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  • Bosh pushes forward, acknowledges 'setback'
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, September 24, 2016

    After failing his preseason physical, Miami Heat star forward Chris Bosh remains hopeful and vows to continue his comeback to the NBA from a pair of season-ending bouts with blood clots.

    • Bosh released a video statement Friday night that was accompanied by a Twitter post of, "Setbacks may happen, but my intentions remain the same. Thank you all for the warm wishes and support."

      The Heat announced earlier Friday that the 11-time All-Star would not be allowed to participate in their preseason training camp after failing a physical and remaining unable to return to basketball activities.

      "I had the intention of releasing Episode 2 of 'Uninterrupted: Bosh Rebuilt' today under the assumption I would be cleared to go for camp," Bosh said in his video post after his failed physical. "Unfortunately that is not the case. But that doesn't stop me from wanting to share my creative side with you guys and hoping that you want to come along on the journey with me. So, just because the journey has ups and downs doesn't mean that I will stop sharing with you guys. So I will just continue to share, despite what's going on.

      "Little setbacks happen, but that doesn't change my intentions and what I want to accomplish. So, I hope you continue to watch. I hope you continue to really just take in my journey and just come along with me, with the ups and the downs. So it's a down moment right now, but everything's going to be all right."

      The 32-year-old Bosh wants to resume playing even though each of his last two seasons was cut short by blood clots. He was examined by doctors in recent days in an attempt to be cleared for camp, which begins Tuesday.

      Last week, Bosh repeated what he said during the 2016 playoffs when he declared himself ready to play in the upcoming NBA season.

      Bosh, eight months removed from his second blood clot-related health scare in a calendar year, posted a video of a private workout last month.

      Heat president Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra have been supportive of Bosh but continue to point to the importance of medical input.

      If the medical issue keeps Bosh out of action for good, he would be paid the remainder of his contract -- three years, $76 million -- but that wouldn't count against the Heat's salary cap after Feb. 9. He averaged 19.1 points and 7.4 rebounds in 53 games last season when the second bout with clots began in February.

  • Lakers announce signing of F World Peace
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 23, 2016

    The Los Angeles Lakers re-signed forward Metta World Peace, the team announced Friday.

    • Terms of the contract were not released, but World Peace said earlier that he agreed to a one-year deal.

      After playing in China in the 2014-15 season, World Peace returned to the NBA last year with Los Angeles. He played in 35 games and averaged 5.0 points and 2.5 rebounds for the Lakers.

      Prior to that, World Peace played 29 games for the New York Knicks in 2013-14. He spent five seasons with the Lakers from 2009 until 2013, winning a championship in 2009-10.

      The 36-year-old World Peace is one-time All-Star (2004) with career averages of 13.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.8 steals over 966 games in 16 seasons.

      World Peace is expected to provide leadership for a young Lakers squad. He is a former teammate of first-year Lakers head coach Luke Walton.

  • Warriors sign F Wood
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 23, 2016

    The Golden State Warriors signed free agent forward Scott Wood, the team announced Friday.

    • Terms of the agreement were not released.

      Wood, 26, spent the past three seasons playing overseas with UCAM Murcia in Spain's top league, Liga ACB. He averaged 9.1 points and 1.6 rebounds and 21.1 minutes over 103 games.

      Prior to joining UCAM Murcia, Wood played collegiately at North Carolina State, where he averaged of 10.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists over four seasons.

  • Timberwolves F Garnett officially retires
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 23, 2016

    Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett announced his retirement after 21 NBA seasons on Friday.

    • "It has been a real joy to watch KG come into the league as a young man and watch him develop his skills to become one of the very best in the NBA," said Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. "I have treasured the opportunity to see him grow as a leader. I wish him continued success in the next chapter of his life. His Minnesota fans will always cherish the memories he has provided."

      The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Garnett and the Timberwolves reached a contract settlement earlier Friday. Garnett was signed for $8 million this season.

      Garnett, 40, easily the most productive player in franchise history, spent 13 1/2 of his 21 NBA seasons with Minnesota.

      He was drafted out of high school in 1995 and developed into one of the top power forwards in NBA history.

      The 15-time All-Star ranks 17th with 26,071 career points, ninth in career rebounds with 14,662 and 17th in blocked shots with 2,037.

      "Kevin Garnett is one of the fiercest competitors our league has ever seen," NBA comissioner Adam Silver said in a statment. "He held himself to the highest standard of preparation and performance for a remarkable 21 seasons. On behalf of the NBA family, I thank Kevin for his sustained excellence and the enormous impact he's had on the game."

      Garnett played in just 38 games last season due to knee and leg injuries and averaged just 3.2 points and 3.9 rebounds. His value lied more in terms of being a mentor for young stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins than for his production.

      The Timberwolves hired Tom Thibodeau as coach and president in the offseason as well as a new general manager in Scott Layden. The duo is charged with completing the rebuilding process and halting a playoff absence that dates back to the 2003-04 campaign.

