National Basketball Association
NBA News Wire
  • NBA notebook: Durant approves of Thunder's draft-night trade
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 28, 2016

    Kevin Durant is just days away from becoming a free agent and remains tight-lipped about his future plans.

    • For now, he's still a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and he said he really liked the draft-night trade in which the franchise acquired guard Victor Oladipo, forward Ersan Ilyasova and draft pick Domantas Sabonis from the Orlando Magic in exchange for forward Serge Ibaka.

      "It's a good move, man," Durant said at a Team USA media availability session in New York. "I like Oladipo, he's one of my good buddies, a friend of mine. Definitely going to miss playing with Serge. He contributed so much to our organization and to the city. Just what he's done for us, he's always going to be remembered in OKC what he's done for the community and his hard work on the court. So we wish him the best."

      Durant wasn't so chatty when it comes to his impending free agency on July 1.

      "We'll figure things out," Durant said. "It's three days away."

      --Veteran Richard Jefferson announced he would retire following the Cleveland Cavaliers' victory in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, but now wants to play multiple more seasons, according to Yahoo Sports.

      With rumors swirling that the 36-year-old may join friend Luke Walton's coaching staff with the Los Angeles Lakers, Jefferson now appears to be leaning toward returning as a player. He averaged 5.5 points and 17.9 minutes while starting five of 74 games last season.

      Jefferson started two of the Cavs' 21 playoff games, averaging 5.4 points and 18.1 minutes while providing a strong defensive presence. The 14-year veteran has played in 1,082 career regular-season games, posting averages of 13.3 points and 4.2 rebounds.

      --Charlotte Hornets forward Frank Kaminsky will undergo a "minor procedure" on his chest Wednesday, according to the team.

      The procedure is to repair a small pocket of air between his lung and chest. Kaminsky is expected to need six weeks to recover, which means he will miss the Pro Summer League in Orlando.

      Kaminsky averaged 7.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 21.1 minutes in 81 games as a rookie last season, including three starts. He was fifth among NBA rookies with 68 three-point attempts.

      --Forward Andrew Nicholson will not receive a qualifying offer from the Orlando Magic and will become an unrestricted free agent, according to a report by ESPN.

      Nicholson, 26, averaged 6.9 points in 56 games last season, his most since averaging 7.8 points per game as a rookie in 2012-13. He has spent his first four seasons in Orlando after being selected with the 19th overall pick out of St. Bonaventure.

      Nicholson made 41 three-pointers last season, connecting on 36 percent of his attempts from behind the arc, but the Magic attempted to trade him before the deadline and he ultimately fell out of the rotation.

      --The Cleveland Cavaliers have exercised their 2016-17 team option on guard Jordan McRae, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

      McRae's salary will be at a shade under $1 million guaranteed. The team faced a Wednesday deadline to either allow the 25-year-old guard to become a free agent or pick up his option.

      McRae, drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2014 draft, scored 36 points in the regular-season finale against Detroit.

  • Pending free agent Durant approves of Thunder draft-night deal
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 28, 2016

    Kevin Durant is just days away from becoming a free agent and remains tight-lipped about his future plans.

    • For now, he's still a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and he said he really liked the draft-night trade in which the franchise acquired guard Victor Oladipo, forward Ersan Ilyasova and draft pick Domantas Sabonis from the Orlando Magic in exchange for forward Serge Ibaka.

      "It's a good move, man," Durant said at a Team USA media availability session in New York. "I like Oladipo, he's one of my good buddies, a friend of mine. Definitely going to miss playing with Serge. He contributed so much to our organization and to the city.

      "Just what he's done for us, he's always going to be remembered in OKC what he's done for the community and his hard work on the court. So we wish him the best."

      Durant wasn't so chatty when it comes to his impending free agency on July 1.

      "We'll figure things out," Durant said. "It's three days away."

      Durant reportedly plans to add face-to-face meetings with the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers in addition to previously reported talks with the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder at the outset of free agency.

      The Atlanta Hawks also reportedly hope to get involved in the chase.

      Durant is still officially a member of the Thunder until his contract runs out at 12:01 a.m. Friday when NBA free agency begins.

      Durant, 27, is also considering meeting with the New York Knicks but has no plans to talk to his hometown Washington Wizards, according to ESPN.

      Durant has been in New York in advance of Monday's official unveiling of the 12-man squad that will represent USA Basketball at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

      Durant, who has spent his entire nine-year career with the Thunder organization, is the most coveted player available this offseason.

      The 6-foot-9, 240-pound Durant, a seven-time All Star, has averaged 27.4 points per game over his NBA career, and was named the league's MVP following the 2013-14 season. He averaged 28.2 points per game last season and led the Thunder to within one victory of the NBA Finals.

      Durant can be offered a four-year deal or choose to take the higher-risk route with a potential monster reward next summer by opting for a one-year deal with a player option.

  • Report: Magic will not give Nicholson qualifying offer
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 28, 2016

    Forward Andrew Nicholson will not receive a qualifying offer from the Orlando Magic and will become an unrestricted free agent, according to a report by ESPN.

    • Nicholson, 26, averaged 6.9 points in 56 games last season, his most since averaging 7.8 points per game as a rookie in 2012-13. He has spent his first four seasons in Orlando after being selected with the 19th overall pick out of St. Bonaventure.

      Nicholson made 41 three-pointers last season, connecting on 36 percent of his attempts from behind the arc, but the Magic attempted to trade him before the deadline and he ultimately fell out of the rotation.

