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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Basketball

Kevin Durant throws shade at Sixers’ new nickname

Kevin Durant mom Wanda

Kevin Durant had jokes for the new nickname for Markelle Fultz, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, and Ben Simmons.

Not long after the Sixers selected Fultz with the No. 1 overall pick in last Thursday’s NBA Draft, Embiid sent out a tweet with a new nickname for Philadelphia’s four prominent young players. Below is what they will now be known as.

It’s definitely not a bad nickname and is actually kind of catchy. Durant thinks it a little early for nicknames, considering the foursome hasn’t played a game together yet.

Technically, Durant is right since Fultz is not even a week into being a professional and Simmons missed all of last season due to injury. However, there’s no doubting the Sixers have an impressive collection of young talent that could end up being special. We aren’t there yet though, and Durant is here to remind us we might need to pump the brakes a little.

Report: Cavs, Pacers, Nuggets have discussed three-team Paul George trade

Paul George

The Cleveland Cavaliers do not currently have the draft capital that the Indiana Pacers would be seeking in a trade for Paul George, but the two sides have reportedly discussed the possibility of getting a third team involved.

According to Marc Stein and Chris Haynes of ESPN, the Cavs, Pacers and Denver Nuggets have discussed a potential three-team trade that would send George to Cleveland and Kevin Love to Denver.

Three-team deals are typically complicated, so there are likely several hurdles the teams would have to clear to come to an agreement that suited everyone’s needs. However, the Pacers have openly said that they are motivated to trade George now that he has informed them he will not sign an extension.

The Los Angeles Lakers remain the favorite to land George when he opts out of his contract next summer, but the Cavs would probably be willing to risk only “renting” the 27-year-old swingman for a season. If George goes to Cleveland and the Cavaliers end up winning a championship or coming close, there’s a chance he could be convinced to sign an extension.

One other team that is interested in George has plenty of draft capital and reportedly believes George would sign an extension. The Pacers will take as much time as they need to identify the best possible deal.

Report: Pacers not interested in acquiring Kevin Love

Kevin Love

Any potential Cleveland Cavaliers trade for Paul George will have at least one major obstacle to overcome.

Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports on Sunday that the Indiana Pacers are not interested in acquiring Kevin Love and are instead seeking young players and draft picks.

Without those types of young assets to offer, Cleveland’s most valuable trade chip is most likely Love. But he’s a costly, in-his-prime player who has yet to prove that he can lead a team to the playoffs as the No. 1 guy, so it makes sense why the Pacers might not exactly be interested.

Granted, the Cavs could get a third team involved, and the Pacers are virtually a lock to trade George now that he has informed them he plans to leave in 2018. But with other destinations also very much in play, Cleveland will have a lot of hoops to jump through to turn their PG-13 pipe dream into a reality.

Kristaps Porzingis’ family dealt with death of 14-month-old boy

Kristaps Porzingis

New York Knicks center/forward Kristaps Porzingis is already a polarizing figure, but it’s not just because of what he’s been able to accomplish on the basketball court. Rather, Porzingis’ entire story intrigues the masses — from his childhood in Latvia to his young career in the Big Apple.

For that reason, ESPN recently filmed and ran an E:60 documentary that focused on Porzingis’ life and career.

In the documentary that aired on Sunday, it was revealed that Porzingis’ family had overcome a previously unreported tragedy — the death of his 14-month-old brother, Toms.

Porzingis has two older brothers that are known, Janis and Martins, the latter of whom is his manager, but he would have also had a third older brother. Unfortunately, four years prior to Kristaps’ birth, the family lost Toms, although they would not say how.

“It felt like a bulldozer had run over my life. We had two other children who we had to care for. We had to live on. After Kristaps was born, it was like he had to live for two lives,” Porzingis’ mother, Ingrida, said in Latvian.

The documentary also addressed Porzingis’ decision to skipp exit meetings with team president Phil Jackson. In the mid-April filming at his apartment, Porzingis simply said he had his reasons for missing said meeting.

Tensions between Porzingis and the Knicks continue to rise with recent reports suggesting Jackson fears the former first-round pick will rebel and not re-sign with the team once he becomes a free agent in 2019.

(H/T: New York Post)

Report: LeBron James not planning to leave Cavs

LeBron James

There has been a lot of talk about LeBron James potentially leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers when he is eligible to opt out of his contract next summer, but one NBA reporter says that talk is very premature.

According to Chris Broussard of FOX Sports, LeBron currently has no plans to bail on the Cavs.

That isn’t going to stop the speculation. LeBron left the Cavs once in pursuit of championships, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t do it again if he feels he has a better shot at capturing more rings elsewhere.

For now, the Cavs remain the best team in the Eastern Conference. They clearly have some work to do if they want to contend with the Golden State Warriors, but it’d be tough to imagine LeBron finding a much better situation. He’ll likely focus his attention on getting Cleveland to add another top player this offseason.

We know of at least one star player who has been linked to the Cavs, but that still seems like a long shot. As he has done in the past, LeBron will use his contract situation as leverage to make sure the Cavs make the roster moves he wants them to make. If they don’t, he could end up exploring free agency in a year.

Report: Jason Williams injured in first BIG3 game

Ice Cube’s BIG3 league, which features exciting three-on-three dream matchups, officially held its inaugural game in Brooklyn on Sunday at the Barclays Center. And one of the largest early-season attractions was the return of White Chocolate, Jason Williams.

Fans poured into the arena wearing Williams jerseys and cheered as he hit the court. However, that enjoyment was short-lived as Williams appeared to suffered a relatively serious non-contact leg injury.

More than a handful of reporters and fans hit Twitter with photos of Williams surrounded by teammates, opponents and coaches as he writhed in pain on the court.

Although Williams did eventually walk off under his own power, he did not return to the game. The good news is that he was able to put weight on his leg and even do a little light running in the locker-room.

A first-round pick of the Sacramento Kings in the 1998 NBA Draft, Williams quickly became a fan favorite for his electric ball handling skills and no-look passes. He helped spearhead the Kings’ exciting offensive run in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and also spent time with the Memphis Grizzlies, Orlando Magic and Miami Heat, where he won his only title in 2006.

Mavericks ‘strongly’ considering two-year deal for Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki caveman

The Dallas Mavericks will decline Dirk Nowitzki’s $25 million team option for the 2017-2018 season, but fans should not fret.

ESPN’s Marc Stein reports the Mavericks believe Nowitzki still has a few good years left in him and are now considering a new two-year deal.

Nowitzki entered last season having signed a two-year deal worth $50 million, but the second year was the aforementioned team option. Accordingly, this latest report suggests the Mavericks not only believe Nowitzki can play beyond next season, but could help them create some additional salary cap space.

During his wrap-up interview in April, Nowitzki implied he felt healthy enough to play several more seasons.

“If I feel like this [next year] like I did at the end [of this year], I think I could play another one after that,” Nowitzki told reporters. “I’ll just leave all that open. … But I’m definitely playing next year.”

Although Nowitzki’s numbers were down, he remained effective in 26.4 minutes per game, averaging 14.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists.

Next season will be Nowitzki’s 20th in the NBA.

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