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May 5, 2015 | 09:22 PM ET Update

Scott Howard-Cooper: "Mike Conley will try to play tonight," Dave Joerger said. Joerger will talk with Conley again before final decision. Twitter @SHowardCooper

Towns mentioned that individual team interviews and workouts would be conducted following the NBA Draft Combine, which runs May 14-17 in Chicago. He isn’t certain if he will participate in the drills at the event. “I’m just going to go out there, just have fun and use the workouts not only as a chance to impress scouts or teams, but just to get better,” he said. “Learn from different coaches, get different philosophies and that’s how I’m taking it. I’m taking it as a learning experience.” ZagsBlog.com

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May 5, 2015 | 07:37 PM ET Update

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.

   
May 5, 2015 | 06:30 PM ET Update

The Celtics canvassed the league last year looking for a team willing to give up a disgruntled star, but there were none available, and there are not likely to be many available this summer, either. They might pursue, say, DeMarcus Cousins or Chandler Parsons should the Kings or Mavericks begin a deconstruction, but it is unlikely either of those guys gets moved in the end. One of the consequences of the coming salary cap explosion is that teams that might otherwise be wringing their hands over a potential luxury tax hit — the Warriors, Bulls, Clippers and Thunder, for instance — figure to be more willing to absorb the blow with knowledge that it’s a one-year indulgence. So players that might otherwise be on the market — Draymond Green, Jimmy Butler, DeAndre Jordan, Enes Kanter, etc. — aren’t likely to leave their current teams, nor are those teams finding it necessary to trade players to clear space to keep them. The Celtics have cap space available and Danny Ainge will continue to burn up phone lines trying to find a feature player, but don’t expect him to come up with anything just yet. Sporting News

The realistic high-end target is Greg Monroe of the Pistons, who waited out his qualifying offer to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but figures to attract ample attention and will be seeking a max deal. Monroe, too, might be out of the Celtics’ reach. (Another factor: Monroe is represented by David Falk, who also has Jared Sullinger. Think he wants to put them both on the same roster?) Sporting News

They’ve got youth, but what the Celtics are lacking are the kind of young prospects for which another team would be willing to give up a star player. Boston discovered that not long after their pursuit of Kevin Love began last spring—a package built around Jared Sullinger is never going to yield a top-flight player in return. Kelly Olynyk has shown some improvement, and Tyler Zeller found a comfort level in the middle. But these guys are solid NBA role players. Marcus Smart has the look of a guy who could develop into an excellent two-way player, but as of now, he’s strictly one-way—he is not a great distributor and is a terrible shooter. There are opposing scouts and execs who feel that guard James Young has the highest ceiling, but injuries set him back this year and he still has a lot to prove. Sporting News

Frank Isola: WNBA President Laurel Richie says a new owner, Isiah Thomas, must be approved by WNBA Board of Governors & "this process has not yet begun." Of course, the WNBA Board of Governors cannot prevent Isiah Thomas from becoming the Liberty president...or from running the Knicks draft. Twitter @FisolaNYDN

FREE AGENCY 2015

Who will be the top free agents in the summer of 2015?

   
May 5, 2015 | 05:53 PM ET Update

Yahoo Sports was the latest to pile on a bandwagon that would seemingly be running out of seating. And as usual, Thibodeau remained asbestos, not even flinching around all the heat. “Nope,’’ Thibodeau responded, when asked if yet another report was getting bothersome for him. “I don’t pay any attention to it. It’s all noise.’’ Basically, the same reaction he had last week in Milwaukee when he was asked about his relationship with management, the same reaction he had last month, the month before that, and so on. If it’s nothing but “noise’’ for Thibodeau, it’s barely a whisper for his players. Chicago Sun-Times

THE BEST NICK YOUNG QUOTES EVER

Swaggy P actually said all these things. We're lucky to have him in the NBA.

