Good morning. We have that and more in Thursday’s NBA newsletter.
Adam Silver recently called NBA expansion talks "inevitable." So we rolled with that and had a massive SB Nation NBA effort to work out how expansion might work. Our 30 team blogs chose players to protect in an expansion draft, and two front offices -- one at Sonics Rising and one at SBNation.com -- drafted faux expansion teams for Seattle and Hampton Roads, respectively.
No one gave up more to make room for Kevin Durant. The two-time MVP never bristled, and now he is rewarded.
OAKLAND — It was early in the game and things weren’t coming easy for the Warriors. The flow was more in the Cavaliers’ favor, the long-range shots weren’t falling, and Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant were on the bench with early foul trouble.
A couple weeks ago Adam Silver mentioned that Seattle would be on the shortlist for inevitable league expansion. Once a franchise is about to begin play in the league one of the first things that is done is an expansion draft. All blogs in the SB Nation basketball world participated in figuring out what eight players their team would ultimately keep and what players they would roll the dice on for being taken in an expansion draft. From that list of players, Taylor and myself picked in a draft against a hypothetical Virginia Beach franchise picked by Kristian Winfield from SB Nation NBA.
I freakin love Kevin Freaking Durant, but I'm a Dubs fans.
And that love for KfD and His Game has made me especially sensitive to all the disdain and internet vitriol hatred (really, is there any other kind?) focused on KD. I get that OKC fans are a lost cause, but at least they have a personal stake...so I understand. But the rest of the world outside of Dubnation?
A couple will likely get max deals, but there are a number of other intriguing players who could go either way.
With proper NBA free agency finished for the summer, we turn to those who entered the league in the first round of 2015 NBA Draft, as most of these players are eligible for rookie scale contract extensions. The deadline to sign these is Oct. 15. These players have all completed three seasons, with one season left on their rookie deals. If they don’t reach extensions by Oct. 15, they’ll be restricted free agents in July 2019.
There are many possible reasons, but we may not know the real one for a long time.
It’s always impossible to know just what Danny Ainge’s Celtics are thinking.
Years after trading Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Nets for a boatload of future assets, Boston landed one of the grandest prizes of all with the No. 1 pick in a good draft. This is why you trade stars for draft picks: so that you can get future stars on rookie deals. This No. 1 choice would be added to a 53-win team that made the conference finals, as could a max-level free agent.
What the Lakers and Knicks do with their aging veterans could be the difference in a loaded free agency pool next summer.
Lakers forward Luol Deng and Knicks center Joakim Noah are two different players connected by one tricky set of financial circumstances. Both were handed exorbitant contracts in the summer of 2016, and both haven’t lived up to the salary they seized at the tail end of their careers.
Player empowerment is at an all-time high, but there are other structural incentives causing all this star movement.
After Kawhi Leonard was traded for DeMar DeRozan last week, a stunning fact made the rounds. Fully half of the players in the 2017 NBA All-Star game had switched teams in just 18 months. These are the best players in the league, and half of them had changed teams via trade or free agency over the course of two trade deadlines and two offseasons.
The Warriors already boast three of the greatest shooters of all time. Why did they decide to upgrade their bench shooting with their limited resources?
Around the league, the Golden State Warriors are perhaps known best for their amazing shooting. Their starting backcourt, dubbed the “Splash Brothers,” features Stephen Curry, probably the best shooter of all time, and Klay Thompson, who is not far behind.
Comparisons to the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant saga in 2007 miss the mark.
As Kyrie Irving’s fate continues to linger with training camp approaching ever faster, there is a sense that the Cleveland Cavaliers could just simply bring him back, despite his trade request.
Amazon is cutting its popular pre-order discount deal, which means NBA 2K fans shouldn’t wait to pick up this year’s edition.
NBA 2K19 standard edition doesn’t officially hit stores until September 11, but if you know you’re going to buy this year’s game, you should stop everything you’re doing and order it right now.
Mo Bamba is the latest to give a lottery team the cold shoulder, but it happens all the time.
Mo Bamba hit headlines this week for something he didn’t do.
Heat roar back to life in second half to erase a 19-point deficit against Lakers.
The Miami Heat stumbled out of the gate early and faced a 19-point deficit against the visiting Los Angeles Lakers, but took the game over with a dominant second half for a crucial 115-107 win.
Justise Winslow had a career-best game, matching center Hassan Whiteside with 19 points and 13 rebounds each — representing career highs in both categories for the second-year player. Tyler Johnson, James Johnson and Josh Richardson also had big roles in the comeback victory, which was the second consecutive game in which the Lakers lost a 19-point lead.
The Washington Wizards will sign Carrick Felix to a training camp deal.
Felix last played in the NBA during the 13-14 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Washington Wizards demolished the Celtics inside to take their first win of the series 116-89.
In the first round, it wasn’t a series until the road team won. In the second round, the opposite is holding true. The Wizards returned to their dominant Verizon Center form to humiliate the Celtics 116-89 and narrow the series to a 2-1 Celtics lead.
Washington used a balanced attack to defeat the Denver Nuggets by a score of 109-104 on Monday night. It was a wire to wire battle, which wasn’t always pretty for the Wizards, but they used a productive night across the board to win the first game of their West Coast road trip. Bradley Beal led the scoring charge with 20 points while John Wall and Otto Porter had 19 and 17, respectively.
The Wizards squandered a 22 point lead, but still squeezed out a victory in the desert, 131-127, on Tuesday night.
In a surprising turn of events, Washington’s bench carried most of the offensive load scoring 65 points on the night, but John Wall made his usual superstar plays down the stretch to help Washington start their five game road trip with a win.
All five Washington starters scored in double figures as the Wizards overcame an early 13-point deficit to blow out the 76ers, 109-93. John Wall, band pinkie and all, led the way for the Wizards with 25 points, 7 assists, and 7 rebounds. Bradley Beal scored 20 points (18 in the first half) as the Wizards won their 11th straight game at Verizon Center to go back over .500 with a record of 20-19.
The Thunder atoned from their 4th quarter mistakes vs the Hawks and got back in the win column in New Orleans.
The dynamic backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal helped the Wizards close out the Bulls with some key plays late to pull out a 107-97 win in Chicago. John Wall led the way for the Wizards with 23 points and 9 assists, while Beal wasn’t far behind with 21 points and five assists of his own.
Washington fell behind early as the Bulls shot 62.5 percent in the first quarter and outrebounded the Wizards 18-3 in the period en route to a 33-22 lead. But the Wizards roared back in the second quarter using a 10-1 run to get back into the game. They also got more active in transition in the quarter. They scored 13 points in transition in the second quarter alone, finishing with 32 for the night. The Wizards went into halftime trailing by only one.
John Wall went for 27 points, 12 points, and 5 steals while Bradley Beal added 29 points and Otto Porter added another 18 to help the Wizards beat the Celtics 121-102 and even up their series at 2-2.
The Wizards’ customary fast start was much shorter than the first three games of the series. Washington opened the game on an 8-0 run, but it didn’t last long as Isaiah Thomas drained three threes in the quarter to help the Celtics get back into the game and take a 24-20 lead after one quarter.
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