He’s Gone: Kevin Love Traded by Wolves to Cleveland

Jerry Zgoda
Star Tribune
Displayed with permission from MCT Information Services

Seven years later, the Timberwolves on Saturday morning once again traded away an All-Star named Kevin.

Yes, finally.

This time around, it was the guy named Kevin Love, their unhappy three-time All-Star who officially was sent to Cleveland in a three-way trade that also included Philadelphia.

Long after the team traded former league MVP Kevin Garnett to Boston in 2007, the Wolves completed a trade that has been expected for weeks but couldn’t be finalized until Saturday because of NBA salary-cap rules.

The Wolves received No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins and 2013 No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett from the Cavaliers, and veteran forward Thaddeus Young from the Sixers while sending Love to Cleveland and Luc Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved to Philadelphia along with a 2015 top-10 protected first-round draft pick they’re getting from the Cavs.

The trade’s announcement was delayed until Saturday because an NBA rookie can’t be traded for 30 days after he signs a contract. The Wolves and Cavaliers needed Wiggins signed because his $5.5 million salary helped financially balance under those salary-cap rules a trade that sends Love and his whopping $15.7 million salary away.

Love was traded away before he could opt out of his current contract next summer and leave the Wolves without any compensation in return.

Love received that opt-out clause when he reluctantly accepted a four-year, $61-plus million contract extension in January 2012 instead of a maximum five-year, $80-plus million “designated player” deal he sought.

Wolves owner Glen Taylor and then-president of basketball operations David Kahn held firm, offering Love only the four-year contract because they presumably believed the NBA’s new supposedly restrictive labor agreement — hammered out two months early after a two-month player lockout — would allow the team to guarantee Love more money on his next contract extension than any other team.

It also kept the Wolves’ option open to offer that one singular designated-player contract allowed each team to promising young point guard Ricky Rubio. The Wolves, in theory, could then sign Love to a five-year extension in 2015 or 2016 while keeping Rubio long term with a five-year deal as well.

That was all in theory, of course.

When Love was presented by Kahn with the offer in the team’s Target Center training room late after a game one day, he inevitably crumpled it up and called it, well, no good.

Two days later, Love accepted the offer that included the chance to get out of his contract after just three seasons, in July 2015.

On the day Love signed, his brother Collin tweeted that the Wolves had just rented their best player for the next three years, implying his future in Minnesota was limited.

Turns out, the Wolves had rented Love for just the next two seasons.

They were forced to trade him Saturday when Love’s representatives made it clear to team executives in recent months that he planned to opt out of his contract next summer and sign with another team.

He presumably was willing to do so even if it meant forgoing a fifth year and an extra $26.5 million that only the Wolves could have paid him.

Love likely forced his way to Cleveland — where he will play alongside superstar LeBron James and pal Kyrie Irving — both because of that contract snub he never quite fully put behind him and because he lost faith in the franchise’s ability to build a winning team around him.

Selected fifth overall by Memphis and acquired by the Wolves in a 2008 draft-night trade, Love played six seasons for the Wolves. In that time, established himself as the NBA’s best rebounder and most feared outlet passer but never reached the playoffs with a team that for years failed at nearly every turn to put equal talent beside him.

He transformed himself from a pudgy undersized rookie at his position whom Wolves coach Randy Wittman implored not to shoot three-point shots into a chiseled three-time All Star who is now the NBA’s best “stretch” power forward.

Written off by some critics early in his career, Love now — just days shy of his 26th birthday — is also the league’s most unique big man, a relentless inside presence who shoots three-pointers like a guard.

Love missed the start of his second season because of a broken hand and played just 18 games during the 2012-13 season after he broke that same hand not once but twice. The first time, he said he did so while doing knuckle pushups during a workout on his own during preseason in October 2012.

He returned healthy last season and in 77 games averaged 26.1 points while shooting 37.5 percent from three-point range and 12.5 rebounds.

Love refused to address his future repeatedly last season, saying only “I want to win” wherever he plays in coming seasons.

