National Basketball Association
NBA News Wire
  • LeBron speaks on Morey, sparks more controversy
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, October 15, 2019

    More than a week after Houston general manager Daryl Morey ignited an international firestorm with his tweet in support of an independent Honk Kong, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James spoke on the subject Monday, and he started a controversy of his own.

    • Speaking to the media in Los Angeles -- after the Lakers returned from their tour of China -- James said Morey "wasn't educated" on the Hong Kong-Beijing conflict that has drawn months of protests, saying people should be careful what they tweet because "a lot of negative" can come with free speech.

      "I don't want to get into a (verbal) feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn't educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke," James told reporters from Staples Center before the Lakers hosted the Golden State Warriors in a preseason game. "And so many people could have been harmed not only financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually. So just be careful what we tweet and say and we do, even though, yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that, too."

      When asked to expand, James said, "I believe (Morey) was either misinformed or not really educated on the situation, and if he was, then so be it. I have no idea, but that is just my belief.

      "Because when you say things or do things, if you are doing it and you know the people that can be affected by it and the families and individuals and everyone that can be affected by it, sometimes things can be changed as well. And also social media is not always the proper way to go about things as well, but that's just my belief."

      James' comments were soon met with no shortage of criticism on social media, and later Monday night, James took to Twitter to issue a follow-up statement.

      He tweeted, "Let me clear up the confusion. I do not believe there was any consideration for the consequences and ramifications of the tweet. I'm not discussing the substance. Others can talk About that.

      "My team and this league just went through a difficult week. I think people need to understand what a tweet or statement can do to others. And I believe nobody stopped and considered what would happen. Could have waited a week to send it."

      Also on Monday, sources told ESPN that NBA commissioner Adam Silver had a "tense meeting" last week with players from the Lakers and Brooklyn Nets while they were in Shanghai.

      According to the report, some well-known players were unhappy about being thrust into the middle of a tense scenario, with them potentially being ask to speak with Chinese reporters before Silver was scheduled to do so.

      In the end, the NBA did not have media availability in China.

      Thus far, Morey has not been disciplined for his since-deleted tweet that included a logo and the words, "Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong," though Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta spoke out against Morey and his tweet and Rockets star James Harden apologized afterward, stating, "We apologize. You know, we love China. We love playing there," while standing next to teammate Russell Westbrook in Tokyo.

      According to ESPN's report Monday, players asked Silver whether Morey would face any ramifications from the NBA, with several arguing the point that if a player did or said something that cost the league millions, that player would face repercussions.

      In the days following Morey's tweet, Chinese state television decided to not air the Nets-Lakers games, and numerous Chinese companies suspended business with the NBA.

      Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous region in China, is in the midst of months-long protests -- sometimes violent -- with Beijing sensitive to foreign influence on the unrest.

      --Field Level Media

  • Davis' MRI results come back clean
    By Field Level Media / Monday, October 14, 2019

    The MRI results on Anthony Davis' sprained right thumb came back clean on Monday, ESPN reported.

    • The Los Angeles Lakers' big man suffered the injury during the first half of Saturday's preseason came against the Brooklyn Nets in Shenzhen, China.

      Davis initially stayed in the game after getting the thumb taped but later departed for good. He had six points and three rebounds in 12 minutes during the 91-77 loss to the Nets.

      Davis won't play in Monday night's preseason game against the Golden State Warriors.

      In three preseason games, Davis has averaged 14.7 points on 45.5 percent shooting and 5.0 rebounds.

      Davis is in his first season with the Lakers after being acquired in an offseason deal with the New Orleans Pelicans.

      Los Angeles opens the regular season on Oct. 22 against the Los Angeles Clippers.

      --Field Level Media

  • Nets pick up options on Allen, Musa
    By Field Level Media / Monday, October 14, 2019

    The Brooklyn Nets exercised the 2020-21 contract option worth $3.91 million for young center Jarrett Allen on Monday.

    • The 21-year-old Allen averaged 10.9 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots last season in his second NBA campaign. He shot 59 percent from the field.

