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  • Cousin of Bulls' Wade shot, killed in Chicago
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, August 27, 2016

    A cousin of Chicago Bulls star Dwyane Wade was shot and killed while she was pushing her baby in a stroller Friday afternoon in Chicago, multiple media outlets reported.

    • Nykea Aldridge, 32, and a man were walking when someone began firing at the man, according to the Chicago Tribune report.

      Aldridge was hit in the head and the arm and taken to Stroger Hospital, where she died, police said. The baby was not hurt.

      Aldridge had just finished registering her children at Dulles School of Excellence when the shooting occurred.

      Aldridge is the daughter of Wade's mother's sister.

      Wade issued a statement on Twitter late Friday:

      "My cousin was killed today in Chicago. Another act of senseless gun violence. 4 kids lost their mom for NO REASON. Unreal.#EnoughIsEnough"

      The Bulls also issued a statement: "The entire Chicago Bulls organization is deeply saddened by the news of Dwyane Wade's cousin, Nykea Aldridge. We send our deepest condolences to the entire Wade family during this difficult time."

      Chicago Police Department Deputy Chief James Jones said in a news conference that Aldridge was "an innocent party to this senseless shooting."

  • 76ers acquire C Pleiss from Jazz
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 26, 2016

    The Philadelphia 76ers acquired center Tibor Pleiss, two 2017 second-round draft picks and cash considerations on Friday from the Utah Jazz in exchange for guard Kendall Marshall.

    • The Sixers will receive the most and least favorable of the four 2017 second-round picks currently held by the Jazz (their own, in addition to those of Detroit, Golden State and New York).

      The 7-foot-3, 256-pound Pleiss was originally selected with the 31st overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Brooklyn Nets and acquired by the Jazz as part of a three-team trade in February 2015. He has appeared in 12 career games with Utah, averaging two points and one rebound in seven minutes per game.

      Marshall will be waived by the Jazz before his $2 million contract for next season becomes guaranteed, according to The Vertical. In 30 games last season, he averaged 3.7 points and 2.4 assists with the 76ers.

  • Lakers re-sign C Black
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, August 24, 2016

    The Los Angeles Lakers re-signed backup center Tarik Black on Wednesday.

    • The deal is reportedly for two years and worth $12.85 million.

      In two seasons with the Lakers, the 24-year-old Black has averaged 5.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in 16.9 minutes per game while shooting 57.5 percent from the field over 77 games (27 starts).

      "Tarik is a player whose strengths are well-suited for the style of play we envision for our team going forward," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. "He plays the game with a mix of athleticism, energy, and physicality that make him a valuable frontcourt contributor in today's NBA."

      Black was awarded to the Lakers on a waiver claim on Dec. 28, 2014. He appeared in 25 games (12 starts) for the Houston Rockets to begin the 2014-15 season before being waived.

  • Lakers sign second overall pick Ingram
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, August 23, 2016

    Brandon Ingram, the No. 2 overall pick in June's NBA draft, finally signed his rookie contract with the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.

    • The deal is reportedly worth $23.8 million over four seasons due to the NBA's rookie wage scale. Ingram, a forward, was the last of the 60 draft choices to sign his contract.

      Ingram starred at Duke in his lone college season. He averaged 17.3 points and 6.8 rebounds and knocked down 41 percent of his 3-point attempts.

      He played himself into the second selection behind LSU forward Ben Simmons, who went first overall to the Philadelphia 76ers.

      Ingram is the latest building block for the Lakers, who drafted guard D'Angelo Russell last year and forward Julius Randle two seasons ago. Los Angeles also has a new coach in former Golden State Warriors assistant Luke Walton.

      The Lakers posted a franchise-worst 17-65 record last season.

  • Bucks sign G Terry
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, August 23, 2016

    Veteran guard Jason Terry will return for an 18th NBA season after signing a one-year contract with the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.

    • Terry, 38, spent the past two years with the Houston Rockets, where he played in 72 games last season and started seven. He averaged 5.9 points, 1.4 assists, 1.1 rebounds and 17.5 minutes.

      Terry has averaged 14.3 points, 4.1 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 1,285 regular-season games, and he ranks third in NBA history in 3-pointers made while shooting 37.9 percent from beyond the arc.

      In Milwaukee, Terry will be reunited with former Dallas teammate Jason Kidd, who is now the Milwaukee coach.

