The interplay between Smith and the Philips Arena crowd was lively throughout the night. Smith, an Atlanta native who played his first nine NBA seasons with the Hawks, was booed loudly whenever he touched the ball. The catcalls grew louder in the third quarter, after Smith drained a 3-pointer that rattled around the rim several times before dropping in. Smith then shushed the crowd by placing his finger over his lips as the Hawks called timeout. “I mean, those fans are fickle, very fickle and bandwagoners,” Smith said. “It really doesn’t mean anything to me.”
August 31, 2015 | 5:04 pm EDT Update
Free-agent guard Marcelo Huertas – one of the Euroleague’s most accomplished playmakers – has agreed to a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Huertas, 32, could give the Lakers an experienced pick-and-roll point guard to complement the development of No. 2 overall pick D’Angelo Russell. Huertas would be competing in a backcourt that also includes Jordan Clarkson, Lou Williams and star Kobe Bryant.
In case you needed a reminder, Hassan Whiteside is really, really tall. Standing on his tippy toes, the Miami Heat center proved his point by reaching a standard 10-foot-tall basketball rim with his outstretched arms on a photo posted to his Instagram account. Standing 7′-1″ and with a 7′-7″ wingspan, Whiteside posted a 31.5 inch max vertical leap at the NBA Combine years ago, though he clearly doesn’t need it in this picture. Any chance we’ll see him at the Dunk Contest at the next All-Star Weekend?
August 31, 2015 | 4:58 pm EDT Update
Bobby Marks: Right now @Cleveland Cavaliers still has the advantage in the TT talks, even if he signed the QO before TC, Bird rights + Best team in East outweigh a lot.
Milwaukee’s top development official and its chief financial officer will publicly present details Monday of the final piece of a proposed $500 million funding puzzle to build a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks and help keep the NBA franchise in the city. Development Commissioner Rocky Marcoux will lay out how the city plans to generate its $47 million share of public funding, while Comptroller Martin Matson will give his fiscal analysis during an afternoon hearing with city leaders.
Lillard on Monday shared the song “Heat Wave” on his Soundcloud page, the first track from his debut EP, which is set to come out on Sept. 21. Lillard first introduced the basketball world to his love of rap music with the Instagram movement #4BarFriday, which encouraged amateur rappers to share their brief songs weekly on social media. He’s released six songs during the offseason and announced in early August that he had a completed rap album on the way.
August 31, 2015 | 3:42 pm EDT Update
Tim Kawakami: I’ve been skeptical about Warriors’ ability to get $26M or so under the cap-line next July in any theoretical Kevin Durant pursuit, and And I’m still not sure they can do it. But league people emphasize: 1) Never under-estimate the aggressiveness of Lacob/Myers/West. And due to huge increases to cap # this year & next, there’ll be many teams set up to absorb huge salary chunks if GSWs start maneuvering. That does NOT mean anybody thinks the Warriors are leaders in the Durant chase. Just means league people figure they’ll be creative.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he has had preliminary contract talks with the agents for forwards Tyler Zeller and Jared Sullinger. Both players are eligible to be offered extensions prior to the Oct. 31 deadline, though it remains unclear whether the Celtics will choose that route for either. “Obviously, those are two guys that we like moving forward,” Ainge said. “So, yeah, there will be more discussions with both of them, probably during the month of October.”
Forward Perry Jones, who was acquired in a trade with the Thunder in July, is also eligible for an extension. But he is not a lock to make the final roster this fall. Zeller, 25, appears the most likely of the three to be in line for an extension. The 7-footer averaged 10.2 points and 5.7 rebounds last season and shot a team-high 54.9 percent from the field. Zeller’s win share of 6.5 — a metric that measures the amount of victories contributed by a player — was the highest on the team.
Boston has agreed to nonguaranteed deals with guards Coty Clarke (Arkansas), Corey Walden (Eastern Kentucky), and Levi Randolph (Alabama), and forward Malcolm Miller (Holy Cross). All four players will take part in training camp, bringing the preseason roster to its maximum of 20 players. The Celtics will hold practices in Waltham during the last week of September before leaving for Europe Oct. 2. They will face Olimpia Milano in Milan Oct. 6 and Real Madrid in Madrid Oct. 8. “I think it can help [team chemistry],” Ainge said of the trip.
Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal squashed whatever beef was lingering from their split in 2004 on the latest episode of O’Neal’s The Big Podcast, which was released Monday. O’Neal introduces Bryant as “the greatest Laker ever,” and starts the show by clearing the air. “I just want people to know that I don’t hate you. I know you don’t hate me. I called it today a ‘work beef,’ is what we had. I was young, you was young. As I look at it, we won three out of four so I don’t really think a lot was done wrong. I just wanted to clear the air and let everybody know that no, I don’t hate you. We had a lot of disagreements, we had a lot of arguments, but I think it both fueled us — and I was thinking back the other day why Phil Jackson never really jumped in, because he knew that you say something about me, I get pissed off, I say something about you and you get pissed off, and again it works.”
One Trail Blazer has already punched his ticket to the 2016 Olympics as Al-Farouq Aminu helped Nigeria qualify for next year’s games in Brazil by winning AfroBasket in Tunisia on Sunday. This week Blazers coaches Jay Triano and David Vanterpool will try earn a spot in the Olympics starting Tuesday when they lead Canada into the FIBA Americas Championship in Mexico City. The Canadian roster features nine NBA players, including former No. 1 overall picks from Minnesota, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, as well as Toronto’s Cory Joseph, Boston’s Kelly Olynyk, Philadelphia’s Nik Stauskas and the Lakers’ Robert Sacre.
The Celtics and the NBA Development League’s Maine Red Claws have extended their exclusive affiliation through the 2017-18 season. The teams have had a partnership since the Red Claws’ opening season in 2009-10, and in 2012 the Celtics became Maine’s lone affiliate and took over its basketball operations. Last season, the Celtics assigned a total of six players to the Red Claws, including former first-round picks James Young and Marcus Smart.
With their surge to a NBA title and guard who earned a regular season MVP award, a number of Warriors players have been involved in the Silicon Valley culture that their team attracts to games and will likely continue to bring in when they move to their new arena in San Francisco. “You’ll see Larry Ellison, you’ll see Jack Dorsey, you’ll see Adam Bain,” said Harrison Barnes, listing off the names of the co-founder of Oracle and Twitter executives. “You’ll see all these guys courtside that they’re walking down the street people might not say ‘oh my god that’s so-and-so’ but if you know who they are and you know what they do, there’s obviously well-respected in their fields.”
Jordan Fliegel, the co-founder of CoachUp said that there were a million reasons they partnered with Curry – after all he’s marketable on his own personality and what seems like a sincere dedication to the company. But playing in the Bay Area is helpful. “I think as we go, if we need introductions to various people, Stephen’s offered to help however he can,” Fliegel said. “He’s a huge part of our team.” Curry is also involved in another company that’s “in the social media space that talks about athletes and fan engagement, especially on the professional level,” he said, that will hopefully be coming out in the next year. His agent, Jeff Austin, said that playing in the Bay Area definitely influenced the opportunities sent his way, even as a high-profile player.
August 31, 2015 | 1:35 pm EDT Update
David Pick: Source: Utah Jazz looking for point-guard. Could be Marcelinho Huertas.