Latest Basketball News

Toronto Raptors Unveil New Uniforms Including a Black and Gold OVO Alternative August 04, 2015 15:43

The Toronto Raptors unveiled their new NBA uniforms for the 2015-16 season last night, with a little help from their most famous fan, Drake. Drake stepped out at OVOFest wearing Corey Joseph’s No. 6 jersey, in the new alternative black and gold colourway, which is bound to be a hit this season.

The Raptors design progression carries on from their court revamp a year ago, and their popular We The North campaign, so let’s check out what’s new.

The Raptors will have 4 different uniforms this year, the home edition being the white with the red trim, while the away version will be red and black. Like the home and away, the first alternative uniform hasn’t stepped too far away from last season’s design, keeping the black, red and silver colourway.

The second alternative, however, sees the biggest difference in the design, with a full OVO black and gold make-over to honour Drake’s support of the franchise.

While the basic coloursways haven’t changed too much across the board, the Raptors do have a new font and lettering layout for the jerseys. The specially made font, called ‘We The Letters’ (see what they did there), will feature a black or white core, depending on home or away, with a silver outline, except for the OVO jersey, which will feature a gold outline.

 

On the shorts, the Raptors will celebrate their Canadian roots, with the maple leaf front and centre on the waistband, while the brand new Raptors logo will feature on the side of the shorts.

The chevrons in the design, will now face upwards, pointing North, again in celebration of the teams Northern heritage and place as the only team to feature in the NBA from North of the border.

 

At the bottom of the jersey, upside down so that it’s readable to the player wearing it, is a tag stating ‘We The North’ letting each player know the deal when they put on a Toronto jersey.


Olajuwon and Mutombo Take to the Court for NBA Africa Game August 03, 2015 20:43

Image via NBA.com

The appearance of the NBA on the global stage is starting to become a more regular thing, and something we’re pretty pleased about. Who wouldn’t want to be able to see some of their favourite NBA players take to the court in the flesh!

On Saturday, however, the NBA added their first ever stop in Africa to the resume, as they put on an exhibition game that might well top all other NBA global games.

The reason for that? NBA legends, Hakeem Olajuwon and Dikembe Mutombo actually suited up and took to the court to play for Team Africa. Their time on the court might have been brief, but it was long enough for Olajuwon to pull off his signature ‘Dream Shake’, which sent the current NBA players, the crowd, and social media into a frenzy.

We’ve seen endless YouTube videos of these guys on the court, and for a select few in Johannesburg on Saturday, they got to see the real thing.

The game was played at the Ellis Park Arena in downtown Johannesburg, and saw Team Africa, which included players like Luol Deng, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Boris Diaw and Nicolas Batum play against Team World, led by the likes of Chris Paul, Evan Turner and Bradley Beal.

Deng, who grew up in South Sudan, before moving to the UK with his family, was a key part of taking the NBA to Africa and providing a great deal of activities around the game to encourage youngsters to take part in the sport, and understand that it is possible to reach your potential.

“For me, as a kid, (I wanted) to play basketball and never had the access to meet NBA players, or watch NBA.” Said Deng. “Now to be part of a team coming back to play for Africa. I can’t describe it.”

The first half of the game was typically relaxed, with players just happy to show off their skills, and give others the chance to do the same - a chance to wow the crowd and give them what they came for.

In the second half, it was Team World who heaped on the pressure to take the win after going on a 14-0 run in the 4th quarter to beat Team Africa 101 - 97. Antetokounmpo led Team Africa with 22 points, while Deng had 20. Beal was out a head for Team World with 18 points, while Paul had 12.

Speaking about the event, NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, made note that this was just the start for the NBA in Africa, with a good chance of pre-season, or even a regular season game, taking place there.

Just like when the NBA comes to London and we get a chance immersed in the NBA atmosphere, it’s great to see Africa getting that chance as well.


Below the Rim London. Forget the Hype. Play Basketball. July 29, 2015 15:37

We just got back from a pretty cool couple of days in London, checking out what's new for SS16 with brands like Mitchell & Ness, and hanging out with a group of people who might just have nailed it when it comes to our view of what it should be like to hit the basketball court as a non-professional.

Below the Rim was founded by 3 members of the Run Dem Crew running collective, which is based in East London. Ciqala, Spree and Nicole have taken the premise of Run Dem - which is a no-nonsense, no hype, no attitude approach to running - and applied to basketball. 

The product is a group of likeminded people, who emphasis the importance of working together to build and enjoy something that they love. As a fully inclusive family, the Below the Rim crew don’t operate like a traditional basketball club; rather a group of people who push and inspire each other to reach their potential and personal goals, while having a great time doing something they love.

We had the opportunity to meet with members of Below the Rim, and enjoy their movie night, which was held at the Whirled Cinema at Loughborough Junction in South London. As a result, it's fair to say, that if we weren't grinding away in Newcastle, we'd definitely be joining these guys for some basketball sessions around London on a regular basis. 

On the night, a collection of short films, which fed off the groups roots in Run Dem Crew, led us nicely into a showing of White Men Can’t Jump. This cult classic is arguably one of the best basketball films ever, and was made even better by being able to watch it as it was originally intended - on a big screen, surrounded by people who truly appreciate the culture and subtext of the movie.

After the film, armed with some of the funniest basketball movie quotes going, and with Below the Rim cupcakes in hand, we said our goodbyes and headed for the tube (a 6am start to drive back to Newcastle forced our hand). For all that White Men Can't Jump made us laugh - and perhaps wish that we had as much sunshine for playing basketball outdoors - the content of the movie shows the opposite of what the Below the Rim crew is about. 