      "Jason will bring veteran leadership and shooting," Kidd said. "He's a true pro on and off the court.

      "Off the bench for sure he will help us with his knowledge. And I think he has some gas left."

      Terry agreed, tweeting, "There's plenty of fuel left in the jet."

      The 6-foot-2 guard was drafted 10th overall by the Atlanta Hawks in 1999 and played five seasons there before moving in to the Mavericks for eight seasons. Other career stops include the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets, where he also played under Kidd.

      The Bucks are expected to add free agent forward Steve Novak as their 15th player on the roster. He played in only three games last year before sustaining a season-ending knee injury.

  • Lakers add Chinese F-C Yi
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, August 22, 2016

    The Los Angeles Lakers signed forward/center Yi Jianlian on Monday.

    • Yi, the sixth overall draft pick of the Milwaukee Bucks in 2007, averaged 7.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in five NBA seasons with four different teams.

      The 6-foot-11 Yi had his best NBA season with the New Jersey Nets in 2009-10, posting career-high averages of 12.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.

      Yi was a member of Team China in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. He averaged 20.4 and 6.6 rebounds while shooting 46.7 from 3-point range in five games.

      "We're excited to have a player of his worldwide accomplishments," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said. "We look forward to bringing him to training camp and hopefully having him make an impact on our team."

      Yi, 28, played the past four seasons for the Guangdong Southern Tigers, the team he was with before joining the NBA.

  • Lakers complete coaching staff hires
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 19, 2016

    The Los Angeles Lakers announced new additions to head coach Luke Walton's staff on Friday.

    • The 36-year-old Walton took over as the Lakers coach after completing his run as an assistant with the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.

      The Lakers hired Jud Buechler, Brian Keefe and Theo Robertson as player development coaches, joining associate head coach Brian Shaw and assistant coaches Jesse Mermuys and Mark Madsen.

      Buechler enjoyed a 12-year playing career highlighted by winning three consecutive championships with the Chicago Bulls from 1996-98. He also played for the Nets, Spurs, Warriors, Pistons, Suns and Magic from 1990-2002 seasons and appeared in 720 regular season and 71 postseason games.

      Buechler also was a college star at Arizona, the same school in which Walton later was a standout player.

      Keefe spent the last two seasons serving as an assistant coach with the New York Knicks. Prior to his stint with the Knicks, Keefe spent seven seasons working with the Oklahoma City Thunder after joining the franchise in the summer of 2007, where he was a player development coach for two years before spending his last five seasons as an assistant coach.

      Robertson joins the Lakers after spending the previous two seasons with the Warriors, where he was part of the 2015 NBA championship as the team's video intern, working with Steve Kerr's coaching staff assisting with game preparation. He was promoted to video coordinator/player development prior to the 2015-16 season, working on-court with players in addition to his game-planning responsibilities.

      The Lakers also named Casey Owens as assistant coach/advance professional scout and Will Scott as video coordinator.

      Owens transitions to his role with the Lakers after spending last season serving as head coach for their Development League affiliate, the Los Angeles D-Fenders. In his first season with the D-Fenders, Owens led the team to its second Western Conference championship and a trip to the D-League Finals.

      Scott has assisted the Lakers in the video room since the 2011-12 season, while simultaneously working for the D-Fenders.

  • New Orleans replaces Charlotte for 2017 All-Star Game
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 19, 2016

    The NBA has chosen New Orleans to replace Charlotte for the 2017 All-Star Game, the league announced Friday.

    • The 66th NBA All-Star Game will be played on Sunday, Feb. 19, at Smoothie King Center, home of the New Orleans Pelicans.

      The NBA last month pulled the 2017 marquee midseason event out of Charlotte in response to the league's objection to North Carolina House Bill 2, a state law that mandates transgender people use public restrooms corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificates.

      NBA commissioner Adam Silver had threatened for months to move the All-Star Weekend out of Charlotte unless the law aimed at the state's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community was changed.

      In addition to the All-Star Game, the Smoothie King Center will host the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 17 and All-Star Night on Saturday, Feb. 18, while the All-Star practice, celebrity game and NBA Development League All-Star Game will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

      "New Orleans is a world-class destination for sports and entertainment and we are very appreciative that the city is once again hosting our All-Star festivities," Silver said in a statement. "We are grateful to Tom and Gayle Benson and the Pelicans organization and to Governor John Bel Edwards, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation for inviting us back for what promises to be another exciting and memorable celebration of the game."