      That meant resolving the Garnett situation in a manner that would eliminate the veteran from the roster prior to Tuesday's opening of training camp.

      Garnett was drafted fifth overall out in 1995 and quickly blossomed into a major star and franchise icon. He averaged over 20 points in nine consecutive seasons and earned MVP honors in 2003-04 when he averaged 24.2 points and 13.9 rebounds.

      Garnett was traded to the Boston Celtics in 2007 and was part of that franchise's 2008 championship squad.

      "Very few players can affect an organization like Kevin did here in Boston, both on and off the court," Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in a statement. "He led our team by example every day with his drive, his passion, and his relentless commitment to winning. While always putting team ahead of individual, Kevin earned his place among the greatest players in Celtic and NBA history."

      Garnett returned to Minnesota prior to the trading deadline in 2015, when he was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets. He played in just five games prior to the end of the season.

      Upon returning to Minnesota, Garnett spoke of his desire to become part owner of the team once his playing career again. But last year's death of Flip Saunders, the coach and president of basketball operations, began a transformation that now has Thibodeau and Layden shaping the team's future.

  • Heat F Bosh fails preseason physical
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 23, 2016

    The Miami Heat announced Friday that star forward Chris Bosh has failed his preseason physical and remains unable to return to basketball activities.

    • The Heat said there is no timetable for Bosh's return.

      "The Miami Heat and Chris Bosh, in consultation with team doctors and other physicians, have been working together for many months with the mutual goal of having Chris return to the court as soon as possible," the team said in a statement. "Chris has now taken his preseason physical. The Miami Heat regret that it remains unable to clear Chris to return to basketball activities, and there is no timetable for his return.

      "We are not able to comment further in light of Article XXII, Section 3(e) of the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, which precludes a team from releasing certain medical information without a player's consent."

      The 11-time All-Star forward is hoping to resume playing even though each of his last two seasons was cut short by blood clots.

      Bosh has been examined by doctors in recent days in an attempt to be cleared for camp, which begins next Tuesday.

      Last week, Bosh repeated what he said during the 2016 playoffs when he declared himself ready to play in the upcoming NBA season.

      Bosh, eight months removed from his second blood clot-related health scare in a calendar year, posted a video of a private workout last month and went a step further in a podcast interview with Uninterrupted.

      "I'm ready to play," Bosh said. "We've been talking about it for a long time. We released a statement back in May saying as soon as I'm ready to play as soon as possible, we'll play. And I'm ready. I've done all my work. I've done what I need to do working with the doctors."

      Heat president Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra have been supportive of Bosh but continue to point to the importance of medical input.

      If the medical issue keeps the 32-year-old Bosh out of action for good, he would be paid the remainder of his contract -- three years, $76 million -- but that wouldn't count against the Heat's salary cap after Feb. 9. Bosh averaged 19.1 points and 7.4 rebounds in 53 games last season when the second bout with clots began in February.

  • Warriors coach Kerr 'in a better place' health-wise
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 23, 2016

    Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers is not expecting coach Steve Kerr to miss time due to the health-related issues that plagued him last season.

    • Myers told the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday that Kerr is "trending in the right direction" as the team prepares to open training camp on Tuesday.

      Kerr missed the bulk of training camp and the first 43 games in 2015-16 as a result of complications from back surgery. He told reporters on Wednesday that he would be "ready to go," but Myers was more expansive on Kerr's health issues.

      "He is in a better place, and hopefully he's in a perfect place at some point," Myers said. "I think he's working toward that. I have no doubt that he's ready for camp and ready to go for the season. Last year, he just wasn't."

      Myers said the severe migraines that plagued Kerr, 50, last season have largely dissipated. Golden State won the NBA championship in Kerr's first season and lost in seven games to the Cleveland Cavaliers in last season's NBA Finals.

      Assistant coach Luke Walton served as interim coach in Kerr's absence and guided the Warriors to a record-setting 24-0 start and 39-4 record.

  • NBA notebook: Bucks' Middleton out six months
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, September 22, 2016

    The Milwaukee Bucks are reeling after receiving word that leading scorer Khris Middleton will miss approximately six months due to a hamstring injury.

    • Middleton tore his hamstring in a workout earlier this week and is slated to undergo surgery next week.

      Middleton, 25, averaged a career-best 18.2 points, 4.2 assists and 1.7 steals last season.

      "We're obviously disappointed for Khris and our team, but injuries are an unfortunate part of the game," Bucks general manager John Hammond told reporters. "We'll rely on our overall roster depth to help us while Khris is out for a significant period of the season."

      --The Bucks acquired forward Michael Beasley from the Houston Rockets in exchange for guard Tyler Ennis.

      Beasley was signed by Houston late last season and averaged 12.8 points and 18.2 minutes in 20 games.

