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July 28, 2014 | 08:25 PM ET Update

As for the occupants of those seats in EnergySolutions Arena, Hayward also feels considerable responsibility to them. But that feeling has more to do with "25-57" than "$63 million." He’s willing to be judged by the Jazz’s record going forward, but not necessarily by the numbers that follow the dollar sign. "For me, I don’t think I have to live up to anything now," he said. "They paid me what they wanted to pay me, and let’s go from there." Salt Lake Tribune

July 28, 2014 | 06:59 PM ET Update

The Spurs have sent Manu Ginobili a letter denying permission to participate in the FIBA Basketball World Cup later this summer, Express-News columnist Buck Harvey reported on Monday. Spurs general manager R.C. Buford cited an eight-week recovery span for the injury, which was discovered during exit physicals after the team crushed Miami in the Finals to clinch their fifth championship. With the Spurs playing their last game on June 15, that would have come perilously close to the start of the World Cup, which runs from Aug. 30 through Sept 14 in Spain. San Antonio Express-News

The Lakers officially increased their roster to 12 on Monday with the re-signing of forward Wesley Johnson. "I’m happy to welcome Wesley back to our team and am excited to see him develop further after taking such great strides last season," said General Manager Mitch Kupchak in a statement. "Wesley possesses elite athleticism, and has the potential to develop into an excellent defender." Although the team didn't release terms of Johnson's contract, it's thought to be for one year at the $981,084 minimum. Los Angeles Times

So to you this is beyond just a cautionary tale; it's time to learn because really situations like yours have been going on in sports too long. Walker: Yeah, but the thing is, we are already in that mindset. Take, for example, I remember when I started going through my situation, I'm buying a house, I'm buying a Maybach -- $350,000 to $400,000 for a car. That's a home! But at least [the] house, it holds some value and I can maybe make some money back off of it. The Maybach, once I drive it off the lot, is worth about $250,000 [Walker laughs]. That's $100,000 gone. Money I can't ever get back. So it's just the small things about us being educated on that we don't really think about. I think we are being told but we are competitive and always trying to outdo each other. And those things add up to us making these bad decisions. I been through it all, I've seen it all. I'm kinda the expert in the field; I know how this goes. ESPN.com

Does it hurt to find out who your friends aren't? Walker: It hurts because I'm for the most part genuine. I consider myself to be a loyal person, especially when it comes to a friend. I look at friendship as a very serious thing, so yes, it hurt. A lot of close friends of mine, a lot of people in the documentary, I've questioned them at times. Just the fact of being pure as far as, like, a casual phone call. Because when I was in the league, the phone calls came every day, every other day, all of the time. You know, "What we doing? We kicking it?" and that's disheartening sometimes, but those are the things you have to deal with as an individual and as a person when you look at yourself in the mirror and say, "God damn, ain't nobody true." ESPN.com

July 28, 2014 | 06:22 PM ET Update

Shelly Sterling -- and the Los Angeles Clippers -- scored a clean sweep over Donald Sterling on Monday when a California judge issued a preliminary ruling that paves the way for the $2 billion sale of the team. Judge Michael Levanas handed down an "oral tentative statement decision" that affirmed Shelly Sterling had the authority to reach an agreement in May to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who has set an Aug. 15 deadline to complete the deal. The judge said he would review objections before issuing a written ruling. USA Today Sports

 

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS IN CLIPPERS HISTORY

Modern-day Clippers like Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are among the all-time best players in franchise history.

   
July 28, 2014 | 05:59 PM ET Update

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed free agent forward Wesley Johnson, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not released. “I’m happy to welcome Wesley back to our team and am excited to see him develop further after taking such great strides last season,” said Kupchak. “Wesley possesses elite athleticism, and has the potential to develop into an excellent defender.” NBA.com

Adam Zagoria: Emmanuel Mudiay has been cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse but still plans to play overseas for financial reasons, source tells @SNYtv. Mudiay said he would skip SMU and play overseas for financial reasons, not because of academics at Prime Prep. Reportedly signed for $1.2M. Mudiay is still expected to be a top-5 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft & will now get paid this year as opposed to risking his health in college Twitter @AdamZagoria

BUZZ METER: WHO'S TRENDING IN THE NBA TWITTERSPHERE?

Who's the man of the minute in the NBA Twittersphere? Find out here who's getting the most mentions at any given moment.

