Raymond Felton to opt in

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July 6, 2015 | 8:49 am EDT Update
During the presser, Olshey fired back in fierce denial, saying: I spoke with LaMarcus… I actually asked him, “how would you like me to address this?” And he said, “Just say it’s not true. You and I know where we are right now.” It was misreported. It’s not true. I can tell you he has not informed anybody in this organization of his intention not to return to the team. How much of this was true? According to our source, some…depending on perspective. Both sides knew at that point that Aldridge was gone. Olshey was painted into a corner, having to defend something that he couldn’t tell the whole story about. The source also shed some light on official procedure. Usually if you’re a pro about it, you place a phone call to the team you’re leaving first then you call the other team and accept. Olshey hadn’t received that official phone call.
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Integrating any new major piece takes time, toil and patience. Just ask the Cleveland Cavaliers, who struggled to adapt to the arrivals of All-Stars LeBron James and Kevin Love early last season. Aldridge’s game, built on post-ups and mid-range jumpers, can at times lend itself to ball stoppage, a no-no in Popovich’s world. “He’s used to being the man, and he’s going to kind of get out of that mode,” one Eastern Conference coach said.
What emerges might be an amalgam of the “beautiful game” offense the Spurs rode to the 2014 NBA title and the Tim Duncan-centric offense that led to championships before that, this time with Aldridge at the core. “He’ll fit into their offense really well,” one Eastern Conference scout said. “He’ll be very good in what they do. It will be so easy for them it’s not even funny.”
After a while, though, he set up closer to the rim, and there, even tired and moving as if he were underwater, Okafor showed what the Sixers and everyone else around basketball saw from him at Duke and could see coming from him in the NBA: the balletic footwork in the lane, his touch returning, all 6-foot-11 and 270 pounds of him a smooth, synchronous machine. “My goal is to be the best,” Okafor said in an interview after he’d finished. “That’s my thing I want to achieve – the best that I can be, and hopefully that’s the best player in the NBA. I know it’s a long way to get to that point, but that’s what I want to get to.”
July 6, 2015 | 7:57 am EDT Update
The Serbian giant had an excellent season with Crvena Zvezda smashing several “haunted” records in the Euroleague. His name has been linked with many top European teams, like Barcelona and Efes, but his desire is different. As he says to Eurohoops.net: “I know about the prospects that exist in Europe, but I want to play in the NBA. I want to wait and if a good proposition comes from there I want to try and play in the NBA.”
July 6, 2015 | 5:07 am EDT Update
Willis Reed, the center on the only two championships the Knicks won in their history, likes the move Knicks president Phil Jackson made in reaching agreement with Robin Lopez to play his old position. Lopez, the twin brother of the Nets’ Brook, is known for his defense and that is what wins, said Reed, the Hall of Famer and former Knicks captain. “Let me put it this way,” Reed said. “I know one thing about Mr. Jackson, President Jackson, he knows his defense has got to get a lot better than it was. And I’m sure he’s working on that.”
July 6, 2015 | 1:43 am EDT Update

Reggie Jackson staying in Detroit

The Detroit Pistons have chosen their point guard of the future. Nearly five months after landing Reggie Jackson via trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Pistons came to terms with their 25-year-old restricted free agent on a five-year, $80 million deal on Sunday. The deal was confirmed to USA TODAY Sports by a person with knowledge of the terms who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it can’t be finalized until the free agency moratorium lifts on July 9.
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Meanwhile, the Mavericks remain in a strong position to re-sign guard J.J. Barea, who rejoined the team last season on a veteran’s minimum deal. Barea, like Terry, was a vital cog on the championship team in 2011. Barea has other options, most notably with the Miami Heat. But a source said that the Mavericks believe it is trending in a good direction and that Barea could be set to sign for the cap-room exception of $2.8-million and likely would get at least a two-year deal, with the possibility of a three-year agreement with a player option for that third season.
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This just in: They never had a shot at LaMarcus Aldridge, which insiders knew for months. Even if he talked to them, and six other teams, his likeliest destination all along was San Antonio. Coming of a 21-61 season, they had little more chance at getting DeAndre Jordan or Kevin Love to play alongside old Kobe Bryant, young Jordan Clarkson and unproven D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle.
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With summer league mini-camp set to begin on Monday morning, the Nuggets have finalized their coaching staff under new head coach Michael Malone, according to a source. It is a staff of five new faces, loaded with highly regarded basketball minds. Ed Pinckney comes to the Nuggets after serving under Tom Thibodeau for five years with the Chicago Bulls. Pinckney, best known for his role on the 1985 Villanova basketball team that upset Georgetown to win the national title, will be the lead assistant. The 52-year-old Pinckney has 12 years of coaching experience, including eight in the NBA with Minnesota and Chicago. Next is Chris Fleming, an up-and-coming basketball mind who is currently coach of the German national team. He also coached the Brose Baskets Bamberg in the German League from 2008-14. While he was there, his team was four-time German Cup champions, four-time German League champions, three-time German Supercup champions, and he was German League coach of the year in 2011.

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