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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Basketball

NBA hoping to launch professional league in India

Adam Silver

The NBA is looking to further expand its global reach when the Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers on Friday become the first teams from a major North American sports league to play a game India, and the league is hoping play a lot more games there in the future.

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that he and NBA commissioner Adam Silver have been having discussions about launching a 12-team professional basketball league in India. The concept would be similar to the NBA-run Basketball Africa League, which has been in the works for years and is set to begin play in 2020.

Silver said the goal is to have a league in India up and running in five years, but there are some obstacles to overcome. The proper infrastructure is not currently in place, which is why the NBA had to bring things like its own hardwood and scoreboard for the exhibition games on Friday and Saturday.

The NBA hosted its first exhibition game in Africa in 2015, so hoping for a similar timeline for the launch of a league in India makes sense.

DeMar DeRozan, Spurs have reportedly discussed contract extension

DeMar DeRozan

The San Antonio Spurs consider DeMar DeRozan to be an important part of their core for as long as Gregg Popovich continues to coach the team, and they are looking to sign him to a long-term deal before the season.

DeRozan’s can opt out of his current contract after the upcoming season, and Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that he has had discussion with the Spurs about signing a max extension. The 30-year-old become eligible this summer for a max extension that would pay him roughly $140 million over four years. He is currently in the fourth year of a five-year, $139 million contract he signed with the Toronto Raptors, and it includes a player option for the 2020-21 season that would pay DeRozan $27.7 million.

While a new four-year deal would average $35 million per season and represent a significant raise for DeRozan, the thought of becoming a free agent when the salary cap jumps even further could appeal to him.

Charania reports that DeRozan appears to have improved his shooting this summer, and the belief is that he will benefit from having a full offseason to further familiarize himself with Popovich’s system. DeRozan averaged 21.2 points, 6.2 assists and 6.0 rebounds in his first season with the Spurs last year, but he may have been holding back a bit at times in an attempt to conform to the system. If the Spurs value him enough to sign him to a max extension, they may give him more freedom to play his own game going forward.

LaVar Ball responds to Alan Foster’s embezzlement lawsuit claims

LaVar Ball Lakers

LaVar Ball issued a statement on Thursday in response to the lawsuit filed by his former business partner, Alan Foster.

Foster filed a suit that alleges Ball embezzled $2.5 million from Big Baller Brand to finance his personal life of luxury. Foster was sued in April by Lonzo Ball for allegedly stealing $1.5 million from the New Orleans Pelicans guard. Foster said in his suit that he invested money into Big Baller Brand and personally covered many of Lonzo’s college expenses via a loan.

Here is LaVar’s response, via TMZ Sports.

“Alan Foster’s claims are not only unfounded and devoid of any truth, but are an egregious attempt to turn the attention away from the millions of dollars that he embezzled from the Ball Family and the Ball Family Business. Not only will LaVar Ball and his family continue to vigorously pursue their civil action against Foster seeking civil damages, but will also continue to cooperate with law enforcement in order to seek justice for his egregious actions.”

“The Ball family are all united in relentlessly pursuing Foster for his grave injustices, and will always fight to protect the respected Ball family name, despite Foster’s futile attempt to defile it.”

Foster’s filing was a countersuit to Lonzo’s lawsuit, which is why the statement references pursuing civil action seeking damages against Foster. A report in April said Foster was being investigated by the FBI.

Foster has previously served prison time for running a fraudulent stock scheme.

Kings trying to trade for Steven Adams?

Steven Adams

Steven Adams no longer appears to fit the Oklahoma City Thunder timeline, and one fellow Western Conference team may be trying to deal for him.

Sean Deveney of Heavy.com reported this week that if there was a favorite to trade for the seven-footer, it would be the Sacramento Kings. Deveney notes that the Kings had interest in Adams prior to free agency this summer and discussed a potential deal with the Thunder but that talks did not get very far because the asking price for Adams was too high.

The 26-year-old Adams, who averaged 13.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per game last season, is enterting the third year of a four-year, $100 million contract.

Depending on what Sacramento would give up for Adams, he could make for an odd fit on a team that already has young frontcourt players like Harry Giles and Marvin Bagley who need minutes. The Kings also went out and signed big men Dewayne Dedmon and Richaun Holmes this offseason. Still though, Adams landing in Sacramento would be an interesting turn of events, especially given his history of sorts with the team.