But it became increasingly obvious as the weeks after last season turned to months that Love wanted out of Minnesota. A very-public weekend visit to Boston — one of several teams that sought to trade for him — in May seemed to announce his intentions even if he never publicly asked to be traded.

Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders preferred a trade that would have brought young but established NBA players in return. He approached a deal with Golden State that would have brought Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes and David Lee to Minnesota but the Warriors pulled Thompson from the package when advisor Jerry West advised Golden State owner Joe Lacob not to trade Thompson.

The Cavaliers seriously joined the pursuit after James declared himself a free agent and returned home to Ohio and Cleveland earlier this summer, despite their early public protests that they wouldn’t trade Wiggins.

Now Love joins a Cavaliers team poised to contend for an NBA title.

The Wolves, in return, receive in Wiggins and Bennett the No. 1 overall picks chosen in the last two NBA drafts and in Young a seven-year veteran who’s just 26 years old.

Wiggins and rookie guard Zach LaVine, the team’s own first-round pick this summer, give the Wolves two athletic 19-year-olds who each can vertically leap 44 inches or higher from basically a standing start.

Young gives them a proven player — if undersized — who can start at Love’s power-forward position.

USA Announces Final Roster for FIBA World Cup

K.C. Johnson
Chicago Tribune
Displayed with permission from MCT Information Services

Now, the only question becomes whether Derrick Rose reclaims his starting spot.

Rose, the starting point guard when USA Basketball captured gold at the 2010 World Championships in Turkey, was named one of 12 finalists for the FIBA World Cup that begins Aug. 30 in Spain.

USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo and Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced the roster overnight Friday. It contains Rose, Irving, DeMarcus Cousins, Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, DeMar DeRozan, Andre Drummond, Kenneth Faried, Rudy Gay, James Harden, Mason Plumlee and Klay Thompson.

“Since taking over the USA Basketball men’s national team program in 2005, this was without doubt the most difficult selection process we’ve gone through,” Colangelo said. “I can’t stress enough the outstanding effort and commitment that has been given by each finalist. I also want to make it clear that this is not just about talent; each player is incredibly talented and each player offered us unique skills. In the end, it was about assembling the best team, selecting guys who we felt would be able to best play the kind of style we envision this team playing.”

After sitting out Wednesday’s exhibition in New York because of fatigue and soreness, Rose came off the bench to spell Kyrie Irving in Friday’s exhibition victory over Puerto Rico at Madison Square Garden.

Team USA was scheduled to leave for Spain on Saturday afternoon and open preliminary play against Finland in Bilbao on Aug. 30.

Rose’s inclusion in the final roster followed a bumpy week in which Rose missed two practices and one game, which seemed to set off alarm bells for a player who has suffered two season-ending knee surgeries. But Rose all along privately expressed confidence, as did Bulls coach and Team USA assistant coach Tom Thibodeau.

“I think Derrick feels very confident,” Krzyzewski told reporters in New York following Friday’s game. “Thought he played great (Friday). And these guys want to play with him. Part of getting back is to be around a group of peers. These guys are peers who want (Rose)to be really good. Hopefully, that will help Derrick as he gets ready to keep participating in this, but also for the NBA season.”

The final cuts were former Bull Kyle Korver, Damian Lillard, Chandler Parsons and Gordon Hayward.

International Collaberation of Sports Scientists Create A Better Diet For Basketball Players

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As players in the NBA wind down after a hectic schedule of matches at the close of season, coaches and strategists will be looking ahead to work out how improve on performances for 2014/15.

Now an international collaboration of sports scientists, involving researchers at the University of Bath (UK) and Westmont College, California (US), have joined forces to develop new nutritional guidance that could help players preparing for big games.

Their research points towards how sodium bicarbonate ‘baking powder’, and carbohydrate supplements could be useful in countering the physical challenges players face playing competitive basketball. From dribbling, to lay-ups and slam-dunks, basketball requires frequent bursts of intense physical exertion, interspersed with active recovery. It’s thought that better nutritional guidance could improve their performance and offset fatigue over the course of a game.