      This will mark the third time New Orleans has been the site of the league's All-Star celebration, having previously hosted the event in 2008 and 2014.

      "We are grateful that the NBA has selected us to host the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans," Pelicans owner Tom Benson said. "We have made tremendous upgrades to the Smoothie King Center and know the building will be a first-class venue to host the myriad of events associated with All-Star weekend. New Orleans has hosted the All-Star Game twice in the past nine years, and is a perfect destination for NBA fans. As we know, the NBA will engage thousands of local children and charities during this weekend. On behalf of my wife Gayle and the entire Pelicans organization, we thank Governor Edwards, Mayor Landrieu, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, SMG, and all of the others that worked so hard in a short amount of time to bring the All-Star Game to New Orleans."

      In the wake of the devastating floods that have affected thousands of Louisiana residents, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have joined the Pelicans and the New Orleans Saints to provide financial and other ongoing support of the flood rescue, relief and rebuilding efforts.

      "Even in the midst of a historic crisis, I am excited that the NBA has recognized how great the City of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana are," Edwards said. "In Louisiana, one of the strongest bonds that unites all of us is our passion for sports. Not only will NBA fans be able to participate in the All-Star Game events, they will also be a part of our world-famous Mardi Gras festivities. The fan experience can't get any better than that. While we move into the recovery phase of this disaster, I want to thank the NBA for the vote of confidence in our state to host this event and their support of the relief efforts currently underway. I want to congratulate Mayor Landrieu, the City of New Orleans, and the Pelicans for working in short order to make this all possible."

      The 2017 NBA All-Star Game will be televised in prime time on TNT for the 15th consecutive year, marking Turner Sports' 32nd year of NBA All-Star coverage.

  • Grizzlies add Bender, Thate to coaching staff
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, August 17, 2016

    The Memphis Grizzlies hired Bob Bender as an assistant coach and Bob Thate as shooting coach on Wednesday to finalize head coach David Fizdale's staff.

    • Fizdale, a longtime NBA assistant, was hired by the Grizzlies in May for his first head coaching job.

      Bender comes to Memphis after working last season as a scout for the Brooklyn Nets. His professional coaching experience includes: two seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers (2002-04), first as an assistant coach/player development and then as an assistant coach; nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks (2004-13) as an assistant coach, where he worked alongside Fizdale for the first four seasons; and one season with the Milwaukee Bucks (2013-14) as an assistant coach.

      Bender began his coaching career as an assistant at Duke under Mike Krzyzewski (1983-89) and later served as head coach at Illinois State (1989-93) and at Washington (1993-2002).

      Bender is the only individual to play for two different teams in two different NCAA Championship games, one as a freshman on Bob Knight's undefeated 1976 Indiana team and the other as a point guard at Duke in the 1978 title game against Kentucky. He was drafted by the San Diego Clippers in the sixth round of the 1979 draft but did not play in the NBA.

      Thate joins the Grizzlies after serving in the same capacity for four years (2012-16) with the Los Angeles Clippers and three years with the Nets.

      Thate was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1970 but instead embarked on a four-year professional career in France and a combined 23 years of coaching at the Division I college and high school levels, including stints at Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount, California-Irvine and Long Beach State.

  • Hornets' arena changing name to Spectrum Center
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, August 17, 2016

    The Charlotte Hornets announced Wednesday that the team's home arena is changing its name to Spectrum Center.

    • The new name will be replacing Time Warner Cable Arena following Charter Communications' purchase in May of Time Warner Cable, which is the city's dominant cable provider.

      Spectrum is the brand name of Charter's all-digital TV, internet and voice offerings.

      "We are pleased to have Charter's Spectrum brand become a part of our arena as Charter prepares to make its entrance into the Charlotte area," Hornets Sports & Entertainment president and chief operating officer Fred Whitfield said in a statement. "We look forward to partnering with Charter for many years to come as we continue to provide the best in sports and entertainment for Charlotte and the Carolinas at Spectrum Center."

      Time Warner Cable entered into an agreement in 2008 for naming rights of the uptown Charlotte arena, which is operated by Hornets Sports & Entertainment. Over the coming months leading up to the 2016-17 NBA season, Spectrum branding will replace that of Time Warner Cable throughout the building, including exterior and interior signage, the playing court and the new scoreboard that is currently being installed.