      Nicholson would have received a qualifying offer worth $3.394,726. He signed a four-year, $6.83 million deal before his rookie season, and earned $2.38 million last season.

  • Cavs exercise option on G McRae
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 28, 2016

    The Cleveland Cavaliers have exercised their 2016-17 team option on guard Jordan McRae, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

    • McRae's salary will be at a shade under $1 million guaranteed. The tem faced a Wednesday deadline to either allow the 25-year-old guard to become a free agent or pick up his option.

      McRae, drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2014 draft, scored 36 points in the regular-season finale against Detroit.

      While with the Canton Charger of the Development League, McRae erupted for 61 points.

  • Hornets' Kaminsky to have 'minor procedure' on chest
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 28, 2016

    Charlotte Hornets forward Frank Kaminsky will undergo a "minor procedure" on his chest Wednesday, according to the team.

    • The procedure is to repair a small pocket of air between his lung and chest. Kaminsky is expected to need six weeks to recover, which means he will miss the Pro Summer League in Orlando.

      Kaminsky averaged 7.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 21.1 minutes in 81 games as a rookie last season, including three starts. He was fifth among NBA rookies with 68 three-point attempts.

      The Hornets also announced their 13-man roster for the Summer League: guards Wayne Blackshear, Ramon Galloway, Aaron Harrison, Brandon Paul and Tim Quarterman, forwards John Brown, James Kelly, DeShaun Thomas and Sam Thompson, forward/centers Goodluck Okonoboh and Joseph Uchebo and center Mike Tobey.

      The Hornets begin play in the leage on July 2 against the Orlando Magic.

  • Report: Jefferson wants to play 2-3 more years
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 28, 2016

    Richard Jefferson announced he would retire following the Cleveland Cavaliers' victory in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, but now wants to play multiple more seasons, according to Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports.

    • With rumors swirling that the 36-year-old may join friend Luke Walton's coaching staff with the Los Angeles Lakers, Jefferson now appears to be leaning toward returning as a player. He averaged 5.5 points and 17.9 minutes while starting five of 74 games last season.

      Jefferson started two of the Cavs' 21 playoff games, averaging 5.4 points and 18.1 minutes while providing a strong defensive presence. The 14-year veteran has played in 1,082 career regular-season games, posting averages of 13.3 points and 4.2 rebounds.

  • Report: Timberwolves sell shares to China's Jiang
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 27, 2016

    Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has sold shares in the team to Shanghai-based businessman Lizhang Jiang that will enable the former to remain the franchise's controlling owner, sources told ESPN on Monday.

    • Taylor closed a deal last week with the 35-year-old Jiang, who founded the Chinese marketing company Double-Edge Sports. Lanxiong Sports of China reported that Jiang purchased five percent of both the Timberwolves and the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, making him the NBA's first Chinese minority owner.

      Taylor announced last year that he intended to sell 30 percent of the Timberwolves to Steve Kaplan, a minority owner of the Memphis Grizzlies. That proposed deal did not come to fruition, however.

      Minnesota is changing its look with Tom Thibodeau hired as coach and president of basketball operations and Scott Layden as general manager.

      The Timberwolves are expected to formally announce the investments this week, according to the report.

  • Jury finds Budenholzer not guilty of DUI
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 27, 2016

    It took an Atlanta jury less than three hours Monday to find Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer not guilty of driving under the influence.

    • Budenholzer was cleared on a DUI-driving less safe charge but the jury did find him guilty of driving with a broken tail light and he was fined $150.

      Budenholzer testified in his own defense about when troopers stopped him in August of 2013 for allegedly driving with his lights off. He subsequently was arrested him on suspicion of DUI.

      Budenholzer has said he thinks the trooper may have been confused about him being impaired because he has chronic redness around his eyes, previous ankle injuries and a foot surgery that causes imbalance

  • NBA notebook: Durant, Anthony head Olympic team
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 27, 2016

    USA Basketball announced its official 12-man 2016 U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball Team that will try to win the Americans' third straight gold medal.

    • The USA team unveiled Monday is led by Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony, the only players with Olympic experience after a number of stars, including LeBron James, decided skip the Rio Olympics.

      Selected for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team were: Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder/Texas); Anthony (New York Knicks/Syracuse); Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors/North Carolina); Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls/Marquette); DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings/Kentucky); DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors/USC); Paul George (Indiana Pacers/Fresno State); Draymond Green (Warriors/Michigan State); Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers/Duke); DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers/Texas A&M); Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors/Villanova); and Klay Thompson (Warriors/Washington State).

      The USA National Team will train July 18-21 in Las Vegas. The Americans' Las Vegas training concludes July 22 with the USA Basketball Showcase that features the USA facing Argentina at the T-Mobile Arena.

      --Kevin Durant plans to add face-to-face meetings with the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers in addition to previously reported talks with the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder at the outset of free agency.

      Durant is still officially a member of the Thunder until his contract runs out at 12:01 a.m. Friday when NBA free agency begins.

      Durant, 27, is also considering meeting with the New York Knicks but has no plans to talk to his hometown Washington Wizards, according to ESPN.

      --While at Michigan State, Denzel Valentine was brash and bold, never backing down from a challenge.

      Drafted 14th by the Chicago Bulls, Valentine already is showing off his confidence as he was introduced to the media on Monday.

      Valentine wore No. 45 for the Spartans and has decided to keep that number with Chicago. The Bulls rookie will stick with that number, the same number worn briefly by Michael Jordan.

      Jordan wore No. 45 for a short time after returning from his venture into baseball before returning to his more familiar No. 23.

