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  • Rockets GM Morey on LeBron: 'Greatest ever in my mind'
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said he thinks LeBron James is the greatest basketball player ever, and not by a small margin.

    • Asked on "The Dan Patrick Show" on Wednesday if he expects James' new team, the Los Angeles Lakers, to be immediate contenders in the Western Conference, Morey brought up the difficulty of getting a newly assembled team to jell right away. He added that his own team and the Golden State Warriors stand in the Lakers' way, but was quick to note James' teams are capable of anything.

      "I would expect -- I would hope that we're ahead of them, and I would expect Golden State to be ahead of them," Morey said, "but I would never count out a LeBron James team. I mean he is the greatest ever in my mind, and it'd be very hard to count him out."

      Morey, who is well known for his analytical approach to evaluating players, was then asked if that perception of James is a product of analytics.

      "Yeah, that's definitely part of it," Morey said. "I think you just look at his ability to generate wins and championship probability over time, and you basically break that down. Obviously, you don't need all the numbers. You can watch as well and see that.

      "But if you basically isolate that and also look at the career he's had, frankly I think it's -- at this point, it's become a bit of a big margin actually where he's come out ahead."

      Morey added, "I know that's a little controversial."

      James, 33, is coming off of a season in which he averaged career highs in assists (9.1) and rebounds (8.6) to go with 27.5 points while leading the NBA in minutes per game (36.9) and playing in all 82 games for the first time in his career.

      The four-time MVP led the Cleveland Cavaliers to their fourth-straight NBA Finals appearance -- the eighth straight for James' teams -- but they were swept by the Warriors. James joined the Lakers -- long rumored to be the heavy favorites for his services -- as a free agent in July, though some thought he might try to join the Rockets.

      Asked if James ever gave the Rockets an audience, Morey didn't answer directly, but indicated the sides didn't speak.

      "He knew our situation and obviously made the choice he thought was best for him, and we have nothing but respect for that," Morey said.

      Morey, 45, has been the Rockets' GM since 2007 after spending a year as the team's assistant GM. He previously spent three years with the Boston Celtics after being a statistical consultant for STATS, Inc.

      --Field Level Media

  • Haslem says he's discussed return with Heat
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    Udonis Haslem says he's had talks with the Miami Heat in recent days about potentially returning for a 16th season with the only professional team he's known.

    • Speaking at a store opening, the Miami native said he had "a great conversation" with the team.

      "At the end of the day, it was a conversation about if they want me back and if I want to be back," he said, per the Associated Press.

      Haslem, 38, has seen his role diminish in recent years -- he played in just 14 games last season -- but remains a respected voice in the locker room and worked out with teammates, including fellow free agent Dwyane Wade, as recently as Tuesday.

      "Every time I talk to the guys, they want me to come back, they want to know," he said, per the Sun-Sentinel. "I don't know. I'm just chilling, having fun. I've got a lot of energy. ... I still got game left in me."

      Heat president Pat Riley said there's no urgency from the team on a decision from Haslem or Wade.

      "Both Udonis and Dwyane deserve the respect to sit and wait on this thing," he said.

      Haslem joined the Heat in 2003 as an undrafted free agent out of Florida. He is the franchise's all-time leader in offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds and personal fouls.

      He's averaged 7.7 points and 6.8 rebounds in 844 career games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Anthony thanks Oklahoma City in appreciative letter
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    One day after officially joining the Houston Rockets, Carmelo Anthony wrote a thank-you letter to Oklahoma City.

    • Anthony spent just one season with the Thunder but elected to express his appreciation to the fans and organization by penning a letter that was published in The Oklahoman.

      Anthony's letter thanked Thunder stars Russell Westbrook and Paul George, among others.

      It read like this:

      "Thank You, OKC

      I know it was only one season, but from the time I arrived in OKC, I was greeted with so much love from The Team, The Organization, and of course the INCREDIBLE fans of this amazing city. Throughout the entire season, game after game, you cheered me on and rooted for us as a team. That is something I will always cherish and never forget. That genuine support kept me going all season long.

      IN LIFE, I've learned that things don't always turn out how you want. I wanted nothing more than to make it work here & help bring this city a championship. I'm sorry it didn't work out while I was here.

      Thank you to Russ, PG, [general manager] Sam Presti, Coach Billy Donovan, my trainers and the entire staff who work so hard and diligently at Chesapeake Energy Arena and the practice facility. I appreciate you all very much. Last but not least, Thank You to [Thunder part-owner and chairman] Mr. [Clay] Bennett for believing in me.

      This chapter of my career may be coming to an end but my story is far from over.

      Love Always.