      "We are excited to continue this partnership with Hornets Sports & Entertainment and to have the Spectrum Center name introduced prior to the start of the season," Charter chief marketing officer Jon Hargis. "Our integration with Time Warner Cable continues and we look forward to further introducing Spectrum to customers in the coming months."

      Since opening on Oct. 21, 2005, Time Warner Cable Arena has hosted more than 14.5 million visitors at nearly 1,700 events. Along with being the home of the Charlotte Hornets, the venue has hosted numerous collegiate basketball events, major concerts and conventions, including being the site of the Democratic National Convention in September 2012. The arena hosted NCAA men's basketball tournament action in 2008, 2011 and 2015 and the ACC men's tournament in 2008.

  • Heat re-sign G Udrih
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, August 17, 2016

    The Miami Heat re-signed guard Beno Udrih on Wednesday, adding depth to their backcourt.

    • Terms were not disclosed but the Miami Herald reported the deal is for one year at the veteran's minimum of $1.4 million.

      Udrih, 34, has appeared in 792 NBA regular-season games (272 starts) during his 12-year career, averaging 8.5 points, 3.4 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 22.3 minutes while shooting 46.3 percent from the floor, 34.9 percent from 3-point range and 83 percent from the foul line.

      Udrih averaged 4.4 points and 2.5 assists and 16.3 minutes in 36 games for the Heat last season after a November trade from the Memphis Grizzlies.

      The two-time NBA champion has appeared in 53 postseason games and averaged 4.5 points, 1.2 assists, 1.0 rebounds and 11.3 minutes while shooting 38.8 percent from the field and 80.4 percent from the free-throw line.

      Last season as a member of both the Heat and Grizzlies, Udrih appeared in 44 games (five starts) and averaged 4.7 points, 2.6 assists, 1.6 rebounds and 16.1 minutes while shooting 43.4 percent from the floor, 34.1 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the line.

  • Young, Russell mending fences after Azalea incident
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, August 16, 2016

    Nick Young and D'Angelo Russell are mending fences and working on their friendship.

    • The Los Angeles Lakers' teammates were involved in a public spat five months ago when Russell filmed Young answering questions about his relationships with women other than his pop star fiance Iggy Azalea. The video was leaked via Twitter, and a few months later Azalea ended the relationship.

      "It's been so long, so it's kind of old," Young told the Los Angeles Daily News. "We've already been working it out. I can't be mad forever."

      Young made light of the Foot Locker commercial featuring Russell and 2016 No. 1 pick Ben Simmons in which Simmons asks for advice from Russell, who responds by hurling his cell phone into the ocean.

      "Real funny," Young told the News. "I need my commercial now. I'll explain what happened to my life."

      Russell apologized publicly and Young said they would handle the situation outside the media.

  • Michelle Obama's brother hired by Bucks
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, August 15, 2016

    The Milwaukee Bucks may give the Chicago Bulls a run for their money as President Barack Obama's favorite team.

    • The Bucks on Monday hired former Oregon State coach Craig Robinson as vice president of player and organizational development. If the name sounds familiar, well, he is also the brother of First Lady Michelle Obama.

      Robinson is expected to serve as a mentor and adviser to the Bucks, who boast the youngest roster in the NBA -- including Giannis Antetokounmpo and fellow 21-year-old forward Jabari Parker.

      "Player development is instrumental to the success of our players on the court and their valuable impact in the community," Bucks co-owner Wes Edens said in a statement. "We strive to equip every member of our organization with the tools they need to find personal success beyond basketball. As we continue to build a world-class franchise, we're thrilled to have someone with Craig's experience and character join our team and help our players reach their full potential on and off the court."

      Robinson posted a 93-104 record in six seasons (2008-14) with the Beavers. He did not play in the NBA despite being drafted in 1983 out of Princeton.

  • Thunder sign G Price
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, August 14, 2016

    Guard Ronnie Price signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but The Vertical reported it to be a guaranteed two-year, $5 million contract.

    • The 11-year veteran appeared in 62 games for the Phoenix Suns last season, averaging career highs in points (5.3), assists (2.4), rebounds (1.6), steals (1.19) and minutes played (19.5) per game.

      Price has appeared in 530 career NBA games, including stints with Sacramento, Utah, Portland, Orlando and the Los Angeles Lakers since coming out of Utah Valley State College. He holds career averages of 3.8 points, 1.8 assists 1.2 rebounds in 13.5 minutes per game.