There's no hustling your fellow players, no big-man trash talk and no-one trying to claim the courts as their own - just a group of people enjoying the game that we love, with everyone on equal terms. If you're a baller in London, or you've always wanted to give it a try, you should definitely consider joining Below the Rim. Here's their promo video to show you what you could get yourself into.


Indiana Pacers to Pay Homage to Hickory Hoosiers July 21, 2015 14:35

If you’re into your basketball movies, then there’s no doubt that you’ll have watched Hoosiers (or Best Shot as it was called in the UK). The film came out in 1986 and is based on a basketball team from a tiny school in the middle of nowhere in Indiana.

Not to spoil the story line, but after battling adversity, and coming together, the team went on to win the Indiana High School state championship in 1954.

It has now been announced that the Indiana Pacers, in collaboration with MGM, will honour that little piece of Indiana state history by wearing a Hickory Hoosiers jersey in select games next season.

With the 30th anniversary of the Hoosiers movie fast approaching, the jersey will feature as part of the NBA pride collection, and will pay tribute to that small group of players, who were able to attain success against the odds, though teamwork, determination and hustle.

We think these jerseys look pretty sweet, and as fans of the film, can’t wait to see them out on court next season.


Becky Hammon Leads Spurs Summer League Squad to Victory in Las Vegas July 21, 2015 14:22

After becoming the first woman to be the head coach of an NBA Summer League team, Becky Hammon has gone on to lead her San Antonio Spurs to victory, after they beat the Phoenix Suns 93-90 in the final.

Under the guidance of Hammon, the Spurs lost their first Summer League game in Las Vegas to the New York Knicks, but from there they went on to win the championship off six straight victories.

Speaking about the experience, Hammon said; “It was a grind. They’ve been together for 17 days. They really started to jell the last two or three games. They listened and they really played hard for me. I just really appreciate their attentiveness and alternates.”

The Spurs were led in their final performance by Jonathon Simmons, who was crowned MVP for the final game, after coming off the bench to score 23 points on 7-14 shooting.

Simmons has played for the Spurs D-League franchise for the past two seasons, and when asked about playing for Hammons he said; “I really love her and I’ve only known her a couple days. She’s a real cool coach. She’s a players coach. That’s something we all like.”

Hammon became the NBA’s first female full-time assistant coach under Greg Popovich at the Spurs last season, something that the Spurs tried not to make a big deal about. She was hired for her abilities as a coach, not as a statement on women in basketball; a fact that Popovich has repeatedly defended.

“She’s a firecracker, she takes no prisoners, she’s got a great personality. She knows her stuff. She’s competitive”

“I don’t know if her perspective is unique… Becky knows what to do on a pick-and-roll just as much as what Tony Parker knows. So I don’t think it’s unique at all.”

Hammon can relax briefly after a great win with the Spurs youngsters, before she gets set for another season as an assistant coach with the Spurs, helping to lead their brand new roster through the 2015/16 season.


Space Jam at NE1 Monument Movies 2015 Hosted by Basketball Megastore July 11, 2015 14:09

This Summer is set to be a good one at Basketball Megastore! One of the highlights is definitely going to be the fact that the people of the North East are going to be able to join us in watching one of the greatest basketball movies of all time, out in the open this August.

Working together with Newcastle's NE1, we are hosting an outdoor showing of Space Jam at NE1's Monument Movies on Sunday 16th August 2015 at 11am.

The showing will take place at Grey's Monument in Newcastle city centre, and as if that wasn't cool enough, we are also excited to have special guests from the Newcastle Eagles in attendance! 

Come along before the showing to meet some Newcastle Eagles players, grab a picture or an autograph, and find out more about what they've got planned for next season.

As well as Space Jam, NE1 Monument Movies has got some great films lined up for the Summer, check out some of our favourite listings below:

  • Tues 21st July - 5pm - Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Thurs 30th July - Noon - Wreck It Ralph
  • Sat 2nd August - 3pm - Jaws
  • Tues 4th August - 5pm - Interstella 
  • Sun 9th August - 11am - An American Tail (1986)
  • Sun 9th August - 3pm - To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Sun 16th August - 11am - Space Jam
  • Sun 16th August - 3pm - 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Tues 18th August - Noon - Back to the Future
  • Tues 18th August - 5pm - X-Men Days of Future Past
  • Thurs 27th August - 5pm - The Theory of Everything
  • Sun 30th August - 11 am - Lion King
  • Sun 30th August - 3pm - The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

For full listings, have a look at the July issue of NE1 Magazine.


NBA Salary Cap Raised to $70 Million July 09, 2015 12:29

The NBA salary cap was set on Wednesday this week, ahead of free agents being able to sign contracts with their respective teams, at a whopping $70 million.

The previous salary cap was set at $63.1 million, and it was expected to rise to around the $67 million mark for next season, however, teams have been given even more cap space than anticipated.

Despite the new higher limit, which is an 11% increase on the previous figure, that $70 million will be dwarfed next Summer when the tv rights kick in and allow the salary cap to go through the roof. It’s estimated that it could sit around $90 million for the 2016-17 season.

Still, next season is looking particularly bright for some players in terms of their bank accounts, with plenty of money floating around. It’s reported that if LeBron James was to sign for the max, he would make $23 million in salary alone next season, which will be nicely supplemented by his many high profile endorsements, such as Nike.

Kobe Bryant, who signed an extension with the Lakers back in 2013, is expected to get around $25 million this coming season keeping him at the top of pike in terms of salary.