   
May 5, 2015 | 04:22 PM ET Update

Carroll’s playoff success is clearly a small sample size, but his progress is quite dramatic and will make him even more attractive this summer on the open market. His free agent status is something that Carroll said he isn’t thinking about right now. You can believe that if you want to, but players say what players believe they are supposed to say.“No, not right now,” Carroll said. “Right now I’m strictly focused on the playoffs. Trying to play team ball, trying to go far and hopefully win an NBA championship.” Whether he’s thinking about it or not, Carroll has likely earned himself a contract that could easily approach $8-9 million per season, according to colleague Michael Scotto’s April 22 column on free agent sleepers. SheridanHoops

Carroll also notched career highs in scoring, field goal percentage, offensive rating, win shares, win shares per 48 minutes and PER. He became a better defender and a strong two-way player because of, in part, his devotion to film and the game of basketball. “I watch basketball all day. Sometimes somebody’s gotta tell me to turn it off because that’s all I do,” Carroll said. “In order to be a good defender, you’ve got to educate yourself on the position and the way you need to be and the IQ of being a defensive stopper.” SheridanHoops

"I don't get a vote, but I acknowledge his MVP status," Tony Allen said after practice on Monday. "It's well deserved, I wasn't surprised. He can shoot the ball pretty good and he got a nice handle. But it ain't nothing I ain't never seen before." CSNBayArea.com

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.

   
May 5, 2015 | 02:35 PM ET Update

The Blazers are prepared to pivot another direction if Aldridge leaves — which is 100 percent in play, according to sources across the league. The timing of their contracts isn’t an accident; Portland could be flush with cap space if Aldridge bolts, and if it doesn’t sign-and-trade him, the Blazers could fill that space with youngish free agents on long-term deals — contracts that will age well. Grantland

Deandre Jordan makes sense here on a lot of levels. He’s a younger, more explosive version of Chandler who should continue to smooth the edges of his defense. Jordan’s agent, Dan Fegan, is close with Mark Cuban. And Jordan is exactly the sort of player who might gamble on a short-term deal to reenter free agency again when the cap leaps. He’ll only turn 27 this summer, he never gets hurt, and he’s already banked more than $40 million from the Clippers. Changing teams on a short-term deal would still cost him some money, but if he times things right, he could reduce the shortfall to the point that it wouldn’t hurt — especially given the tax advantages Texas has over California. It gets trickier for any player who changes teams via a one-year deal, since they forfeit their own Bird rights — limiting the raises their incumbent team could offer. Signing a two- or three-year deal makes it easier. Grantland

Milwaukee should enter the summer with about $15 million in cap room, though Khris Middleton could start the three-day clock ticking on that room by signing an offer sheet with another team after the stroke of midnight on July 1. Middleton uses the same agency that represents Jason Kidd, and it’s possible he might hang out in free agency so the Bucks can strike. Grantland

But barring a trade, the Pelicans are locked into this roster for another year. They won’t have much cap room even if Omer Asik and Norris Cole leave, and all indications are the Pelicans would like to re-sign everyone. That would allow them to stay over the cap and use the full midlevel exception to sign another veteran cog. Grantland

Ethan J. Skolnick: Derrick Rose says his shoulder is not sore. Good to go for tomorrow. Derrick Rose says he will spend his day recovering & "maybe watching documentaries." Twitter @EthanJSkolnick

Arash Markazi: Chris Paul is listed as questionable for Game 2. No surprise. That's what he was listed as for Game 1. Twitter @ArashMarkazi

It feels like these guys should rank higher, given Anthony Davis’s potential free agency a year from now, questions about the surrounding parts, and new rumors that Joe Dumars could still arrive in some supervisory big-picture role above GM Dell Demps — rumors that don’t appear to be heading anywhere for now. Grantland

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May 5, 2015 | 01:33 PM ET Update