      The 6-foot-11 Allen, the 22nd overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, has averages of 9.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 152 games (111 starts) as he enters his third season with Brooklyn.

      The Nets also picked up the $2 million option on swingman Dzanan Musa for 2020-21. Musa, 20, spent most of last season in the G League but made nine appearances (39 minutes) for the Nets and averaged 2.1 points.

      Musa, from Bosnia, was the 29th overall pick of the 2018 draft.

      --Field Level Media

  • Kerr: Warriors' Curry 'at his peak'
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, October 13, 2019

    The Golden State Warriors no longer have Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala, and Klay Thompson is recovering from a torn ACL.

    • The Warriors will need sharp-shooting guard Stephen Curry more than ever this season, and coach Steve Kerr said the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player is ready to deliver.

      "He's had an incredible camp. To me, he's at his peak physically, mentally," Kerr told reporters Sunday. "He's seen every defense that people have thrown at him during his career, and he's ready to have a great year."

      Curry even saw a box-and-one defense against him in the NBA Finals last season, when the Toronto Raptors took down the two-time defending champs in six games.

      Curry, 31, averaged 27.3 points per game last season, his best mark since leading the league at 30.1 points per game in the 2015-16 season. He has led Golden State to three NBA titles in Kerr's five seasons as head coach.

      "I'm not looking for anything different than what he's done for five years," Kerr said. "What he's done is pretty special."

      Kerr added that Curry is "kind of in a sweet spot" in his career, although the re-tooling Warriors might not be, as the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets are among the new favorites in the Western Conference.

      Curry had 40 points, six rebounds and six assists in 25 minutes in the team's second preseason game on Thursday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Warriors have three more preseason games, all against the Lakers, before opening the season Oct. 24 at home against the Clippers.

      --Field Level Media

  • Celtics' Fall headed to G League after inking two-way deal
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, October 13, 2019

    The Boston Celtics on Sunday switched their deal with center Tacko Fall to a two-way contract, which means the 7-foot-6 rookie will spend most of the 2019-20 season in the G League.

    • Players on a two-way contract can spend a maximum of 45 days in the NBA. Fall is likely to be assigned to the Maine Red Claws with part of the goal being to see development in his offensive game.

      Fall went undrafted after his senior season at Central Florida and agreed to play for Boston's Summer League team. He was signed by the Celtics in July after he averaged 7.2 points and 4.0 rebounds and connected on 77.3 percent of his field-goal attempts in five games.

      Fall is averaging 2.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in two preseason appearances in which he totaled just less than 14 minutes.

      Fall averaged 10.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots in 115 games (110 starts) over four college seasons at UCF.

      Boston also signed guard Max Strus to a two-way contract. Strus averaged 18.6 points and 5.8 rebounds in two college seasons at DePaul.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Rockets G Green out with broken foot
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, October 13, 2019

    Houston Rockets guard Gerald Green could be sidelined for several months with a broken left foot, The Athletic reported Sunday.

    • The 33-year-old NBA journeyman will have further tests this week, per the report.

      Green limped off the court during Thursday's preseason game in Tokyo against the Toronto Raptors.

      Green appeared in 73 games off the Houston bench in 2018-19, averaging 9.2 points and 2.5 rebounds in 20.2 minutes. He was third on the team with 156 3-pointers.

      Green is entering his third season with the Rockets and his 13th in the NBA, a professional career that has included time with eight NBA franchises plus stints in Russia and China.

      The Rockets open the 2019-20 regular season at home on Oct. 24 against the Milwaukee Bucks.

      --Field Level Media

  • Lakers F Davis sprains thumb
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, October 12, 2019

    Lakers star Anthony Davis sprained his right thumb Saturday during Los Angeles' preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets in Shenzhen, China.

    • Davis, who started at center, appeared to suffer the injury swatting at the ball midway through the first quarter. He initially stayed in the game and had his thumb taped during a break, but then headed to the locker room between the first and second quarters and had an ice pack taped to his right hand.

      The Lakers lost 91-77, and Davis finished with six points on 2-for-7 shooting, three rebounds, two blocks and a steal in 12 minutes.