DeAndre Jordan Backs Out on Mavericks and Signs with Clippers | Twitter Kept Us in the Loop July 09, 2015 11:39

Twitter cracked us up last night, as it exploded around the topic of DeAndre Jordan and whether he would be sticking to his word, and signing with the Dallas Mavericks for next season, or whether he would go back on his word, and return to LA.

As things have turned out, Jordan will be suiting up for the LA Clippers again next season, having done a serious u-turn at the last possible moment.

Twitter began to explode as numerous sources from ESPN and Yahoo! Sports stated that Jordan was having second thoughts and had reached out to Clippers head coach, Doc Rivers to talk it over.

Then came the stream of tweets from Clippers players who started to make their way to Houston, where Jordan was staying with his family, showing their method of getting there via the graphic language of emoji. By the time Paul Pierce chimed in by posting a picture of an emoji, a Twitter battle had already broken out, with various NBA folks trying to out-do each other.

J.J. Redick apparently lives quite close to Jordan, so jumped in the car, while Blake Griffin had more complex travel plans. 

Chris Paul had earlier been photographed messing around on a banana boat with LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, so of course he had to add this.

The Pierce, who obviously doesn’t get the emoji thing yet, found a picture of an emoji rocket to post - and probably almost immediately regretted it after Twitter broke down laughing at it.

That’s where we left it in the UK, only to wake up this morning to find that Jordan had re-signed with the Clippers and that the topic of Twitter conversation had turned to the fact that Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, was supposedly driving around trying to get Jordan’s home address so that he could intervene.

That fact was made funny by Blake Griffin posting a picture of a chair pushed up under the handle on Jordan’s front door to keep Cuban out if he made it here. (Who wouldn’t be a little bit scared of Cuban on a rampage!)

Then of course the inevitable meme parade started, making this whole escapade seriously funny, but also a showcase of how well the NBA and its players have really adopted social media, with platforms like Twitter proving and entertaining first port of calls for fans to get the inside track on what’s going on over there.

In any case, we can now safely say Jordan is a Clipper again, with reports suggesting that he signed a 4-year deal with around $87 million.


David Lee Moves to Boston - Spurs Continue to Make Moves | NBA Free Agency 2015 July 08, 2015 14:50

As we near the end of free agency, we're seeing lots of players committing to their current clubs like Marc Gasol and Kevin Garnett, while guys like David West are choosing to buck the big money trends and go for what matter most - winning. Check out the latest moves in the NBA off-season.

MARC GASOL STAYS A GRIZZLY

It was very much expected, but fans will always be relieved to see it in writing. Marc Gasol has confirmed that he will stay with the Memphis Grizzlies, on a 5-year deal that is reported to be worth $100 million.

Marc won’t be suiting up along side his brother Pau for Spain in the European Championships over the Summer, instead committing himself to getting things set in Memphis.

GARNETT WANTS TO END IT IN MINNESOTA

Kevin Garnett started his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and he reportedly wants to end it there. Only two other players in NBA history have made it to their 21st season in the league, and Garnett is about to become the third.

Garnett spent his first 12 seasons in the NBA with the Timberwolves before being traded to Boston in 2007, where he won an NBA Championship before moving to Brooklyn.

The Timberwolves got Garnett back in February this year, when he was traded for Thaddeus Young, and he received a hero’s welcome upon his return. It’s been reported that Garnett has signed a new 2-year deal with the Timberwolves, with the terms yet to be released.

DAVID LEE TRADED TO THE BOSTON CELTICS

Last season, David Lee was the highest paid player on the Golden State Warriors roster, and despite there being some debate about his defensive abilities, there was no question that his consistent double-double performances on the offensive end were important for the Warriors.

After getting injured, Draymond Green stepped into his place, and did such a good job that Lee never made it back into the full time rotation. He came off the bench only when he was needed, or when match ups dictated it.

Unlike many other NBA players, he didn’t complain about it, he stuck with the system and with the team goal to win a championship, and they did.

After heaving up the Larry O’Brien trophy last season, Lee is now headed to Boston in order to help the Warriors limit the teams luxury tax hit next season. Lee was traded to Boston, for the cheaper contract Gerald Wallace.

Lee was due around $15.4 million next year, whereas Wallace will only cost the Warriors around $3.3 million over the next 3 seasons since his contract was signed after the recent collective bargaining agreement.

Lee earned a great deal of love and respect from players and fans at the Warriors, with Green posting to Twitter to say that this is the “part of the business that sucks:” … “nothing but the best and I appreciate you showing me the way Champ!!! Much Love.”

MANU GINOBILI RETURNING TO SPURS

The Spurs have really put some work in over the past week to make some excellent moves in free agency, but fans will definitely be pleased to hear that Manu Ginobili will be returning as a familiar face in the line-up. Ginobili will be back joining Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, having agreed on a 2-year, $5.7 million deal.

SPURS LAND DAVID WEST

David West just made a pretty brave move. After a week of hearing about players aiming to get paid, with some seriously lucrative contracts floating around, West has done the opposite. West just turned down a $12 million deal with the Indiana Pacers to sign for the veterans minimum of $1.4 million to play for the San Antonio Spurs.

The Pacers have gone rapidly downhill since making it to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals a couple of seasons ago and West has been particularly disenchanted with the whole thing. He opted out of his contract with Indiana and was determined that his next move to would give him a chance to win a championship above all else.


Lakers Pick up Lou Williams and Brandon Bass, Trade for Roy Hibbert | NBA Free Agency July 06, 2015 11:28

With the Lakers finally making some moves, and the official date for signing contracts (9th July) fast approaching, here’s what’s been going down in the NBA.

