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#pounditSunday, June 26, 2022

Basketball

Pistons reportedly decide on Jaden Ivey’s future amid trade rumors

Jaden Ivey at Purdue

Feb 20, 2022; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Purdue Boilermakers guard Jaden Ivey (23) prepares to shoot a free throw during the second half against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Mackey Arena. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons drafted Purdue guard Jaden Ivey Thursday with the fifth overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, and they have no intention of trading him.

After the Pistons selected Ivey, reports surfaced that multiple teams were were attempting to trade for him. One of those teams was the New York Knicks. According to SNY’s Ian Begley, the Knicks were actively trying to land Ivey.

Any notion of a trade taking place was quickly shut down. Yahoo’s Vince Goodwill reported that the Pistons were keeping Ivey.

Ivey will pair with Cade Cunningham in a Detroit backcourt that will try to help the Pistons improve on their 23-59 record last season. Cunningham, who finished third in the NBA Rookie of the Year voting last season, averaged 17.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game. In two seasons at Purdue, Ivey averaged 14.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. Ivey had a breakout season in 2021, averaging 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists, and was named to the 2021-22 John R. Wooden Award All-American team.

While the Pistons aren’t exactly close to being a contender, Ivey is likely happy that he didn’t get drafted by another team with a top-five pick.

Chet Holmgren explains meaning of his dice chain

Chet Holmgren has a dice chain

Chet Holmgren was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, but he was No. 1 when it came to his jewelry.

The former Gonzaga star wore a large chain to the draft that had a pair of jeweled dice attached. While on the red carpet, Holmgren was asked about the meaning behind his dice chain. He gave the explanation.

The dice showed the numbers three and four. That represents the No. 34 jersey number that Holmgren wore at Gonzaga during his freshman season. Holmgren also noted that three plus four equals seven, which was his jersey number on the national team.

“I’m big on betting on myself, so I had to put the dice on the chain,” explained Holmgren.

We may be fans of the dice chain, but there is one NBA player who didn’t seem to be a fan of it.

Holmgren will be heading to the Oklahoma City Thunder to begin his pro career.

Report: Houston’s Eric Gordon being pursued by Eastern Conference team

Eric Gordon looking up

Mar 13, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) warms up before the game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Houston Rockets at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets are listening to trade offers for Eric Gordon and could be close to a deal involving the guard.

Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Thursday that the Philadelphia 76ers have talked with Houston about a Gordon trade. The Sixers reportedly are willing to include guard Matisse Thybulle in a trade for Gordon. The 76ers are also looking to involve a third team in a potential deal, according to Pompey. The Portland Trailblazers reportedly are “willing to make a straight-up deal for Thybulle.”

Pompey also reported that 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey wants to do a three-team deal with the Blazers to land Gordon.


On Tuesday, Pompey reported that the 76ers were looking to make a three-team trade involving Thybulle and the No. 23 pick in this year’s NBA Draft in order to to create enough cap space to sign one veteran forward.

Gordon played 57 games for the Rockets last season. He averaged 13.4 points and 2.7 assists per game, in addition to shooting 47.5 percent from the field. The 33-year-old also shot 41.2 percent from three-point range, and could be an offensive improvement over Thybulle, who is a defensive specialist. In 66 games last season, Thybulle averaged 5.7 points and 1.1 assists per game, and shot 31.3 percent from three-point range.

Philadelphia may not be the only team interested in trading for Gordon.

Video: Jabari Smith had tough reaction to being passed in draft

Jabari Smith reacts

Jabari Smith entered Thursday’s NBA Draft as the betting favorite to go No. 1 overall to the Orlando Magic. Instead, he wound up going third.

The former Auburn forward was pretty disappointed upon realizing that he wouldn’t be going in the top two picks. Take a look at his reaction after the Oklahoma City Thunder selected Chet Holmgren with the No. 2 pick.

The Magic took Paolo Banchero with the first pick, stunning many people, including the former Duke star. Then, even with Smith still available, Oklahoma City took Holmgren. The Thunder’s choice of Holmgren was not too surprising given all the reports about the situation.

That left Smith to go No. 3 overall to Houston.

Based on his comments and attitude, Smith may be entering the NBA with something to prove. Perhaps slipping to No. 3 will serve as a motivational tool for the Rockets rookie.

Report reveals how unlikely Orlando Magic’s pick of Paolo Banchero was

Paolo Banchero holds a ball

Nov 12, 2021; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Paolo Banchero (5) looks to pass during the second half against the Army Black Knights at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic pulled a bait-and-switch at the top of the NBA Draft, and they apparently showed a serious level of commitment to the ruse.

Shams Charania of The Athetic reports that the Magic did not have a formal workout or meeting with top prospect Paolo Banchero during the predraft process (though he did informally meet with them at the Draft Combine). Nevertheless, the Magic went on to pick Banchero No. 1 overall.

The former Duke star Banchero indeed sounded pretty stunned during his post-announcement interview with ESPN that he went with the top pick.

“I don’t even know what to say,” said Banchero. “I can’t believe what just happened, honestly. I never would’ve thought that this would happen. I wanted to be in the NBA, but I didn’t know I would be here. I really, honestly didn’t. This is unbelievable, and I can’t speak right now.”

Even earlier in the day on Thursday, it was being reported that the Magic were leaning towards a different player with the top overall pick. But an enormous overnight betting odds shift in favor of Banchero going No. 1 proved in hindsight to be a sign that something was up.

The 19-year-old Banchero now joins an ascendant Orlando team where he should get a chance to start right away next to fellow ex-Duke star Wendell Carter Jr. in the frontcourt. At least Banchero had the foresight of showing up to the NBA Draft dressed like a No. 1 overall pick.