  • Durant adds meetings with Celtics, Heat, Clippers
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 27, 2016

    Kevin Durant plans to add face-to-face meetings with the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers in addition to previously reported talks with the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder at the outset of free agency.

    • Durant is still officially a member of the Thunder until his contract runs out at 12:01 a.m. Friday when NBA free agency begins.

      A league source confirmed to ESPN of the six team meetings with Durant and his representatives.

      Durant, 27, is also considering meeting with the New York Knicks but has no plans to talk to his hometown Washington Wizards, according to ESPN.

      Knicks star Carmelo Anthony told ESPN on Monday that his recruitment of Durant has already begun and will not be affected "whether he meets with the Knicks or not."

      "I'm with KD now; he's right downstairs," Anthony told ESPN. "We've been together. We've been talking. I do consider myself part of the Knicks so that meeting has already taken place."

      Durant has been in New York in advance of Monday's official unveilng of the 12-man squad that will represent USA Basketball at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

      Durant and Anthony are the only players with Olympic experience on the team after a number of stars, including LeBron James, decided skip the Rio Olympics.

      Durant, who has spent his entire nine-year career with the Thunder organization, is the most coveted player available this offseason.

      The 6-foot-9, 240-pound Durant, a seven-time All Star, has averaged 27.4 points per game over his NBA career, and was named the league's MVP following the 2013-14 season. He averaged 28.2 points per game last season and led the Thunder to within one victory of the NBA Finals.

      Durant can be offered a four-year deal or choose to take the higher-risk route with a potential monster reward next summer by opting for a one-year deal with a player option.

  • Bulls rookie Valentine to wear Jordan's No. 45
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 27, 2016

    While at Michigan State, Denzel Valentine was brash and bold, never backing down from a challenge.

    • Drafted 14th by the Chicago Bulls, Valentine already is showing off his confidence as he was introduced to the media on Monday.

      Valentine wore No. 45 for the Spartans and has decided to keep that number with Chicago. The Bulls rookie will stick with that number, the same number worn briefly by Michael Jordan.

      Jordan wore No. 45 for a short time after returning from his venture into baseball before returning to his more familiar No. 23.

      Valentine realizes he's stepping into some large shoes by wearing Jordan's number, but believes he is up to the task.

      In fact, there have been other Bulls players to wear No. 45 -- Paul Shirley, Luke Schenscher and Rasual Butler. But none of those players have the skills Valentine brings to the Bulls.

      Coach Fred Hoiberg praised the Bulls first-round pick for his ballhandling and ability to create shots.

      For his part, Valentine said, "I'm excited to get going."

  • USA Basketball unveils 2016 Olympic roster
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 27, 2016

    USA Basketball announced its official 12-man 2016 U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball Team that will try to win the Americans' third straight gold medal.

    • The USA team unveiled Monday is led by Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony, the only players with Olympic experience after a number of stars, including LeBron James, decided skip the Rio Olympics.

      Selected for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team were: Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder/Texas); Anthony (New York Knicks/Syracuse); Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors/North Carolina); Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls/Marquette); DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings/Kentucky); DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors/USC); Paul George (Indiana Pacers/Fresno State); Draymond Green (Warriors/Michigan State); Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers/Duke); DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers/Texas A&M); Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors/Villanova); and Klay Thompson (Warriors/Washington State).

      The team was approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors and is pending final approval by the United States Olympic Committee.

      "I think I can speak for the entire coaching staff and say we're extremely excited about the team we will field for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro," Jerry Colangelo, who has served as managing director of the USA Men's National Team since 2005, said in a statement. "I love our depth, which is another indication of the depth of talent our national team program is blessed with. We've got a great mix of talent, scorers, past gold medal winners and outstanding youth."

      The U.S. roster features the return of two members from the 2012 gold medalist U.S. Olympic Team (Anthony and Durant) and five players who have been members of USA World Cup gold medalist teams -- Cousins (2014), DeRozan (2014), Durant (2010), Irving (2014) and Thompson (2014).

      "I'm anxious to get on the court, and along with my great coaching staff, get to work," said USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski, serving as head coach of his third Olympic squad is now tied with Henry Iba for the most U.S. Olympic basketball head coaching assignments. "Since 2006 and including the last two Olympics, our players have represented themselves, the game and our country in an exemplary manner. I know this team will continue that standard.

      "Looking at this team, our overall balance is what strikes me. We have lightning-quick guards who can score as well as distribute the basketball. We have great shooters and explosive scorers, we're big and athletic, and I think we'll really be able to defend."

      With his selection to the 2016 Olympic Team, three-time Olympic medalist Anthony becomes the first United States male basketball player selected to four Olympic teams.

      Durant, who collected MVP honors in leading the USA to gold at the 2010 FIBA World Championship and finished as the U.S. team's leading scorer at the 2012 London Olympics by averaging a U.S. Olympic record 19.5 points a game, was named to his second Olympic team.

      The average age of the 12 U.S. players will be 26.8 years at the conclusion of the Olympics (Aug. 21, 2016).

      Included among the named 2016 U.S. Olympians were 2015-16 All-NBA first team selection Jordan; second team choices Cousins, Durant and Green; and third team picks George, Lowry and Thompson. Additionally, Jordan and Green collected 2015-16 NBA All-Defensive first team honors, while Butler and George were second team selections.