There might be some slippage on defense, but Houston has done fine on that end with Jason freaking Terry, and it has the trade assets to entice Denver: the Pelicans’ pick in this draft, plus two young bigs in Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas.4 But don’t count out the Celtics just because they have Thomas — a warning that should apply to lots of teams with established starting point guards. Lawson is really good, and Denver’s thinning trade market presents opportunity for a surprise suitor to strike. Denver will need a point guard if it deals Lawson,5 and the Celtics acquired Thomas in part because his cheapo contract is so easy to trade. Grantland

Yes, the Bulls have a real good shot now. And the best chance that they'll ever have to win a title here would be with Thibodeau – as terrific of a coach as Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg, management's choice to ultimately be the replacement. The Orlando Magic are waiting to watch what happens at season's end, league sources said, waiting to see how the team and coach dissolve the remaining two years on his contract and separate. Yahoo! Sports

There’s some internal turmoil going on in Brooklyn. The Nets did not pick up their option for next season on Bobby Marks, a cap whiz who has been with the franchise for 20 years, per Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York. There are also serious rumblings that GM Billy King is on the verge of a contract extension, but Nets officials are mum on the matter. Grantland

Isiah Thomas is back at Madison Square Garden. Thomas has been hired to be president of the New York Liberty of the WNBA. Thomas also will have an ownership stake in the team. Garden CEO James Dolan, who owns the Knicks and Liberty and is an unflinchingly loyal Thomas supporter, said he began discussing the role with Thomas in the fall and he has been pleased with the results. “Now, we’ve agreed that it is time for him to take a lead role with the team as president, and through his ownership interest. He’s an excellent judge of talent, and I’m confident that he will put all of his energy and experience into making the Liberty a perennially competitive and successful team,” Dolan said in a statement. New York Post

I have written a book on this very subject entitled “Fast Broke,” which is being excerpted on SheridanHoops.com and can be purchased via Amazon.com for $14.95, and I recommend that if you read only one of the excerpts, read the one entitled: “How to Go Broke on $100 million.” It is a lot easier than you might believe. For athletes, the biggest mistake that is made over and over again is not really understanding how their current lifestyle will impact their future lifestyle. Even if they have a nest egg when their playing days are over, that is often not enough. Here’s why: SheridanHoops

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May 5, 2015 | 11:39 AM ET Update

“As long as I’m in a happy environment and a healthy organization, that’s the most important thing,” Dragic said. “The next three, four, five years — I want to spend it on this kind of team, like the Miami Heat. They have great players, great coaching staff and great training staff.” The max contract for Dragic is about $110 million over five years, and the Heat are the only team that can give him that much — not to mention the enticement of Florida having no state income tax. Anyone else who wants to get in the game better be a heck of a salesman, given that other teams are limited to four years for roughly $85 million. Palm Beach Post

Williams has a year remaining on his contract and though management has yet to offer him an extension, Pelicans owner Tom Benson sent a letter of congratulations last week for the team's winning season and playoff appearance. ''He's a great coach, the whole team loves him, the organization loves him,'' Davis said. ''I don't know what's going to happen. That's none of my business.But he's done a lot for this organization since he's been here. He takes so much heat and really doesn't let it bother him. He makes sure that he stays focus on his goal, which is the team.'' New Orleans Times-Picayune

Indeed, B/R has learned, through sources involved with the situation, that the NBA has been in recent negotiations with several global sports betting companies, which include but are not limited to Bwin.party and William Hill. One of them could soon become the league's official partner in Europe's regulated markets, which allows for betting on American pro sports. "The NBA has seen the success that English Premier League soccer clubs have had with sports betting operators, and they're following that same model," a source with knowledge of the discussions said. "They've seen the naming rights and the size of those deals, and they understand that it's an opportunity to open up another revenue stream overseas, in the hundreds of millions of dollars." Bleacher Report