LaMelo Ball roasts Chet Holmgren over draft outfit

Chet Holmgren pointing

Oct 31, 2021; Spokane, WA, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs center Chet Holmgren (34) points to the guy he was covering during a game against the Eastern Oregon Mountaineers in the second half at McCarthey Athletic Center. Bulldogs won 115-62. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Chet Holmgren’s draft day look definitely ain’t it for one current NBA star.

The former Gonzaga star showed up to Thursday’s NBA Draft wearing an all-black suit. Holmgren explained his outfit in a video posted to the NBA’s official Twitter page. Namely, Holmgren touched on the chain that he was wearing — a pair of dice set to three and four because Holmgren wore No. 34 in college and No. 7 for Team USA (three plus four equaling seven).

Charlotte Hornets star LaMelo Ball was not feeling Holmgren’s fit though and roasted Holmgren in a tweet.

“he actin up,” wrote Ball. “i kno tht ain’t a 7 on his neck.”

The seven-footer Holmgren ended up going No. 2 overall to the Oklahoma City Thunder, meaning Ball will only have to play him a couple times a year.

Though it is unclear if Ball was referring to this, you actually do not want to roll a seven if you are shooting craps because it means the end of your turn. When it comes to the sense of fashion though, you can be the judge of if Ball has a better one than Holmgren does.

Jabari Smith uses NBA Draft suit to take shot at SEC rival

Jabari Smith in his Auburn uniform

Nov 25, 2021; Nassau, BHS; Auburn Tigers guard Wendell Green Jr. (1) and forward Jabari Smith (10) celebrate the win against the Loyola Ramblers in the 2021 Battle 4 Atlantis at Imperial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Jabari Smith is expected to be the No. 1 draft pick Thursday, and he gave a hint about the attitude he’ll be bringing to the NBA with the suit he wore.

Smith arrived for the draft in a custom suit, with a number of meaningful images depicted on the inside of the jacket. Smith went to great pains to point out one of the pictures, which shows him, in his words, “beating up on Kentucky.”

Smith only spent one season at Auburn, but it’s pretty clear that the school made an impression on him. He fully bought into the rivalry with Kentucky as well. By the looks of it, the picture was strategically chosen to make sure the scoreboard was in the background. Smith scored 14 points in that game, an 80-71 Auburn victory.

By the looks of it, Smith might have had some of his college coach’s attitude rub off on him. That is not necessarily a bad thing.

Report: Clippers shopping surprising player

Tyronn Lue looking on

Nov 19, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; LA Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue looks on against New Orleans Pelicans during the second half at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry West’s ruthlessness may be on full display once again this summer.

Sean Deveney of Heavy.com reported this week that the LA Clippers are shopping sharpshooter Luke Kennard on the trade market. Deveney adds that the Clippers will look to move Kennard in July if they cannot trade him by the NBA Draft.

That is a bit of a startling development considering the season that Kennard just had for the Clippers. He shot a scalding 44.9 percent from three (which led the league) for a dependable 11.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. Kennard is also just 25 years old and is owed a modest $28.5 million over the next two seasons (with a club option for 2024-25).

But most of Kennard’s production did come while the Clippers’ star trio of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Norman Powell were all injured. With the Clippers expected to be at full health next year, Kennard might only be able to scrap out 10 to 12 minutes per game off the bench. Complementary pieces like Terance Mann, Robert Covington, and Nicolas Batum (all of whom are better defenders) could shut Kennard out of closing lineups as well.

If the Clippers want to sell high on Kennard, there may be no better time for them to do so. The former Duke star might not be the only bucket-getter on the roster in danger of being traded either.

Paolo Banchero has funny reason for wearing purple to NBA Draft

Paolo Banchero holds a ball

Nov 12, 2021; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Paolo Banchero (5) looks to pass during the second half against the Army Black Knights at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

None of Paolo Banchero’s likely destinations feature purple prominently in their color scheme, but that did not stop the potential top-three pick from wearing the color to the NBA Draft on Thursday.

Banchero arrived at the draft wearing an eye-catching purple suit, and the choice was apparently intentional. The Seattle native admitted that his parents had wanted him to go to Washington, where they had both attended college. Banchero instead wound up at Duke, and his decision to wear Huskies colors on draft night was “like a I’m sorry.”

Banchero’s parents got a pretty good compromise out of this. Sure, Banchero will be remembered as a Duke player, but all his draft night photos will feature him in Washington colors.

Based on reports, we already know where Banchero is set to wind up Thursday. The purple won’t fit anymore, but he’s getting the most out of it on draft night.

D’Angelo Russell likely to be traded by Timberwolves?

D'Angelo Russell warming up

Mar 1, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell (0) warms up before the start of the third quarter during a game against the Dallas Mavericks at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

One of the big trade pieces that could be on the move this offseason is Minnesota Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell. A new report suggests that trade is both increasingly likely and potentially imminent.

Timberwolves beat writer Dane Moore reported Thursday that the chances of a Russell trade appear increasingly likely. A move could happen as soon as Thursday during the NBA Draft, and if not then, the first week of July.

The Timberwolves will be motivated to move Russell in large part due to his contract. He is entering the final year of his deal and is owed $31.4 million, a hefty price for a player that Minnesota might see as more of a luxury option at this point. If the team is committed to building around Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards, there is a lot of incentive to ship Russell out for a player who better complements the current core.

Russell has consistently popped up in trade rumors since the end of the season. The 26-year-old looks to be a safe bet to be moved, perhaps quite quickly.