The Cleveland Cavaliers have been hard at work again, adding players to their roster for this up coming season.
Their newest signing is set to be Shawn Marion, who has reportedly agreed to sign a minimum contract with the Cavs in order to have one more shot at another NBA title.
Marion, who has spent the last 5 years with the Dallas Mavericks, winning a title with them in 2011, will suit up for a stacked Cleveland team next season. He will be joining the new-look Cavs, who feature LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love (although that isn't a signed deal yet), Mike Miller, James Jones and Anderson Varejao.
The Cavs deal with Marion is reportedly only worth $1.4 million, but Marion is happy to settle for less money if it means he can add more accolades to his collection.
Already an NBA Champion, and a 4-time NBA All-Star, Marion has 103 games worth of post-season experience under his belt - something which many players in the new Cavs line-up are missing. For all that Love is being hyped in terms of what his move to Cleveland will mean for the franchise, he is yet to play a single play-off game in his NBA career.
Marion has averaged 15.8 points and 9 rebounds per game during his career, which started out with the Phoenix Suns in 1999. Now, like a lot of us, he's wondering if this Cavaliers team can head straight to the top of the NBA pile and bring the first professional title to Cleveland since 1964.
Team USA defeated the Brazilian National Team 95-78 yesterday, in their first warmup game before the FIBA World Cup in Spain.
NBA stars were out in force in this game, featuring the likes of Derek Rose, Anthony Davis, James Harden and Steph Curry. Brazil's team featured NBA players like Tiago Splitter, Leoandro Barbosa, Nene Hilario and Anderson Varajao.
Anthony Davis led the way for Team USA, finishing with 20 points (on 9-15 shooting), 8 rebounds and 5 blocks.
Check out the highlights from last nights action.
It seems like everyone in the NBA has had an awesome off season this year. With players like New York Knicks forward, JR Smith, for example. Check him out in this vine, crossing over a kid at basketball camp, before dunking on him. This is just mean right?
Vine video taken from The Sports Quotient.
Kevin Durant has stepped down from Team USA ahead of the FIBA World Cup, leaving yet another gap in the USA squad amidst a number of other high profile loses for the team.
A statement from USA Basketball chairman, Jerry Colangelo, explained why Durant has backed out:
"Kevin reached out to Coach K and myself this afternoon and expressed that he is just physically and mentally drained from the NBA season and his attention to his many responsibilities.
He tried to give it a go at our recent Las Vegas training camp but felt coming out of camp that he was not prepared to fulfil the commitment he made to the team."
In his own words, Durant said;
"This was an extremely difficult decision as I take great pride in representing our country. I know that I owe it to my USA Basketball teammates to be totally invested in the experience. After going through training camp with USAB, I realised I could not fulfil my responsibilities to the team from both a time and energy standpoint.
I need to take a step back and take some time away, both mentally and physically in order to prepare for the upcoming NBA season. I will be rooting for USAB and look forward to future opportunities with them."
A number of other players had pulled out before Durant, including All-Stars Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge and NBA Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard.
The team was also dealt a blow last week when Paul George suffered a horrendous leg injury during a team scrimmage. With George, and now Durant, out of the running, Team USA will be looking for a new forward to step up to the plate.
The team has been practicing in Las Vegas, while Coach K starts to whittle the numbers down to get the final 12 man roster. There are 15 players left and at this rate, he won't need to make too many decisions.
The team will head to Chicago next week to practice there, before the final 12 players are selected ahead of the trip to Spain for the World Cup on 30th August.
Durant led Team USA to the gold medal in the competition 4 years ago, after averaging 22.8 points per game, and blowing through a number of team offensive records. He led the entire tournament in 3 pointers attempted and made last time round, and he will definitely be missed this year.
It looks like there's a good chance that Metta World Peace is going to go through another name change.
World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, signed a deal with the Sichuan Blue Whales, in the Chinese Basketball Association, earlier this week, and to celebrate his move to China, he is reportedly changing his name to… Panda Friend.
The former Lakers player reportedly posted to Twitter to say;
The newspaper, China Daily reported;
World Peace, who is known in China as “Ci Shiping”, a literal translation of “Metta World Peace,” now plans to name himself after China’s giant panda, a precious animal based in Southwest China’s Sichuan province, where his new team is also based...
As CBA’s highest paid import player, the “Panda Friend” has signed a one-year deal with Sichuan Blue Whales worth $1.43 million, becoming the league’s latest big names after Stephon Marbury (and) Tracy McGrady.
I'm not sure what else to say. Other than, maybe the Pandas aren't going to be want to be friends with Mr. 'World Peace'.
It has been reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Minnesota Timberwolves have reached an agreement that will see Kevin Love headed to Ohio, to join LeBron James.
Discussions and rumours have been doing the rounds for weeks now, but Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski is saying that the deal is in place, and both teams are just waiting until August 23rd, when the trade can be made official.