ROY HIBBERT TO BE TRADED TO THE LAKERS

It was reported over the weekend that the Indiana Pacers had told Roy Hibbert to get ready to be shipped to Los Angeles to join the Lakers, after a trade was agreed in principle between the two teams.

The final part of the deal which would need to be ironed out before anything gets signed has to do with the 15% trade kicker that activates with Hibbert on his $15.5 million salary if he moves to the Lakers. The Lakers can afford to bring Hibbert’s salary and bonus in under the salary cap, but they reportedly want to find a more creative way to preserve more cap room in the deal.

The Pacers will receive a future second-round draft pick as part of the deal, as well as being able to unload Hibbert, who doesn’t fit into the newly shaped, sleeker and faster Pacers team.

LAKERS AGREE DEALS WITH WILLIAMS AND BASS

Last seasons’ Sixth Man of the Year, Lou Williams, is set to sign a 3-year deal with the LA Lakers, worth $21 million. Williams will join the second pick from this year’s draft in D’Angelo Russell, and second year point guard Jordan Clarkson in the backcourt for the Lakers.

The Lakers are also bringing Brandon Bass over from the Boston Celtics to join Roy Hibbert in the front court, with Kobe Bryant and Nick Young on the wings.

MAVERICKS SEEKING JEREMY LIN

With the Lakers having picked up Russell in the draft, to sit alongside Clarkson, the front court rotation in LA is getting a little tight, so it’s thought that the Dallas Mavericks are looking to take on Jeremy Lin.

The issue with this at the moment if that the Mavericks would need to sign free agent Lin as part of a sign and trade deal with the Lakers, due to the fact that the Mavs only have an exception of $2.8 million available under the salary cap.

If Lin can make the move, he hopes to pick up his career amongst the new Dallas line-up which includes DeAndre Jordan and Wes Matthews.

CLIPPERS LOOKING FOR A BIG MAN

The LA Clippers are reportedly considering signing either JaVale McGee or Amar’e Stoudemire as they look to fill the gap left by DeAndre Jordan.

McGee, who seems to feature more on Shaqtin a Fool than any other player in the league, has played just 28 games in the last two seasons. Last year he started the season with the Denver Nuggets before being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, who ultimately waived him after just 6 games.

Signing McGee could seem a bit desperate, but he’d certainly provide more energy and offensive spark than Stoudemire, who played half of last year with the Dallas Mavericks, after they bought out his contract from the Knicks.

REGGIE JACKSON STICKS WITH DETROIT

Reggie Jackson has agreed a 5-year, $80 million deal with the Detroit Pistons, after being traded there last season from the Oklahoma City Thunder. Jackson happily made the move to Detroit, to take on a role as a starter, instead of playing in the shadow of Russell Westbrook in OKC.

The Pistons are looking to rebuild around Jackson, and Andre Drummond, with the hope that Brandon Jennings will also come back to be an effective piece of the puzzle, after tearing his Achilles last January.

BIYOMBO TO BOLSTER RAPTORS DEFENCE

The Toronto Raptors have signed free agent Bismarck Biyombo to a 2-year, $6 million contract. Biyombo joins DeMarre Carroll as the second free agent to sign with the Raptors in the last week, as they look to piece together a stronger defence.


DeAndre Jordan Agrees to Sign with Mavericks While Rajon Rondo Moves to Sacramento July 04, 2015 12:09

More news and signings from around the league as we dig deeper into free agency.

RAJON RONDO TO THE KINGS

The Sacramento Kings have managed to bag Rajon Rondo for a reported 1-year deal worth $10 million. The report comes just hours after the Kings made an agreement to sign Marco Belinelli as they makes moves to sharpen up their back court.

Rondo made more headlines for arguing with coaching staff and being benched in Dallas, than he did for performing on the court, so the 1-year deal with the Kings is considered to be of minimal risk to both parties.

DERRICK WILLIAMS TO THE KNICKS

The New York Knicks continue to make moves, having reportedly picked up Derrick Williams. The former no. 2 pick, behind Kyrie Irving in the 2011 draft, will look to impress Knicks fans in a way that he hasn’t managed yet in the NBA.

Williams is said to have agreed a 2-year, $10 million deal, having averaged 8.3 points and 2.7 rebounds for the Sacramento Kings last season.

DEANDRE JORDAN TO SIGN WITH DALLAS MAVERICKS

Reports have come through that say DeAndre Jordan has left the LA Clippers to sign with the Dallas Mavericks. Jordan was reportedly more impressed by the fact that Dirk Nowitzki left a family holiday go to Los Angeles to be in talks with him, whereas the Clippers players weren’t around to make the same impact.

The Texas native, who led the NBA in rebounds for the past two seasons, is said to have agreed to sign a $80 million deal for 4 years in Dallas. The signing of Jordan will be considered the biggest free agent move in the 15 years that Mark Cuban has been the team owner, and one that the Mavs are in serious need of.

Earlier this week they lost Tyson Chandler to the Phoenix Suns, Rajon Rondo has moved to the Sacramento Kings and Monta Ellis left to go to the Indiana Pacers after leaving the Mavericks in scoring.

The only starters definitely returning to Dallas next year is 37 year old Nowitzki, who has played his whole career there, and Chandler Parsons, who made a serious effort to recruit Jordan, frequently taking him out in the days running up to the free agency window opening.

HOUSTON RETAIN BREWER AND BEVERLEY

The Houston Rockets have reportedly retained both Corey Brewer and Patrick Beverly, with the former agreeing to a 3-year, $24 million deal, and the latter agreeing to a 4-year, $25 million deal.

Brewer had looked at the Lakers, Kings and Knicks, before coming back to the Rockets, while Beverley was quickly brought back in with an offer sheet before he could explore too many free agency options.

ORLANDO MAGIC RETAIN HARRIS

The Orlando Magic have managed to retain Tobias Harris, on a 4-year, $64 million deal, after missing out on coming to terms with Paul Millsap. The Magic cut the deal quickly, as it was thought that other teams were looking to offer Harris a max contract.


Latest NBA Trades & Free Agency Moves July 03, 2015 16:05

As free agency continues in the NBA, here’s a look at some of the deals that have gone down in the last 24 hours.

DWAYNE WADE STAYS IN MIAMI

After weeks of back and forth, Dwayne Wade has finally agreed to sign a $20 million deal that will keep him in Miami for the next year. Having already spent 12 seasons with the Heat, Wade tested free agency after a season where the Heat didn’t even make it to the playoffs.

Speaking about his decision, Wade said, “Sitting down with Nick [Arison, Heat CEO], sitting down with Micky [Arison, Managing General Partner] and having conversations with them that I’ve never had, that was big for me. I’ve never had a business conversation with one of them… They got to show me how much they really wanted me to be here… I don’t think we would be at this point [without those conversations].

GREG MONROE AGREES MAX CONTRACT WITH BUCKS

After being courted by the struggling New York Knicks, and floundering LA Lakers, Greg Monroe has taken his talents to the Milwaukee Bucks, where he is said to have agreed to sign a 3-year deal, worth $50 million.

Monroe would have the chance to become a free agent again after two years with the Bucks if things didn’t work out, but Monroe was really looking for the opportunity to make it to the play-offs next year, for the first time in his career, and he thinks that the Bucks look like the team to get him there.

SUNS CLEAR SALARY CAP, SPLIT UP MORRIS TWINS

The Phoenix Suns have traded Marcus Morris, Danny Granger and Reggie Bullock to the Detroit Pistons, in return for a future draft pick. Since the Suns didn’t trade for any players, it’s believed that they’re just clearing cap space in order to try and sign free agent LaMarcus Aldridge.

The Suns signed Tyson Chandler from the Dallas mavericks on Wednesday, and brough Brandon Knight back in a bid to build a team that would appeal to Aldridge in his bid for NBA success.

The trade splits up Marcus Morris from his twin brother, Markieff Morris, with the two having spent most of their lives playing together. They played together at Kansas before spending 3 seasons together in Phoenix.

WES MATTHEWS SIGNS WITH MAVERICKS AFTER TURNING DOWN KINGS

Wes Matthews made a bold move to turn down a large offer from the Sacramento Kings, to instead sign with the Dallas Mavericks.

Matthews is coming off a torn Achilles injury, which ended his season in Portland before the play-offs last season, and was reportedly offered $64 million for a 4-year deal with the Kings. Details surrounding the agreement with the Mavericks have yet to be released.

MONTA ELLIS GOES TO PACERS FOR $44 MILLION

Monta Ellis opted out of the last year of his contract with the Dallas Mavericks to see if free agency could see him improve on the $8.7 million that he was due to get in Dallas. His gamble paid off, as he has reportedly agreed to sign a $44 million, 4-year deal with the Indiana Pacers that will also see him be allowed to become a free agent again in the 2017-18 NBA season.

ROBIN LOPEZ TO THE NEW YORK KNICKS

Robin Lopez has reportedly agree to sign with the New York Knicks - on one condition - that the Knicks don’t sign DeAndre Jordan. Lopez is likely to want around $12 million a year from the Knicks, with details likely to come out after the official signing date of the 9th July.


NBA Teams Spend a Collective $1.1 Billion on First Day of Free Agency July 02, 2015 14:54

As the flood gates opened yesterday on the NBA free agency market, a crazy amount of deals started to go down, with even crazier price tags.

As noted on the Hang Time Blog, the market opened for deals to be done at 12:01am Eastern time in the US, and by 7pm NBA teams had already spent $1.1 billion on players contracts.

Kevin Love scored a 5-year, $110 million deal to stay in Cleveland with the Cavaliers, while the New Orleans Pelican’s secured 5 additional years with Anthony Davis for $145 million. Damian Lillard racked up a nice $120 million contract to stick around in Portland for the next 5 years.

While those guys were picking up the biggest contracts on the day, there were plenty of other news-worthy trades that had people speculating about what will be in store for us in the 2015/16 NBA season.

Tyson Chandler was traded from the Dallas Mavericks to the Phoenix Suns on a 4-year, $52 million deal, while DeMarre Carroll made the move from the Atlanta Hawks, to the Toronto Raptors on a $60 million deal for 4 years - making him the highest paid player on the Raptors roster right now.

After some serious back and forth, Draymond Green re-signed with the Golden State Warriors on a 5-year, $85 million deal and Jimmy Butler pleased Bulls fans by re-signing with Chicago on a 5-year max contract worth a reported $90 million.

While news of whether Dwayne Wade will stick it out in Miami or make move to a new team, the Heat announced that they will sign a new contract with Goran Tragic which is likely to be worth between $85 - 90 million over 5 years.

The Cavaliers, as well as retaining Love, also shelled out on Tristan Thompson and Iman Shumpert. Shumpert picked up a 4-year, $40 million deal, while Thompson picked up a 5-year $80 million deal. Notably, LeBron James is also a free agent right now after opting out of his contract with the Cavaliers, but it’s widely known that James plans to stay in Cleveland, with his contract yet to be agreed.

While Davis picked up top dollar from the Pelicans, Omer Asik was also getting in on the action, signing a new contract for 5-years, worth $60 million, with the New Orleans-based franchise.