In a recent research paper, published in the leading International Journal of Sport and Exercise Nutrition (IJSNEM), the researchers outline how much of what is known about the limitations to physical performance in basketball comes from lab-based tests, therefore is not reflective of the challenges of a real game.

Dr James Betts from the University’s of Bath’s Department of Health explains: “Almost all the nutritional advice available to intermittent or team-sports players in general, and to basketball players in particular, actually comes from laboratory-based studies using continuous fixed-intensity exercise on a treadmill or cycle ergometer.

“Through our study we questioned whether it is a fair assumption that these guidelines would truly apply to basketball players during the unique physiological challenges posed in their sport.”

The researchers argue that the current nutritional advice for players also fails to take into account that basketball players are far from average in size and weight. An average player in the NBA towers above most, at 6ft 7, and weighs over 220 pounds (around 15 stone).

Through their study, they enlisted 27 well-trained male basketball players, and monitored their vital stats and performance throughout a game and in high-intensity shuttle runs.

Their results showed how swallowing carbohydrate shortly before exercise caused hypoglycaemia – or low blood sugar – during the first quarter and resulted in poorer sprinting ability and lay-up shooting performance. However, sprint times were actually faster in the final quarter when either carbohydrate or sodium bicarbonate had been ingested before exercise, although neither directly resulted in any increased skill from players.

Lead-author, Professor Gregg Afman from Westmont College, added: “We looked at how nutritional practices, carbohydrate and sodium bicarbonate, may enhance basketball skill during a simulated game.

“We also validated the testing protocol to be a valid measure of the metabolic costs of a basketball game. Our results show that within the context of this design, ingestion of carbohydrate and/or sodium bicarbonate shortly before basketball has the potential to offset fatigue and thus improve aspects of performance late in exercise, although both supplements require balanced consideration of individual tolerance prior to competition to minimize acute negative side-effects.”

To access a copy of the paper, ‘Effect of carbohydrate or sodium bicarbonate ingestion on performance during a validated basketball simulation test’, published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism see http://opus.bath.ac.uk/39097/.

Under Armour Is Banking On Kevin Durant’s Global Reach

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August 21, 2014
Greg Price
Displayed with permission from International Business Times

Under Amour has dared to challenge Nike for a share of the $4.5 billion basketball shoe business.

The Maryland-based company reportedly offered Oklahoma City Thunder forward and reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant a new endorsement contract worth as much as $265 million or $285 million, ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported Thursday.

The deal includes stock and a community center to be built in Durant’s mother’s name.

Nike does have the right to match, and if it does, Durant legally can’t switch to the rising Under Armour. Rovell called the potential deal “the most intriguing” one he’s ever seen, with Under Armour looking to gain its first significant foothold in a market Nike has long dominated.

Forbes reports, Nike and its Jordan Brand subsidiary held a 92 percent market share last year, compared to 0.7 percent for Under Armour.

Durant, represented by rapper Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports, has been a client of Nike’s since he entered the league in 2007. Yet, since he hired Roc Nation last year, he’s already spurned beverage titans Gatorade for Talking Rain.

Under Amour hopes bucking the norm turns into a pattern for Durant and that it can continue to grow in a global sports apparel market expected to reach $178 billion in revenue by 2019, Forbes reported in March.

Under Armour has essentially gone all in on Durant, much the same way Adidas did when it signed Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose to a 13-year, $185 million deal in 2012. The gamble thus far hasn’t helped Adidas’s market share. Last year it had 5.5 percent, up only half a percent from 2012.

Rose has played a total of 10 NBA games the last two years due to serious injuries in both of his knees, and sales of his shoes were flat last year, at $40 million, when compared to 2012 figures.

Barring a similar string of crippling injuries, Durant is on pace for a Hall of Fame career and could be the NBA’s top endorser in the future. The Thunder are perennial contenders in the Western Conference, and last year Nike totaled $175 million off products tied to Durant and his signature trademark “KD.”