      STAYME7o"

      The 34-year-old Anthony averaged a career-low 16.2 points in his one season in Oklahoma City. The 10-time All-Star wasn't interested in switching to a reserve role with the club and was traded to the Atlanta Hawks, who bought out his $27.9 million contract for this season.

      Anthony subsequently joined the Rockets on a one-year, $2.4 million deal, although head coach Mike D'Antoni said he isn't sure yet whether Anthony will be a starter or come off the bench.

      --Field Level Media

  • Bucks reportedly re-sign Muhammad to bolster depth
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    The Milwaukee Bucks have re-signed swingman Shabazz Muhammad, according to a report from Yahoo Sports.

    • Muhammad, 25, averaged 8.5 points and 2.8 rebounds in 11 games at the end of last season with the Bucks. He has averaged 9.0 points and 2.8 rebounds in 278 games (16 starts) with the Bucks and the Minnesota Timberwolves.

      The 6-foot-6 small forward and shooting guard out of UCLA was a first-round pick (No. 14 overall) in 2013. The Utah Jazz drafted him and promptly sent him to Minnesota along with Gorgui Dieng in exchange for Trey Burke.

      Muhammad also appeared in four playoff games last season with the Bucks, which marked the first postseason action of his career. He averaged 6.3 points and 1.0 rebounds while shooting 45 percent (9 of 20) from the field.

      --Field Level Media

  • Police investigating Harden's alleged role in nightclub incident
    By Field Level Media / Monday, August 13, 2018

    Houston Rockets guard James Harden allegedly was involved in a nightclub incident that is under investigation by the Scottsdale (Ariz.) Police Department.

    • The incident took place around 2:30 a.m. Saturday, police said.

      A TMZ report said a member of Harden's entourage got into a fight at the club, and when a woman started to record the scuffle, Harden grabbed her wrist and threw her phone onto a nearby roof. The woman, who was treated for a wrist injury at a local hospital, said one of Harden's associates offered her $200 for the phone and that Harden later gave her $300 to pay for a replacement.

      Police confirmed Monday that they are looking into the allegations but told the Arizona Republic that it was "far too early in the investigation" to know Harden's role in the incident.

      Harden, who played at Arizona State in nearby Tempe, is the NBA's reigning Most Valuable Player after averaging 30.4 points, 8.8 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game. He helped the Rockets reach the Western Conference finals, where they lost to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors. In 17 postseason games, Harden averaged 28.6 points, 6.8 assists and 5.2 rebounds.

      Harden, 28, has averaged 23.0 points, 5.1 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game in nine NBA seasons, the first three with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the past six with Houston.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Heat sign G Weber to partially guaranteed deal
    By Field Level Media / Monday, August 13, 2018

    The Miami Heat have signed guard Briante Weber to a partially guaranteed deal for next season, according to a report from Yahoo Sports.

    • Weber, 25, has averaged 3.2 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game in 45 career contests (four starts). He appeared in one game with Miami during the 2015-16 campaign and also has played for the Charlotte Hornets, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors.

      The 6-foot-2, 165-pound guard played collegiately at Virginia Commonwealth, where he was a three-time Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year. He joins a talented backcourt in Miami that includes Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters, Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington.

      The Heat are scheduled to open the preseason Sept. 30 before tipping off the regular season Oct. 17 against the Orlando Magic.

      --Field Level Media

  • Anthony clears waivers, expected to sign with Rockets
    By Field Level Media / Monday, August 13, 2018

    Carmelo Anthony cleared waivers on Wednesday, making him a free agent and opening the way for the 34-year-old forward to pursue a deal with the Houston Rockets.

    • The 10-time All-Star is expected to join the Houston Rockets for the veteran minimum contract of $2.4 million.

      The Rockets created a roster opening on Wednesday by trading forward Chinanu Onuaku and cash to the Dallas Mavericks for a second-round draft pick in 2020. Onuaku played in six NBA games over the past two seasons and averaged 3.0 points and 2.3 rebounds.

      Anthony was waived by the Atlanta Hawks on Monday. He has recently been working out with Houston stars James Harden and Chris Paul.

      Anthony, who is entering his 16th NBA season, has a career scoring average of 24.1 points per game with the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder. Last season, he averaged a career-low 16.2 points in 32.1 minutes in his lone season for the Thunder.

      The Hawks acquired Anthony on July 25 as part of a three-team transaction, with Atlanta also receiving a protected 2022 first-round draft pick from the Thunder and Justin Anderson from the Philadelphia 76ers. To complete the trade, the Hawks traded Mike Muscala to Philadelphia and Dennis Schröder to Oklahoma City, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot moved from Philadelphia to Oklahoma City.

      --Field Level Media

  • Bowen out as Clippers' analyst after critique of Leonard
    By Field Level Media / Monday, August 13, 2018

    Bruce Bowen won't be back as a Los Angeles Clippers television game analyst next season after recently making critical comments about potential 2019 free agent Kawhi Leonard, ESPN reported Monday.