      Nine players -- Anthony, Butler, Cousins, DeRozan, Durant, George, Green, Lowry and Thompson -- were named as 2016 NBA All-Stars, while Irving, who was named MVP of the 2014 World Cup after leading the Americans to gold, recently helped Cleveland capture the 2016 NBA championship.

      The 2016 USA coaching staff is led by Duke Hall of Famer Krzyzewski, who since being named in 2005 as head coach of the USA National Team program has compiled a 75-1 record and led the USA to 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medals and 2010 and 2014 FIBA World Cup titles. He will be assisted by Syracuse Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim, Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau and Monty Williams.

      The USA National Team will train July 18-21 in Las Vegas. The Americans' Las Vegas training concludes July 22 with the USA Basketball Showcase that features the USA facing Argentina at the T-Mobile Arena.

      The U.S. will play two exhibition games versus 2015 FIBA Asia zone champ China, the first at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on July 24 and the second on July 26 at Oracle Arena in Oakland. Continuing its exhibition tour in Chicago, the USA will play on July 29 at the United Center versus 2015 FIBA Americas gold medalist Venezuela and will conclude the USA Basketball Showcase facing 2015 FIBA Africa zone champion Nigeria on Aug. 1 in Houston at the Toyota Center.

      The U.S. men have collected a medal in all 17 Olympics in which they have competed, including 14 gold medals, one silver and two bronze medals. The American men own a 130-5 (.963 winning percentage) all-time record in Olympic action, and since NBA players began representing the United States in 1992, the USA is 45-3 in six Olympics, capturing five gold medals and one bronze medal.

      Team USA currently enjoys a 17-game Olympic win streak that dates back to the bronze medal game of the 2004 Athens Olympics.

      Durant was among the players to tweet Monday about being selected: "It's an honor to be a part of this. #UNITE #USABMNT."

  • Report: Lakers pursuing free agent Whiteside
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, June 26, 2016

    The Los Angeles Lakers will "aggressively pursue" signing Miami Heat free agent center Hassan Whiteside, according to ESPN.

    • Whiteside, 27, averaged a league-leading 3.7 blocks in the 2015-16 season and is a "primary target" for the Lakers as they address their rim protection and perimeter shooting needs, per ESPN.

      Whiteside isn't ruling out re-signing with Miami, but hopes to make a decision by the first day of free agency, which begins at 12:01 a.m. on July 1.

      "I didn't say (Miami) wasn't the best situation, but we're going to see what happens," Whiteside told ESPN.com. "It's not like I'm really counting the Heat out or counting on another team. It's just open."

      Whiteside, who is likely to command a max contract worth nearly $95 million over four years, is also drawing interest from the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers.

      The seven-footer averaged career highs in points (14.2) and rebounds (11.8) on 60.6 percent shooting in 73 games last season, his fourth in the league.

      He began his career in Sacramento, but played only 19 games for the Kings. The 33rd overall pick in the 2010 draft was out of the league in 2012-13 and 2013-14 before signing with the Heat in 2014.

  • No. 1 pick Simmons' cousin killed in hit-and-run
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, June 26, 2016

    Ben Simmons, the No. 1 overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in Thursday night's NBA Draft, is mourning the loss of his cousin who was killed in a hit-and-run crash.

    • Police in Hoboken, N.J., said Zachary Simmons, 21, was hit by a black SUV early Saturday morning.

      "Hearing the news this morning is a reminder to never forget the important things in life," Ben Simmons wrote in a series of tweets on his Twitter page.

      Police said Zachary Simmons of Ramsey, N.J., was hit by the vehicle around 3:30 a.m. ET while walking home from a friend's birthday party.

      "I'm glad I could share this moment in my life with you. Rest in peace Cuzzo. Much love Zachary Simmons #rip," Ben Simmons tweeted with a photo of the two.

  • Irving, Barnes fill out Team USA roster
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, June 25, 2016

    Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving and Golden State forward Harrison Barnes have committed to play for Team USA in the Summer Olympics, according to published reports.

    • Irving had been weighing whether to play all week after helping the Cavaliers defeat the Warriors in the NBA Finals. Irving was the MVP of the 2014 Basketball World Cup.

      Barnes' selection is a bit of a surprise after he experienced a largely underwhelming postseason. The decision of Cleveland forward LeBron James not to play was one of the factors that helped lead to Barnes' inclusion.

      The commitments finalize the 12-man roster, which is expected to be announced Monday.

      The other 10 players are forwards Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Paul George, Draymond Green; centers DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Jordan; and guards Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and Klay Thompson.

      In addition to James, San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard and Washington guard Bradley Beal declined spots in recent days. Portland point guard Damian Lillard (foot) withdrew due to injury.

      Players who previously withdrew include Golden State point guard Stephen Curry, Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook and Houston Rockets guard James Harden. Out for health reasons are LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs), Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans), Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers), Chris Paul (Clippers) and John Wall (Washington Wizards).

      The team's training camp will run July 18-21 in Las Vegas. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is the Team USA coach and Olympic basketball competition will be held Aug. 6-21.

  • Warriors' Kerr makes passionate plea for gun control
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, June 25, 2016

    Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr made a passionate plea for stronger background checks on gun purchases in the United States.

    • Kerr appeared on San Jose Mercury News sports columnist Tim Kawakami's podcast on Friday to talk about the Warriors' 93-89 stunning loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 7, falling short of repeating as NBA champions.

      Kerr then wanted to talk about a political issue, saying "our government is insane" for failing to pass gun control legislation.

      Kerr's father, Malcolm, was assassinated in 1984 at the American University of Beirut.