      In two preseason games, Davis has averaged 19 points on 50-percent shooting, 6.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 22 minutes per game.

      Next up for the Lakers is a preseason contest on Monday against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center.

      --Field Level Media

  • Kings F Ariza out rest of preseason
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, October 12, 2019

    Sacramento Kings forward Trevor Ariza underwent surgery Friday to remove a benign tumor from his back, the team announced.

    • Ariza, 34, is expected to miss the Kings' two remaining preseason games and will be reevaluated after the Oct. 16 preseason matchup vs. Melbourne United.

      Ariza has played in two of the three Kings' preseason contests so far. He scored five points in 28 minutes off the bench in Sacramento's overtime loss to the Indiana Pacers on Oct. 4 and had five points in 21 minutes Thursday night in a win over the Phoenix Suns.

      Last season, which was split between the Suns and the Washington Wizards, he averaged 12.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 69 games. In 15 seasons, he holds career averages of 10.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists.

      Also Friday, the team announced forward-center Harry Giles is out with a sore left knee and likely to miss the last two preseason games. He underwent a precautionary MRI on Sept. 30.

      The Kings open their regular season Oct. 23 at Phoenix.

      --Field Level Media

  • Heat F Johnson vows to 'earn my respect back'
    By Field Level Media / Friday, October 11, 2019

    James Johnson was humble but determined after returning to the Miami Heat on Friday.

    • The veteran forward had been sent home Sept. 30 because he failed to meet the team's conditioning requirements. He rejoined his teammates 11 days later and promised to use the experience as a learning moment.

      "It was Day 1 of earning my respect back," Johnson told reporters. "That's the only emotion I had, is earn my respect back."

      The 32-year-old said he wanted to look forward rather than delve into details about his conditioning level before training camp.

      "It's good to be back home," Johnson said. "I got exactly what I needed; I got exactly what I needed to hear. Hopefully I can put it all behind me after this."

      In 10 NBA seasons, Johnson has averaged 7.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists. He has spent the previous three seasons with the Heat and also has played for the Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors, Sacramento Kings and Memphis Grizzlies.

      Johnson said he could catch up quickly despite missing a pair of preseason games.

      "As far as playing and plays-wise, I'm familiar with all the plays," Johnson said. "As far as playing with somebody as great as Jimmy Butler, you can't pick that up in training camp. It's going to be more than preseason games, to know where his strong points are and for him to know my strengths and weaknesses. That's just going to come with trials and errors, being in the trenches for real."

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Bucks G Bledsoe (rib) to miss start of season
    By Field Level Media / Friday, October 11, 2019

    A rib fracture will sideline Milwaukee Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe for the start of the season, according to multiple reports.

    • Bledsoe was injured during a preseason rout of the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.

      He is expected to miss up to three weeks. The Bucks play their season opener on Oct. 24 on the road against the Houston Rockets.

      Bledsoe is in the first year of a $70 million, four-year extension he signed last season.

      The former first-round pick (18th overall in 2010) averaged 15.9 points, 5.5 assists and 4.6 rebounds in 78 games last season, his second in Milwaukee. The Bucks acquired Bledsoe from Phoenix early in the 2017-18 season.

      Bledsoe played his first three NBA seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers before playing his next four with the Suns. He has career averages of 14.1 points, 4.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds.

      --Field Level Media

  • Nets to sit Kyrie (face) in China
    By Field Level Media / Friday, October 11, 2019

    Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving will sit out Saturday's exhibition game against the Los Angeles Lakers in China.

    • Irving aggravated a facial fracture in Thursday's game, going to the bench 66 seconds into the game after an inadvertent blow to the face from Lakers guard Rajon Rondo. Irving was reaching around Rondo, attempting to poke away the ball when he stopped, removed his mask and signaled to the bench he was hurt.

      Irving was wearing a protective mask due to a facial fracture suffered in training camp.

      The 27-year-old signed a four-year deal with the Nets in July.

      Guard Caris LaVert is questionable for Saturday's game after leaving Thursday's game with an eye injury.