The agreement is projected to be finalized later this summer for the start of next season as a multiyear, multimillion-dollar sponsorship deal, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions. It would include cross-platform branding on the NBA's European broadcasts and the sports betting company's sportsbooks. For example, the NBA and sports betting company would be able to have logo placement on each other's television, media and other promotional properties. Since last fall, the NBA—led by commissioner Adam Silver—has put on a full-court press in the sports betting arena, more so publicly than any other American major professional sports league. Silver stirred up the conversation on regulating sports betting last October in an interview with B/R's Howard Beck (video below). Silver also wrote an op-ed piece in The New York Times on Nov. 13, 2014, just one day after the NBA announced an equity partnership with FanDuel, the No. 1 daily fantasy sports company that offers prizes—the first deal of its kind involving a pro sports league. Bleacher Report

Late in the regular season, Paul George returned from his serious leg injury to try and help the Pacers make the playoffs. While the Pacers fell just short of the postseason, George is still helping, only this time he is helping to make a difference in the lives of an Indianapolis family. According to The Indy Channel, George recently donated $10,000 to help the Esterline family buy a wheelchair-accessible van for their young daughter Daisy. George didn't donate this sizable amount of money in a grand ceremony, instead he just went online and donated to the family's GoFundMe account under his name. CBSSports.com

 

THE TOP 25 EUROPEAN PLAYERS EVER

The Euro NBA pioneers were pretty good, but the new generations have significantly outperformed them.

   
May 5, 2015 | 08:23 AM ET Update

One scenario on the personnel grapevine gaining steam is the notion that the Spurs could elect to explore the possibility of dealing away Tiago Splitter to create more financial flexibility. Splitter has two years left on his contract valued at just under $17 million and is quietly regarded as a key contributor in San Antonio given how well he fits as a frontcourt sidekick next to Duncan. But if you're the Spurs -- and if the increasingly loud rumbles about Aldridge having San Antonio as the preferred destination atop his wish list prove true -- examining Splitter's trade market might suddenly become unavoidable. ESPN.com

The Spurs are well aware that Leonard will receive a flood of four-year max offers from rival teams on July 1 if he invites such interest as a restricted free agent. But the early word is that Leonard isn't keen to be courted, knowing he's regarded as the No. 1 building block upon which San Antonio hopes to construct its post-Duncan future and wanting on his own to stay right where he is. So the working expectation in Spurs circles is that Leonard and his bosses will come to a quick verbal agreement on a new five-year max deal that locks Kawhi in, which would then free up the front office to chase Aldridge and the other moves necessary to ensure all the math works. ESPN.com

Manu, rather fittingly, is the wild card here. By his own admission, retirement is a real possibility, which should come as little surprise given his declining production and the way he's thrown himself around with reckless abandon for 12 seasons in the NBA and four in Italy before that. But it also shouldn't surprise you if Ginobili ultimately decides to drag himself through one more season trying to keep up with all that youth and athleticism on the NBA perimeter. Leaving a party this good and familiar is hard when you understand, as Manu surely does, that retirement lasts so much longer than the actual party. ESPN.com

Will Batum be on the Blazers roster next season to avenge his bad play? He’s scheduled to make around $11.8 million for the 2015-16 season, which is the final of his four-year contract. There have been rumblings the Blazers could look to move Batum this offseason, maybe around draft time, where GM Neil Olshey promised the team would be “very active.” Asked about the possibility of being traded this offseason, Batum said: “If that happens, it happens. That’s the business, I understand that. I mean, I can’t control that. All I can control is what I put on the court. I know what I am going to do this summer is try to get better.” CSNNW.com

Parsons said on the first day of the offseason that he wants to be involved in any recruiting pitches made to free agents. It’s a job he believes should come with the territory as he begins the process of becoming a more polished player and a bigger piece of the organization’s fabric. “Shifting into GM mode,” as Parsons called it, is a logical step as far as he is concerned. “I think it’s kind of like a known thing that I’d like to do that,” he said. “I have a lot of good relationships with a lot of guys. Obviously now with the season just ended, I haven’t talked with them about who or what or whatever, but we’ll take a look here soon. I’ll be in Dallas pretty much all summer, so I’m sure we’ll have those conversations when the time comes.” Dallas Morning News