      Ennis averaged 4.5 points and 2.1 assists in 46 games last season.

      --The Minnesota Timberwolves are working on a buyout for Kevin Garnett that would end the forward's second stint with the team.

      Minnesota opens training camp on Tuesday and would like to have a solution before it starts, preferably with the 40-year-old Garnett electing to retire.

      Garnett is entering the final season of his contract and hasn't given the Timberwolves an answer on which direction he is leaning. He has spent 13 1/2 of his 21 NBA seasons with Minnesota.

      Garnett played in just 38 games last season due to knee and leg injuries and averaged just 3.2 points and 3.9 rebounds.

  • Bucks acquire Beasley from Rockets
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, September 22, 2016

    The Milwaukee Bucks acquired forward Michael Beasley from the Houston Rockets on Thursday in exchange for guard Tyler Ennis.

    • Beasley was signed by Houston late last season and averaged 12.8 points and 18.2 minutes in 20 games. Prior to that stint, the 27-year-old Beasley played with the Shandong Golden Stars of the Chinese Basketball League.

      "We're excited to add a player with Michael's skill set to our team," Milwaukee general manager John Hammond said in a statement. "He's someone that we've kept our eye on the last few seasons and we're looking forward to watching him compete throughout training camp and the season."

      Beasley averaged 13.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in eight seasons with the Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns.

      Ennis averaged 4.5 points and 2.1 assists in 46 games last season. A first-round selection of the 2014 draft, Ennis is expected to provide depth in the Rockets' backcourt.

  • Bucks lose Middleton for six months
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, September 22, 2016

    The Milwaukee Bucks are reeling after receiving word that leading scorer Khris Middleton will miss approximately six months due to a hamstring injury.

    • Middleton tore his hamstring in a workout earlier this week and is slated to undergo surgery next week.

      Middleton, 25, averaged a career-best 18.2 points, 4.2 assists and 1.7 steals last season.

      "We're obviously disappointed for Khris and our team, but injuries are an unfortunate part of the game," Bucks general manager John Hammond told reporters. "We'll rely on our overall roster depth to help us while Khris is out for a significant period of the season."

      Middleton has developed into a key figure on a building roster that includes star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and power forward Jabari Parker. Middleton signed a five-year, $70 million extension prior to last season.

      Middleton was originally a second-round pick by the Detroit Pistons in 2012. He was dealt to Milwaukee the following year in the trade that sent guard Brandon Jennings to the Pistons.

      Middleton is averaging 13.6 points in 267 career NBA games.

  • Garnett, Timberwolves talking buyout
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, September 22, 2016

    The Minnesota Timberwolves are working on a buyout for Kevin Garnett that would end the forward's second stint with the team.

    • Minnesota opens training camp on Tuesday and would like to have a solution before it starts, preferably with the 40-year-old Garnett electing to retire.

      Garnett is entering the final season of his contract and hasn't given the Timberwolves an answer on which direction he is leaning. He has spent 13 1/2 of his 21 NBA seasons with Minnesota.

      The 15-time All-Star ranks 17th in NBA history with 26,071 career points, ninth in career rebounds with 14,662 and 17th in career blocked shots with 2,037.

      Garnett played in just 38 games last season due to knee and leg injuries and averaged just 3.2 points and 3.9 rebounds. His current value lies more in terms of being a mentor for young stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins than for his production.

      The Timberwolves hired Tom Thibodeau as coach and president in the offseason as well as a new general manager in Scott Layden. The duo is charged with completing the rebuilding process and halting a playoff absence that dates back to the 2003-04 campaign.

      Garnett was drafted fifth overall out of high school in 1995 and quickly blossomed into a major star and franchise icon. He averaged over 20 points in nine consecutive seasons and earned MVP honors in 2003-04 when he averaged 24.2 points and 13.9 rebounds.

      Garnett was traded to the Boston Celtics in 2007 and was part of that franchise's 2008 championship squad.

      Garnett returned to Minnesota prior to the trading deadline in 2015 when he was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets. He played in just five games prior to the end of the season.

      Upon returning to Minnesota, Garnett spoke of his desire to become part owner of the team once his playing career again. But last year's death of Flip Saunders, the coach and president of basketball operations, began a transformation that now has Thibodeau and Layden shaping the future.

  • Metta World Peace reportedly returning to Lakers
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, September 21, 2016

    The Los Angeles Lakers are ready to give Metta World Peace a chance again.

    • The 36-year-old told ESPN on Wednesday that he has agreed to a one-year deal with the Lakers, who are coached by former teammate Luke Walton.

      While the Lakers have yet to confirm that deal, they did sign forward Thomas Robinson to a contract on Wednesday. Robinson is averaging 4.9 points and 4.8 rebounds in his career with the Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets.

      As for World Peace, the 16-year NBA veteran feels he has more to add after averaging 5.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in 35 games for the Lakers last season.