    • Bowen's contract was with Fox Sports West, but the Clippers -- like all sports organizations -- have a high level of input over who is part of the television crew.

      Bowen strongly ripped Leonard in a June radio interview for the way the forward handled his situation with the San Antonio Spurs last season.

      The Clippers hope to make a run at luring Leonard to the organization next summer should Leonard become a free agent. Leonard is from Riverside, about an hour east of Los Angeles.

      Leonard was recently traded to the Toronto Raptors after his falling out with the Spurs after seven seasons. He played in only nine games for San Antonio last season due to a quadriceps injury and his quiet nature fueled heavy speculations over his motives.

      Bowen, a former member of the Spurs, didn't hold back with his thoughts during an interview on Sirius XM Radio on June 21.

      "I think there's nothing but excuses going on," Bowen told Sirius XM Radio. "First, it was, 'Well I was misdiagnosed.' Look here: You got $18 million this year, and you think that they're trying to rush you? You didn't play for the most part a full season this year. And you're the go-to guy, you're the franchise, and you want to say that they didn't have your best interest at heart? Are you kidding me?

      "I think he's getting bad advice. I think what you're starting to see now is an individual given a certain amount of advice, and it's not the right advice. Here it is: You were protected in San Antonio. You were able to come up during a time where you still could lean on Tim (Duncan), Tony (Parker) and Manu (Ginobili)."

      Bowen was part of three NBA title teams with the Spurs and his No. 12 is retired by the franchise. He played the final eight seasons of his 13-year NBA career with San Antonio.

      --Field Level Media

  • Nuggets' Porter Jr. feeling 'good' after second surgery
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, August 12, 2018

    Denver Nuggets first-round pick Michael Porter Jr. said Sunday he is pain-free after a second surgery on his lumbar spine in July.

    • Porter, the 14th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, said he hopes to be ready around the start of the season.

      "I don't have a date but I'm hoping to be back for the beginning of the year. Gotta heal up, but I feel great," Porter told ESPN at the league's rookie photo shoot. "I'm able to get on the court a little bit right now, do some different things. But my rehab has definitely been very conservative. They're really taking it easy with me, being patient with me.

      "I finally feel, like, good."

      Dr. Andrew Dossett, who also performed Porter's first back surgery last year, operated on Porter at The Carrell Clinic in Dallas.

      Porter missed all but three games of his freshman season at Missouri after injuring his back last November, which required him to have surgery on his L3 and L4 spinal discs.

      Nuggets head coach Mike Malone indicated to NBATV last month that the team wouldn't rush Porter back to the court.

      "We understood the risk-reward situation with Michael Porter, and we felt at 14 he was far too great of a talent to pass up," Malone said. "And we're going to be patient. We're not going to rush him back, and that's the luxury we have.

      "We have a very good team coming back. We have a very deep team, so there's no reason for us to say, 'Michael's got to play this year.' We're going to give him all the time and treatment he needs to get better, and hopefully he can get back and help us this year."

      Porter, who turned 20 on June 29, was kept off the Nuggets' summer league roster but was in Las Vegas to watch games.

      A week before the NBA draft in June, Porter canceled a second pro day workout due to a sore hip, prompting reports that teams were very worried about his long-term health. Porter said those concerns were overblown and offered to work out for teams during draft week upon request, but he still slid to the end of the lottery before the Nuggets drafted him.

      Porter signed his rookie deal with the Nuggets on July 3.

      --Field Level Media

  • Nuggets' Thomas apologizes for comments criticizing Cleveland
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, August 12, 2018

    Denver Nuggets guard Isaiah Thomas quickly apologized Saturday night after a video posted on social media surfaced in which he called the city of Cleveland "a [expletive]."

    • Thomas later posted an apology on Twitter, and then posted an additional video on Instagram saying, "Cleveland wasn't that bad. ... The situation just wasn't the best."

      "I apologize for my choice of words about Cleveland," Thomas tweeted. "I was on my live playing around. They don't show you everything for a reason smh. Right after that I clarified what I said.... All love to everybody who had love for me in Cleveland."

      Thomas, 29, was traded last offseason to the Cavaliers in the deal that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston. However, he was recovering from a hip injury and did not play for the Cavaliers until Jan. 2.

      His scoring average in Cleveland slipped to 14.7 points per game after he averaged 28.9 points with the Celtics the season before. In February, the Cavaliers traded Thomas to the Los Angeles Lakers.

      Thomas signed a minimum contract with the Nuggets last month.

      --Field Level Media

  • Wade: Will only play for Heat if returning
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, August 11, 2018

    Dwyane Wade is still deciding whether he will return and play a 16th season this fall. But one thing is certain, if the future Hall of Famer is in the NBA, he will playing for the Miami Heat.