So what will be his recruiting pitch? “We have a great organization,” Parsons said. “We have high expectations. We have the best owner in sports. “We’re definitely moving in the right direction, and we have a lot of pieces that would fit well with the free agents out there right now. And we have a great coach, so I think we’re moving in the right direction. We’re a championship-caliber team. We’ve just got to get the right pieces. I have great relationships with a lot of guys that are out there.” Dallas Morning News

Fresh off a 25-point, 39-minute performance as the Bulls stole Game 1 over the Cleveland Cavaliers 99-92, Rose used words like "appreciative" and "honored" when considering where he's at, both in his career, and specifically in this series. His words carried even more weight after suffering a momentary scare, later described as a stinger, while fighting through a screen late in the game. "I just felt something, felt my nerves, like, tingling going all the way from my shoulder to my finger tips, it was just something I'd never felt before," he said. "It went away in five or ten minutes. It's something that I'm not that worried about." USA Today Sports

LeBron James has been in this position before, and he walked into in the postgame news conference showing no sign of panic. Even had a smile. He's seen much worse, down 3-2 and needing a win to save the season. "For one, we'll just focus on the next game," James said. "We'll focus on (Tuesday) first. We're going to watch the film and see ways we can get better — things that we've got to do to be better and try win that game, Game 2. That's our only concern. It's not worrying about seven games. If you worry about seven games, you might not even get there. You worry about Game 2 and be much better than we were tonight." USA Today Sports

"Obviously, they were exploiting us with our coverage," James said, echoing what Blatt said about Cleveland's pick-and-roll defense. "We'll get better with it. We'll come in (Tuesday) and we'll watch film and we'll see ways we can take that away or make it a little more challenging." Chicago's Big 3 almost all had at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists: Gasol had 21-10-4, Rose 25-5-5 and Butler 20-5-6. USA Today Sports

Blake Griffin had 26 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists for his second straight triple-double to lead six double-digit scorers and lift the Clippers to a 117-101 victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals. "Without Chris, everybody has to step up," Griffin said. "But it's not one person's job, it's everybody's job. And if you look at the stat sheet tonight, it was everybody." USA Today Sports

He choked up when he discussed that path, saying to his father, Dell: "Pop, you were the example of what a true professional is on and off the court. I remember a lot of your career, and to be able to follow in your footsteps ..." Curry took a break to compose himself. "... it means a lot to me, and this is special." He credited his faith and his family, from his wife Ayesha to his daughter Riley, mother Sonya and siblings Seth and Sydel and grandparents too. But the up-and-down way in which he got here, this path that could have changed so drastically had things taken a different turn, is the part of Curry's story that is often overlooked. USA Today Sports

"I don't think we took them lightly," Harden said. "I just don't think we had energy." Griffin, who also had a triple-double on Saturday, has three this postseason. "Blake was just sensational," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "I got on him because ... he stopped looking to score and I told him at one point, 'We need you to do everything,' and he did it.'" Harden scored five straight points after the Clippers took their big lead, but Houston couldn't do much after that and fans started heading for the exits with about two minutes left. USA Today Sports

Once Ferkel informed them that the reconstruction of Curry's ankle wasn't necessary, the future was suddenly bright again. "Once Dr. Ferkel came out and said, 'He should be just fine,' then you cross your fingers and say, 'Ferkel is a good doctor, so let's hope he's right,' " Riley said. "As I recall, it was time to get a sandwich and relax and feel a lot better." Curry, who was more relieved than anyone, could finally get back to playing. USA Today Sports

Ellis, who had become a Warriors fan favorite in those previous five seasons with Golden State, sent a shot across Curry's bow at the start of the 2009-10 campaign when he was asked by reporters if he could play with Curry as part of an undersized-but-uber-talented backcourt. "Us together? No," Ellis said then. "Can't. We just can't." The Warriors, it's safe to say, were worried. "There were some turbulent times," Schlenk said. "(Ellis' comments) put everybody on edge, including Steph. But those two guys ended up being good friends." USA Today Sports