   
July 28, 2014 | 05:12 PM ET Update

Shortly after 1 p.m., James got the message out on social media (he also tweeted it) that he has chosen to wear No. 23 next season and, within minutes, Adidas officials confirmed they were setting up all 20 printing machines at the company's Indianapolis licensing unit to crank out James replica jerseys and T-shirts bearing the player's name and number. Local Adidas officials had prepared for James to pick either No. 6, which he wore in Miami; No. 23, which he had worn when he was first drafted by Cleveland; or No. 32, since there was talk that James would wear that in tribute to Magic Johnson. On Sunday, local Adidas workers quickly put their plan into place to print items with the No. 23. Indianapolis Business Journal

The presses in Indianapolis were running off James gear by 6 p.m. Normally, this time of year, the Indianapolis Adidas plant would be printing about six different runs, including general NBA merchandise, college football and Major League Soccer items. In addition to those things, local plant officials said items for two international soccer teams—Argentina and Germany—and World Cup soccer items had to be set aside to focus on James shirts and jerseys. Indianapolis Business Journal

This week marked the first time the entire Indianapolis plant was dedicated to making items of a single player since Brett Favre joined the Minnesota Vikings in 2009. “Normally, when we dedicate our presses to one thing, it’s an event like the Stanley Cup or World Cup,” said Blake Lundberg, who oversees operations at Adidas’ facility off Post Road. Indianapolis Business Journal

Michael Jordan has no problem with LeBron James returning to No. 23 in his second stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers. "I'm cool with it,'' Jordan told ESPN.com via text message Monday morning. "I don't own a number.'' Jordan, who now owns the Charlotte Hornets, wore No. 23 during his legendary playing career. James idolized Jordan growing up and wore No. 23 during his first seven seasons with the Cavaliers. But after leaving Cleveland and joining the Miami Heat four years ago, James switched to No. 6, saying it was as a tribute to Jordan. He announced he would change numbers in November of 2009, his last season in Cleveland. ESPN.com

Shawn Marion salutes the Mavericks and the city of Dallas on the new track “I’m A Champion”, featuring T-Pain, Dorrough and Young Cash. The single is part of the upcoming album, Full Court Press, Vol. 1, which will feature verses by NBA players Iman Shumpert, Stephen Jackson and Lou Williams, among others. Full Court Press, Vol. 1 will have 10 tracks, including “Welcome to NY” with Iman Shumpert & Ma$e, “Winning Streak” with Twista, Willie Taylor & Carlos Boozer, “Go Hard” featuring Bun B & Stephen Jackson, “We Hoopin’ (Yeah Boy)” with Charlie Villanueva & Royce Da 5’9, and “Airtime” featuring Future, Sean Garrett, Rocko & Lou Williams. Full Court Press, Vol.1 will be released this fall, with proceeds benefitting the ‘nPlay Foundation in its mission to battle childhood obesity. SLAM

COMMERCIALS: ALL DURANT, ALL THE TIME

Kevin Durant has come second in the draft and MVP votings, but nobody in the NBA can touch him nowadays when it comes to pitching products - whether it's shoes, video games or soft drinks. He leads our Commercials Rankings and No. 2 (Kobe Bryant) is not even close.

   
July 28, 2014 | 04:47 PM ET Update

"I'm not retired — I'm just coaching," World Peace told King. "People think because I coach that I'm retired. I'm not retired. I'm just coaching." When King asked whether World Peace still wants to play, the 15-year veteran immediately replied, "Absolutely." "I think because of last year, people think I'm still hurt," said World Peace, who played only 388 minutes for New York due in part to struggles with a strained left knee — the same knee in which he suffered a tear to the lateral meniscus during his final season with the Los Angeles Lakers, only to return, somewhat shockingly, less than two weeks after undergoing surgery. I'm not hurt. I got hurt a year ago, a year and a half ago," he said. "Just like anybody else, if they got hurt a year and a half ago, they'd heal. Two years, I'm healthy." Yahoo! Sports

Zach LaVine is really athletic. That much was already known when the Minnesota Timberwolves’ first-round draft pick and former UCLA star took the court for a dunk contest at the Seattle Pro Am this weekend. Still, LaVine’s aerial display as he threw down a series of acrobatic dunks was a sight to behold. Luckily for us, the basketball website Hoopmixtape.com was on hand to document the 19-year-old’s awesome performance. NESN.com

SOCIAL MEDIA VIDEOS: THE BEST OF VINE AND INSTAGRAM

Adding to our social media tools, you can now watch here all the videos NBA players are posting online – including those by Nate Robinson, Iman Shumpert and JR Smith, of course.