    • "If I'm playing the game of basketball this year, it'll be in a Miami uniform," Wade told the Associated Press at the Jr. NBA World Championships in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday.

      Wade was reportedly offered a three-year, $25 million contract last month to play for the Zhejiang Golden Bulls of the Chinese Basketball Association, which would have made him the highest-paid player in China. But Wade apparently isn't considering joining the CBA.

      However, the 36-year-old isn't in a rush to make his decision about rejoining the Heat.

      "There's no clock for me," he said.

      The 12-time All-Star played his first 13 seasons with the Heat before signing with the Chicago Bulls for 2016-17. He started the 2017-18 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers before being traded back to Miami for the final 21 games of the season.

      He averaged 12.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game coming off the bench for the Heat this season.

      The Heat will welcome Wade back if he decides to return.

      "I want him back as a player," Heat president Pat Riley told reporters in July. "I want him back as a competitor. I want him back as a guy who wants to have the greatest year he ever had as a player. I read more articles about, 'Dwyane being done, he's lost a step, he's not the same player, he might not have the same motivation.' But I still see a player who can contribute heavily if he really wants to."

      --Field Level Media

  • Former Pistons coach Van Gundy considering retirement
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, August 11, 2018

    Former coach Stan Van Gundy is contemplating retirement after failing to land a coaching job following his dismissal from the Detroit Pistons at the end of last season.

    • "If I could get a job [for next season], I had planned to coach," Van Gundy said in an interview with the Real Talk Basketball with Rex Walters podcast published Friday. "Now, I really don't know. I'm really lost right now. I don't have an idea. My wife wants me to retire."

      In the interview, Van Gundy, 58, said he would be open to working in media or teaching at the college level.

      "I want to do something, but if I'm not coaching, I don't want to work too hard," Van Gundy said. "If I'm going to be grinding, then I want to coach. If I'm not going to be coaching, I want to be semi-retired, at least. I really don't know."

      The Pistons fired Van Gundy in May following a 39-43 season. In four seasons serving as head coach and president of basketball operations, Van Gundy guided the Pistons to one winning season, amassing a 152-176 overall record and getting swept in his only playoff appearance.

      Van Gundy, who has also coached the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic, has a career record of 523-384. His head coaching career began in the 2003-04 season and includes a 2009 NBA Finals appearance with the Magic.

      --Field Level Media

  • LeBron, Lakers to take over TV schedule in 2018-19 season
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, August 11, 2018

    The new-look Los Angeles Lakers and their latest Hollywood star will be on national television more than any other NBA club in the 2018-19 season.

    • In fact, more than half of the games LeBron James and the Lakers play will be on the air -- 43 of them to be exact. That's even more than the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors, who are scheduled to appear on TV 40 times.

      They are followed by Boston, Philadelphia and Houston, each with 39 games on the docket. Oklahoma City will play on national TV 36 times, with every other team set for 29 appearances or fewer.

      How about James' former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers? They have the fewest scheduled appearances.

      Last season, according to Cleveland.com, the Cavaliers were on national TV 39 times during the 2017-18 schedule. This season, they'll be shown just seven times:

      twice on ESPN, five times on NBA TV and none on TNT.

      --Field Level Media

  • Take 5: Can't-miss games of the 2018-19 NBA season
    By Field Level Media / Friday, August 10, 2018

    The NBA released its composite regular-season schedule, which includes 1,230 games for the league's 30 teams, on Friday.

    • Here are five games -- actually, four and a season series -- to bookmark on your DVR:

      Detroit Pistons at Toronto Raptors, Nov. 14.

      Last season, Toronto led the Eastern Conference with 59 regular-season victories, and Dwane Casey was voted the NBA's Coach of the Year. The Raptors rewarded Casey by firing him four days later. In Casey's seven seasons with Toronto, the Raptors went 320-238 and improved from a patsy to one of the powers in the East. Over that duration, though, the Raptors never made it to the NBA Finals and were swept by Cleveland in the conference semifinals last spring. Toronto president Masai Ujiri felt his team needed a new voice and a new approach to try to get over the hump in the playoffs. Casey was swiftly hired by the Pistons, who have made the playoffs once in the last 10 years -- in 2015-16, when they were swept by the Cavaliers in the first round. Casey will be asked to build the Pistons from the ground up as he did with the Raptors. He'll be plenty motivated to beat his old team at Air Canada Centre.

      Los Angeles Lakers at Cleveland Cavaliers, Nov. 21.