      "When 90 percent of our country wants background checks on gun purchases and we've got our Senate and our House not only voting it down but using the Bill of Rights as a reason for people to have rights to carry these automatic weapons, and we're getting people murdered every day at an alarming rate," Kerr told Kawakami.

      "I just have to get this off my chest. Our government is insane. We are insane. And what bugs me is this adherence to the right to bear arms, you know. That was back in 1776. People didn't own automatic rifles. You had to have a musket in case the Redcoats were coming. The British were coming. And the beautiful thing about the Constitution is they left open amendments to change things because things change over time.

      "I kind of think that our forefathers would not have OK'd automatic weapons to be sold to everybody if they existed back then. Let's have some checks. It's easier to get a gun than it is to get a driver's license. It's insane. And as somebody who's had a family member shot and killed, it devastates me every time I read about this stuff -- like what happened in Orlando -- and then it's even more devastating to see the government just cowing to the NRA and going to this totally outdated Bill Of Rights, right to bear arms. If you want to own a musket, fine, you know, but come on. The rest of the world thinks we're insane. We are insane.

      "And until we vote these senators and congressmen and women out of office, the same thing's gonna happen. And it's infuriating and I had to get that off my chest."

      The terror attack of a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., June 12 left 49 dead and 53 others wounded in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

      The nightclub massacre occurred just a day before Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

      Malcolm Kerr served as president of the American University of Beirut when he was gunned down by Islamic terrorists in the hallway outside his office on Jan. 18, 1984. Steve Kerr was a freshman at the University of Arizona when his father was murdered.

      "You wonder if any of these senators and congressmen and women who are so opposed to even holding a vote on not only the right to buy an automatic weapon but just the background checks," Kerr said, "and the lists and all the stuff, how would they feel about this if their own child, their own mother, their own father, sister, brother, wife, husband was murdered. Mass murdered. Would that change your mind? I don't know but how many times do we have to go through this before our government actually does something about it?"

  • Warriors, Thunder, Spurs first to visit Durant
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, June 25, 2016

    Kevin Durant plans to meet with the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder at the outset of free agency.

    • Durant, who has spent his entire nine-year career with the Thunder organization, is the most coveted player available this offseason.

      According to ESPN, the Western Conference rivals Warriors, Spurs and Thunder are the first three known teams to secure face-to-face meetings with free agent-to-be star forward, starting next weekend.

      Sources told ESPN that the list of teams hoping to meet with the 27-year-old Durant will grow before NBA free agency officially begins on July 1 at 12:01 a.m. ET.

      Durant, a seven-time All Star, has averaged 27.4 points per game over his NBA career, and was named the league's MVP following the 2013-14 season.

      According to ESPN, the Warriors and Spurs both plan to send key organizational figures to an undisclosed location once free agency starts to try to lure Durant away from the Thunder.

      With the 93-89 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Warriors fell short of repeating as NBA champions and dampened the glory achieved with a regular-season record 73 victories.

      Warriors owner Joe Lacob has said he is ready to win the offseason, a detour route back to a second title that appears to include Durant. The Warriors can find the financial means to add Durant even with Klay Thompson and Steph Curry on the roster.

      Expected to sit alongside Durant at the forthcoming meetings will be his agent, Rich Kleiman, and family members and friends, ESPN reported.

      Other teams hoping to meet with Durant include the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers.

      Durant can be offered a four-year deal or choose to take the higher-risk route with a potential monster reward next summer by opting for a one-year deal with a player option.

  • NBA notebook: Bulls deny shopping Butler
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, June 24, 2016

    Despite a flurry of rumors, Jimmy Butler is still a member of the Bulls after nothing came to fruition during Thursday night's draft.

    • There was heavy interest from the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are coached by former Chicago head man Tom Thibodeau. The Boston Celtics were reported to have interest. Same for the Orlando Magic.

      But according to Chicago general manager Gar Forman, all that chatter was nonexistent. He said there weren't any draft-night talks involving Butler despite the heavy dose of reports that claimed there was plenty of trade banter.

      Chicago traded former MVP Derrick Rose the day before the draft and a trade of Butler would have indicated a full rebuilding situation was on the docket.

      --Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal became the latest player to pass on playing for Team USA in the Summer Olympics at Rio de Janeiro when he announced that he declined a roster spot.

      Beal, who turns 23 on Tuesday, dealt with a leg injury last season and said on his Twitter account that improving his physical condition for the 2016-17 NBA season is the top priority.

      Still undecided is Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving.

      --Gary Payton II went undrafted in Thursday's NBA draft but will get a chance to make a roster as the Houston Rockets signed him to a three-year contract.

      The Rockets also reportedly reached agreement on three-year deals with Texas point guard Isaiah Taylor and Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer.

  • Payton among undrafted players signed by NBA teams
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, June 24, 2016

    Gary Payton II followed in his famous father's footstep by attending college at Oregon State. Now he would like to become the next one in the family to play in the NBA.

    • Payton went undrafted in Thursday's NBA draft but will get a chance to make a roster as the Houston Rockets signed him to a three-year contract.

      Payton isn't on the same level as his Hall of Fame father but he does possess the same type of defensive tenacity.

      He was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in both his seasons at Oregon State. He also led the Beavers in scoring (16.0), rebounding (7.8) assists (5.0) and steals (2.5) last season when the school qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since his father led them there in 1990.

      The Rockets also reportedly reached agreement on three-year deals with Texas point guard Isaiah Taylor and Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer.