   
July 28, 2014 | 03:41 PM ET Update

The Minnesota Timberwolves have expressed interest in Philadelphia 76ers power forward Thaddeus Young as a potential replacement for Kevin Love, according to sources close to the situation. Sources told ESPN.com that the Wolves, while continuing to discuss trade proposals that would send Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers, have been exploring their options for acquiring Young from the Sixers, either through a separate transaction or as part of an expanded Love trade. ESPN.com

Sources say that the Wolves, at present, are still higher on a Cleveland trade package centered on Wiggins than any other offer on the table for Love. Sources say that the Cavaliers, meanwhile, are increasingly confident about their chances of landing Love and firmly believe they are progressing toward a trade framework that the Timberwolves will accept in exchange for the All-Star power forward, which would enable Cleveland to pair him with Olympic teammate James. ESPN.com

ESPN.com reported earlier this month that James' short-term contract with the Cavs, which includes a player option to return to free agency next summer and spans only two seasons, would not dissuade Love from giving Cleveland such a commitment. James' arrival, sources said, immediately put the Cavaliers at the same level as Chicago and Golden State on Love's wish list. ESPN.com

“I’ve been hearing from a few teams, but it’s not anything that I’m jumping at right now,” said Earl Clark. “It’s been different, man. I’ve been a free agent a few times and this summer seems like it’s going in slow motion. I’m just giving it time and going through the process. I just want the right situation and the opportunity to play. That’s all I want – the opportunity to get out there, play, help the team and prove myself again.” Basketball Insiders

LeBron James is coming back, not only to Cleveland but back into the public's favor. According to a poll taken this month by California-based E-Poll, Americans like James more than they ever have since he made the "Decision" to leave the Cavaliers for the Miami Heat four years ago. The company takes the opinions of 1,100 people, ages 13 and up that reflect a representative sampling of the U.S. population, in a poll and uses that data to give the more than 8,000 celebrities in its database an E-Score ranging from 0 to 100, with 100 being the most known, liked and appealing. This month, James scored an 80, up from 67 just a year before. In June 2010, James had an E-Score of 84, but after "The Decision" that number fell to 47. ESPN.com

 

SOCIAL MEDIA PICTURES: PHOTOS PLAYERS POST

Just like everybody else, NBA players are spending more and more time on social media sites and photo-sharing services. Check all the pictures they are posting on Instagram, Twitter and more here.

   
July 28, 2014 | 01:30 PM ET Update

Edy Tavares will “very likely” return to Spain for another ACB League season, according to a person familiar with situation. The Hawks’ second-round draft pick (No. 43 overall) will play under season for Gran Canaria to continue his development. The 7-foot-3, 260-pound Tavares averaged 6.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 20.7 minutes last season in Spain. Tavares played six games with the Hawks’ Las Vegas Summer League entry this month. He averaged 6.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 16.8 minutes. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Making the transition from Europe to the NBA has proven to be a difficult adjustment for some players. Bojan Bogdanovic fully understands that. Still, the rookie forward feels like he can come in and contribute right away for the Brooklyn Nets in 2014-15. “It’s not gonna be easy,” Bogdanovic told reporters Monday during his introductory news conference at the team’s practice facility. “I have to make some adjustments -- especially because there’s a lot of games, a lot more than in Europe. But I am ready, and I think I can help the team immediately. ESPN.com

Is it possible that the Lakers are waiting for Doc Rivers to decide whether he will leave the Clippers as the Donald Sterling saga continues to unfold? “I have a hard time really believing that,” Mannix said. “I know that rumor’s been kind of floating out there, but Doc Rivers, even with Donald Sterling as an owner, is in a very advantageous position with the Clippers. They’re basically a championship-ready team right now that he has effectively total control of. If he went over to the Lakers, he might be a well-paid head coach, but that’s all he would be. He’s not getting personnel control from Jim Buss or from Mitch Kupchak. So I understand Doc’s feelings on Donald Sterling. Those feelings are shared by a lot of people, (including the players). But I still have a hard time believing that Doc would walk way – nor do I really believe that the Clippers would let him out of his contract to go coach the Lakers.” CBSSports.com

Hours from NBA players voting for a new union executive director, the National Basketball Players Association's executive committee had a strong message to deliver. The search to replace Billy Hunter, who has fired during All-Star weekend in Houston in 2013, was thorough, according to NBPA secretary-treasurer James Jones "The search process was extremely efficient, extremely thorough and timely," Jones told USA TODAY Sports. "Not only did we have an expanded search committee input and involvement, we had had the opportunity for our players to engage in the interviews with a high-level of focus. USA Today Sports

 

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS IN HORNETS HISTORY

Only two Pelicans make a list where perennial All-Star Chris Paul is No. 1.