  • Lakers C Mozgov to undergo an MRI after groin injury
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, August 13, 2016

    Los Angeles Lakers center Timofey Mozgov was scheduled for an MRI exam on Saturday after suffering a groin injury at the Summer Olympics.

    • Mozgov sustained the injury while playing for Team Russia in Friday's game against Ukraine, TWCsportsnet.com reported.

      The 7-foot-1 Mozgov signed a four-year, $64 million contact with the Lakers as a free agent last month.

      Mozgov, 30, spent last season with the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers. He averaged 6.3 points and 4.4 rebounds in 76 games but barely saw the floor in the NBA Finals, scoring seven points in five games.

      The hulking 275-pound Mozgov has played the bulk of his six season seasons with the Denver Nuggets while also seeing time with the New York Knicks and Cavs. He owns lifetime averages of 6.9 points and 5.0 rebounds.

  • James offcially signs contract with Cavaliers
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 12, 2016

    LeBron James officially signed the three-year, $100 million contract that makes him the NBA's highest-paid player for the first time in his career.

    • The defending-champion Cleveland Cavaliers formally announced Friday that they had the signature of the four-time MVP on a contract.

      "We are very fortunate to have a championship group together," general manager David Griffin said in a press release. "One that has grown organically to trust, and sacrifice for one another -- on and off the floor. At the core of that group is LeBron.

      "His leadership, passion and tireless commitment are the hallmarks of our success and have inspired our entire franchise. His connection and dedication to his community and this fan base are absolute. We share his determination to win at the highest level and can't wait to get back to work, together to defend our title."

      James was named NBA Finals MVP as the Cavaliers rebounded from a 3-1 series deficit to defeat the Golden State Warriors last June. The championship was the third of his career.

      The new contract will make James the highest-paid player in the league in 2016-17 at $31 million, according to multiple reports. The superstar forward's 2017-18 salary will be more than $33 million, which would be a single-season NBA record, ESPN reported. The previous mark was the $33 million that Michael Jordan received in 1997-98 from the Chicago Bulls.

      The third season is reportedly a player option.

      James was a free agent, though he previously assured the Cavaliers that he would return.

      James announced his return on Thursday in a video posted on the social-media site, Uninterrupted.

      "I just want to let y'all know I'm re-signing back with the Cleveland Cavaliers, my hometown team. I can't be more excited than this opportunity once again, man, to defend our crown, defend our title. We all know last year was a magical, inspiring -- all the words you can come up with -- it was an unbelievable season. I just can't wait to get the group back together -- the team, the franchise, more importantly, get everybody together, the fans.

      "Without you guys, without your passion and commitment, we wouldn't have been able to do what we did this past season. I'm ecstatic. I can't wait to see my guys. I can't wait to get back out there in the wine and gold and just get the band back together. Lastly, let's get J.R. (Smith) done. It's that time."

      James, 31, returned to Cleveland from the Miami Heat ahead of the 2014-15 season, and he guided the Cavs to the NBA Finals in both seasons since his return. Cleveland lost to the Golden State Warriors in the 2015 Finals before beating the Warriors in the rematch for the first championship in franchise history.

      In each of the past six seasons, James guided his team to the NBA Finals.

      James averaged 25.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists in 76 games last season. In the postseason, his averages improved to 26.3, 9.5 and 7.6.

      A 12-time All-Star, James is a three-time NBA Finals MVP.

  • Durant makes return to Oklahoma City on Feb. 11
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 12, 2016

    Kevin Durant is a member of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

    • That probably isn't going to help him avoid a series of jeers and cat-calls on Feb. 11.

      The All-Star forward agreed to join the Golden State Warriors in July and will find himself back inside Oklahoma City's Chesapeake Arena for the first time as an opponent on Feb. 11 when the Warriors visit the Thunder.

      Durant's departure stunned the high-energy Thunder fans and his return to Oklahoma City is easily the highlight of the NBA schedule released on Thursday.

      Durant's first game for the Warriors comes on Oct. 25 in a season-opening doubleheader. Golden State will face the San Antonio Spurs in the second game of a TNT doubleheader, following the clash between the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers and the New York Knicks.

      The Cavaliers and Warriors, who squared off in last season's NBA Finals, clash on ABC on Christmas Day as part of the league's traditional five-game showcase. ABC's other Dec. 25 telecast features the Spurs visiting the Chicago Bulls. ESPN will televise the other three games on Christmas.