      Spencer Dinwiddie will start in Irving's place.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA nixes media availability for final game in China
    By Field Level Media / Friday, October 11, 2019

    The Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets will play Saturday's final exhibition game in China on Saturday, but the NBA will not make players or coaches available to the media amid tensions over protests in Hong Kong.

    • The teams played Thursday in Shanghai with the same stipulation, as requested by the Chinese government.

      In a statement released Friday, the league said it made the decision to extend the policy for the sake of the teams.

      "We have decided not to hold media availability for our teams for the remainder of our trip in China," the statement reads. "They have been placed into a complicated and unprecedented situation while abroad and we believe it would be unfair to ask them to address these matters in real time."

      Saturday's game will be played in Shenzhen, less than 30 kilometers from Hong Kong.

      On Wednesday, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated said on "The Dan Patrick Show" that the final two games could be canceled. Dave McMenamin reported on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" that the games are in doubt over safety concerns. The network's Rachel Nichols reported the NBA doesn't want to cancel games, but said all NBA and player signage -- massive images of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and a 20-foot NBA logo on the arena -- was removed Wednesday by a single worker operating a crane.

      State television broadcaster CCTV announced Tuesday that neither NBA game in the country would be televised. All 11 wholly owned Chinese companies with official partnerships with the NBA have severed ties with the NBA, CNN reported Wednesday afternoon.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Pacers pick up F Leaf's fourth-year option
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, October 10, 2019

    The Indiana Pacers are picking up the fourth-year option on forward T.J. Leaf, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday.

    • The 18th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft out of UCLA, Leaf is heading into the third season of his rookie contract.

      Leaf, 22, averaged 3.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 9.0 minutes in 58 games (one start) in 2018-19.

      As a 2017-18 rookie, he came off the bench in 53 games and averaged 2.9 points, 1.5 rebounds and 8.7 minutes per game.

      --Field Level Media

  • Nets G Irving aggravates facial fracture in China
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, October 10, 2019

    Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving aggravated his facial fracture during the opening minutes of his preseason debut against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday in Shanghai, China.

    • The six-time All-Star played only 66 seconds in the Nets' 114-111 victory.

      Irving wore a mask to protect the left side of his face, but he bumped into Lakers guard Rajon Rondo's arm and appeared to wince in pain. He removed the mask, signaled to the bench for a substitution and did not return.

      Irving, 27, sustained the injury last month when he accidentally was elbowed during a pickup game at the Nets' facilities.

      He is entering his first season with the Nets after signing a four-year, $136.5 million contract. The Nets are counting on him to lead the team until fellow free-agent signee Kevin Durant returns from surgery for a torn Achilles.

      This is not the first facial injury for Irving.

      He broke a bone in his jaw in 2012 when he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The injury occurred when he took a hard fall to the court during a game in Milwaukee.

      Early in the 2017 season as a member of the Boston Celtics, he also sustained a broken facial bone when a teammate inadvertently elbowed him.

      A two-time All-NBA selection, Irving averaged 23.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.9 assists in 67 games with the Boston Celtics last season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Trump criticizes Kerr, Popovich for China reactions
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, October 9, 2019

    President Donald Trump strode into the NBA's China morass on Wednesday, denouncing the reaction of Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to the controversy.

    • The NBA is dealing with harsh reaction from its Chinese business partners to a since-deleted tweet from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey related to protests in Hong Kong. The league subsequently apologized for the backlash to Morey's tweet but backed his ability to take a stand on the issue without speaking for the team.

      Kerr and Popovich, both vocal critics of Trump's policies in the past, were asked in recent days for their response to the issue.

      "He was like a little boy, he was so scared. ... He was shaking," Trump said of Kerr's reply. "He was shaking, 'Oh, I don't know' ... he didn't know how to answer the question, and yet he'll talk about the United States very badly."

      On Monday, Kerr had said he didn't have a reaction to the NBA-China situation, adding, "It's a really bizarre international story, and a lot of us don't know what to make of it. So it's something I'm reading about just like everybody is, but I'm not going to comment further than that."

      Popovich had praised NBA commissioner Adam Silver's response to the Morey tweet without specifically taking a stand on the issue.