   
July 28, 2014 | 10:04 AM ET Update

Sources say there continues to be ongoing dialogue towards a deal and there is some sense that the Suns might increase their offer slightly; there has also been talk that Bledsoe’s camp might agree to a short-term deal that gets Bledsoe into free agency again inside the next three seasons. Basketball Insiders

Much like Bledsoe, Monroe finds himself without a market. Sources close to the process say there continues to be ongoing dialogue with the Pistons and that they do want to ink Monroe to a new deal. The problem for the Pistons is that Monroe and his camp are not overly thrilled with the idea of signing a long-term deal at what they perceive to be less than market valuation. Basketball Insiders

 

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS IN LAKERS HISTORY

Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson headline a fantastic list that includes up to 33 NBA champions.

   
July 28, 2014 | 08:36 AM ET Update

Germany National Team head coach Emir Mutapcic hopes to have Tibor Pleiss available for Eurobasket QR. Mutapcic said that Pleiss’ agent told the Federation that the big man is close to signing in the NBA. “We hope to have him. His agent told us that Pleiss is close to signing in the NBA” said Mutapcic. Sportando

Whether the winning asset is Andrew Wiggins, who will earn $5.5 million next season, or Doug McDermott, whose first-year salary will fall somewhere in the $2 million range, the 30-day moratorium on both contracts must first be honored. And the rest of the league, at this stage, has been suitably puzzled. “Perhaps the dollar amounts have something to do with it — that’s all I can think,” said one league official. “It sounds like Cleveland has the edge here, but I don’t think anyone really even knows right now.” Boston Herald

Bledsoe, who is considered the best available talent on the free-agency market, believed the Suns are using restricted free-agency against him, preventing other teams to offer him a lucrative deal. "First off I'm going to let my agent handle it," Bledsoe told WTVM of Birmingham, Alaba via Sporting News. "I can understand the Phoenix Suns are using a restricted free agent against me. But I understand that." TravelersToday.com

Could Kevin Garnett be with the Brooklyn Nets beyond his playing career? One person tied in to the organization thinks so. In an interview released Saturday with CLNS Radio, Nets play-by-play announcer Ian Eagle sees Garnett having a role in the Nets organization after his retirement. "This could be just the start of a long-term relationship," Eagle said. "Kevin's got a lot of interests outside of just playing basketball, as we know, and I think he saw Brooklyn as an opportunity to try to capitalize on a number of those interests. When the smoke clears, I wouldn't be surprised if Kevin Garnett has some role moving forward beyond his basketball-playing years, whether it's within the Nets organization, whether it's with ownership, whether it's within the marketing aspect of this team, whether it's just within Brooklyn. That could be something to keep an eye on down the road. Kevin sees a bigger picture here than just playing one more year with the Nets." The Brooklyn Game

Jan Vesely should fly this week to Istanbul to have the physicals with Fenerbahce, according to sources. The Czech forward is in his homeland and is close to joining Fenerbahce on a multi-year deal. Sportando

His general public may be waiting for more, but president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has been wading through a field of bad possibilities for his assets stack. Better to wait. Love is no less a long shot than any other quality possibility at the moment. “Danny has been very disciplined,” Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca said. “He could have made a lot of deals by now, but not for the kind of player we want.” Boston Herald

Diaw recently signed his multi-million dollar contract extension with the San Antonio Spurs and apprised fans of the occasion on his Instagram profile. “Could i find a better place to sign my extension with the spurs? #gospursgo” That’s not what’s important here. What’s important is that he inked this new deal ON A BOAT. For The Win

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah says he will be "ready" for training camp as he continues rehabbing from arthroscopic left knee surgery. "I feel pretty good," Noah told ESPNChicago.com on Sunday during a promotional event for Adidas. "Obviously I have a ways to go, but I'm excited. When I see what our team looks like, I think that Gar [Forman] and Pax [John Paxon] put together a very solid team and I'm really excited about next year." ESPN.com