However, back-cuts along the baseline and quick dips to the basket from the wing will always be his bread and butter. In an August 2014 interview with Bleacher Report's Jared Zwerling, Carroll acknowledged how Budenholzer has helped hone his go-to skills. "He showed me a lot—that spacing is very big in the NBA, that cutting and slashing at the right time is very big, footwork is very big," he said. "He has kind of re-invented my career." Bleacher Report

On keeping up with all of his milestones: Nowitzki: “Actually, (10K rebounds) was a big one for me because when I first got in the league, I wouldn’t say I was a very good rebounder, so over the years I think I developed into a decent rebounder. So the 10K meant a lot to me, to be in the 25K (points) and 10K (rebounds) club is pretty special for me. But all these milestones are unbelievable once I retire and look back at it, so I’m going to keep piling up a few more over the next couple years and then slowly fade away.” Dallas Morning News

Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley hopes to return for Game 2 of the Grizzlies' playoff series against the Golden State Warriors after participating Monday in his most extensive workout with the team amid his recovery from facial surgery. "I believe I will," Conley said when asked if he will play Tuesday. "But I believed that for the last week. So I'm really hopeful. They tell me I can play once I'm ready, and I feel like I'm ready to go. It's just on me." ESPN.com

Bosh appeared for an hour on ESPN Radio on Monday and recounted the scariest episodes leading up to his season ending in February. “In Boston, we actually won that game, but I couldn’t breathe,” he said, referring to a Feb. 1 game at TD Garden. “I was like, ‘Man, I can’t breathe. Something’s wrong with me. I can’t breathe.’ You try to take a deep breath and I couldn’t do that.” Palm Beach Post

He was pressed as to why he played through it rather than let the Heat’s training staff know about the issue. “I know, I’ll never do it again,” Bosh said. “It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? I wish I could go back and tell myself not to do those things, but I’m lucky to be alive. I am. I took that as a lesson to stop trying to be a tough guy all the time. That’s kinda how we’re trained, to just suck it up and throw some dirt on it and get back out there. Palm Beach Post

If the Knicks win the lottery, whomever they choose to take will make his Big Apple debut in Brooklyn. League sources told The Post the NBA draft will return to Barclays Center for a third straight season next month. It will mark the fifth straight year the draft will be held at an arena that houses the Nets. It took place at Prudential Center in Newark in 2011 and 2012. New York Post

No matter the delineation of opinion, everyone believes Porzingis will be an impact player within a short period. After considering the Draft last season, Porzingis will almost certainly be a top-five pick this year. "Very talented," said an Eastern Conference executive who saw Porzingis abroad recently. "Skilled big. Huge upside." NBA.com

Said a Northwest Division scout: "He's a very talented seven footer. Not very big body size but he's a legit 3-point shooter, knows how to play, can put it on the floor a little bit ... very talented kid. I think he's confident in his game but he's not one who beats his chest and shows everybody. He's played against older guys, so he's a little bit more ready for the physical game than the (college) Americans are." He had better be. Sevilla lists him at just 209 pounds, which doesn't portend well for someone banging in the paint for a living. But Porzingis's biggest supporters believe he'll be able to adapt. "His lower body and torso is fine," a Western Conference executive said. "The easiest thing to develop is his upper body, and that's going to happen quickly. NBA.com

"Trey Lyles will be good, kind of Carlos Boozer good," one player personnel man said. "His athleticism will act as a kind of governor on him. I think he has to be a four." Defensively, though, Lyles guarded college wings. He'd have little chance of doing the same in the NBA. "I think he guards fours," one scout said. "He guarded threes but he didn't do it very well. Nor is he stout enough to check pro centers. Lyles will have to use his wingspan (measured at 7-3 ½ in Portland last year) and strength to contest shots." NBA.com