      "I'm excited about everything. I'm prepared to help the young guys grow. To play, everything," World Peace told ESPN.

      World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, was the Defensive Player of the Year with the Indiana Pacers in 2003-2004 and initially played for the Lakers from 2009-13.

  • Raptors sign G Heslip
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, September 20, 2016

    The Toronto Raptors signed Canadian-born free-agent guard Brady Heslip to a contract on Tuesday.

    • Terms of the deal for the former Baylor sharpshooter weren't announced.

      Heslip made 301 3-pointers during three seasons at Baylor while averaging 10.2 points in 112 career games.

      The 26-year-old joined the Reno Bighorns after being selected 11th overall in the 2014 D-League draft and averaged 24.5 points. He set the D-League record by making 13 3-pointers while scoring 45 points against the Idaho Stampede on Nov. 29, 2014.

      Heslip is a native of Burlington, Ontario. He played in Italy last season and averaged 12.7 points in 29 games for Acqua Vitasnella Cantu.

      He played for Canada in the 2015 Pan American Games and averaged 13.0 points per game. He also averaged 10.7 points at the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship.

  • Bucks, Antetokounmpo agree to 4-year extension worth $100M
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, September 19, 2016

    The Milwaukee Bucks and forward Giannis Antetokounmpo on Monday agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $100 million.

    • The deal, expected to be signed Tuesday, was first reported by The Vertical, citing league sources.

      Antetokounmpo, 21, is coming off a breakout third season with Milwaukee. The 6-foot-11 forward averaged career bests across with board with 16.9 points, 7.7 rebounds. 4.3 assists and 1.4 blocks in 80 games last season.

      The No. 15 overall selection in the 2013 draft, Antetokounmpo's deal is just below the league maximum. Antetokounmpo played for Filathlitikos in Greece prior to being drafted by Milwaukee.

      He averaged 6.8 points and 4.4 rebounds as a rookie before raising those numbers to 12.7 points and 6. 7 rebounds in his second season.

  • Spurs hire Williams as VP of basketball operations
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 16, 2016

    The San Antonio Spurs hired former New Orleans Pelicans head coach Monty Williams as vice president of basketball operations on Friday.

    • Williams, who played two-plus seasons for the Spurs during a nine-year playing career, rejoins the franchise after experiencing a family tragedy last season when he was an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

      Williams' wife, Ingrid, died at the age of 44 in February when her car was struck by a vehicle that crossed the center line. Ingrid Williams was the mother of five children.

      Monty Williams took an indefinite leave and it was announced following the season that he would not remain with the Thunder.

      Susannah Donaldson, 55, the driver of the other car, also died in the accident.

      Monty Williams joined the Thunder coaching staff before the 2015-16 season after serving as Pelicans head coach from 2010-15 before he was fired. Williams played in the NBA for five teams from 1994-2003.

      San Antonio also named Brian Wright as assistant general manager. Wright spent the past two seasons in the same role for the Detroit Pistons.

  • Heat's Bosh: 'I'm ready to play'
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, September 14, 2016

    Miami Heat star Chris Bosh repeated what he said during the 2016 playoffs on Wednesday, when he declared himself ready to play in the upcoming NBA season.

    • Bosh, eight months removed from his second blood clot-related health scare in a calendar year, posted a video of a private workout last month and went a step further in a podcast interview with Uninterrupted.

      "I'm ready to play," he said. "We've been talking about it for a long time. We released a statement back in May saying as soon as I'm ready to play as soon as possible, we'll play. And I'm ready. I've done all my work. I've done what I need to do working with the doctors."

      Meanwhile, mum is the word from the Miami Heat since owner Micky Arison posted a "looking good CB. See you at camp" line in social media. That was the only team-related comment on Bosh's status since the team issued a statement with Bosh during the playoffs outlining the next steps that could lead to his return.

      Heat president Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra have been supportive of Bosh but continue to point to the importance of medical input. Bosh, asked Wednesday if he thought he'd get medical clearance, had no answer.

      But the 32-year-old said he is more optimistic doctors would allow him to play under a prescription for a new blood thinner that flushes from him system in eight hours. It's a regimen approved for NHL player Tomas Fleischmann, who has played five seasons thanks to the injections without incident.

      "And this particular doctor has had the same regiment with other athletes. So this is nothing that is new," Bosh said of adopting Fleischmann's approach to return to the NBA. "It's not ground breaking. We're not reinventing the wheel here. It's pretty standard. It's been proven. Guys have played on it. Like I said, for anybody to have worries, there are guys playing basketball and hockey and football."

      Riley said Bosh would be evaluated in "late August or September" and training camp opens Sept. 27.

      That will be the first camp since 2003 to convene with Dwyane Wade, who left in free agency for a two-year deal with the Chicago Bulls, and the Heat maintain only tiny remnants of their championship roster anchored by Bosh, Wade and LeBron James.