In return for Love, the Cavs are sending Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, along with a 2015 first-round draft pick to the Timberwolves.
As part of the deal, it has also been agreed that Love will opt out of his contract in 2015, and re-sign a deal with the Cavaliers for a longer term, which is reported to be worth $120 million over 5 years.
Love's move to Cleveland will make the Cavaliers a monster of a team in the Eastern Conference this coming season. The trio of Love, LeBron and Kyrie Irving looks set to be a dominant force, and put the Cavs up there as one of the favourites for the championship.
The trade, however, has got to be disappointing for this years no. 1 draft pick, Andrew Wiggins. He's come so close to playing his rookie season alongside LeBron, and claiming a spot on a potentially title winning team.
That being said, in recent interviews, Wiggins has said that he'll be happy to play for any team that really wants him as a player. It's definitely an exciting prospect for the Timberwolves who are in a good position to build their team around Wiggins if he lives up to NBA expectations.
Bennett was the 2013 no. 1 draft pick, but had some serious struggles in his rookie season for Cleveland. He has reportedly made some good progress in the off season, and looks set to have a stronger sophomore year, albeit in Minnesota.
There are still 16 days before the agreement can officially be signed, and this is the NBA, so anything can happen. As the current agreement is just in principle, either side could back out, and the other team wouldn't be able to do anything about it.
The delay in being able to sign the deal is due to the fact that the Cavs signed Wiggins to a rookie contract, and the rules state that he then cannot be traded for 30 days after the contract was signed. Those 30 days are up on the 23rd.
Watch this space.
WNBA veteran, Becky Hammon, has made history by becoming the first full-time, paid female assistant on an NBA coaching staff, after being hired by the San Antonio Spurs.
Hammon is currently a point guard with the San Antonio Stars, and as soon as the WNBA season comes to an end, she'll make the move to join Gregg Popovich in coaching the reigning NBA champions.
Speaking about this epic jump for woman-kind, Hammon has said; "Nothing in my life has really ever been easy. I've always been someone who did it uphill… I'm up for challenges. I'm up for being outside the box, making tough decisions and challenges. ... And I'm a little bit of an adrenaline junkie. Throw those all in there and this was the perfect challenge and opportunity."
During the last season, Hammon spent time at Spurs practices, and sat behind the Spurs bench at home games, after a torn ACL kept her from playing for the Stars. She was also paired with Tony Parker and Tim Duncan in the 2008 NBA All-Star shooting contest, and has remained friendly with them ever since.
It's fantastic that a woman as finally made into a full-time, paid role in the NBA, but the move isn't without its critics or doubters, and has prompted questions about what other roles women could take in the NBA.
"People ask me all the time, will there ever be a woman player in the NBA?'' Hammon said. ''To be honest, no. There are differences. The guys are too big, too strong and that's just the way it is. But when it comes to things of the mind, things like coaching, game-planning, coming up with offensive and defensive schemes, there's no reason why a woman couldn't be in the mix and shouldn't be in the mix."
Nancy Lieberman, a former WNBA star and a head coach in the NBA Development League in 2009 spoke about the Spurs' decision, having had dreams of moving to the NBA herself:
"I was so excited and pleased and the one thing that people have to remember is that the San Antonio Spurs don't do anything for effect, that's not who they are. They don't do this for the record-breaking barrier. They do things out of respect.
And the fact that coach Popovich has this much respect for Becky's basketball IQ, for how she handles herself with the guys in practice, her ability to relate to them, I'm sure he saw so much when she was working with them last fall. I'm sure he didn't hire her because she was a woman. I'm sure he hired her because she was the best person for the job."
Hammon is known in the WNBA for being a smart and tough player, she's a six-time All-Star and has averaged 13.1 points in 16 seasons with the Stars and New York Liberty.
I'm sure, like the rest of us, she can't wait for the new NBA season to get underway.
Kwe Parker might just be a high school kid, but he's a high school kid with some serious hops. Like, head above the rim hops.
He recently showed out at the Jordan XX9 Dunk Contest in Las Vegas, which you can check out below, but now he's racking up columns on this crazy series of warm-up dunk.
In his first throw down, he gets his head up above the rim, and just needs to slap the ball down to register one of the most athletics dunks we've seen in a while.
Check it out:
Check out Utah Jazz forward, and 2012 NBA Slam Dunk Champion, Jeremy Evans, dunking all over a kid while proving he still has sick hops.
Last year for the Jazz, Evans averaged only 6.1 points and 4.7 rebounds, in 18 minutes per game.
Despite the horrible news of Paul George's horrific leg injury at the Team USA scrimmage game yesterday, there were some pretty nice highlights from the entire squad in the earlier parts of the game.
The most notable highlights have got to be the high flying dunk from Derrick Rose, who looks like he hasn't been away from the court, and a buzzer beater from Damian Lillard, which he threw up from the free throw line…at the other end of the court.
Check out the snippets of action below: