A look at the latest news, views and moves from around the world of pro hoops.
Per the Akron Beacon Journal: When Kyle Korver took a pass from Kevin Love and launched the shot, J.R. Smith got up from his seat on the bench. As Korver ran downcourt, Smith jumped up and down, rolling his arms excitedly.
Per the Akron Beacon Journal: “Oh, man, it’s fun. I’ve been waiting to see it,” Smith said. “He had that one game in Indiana, but I didn’t travel with the team. Finally being out there on the court with him while he’s doing it is a treat to watch.”
Per the Akron Beacon Journal: During the playoffs, Smith has been challenged to defend the opponents’ leading scorer and has averaged 6 points in eight games. But while Smith accepts the responsibility willingly, he will also be studying Korver every chance he gets. (Full report.)
Per ESPN: Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green is disappointed in the level of competition the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors have been able to put up against the Cleveland Cavaliers in these playoffs.
Per ESPN: “I thought teams would compete a little harder,” Green said after shootaround on Monday. “I just watched San Antonio-Houston. I like to watch good basketball. When you watch Cleveland play, you’re only watching one side of the good basketball. That’s kind of weak.”
Per ESPN: “I like watching a good game, not even necessarily that it’s going to be a close game. I like to watch teams playing good basketball. When you watch them, you watch one team playing good basketball and everybody else do something. I don’t know what that something is.” (Full report.)
Per ESPN Stats & Info: Warriors complete sweep. They’re 8-0 this postseason, as are the Cavaliers. It’s the first postseason in NBA history in which 2 teams started out 8-0
Casually asked NBA player off record what happens next season when Lonzo Ball drives lane against him: "He get blocked – 495 times."
— Sam Amico (@AmicoHoops) May 9, 2017
Per Cleveland.com: Kyle Lowry is from Philadelphia. He played at Villanova. The 76ers are finally improving and can offer Lowry the max to come home.
Per Cleveland.com: Like Lowry, Tony Parker was lost to injury in the second round. Parker turns 35 in May and still has a year left on his contract, so the Spurs must be creative to fit Lowry. (Full report.)
Per Hoops Rumors: The easiest way for Raptors GM Masai Ujiri to make a significant change is to fire coach Dwane Casey, Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated opines. Ujiri is in a position to rebuild the roster in the wake of the Cavaliers’ playoff sweep but his track record suggests he won’t take that approach, Golliver continues. (Full report.)
Per the Toronto Sun: P.J. Tucker says has to wait and see what happens with Lowry, etc. before making a call. Not about just money. Wants to be part of something big.’
Per TSN Sports: Dwane Casey, asked if this team can get to where they want to go without Lowry: “It would be difficult”
Per the San Antonio Express-News: Now, in a twist, an injury to a different point guard might result in Patty Mills’ value soaring. No one knows exactly how the Spurs will approach this offseason, but they won’t have much cap room to speak of, and Parker’s uncertain future might turn Mills into their top priority.
Per ESPN: Veteran forward Rudy Gay plans to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Sacramento Kings to become a free agent, his agent Roger Montgomery confirmed to The Undefeated on Monday.
Per Hoops Rumors: It was a “poorly-kept secret” in NBA circles that Wes Wilcox and Mike Budenholzerhaven’t seen eye-to-eye on the Hawks’ direction in recent years, according to TNT’s David Aldridge. In his latest Morning Tip column on NBA.com, Aldridge takes a deep dive on the Hawks and the “philosophical” differences between Wilcox and Budenholzer, citing one source who referred to the front office situation as “a Game of Thrones kind of thing.”
Per Hoops Rumors: According to Aldridge’s sources, Wilcox was in favor of trading Paul Millsap earlier this year and going all-in on an Atlanta rebuild, but Budenholzer – who retained final say on the team’s personnel moves at the time – nixed that idea. (Full report.)
Another executive, per league sources, poised to emerge as a candidate to lead the Hawks' revamped front office: Oklahoma City's Troy Weaver
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) May 8, 2017
Per FanRag Sports: Indiana Hoosiers talent James Blackmon will sign with an agent and remain in the 2017 NBA Draft, a source told FanRag Sports. An official announcement is expected soon. (Full report.)
Per Woelfel’s Press Box: In a recent random poll of five veteran NBA scouts and front office executives, no less than 21 players received at least one vote for being a potential lottery pick – or a top 14 selection.
Per Woelfel’s Press Box: “This draft is so much better than last year’s draft,’’ a longtime Eastern Conference player personnel director said. “There are a lot of good to very good players, one of the best we’ve had.’’
Per Woelfel’s Press Box: The only perceived negative to the 2017 draft class is the lack of a franchise-changing player. You won’t find any players the ilk of LeBron James in this cast. (Full report.)
Per Hoops Rumors: Washington guard Markelle Fultz remains atop Ford’s latest Big Board with UCLA’sLonzo Ball holding the second spot. Gonzaga center Zach Collins moved from No. 11 to No. 9 and Duke guard Luke Kennard advanced from No. 17 to No. 15. Previously unranked Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell, who recently hired an agent, moved into the first round at No. 22. (Full board.)
Per the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: “Chicago has become a disappointment,” Chet Kammerer, the Heat’s vice president of player personnel, said of the event that continues to lag behind the significance of its NFL counterpart. “We’ve negotiated over the years. At one time, everybody came. At one time, we had competition. We have three on three. We had five on five. And it slowly has deteriorated.”
Per the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: While the combine no longer represents one-stop shopping, it still brings together every team’s front office, as well as many coaches. And it still is the largest congregation of draft prospects in one place. (Full report.)
Per Blazers.com: Portland Trail Blazers guard Allen Crabbe will undergo surgery Thursday to repair a stress reaction of the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey. (Full report.)
Former NBA summer league standout center Denzel Bowles has agreed to a contract with Vaqueros de Bayamon of Puerto Rico, per Amico Hoops.
Per ESPN: Of course, any discussion of the Cavs’ 4-0 sweep of the Raptors in the Eastern Conference semifinals should begin with LeBron James. His 35 points, nine rebounds and six assists in Sunday’s 109-102 closeout win typified a series in which he averaged 36 points on 57.3 percent shooting from the field, 48.1 percent from 3-point range (13 3s overall, the most by any Cavs player and more than double the leading long-range shooter for the Raptors) and 83.3 percent from the foul line to go with 8.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 1 block per game.
Per ESPN: Then, in the fourth quarter, as the Raptors stormed back from a 16-point second-half deficit to take the lead with 6:38 remaining, Kyrie Irving shifted back to scoring-machine mode by dropping in the Cavs’ next 11 points in the span of two minutes and 38 seconds.
Per the Akron Beacon Journal: The Cavs hit 61 3-pointers in four games to the Raptors’ 27. That’s a staggering 102-point difference and truly disconcerting for the Raptors, who made 159 field goals to the Cavs’ 158.
Per the Akron Beacon Journal: According to ESPN Stats and Information, James has hit 18 of 40 (45 percent) on contested 3-pointers in this postseason, as compared to 18 of 68 (26.5 percent) in the 2016 playoffs.
Per the Akron Beacon Journal: Playing with pace is key for the Cavs, which is why the rest is so important. The Cavs will have seven days off if the Wizards-Celtics series goes six games. If that series goes seven, they will have nine days off. (Full report.)
Per Cleveland.com: Greatness is Kyle Korver pulling the Cavs out of a first-half malaise with 16 points.
Remember that lousy end to the regular season? Yeah, me neither. Another sweep and more rest for #Cavs.
— Sam Amico (@AmicoHoops) May 7, 2017
Per ESPN: Play hardball with Kyle Lowry, and he might leave — just like Al Horford bolted Atlanta after the Hawks haggled over that dicey fifth season. Lowry’s a prickly, proud dude, and he will have suitors — including his hometown Sixers.
Per ESPN: He signed what turned out to be a wildly below-market contract in 2014, and he (justifiably) wants to be paid as a franchise guy. He led the sad-sack Raptors out of the sullen Andrea Bargnani era, to places where they had never been.
Per ESPN: DeMar DeRozan wants Lowry back, but won’t lobby him, he told ESPN.com on Sunday. “I didn’t call or pressure him the first time, and he didn’t do that to me,” DeRozan said. “I’m just gonna be there for him as a friend.” (Full report.)
I was hacked last night and a post was made from my account. I have alerted twitter and they are looking into the incident.
— Kristaps Porzingis (@kporzee) May 7, 2017
Per the Philadelphia Inquirer: The 76ers will be in Chicago this week interviewing point guards Markelle Fultz and De’Aaron Fox and a maximum of 18 other draft prospects at the NBA draft combine.
Per the Philadelphia Inquirer: They will spend the next six and a half weeks evaluating talent and dissecting draft boards before selecting a lottery pick or two to play alongside Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Dario Saric.
Per ESPN: Another executive, per league sources, poised to emerge as a candidate to lead the Hawks’ revamped front office: Oklahoma City’s Troy Weaver.
Per The Ringer: Mike Budenholzer missed his chance to blow it up and the franchise is already suffering the consequences. They were average this year, and they’ll have no cap space if they re-sign Paul Millsap (and Tim Hardaway Jr.), crippling their ability to make necessary improvements.
Per The Ringer: The franchise’s turmoil could lead its remaining star from its 60-win team to find the grass is indeed greener on the other side. If Millsap leaves, Dwight Howard will be the Hawks’ leading frontcourt presence — and we know how that goes. (Full column.)
Per The Associated Press: Kevin Pritchard’s attitude may be just what the Pacers need as they enter a transformational offseason.
Per The Associated Press: Former All-Star point guard Jeff Teague, forwards C.J. Miles and Lavoy Allen, and backup guard Aaron Brooks can all become free agents.
Per The Associated Press: Four-time All-Star Paul George has one year left on his contract and could become trade bait if he refuses to commit to playing in Indiana next season. Pritchard said he expects to keep George well beyond 2017-18 and will do almost anything to make it possible. (Full report.)
Per ESPN: NBA Coaches Association announces Houston’s Mike D’Antoni and Miami’s Erik Spoelstra as co-recipients of its inaugural Coach of the Year award.
Per the Los Angeles Times: Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson will be the public face of the team during next month’s draft lottery.
Per the Los Angeles Times: Johnson will appear on the lottery show that will be broadcast on May 16. The actual drawing for draft positioning will happen off camera before the show. Each team will have a representative observe the drawing. The Lakers will have general manager Rob Pelinka backstage, the team said.
Per the Los Angeles Times: If the Lakers’ draft pick falls out of the top three, they will have to send the pick to Philadelphia and send their 2019 first-round pick to Orlando. Both moves are part of trades that brought Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to the Lakers in 2012. (Full report.)
Former Cavs and Canton Charge guard Stephen Holt has agreed to a contract with the Brisbane Bullets of Australia, per Amico Hoops.
Former Canton Charge guard Chris Crawford has agreed to a deal with Caballeros de Culiacan of Lebanon, per Amico Hoops.
Former D-League guard Horace Wormly has agreed to sign with Venezuelan club Gigantes de Guayana, per Amico Hoops.