We have to wait until the 9th July for all contracts to be sealed and there’s no doubt going to be plenty of action between now and then so stay tuned.


Karl-Anthony Towns Selected First in 2015 NBA Draft June 26, 2015 13:36

After all of the hype and speculation, Karl-Anthony Towns was selected first overall in the NBA Draft last night, by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

This being the first time that the Timberwolves have had the first pick, they opted for a big man to take centre court for them.

Towns will join a young, but talented line-up in Minnesota, that includes last years first pick, Andrew Wiggins, who ended up with the Timberwolves after being traded away from Cleveland in the Kevin Love trade.

In New York last night, Towns was sat which is Kentucky college coach, John Calipari said to the press after the draft that “I told Coach Cal before when he first came out that I was trying to drink the water and I was shaking uncontrollably, and I told him, ‘Coach, don’t give me the ball right now for the last second shot. I wouldn’t make it.’”

With the first pick out the way, the Los Angeles Lakers then chose D’Angelo Russell of Ohio State with the second pick. Jahlil Okafor had been considered a higher pick than Russell in the run-up to the draft, but the Lakers went for a backcourt guy to sit under Kobe Bryants wing.

That meant that Okafor went to the Philadelphia 76ers with the 3rd pick. Having played under coach Mike Krzyzewski, Okafor became the 19th lottery selection and 29th first round pick to prosper under coach K, the most in NCAA history.

In fourth spot, the New York Knicks drafted Latvian forward, Kristaps Porsingis, and the fans weren’t happy about it. Loud boos poured out from the Knicks fans in Barclays Center. The fans weren’t appeased until later in the draft when the Knicks picked up the rights to Notre Dame guard, Jerian Grant, from the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Tim Hardaway Jr.

Nineteen-year old Porgzinis stormed up the draft ladder during the pre-draft workouts, but Knicks fans haven’t forgiven the franchise for drafting ‘busts’ like Frederic Weis or the underwhelming Andrea Bargnani. It’ll be up to Porgzinis to change their minds when he takes to the court next season.

Another international player went at the 5th pick, with the Orlando Magic selecting Mario Hezonja before the Sacramento Kings drafted Willie Cauley-Stein at 6th.

The full top 10 went like this:

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves - Karl-Anthony Towns - Center
  2. LA Lakers - D’Angelo Russell - Point Guard
  3. Philadelphia 76ers - Jahlil Okafor - Center
  4. New York Knicks - Kristaps Porzingis - Power Forward
  5. Orlando Magic - Mario Hezonja - Shooting Guard
  6. Sacramento Kings - Willie Cauley-Stein - Center
  7. Denver Nuggets - Emmanuel Mudiay - Point Guard
  8. Detroit Pistons - Stanley Johnson - Small Forward
  9. Charlotte Hornets - Frank Kaminsky - Power Forward
  10. Miami Heat - Justise Winslow - Shooting Guard

True to Atlanta - The Hawks Reveal New Uniforms for 2015/16 NBA Season June 24, 2015 16:49

Following in the footsteps of the Milwaukee Bucks, LA Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers, the Atlanta Hawks have stepped up to showcase their brand new uniforms, in a live feed that was broadcast on their website today.

First laying eyes on these uniforms when they were leaked in the run up to the official release, we were pretty skeptical on the design, especially the inclusion of the neon green colour.

Nevertheless, changes to sports uniforms always take some getting used to, and notoriously pull a negative response at first release, so lets take a look at what the Hawks have got to say about their new look. 

First off, the Hawks were really specific in their live unveil about the fact that they're doing 5 new things with the uniforms that haven't been done before. They also repeated over and over about how youthful the new look was, and that it's fitting for a younger audience, playing on the future growth and development of the franchise, where as other teams seem to have taken things back to their roots.

 

First up, they're using new bold colours. The new colours are Torch Red, said to represent being fiery and passionate, while the Georgia Granite Grey represents solidarity and toughness. Then we have the new Green Volt, the most controversial of the colours, which is said to represent a fearlessness and vibrance. 

As well as new bold colours, the Hawks have also introduced an all-over triangle pattern which is said to mimic the feathers of a Hawk in action. Using this kind of pattern is said to be something new to the NBA jersey game.

The Hawks have introduced a-symmetrical shorts. There's piping and the Hawks 'Pac-Man' logo down one side, with a 'Hawks' wordmark down the other.

 The Hawks also plan to mix and match the shorts terms of colourways, so for example the Hawks might be wearing a white jersey, with black shorts, or a black jersey with red shorts. That would be totally different to anything that's happened before in the NBA.

In their live announcement, the Hawks also said that they were the first NBA team to work together with Stance, the new on-court sock supplier, to create a signature sock for next season. 

Hit us up on social media to let us know what you think of the bold move by the Atlanta Hawks.


Michael Jordan's Charlotte Hornets Named as Hosts for 2017 NBA All-Star Weekend June 23, 2015 16:30

The NBA have just announced that Charlotte will be the host city for the 2017 NBA All-Star game.

The All-Star Weekend, and 66th annual All-Star game will take place at the Time Warner Cable Arena, which is the current home of the Charlotte Hornets, who are owned by Michael Jordan.

This will be the second time that Charlotte has hosted the All-Star game, the first being in 1991 when Michael Jordan was the leading scorer in the game at the Charlotte Coliseum.

Speaking in a press conference just earlier today, Jordan said; "It is an honour to bring the NBA All-Star back to Charlotte. I remember the excitement of playing in the 1991 All-Star game, the first one held in my home state and I take pride in being able to host the NBA All-Star 2017 as the owner of the Hornets."