      Other deals reached by undrafted players:

      --The Washington Wizards, who didn't have a draft pick on Thursday night, agreed to terms with four players: Villanova center Daniel Ochefu, Texas A&M swingman Danuel House, Miami guard Sheldon McClellan and Arizona center Kaleb Tarczewski.

      --The Brooklyn Nets agreed to a deal with Indiana guard Yogi Ferrell.

      --The New York Knicks agreed to a one-year contract with Wichita State guard Ron Baker.

      --The Golden State Warriors agreed to terms with Maryland center Robert Carter and invited 7-foot-6 UC Irvine center Mamadou Ndiaye to play for their summer league team in hopes of landing a roster spot.

      --The Philadelphia 76ers agreed to a two-year deal with Boise State forward James Webb III.

      --The New Orleans Pelicans invited North Carolina State guard Anthony "Cat" Barber to play for their summer league team.

      --The Orlando Magic invited Kentucky forward Alex Poythress to play for their summer league squad.

      --The Toronto Raptors invited Wichita State point guard Fred VanVleet to play for their summer league team.

  • Wizards SG Beal turns down spot on Team USA
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, June 24, 2016

    Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal became the latest player to pass on playing for Team USA in the Summer Olympics at Rio de Janeiro when he announced Friday that he declined a roster spot.

    • Beal, who turns 23 on Tuesday, dealt with a leg injury last season and said on his Twitter account that improving his physical condition for the 2016-17 NBA season is the top priority.

      "I could not be more grateful for the invitation to represent my country, as it is the ultimate honor, however it is with deep regret that I have declined the opportunity to participate with Team USA this summer in Rio," Beal wrote. "I have made the decision to dedicate this summer to getting in the best physical shape of my life and feel it is imperative that I stay true to my plan so I can be at my very best supporting my coaches and teammates for the upcoming season.

      "I wish Team USA nothing but great success and I hope to earn another opportunity to represent my country in the near future."

      Beal played in just 55 games last season and averaged 17.4 points. He becomes a restricted free agent on July 1 and the Wizards will reportedly offer him a large contract.

      Beal joins the growing list of players to turn down a spot on Team USA.

      Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James declined a spot on Thursday, as did San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard. Portland point guard Damian Lillard (foot) withdrew due to injury.

      Players who previously withdrew include Golden State point guard Stephen Curry, Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook and Houston Rockets guard James Harden. Out for health reasons are LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs), Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans), Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers), Chris Paul (Clippers) and John Wall (Washington Wizards).

      Still undecided is Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving.

      The team's training camp will run July 18-21 in Las Vegas. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is the Team USA coach and Olympic basketball competition will be held Aug. 6-21.

  • Bulls deny shopping Butler
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, June 24, 2016

    Jimmy Butler was receiving a massage at the Chicago Bulls' practice facility as trade speculation swirled during the NBA Draft.

    • But there was no need for any awkward knocks on the door to tell the All-Star guard he had a new employer.

      Despite a flurry of rumors, the first-time U.S. Olympian is still a member of the Bulls after nothing came to fruition during Thursday night's draft.

      There was heavy interest from the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are coached by former Chicago head man Tom Thibodeau. The Boston Celtics were reported to have interest. Same for the Orlando Magic.

      But according to Chicago general manager Gar Forman, all that chatter was nonexistent. He said there weren't any draft-night talks involving Butler despite the heavy dose of reports that claimed there was plenty of trade banter.

      "During the draft, we started getting some texts and saw something on TV that we were in heated talks with somebody, I don't know what it was saying," Forman told reporters after the draft. "We were in no talks with anybody. There was no discussion during the entire draft this evening as far as Jimmy Butler was concerned.

      "We have never made a call in regards to Jimmy Butler. We've talked about, we value Jimmy Butler, we're very happy to have Jimmy Butler. We've got a phenomenal basketball player who was an All-Star and All-NBA defender, is still young, obviously we've got him under contract long-term, those are all positive.

      "We've said this all along. We like Jimmy Butler, we did not shop Jimmy Butler. Did we receive calls? Of course we did, and that's our job to listen to calls. We get calls on a lot of our players and that's stuff that happens all throughout the league."

      Chicago traded former MVP Derrick Rose the day before the draft and a trade of Butler would have indicated a full rebuilding situation was on the docket.

      Butler and Rose didn't have good chemistry on the court last season with Butler having supplanted Rose as the team's best play. But also complicating matters was that Butler's relationship with coach Fred Hoiberg wasn't all that strong, either.

      That led to the circulation of rumors shortly after Chicago's poor season concluded. Butler's name was popping up as a player who would soon be on the move.

      The draft-night fodder had the Timberwolves making one last run at prying Butler loose after they drafted promising guard Kris Dunn of Providence with the fifth overall pick.

      Reports said Minnesota offered Dunn, young athletic combo guard Zach LaVine and a second-round pick for Butler.

      But Forman insists there was no discussion about such a package.

      "I think when you have a special player like Jimmy, in order really to take a hard look at something it's got to be something you think is going to knock your socks off, something that's really special," Forman said. "And we never felt we were presented with anything where we would consider moving Jimmy."

      Boston was reportedly shopping forward Jae Crowder -- Butler's former college teammate at Marquette -- and guard Avery Bradley in addition to having extra draft picks to spice up a deal.

      Regardless, the Bulls stayed put and chose Michigan State combo guard Denzel Valentine with the 14th overall pick.

      And for now, Valentine has the 26-year-old Butler as a teammate. The question might be "for how long?"

      "All I can tell you is exactly what happened," Forman said. "We never made a single call. We're not looking to move Jimmy."

