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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Basketball

Report: Thunder open to keeping Chris Paul

Chris Paul Rockets

While Chris Paul has been frequently linked with a move away from Oklahoma City, there are also indications that the Thunder would be comfortable keeping the newly-acquired guard.

According to Ken Berger of Bleacher Report, the Thunder would have no problem keeping Paul on board if they can’t find a trade partner and Paul is willing to stay. While his deal is bloated with three years and $124 million remaining, that is still a year less than Russell Westbrook had left.

Paul’s willingness to stay remains somewhat of a question. The 34-year-old has never even played in the NBA Finals, and is running out oftime to find that elusive championship. The reality is that Paul just doesn’t have a ton of potential takers thanks to his contract unless Oklahoma City is willing to sweeten the pot by adding assets, and he may have to settle for playing on a non-contending Thunder team for at least one season.

Rockets, Clippers reportedly want Andre Iguodala but are facing obstacles

Andre Iguodala face

The Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers are two contending teams that would love to add a player with the experience Andre Iguodala can bring, but they are finding that may be a lot easier said than done.

Shams Charania of The Athletic confirmed on Monday that the Rockets and Clippers are “strongly pursuing” Iguodala, but both are running into obstacles in talks with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Rockets are concerned about the significant luxury tax bill they would rack up by working out a sign-and-trade for Iguodala and giving up a draft pick. LA would likely have to send forward Maurice Harkless to Memphis, and that is not ideal for them.

In other words, the two teams that want Iguodala more than any others may not be the best trade suitors. That could result in them having to get a third team involved, which always complicates a deal further.

It makes sense that the Grizzlies want to trade Iguodala rather than buying out his contract, as the Clippers and Rockets are not the only two teams that have shown serious interest. The demand for the 35-year-old makes him a valuable asset to Memphis at the moment.

Dion Waiters has message for weight gain critics

Dion Waiters

Dion Waiters posted a message on Instagram Monday night intended for his weight gain critics.

Waiters posted a before and after photo on Instagram showing how chubby he was last season when he returned from multiple foot surgeries.

“Last year when I came off 1 of the most depressing & frustrating times of my life. Coming off injury & not feeling like myself nor looking like myself I was in a dark place mentally & physically , Because the game I love so much was taken away due to season ending surgery. Now a days with this social media ran world they laughed at me made jokes etc not knowing what I was battling or going through everyday. So instead of me joining the circus I told myself you from (Philly) you’ve been through worst s— in your life than this. So I promise myself I would work my a– off & get back to where I was before the injury. I’m not done yet but I kno somebody in the world prolli needed to hear this. Stay positive block out the outside noise & grind,” Waiters wrote (profanity edited).

The present day photo appears to show Waiters has gotten into much better shape.

Waiters has endured a rough time the last three seasons. He missed time in 2016-2017 with a quad tear; missed more than half the 2017-2018 season due to ankle surgery; and he only played half of last season’s games as he returned.

He showed last year that the weight gain critics had bothered him. Now he is finally healthy enough to show them up. He probably can’t wait for the season to start.

Lonzo Ball calls Zion Williamson a ‘freak’

Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball seems pretty excited to play with Zion Williamson.

Ball was full of praise for his New Orleans Pelicans teammate on Saturday, describing him as a “freak” and raving about his mobility.

“Man, I’ve never seen somebody that size move like him,” Ball told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “… He’s only 19, right? He’s definitely a freak. I’ve never seen nothing like it.

“Honestly, you just got to run the lane, set screens and roll. With his game and with him getting a full head of steam, it’s going to be very tough to stop him. So I think we play fast and get out on the break as soon as possible.”

Ball has already thought about how to best bring out Williamson’s talents, which is a good sign. It seems he has a much higher opinion of his new teammate than his father does, which is really all that will matter to the Pelicans.

Ben Simmons agrees to max extension with 76ers

Ben Simmons

As has been widely expected, Ben Simmons has agreed to a max contract extension with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Simmons’ agent Rich Paul told Shams Charania of The Athletic that Simmons has agreed to the five-year, $170 million max deal he was eligible for, locking him down in Philadelphia long-term.

This had been a formality for roughly two weeks and maybe even longer. Simmons is a key part of the Sixers’ future and they’ve planned around him becoming one of their go-to players.

Simmons turns 23 next week. He’s coming off a season which saw him average 17.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 8.1 assists as the Sixers came frustratingly close to reaching the Eastern Conference Finals.

Spurs’ DeMarre Carroll sends funny tweet about all the player movement

DeMarre Carroll

The amount of star players changing teams this summer was unlike any other time in the NBA.

Of the 15 players who made an All-NBA team last season, six have changed teams. That list includes: Paul George, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker and Russell Westbrook. Several other players have either been traded to new teams or signed with other ones.

DeMarre Carroll is part of that group. After spending the past two seasons with the Brooklyn Nets, he signed with the Spurs on a two-year deal. He joked on Twitter Monday about the player movement.

That’s very well said.

While the increased movement makes things fun to follow due to all the storylines, there are a few drawbacks, such as a lack of continuity for teams and their fans. We shall see whether those drawbacks are enough to result in a change in the future.

Watch: Anthony Davis wins basketball carnival game at Universal Studios

Anthony Davis Lakers

Universal Studios might want to include a provision on their carnival games preventing NBA players from participating.

Anthony Davis visited the Los Angeles theme park on Sunday and decided to put his best skills to use. This video shows him missing one shot at the basketball shooting carnival game “Dunk or Flunk” before making the next.

Carnival games often bend the rim so the opening for the ball is tighter, and they over-inflate the balls so contestants can’t get a favorable bounce. Making those is not easy, unless you’re a professional NBA player.

It seems like the newest Lakers star, who was introduced to the media on Saturday, is already enjoying himself in LA.