      The All-Star Game is Feb. 19. The NBA recently removed the game from Charlotte due to its objections over the controversial bathroom bill that limits rights for the LGBT community. A new city hasn't yet been selected but New Orleans is the leading possibility.

      A few other marquee games to note:

      --Derrick Rose makes his first return to Chicago as a member of the Knicks on Nov. 4.

      --Dwyane Wade, now with the Bulls, plays in Miami as a visiting player for the initial time on Nov. 10.

      --The Cavaliers play Golden State at Oracle Arena for the first time since winning the title on Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 16.

  • Cavs, James agree to 3-year, $100 million deal
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 11, 2016

    LeBron James' new contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers will hit nine figures.

    • Multiple media outlets reported Thursday that James agreed to a three-year, $100 million deal with the NBA champion Cavs.

      The new contract will make James the highest-paid player in the league in 2016-17 at $31 million, according to multiple reports. The superstar forward's 2017-18 salary will be more than $33 million, which would be a single-season NBA record, ESPN reported. The previous mark was the $33 million that Michael Jordan received in 1997-98 from the Chicago Bulls.

      The third season is reportedly a player option.

      James was a free agent, though he previously assured the Cavaliers that he would return.

      James announced on a video posted on his social-media site, Uninterrupted, "I just want to let y'all know I'm re-signing back with the Cleveland Cavaliers, my hometown team. I can't be more excited than this opportunity once again, man, to defend our crown, defend our title. We all know last year was a magical, inspiring -- all the words you can come up with -- it was an unbelievable season. I just can't wait to get the group back together -- the team, the franchise, more importantly, get everybody together, the fans.

      "Without you guys, without your passion and commitment, we wouldn't have been able to do what we did this past season. I'm ecstatic. I can't wait to see my guys. I can't wait to get back out there in the wine and gold and just get the band back together. Lastly, let's get J.R. (Smith) done. It's that time."

      Smith, a free agent, started 77 games for the Cavaliers last season.

      James is expected to sign the contract next week at a charity event in Sandusky, Ohio, benefiting the LeBron James Family Foundation.

      James, 31, returned to Cleveland from the Miami Heat ahead of the 2014-15 season, and he guided the Cavs to the NBA Finals in both seasons since his return. Cleveland lost to the Golden State Warriors in the 2015 Finals before beating the Warriors in a rematch this year for the first championship in franchise history.

      In each of the past six seasons, James guided his team to the Finals, and he has three championship rings.

      James averaged 25.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists in 76 games last season. In the postseason, his averages improved to 26.3, 9.5 and 7.6.

      A 12-time All-Star, James is a four-time regular-season MVP and a three-time NBA Finals MVP.

  • Raptors sign G Crawford, C Moreira
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 11, 2016

    The Toronto Raptors signed guard Drew Crawford and center Yanick Moreira to contracts on Thursday.

    • The 6-foot-5 Crawford averaged 8.0 points in five games for Toronto's summer league team. The 6-11 Moreira averaged 2.4 points and 4.0 rebounds.

      Crawford, who played collegiately at Northwestern, spent last season playing for a team in Israel. He averaged 15.8 points and 5.3 rebounds in 34 games for Bnei Hertzeliyya.

      He is the son of former NBA referee Danny Crawford.

      Moreira, who formerly played for Southern Methodist, split last season between two foreign teams. He averaged 6.0 points and 3.7 rebounds in nine games for UCAM Murcia in Spain, and 11.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in four games for Rouen in France.

  • Nuggets sign 3 draft picks, Miller
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, August 9, 2016

    The Denver Nuggets were quite busy on Tuesday, signing guards Jamal Murray and Malik Beasley and forward Juancho Hernangomez to contracts.

    • Terms of the deals were not disclosed by the Nuggets, who also inked veteran reserve Mike Miller to a two-year contract, the Denver Post reported.

      Murray, who was selected with the seventh overall pick of the 2016 draft, averaged 19.6 points and 5.0 rebounds in five games at the 2016 Summer League in Las Vegas. The 19-year-old averaged 20.0 points and 5.2 rebounds in his lone season with Kentucky in 2015-16.

      Hernangomez was selected eight picks after Murray in the draft and averaged 9.8 points and 3.7 rebounds in 24 contests with Movistar Esudiantes of the Spanish ACB league last season. The Madrid native also fared well in the Summer League, averaging 10.2 points and 8.2 rebounds.