Durant could earn as much as $28.5 million per year from Under Armour, but he would still be second to Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, who’s expected to rake in roughly $30 million from Nike this year.

Though the NBA’s two top players can’t come close to legend Michael Jordan and the $100 million in royalties he earned from Nike in 2013.

Founded in 1996, Under Armour has gradually built up its brand and market share by designing and selling sports apparel, and then shifting to running and football shoe wear. Basketball would seem like the next logical step, but Nike’s stranglehold on the sport and its superstars has limited new challengers.

Under Armour started to lure top NBA players last year when it signed Golden State guard Stephen Curry, but the possible addition of Durant could be a tipping point.

“A bold move like KD, and overpaying him, I think is a nice strategic play for them,” said Matt Dzamba, director of Sports Marketing for Zambezi. “From a global perspective, any article you ever read about Under Armour it talks about their global growth. When you look at the global landscape there’s a saying that ‘if you want to go global, you go to China.’ The NBA guys there are superstars to the nth degree.”

And though losing a player of Durant’s caliber would hurt most companies, Nike has much more staying power and depth in its current roster of clients.

“This deal is far more important to Under Armour than Nike,” said Marc Edelman, sports law professor at the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College. “Nike already has a huge portfolio of elite athlete athletic endorsers, across all sports; Durant would be just one more.

“By contrast, for Under Armour this poses a unique opportunity to secure a premier athlete sponsorship. With the stock option component of this sponsorship, the deal can be compared with some of the deals Oiselle has made with elite women’s runners, albeit likely on a far larger monetary scale

Durant has worked hard the last seven years, molding Oklahoma City into one of the top teams in the West. He’s notched four scoring titles, been named to the All-Star team five straight times and took the franchise to its first NBA Finals since relocating from Seattle. But he will be an unrestricted free agent following the 2015-16 season, a small window of two years that Under Armour likely hasn’t overlooked.

James dominated the headlines last month after he announced his return to his home state of Ohio, and Durant could follow suit. He grew up in Seat Pleasant, Maryland, and the nearby Washington Wizards have been tabbed as early front-runners should Durant decide to bolt Oklahoma City. TV By The Numbers ranks Oklahoma City as the 45th largest television market in the country, drastically lower than No. 9 Washington. Durant could earn far more in local endorsements, on top of his salary and shoe deals, while playing in front of his hometown

“If the Wizards are a young, growing team, which they are, and they make sense from a basketball perspective, I think it can’t hurt him considering going home,” Dzamba said. “The irony of the situation is the two most likely suitors for him in two years will probably be a New York team, either Brooklyn or the Knicks, or the Lakers. Then you get into the argument it is a nice story, and it’s nice to have our big basketball guy playing in Under Armour’s market. But from a business perspective I would almost rather he play on the Lakers, which has great global visibility, a blue- chip brand, tradition and the built-in Chinese audience to kind of make him more of a global play.”

NBA Might Tweak Lottery Odds To Curb Tanking

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Brian Schmitz
Orlando Sentinel
Displayed with permission from MCT Information Services

It’s one thing for the NBA to relegate the Magic to persona non grata (no national TV love and unfavorable schedule). It’s quite another for the league to perhaps take away the one club in the bag that they’ve used since Dwight Howard departed.

If commissioner Adam Silver has his way, he’ll make changes to the draft-lottery system in an attempt to reward winning and curtail tanking, perhaps as early as this season.

Oh, yes, tanking — the scourge of our time.

It has to be stamped out, you know, for the sake of the children.

Silver wants to balance out the lottery, maybe awarding the bottom six teams with equal odds for a shot at No. 1. Maybe then a scenario can unfold like it did in … well, May.

The Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t try to tank last season, but surprisingly won the lottery despite just a 1.7-percent chance and the ninth-worst record (33-49).