"He didn't have a great year, but the team was disorganized," one general manager said. "He's a guy that I fully expect to be a better pro than college player. I think he'll be late lottery and if I'm wrong, middle of the first, because his workouts will be good. And he's another guy who can shoot the ball. They were jerking him in and out of the lineup and I didn't understand it; it's not like they were Duke and playing for the national championship." Turner isn't a stretch four as he shot just 27 percent (17 of 62) from the college 3-point line. But NBA scouts believe he can become a credible outside threat in a couple of years. Right now, scouts believe he's more comfortable facing the basket than posting up. NBA.com

Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy is looking for a few big men who can shoot. That's why he and general manager Jeff Bowers are in Spain looking at Mario Hezonja (6-foot-8) and Kristaps Porzingis (7-1). Both have the ability to shoot from the outside. The downside is both are immature and lack NBA bodies to survive an 82-game season. But the Pistons are looking for a boost to their 3-point shooting, which ranked 17th in percentage (34.4). Van Gundy said he wanted the team to shoot at least 36 percent. Detroit News

Austin said former Memphis Grizzlies assistant general manager Kenny Williamson, who died in 2012, had strong interest in Curry with the second overall pick. Austin, however, declined an invitation from Williamson for a workout. The Grizzlies used the second overall pick to draft Connecticut's 7-foot-3 center Hasheem Thabeet, who ended up being a bust. Now Curry is playing against the Grizzlies in the second round of the playoffs with Game 2 on Tuesday. Williamson "said he needed him down for a workout to convince the owner," Austin said. " 'Without a workout, I can't get him. But if he comes in and works out, I want to push him for our No. 2 pick.' We chose not to have him go to Memphis. The two big believers were Larry and Kenny." Yahoo! Sports

"The day before (the draft), we became convinced that they were actually going to take Jonny Flynn (in addition to Ricky Rubio)," then-general manager and current director of scouting Larry Riley told USA TODAY Sports. "There was a lot of angst before that. Frankly, the next guy taken after that was Jordan Hill, and we would have probably gone in that same direction. "Up until the day before the draft, we were really having a lot of anxiety about it, and we were in a position where there wasn't much we could do. We also knew that New York valued him, that they would have liked him." USA Today Sports

Riley also liked that Curry was the son of a successful and respected ex-NBA player. Riley sold then-Warriors coach Don Nelson on Curry as well. Austin and Dell Curry still tried to keep the Warriors away from Stephen Curry. But Austin told then-Knicks president Donnie Walsh that unless they could trade up, he expected Golden State to draft Curry. Austin said Walsh didn't believe him because the Warriors already had guard Monta Ellis. "I said, 'Larry, I like you a lot and respect you a lot, but don't take Steph. This is not the right place for him,' " Austin said. "We wanted him in New York." Said Riley: "Dell was the same way. He was almost cold." Yahoo! Sports

Austin told Curry before the draft that if he dropped to the seventh pick, he should expect to go to Golden State. He was right, and Curry was selected by one of the NBA's worst teams. Meanwhile, the Knicks lost out on an eventual two-time All-Star who scored 54 points in Madison Square Garden on Feb. 27, 2013, and was the leading vote-getter for the All-Star Game there this year. The Knicks drafted Arizona forward-center Jordan Hill, a journeyman now with the Los Angeles Lakers. Curry "wasn't disappointed," Austin said. "He was the seventh pick in the NBA draft. That's a great day for anybody." Yahoo! Sports

Willie Cauley-Stein officially added the hyphen in his last name and changed his middle name to Trill. "I want to include my mother's last name," was Cauley-Stein's reason for the change, according to the court document. RealGM

His subpar, injury-plagued season be damned, Tony Parker joins Boris Diaw and former Spur Nando De Colo among 24 players named to France’s preliminary roster for EuroBasket 2015. France is the defending champion, with Parker having earned MVP honors in leading Les Bleus to their first major title at the 2013 competition. He, Diaw and fellow NBA standouts Nicolas Batum and Rudy Gobert have all pledged their intent to participate with France among four host nations. San Antonio Express-News