      Trump commented Wednesday, "I watched Popovich, sort of the same thing, but he didn't look quite as scared, actually. But they talk badly about the United States -- but when (they) talk about China, they don't want to say anything bad."

      Warriors guard Stephen Curry, another longtime Trump critic, said Wednesday at the team's practice, "I just heard about the Trump thing. I gotta welcome Steve to the club."

      In 2017, after Curry had announced that he would be opposed to the then-NBA champion Warriors celebrating their title at the White House, Trump tweeted, "Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!"

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Lakers-Nets will go on in China 'as of now'
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, October 9, 2019

    Stadium signage has been removed and players reportedly are growing uneasy with playing games amid growing tensions in China, where the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets are scheduled to play Thursday.

    • As of early Wednesday evening, though, "all indications" were that the game would be played, according to sources of Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. The teams also are scheduled to play Saturday.

      An event in Shanghai scheduled for Wednesday to benefit the Special Olympics featuring the Lakers was canceled hours before it was to begin.

      Another fan experience event also was pulled from the schedule of events around the appearance of the Lakers in China, the latest maneuver from the hosts underlining the depth of the fallout from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's comments last week.

      Earlier Wednesday, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated said on "The Dan Patrick Show" the games could be canceled. Dave McMenamin reported on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" that the games are in doubt over safety concerns. The network's Rachel Nichols reported the NBA doesn't want to cancel games, but said all NBA and player signage -- massive images of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and a 20-foot NBA logo on the arena -- was removed Wednesday by a single worker operating a crane.

      State television broadcaster CCTV announced Tuesday that neither NBA game in the country would be televised. All 11 wholly owned Chinese companies with official partnerships with the NBA have severed ties with the NBA, CNN reported Wednesday afternoon.

      The NBA said it did not cancel either fan event, one day after NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league regretted the consequences -- but not the spirit -- of Morey's tweet supporting Hong Kong's democratic revolution.

      The league did cancel media availability on Wednesday.

      "Given the fluidity of the situation, today's media availability has been postponed," the league said in a statement.

      --Field Level Media

  • Durant to Nets fans: Don't expect me this season
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, October 8, 2019

    Kevin Durant had a message for Brooklyn Nets fans during a Tuesday radio interview -- don't expect me to play this season.

    • Durant, who signed with Brooklyn as a free agent during the offseason, suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon during the NBA Finals while with the Golden State Warriors.

      There has been talk and hope among fans that Durant could return sooner than most people with a similar injury -- perhaps by season's end and/or the playoffs.

      Speaking live on New York's Hot 97 on Tuesday, the forward pooh-poohed that notion.

      "I'm still human. It takes a lot of time," Durant said. "Everyday process, man. It's tough to dive into it every day. Two, three hours of just rehab just trying to get back strong. But no, nothing, no accelerated process. I'm just working like everybody else who ever tore their Achilles."

      When asked if Nets fans should go into the season expecting not to see him on the court, Durant replied: "Yeah."

      --Field Level Media

  • Chinese TV cancels NBA coverage, rift with league grows
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, October 8, 2019

    NBA commissioner Adam Silver regrets the outcome, but said he continues to support the right of freedom of expression exercised by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.

    • Chinese state TV broadcaster CCTV announced Tuesday it would not televise NBA games played this week involving the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets. Chinese smartphone maker Vivo, a sponsor of the Lakers-Nets game, led multiple Chinese companies suspending business with the NBA on Tuesday over Morey's comments and the NBA's support of Morey.

      CCTV pointed directly to Silver when announcing it pulled the plug on this week's broadcasts.

      "We're strongly dissatisfied and oppose Adam Silver's claim to support Morey's right to freedom of expression," the network said in a statement. "We believe that any remarks that challenge national sovereignty and social stability are not within the scope of freedom of speech."

      Morey sparked a firestorm by posting a comment via Twitter last week: "Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong."

      On Monday, Silver said he supported Morey's rights as an NBA employee. Though Morey later deleted the post and tweeted an apology after Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta publicly clarified the team does not take political positions, the damage cannot yet be measured.