      When Bosh was hospitalized with blood clots, he was leading the team in scoring and 3-point shooting last season.

      If the medical issue keeps Bosh out of action for good, he would be paid the remainder of his contract -- three years, $76 million -- but that wouldn't count against the Heat's salary cap after Feb. 9.

  • Heat C Bosh on 2016 season: 'I'm ready to play'
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, September 14, 2016

    Chris Bosh repeated what he said during the 2016 playoffs on Wednesday when he declared himself ready to play in the upcoming NBA season.

    • Bosh, eight months removed from his second blood clot-related health scare in a calendar year, posted a video of a private workout last month and went a step further in a podcast interview with Uninterrupted.

      "I'm ready to play," he said. "We've been talking about it for a long time. We released a statement back in May saying as soon as I'm ready to play as soon as possible, we'll play. And I'm ready. I've done all my work. I've done what I need to do working with the doctors."

      Meanwhile, mum is the word from the Miami Heat since owner Micky Arison posted a "looking good CB. See you at camp" line in social media.

      That was the only team-related comment on Bosh's status since the team issued a statement with Bosh during the playoffs outlining the next steps that could lead to his return.

      Heat president Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra have been supportive of Bosh but continue to point to the importance of medical input. Bosh, asked Wednesday if he thought he'd get medical clearance, had no answer.

      But the 32-year-old said he is more optimistic doctors would allow him to play under a prescription for a new blood thinner that flushes from him system in eight hours. It's a regimen approved for NHL player Tomas Fleischmann, who has played five seasons thanks to the injections without incident.

      "And this particular doctor has had the same regiment with other athletes. So this is nothing that is new," Bosh said of adopting Fleischmann's approach to return to the NBA. "It's not ground breaking. We're not reinventing the wheel here. It's pretty standard. It's been proven. Guys have played on it. Like I said, for anybody to have worries, there are guys playing basketball and hockey and football."

      Riley said Bosh would be evaluated in "late August or September" and training camp opens Sept. 27.

      That will be the first camp since 2003 to convene with Dwyane Wade, who left in free agency for a two-year deal with the Chicago Bulls, and the Heat maintain only tiny remnants of their championship roster anchored by Bosh, Wade and LeBron James.

      When Bosh was hospitalized with blood clots, he was leading the team in scoring and 3-point shooting last season.

      If the medical issue keeps Bosh out of action for good, he would be paid the remainder of his contract - three years, $76 million - but that wouldn't count against the Heat's salary cap after Feb. 9.

  • Kings sign G Farmar
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, September 14, 2016

    The Sacramento Kings signed free agent journeyman guard Jordan Farmar to a contract Wednesday.

    • The team did not disclose terms of the deal for Farmar, who averaged 9.2 points, 3.1 assists and 2.1 rebounds in 12 games with coach Dave Joerger and the Memphis Grizzlies last season.

      Joerger is now with the Kings and the 29-year-old Farmer's value could rise as anointed starter Darren Collison pled guilty to a domestic violence charge. Collison is likely to face a lengthy suspension to begin the season.

      Ty Lawson and Isaiah Cousins can also play the point on Sacramento's roster.

      Farmar has averaged 7.7 points, 2.9 assists and 1.9 rebounds per game since being selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 26th overall pick of the 2006 draft. The 6-foot-2 Farmar is a two-time NBA champion with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010.

  • Thunder F McGary suspended 15 games
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, September 13, 2016

    Oklahoma City Thunder forward Mitch McGary had his suspension for violating the NBA's anti-drug policy increased by 10 games on Tuesday, and he will now miss the first 15 games of the 2016-17 season, the NBA announced.

    • The latest violation is for non-compliance of the league's drug policy, according to Yahoo! Sports. McGary was originally suspended for five games in July.

      The 24-year-old has played in just 52 games for the Thunder since being a first-round draft pick (21st overall) in 2014.

      McGary played just 72 minutes for the Thunder last season and averaged 1.3 points per game. He left the team late in the season for what the Thunder termed "personal reasons."

      McGary also failed a drug test in college at Michigan. The penalty required him to sit out an entire season but he instead declared for the NBA draft.

  • Hawks' Howard released from hospital after dehydration
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, September 12, 2016

    Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard was released from the hospital Monday morning after being treated for dehydration.

    • Howard, 30, took ill during a plane flight to Atlanta on Sunday and was briefly hospitalized, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

      Howard has recently been in China on a 10-day promotional tour with shoe manufacturer Peak. He worked out with a personal shooting coach while in China and posted videos of his workouts on social media.

      Howard, a native of Atlanta, signed a three-year, $70.5 million deal with the Hawks in July.

      The 6-foot-11, 265-pound Howard is an eight-time All-Star who has won three Defensive Player of the Year Awards. He has averaged 17.8 points and 12.7 rebounds in his career with the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets. Last season for the Rockets, Howard averaged 13.7 points and 11.8 rebounds.

