season begins. He has a long way to go to make some of his NBA dreams come true.

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