  • NBA trade roundup: Ibaka, Oladipo swapped
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, June 24, 2016

    During a week meant to celebrate the future stars of the NBA, it was the veterans who stole the spotlight.

    • Forward Serge Ibaka and guard Victor Oladipo were the biggest names moved during Thursday night's NBA Draft at the Barclays Center in New York, but they weren't alone.

      Established stars such as Derrick Rose, Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young, among others, also found new homes leading up to draft night.

      On Thursday, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded Ibaka to the Orlando Magic for Oladipo, forward Ersan Ilyasova and the rights to the No. 11 overall pick, forward Domantas Sabonis of Gonzaga.

      Ibaka, a three-time selection to the NBA's All-Defensive First Team who led the league in blocks for four consecutive seasons from 2010-11 to 2013-14, spent his first six years in the league with the Thunder, averaging 11.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks.

      In 2011-12, Ibaka was the runner up for the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year Award, which went to Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks. The power forward's best season came in 2013-14, when Ibaka averaged career highs in points (15.1 per game) and rebounds (8.8) to go along with 2.7 blocks.

      Ibaka's numbers have tailed off ever since, and the 26-year-old averaged 12.6 points, 6.8 boards and 1.9 blocks this past season.

      Oladipo, meanwhile, is entering his prime after three seasons in the league. The 24-year-old guard has filled up the stat sheet to the tune of career averages of 15.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, four assists and 1.6 steals.

      The former two-time NBA Rookie of the Month has spent most of his career as a starter, but he has come off the bench 57 times. He will either battle Dion Waiters for the starting two-guard spot or serve as the Thunder's sixth man.

      Sabonis, 20, averaged 17.6 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 33 games for the Bulldogs this season.

      Marquese Chriss was the highest draft pick who found himself on the move Thursday, as the former University of Washington standout was drafted by the Sacramento Kings with the No. 8 overall pick, then dealt to the Phoenix Suns for the No. 13 pick and guard Bogdan Bogdanovic.

      Greek center Georgios Papagiannis was Sacramento's selection at No. 13.

      In addition, the Kings received the No. 28 overall pick, which was used to take Kentucky forward Skal Labissiere, and a second-round pick in 2020.

      Several second-round picks were traded late Thursday night.

      The Los Angeles Clippers selected Kansas forward/center Cheick Diallo with the 33rd overall pick, then sent him to the New Orleans Pelicans for the 39th and 40th picks, French guard David Michineau and Maryland forward Diamond Stone.

      The Memphis Grizzlies acquired the No. 31 overall selection, Michigan State forward Deyonta Davis, and the No. 35 pick, Serbian forward Rade Zagorac, from the Boston Celtics in exchange for a future first-round pick originally acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers.

      The Utah Jazz chose Seton Hall guard Isaiah Whitehead with the 42nd pick, then dealt him to the Brooklyn Nets for the 55th selection, North Carolina guard Marcus Paige, and cash. Whitehead grew up in Brooklyn.

      "Just to be able to wear that Brooklyn uniform across my chest (is) an amazing accomplishment, and I can't wait for it," Whitehead said.

      On Wednesday, the Chicago Bulls made a major move in dealing a former NBA MVP, Rose, to the New York Knicks. The Knicks gave up center Robin Lopez and guards Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant, while the Bulls included Justin Holiday and a future second-round pick to sweeten the pot.

      Rose, a three-time All-Star guard and former Rookie of the Year, once battled LeBron James for supremacy in the Eastern Conference finals but hasn't been the same after sustaining multiple knee injuries.

      Before the draft, the Kings traded guard Marco Belinelli to the Charlotte Hornets for the No. 22 overall pick, used to draft Syracuse guard Malachi Richardson.

      The Brooklyn Nets also moved on from forward Young, who they sent to the Indiana Pacers for the No. 20 overall pick (Michigan guard Caris LeVert) and a future second-round pick.

      The Pacers made a big splash earlier in the week when they acquired guard Teague from the Atlanta Hawks. Indiana sent guard George Hill to the Utah Jazz, who dealt the No. 12 overall pick back to Atlanta.

  • NBA draft results
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, June 23, 2016