  • Pelicans sign G Stephenson to one-year deal
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 9, 2016

    Free-agent guard Lance Stephenson signed a one-year deal with the New Orleans Pelicans, multiple media outlets reported Friday.

    • The Pelicans had a full roster of guaranteed contracts before adding Stephenson, so there is no guarantee that Stephenson will be on the team's 15-man roster when the regular season begins.

      The Pelicans would have to trade one of those players with a guaranteed deal or eat a considerable amount of money to waive a player to make room for Stephenson,

      The Pelicans have been looking for a guard who can score since the announcement that Jrue Holiday will be sidelined indefinitely at the start of the season to help his wife prepare for surgery on a brain tumor.

      Stephenson, 26, became a star in 2013-14 with Indiana when he averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists while starting 78 games.

      Things have not gone as well for Stephenson since then. He played one season with Charlotte, then averaged 8.3 points in 2015-16 when he played for both the Los Angeles Clippers and the Memphis Grizzlies. He had considerably more success with the Grizzlies, averaging 14.2 points in the 26 games he played for Memphis at the end of the season.

      Stephenson became a free agent when the Grizzlies declined the team option on him.

  • Stackhouse named Raptors' D-League coach
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 9, 2016

    Former NBA All-Star Jerry Stackhouse has been named head coach of the Toronto Raptors' Development League affiliate.

    • Stackhouse served as an assistant coach with the Raptors last season under head coach Dwane Casey. Stackhouse replaces Jesse Mermuys, who was named to the Los Angeles Lakers' coaching staff.

      "We are very excited to name Jerry Stackhouse our new head coach," Raptors 905 general manager Dan Tolzman said in a statement. "The basketball pedigree that he brings to the 905 bench is as good as it gets in the D-League. We believe that his experience as a successful NBA player along with his year spent learning under Coach Casey on the Raptors staff will go a long way in helping teach the young players within our system what it takes to thrive at the next level."

      Stackhouse played 18 seasons in the NBA, averaging 16.9 points, 3.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 31.2 minutes in 970 regular-season games (564 starts). He also appeared in 75 playoffs contests and reached the NBA Finals in 2006 with Dallas.

      "I am honored to have the opportunity and challenge to lead our D-League team," Stackhouse said. "I appreciate the confidence Masai (Raptors president Masai Ujiri) and Dan have shown in me to continue the development of our younger players."

      A two-time All-Star with Detroit (2000, 2001), Stackhouse posted career highs of 29.8 points (second in the NBA) and 5.1 assists in 80 games during the 2000-01 season. He averaged at least 20 points in a season five times, including four consecutive seasons from 1999-2003.

      The North Carolina product was selected third overall by Philadelphia in the 1995 NBA Draft.

  • Cavs' Shumpert arrested on suspicion of DUI
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 9, 2016

    Cleveland Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert was arrested in Georgia on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the team announced Friday.

    • Shumpert, 26, was pulled over in Fayette County outside of Atlanta on Aug. 10 following a lane violation traffic stop, according to the Cavaliers.

      "The Cavaliers have discussed the situation with Iman and will monitor the progression of the pending case. A court date has not been set at this point, and neither Iman or the team will have any additional comments while the matter progresses through the legal process," the team said in the statement.

      Shumpert averaged 5.8 points per game during the Cavs' championship season in 2015-16.

  • Shaq, Iverson head Hall of Fame class
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, September 8, 2016

    Shaquille O'Neal has always packed a big presence, and Friday he'll find himself joining some other giants of his sport.

    • The 7-foot-1 O'Neal is one of 10 people who will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. Former Philadelphia 76ers star Allen Iverson, current Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and women's basketball icon Sheryl Swoopes are among the other inductees.

      O'Neal and Iverson are overshadowing the other inductees when it comes to publicity. That certainly isn't a surprise when it comes to O'Neal, who carried a big persona during a 19-year career that included 15 All-Star berths and three NBA Finals MVP awards.

      O'Neal ranks seventh on the NBA's all-time scoring list (28,596 points), 14th in rebounding (13,099) and was part of four championship squads -- three with the Los Angeles Lakers and one with the Miami Heat.

      Iverson was a nine-time All-Star and four-time scoring champion during a 14-year career. He averaged 26.7 points and scored more than 30 per game in four seasons, including a career-best 33.0 points in 2005-06.

      Izzo has guided Michigan State to seven Final Fours and one NCAA title during 21 seasons as the coach. He has a 524-205 record and has led the Spartans to 19 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.

      Swoopes was a six-time WNBA All-Star and three-time league MVP who averaged 15 points over 12 seasons. She also led Texas Tech to the

      Also being enshrined are former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming, Zelmo Beaty (bolted NBA to become ABA superstar), Darell Garretson (referee), John McLendon (first African-American coach in a pro league), Cumberland Posey (early African-American pioneer) and Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf (contributor).