LaVar Ball accused of embezzling $2.5 million in lawsuit filed by former partner Alan Foster

LaVar Ball Lakers

LaVar Ball can add a new lawsuit to his troubles, in addition to the downfall of his apparel company.

Ball is being sued by his former business partner, Alan Foster, who accuses the Big Baller Brand patriarch of embezzling $2.5 million from the company to finance a personal lifestyle.

The Blast reported details of the lawsuit on Wednesday night and says Ball is officially being sued on grounds of fraudulent concealment and breach of contract.

Foster, who was a minority owner of Big Baller Brand, spent time in prison for running a Ponzi scheme in the past. He was sued by Lonzo Ball in April for allegedly stealing $1.5 million from the New Orleans Pelicans guard. Foster reportedly was being investigated by the FBI. Six months later, Foster has filed a suit turning the tables on the Ball family.

According to The Blast, LaVar Ball approached Foster asking for his help in starting the business.

“In early 2016, in furtherance of LaVar’s intense desire to share in, or rise above, the glory and spotlight of his sons, LaVar approached Alan and asked for his business guidance on how to monopolize and gain fortune and fame from the names and likenesses of his three sons. In response, Alan suggested that the two men brand the “Ball” family name in order to create basketball and entertainment-related businesses. LaVar loved Alan’s idea and wanted to make sure that he was the biggest star in the family, notwithstanding the fact that he was broke, had no savings, poor credit and zero business acumen,” the suit states.

“LaVar is a liar who fraudulently utilized BBB and BSG to fund his personal lifestyle,” Foster alleges.

Foster claims he invested personal money into the company and that LaVar used some of the company funds for his lifestyle, including upgrades to the Ball home and money spent on luxury cars.

A counter argument to Foster’s suit is that a big part of Ball’s business was to attract attention and give off the appearance of extravagance and luxury. The expenditures were probably strategic as part of building the brand.

Foster claims he is owed money he invested into the company to help pay for Lonzo Ball’s expenses while the point guard was in college at UCLA.

The suit says Foster approached LaVar and told the outspoken father that the conduct he exhibited was called embezzlement.

A once-rising brand, Big Baller Brand has gone under and was recently selling items on clearance prices. Lonzo has since left the brand and signed with Nike.

Giannis Antetokounmpo getting shooting tips from new teammate Kyle Korver

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s below-average jumper is probably the only thing preventing it from being “game over” for the rest of the league, but now one of his new teammates could be ensuring our imminent doom.

At the team’s first day of training camp on Tuesday, the Milwaukee Bucks star said that he has been getting shooting tips from Kyle Korver.

“It’s really important [that] I always try to talk to him a little bit,” said Antetokounmpo of Korver, per Eric Woodyard of ESPN. “And he’s a great guy. He’s not trying to get in your head or overstep and talk too much to you.

“Whenever he gives me tips, I always try to listen … one of the best shooters to ever play the game,” Antetokounmpo added. “He’s definitely going to help this team, definitely going to help a lot of players develop their shooting ability.”

Korver, who signed with the Bucks this summer, is one of the top shooters in NBA history — he went 39.7 percent from deep as a 37-year-old last season and is at 42.9 percent on three-point attempts for his 16-year career.

Antetokounmpo, meanwhile, won league MVP this season with 27.7 points per game on 57.8 percent from the field despite connecting on just 25.6 percent of his three-point tries. From the looks of it, Korver just might be the sensei who helps Antetokounmpo get to his much-ballyhooed final form.

Ron Adams giving up role as Warriors defensive coordinator

Warriors logo

One of Steve Kerr’s top assistants is taking on a new role this coming season.

Connor Letorneau of the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Tuesday that Ron Adams will no longer be leading the Golden State Warriors defense and will be passing that responsibility to fellow assistant Jarron Collins. This will free up the 71-year-old Adams to scout opponents, foster relationships with young players, and help stabilize a team that is in transition, Letorneau writes.

Adams had been the coordinator of the Dubs’ defense for the last five years, coinciding with their five straight trips to the NBA Finals and three titles.

Though he was pursued by another big-name squad this summer, Adams is back for his sixth season in Golden State and will now be taking on more of a glue role for the Warriors in a time that they definitely need it.