      It will be barely a month into the season when LeBron James makes his highly anticipated return to Quicken Loans Arena with his new team, the Lakers, with whom he signed a four-year, $153.3 million free agent contract in July. By that time, we'll know more about the Lakers, who haven't made the playoffs since 2012-13 and were 35-47 a year ago. Things have changed, of course, with the addition of James, who reached the NBA Finals eight straight seasons with Miami and Cleveland, claiming three championships. The Lakers are still young, featuring the likes of Lonzo Ball (20), Brandon Ingram (20), Kyle Kuzma (23) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (25). Can James, abetted by veteran acquisitions such as Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee, lead the Lakers to the promised land in the deep Western Conference? With James gone, Kevin Love is the straw that stirs the drink for the Cavaliers, having signed his own four-year, $120-milion extension less than a month ago. Without James, Cleveland's roster will strike fear in the heart of no opponent during the upcoming season. Love, JR Smith, Kyle Korver, Tristan Thompson, George Hill and Rodney Hood will be fighting just to make the postseason in the East.

      Toronto Raptors at San Antonio Spurs, Jan. 3.

      The biggest trade of the summer came on July 18, when San Antonio sent Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to Toronto in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round draft pick. It put an end to one of the strangest sagas of the 2017-18 season with Leonard. The small forward played only nine games for the Spurs as he dealt with a mysterious quad injury, distancing himself from a franchise with which he had been named NBA Finals MVP and was twice honored as the league's Defensive Player of the Year. Now Leonard and fellow All-Star DeRozan have swapped uniforms, and they'll go up against each other for the first time in early January in a game everyone will be watching.

      Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics, Jan. 26.

      This is the matchup oddsmakers are predicting to foreshadow the 2019 NBA Finals. Bovada has Golden State as a 1/2 pick to win it all. Boston is next in line at 11/2.

      The defending champion Warriors have added DeMarcus Cousins to their almost embarrassing roster of riches that includes Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. The Celtics are expecting Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving to be healthy and ready to join a nucleus featuring the likes of Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Morris, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier. Brown already has guaranteed an Eastern Conference title. "Oh we're getting to the Finals," he said on CJ McCollum's "Pull Up" podcast this week. "No question about it."

      Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets (four times: Nov. 15, Jan. 3, Feb. 23 and March 13)

      The NBA's two best teams last season -- sorry, Cleveland -- were the Warriors and Rockets. They squared off in 10 games, each team winning five times. Golden State prevailed in seven games in a sensational Western Conference finals matchup. The rivals are loaded for bear again this year, with the Rockets buoyed by the expected addition of Carmelo Anthony to the cast led by James Harden and Chris Paul. Whenever the Warriors and Rockets tip it off next season, it will be worth the watch.

      --Kerry Eggers, Field Level Media

  • NBA schedule released: Leonard returning to SA Jan. 3
    By Field Level Media / Friday, August 10, 2018

    Kahwi Leonard wrote a thank you letter to San Antonio Spurs' fans on Wednesday.

    • The tone might not be so friendly when he returns to town for a Jan. 3 contest as a member of the Toronto Raptors.

      Leonard's return to San Antonio after his adversarial departure after seven seasons will be one of the most eagerly anticipated games of the 2018-19 season. The NBA formally released its full schedule on Friday after releasing snippets of it earlier in the week.

      Leonard developed into a star with the Spurs, winning the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award twice as well as NBA Finals MVP in 2014. But a quadriceps injury limited him to nine games last season and a gulf widened between him and the organization that proved incapable of being patched up.

      Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors on July 18 and the key piece acquired in the deal -- All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan -- has his own beef.

      DeRozan was bitterly disappointed to be included in the deal to San Antonio after he said he received assurances from general manager Masai Ujiri that he wouldn't be dealt. But the Raptors' all-time scoring leader figures to receive a warm welcome when the Spurs visit Toronto on Feb. 22.

      The NBA previously announced it will begin the season on Oct. 16 with a TNT doubleheader featuring the Philadelphia 76ers visiting the Boston Celtics and the Oklahoma City Thunder visiting the champion Golden State Warriors.

      LeBron James' first game as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers is an Oct. 18 road tilt against the Portland Trail Blazers. His first home game at the Staples Center is Oct. 20 against the Houston Rockets.

      James returns to Cleveland on Nov. 21 when the Lakers visit the Cavaliers.

      The Christmas Day lineup breaks down like this: Milwaukee Bucks at New York Knicks, Thunder at Rockets, 76ers at Celtics, Lakers at Warriors and Trail Blazers at Utah Jazz.

      The Orlando Magic will play back-to-back games in Mexico City, facing the Chicago Bulls on Dec. 13 before meeting the Jazz on Dec. 15.

      The Knicks and Washington Wizards square off on Jan. 17 at The O2 arena in London

      Last season's top two rookies square off on TNT on Dec. 27 when award-winner Ben Simmons and the 76ers visit second-place Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz.