The All-Star weekend will tip-off in Charlotte on Friday 17th February 2017, with various events taking place in the run up to the All-Star game on Sunday night.


Drunk Draymond Trashes the Cavaliers at Warriors Parade June 20, 2015 12:39

There's no questions that the Golden State Warriors are thoroughly  enjoying their time as NBA Champions, but we don't think anyone is enjoying it quite as much as Draymond Green.

The Warriors just completed their victory parade in Oakland, which was attended by pretty much everyone who lives in the Bay Area by the looks of things, and Green who must have had a few drinks, had a few things to say in an interview as part of the celebrations.

Mostly "We did it." "We run this." "We here."

But, he also lay down some trash on the Cavs saying, "Splash Brothers…Yup! Cavaliers…Nope. We won. They suck. We here. They're not."

Check it out in all its glory.


Philadelphia 76ers Reveal New Uniforms for 2015/16 NBA Season June 19, 2015 11:45

After the LA Clippers released their new NBA logo and team kits to mixed reviews yesterday, it's the Philadelphia 76ers turn to grab some of the spotlight.

The Sixers have unveiled their new uniforms for the 2015/16 season, with a theme of paying homage to the classic Sixers teams, while celebrating trying to kick-start a new era for the team (one where they maybe try to go for a winning record??).

As the home of the Declaration of Independence and the founding of the US as we know it today, Philadelphia are sticking with the patriotic red, white and blue of the US flag. The home jersey will be white, the road jersey blue, and the alternate will be red.

 The patriotic theme continues as the uniforms feature a set of stars and stripes. There are 7 stars down the right side of the uniform (4 on the jersey and 3 on the shorts), while 6 stars are featured on the left side (3 up top and 3 on the bottom) which is a nod to the team name, 76ers. The stars are also a throwback to the 1976-77 uniforms which had a similar star design.

In the red colourway, the jersey is said to be a throwback to the uniforms worn by legendary Sixer, Julius Erving, and his NBA teammates who won the championship in 1983 with 'SIXERS' across the chest.

The new jerseys also return to having 'PHILA' across the chest, which is directly linked to the iconic jersey design worn by Wilt Chamberlain in 1966-76.

The jersey neckline has been altered to a classic v-cut, with red, white and blue stripes, along with a gold tag showing that the franchise had 3 x NBA Championships.

A new feature to the uniforms is a small tag on the hem of the jersey, which says 'PHILA TOUGH' which is meant to serve as something inspirational that they players can take note of every time they put the uniform on. To make that easier, the tag is stitched upside down, so it's readable by the wearer as they tuck their jersey in to their shorts.

Here's a few of the guys from the Sixers with the new uniforms, Nerlens Noel and Jerami Grant don't seem to mind. Joel Embiid doesn't seem too chuffed. Two out of three ain't bad. 


The LA Clippers New Logo Unveiled | Lets Take A Look June 18, 2015 11:05

After another disastrous playoffs for the LA Clippers, they have now unveiled a new logo and new look for the 2015/16 NBA season.

There have been leaked images and rumours about the impending change by the Clippers, but Steve Ballmer and the Clippers franchise chose the first day after the finals to make their announcement.

Balmer went on the Conan show in the US to show a t-shirt with the brand new logo on, as well as putting together a funny video with Blake Griffin showing the fictional path that they took to create the logo. Including a brief flirt with making it like the Microsoft logo (inside joke for folks who know Ballmers background).

Let's take a look at what the Clippers were going for with their new logo.

First off, the new look is meant to signal a new era for the Clippers (on in which they might actually have a shot at getting past the second round of the playoffs I'm sure). The curved lines below the logo are meant to symbolise the horizon on the ocean, linked to the nautical roots of the franchise.

The 'LA' monogram that they've come up with was based on the shape of a basketball court (a rectangle of course), with the Clippers 'C' wrapped around it, literally hugging the city of LA.

The Clippers are adding the colour black to their brand, which is said to "lend a modern edge" to their palette, while the red, white and blue remains true to Clippers history.

On the Clippers new wordmark, it's a little hard to see, but they've included a thin silver highlight, which is mean to allude to a silver lining and collective optimism of the Clipper Nation.

Here's a look at it on the new jerseys.

We're still undecided about the whole thing - these jerseys don't look that great in our opinion, but then change is always pretty difficult to get used to when it comes to franchise branding. That being said, Brian Truong, a creative services specialist for the Clippers posted a picture to Instagram showing the new logo on a cap, and that actually looks pretty good so, let's wait and see!

 

 


Blake Griffin and Steve Ballmer Unveil Clippers New Logo in Hilarious Video June 18, 2015 10:46

There have been plenty of image leaks and rumours about the LA Clippers new logo, but the Clippers waited until after the NBA Finals to unveil their new masterpiece. 

In true Clippers fashion, this isn't just any old unveil. It's been packaged into the format of Blake Griffin and Steve Ballmer rocking a funny video of how they supposedly came up with the logo. 

Check it out below, and go and view our closer look at the Clippers new branding here.

 


Durham Wildcats Withdraw from the British Basketball League June 17, 2015 15:45

The Durham Wildcats have announced that they are leaving the British Basketball League, effective as of the 2015/16 BBL season.

In a statement on their website, the Wildcats state that they are reluctantly pulling out of the BBL, after recent clarifications by the UK Border Agency have jeopardised their team model, but restricting the ability to include university players on the roster.

"As a club, our playing structure has been built around recruiting athletes who also study at Durham University and this model has served us well in both the Basketball England National Leagues and, more recently, in the British Basketball League.