      Silver said in Japan that he plans to be in Shanghai to meet with Chinese officials on Wednesday.

      "I'm sympathetic to our interests here and our partners that are upset," Silver said. "I don't think it's inconsistent on one hand to be sympathetic to them and at the same time stand by our principles. But if those are the consequences of us adhering to our values, I still feel it's very, very important to adhere to those values."

      Some U.S. lawmakers also criticized Silver and called for him to take action. But Silver said he will not adjudicate differences of opinion.

      "This is about far more than growing our business. ... Values of equality, respect and freedom of expression have long defined the NBA -- and will continue to do so," Silver said. "As an American-based basketball league operating globally, among our greatest contributions are these values of the game."

      --Field Level Media

  • Knicks' Morris ejected from preseason opener
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, October 8, 2019

    Marcus Morris didn't last all the way through the New York Knicks' first preseason game.

    • Now it's unclear if he will be available at all in the team's regular-season opener.

      The newly acquired forward was ejected Monday after being assessed a flagrant-2 foul early in the second half of the Knicks' 104-99 win over the host Washington Wizards.

      According multiple media outlets, after the NBA completes its standard review of the flagrant-2 call, if it upholds the ruling, Morris would be suspended for the Knicks' first regular-season game.

      Morris apparently didn't realize that when he got into it with Washington's Justin Anderson. With Anderson guarding him at the top of the key, Morris repeatedly swung his elbows near Anderson's face, then bonked Anderson on the top of the head with the ball, though Morris never let go of the ball. The players subsequently got into a verbal exchange.

      "Am I concerned (about a suspension)?" Morris told reporters afterward. "I would be concerned if it was regular season. I wouldn't want to miss any regular-season games. If that was regular season I wouldn't have done that.

      "My team needs me. I've got to be smart, set a better example. But like I said at the beginning, we're not taking any (guff). So it is what it is."

      Morris played 19 minutes before his ejection, racking up 17 points (tied for the team high), seven rebounds and two assists. Rookie RJ Barrett also had 17 points for New York, and Taj Gibson scored 16.

      Moritz Wagner led Washington with 16 points, and Thomas Bryant contributed 14 points and 14 rebounds.

      Morris, 30, signed a one-year, $15 million free agent deal with the Knicks in July. He spent the past two seasons with the Boston Celtics after previously playing for the Houston Rockets (2011-12 to 2012-13), the Phoenix Suns (2012-13 to 2014-15) and the Detroit Pistons (2015-16 to 2016-17).

      Last season, he averaged 13.9 points and 6.1 rebounds in 75 games (53 starts), leaving his career averages at 11.5 points and 4.6 rebounds in 545 games (292 starts).

      --Field Level Media

  • Warriors sign Kavion Pippen, nephew of Scottie
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, October 8, 2019

    Kevin Durant may be gone, but it appears the comparisons between the Golden State Warriors and 1990s Chicago Bulls will go on.

    • The NBA's most recent dynasty pulled a page out of the history book of one of the league's most famous dynasties, as the Warriors on Monday announced the signing of free agent center Kavion Pippen, the nephew of Bulls legend Scottie Pippen.

      Kavion Pippen, 22, averaged 12.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.7 blocks in two seasons at Southern Illinois but went undrafted in June. The 6-foot-10 Arkansas native was named All-Missouri Valley Conference third team and MVC All-Defensive Team as a senior.

      Though terms of the deal were not announced, it is believed to be a non-guaranteed contract, but one that could offer Pippen a shot at making the team on a two-way deal.

      The Warriors have a need for a big man with Willie Cauley-Stein to miss all of camp with a foot injury, Kevon Looney dealing with a hamstring injury and second-round pick Alen Smailagic out for the "foreseeable future," according to The Athletic, due to a sprained ankle.

      The Warriors have won three of the last five NBA championships and made the NBA Finals in each of the past five seasons. But with Durant leaving for Brooklyn via free agency, Andre Iguodala dealt to Memphis and sharpshooter Klay Thompson expected to be out until February or March as he recovers from a torn ACL, the Warriors are in their biggest transition phase since head coach Steve Kerr joined the club in 2014 and the Finals run began.