      --Paul Pierce is undecided on the invitation to return to the Los Angeles Clippers for his 19th NBA season.

      Clippers coach Doc Rivers disclosed during a fundraiser at TD Garden in Boston that Pierce was on the fence about playing in 2016-17.

      Pierce spent most of his career in Boston, including winning the NBA championship in 2007, before he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets. He reunited last season with Rivers in his home state, but Pierce did not have a major impact off the bench as expected.

      Rivers said there is no question Pierce can still be effective if he wants to play.

      Rivers said he also talked to Ray Allen, who was part of the '07 team in Boston but didn't play in the NBA last season. Rivers declined to share whether Allen plans to come out of retirement this season.

      --Former Oregon star E.J. Singler signed with the Toronto Raptors. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

      The 6-foot-6, 215-pound forward split last season between the Raptors and the Idaho Stampede of the NBA D-League. Acquired by the Raptors on March 4, he went on to average 14.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 30.9 minutes in 10 games.

      Singler went on to play for the Raptors' entry in the NBA Summer League, averaging 6.4 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 19.3 minutes in five games, shooting 48 percent from the floor and 41.2 percent from three-point range.

  • Jasner: New Hall of Famer Iverson remans "The Answer"
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, September 8, 2016

    When the ping-pong balls bounced in the Philadelphia 76ers' favor and landed them the No. 1 overall pick in the 1996 draft, the answer was a no-brainer.

    • The answer turned out to be "The Answer."

      The Sixers selected Allen Iverson with that top overall choice after two seasons at Georgetown to help resurrect a franchise that desperately needed a boost. The lightning-quick guard made an immediate impact and helped the Sixers reach the NBA Finals in 2001, though they fell in a hard-fought five-game series to the Los Angeles Lakers.

      Iverson's presence was evident in so many ways. He lifted an entire franchise on his barely 6-foot, 165-pound shoulders. He elevated an entire city and fan base. He made basketball enjoyable again in a basketball-starved place.

      Was it always a smooth ride? Of course not. Iverson readily admits that fact. He hides nothing.

      An 11-time All-Star and league Most Valuable Player in 2001, Iverson averaged 26.7 points per game on his way to four career scoring titles.

      Despite some rocky moments later in his career, Iverson's body of work was clearly Hall of Fame worthy. Iverson will indeed be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Friday night in Springfield, Mass.

      This year's class includes 27-year NBA referee Darell Garretson, two-time NABC Coach of the Year Tom Izzo, the first African-American coach in a professional league John McLendon, three-time NBA Finals MVP Shaquille O'Neal and four-time WNBA Champion Sheryl Swoopes.

      Other inductees include Zelmo Beaty from the Veterans Committee, Yao Ming from the International Committee, Cumberland Posey from the Early African American Pioneers Committee and Jerry Reinsdorf from the Contributor Committee.

      Iverson was also a three-time All-NBA first-team selection (1999, 2001, 2005).

      Way beyond the statistics was the passion that Iverson exuded night in and night out. His heart, grit and determination can never be questioned.

      "I want my legacy to be the guy that came out and gave everything he had," Iverson said in April at the Wells Fargo Center. "The whole 165-pound, 6-foot frame, everything he had. I gave it. To my teammates, to my coaches, and my fans. I played every single game like it was my last. I always thought in my mind, this may be the only time that this little guy (fan) gets to see Allen Iverson, so I'm going to give him everything I've got. Because he might not be a season ticket holder, and see every single game, or be able to sit in the front row. The little man in the nosebleed seats gets to see this dude, and I always wanted to just put on a show for everybody on that particular night."

      That he did.

      There were so many highlights through the years in a Sixers' uniform.

      In Game 1 of the NBA Finals in 2001, Iverson torched the Lakers for 48 points in an overtime victory. The Lakers went on to win the next four games, but the Sixers wouldn't have had a chance without Iverson. He was that dominant.

      There was the 60-point effort against the Orlando Magic on Feb. 12, 2005 at the Wells Fargo Center in a 13-point victory. He added six assists, five steals and one blocked shot. And he only had three turnovers despite having the ball in his hands all night.

      In that 2001 run to the Finals, Iverson poured in 54 points in Game 2 against the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference semifinals in an effort that was nothing short of sensational. He battled Vince Carter and won the duel. That effort gave the Sixers some much-needed confidence at the time.

      One game that's not as universally recognized occurred in 1999 when Iverson recorded 10 steals against the Orlando Magic. The Sixers ended up winning that first-round series in four games and helped set the stage for what would eventually transpire in 2001.

      There were countless other moments for A.I. in a Sixers uniform like the crossover against Michael Jordan, the Game 7 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals and so many more.

      Iverson dazzled fans and put on a show every night.

      "When I put my hand up to my ear," Iverson said of something he'll always remember. "That sent chills all through my body, because I knew that (fans) felt like I was feeling. They were excited like I was, if not more."