    NBA DRAFT RESULTS

    • FIRST ROUND

      1. Philadelphia -- Ben Simmons (PF) LSU

      2. Los Angeles Lakers -- Brandon Ingram (SF) Duke

      3. Boston -- Jaylen Brown (SF) California

      4. Phoenix -- Dragan Bender (PF) Croatia

      5. Minnesota -- Kris Dunn (PG) Providence

      6. New Orleans -- Buddy Hield (G) Oklahoma

      7. Denver -- Jamal Murray (G) Kentucky

      8. Sacramento (traded to Phoenix) -- Marquese Chriss (F) Washington

      9. Toronto -- Jakob Poeltl (C) Utah

      10. Milwaukee -- Thon Maker (C) Australia

      11. Orlando (traded to Oklahoma City) -- Domantas Sabonis (F) Gonzaga

      12. Utah -- Taurean Prince (F) Baylor

      13. Phoenix (traded to Sacramento) -- Georgios Papagiannis (C) Greece

      14. Chicago -- Denzel Valentine (G/F) Michigan State

      15. Denver -- Juan Hermangomez (F)Spain

      16. Boston -- Guerschon Yabusele (F) France

      17. Memphis -- Wade Baldwin IV (G) Vanderbilt

      18. Detroit -- Henry Ellensen (F) Marquette

      19. Denver -- Malik Beasley (F) Florida State

      20. Indiana -- Caris Levert (G) Michigan

      21. Atlanta -- DeAndre Bembry (F) St. Joseph's

      22. Charlotte -- Malachi Richardson (G) Syracuse

      23. Boston -- Ante Zizic (C) Croatia

      24. Philadelphia -- Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (G) France

      25. Los Angeles Clippers -- F Brice Johnson (F) North Carolina

      26. Philadelphia -- Furkan Korkmaz (F) Turkey

      27. Toronto -- Pascal Siakam (F) New Mexico State

      28. Phoenix (traded to Sacramento) -- Skal Labissiere (F) Kentucky

      29. San Antonio -- Dejounte Murray (G) Washington

      30. Golden State -- Damian Jones (C) Vanderbilt

      SECOND ROUND

      31. Boston (traded to Memphis) -- Deyonta Davis (F) Michigan State

      32. Los Angeles Lakers -- Ivica Zubac (F) Croatia

      33. Los Angeles Clippers (traded to New Orleans) -- Cheick Diallo (F) Kansas

      34. Phoenix -- Tyler Ulis (G) Kentucky

      35. Boston (traded to Memphis) -- Rade Zagorac (F) Serbia

      36. Milwaukee -- Malcolm Brogdon (G) Virginia

      37. Houston -- Chinanu Onuaku (C) Louisville

      38. Milwaukee (traded to Golden State) Patrick McCaw (G) UNLV

      39. New Orleans (traded to Los Angeles Clippers) -- David Michineau (G) France

      40. New Orleans (traded to Los Angeles Clippers) -- Diamond Stone (F) Maryland

      41. Orlando -- Stephen Zimmerman (C) UNLV

      42. Utah (traded to Brooklyn) -- Isaiah Whitehead (G) Seton Hall

      43. Houston -- Zhou Qi (C) China

      44. Atlanta -- Isaia Cordinier (G) France

      45. Boston -- Demetrius Jackson (G) Notre Dame

      46. Dallas -- A.J. Hammons (C) Purdue

      47. Orlando (traded to Portland) -- Jake Layman (F) Maryland

      48. Chicago -- Paul Zipser (F) Germany

      49. Detroit -- Michael Gbinije (G) Syracuse

      50. Indiana -- Georges Niang (F) Iowa State

      51. Boston -- Ben Bentil (F) Providence

      52. Utah -- Joel Bolomboy (F) Weber State

      53. Denver -- Petr Cornelie (F) France

      54. Atlanta (traded to Cleveland) -- Kay Felder (G) Oakland

      55. Brooklyn (traded to Utah) -- Marcus Paige (G) North Carolina

      56. Denver -- Daniel Hamilton (G) Connecticut

      57. Memphis -- Wang Zhelin (C) China

      58. Boston -- Abdel Nader (F) Iowa State

      59. Sacramento -- Isaiah Cousins (G) Oklahoma

      60. Utah -- Tyrone Wallace (G) California

  • NBA notebook: James turns down spot on U.S. Olympic team
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, June 23, 2016

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James has declined a spot on the United States team for the 2016 Summer Olympics at Rio de Janeiro.

    • James' agent, Rich Paul, reportedly informed Team USA Jerry Colangelo on Thursday. James just finished leading the Cavaliers to the NBA title on Sunday. Cleveland won the final three games of the seven-game series.

      James played in three previous Olympics and is Team USA's all-time leading scorer with 273 points.

      Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony and Jimmy Butler are among the latest players who have committed to playing for Team USA. Anthony, the New York Knicks forward, will be on the 12-man squad for a fourth time. Butler, a guard for the Chicago Bulls, will be playing in his first Olympics.

      Also giving commitments to play are the Toronto Raptors backcourt of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry and Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan.

      Also, Portland point guard Damian Lillard (foot) won't be part of the team due to injury and San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard he withdrew his name from consideration. Detroit center Andre Drummond also decided not to play.

      --A roster rebuild is in full swing in Indiana, where the Pacers made their second trade in as many days to land forward Thaddeus Young from the Brooklyn Nets for the 20th overall pick in Thursday's NBA draft.

      Young follows point guard Jeff Teague -- acquired Wednesday in a three-team deal from the Atlanta Hawks -- to Indiana, where he'll play for former NBA point guard Nate McMillan and team with forward Paul George to formulate a new nucleus for the Pacers.

      In addition to the 20th overall pick, the Nets receive a future second-round pick in the swap.

      --Hornets guard Jeremy Lin declined the $2.2 million team option to return to Charlotte next season and will become a free agent on July 1.

      Lin averaged 11.7 points, 3.0 assists and 3.2 rebounds for the Hornets last season. The 28-year-old signed a two-year, $4.3 million deal with Charlotte last summer.

      Lin said at the end of the season that he would be "very interested" in returning to the Hornets but will seek a long-term deal and explore the open market.

  • Pacers acquire Thaddeus Young from Nets
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, June 23, 2016

    A roster rebuild is in full swing in Indiana, where the Pacers made their second trade in as many days to land Thaddeus Young from the Brooklyn Nets for the 20th overall pick in Thursday's NBA draft.

    • Young follows point guard Jeff Teague – acquired Wednesday in a three-team deal from the Atlanta Hawks – to Indiana, where he'll play for former NBA point guard Nate McMillan and team with forward Paul George to formulate a new nucleus for the Pacers.

      In addition to the 20th overall pick, the Nets receive a future second-round pick in the swap.

      Young, a 6-8 forward, averaged 13.9 points, 5.9 rebounds in his first nine NBA seasons.