      The regular season will conclude on April 10.

      --Field Level Media

  • 76ers rookie Smith undergoes foot surgery
    By Field Level Media / Friday, August 10, 2018

    Philadelphia 76ers rookie guard Zhaire Smith underwent surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his left foot, the team announced Friday.

    • The 76ers said the surgery was performed Thursday evening in New York City.

      Jones suffered the injury on Monday at a basketball development camp in Las Vegas. He underwent an MRI exam on Tuesday in Philadelphia and the results displayed the fracture. The team did not provide a timetable for how long Smith will be sidelined.

      Smith was the 16th overall pick in the recent NBA draft by the Phoenix Suns and traded to Philadelphia in a draft-night deal for 10th overall pick Mikal Bridges. The 76ers also received a 2021 first-round pick in the exchange.

      If the surgery leads to Smith being sidelined for an extended time, it would be the sixth straight season the Sixers have seen a top pick face a major injury.

      Nerlens Noel (2013) missed his entire rookie season with a knee injury and Joel Embiid (2014) sat out his first two seasons with foot injuries. Jahlil Okafor (2015) had his first year cut short at 53 games due to a meniscus tear in his right knee, Ben Simmons (2016) missed his entire rookie season with a foot injury, while Markelle Fultz (2017) played in just 14 games last season due to a shoulder injury.

      --Field Level Media

  • Pistons' Leuer sidelined by knee surgery
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, August 9, 2018

    The Detroit Pistons announced Thursday that forward Jon Leuer had undergone surgery on his right knee after injuring his medial meniscus during an offseason workout.

    • Leuer's operation was performed Wednesday in New York after he was injured earlier this week. An update on his condition is expected before the start of training camp.

      Leuer played in just eight games last season as the result of a left ankle injury that required surgery. He had averaged a career-high 10.2 points in 75 games (34 starts) with the Pistons in 2016-17, his first year in Detroit.

      Leuer, entering the third season of a four-year, $42 million contract, has averaged 6.7 points and 4.0 rebounds per game in his seven-year career. The 29-year-old is set to earn just over $10 million this season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Kawhi goodbye: Leonard pens farewell to San Antonio
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, August 9, 2018

    Understated superstar Kawhi Leonard penned a farewell letter to San Antonio, thanking Spurs fans for their support as he starts anew as a member of the Toronto Raptors.

    • Leonard broke his months-long silence in a letter penned for the San Antonio Express-News and thanked coach Gregg Popovich, the Spurs' organization and the city's fans.

      Leonard wrote, "San Antonio, I have been going back and forth the last few weeks trying to figure out the right things to say, and it comes down to two simple words: THANK YOU!

      "My family and I want to say THANK YOU to the entire Spurs organization and the people and fans of San Antonio. THANK YOU to every one of my teammates I've played with over my seven years in the NBA. THANK YOU Pop I'll always be grateful for my growth under your guidance. THANK YOU to the fans!

      "There is not a more passionate or dedicated fan base than what I've witnessed in San Antonio. Through all the ups and downs - I'm glad there were many more ups! - I'll never forget what we have shared and accomplished together.

      "While I'm looking forward to the next chapter in my career, I'll always remember the city and the people of San Antonio! THANK YOU! - Kawhi Leonard."

      Leonard last played for the Spurs on Jan. 13. He was medically cleared but uncomfortable on the court. A division between Leonard, his trainers and the Spurs and their medical personnel was created by Leonard working out in Manhattan and cutting off communication with Popovich.

      The Spurs traded Leonard in July after a face-to-face meeting with Popovich that took place in California. San Antonio received All-Star forward DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltel and a 2019 protected first-round pick for Leonard and Danny Green.

      Leonard has not made a long-term commitment to the Raptors and is expected to be a target of the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency next summer.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA notebook: Lakers-Warriors to meet on Christmas
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 8, 2018

    LeBron James and Stephen Curry are the headliners for the NBA's annual Christmas Day marathon with the Los Angeles Lakers visiting the Golden State Warriors as part of a five-game slate.

    • The NBA released its official schedule on Wednesday, confirming rumored, if expected, primetime billing for the Warriors and Lakers.

      Opening night on Oct. 16 -- the earliest start to the NBA regular season since 1980 -- will feature the Warriors' ring presentation before a meeting with Kevin Durant's former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Preceding that game will be the Philadelphia 76ers facing the Celtics in Boston.

      James' first regular-season game with the Lakers, another national TV spot on Oct. 18, is at Portland. ESPN reported Wednesday that James' first game back in Cleveland with his new team will be on Nov. 21.

      --The New York Knicks are still planning to sever ties with center Joakim Noah ahead of training camp, according to a report from ESPN.