What is your reaction to Kevin Love and Blake Griffin deciding not to play just days before training camp? Krzyzewski: "We've done this for nine years now. These things, I've got accustomed to them happening. That's why there is a pool of players. That's why with [USA Basketball executive director] Jerry's [Colangelo] leadership we developed a program where you just don't pick 12 players, you develop a program. We're disappointed, obviously. …You're getting into the last week. It's the last weekend. And both of those guys figured prominently into what we were planning then. But now we have to plan something new. In 2010, we had nobody from the [2008] Olympic team go to the world championship. It gave an opportunity to some younger guys and some older guys. Lamar Odom was brilliant during that time. We just have to figure out how other people will step up." Yahoo! Sports

Gilas Pilipinas had its first official practice session Saturday in Miami, the start of a rigorous two-week training camp in preparation for the FIBA World Cup in Spain set Aug. 30 to Sept. 14. The first practice session also marked the first time that NBA veteran Andray Blatche joined the national team. Blatche was granted naturalization, thus allowing him to play for the Philippines in various international tournaments. The 6-foot-11 Blatche, who recently played for the Brooklyn Nets, posted a photo of his No. 11 Pilipinas jersey on his Instagram account @draylive, saying: “Very thankful #puso.” Yahoo! Sports Philippines

Then he had to wait a little bit longer for the team to officially announce him as head coach while "we work through some little details" after he and the team agreed in principle on a four-year, $17 million contract Saturday night. But for the chance to coach the team he won three NBA titles with as a player, he says it will be worth it in the end. "I'm a little tired tonight," Scott told ESPN.com late Sunday night after returning from a trip to the Caribbean. "But I'm extremely excited about the job, extremely excited about the opportunity to bring the purple and gold back up to championship-caliber basketball." ESPN.com

Scott said he's been texting with Lakers star Kobe Bryant throughout the summer and conferring about this year's team. Bryant texted Scott this weekend after news broke that he had accepted the job. "He told me he was working out with Wesley [Johnson] and Nick [Young," Scott said. "I told them that sounded great, but 'They better be ready to play some defense.' " ESPN.com

Dallas Mavericks Chief Executive Officer Terdema Ussery is among three finalists to become the next executive director of the National Basketball Association players' union, two people with direct knowledge of the process said. Ussery, a former president of Nike Sports Management and commissioner of the Continental Basketball Association, didn't return an e-mail seeking comment. Garfield didn't return a message left at his office over the weekend, while Roberts declined to comment. Oregonian

Michele Roberts, a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is among three finalists to become the next executive director of the National Basketball Association players’ union, two people with direct knowledge of the process said. The other two contenders are Dallas Mavericks Chief Executive Officer Terdema Ussery and Dean Garfield, CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council, a Washington-based advocacy group for technology companies, according to the two people, who requested anonymity because the process is private. Ron Klempner, the association’s acting executive director, declined to comment. Bloomberg

That man happens to be LeBron James, who recently returned back to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Northeast Ohio Media Group, which owns the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cleveland.com, and a few smaller Ohio newspapers, is advertising for a sports reporter on the "LeBron James beat." From the advertisement: Bring your sports, news and investigative reporting experience to one of the most challenging reporting jobs in the country, covering the sports performance, business dealings and community leadership of basketball star LeBron James. You'll cover all aspects of his roles in Northeast Ohio and nationally as he returns to the Cleveland Cavaliers, writing, creating videos, and posting across multiple platforms including all relevant types of social media. You'll also participate in broadcasts where you discuss James, working closely with reporters assigned to cover the Cavaliers and the NBA. Sports Illustrated

The Los Angeles Clippers players would consider a boycott if Donald Sterling remained the owner of the team at the start of the 2014 season, Matt Barnes confirmed on the Chris Mannix Show on Sunday night according to a transcript of the interview posted on the show’s Facebook page. Barnes’ comments echoed those made by Clippers guard Chris Paul last week. Paul told ESPN.com that he had spoken with Clippers coach Doc Rivers about sitting out if Sterling remained the team’s owner. On Sunday, Barnes said he thought it was realistic that the team would consider not playing next season. “We were very close to doing it last year in the middle of the playoffs, and it hadn’t really sunk in then. Now the full magnitude of what happened has sunk in. People feel very strong about what happened,” he said. “It would be unfortunate if it got to either of those situations but I do believe both are a possibility.” For The Win

 

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS IN GRIZZLIES HISTORY

The Gasols go 1-2 in a list short on big names 18 years into franchise history.

   

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