      Beasley, who was picked 19th in the 2016 draft, averaged 15.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in 34 games with Florida State last season.

  • Warriors tab ex-player Green as assistant coach
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, August 9, 2016

    The Golden State Warriors named Willie Green an assistant coach on Tuesday.

    • Green, a 12-year veteran who concluded his playing career in 2014-15, will serve as assistant coach/player development under Steve Kerr.

      Green, 35, played with five different teams, averaging 8.3 points and 1.4 assists in 731 regular-season games with the Philadelphia 76ers, New Orleans Hornets, Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers and Orlando Magic.

      A 2003 second-round draft pick of the then-Seattle SuperSonics, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard played his first seven seasons with the 76ers, averaging a career-high 12.8 points during the 2007-08 season.

      Green starred collegiately at Detroit Mercy, earning Horizon League Player of the Year honors in 2002-03.

  • Kerr: Calling Durant a villain for leaving Thunder is 'absurd'
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, August 8, 2016

    Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr defended his newest star player, calling it "absurd" to label Kevin Durant as a villain because he left the Oklahoma City Thunder as a free agent.

    • The former MVP and four-time scoring champion is joining forces with Steph Curry after he selected the Warriors over the Thunder and Boston Celtics last month.

      "To think of Kevin Durant or Steph Curry or any of our guys as villains, it's kind of absurd. Especially Kevin," Kerr said Sunday in an interview on ESPN Radio's TMI with Michelle Beadle and Ramona Shelburne. "This is one of the most likeable people in this league. He's just an awesome human being. What he did in Oklahoma City was just amazing for that community."

      Durant, 27, led the Thunder to the Western Conference finals four times in the past six seasons, including a Game 7 loss in June to the Warriors.

      Durant signed a reported two-year, $54.3 million contract with a player option after the second year. Both Curry and Durant can become free agents next July.

      The villain label was first mentioned by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and it has resonated with fans around the country on social media.

      "Circumstances kind of dictate, I guess, that some people are going to see him as a villain," Kerr said. "But it's only because he decided to go elsewhere to play. He wanted to change his scenery, he wanted a new challenge. More than anything he wanted to play with our guys. He loves Draymond (Green) and Steph and Klay (Thompson) and Andre (Iguodala). Seeing those guys in New York, he loved seeing the chemistry that exists and he wanted to be a part of it."

      Durant had sinking feelings after the July 4 announcement that he would join the Warriors and leave the only NBA team he had known after nine seasons, anchoring him to the bed in a rented house in the Hamptons.

      Durant was not sick, but the ill will he sensed was coming as reaction to his departure from Oklahoma City prompted him to retreat.

      "I didn't leave my bed, because I was like, 'Man, if I walk outside somebody might just try to hit me with their car or say anything negative to me,'" Durant told USA Today last month. "I just stayed in. I was trying to process it all. I wanted to be around family, and positive support. It felt different. I mean I've been somewhere for so long and then to make a change like that (which) nobody knew was coming, that nobody didn't think I would do, of course I didn't know how it would be received afterwards. But at some point, I just said, 'Look man, life goes on. Life moves on, and I can't hide forever,' so I just had to face it."

      Durant's first game against Russell Westbrook and the rest of the Thunder is tentatively scheduled in the second week of the season on Nov. 3 in Oakland, Calif., ESPN.com reported Monday.

      The Thunder are tentatively scheduled to play host to Durant as a member of the Warriors for the first time on Feb. 11, sources told ESPN, although changes can be made before the league officially releases the entire 2016-17 schedule within the next week.

      In the meantime, Durant scored 25 points as Team USA routed China 119-62 on Saturday night in its opening game of the Rio Olympics.

  • Cavs sign second-round G Felder
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, August 6, 2016

    The Cleveland Cavaliers signed second-round draft pick Kay Felder on Saturday.

    • The 5-foot-9, 176-pound guard, the No. 54 pick of the 2016 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks, had his rights acquired by the Cavs on draft night.

      Felder, 21, appeared in all seven games (six starts) for Cleveland in the Las Vegas Summer League and averaged 15.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.4 steals in 29.9 minutes per game.

