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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Basketball

Gabrielle Union to serve as guest picker for ESPN ‘College GameDay’ at Nebraska

Dwyane Wade Gabrielle Union

Actress Gabrielle Union is a huge Nebraska Cornhuskers football fan and will be acting in that capacity on Saturday.

Union, the wife of retired NBA star Dwyane Wade, will be the guest picker for ESPN on “College GameDay” live from Lincoln. Nebraska (3-1) hosts Ohio State (4-0) in a Big Ten matchup on Saturday.

Union grew up in Nebraska and has long been a fan of the school’s football team, which she has said is almost a requirement for living in the state. She’s taken Wade to games in the past, including Scott Frost’s coaching debut last season.

After dropping its second game of the season, Nebraska has rebounded with consecutive wins, including a comeback victory over Illinois last week.

NBA will treat player-induced trade demands as tampering violation

Adam Silver

The NBA clarified its new tampering regulations on Friday, making a couple changes that will change how fines and punishments are handed down.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the NBA will begin treating players inducing other players to request trades as a tampering violation. There is one significant change that will make executives happy, however, as officials praising players on opposing teams will no longer be treated as tampering.

The league will also introduce a private tampering hotline to allow anonymous allegations of tampering to be reported.

The news that devices will not be confiscated will be welcomed, though many still won’t be keen on the league sifting through private communications. Executives should also be pleased that general praise will no longer be a punishable offense, as a lot of really silly fines were levied in response to very innocuous statements.

NBA not allowing Spencer Dinwiddie to use contract as digital investment

Spencer Dinwiddie

The NBA will not allow Spencer Dinwiddie to follow through on his plan to use his playing contract with the Brooklyn Nets as a digital investment vehicle.

A report in The Athletic two weeks ago shared Dinwiddie’s desire to allow people to invest in him and his company by buying shares of a digital blockchain currency. The “$SD8” token was going to be offered by his company DREAM Fan Shares with a minimum $150,000 investment. It would be backed by his three-year, $34 million contract from the Nets. He was planning to essentially offer a highly-rated bond to investors, considering that NBA contracts are guaranteed.

However, the NBA will not allow it due to rules in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the New York Times’ Marc Stein reports.

“According to recent reports, Spencer Dinwiddie intends to sell investors a ‘tokenized security’ that will be backed by his player contract. The described arrangement is prohibited by the C.B.A., which provides that ‘no player shall assign or otherwise transfer to any third party his right to receive compensation from the team under his uniform player contract.’ ”

So there you have it. Maybe Dinwiddie wasn’t a pioneer in the field, but rather nobody else had done it because it’s not allowed by the CBA.

The 26-year-old guard averaged 16.8 points and 4.6 assists in 68 regular season games with the Nets last year.

LeBron James says Lakers will run offense through Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers will have the flexibility to run their offense a number of different ways this season now that Anthony Davis is in the fold, but LeBron James says the plan is for the ball to go through the big man more often than not.

While speaking with the media on Friday, LeBron said there is “no sense” in having Davis if the Lakers aren’t going to facilitate their offense through the six-time All-Star.

“We all know how great Anthony Davis is,” LeBron said. “And if we’re not playing through Anthony Davis while he’s on the floor, there’s no sense in having him on the floor. He’s that great. It doesn’t mean every time down the floor we throw it to him, throw it to him and throw it to him, but we have the ability to do that.”

Having Davis will obviously take pressure off LeBron. Davis has averaged 23.7 points per game throughout his career, and James loves setting guys up and is oftentimes unselfish to a fault. If teams want to double-team LeBron, Davis will kill them down low.

The Lakers are also supposedly planning to move LeBron to a different spot on the floor, so they’re going to have an entirely new look this season. With the Western Conference looking as open as it has in years, they certainly have the tools in place to make a deep playoff run. If Davis is the one anchoring that rather than LeBron, that would be a good sign.