Unfortunately the recent clarifications from the Border Agency have resulted in this model no longer providing us with the base from which to recruit a competitive team and, with that in mind, it was felt that it was in the interests of both the club and the BBL for the Durham Wildcats to withdraw from the league for the 2015/16 season."

The issue has arisen for the team, and other teams around the BBL, after the Border Agency clarified that overseas students, who are residing in the UK on a Student (Tier 4) visa, are not permitted to play professional sports while they are here.

It remains to be see how this will impact other clubs, but Durham are certainly the first to announce that it effectively ends their eligibility to hold a place in the BBL.

You can read the full statement over on their website.


Newcastle Knights Annual 5v5 Tournament is Back! | Newcastle University 27th June 2015 June 17, 2015 15:14

For the past few years we've had the privilege of being involved as sponsors of the Newcastle Knights 5v5 basketball tournament, and this year it's back, bigger and better!

With plenty of players already signed up, now's a good time to get involved. As well as a full on 5v5 tournament, expect side competitions like a 3-point contest, with prizes handed out from ourselves and Always Ballin throughout the day!

Drop an email to knights.basketball@newcastle.ac.uk to register your team and to get more information. 


Andre Iguodala Crowned 2015 NBA Finals MVP June 17, 2015 11:21

After going 2-1 down against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors hustled to win 3 straight games to be crowned NBA Champions.

The Hang Time blog on NBA.com pointed out that there was one particular stat that seems to really stand out in this series - the fact that the Warriors outscored the Cavaliers by 62 points across the series, while Andre Iguodala was on the floor.

To put a bit of perspective on that, Steph Curry, the reigning league MVP, was next in line, with plus 52 points.

Iguodala started the first two games of the series on the bench, a factor which allowed LeBron James to get going early in the games and make the fight an uphill battle for the Warriors.

Steve Kerr made the choice to take the Warriors line-up small in game 3, starting Iguodala instead of big man Andrew Bogut. That move made all the difference. Iguodala was proven to be the best guy to guard LeBron James, and Kerr's moved proved to be as successful as you can be against James, with Iguodala limiting him to 38 percent shooting while he was guarding him.

As well as having the tough task of guarding James, Iguodala also contributed significantly to the Warriors stat sheet, making big plays that spurred the team on to win.

Iguodala averaged 16.3 points and 4 assists while shooting 40% from 3-point range. His two highest scoring games of the season, out of a total of 98 games, were game 4 (22 points) and game 6 (25 points) of this series. Talk about performing when it matters most.

This, basketball fans, is why Andre Iguodala was named the 2015 NBA Finals MVP. Deservedly so.


Golden State Warriors Are Your 2015 NBA Champions! June 17, 2015 10:57

The Golden State Warriors have won their first NBA Championship since 1975 after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in game 6 last night.

After going out to a 13 point lead early in the game, the Cavaliers had it back to just 2 points by the half, but the Warriors would continue to hustle in ways that the Cavs just couldn't in the second half to seal a 105 - 97 win in Ohio.

Steph Curry and Andre Iguodala scored 25 points each, while Draymond Green racked up a triple-double of 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to help secure the title after what has been a series for the ages.

Head coach of the Warriors, Steve Kerr, became the first rookie coach to win a championship since Pat Riley did it with the LA Lakers in 1982. He's got to pretty pleased that he chose to take the job in Oakland last Summer instead of taking his option, which was to go and help Phil Jackson fix the New York Knicks...

The Finals MVP was awarded to Iguodala, who really had made a big difference for the Warriors in these finals. He was bumped up to the starting line-up after coming off the bench all season and was tasked with trying to keep a lid on LeBron James, which he did better than anyone else who tried.

The fact that it was effectively the Warriors 6th man who won the MVP, says a lot about the Warriors as a team and the fact that their gameplay is a true team effort. Sure they need Steph Curry to be the star and knock down insane shots, but they wouldn't win in the way that they do without a whole host of guys who make the Warriors very tough to beat.

On the other side of things, the Cavaliers LeBron James looked devastated with an air of utter fatigue about the whole situation. He sat facing his locker with a towel over his head for almost an hour after the game before talking to anyone.

When he did speak about the loss, he said "We ran out of talent… We gave everything we had."

James was speaking about the fact that the Cavaliers have just kept losing players. Anderson Verajao tore his Achilles during the season, Kevin Love dislocated his shoulder in the first round of the playoffs and Kyrie Irving fractured his knee cap in game 1 of the finals.

Love and Irving were the ones that James had specifically gathered around him this season to make the run at the title in his first year back in Cleveland. Throughout these finals, the Cavaliers had a mantra of 'next man up', meaning that they had to play with what they had, and the other guys on the squad had to step up and fill the shoes of those who couldn't play.

Despite glimmers of the right stuff from various members of the Cavs team, none of them could put in a sustained effort, at the right level of skill, to knock off the Warriors.

James was left to do most of the work himself, and that took it's toll. He might be arguably the best player in the world, but he too has his limits.

Throughout the finals, James averaged an insane 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists, while playing a massive 45.8 minutes per game. He literally played until he ran out of steam and on occasion, that was enough to pull his team through the battle. It wasn't enough to win the war.

As a testament of how well James played, he received 4 of the 11 votes for the Finals MVP award, despite being on the losing team. The only time the MVP has ever come from the losing team in a finals before, was when Jerry West won in 1969. James also became the 6th player in NBA history to hit the 5,000 post-season points mark.

When all was said and done, a one man effort was no where near enough to knock out the best team in the NBA this season. The Warriors had their struggles early in this series, but showed character to fight through and take the win.

And hasn't it been massive amounts of fun watching it all unfold!? We'll certainly remember this series for a long time to come.