      At Oakland University last season, Felder was the only player in the nation to rank in the top 5 in both scoring (fourth, 24.4 points per game) and assists (first, 9.3 assists per game) and became just the fifth player in Division I history over the last 20 years to average over 23 points and six assists in a single season. In 2015-16, Felder appeared in 35 games for Oakland and also averaged 4.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals, while shooting .848 from the free-throw line.

      Over his three-year collegiate career at Oakland, Felder played in 101 games with averages of 17.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 1.6 steals in 35.9 minutes per game. He owns the Horizon League's career assists mark with 788.

      "We are excited to welcome Kay Felder to the Cavs' family," general manager David Griffin said on the night of the draft. "Kay is a dynamic playmaker, and most importantly, the type of person and competitor that we want to add to our locker room."

  • Lakers re-sign PG Huertas
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 5, 2016

    The Los Angeles Lakers re-signed point guard Marcelo Huertas, the team announced Friday.

    • Terms were not released, but earlier it was reported Huertas agreed to a two-year deal.

      "Marcelo's understanding of the game, unselfishness, and professionalism are assets to our team and he has an uncanny ability to change the pace of the game," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said. "He's fundamentally solid but also has a flair and excitement to his style of play, which makes him a fan favorite."

      The 2015-16 season was Huertas' first in the NBA after playing professionally in Brazil, Spain, and Italy since 2001,

      He led the Lakers in assists at 3.4 per game and also averaged 4.5 points and 1.7 rebounds in 53 games.

      He played four seasons with Spanish power FC Barcelona before coming to the NBA.

  • Thunder's Westbrook inks 3-year, $85.7M extension
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 4, 2016

    Russell Westbrook decided to become a solo marquee attraction with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    • The All-Star point guard officially signed a three-year, $85.7 million extension with the Thunder on Thursday.

      In speaking about the Oklahoma City fans on Thursday, Westbrook said, "Definitely, when I had the opportunity to be loyal to you guys, that's the number one option. Loyalty is something I stand by."

      The signing comes approximately one month after Kevin Durant bolted the Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors.

      Westbrook confirmed he has not spoken to Durant since the All-Star forward signed with the Warriors and had no knowledge of Durant's plans before he signed.

      "I found out like y'all found out -- on the cell phones, on social media," Westbrook said. "I was talking to Kevin early on in the process, but nothing after. Just a text message from him. That's about it."

      Durant, in Brazil with the Team USA basketball team, said he does not plan to reach out to Westbrook to congratulate him on the extension.

      "Nah, that's a touchy deal. It's easy for someone else to tell me what I should do," Durant said. "But I'll see when this is over and when everything dies down. At some point, we'll sit down and talk. But I don't know when."

      When asked why he signed the extension now, Westbrook said, "There's no need to wait if you know where you want to be."

      Westbrook released a statement earlier that read, "I am grateful to extend my contract with the Thunder and continue to play with the only organization that I have played for and have loved being a part of since I was drafted into the NBA. I'm really excited about moving forward with this group of guys and continuing to play in front of the best fans in the world."

      The first year of the extension replaces Westbrook's current deal and raises his salary from $17.8 million to $26.5 million. There is also a player option for the third year, meaning Westbrook potentially could become a free agent following the 2017-18 campaign.

      "On behalf of the Thunder organization and the entire state of Oklahoma, I want to congratulate Russ and offer my sincere appreciation for not only his profound presence and skill as a player, but for his high character, personal integrity and extraordinary leadership," Thunder chairman Clay Bennett said in a statement. "We are thrilled he will continue with us and we look forward to exciting days ahead for the Oklahoma City Thunder."

      Locking up the five-time All-Star was crucial for the Thunder after the loss of Durant. Westbrook recorded 18 triple-doubles last season while averaging 23.5 points, 10.4 assists, 7.8 rebounds and 2.0 steals. He finished fourth in the MVP balloting.

      "Russell has been an outstanding leader of this team since he was drafted by our organization eight years ago. His competitiveness, character and unique athletic ability have propelled him to the forefront of the game," Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a statement. "Russell personifies many of the traits that are synonymous with Oklahoma and Oklahomans. We are excited that Russell has chosen to continue to build the legacy of the Thunder with us as we move forward together."

      In his NBA career, Westbrook has averaged 21.5 points, 7.6 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 587 games while teaming up with Durant.

      Westbrook was drafted fourth overall in 2008 by the Seattle SuperSonics, who moved to Oklahoma City that year to become the Thunder. Durant was drafted second overall by Seattle in 2007.