      Scottie Pippen, 54, played 17 seasons in the NBA, the first 11 and last one with the Bulls. Playing as sidekick to Michael Jordan, Pippen helped Chicago win six NBA championships in eight seasons. He made seven All-Star Games and carved out a career that landed him in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Raptors, Lowry agree to 1-year, $31M extension
    By Field Level Media / Monday, October 7, 2019

    Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry agreed to terms on a one-year, $31 million contract extension, according to a published report Monday.

    • Agent Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports told ESPN of the deal for the five-time All-Star, who previously was slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

      The Raptors have yet to publicly comment on the reported contract extension.

      "We are so appreciative of how Masai (Toronto president Masai Ujiri) and Bobby (general manager Bobby Webster) handled every aspect of this negotiation," Bartelstein told ESPN. "Once again, they displayed how they look after their players in a first-class manner, especially someone like Kyle who they recognize has such a legacy with the franchise."

      Lowry is set to begin his eighth season in Toronto, making the 33-year-old the longest-tenured active member of the Raptors.

      Lowry averaged 14.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and a career-best 8.7 assists over 65 games last season for Toronto. He stepped it up a bit in the postseason, averaging 15.0 points and 4.9 rebounds in 24 games as the Raptors went on to capture their first NBA title in franchise history.

      Lowry has averaged 14.4 points, 6.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds over his career with the Grizzlies, Houston Rockets and Raptors since being selected by Memphis with the 24th overall pick of the 2006 NBA Draft.

      --Field Level Media

  • Kings plane struck by lightning on return from India
    By Field Level Media / Monday, October 7, 2019

    A plane carrying owner Vivek Ranadive, general manager Vlade Divac and other members of the Sacramento Kings organization was struck by lightning on Sunday as the team was on its way back from a trip to India.

    • According to The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears, the plane was struck while on its way to England for refueling, before heading home to Sacramento, Calif.

      The Sacramento Bee reported that the traveling party also included Kings play-by-play announcer Grant Napear, Kings color commentator and former player Doug Christie, Sam Amick of The Athletic and Spears.

      After the incident, Spears tweeted:

      "Scary moment as Kings private jet hit by lighting before landing for layover in England in return home from India trip. Don't worry @drake fans, it wasn't the rapper's plane the players and coaching staff is using. Actually plane @bgoodvlade, @Vivek and remaining staff & media on"

      Players and coaches were flying separately, aboard "Air Drake" -- a spruced-up Boeing 767 owned by the rapper worth a reported $185 million.

      "When we landed the airplane underwent inspection," Kings senior vice president of communications Joelle Terry, who was aboard the plane, told The Bee. "No damage was found and we have been cleared for takeoff."

      The Kings were in Ranadive's native Mumbai to play a pair of exhibition games against the Indiana Pacers.

      --Field Level Media

  • Rockets GM tries to clarify Hong Kong tweet after uproar
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, October 6, 2019

    The NBA and Houston Rockets are trying to distance themselves from a since-deleted tweet from general manager Daryl Morey, whose post about pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong drew rebuke from the Chinese Basketball Association.

    • The association, headed by former Rockets star center Yao Ming, said it would suspend cooperation with the Rockets and said Sunday via its official social media that it "strongly disagrees" with Morey's "improper remarks" regarding Hong Kong.

      Other Chinese sponsors followed suit, according to reports.

      Morey's post on Twitter consisted of an image of the protestors' rally cay: "Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong."

      Morey was back on social media Sunday with a pair of tweets about the incident:

      "1/ I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China. I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives.

      "2/ I have always appreciated the significant support our Chinese fans and sponsors have provided and I would hope that those who are upset will know that offending or misunderstanding them was not my intention. My tweets are my own and in no way represent the Rockets or the NBA."

      The NBA won't discipline Morey, according to The Athletic, with others reporting saying that his job is not in jeopardy.

      The NBA also responded Sunday with a statement:

      "We recognize that the views expressed by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable. While Daryl has made it clear that his tweet does not represent the Rockets or the NBA, the values of the league support individuals' educating themselves and sharing their views on matters important to them.