Kyrie Irving says he will ‘protect’ Kevin Durant from returning too soon again

Kyrie Irving

Kevin Durant may have gotten some bad advice and given into external pressure when he decided to play in the NBA Finals last year, but Kyrie Irving says he will not allow that to happen again with the Brooklyn Nets.

Irving told reporters on Friday that it is obvious Durant wasn’t ready to return from his calf injury in the Finals, which led to a torn Achilles. Kyrie says he is going to hold himself personally responsible for making sure Durant is “101 percent ready” before he takes the court with the Nets.

“We all know (Durant) was not ready to play in that environment,” Irving said. “We all know that, whether people want to admit it or not. He was out 31 days and we put him on a national stage in the Finals to end up selling a product that came before the person, Kevin.

“I’m here to protect that. I’m going to be a protector of that all throughout the year in not allowing anyone to infiltrate that circle of, ‘Hey, (Kevin), do you. Get right. We’ll be fine.’ We have expectations for our team and obviously know he’s an integral part, but we’ll wait for that. I’ll be over-patient with Kevin.”

That may sound egotistical of Irving to say, but it’s worth noting that Durant referred to him once again as his “best friend” on Friday. Durant obviously cares a great deal about Kyrie’s opinion, so perhaps it will help to have a teammate who urges patience. There were rumblings earlier in the week that Durant may return earlier than expected from his Achilles injury, but the Nets say they do not plan on him playing this season.

Some comments Durant made publicly indicate he does not blame the Golden State Warriors for what happened to him, but his “best friend” Irving feels differently. It’s fair to assume what Durant has said about the situation privately probably does not match with what he said in public.

Kevon Looney expects to shoot more threes for Warriors next season

Kevon Looney

Kevon Looney has largely played a complementary role for the Golden State Warriors to this point of his career, but he is expecting some expanded responsibilities now that the team has gotten a bit thinner.

In an interview with Anthony Slater of The Athletic that ran Thursday, the Warriors big man said that he anticipates shooting more threes next season.

“I think the makeup of our team this year is going to call for me to shoot more 3s,” said Looney. “I think last year, you know, we got KD, Steph, Draymond, Klay, you got four guys out there [as] capable shooters, you kind of need the big to be able to roll and finish. That’s kind of been my role. I expanded the mid-range jump shot, just to open the game up, make it easier for Steph, so he has some outlets. But I’ve really been working on the 3.

“[Head coach] Steve [Kerr] gave me the green light,” Looney added. “Well, he gave me the green light before, but this one feels a little different. Like, even if you miss, I want you to keep shooting because we need you to make that shot. I’ve always been confident in my shooting, being able to shoot the 3. But as a young guy on a championship team, you’re always looking over your shoulder, like, you don’t want to get subbed out. I always had that in the back of my head. This year, I’m a lot more confident.”

The 23-year-old Looney, who averaged 6.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last season and was on two of the Warriors’ previous championship teams, signed a three-year, $15 million deal to return to Golden State this summer.

While he has only gone 5-for-26 (19.2 percent) on three-pointers in his NBA career, Looney did hit on 41.5 percent of his three-point attempts during his lone season in college at UCLA. Having Looney stretch the floor from the 5 spot would unlock a lot of potential for the post-Kevin Durant Warriors and add to the internal buzz about their offense next season.

76ers star Joel Embiid rooting for Packers against Eagles?

Joel Embiid

Was Joel Embiid just asking for trouble with Philly sports fans on Thursday night? It seems so.

Embiid, who has been a member of the Philadelphia 76ers since being drafted by them No. 3 overall in 2014, tweeted “Go Pack Go” on Thursday night.

Embiid’s tweet came as the Eagles were facing the Packers in Green Bay. His tweet was no doubt bizarre, though he has a history of saying “Go Pack Go.”

Embiid has endeared himself to the fans in Philadelphia. He has nicknamed himself “The Process” as an homage to Sam Hinkie’s long-term strategy with the Sixers. He attended the Super Bowl when the Eagles beat the Patriots. And he’s rooting for the Packers against them?

If there were ever a time for an athlete to say he was hacked and me to believe it, this would be it.