      As a journalist, I must remain impartial. It's part of my profession, something I learned from my father, Phil Jasner.

      Iverson's infamous "Practice" press conference on May 7, 2001 involved a sparring session with my dad, a former long-time Sixers beat writer who passed away on Dec. 3, 2010 after a legendary career at the Philadelphia Daily News.

      Iverson and my dad grew closer during their days and long after that press conference.

      My dad was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004. Iverson will go in Friday night. It's fitting in so many ways.

      For this one particular night, I will take off my journalistic hat and applaud Iverson's entrance into the Hall.

      "I wish Phil Jasner could be here today, especially on a day like this," Iverson said when he officially announced his retirement in 2013. "Rest in peace, I know he's looking down on this whole event. Thinking about the times that we laughed with each other and thinking about the times we fought with each other. But he was very inspirational in my career and he meant a lot to me."

      Athletes and reporters don't always get along. Iverson and my dad didn't always get along. Seeing how Iverson has embraced my dad is so touching. I will be watching Friday night. My wife Taryn and my three daughters Jordana (10), Shira (6) and Leah (3) will continue to hear the stories of A.I. and my dad. I will forever be grateful for Iverson's class.

      So he deserves this honor of being in this 2016 class.

      The ride from being drafted to his rookie season to his whole career had bumps. But the highlights outweighed all else.

      "In this profession you have no idea how hard it is to live up to all the expectations, to try to be a perfect man when you know you're not," Iverson said. "Being in a fishbowl, everybody looking at every move you make, talking about everything you do. It's just a hard life to live. It's a great one, I wouldn't trade it for nothing. I have no regrets on anything. People ask me all the time, 'Do I have any regrets?' I don't have any. If I could back and do it all over, would I change anything? No.

      "Obviously if I could go back and change anything I would be a perfect man. And I know there's no perfect man and there's no perfect basketball player. So no, I wouldn't change anything. My career was up and down at times. I made a lot of mistakes, a lot of things I'm not proud of. But it's only for other people to learn from."

      Congratulations, Allen.

  • O'Neal, Iverson head Hall of Fame inductees
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, September 8, 2016

    Shaquille O'Neal has always packed a big presence, and Friday he'll find himself joining some other giants of his sport.

    • The 7-foot-1 O'Neal is one of 10 people who will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. Former Philadelphia 76ers star Allen Iverson, current Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and women's basketball icon Sheryl Swoopes are among the other inductees.

      O'Neal and Iverson are overshadowing the other inductees when it comes to publicity. That certainly isn't a surprise when it comes to O'Neal, who carried a big persona during a 19-year career that included 15 All-Star berths and three NBA Finals MVP awards.

      O'Neal ranks seventh on the NBA's all-time scoring list (28,596 points), 14th in rebounding (13,099) and was part of four championship squads -- three with the Los Angeles Lakers and one with the Miami Heat.

      All that adds up to an easy choice as a Hall of Fame inductee.

      "It means I put in a lot of hard work, and it means a lot to be mentioned with the elites," O'Neal told reporters. "It means people were able to appreciate how I played."

      O'Neal's career was at its zenith when he starred for the Lakers for eight seasons. But he and Kobe Bryant reached a point where they could no longer co-exist and O'Neal was traded to Miami.

      His career ended in 2011 and he has remained around the game by being part of TNT's studio show.

      Iverson was a nine-time All-Star and four-time scoring champion during a 14-year career. He averaged 26.7 points and scored more than 30 per game in four seasons, including a career-best 33.0 points in 2005-06.

      "It's not just about playing so hard -- it's why I played so hard," Iverson said. "You know what I mean? It's what I wondered would happen to me if I didn't do it."

      Izzo has guided Michigan State to seven Final Fours and one NCAA title during 21 seasons as the coach. He has a 524-205 record and has led the Spartans to 19 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.

      "Going into the Hall of Fame isn't something I even dreamed about," said Izzo, "so it's hard to think about what it will be like until I get there."

      Swoopes was a six-time WNBA All-Star and three-time league MVP who averaged 15 points over 12 seasons. She also led Texas Tech to the 1993 women's college title.

      "I could not be more excited and honored," Swoopes said. "God has blessed me tremendously and I am so grateful to be joining such an amazing group of people that I can call 'family.' "

      Among the other inductees is Yao Ming, the former Houston Rockets star whose career was cut short by foot injuries. He will be enshrined as a global ambassador for his impact toward making the NBA a highly popular entity in his native China.

      The 7-foot-6 Yao averaged 19.2 points and nine rebounds in eight seasons before being forced to retire in 2011. He was an eight-time All-Star.

      Also being enshrined are Zelmo Beaty (bolted NBA to become ABA superstar), Darell Garretson (referee), John McLendon (first African-American coach in a pro league), Cumberland Posey (early African-American pioneer) and Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf (contributor).