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#pounditTuesday, July 27, 2021

Basketball

PJ Washington deletes tweet amid drama with girlfriend Brittany Renner

PJ Washington

PJ Washington appears to be in some bad shape with girlfriend Brittany Renner.

Washington and Renner welcomed a baby boy on May 5. But two months later, their relationship seems to be over.

Washington and Renner unfollowed each other on Instagram this month. They also scrubbed photos of the other from their respective accounts.

Last week, they both posted messages on their Instagram Story seemingly addressing the relationship. Renner shared a message expressing optimism that something better might be coming. Washington seemed to take a shot at Renner.

“You can never build a kingdom with someone who still craves attention from the village,” Washington wrote.

Then on Monday, Washington seemed to address the relationship again.

He wrote “you was faking it all along,” but later deleted the tweet.

What does this all mean? Many people thought the tweet was about Renner and that Washington feels like he was duped by the woman. They just had a child together and are now broken up and will have to arrange difficulties such as child support and custody. Many also think Washington got played by the Renner, suggesting she targeted him.

Renner has said on video before how easy it is for a woman to capture money from an athlete.

Washington is 22 and just completed his second season in the NBA after playing at Kentucky in college. The 2019 first-round pick averaged 12.9 points per game with the Hornets last season.

DeMar DeRozan giving hint about free-agent future?

DeMar DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan is one of the top available free-agent wings this offseason, and he may be tipping his hand as to what the future holds for him.

The four-time All-Star said this week on the “Club Shay Shay” podcast with Shannon Sharpe that his top priority is to compete for a title.

“It’s all about winning at this point, going into my 13th season, seeing all these guys just competing for a championship,” said DeRozan. “I have been fortunate enough to make a lot of money. But at this point, the ultimate goal is always to compete for a championship.”

When asked about the potential of joining the Los Angeles Lakers, DeRozan, a Southern California native, said that he would “love” to sign with them. He also said he could be a good fit alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

DeRozan, who will turn 32 next month, is still looking for his first NBA title. He averaged 21.6 points and 6.9 assists per game last season for the San Antonio Spurs. That would give the Lakers a truly dynamic secondary creator that they have largely lacked throughout the James era.

There already appears to be smoke with DeRozan and the Lakers. Hearing now that he prefers winning over money has to be music to the team’s ears.

Photo: Game Face/Flickr via cc by-sa 2.0

Report: Bradley Beal was frustrated with Wizards’ head coach hiring process

Bradley Beal

Bradley Beal’s future with the Washington Wizards seems to be on thin ice, and the way that they handled their head-coaching search probably did not help matters any.

Fred Katz of The Athletic reported this week that Beal was frustrated when his top choice for the position, Philadelphia 76ers assistant Sam Cassell, did not receive a second interview from the Wizards. Cassell had coached Beal as an assistant for Washington during his first two seasons in the NBA. The Wizards ended up hiring Denver Nuggets assistant Wes Unseld Jr. instead.

The report comes amid rumblings that Beal is considering a trade request. Former Wizards coach Scott Brooks had held the position for the last five seasons, and Beal apparently wanted more input in choosing his successor.

This may ultimately be an ominous sign for Washington. We recently have seen how quickly things can go south for a team when their superstars don’t get the coach that they want.

76ers deny report about Ben Simmons ghosting them

Ben Simmons

The Philadelphia 76ers have said they are committed to Ben Simmons and plan to work with him this offseason, but that will be difficult if the former top overall pick is completely ignoring the team. A report this week claimed Simmons has been doing just that, but the Sixers insist he has not.

During a podcast interview with Steve Lipman and Dan Volpone of Liberty Ballers, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer shared some interesting information about the relationship between Simmons and the 76ers. Fischer said the team hasn’t been able to get in touch with Simmons this offseason and that the two sides have never really been on the same page.

“They haven’t been able to really even get in touch with Ben since the season ended,” Fischer said. “Like, there was an intent to have a workout plan or whatever — like in any offseason. That’s always kind of been the case, that the Sixers haven’t been able to align with a development plan … It just doesn’t sound like there’s ever been movement to come together on the same page to do that, and it hasn’t really worked this summer either.”

The 76ers say the report is unfounded. Multiple team sources firmly denied that Simmons has gone AWOL when reached by Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.

“We talked to Ben on his birthday a couple of days ago, we’ve been in touch with him throughout the summer,” one source told Neubeck. “We’re going to send some training personnel out to see him this summer, too … we have good dialogue with Ben, his team, and his family.”

It’s hard to know who is telling the truth. Obviously, the 76ers want to cover up any dysfunction that might exist. They need rival teams to think their relationship with Simmons is just fine and that they are content to keep him, especially if their goal is to trade him and get maximum return. That’s how leverage works.

The 76ers have already laid out a steep asking price for Simmons. There are several teams that are said to have interest in the 25-year-old.

Simmons was an offensive liability in the playoffs, but he’s a tremendous defender and still very young. If the Sixers can’t get a decent return, they will likely keep him for at least another season.

Lakers veteran recruits Dwight Howard to return

Dwight Howard

Jared Dudley has played very sparingly for the Los Angeles Lakers over the past two seasons, but the veteran forward is still working hard for the team on the recruiting trail.

The Lakers could use help at the center position this offseason, and Dudley believes Dwight Howard can provide it. Howard, who will soon be a free agent, shared a video on Instagram recently that showed him working out. He captioned the video “I want a parade!!! Let’s work.” As Lakers Daily pointed out, Dudley commented on the post telling the big man it is “time to come home!”

Dudley is also set to become a free agent, but it’s possible he could be planning to sign another one-year minimum deal with the Lakers.