      The report says the Knicks will use their waive-and-stretch provision to cut Noah sometime after Sept. 1, provided they haven't found a trade partner for the beleaguered 33-year-old prior to then.

      Noah effectively was exiled from the Knicks in late January after he got into a verbal altercation with then-head coach Jeff Hornacek during a practice on Jan. 24 that required the two to be separated. That came a day after Noah yelled expletives at his coach upon being removed from a game against the Golden State Warriors. The sides announced a "mutually" agreed upon indefinite leave for Noah on Feb. 2, which he never returned from.

      --The New Orleans Pelicans reached agreement with Jahlil Okafor on a contract for next season, according to ESPN.

      The deal is reportedly partially guaranteed for next season and includes a team option for the following season.

      Okafor, 22, was the third overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2015 NBA Draft. He was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in December. Last season, he averaged 6.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in 28 games split between the Nets and Sixers.

      --The Dallas Mavericks announced the signing of free agent guard Devin Harris to a contract worth the veteran minimum of $2.4 million.

      The pact marks Harris' third stint with the Mavericks. He was dealt to Dallas after being drafted No. 5 overall by the Washington Wizards in 2004 and stuck with the team until being traded to the New Jersey Nets in February 2008. Harris then returned to the Mavericks as a free agent before the 2013-14 season, serving as a strong bench option for the team up until being dealt to the Denver Nuggets in February.

      Harris, 35, averaged 8.4 points, 2.1 assists and 1.8 rebounds in 71 games (one start) with the Mavericks and Nuggets last season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Knicks still looking to part with Noah
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 8, 2018

    The New York Knicks are still planning to sever ties with center Joakim Noah ahead of training camp, according to a report from ESPN on Wednesday.

    • The report says the Knicks will use their waive-and-stretch provision to cut Noah sometime after Sept. 1, provided they haven't found a trade partner for the beleaguered 33-year-old prior to then.

      Under the waive-and-stretch provision, the Knicks would be able to lessen the cap hit of the two years and $37.8 million left on Noah's contract by spreading his $19.3 million 2019-20 salary over three seasons.

      Noah effectively was exiled from the Knicks in late January after he got into a verbal altercation with then-head coach Jeff Hornacek during a practice on Jan. 24 that required the two to be separated. That came a day after Noah yelled expletives at his coach upon being removed from a game against the Golden State Warriors. The sides announced a "mutually" agreed upon indefinite leave for Noah on Feb. 2, which he never returned from.

      New coach David Fizdale, who was hired in May, told reporters he might meet with Noah during the offseason, but any scenario regarding management opting to bring the former Defensive Player of the Year back into the fold has yet to gain traction, according to the report.

      The Knicks pursued trades involving Noah ahead of the February deadline but were unable to find any suitable options, as teams have been reluctant to take on the remaining money owed Noah's way. That hasn't changed this offseason, as the Knicks haven't been willing to trade future assets in a salary dump and haven't come close to finding a deal, according to the report.

      Noah played in just seven games in the 2017-18 season, all off the bench, while averaging 1.7 points and 2.0 rebounds in 5.7 minutes per game. He averaged 5.0 points and 8.8 rebounds in 46 games (all starts) in 2016-17, his first year with the Knicks.

      A two-time All-Star, Noah has battled injuries throughout his career, limiting him to less than 70 games in eight of the last nine seasons.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cali Christmas: Lakers-Warriors meeting headlines 2018-19 schedule
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 8, 2018

    LeBron James and Stephen Curry are the headliners for the NBA's annual Christmas Day marathon with the Los Angeles Lakers visiting the Golden State Warriors as part of a five-game slate.

    • The NBA released its official schedule on Wednesday, confirming rumored, if expected, primetime billing for the Warriors and Lakers.

      Opening night on Oct. 16 -- the earliest start to the NBA regular season since 1980 -- will feature the Warriors' ring presentation before a meeting with Kevin Durant's former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder.

      The Warriors and Lakers are also the nighttime main event featured by the NBA's national coverage on Martin Luther King Day (Jan. 21), with this meeting at Staples Center.

      James' first regular-season game with the Lakers, another national TV spot on Oct. 18, is at Portland. A national TV audience also is ticketed for James' home debut in L.A. two days later against the Houston Rockets.

      ESPN reported Wednesday that James' first game back in Cleveland with his new team will be on Nov. 21. During James' second stint with his hometown Cavaliers, the team reached the final each of the past four seasons, winning the championship in 2016.

      The NBA season tips off with the Philadelphia 76ers facing the Celtics in Boston on Oct. 16, followed by Thunder-Warriors later that night.