All that did was allow the Cavs to pick Andrew Wiggins, trade him in a deal for All-Star Kevin Love and make LeBron James’ homecoming the league’s next feature attraction.

What exactly is Silver’s concern again?

Let’s see: It now has been 10 years since the team with the worst record won the lottery (Orlando claimed Howard at No. 1 in 2004).

Silver is overreacting — as are various critics — to last season’s full-out tanking tactics.

Several team-rebuilding projects and a hot-shot draft class just happened to meet at the intersection of Wiggins & Parker.

Even if it is utilizing the lottery format in place, no club wants to conduct a financially harmful campaign of strategic losing in the hope of landing a franchise star.

No team prefers to painstakingly rebuild with young players and invent mysterious injuries to key players late in the season, opening itself to charges of intentionally losing.

Does anyone really think the Magic, the Sixers or the Bucks want to be in this position?

Orlando is still in recovery after Howard forced a trade. Philadelphia basically fielded a D-League team last season. And what’s confusing is that Silver fiercely defended the Sixers against tanking accusations, even going as far as saying they were “doing the right thing.”

“It’s an insult to the entire league to suggest that these guys are going out on the floor and aren’t doing their very best to win games,” Silver said. “You look at any business, you look at short-term results and long-term results. And if somebody told you a business was going to operate on a quarter-by-quarter [basis], you’d say, ‘That’s not the way to operate a business.’ You’d say, ‘You need a strategy. You need to look at the long-term.’ And I think what this organization is doing is absolutely the right thing.

“What they’re doing is planning for the future and building an organization from the ground level up.”

OK, so the commish did a little public-relations dance in taking up for the Sixers.

Understandably, the Sixers, according to ESPN, are opposed to Silver now suggesting it’s time to change the lottery odds. The Magic also should be annoyed. Picking at No. 4, this time they just missed out on the top three marquee draft choices of Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joe

Toronto Raptors 2014-15 Schedule Summary

Toronto Raptors v Brooklyn Nets - Game Four

* Nine of Toronto’s first 12 games are at home. A big part of that is a stretch of seven consecutive games at the Air Canada Centre.

* The Raptors play four games on national TV south of the border. They play the Chicago Bulls on TNT (November 13th) and they have three games on ESPN (December 17 against the Brooklyn Nets and two games against the Charlotte Hornets. It’s a nice bump since the team didn’t have any regular season games on TNT or ESPN last season.

* The Raptors open their season at home against the Atlanta Hawks on October 29th.

* Some games to mark on your calendar are when Andrew Wiggins makes Toronto debut as member of Timberwolves on March 18, LeBron James visits the ACC on December 5 and March 4, Kevin Durant visits November 4 and February 8 against the San Antonio Spurs.

* Toronto has a nasty end to the season as six of their final eight games of the season will be on the road. Ouch. Even worse is that after the All-Star break, 18 of Toronto’s final 29 games are on the road. That means Toronto needs to get off to a strong start.

* Toronto’s last seven games of the season come against Eastern Conference teams. This could be huge when it comes to fighting for the Atlantic Division crown and/or playoff seeding.

* The Raptors have a six-game road trip that starts December 22 in Chicago. During that road trip they will play the Bulls, Clippers, Nuggets, Blazers, Warriors and Suns. That’s a nasty stretch for the team and not a fun way to spend the holidays. The “reward” is the team gets to play six games at home after the nasty road trip.

Raptors Looking To Add A D-League Affiliate For Next Season

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Time Warner Cable is reporting the Rochester RazorSharks basketball team is in talks with the Toronto Raptors about becoming their NBA Developmental League affiliate.

The RazorSharks were champions of the Premier Basketball League last season.

While Rochester is relatively close, if the Raptors truly want to become known as Canada’s team, it would make more sense for the Raptors to form a D-League team in London, Hamilton or Oshawa. It would result in the D-League affiliate being closer to Toronto and it would help drum up interest in the GTA.