Howard helped the Lakers win a title two seasons ago. He averaged 5.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game during the playoffs. The 35-year-old also made significant contributions on defense, and L.A. seemed to miss that presence down the stretch and into the postseason this year.

Howard played with the Philadelphias 76ers this past season on a veteran minimum deal, and he could re-sign with them. He averaged 7.0 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. If he does test free agency, the Lakers will likely have some interest.

Argentina coach has extremely high praise for Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic led Slovenia to a win at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday with one of the best international game performances you will ever see, and even the opposing coach was in awe.

Doncic scored 48 points in Slovenia’s 118-100 victory over Argentina. He fell just seven points shy of the Olympic record of 55, which was set by Brazilian Hall of Famer Oscar Schmidt in 1988. After the game, Argentina head coach Sergio Hernandez told reporters that Doncic “just destroyed us.” Hernandez had extremely high praise for the Dallas Mavericks star.

“He is the best player in the world, including the NBA,” Hernandez said, via Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News. “If there was any doubt in my mind, it is there no more.”

Hernandez added that Argentina tried everything they could to stop Doncic but that the 22-year-old is “not a normal player.”

While most people would probably consider one of LeBron James, Kevin Durant or Giannis Antetokounmpo to be the best player in the world, Doncic certainly stated his case. Keep in mind that international games are only 40 minutes as opposed to 48 like in the NBA. Doncic scored 17 points in the first quarter alone. His 48 points were more than the entire Team USA starting lineup had combined in Sunday’s loss to France.

We saw some awesome reactions on Twitter after Doncic’s amazing Olympic debut. All eyes will be on him going forward in the tournament.

Twitter reacts to Luka Doncic’s insane Olympic debut

Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic made his Olympic debut on Monday, and to say he put on a show would be an understatement. The Dallas Mavericks star nearly set an Olympic scoring record while leading Slovenia to a 118-100 win over Argentina.

Doncic scored 48 points in 31 minutes. The point total is the second-most ever in an Olympic game, as he fell just short of the 55 points Brazilian Hall of Famer Oscar Schmidt scored in 1988. Doncic also had 11 rebounds and 5 assists.

The scoring output from Doncic was absolutely insane no matter how you look at it. He had 17 points in the first quarter alone. Keep in mind that quarters are only 10 minutes in the Olympics as opposed to 12 in an NBA game. The reactions on Twitter were as good as you’d expect.

Doncic’s 48 points were more than Team USA’s entire starting lineup had combined in Sunday’s loss to France. As you might imagine, the Twitter reactions for the American team were a lot different (see them here) than the ones we saw with Doncic.

Doncic is now a perfect 14-0 in international competition with Slovenia. That is hardly a coincidence.

Look: Jordan Clarkson visits Manny Pacquiao for ‘Filipino Legends’ photo

Manny Pacquiao

There was some Filipino Pride at the Wild Card Boxing gym in Hollywood, Calif. on Saturday.

Jordan Clarkson was among the notable people who visited Manny Pacquiao at Wild Card Boxing. Pacquiao tweeted a photo and captioned it “Filipino pride.”

Clarkson called Pacquiao “the goat” and “legendary.”

In addition to Clarkson, some Black Eyed Peas members also visited Pacquiao.

Clarkson is half-Filipino and has competed on the country’s behalf in international competition since 2018. The 29-year-old NBA player is extremely popular in the Philippines. Though no athlete is better known than Pac-Man, who is also a senator in his native country. Pacquiao is training for his August fight against Errol Spence. The 42-year-old Pac-Man has won three straight fights but has not fought since 2019.

Draymond Green calls out Warriors social media for leaving him out of Instagram post

Draymond Green

Draymond Green basically runs on a lack of respect. Sometimes, he even finds it from his team’s social media folks.

The Golden State Warriors posted a slideshow of notable shots from rookie photoshoots over the years. The images included those of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, as well as more recent rookie portraits from Jordan Poole and Eric Paschall. Notably missing was Green — notably to him, anyway, because he called it out in the comments.

Green is definitely among the core members of the Golden State dynasty who, like Curry and Thompson, has been with the team since entering the NBA. This clearly wasn’t about that, though. They were trying to spotlight some cool pictures. It’s why Curry and Thompson were featured alongside the likes of Jordan Bell.

Hey, whatever motivates Green, the Warriors are probably fine with it. That said, Green’s mood seems like it might be dictated more based on what the Warriors do with their roster this offseason.

Warriors only willing to trade draft picks for Bradley Beal?

Bradley Beal

The Golden State Warriors are not opposed to trading their two first-round picks to acquire a star player, but it sounds like they may only have one specific star player in mind.

Bradley Beal has publicly pledged his allegiance to the Washington Wizards on multiple occasions, but there have been signs recently that the three-time All-Star could ask for a trade. The Warriors are said to have interest, and they may be able to use their two lottery picks — No. 7 and No. 14 overall — to swing a trade for Beal. If they cannot, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski says they are content to use the picks.

During his NBA Draft special with Zach Lowe on Sunday, Wojnarowski indicated that Beal is the only star player the Warriors plan to pursue.

“Golden State’s going to wait and see how it goes with Bradley Beal,” Woj said. “But short of Bradley Beal being available, I expect Golden State to use those picks at No. 7 and No. 14 this week.”

Lowe added that the Warriors using their two first-round picks on players that will be on their roster next season is the “likeliest scenario.”

Of course, that could be posturing. The Warriors don’t want to look desperate leading up to the draft, especially with one report already claiming their star players want them to make a big trade.

Beal, 28, averaged 31.3 points per game this season and narrowly lost the scoring title to Stephen Curry. He may have a specific team in mind that he would like to play for, but we’d guess he would welcome a trade to Golden State.