      The Christmas Day slate begins with the Milwaukee Bucks at the New York Knicks. The Thunder then will oppose former teammates James Harden and Carmelo Anthony when they visit the Rockets. Another Philadelphia-at-Boston matchup will precede Lakers-Warriors. The Trail Blazers play the Jazz in Utah to conclude the quintuple-header.

      A tripleheader is scheduled for Martin Luther King Day. The Memphis Grizzlies will hold their annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Game against the visiting New Orleans Pelicans. The Rockets then play in Philadelphia prior to the Warriors-Lakers game in Los Angeles.

      --Field Level Media

  • Grizzlies reach deal with G Mack
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 8, 2018

    The Memphis Grizzlies have added backcourt depth with the signing of guard Shelvin Mack, the team announced.

    • Terms of the deal were not revealed.

      Mack, 28, is joining his sixth team as he enters his eighth year as a pro.

      He was drafted by the Washington Wizards with the 34th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, but was waived during his second season.

      Mack has bounced around since, though he did play 170 games with the Atlanta Hawks over four seasons, averaging 6.0 points and 3.0 assists in a bench role.

      Last season, he averaged 6.9 points and 3.9 assists with the Orlando Magic.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Okafor agrees to deal with Pelicans
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 8, 2018

    The New Orleans Pelicans reached agreement with Jahlil Okafor on a contract for next season, according to ESPN.

    • The deal is reportedly partially guaranteed for next season and includes a team option for the following season.

      Okafor, 22, was the third overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2015 NBA Draft. He was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in December.

      Last season, he averaged 6.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in 28 games split between the Nets and Sixers.

      In his NBA career, Okafor has averaged 14.5 points and 5.9 rebounds. He made the first-team All-NBA Rookie team in 2015 after averaging 17.5 points to lead the 76ers in scoring but saw his playing time decline rapidly with the rise of star center Joel Embiid.

      --Field Level Media

  • LeBron-led Lakers vs. Warriors reportedly leads Christmas slate
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 8, 2018

    LeBron James is no stranger to NBA prime-time and holiday games, and Christmas will be no exception this year.

    • James and his new team, the Los Angeles Lakers, will face the defending league champion Golden State Warriors on Dec. 25, according to multiple media reports.

      The game, among several featuring marquee players and teams, will be played in Oakland, Calif. Reports of the holiday lineup came from the New York Times and ESPN.

      Also reportedly on the holiday menu: The Houston Rockets, who appear on the verge of adding Carmelo Anthony, late of Oklahoma City, to a cast that includes Chris Paul and James Harden, will host the Thunder, with stars Russell Westbrook and Paul George.

      The Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers, combatants in last season's Eastern Conference semifinals, won in five games by Boston, reportedly will match up on Christmas.

      The Milwaukee Bucks haven't played on Christmas since 1977, but they reportedly will face the New York Knicks on the holiday this season. It's too soon to tell whether Knicks All-Star Kristaps Porzingis will be back by then from the torn ACL he sustained in February against the Bucks.

      Another Christmas Day game reportedly will have the Utah Jazz playing host to the Portland Trail Blazers.

      --Field Level Media

  • Carmelo Anthony to officially join Rockets on Monday
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 8, 2018

    Carmelo Anthony is formally joining the Houston Rockets on a one-year, $2.4 million deal.

    • ESPN reported the long-discussed formality would become official on Monday.

      Anthony, a 10-time All-Star who was waived July 30 by the Atlanta Hawks, has been working out daily with Rockets point guard Chris Paul and MVP James Harden.

      Anthony, 34, was amenable to a partial mid-level exception as his base salary after being one of the highest-paid players in the NBA last season and also receiving a buyout of his 2018-19 contract. Anthony receives the entire $27.9 million due from his previous deal.

      Entering his 16th NBA season, Anthony has a career scoring average of 24.1 points per game with the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder.

      Last season, unaccustomed to his role as power forward and playing alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George, he averaged a career-low 16.2 points in 32.1 minutes in his lone season for the Thunder.

      Anthony could be vital to the Rockets, who lost forwards Trevor Ariza (Suns) and Luc Mbah a Moute (Clippers) in free agency.

      The Hawks acquired Anthony on July 25 as part of a three-team transaction, with Atlanta also receiving a protected 2022 first-round draft pick from the Thunder and Justin Anderson from the Philadelphia 76ers.

      To complete the trade, the Hawks traded Mike Muscala to Philadelphia and Dennis Schroder to Oklahoma City, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot moved from Philadelphia to Oklahoma City.

      The Rockets created a roster opening by trading forward Chinanu Onuaku and cash to the Dallas Mavericks for center Maarty Leunen and the right to swap second-round draft picks in 2020. Onuaku played in six NBA games over the past two seasons and averaged 3.0 points and 2.3 rebounds.

      Leunen, who turns 33 next month, has yet to appear in the NBA.

      --Field Level Media