Warriors’ Stephen Curry Not Backing Down To LeBron James

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Diamond Leung
San Jose Mercury News
Displayed with permission from MCT Information Services

Warriors guard Stephen Curry indicated Tuesday in an interview on The Dan Patrick Show that he believes he is the better offensive player compared to Cleveland’s LeBron James.

Asked by Patrick who is the better offensive player, Curry said he had never before been asked that question.

“Me,” Curry then said, chuckling. “Gotta be, right?”

Told the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James is the better scorer and that Curry is the better shooter, Curry said, “I don’t know because he obviously demands a lot attention on the floor, but I like to say I can distribute, get my teammates involved and be a playmaker as well.”

Patrick then asked Curry how he’d answer the question if in a game it’d be a contest of which player could score more points, and the 6-foot-3 point guard again expressed confidence.

“I’d like to say my shot would help me in that situation,” said Curry, who averaged a career-high 24 points per game and led the NBA with 261 made three-pointers. “If I get a double-team, I could hopefully shoot from farther out.”

James, a 6-foot-8 forward, was third in the NBA averaging 27.1 points per game last season for Miami.

Curry in an apparent response to the attention his comments received tweeted, “That’s funny. Anything is news these days lol.”

Curry told Patrick he was surprised James left the Heat to return to play for his hometown team in the Cavaliers, but added, “I’m sure there’s no better feeling than going home.”

The subject was raised to Curry on The Doug Gottlieb Show last week when asked if watching what James did would lead him to consider playing for his hometown Charlotte Hornets.

“I’ve always had thoughts about playing at home, what it would be like,” said Curry, who is in the middle of a four-year, $44 million contract extension with the Warriors. “My dad played there for 10 years, and people around the Greater Charlotte area in North Carolina have done a lot for my family growing up, so you always think about it.

“Right now I feel like I’ve got three years left on my deal, so this isn’t going to be an issue for me for a while. I love the Bay Area and where we are as a team trying to win a championship, and that’s what it’s all about. Of course everybody dreams about or thinks about what it’s going to be like to play at home. Obviously if that opportunity comes along it’s a different discussion.”

Steve Ballmer Officially Becomes New Los Angeles Clippers Owner

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Anthony Riccobono
Displayed with permission from International Business Times

After months of legal disputes, the Los Angeles Clippers have a new owner, as former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer officially took control of the team Tuesday. The sale of the team by Shelly Sterling on behalf of the Sterling Family Trust was confirmed by a California court.

“The transaction in which Steve Ballmer purchased the Los Angeles Clippers closed today following the entry of an order by a California court confirming the authority of Shelly Sterling, on behalf of the Sterling Family Trust, to sell the team,” the NBA said in a statement.

“The NBA Board of Governors previously approved the sale and Ballmer is now the Clippers governor.”

The deal is reportedly worth $2 billion. The Clippers were put up for sale following the release of racist comments made by then-owner Donald Sterling in April. Days later, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling from the league, and fined him $2.5 million.

Toronto Raptors Could Use Stretch Provision On Landry Fields

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With news leaking today that the Toronto Raptors signed Jordan Hamilton the current roster has 16 players with guaranteed contracts for the upcoming season.

With the maximum roster size being 15 that means one player won’t be with the Raptors come opening night.

Landry Fields has struggled to find his way onto the court for a variety of reasons, and, even when he did last season, he lacked the confidence in his ability to hit an open jumper. Fields shot 40% from the field while passing on lots of open looks. That meant opposing teams were able to sag off of him and could easily double another Raptor.

Toronto now has a glut of wing players under contract in DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, James Johnson, Jordan Hamilton, Landry Fields, and Bruno Caboclo.

It gets even tougher for Fields to crack the rotation when you factor in Lou Williams and Greivis Vasquez can also play minutes as shooting guard.

Throw into the mix that Fields had a Real Plus Minus of 0.87 in just over 300 total minutes last season and it’s clear he’s not worth $8.5 million this season.

Enter the infamous stretch provision that’s part of the NBA’s CBA. This would allow Fields to be removed from the roster while spreading out his contract over multiple seasons to help with their salary cap.