      "We have great respect for the history and culture of China and hope that sports and the NBA can be used as a unifying force to bridge cultural divides and bring people together."

      Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous region in China, is in the midst of months-long protests -- sometimes violent -- with Beijing sensitive to foreign influence on the unrest.

      The Rockets are in Tokyo for the NBA Japan Games 2019 featuring preseason games against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday and Thursday.

      On Friday, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta wrote on Twitter: "Listen.... @dmorey does NOT speak for the @HoustonRockets. Our presence in Tokyo is all about the promotion of the @NBA internationally and we are NOT a political organization."

      --Field Level Media

  • Pelicans' Williamson draws huge crowd at open scrimmage
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, October 6, 2019

    With apologies to Allen Iverson, yes, we're talking about practice.

    • But 10,000-plus New Orleans Pelicans fans showed up anyway -- all for a first glimpse of rookie sensation Zion Williamson in an open scrimmage.

      Williamson joined his teammates at the Smoothie King Center on Saturday, two days before the team's preseason opener against the Atlanta Hawks. The Duke product threw down an alley-oop pass from teammate Lonzo Ball, and he returned the favor later in the scrimmage by lobbing a pass to Ball from beyond the 3-point line for another dunk.

      "I feel like I've had a lot of new experiences that have been great, but to actually walk onto the court that we'll be playing on a lot, it was great," Williamson told reporters. "I think we'll have a lot of great memories here."

      The scrimmage ended with Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin asking Williamson to finish the night with a dunk. He did as he was told, bouncing a pass off the backboard and slamming it down to give the big crowd a grand finale.

      "Mr. Griffin did put me on the spot with that last one," Williamson said. "But it was great."

      Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said his players worked hard and had fun at the same time. The only player who did not take part in the scrimmage was center Derrick Favors, who has a tight hamstring, according to general manager Trajan Langdon.

      "I was happy because I thought we did a great job of competing and we got a lot out of it," Gentry told reporters. "A lot of times these things end up like an All-Star Game, but our guys got a lot out of it. We competed at a high level and did a good job of taking what we've done in practice and use it in the scrimmage."

      --Field Level Media

  • Celtics' Kanter claims he was harassed outside mosque
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, October 5, 2019

    Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter, whose highly publicized criticisms of Turkey's president have made him a wanted man in his former homeland and has led him to avoid playing overseas, on Saturday claimed he and a teammate were harassed at a Boston mosque.

    • Kanter posted a video to Twitter in which he claims men who support Turkish president Recep Erdogan were harassing both him and teammate Tacko Fall outside a mosque in Boston on Friday afternoon.

      "There's Turkish people attacking us. I told you, America, this is crazy, right?" Kanter said in the video. It appears one of the men Kanter claims to be harassing him is also filming Kanter with his phone. The men talking to Kanter were speaking in Turkish.

      Talking to reporters Saturday before the Celtics held their annual open practice at TD Garden for fans, Kanter said he will continue to speak out against Turkey and what he believes are human rights violations in the country, which revoked his passport in 2017. In an article he wrote for Time in 2018, Kanter said he is "now stateless and pretty much can't leave the United States."

      Kanter also told reporters Saturday that he plans on hiring full-time security in light of the incident, which reportedly took place outside the Islamic Society of Boston mosque in Cambridge, Mass. Kanter told the media he and Fall -- a rookie who is Senegalese -- chose that mosque because of its proximity to the Celtics' facility and went there between practices Friday.

      "Our second practice was at 3 p.m. So I went to this mosque, we prayed and me and Tacko were about to leave, and then we were just outside and there were just these two guys," Kanter said. "You can see on the video they were just waiting for us. They were screaming, they were yelling, they were cursing.

      "It was pretty crazy, because this is America. You should be safe to come in a mosque and pray peacefully. It was the first time it's happened to me in America, but it was definitely scary because I looked at Tacko and said, 'Tacko, don't worry about it. I've got it. We're fine.' But we were just waiting for our Uber, so it was crazy and scary."

      --Field Level Media