Archive for the ‘basketball’ Category

In an effort to broaden the scope of the sport of basketball across the world, the NBA and FIBA announced today that they are planning to launch a basketball league featuring 12 club teams across Africa. NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the creation of the league during All-Star Weekend in Charlotte.

The league will reportedly feature 12 franchises that will begin play in January 2020, with existing African club teams having a chance to qualify for the league. The new league will be called the Basketball Africa League (BAL), and will be based on already existing team competitions that FIBA has organized throughout Africa.

“The Basketball Africa League is an important next step in our continued development of the game of basketball in Africa,” Silver said in a statement (via ESPN). “Combined with our other programs on the continent, we are committed to using basketball as an economic engine to create new opportunities in sports, media and technology across Africa.”

The NBA and FIBA also announced that they are planning on conducting qualification tournaments later this year in order to find the 12 best teams to represent countries including Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia. According to the statement, there will be no more than two teams from any single country in the league.

Along with the announcement of the league, the NBA also announced that by the start of the 2019-2020, a revamped direct-to-consumers offering of NBA games will be available for fans in Africa, along with FIBA also promising to dedicate financial support and resources toward the development of the sport in Africa, which will include money that goes to training players, coaches, referees, and infrastructure.

There are currently 12 players from African countries on NBA rosters. Joel EmbiidLuc Mbah a Moute and Pascal Siakam are from Cameroon; Bismack Biyombo and Emmanuel Mudiay are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Abdel Nader is from Egypt; Cheick Diallo is from Mali; Josh Okogie is from Nigeria; Serge Ibaka is from the Republic of the Congo; Luol Deng and Thon Maker are from South Sudan; and Salah Mejri is from Tunisia.

 

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Things haven’t gone super smoothly for the Celtics this season, and there are apparently some underlying issues within the organization involving All-Star guard Kyrie Irving. According to a report from ESPN.com’s Tim Bontemps, members of the Celtics have been “frustrated” and “disappointed” with Irving throughout the season.

From ESPN:

“But while Irving said all the right things before this season began, things haven’t gone according to plan during it, as virtually everyone involved with the Celtics has been some combination of disappointed and frustrated by how this season has played out so far. That has been especially true with regard to Irving, multiple sources said, due to a variety of factors.

Irving is undoubtedly playing the best basketball of his career — but it hasn’t translated to wins. The Celtics are, in theory, more talented than the team that reached Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals without Irving and Gordon Hayward last season. But Boston is in fourth place in the East, getting there only after Friday’s win thanks in part to the Indiana Pacers plummeting after losing Victor Oladipo for the season because of a torn quad tendon.

Irving’s frustrations have spilled over to other members of the team. He has repeatedly aired his grievances with Boston’s young players — Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier — through the media, including after a loss in Orlando last month. It was after that same loss that Irving confronted coach Brad Stevens in the huddle for not calling the potential game-deciding shot for him, and Hayward on the court afterward for passing the ball to Tatum instead of him… The young players have, in turn, been frustrated with Irving.” 

After publicly declaring that he planned to re-sign with the Celtics last October, Irving has since back-tracked on those comments, leading many to speculate that he could be interested in leaving Boston to sign elsewhere when he hits free agency this summer.

“At the end of the day, like I said, I’ve spent the last eight years trying to do what everybody else wanted me to do in terms [of] making my decisions and trying to validate through the media, through other personnel, managers, anybody in this business,” Irving said regarding his upcoming free agency. “I don’t owe anybody s**t.”

When asked if his mindset has changed regarding re-signing with Boston, Irving said: “Ask me July 1.”

While the Celtics are a legitimate contender in the East this season, the long-term future of their most productive player seems increasingly uncertain.

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The 2019 NBA trade deadline has come and gone, with some major players swapping teams. Anthony Davis is still a member of the New Orleans Pelicans, however, and it appears that several teams are trying to position themselves for the coming summer.

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One of those teams is the Los Angeles Clippers, who moved off of the contract of Blake Griffin a year ago. The Clippers are going to be a team in play for several big-time free agents, one of which is Kawhi Leonard.

But according to one report, LA also has its eyes on another star. According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, the Clippers are looking to pair Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant with Leonard next season.

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Vince Carter turns 42 years old on January 26th. He is the definition of a veteran, a man who has changed his game so much from his younger days in order to stay in the NBA. Carter has played for eight teams during his career, but many remember him primarily as a member of the Toronto Raptors.

Carter played it the first six-and-a-half seasons of his career in Canada, and he was one of the defining players of a young generation entering the league at the end of the 1990s. Carter left Toronto after a tumultuous final run that saw him benched at times, butting heads with Raptors management and coaching.

Fans in Toronto have come to re-embrace Carter in the years since his departure, and many seem to hold a soft spot for him.

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DeMarcus Cousins is expected to make his highly anticipated debut with the Warriors on Jan. 18, sources tell Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Golden State will play the Clippers in Los Angeles that Friday night and then take on the Lakers two days later at the Staples Center.

Cousins is recovering from the torn Achilles he suffered last season with the Pelicans. He signed a one-year deal with the Warriors with the expectation of hitting the free-agent market again in 2019. The team can only offer him a modest raise on his $5.3 million deal, although reports indicate that Cousins might consider playing on a similar one-year deal during the 2019-20 campaign.

Playing with the Warriors will be different for Cousins. The pace and real title expectations are unlike anything Cousins has seen since he came into the league.

“They play faster than most other teams. It’s not even about the rust. That’s going to be part of the process. I’m aware of that. It’s about having my body in the best shape possible for an NBA game,” Cousins said last month.

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The NBA is just starting to flush out the poor contracts signed in an over-splurging summer of 2016, with the likes of Nicolas Batum, Evan Turner, and others receiving a handsome sum for little return in productivity. Yet one of the executives who spoke with Bleacher Report’s Ken Berger said Kevin Love’s four-year, $120 million extension with the Cleveland Cavaliers and John Wall’s four-year, $170 million extension with the Washington Wizards are “the two worst contracts in the league.”

Both contracts will pay these players a hefty sum of money into their mid-30s, but that is hardly the worst part of it. Love and Wall have been plagued by injuries during their respective careers, and while neither of them is currently enjoying the money from their extensions, they are currently out of action.

Love recently took back a presumed return date and is now noncommittal on a return, as the Cavs now boast the worst record in the league after LeBron James’ exit left them with a hollowed-out roster. Once a double-double machine, Love is no longer the board-inhaling, box-out bandit or the outlet pass king that made him a nightly triple-double threat as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Teams looking to fill roster spots temporarily are now allowed to add to on 10-day contracts. As noted by ESPN’s Bobby Marks, salaries for 10-day deals are based on a player’s years of service and will be either 10 days or three games, whichever is longer.

Current teams with open roster spots include the Warriors, Hornets, Pacers, Grizzlies, Heat, Thunder, Sixers, Suns, Raptors and Wizards. Teams are permitted to sign a player to two 10-day pacts and can sign him for the remainder of the season after the second one expires.

As Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) notes, luxury tax restrictions may prevent the Warriors, Heat, Thunder, Raptors, and Wizards from adding a 10-day player. Also, given Monday’s deadline to waive players before contracts become guaranteed. We examined five notable non-guaranteed contract situations that are worthy of monitoring. On Jan. 10, all contracts become fully guaranteed.