Or, it’s possible Toronto is okay absorbing his bad contract this season because of what it would open in cap space this summer. If that’s the case, it’s likely Toronto has a trade brewing to move multiple players while bringing less players back.

They could also move Landry or another player for a draft pick.

Drake Gets Slap On Wrist From NBA

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Reports leaked this weekend that the NBA has fined the Toronto Raptors for tampering after rapper Drake let Kevin Durant know he was wanted in Canada.

Drake was performing at a concert in Toronto that Durant was attending and he got a little carried away and begged the crowd to show Durant what it would be like if he came to play for the Raptors, causing a loud ovation.

The funny thing is this “ovation” pales in comparison to what Durant gets every game while playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

ESPN.com reported the fine was for a paltry $25,000.

Below is a video clip of what happened during the concert.

Cleveland Cavaliers Taking A Big Risk Trading Andrew Wiggins For Kevin Love

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ESPN is reporting the Cleveland Cavaliers are trading Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a 2015 first round picks to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love.

Since Wiggins can’t be traded officially until August 23rd, until then it’s just a “handshake agreement” between the two franchises.

While adding Love looks great, it’s a move the Cavaliers may soon regret.

Sure, Love led the NBA in double-doubles last season with 65 in only 77 games.

According to ESPN Stats, “A big three of LeBron James with Kyrie Irving and Love could be the best trio in the NBA. According to win shares, which measures the estimated number of wins a player contributes to his team’s total, those three combined for 36.9 last season. That is more than any trio of teammates, and more than the win totals of 11 NBA teams last season.”

By any statistical measure, it appears are first blush that adding Love is a no-brainer and a great move by the Cavs.

But adding Love creates more holes on Cleveland’s roster.

Cleveland still lacks a rim protector and now they lack depth on the wing to give LeBron James the rest he wanted.

Mike Miller may be able to pick up some of those minutes, but Miller hasn’t had the best track record in regards to staying healthy during the twilight of his career. Relying on a trio of Miller, Dion Waiters and LeBron James to play heavy minutes could prove to be a recipe for disaster.

Kyrie Irving averaged 17.4 field goal attempts per game last season while Love averaged 18.5. Both players have been alpha dogs their entire collegiate and NBA careers and it’s a legitimate question if they can give up touches or being the focus of an offense.

The fact Cleveland gave up so quickly on their last two first overall picks has to be worrisome.

Sure, Bennett might have had a hard time cracking this rotation, but he looked like a much-improved player during summer league in Las Vegas. If it was a result of offseason surgery to help deal with breathing issues then the Cavs clearly sold low and were too inpatient to wait to see his value rise.

Losing Wiggins will almost certainly hurt. He could have stepped in during training camp and provided the perfect 1-2 punch with James on the wing. Sure, his jumper needs work, but he showed in Las Vegas that by being aggressive attacking the rim he could draw fouls and get easy points.

Wiggins also would have taken the burden off James on the defensive end by the end of his rookie season. Having two defensive dynamos in James and Wiggins would have been scary for the rest of the NBA.

But, Love is the teammate James wanted so Love ended up in Cleveland.

Time will tell if this was a good move or not. Personally, I would have kept Wiggins if I was running the Cavaliers.

Love Trade To Cavaliers Poses Big Hurdle For Bulls

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K.C. Johnson
Chicago Tribune
Displayed with permission from MCT Information Services

The Chicago Bulls have a new Big Three with which to contend.

Yahoo Sports reported the Timberwolves and Cavaliers have an agreement in place for All-Star forward Kevin Love to join LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland. The Cavaliers, long considered the front-runner to land Love, can’t trade Andrew Wiggins until Aug. 23 but will send the No. 1 overall pick, last year’s No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett and a protected first-round pick in 2015 to Minnesota.

Having battled the Heat’s Big Three of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh until injuries forced him to miss the last three postseasons, Derrick Rose addressed the possibility of the Cavaliers acquiring Love last week.

“For us, I don’t think it will change anything,” Rose said. “We know that no matter who we play that we have a legit chance to beat anyone in the league. But we also know it’s not going to be easy at all because guys are getting better and guys are going to different teams. That’s why we’re in the NBA and why we love this game, for the challenge.”

The Bulls’ only formal offer to the Timberwolves came before the NBA draft in June when they possessed assets in Carlos Boozer’s expiring contract, two first-round picks and close to $4 million in non-guaranteed deals that they later lost.

Once free agency began, the Bulls’ attention turned to landing Carmelo Anthony and then the plan they succeeded on: filling the roster with depth in Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic, Doug McDermott, Aaron Brooks and the re-signing of Kirk Hinrich. The Bulls still plan to add a wing and big man via veteran’s minimum exceptions before training camp begins.

The Bulls maintained a dialogue with the Timberwolves throughout the offseason. But when the Cavaliers signaled a willingness to deal Wiggins, management concluded any offer to beat Cleveland’s would necessitate gutting the team it had assembled this offseason.

“We wanted to create a deeper team,” general manager Gar Forman said at Gasol’s and Mirotic’s introduction July 18. “We wanted to increase our skill level and ability to shoot from the perimeter. And of course Derrick’s health was a big part of this offseason. It’s been terrific watching Derrick play the last month or two. He looks good.

“We have a chance to have as deep and as good a frontline as there is in the NBA. Pau is a proven veteran, a professional with championship experience. Nikola and Doug can really shoot it.”

Let the rivalry begin.

Tim Hardaway ‘Ecstatic’ To Join Stan Van Gundy’s Staff With Detroit Pistons

1997 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 4: Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat

Barry Jackson
The Miami Herald
Displayed with permission from MCT Information Services

Tim Hardaway, who combined with Alonzo Mourning to help lead the Miami Heat to four consecutive Atlantic Division titles and was at the epicenter of the compelling Heat-Knicks rivalry during that era, said Thursday he is leaving his job as a Heat scout to become an assistant coach on Stan Van Gundy’s staff in Detroit.

“I’m ecstatic,” he said by telephone. “It’s something I wanted to do. It’s all about teaching. I’m good at teaching and understanding players.”

And he was comfortable with Van Gundy, who was an assistant coach during Hardaway’s time with the Heat. “Stan and I have great rapport,” Hardaway said. “(Heat president) Pat Riley said it’s a great thing for me and he’s happy for me.”

Hardaway — who will join Brendan Malone, Bob Beyer, Charles Klask and former Heat forward Malik Allen on Van Gundy’s staff — said a coaching job on Erik Spoelstra’s staff wasn’t realistic because “there are guys before me here and I didn’t want to take anything from them.”

The Heat acquired Hardaway from Golden State in a midseason trade in 1995-96, and Hardaway and Mourning — over the next 5 { seasons — led the Heat to its most success as a franchise up to that point, though kidney disease sidelined Mourning for most of Hardaway’s final season with the team.

Hardaway, 47, was first-team All-NBA in 1996-97 and fourth in MVP balloting. The Heat traded Hardaway to Dallas for a second-round pick in August 2001, and he later finished out his career with Denver and Indiana.

He worked as a scout and community and corporate liaison for the Heat for the past three years, and he was given more scouting duties than ever before this past season.

“It’s going to be hard, going to be sad (to leave the Heat),” he said. “There will always be a big place in my heart for the Heat, Micky Arison, Pat Riley. It’s bittersweet.”

Hardaway — whose son Tim Jr. plays for the Knicks — also used the word “bittersweet” to describe Friday’s Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, which he will attend in Springfield, Mass.

Mourning and Mitch Richmond, Hardaway’s close friends and former teammates, will be inducted Friday, and Hardaway — who was a finalist — hoped to be inducted as well. (Richmond and Hardaway played together in Golden State.)

“You have to wait your turn,” Hardaway said. “You’ve got to be optimistic (about being inducted eventually).”