For the record, furthermore, don't forget that Popovich only just completed the first season of a five-year contract. Word is he contemplated retirement after last season's championship with more seriousness than any of us on the outside realized, but Pop didn't just agree to keep coaching. He consented to sign that long-term deal which, according to industry insiders, pays in the $11 million range annually. The reflex reaction to news of Pop's five-year contract was to conclude that it was somewhat ceremonial, based on the idea that no one in South Texas really expects to see out all five of those years on the bench. Yet we can share that there's at least one pretty well-connected Spurs watcher we know who thinks Pop just may surprise us. And his name is Peter Holt. ESPN.com

"They sense that you don't get these opportunities all the time," Thibodeau told Yahoo Sports late Monday. "You've got to make the most of them. These guys are starting to build a chemistry. Whatever our circumstances are, we've got to go. "This is it." As Rose makes an inspired return to a playoff stage that desperately missed him, Thibodeau is pushing closer to the end of his run here. This wasn't on his mind on Monday after a 99-92 Game 1 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers; only winning. Only the opportunity now. Yahoo! Sports

"Ahhhh, that's all noise," Thibodeau told Yahoo Sports. He won't do it. He won't think about endings on Monday night, when this feels so much like a beginning for these Bulls. "I want them to be mentally tough," Thibodeau said. "In this league, it's so easy to get sidetracked. There's so much noise. Trades. Free agency. This. That. Whatever. To me, none of that is important. All that matters is what we think. Are we doing the right things every day? Are we putting the proper work in? Are we playing the right way? Practicing the right way? That's how you play well in this league. All that other stuff is just noise, it doesn't mean anything." Yahoo! Sports

Do you anticipate any changes to the intentional foul rule? Gregg Popovich: “There will be a lot of discussion about the fouling, as there should be. But principle-wise, I fee’ really strongly that it’s a tactic that can be used. If someone can’t shoot free throws, that’s their problem. As I’ve said before, if we’re not allowed to do something to take advantage of a team’s weakness, a trade should be made before each game. ‘We won’t foul your guy, but you promise not to block any of our shots.’ Or, ‘We won’t foul your guy, and you allow us to shoot all uncontested shots.’ “So we’d have to make a trade. On an intellectual or principle basis, I think you’re on high ground. Now, visual-wise, it’s awful. It couldn’t be worse. I tend to side on the principle side where it’s basketball, and if we have a guy who can’t shoot and it’s an important part of the game, I should probably get him off the court. We’ll see how it comes out. I’m sure the way it looks will be discussed very seriously by the league.” San Antonio Express-News

What about playoff seeding? “Division leaders (getting a top four seed) will be discussed I’m sure. Everybody asks about the top 16 teams (being re-seeded, regardless of conference) all the time. I honestly yield to the intelligence of the league on that. They’ve got a lot of good minds up there and you know they’ve thought about it. If they haven’t done it yet I’m sure there’s a good reason. I’m sure economics is a big part of it, or travel or whatnot. If they thought it would work, they would do it.” San Antonio Express-News

In September, England’s largest wine estate, Chapel Down, raised almost £4 million ($6 million) to acquire more vineyards and build a winery through website Seedrs. Burgundy’s Domaine Chanzy went the same route to line up more than £1 million. And basketball star Yao Ming took to Crowdfunder to offer fans shares in his Napa Valley–based Yao Family Wines for $5,000 and up. Those who invest the most—he’s looking for $3 million in total—will be entitled to perks such as a VIP winemaker dinner and an invitation to the grand opening of the winery’s tasting room in Shanghai. Bloomberg

On how much Nike gear he’s accumulated over the years: Nowitzki: “What I do is, you can order these days. When you represent Nike, you can’t always wear the older stuff. You can’t walk in and wear clothes from five-six years ago. So what I do is, some older stuff, once in a while I pack some bags and take it to Germany with me. I’ve got a bunch of guy friends that I grew up with that play basketball that are also 6-11, 6-10, 7-feet. And they usually clean me out. They can have everything, old shirts, old sweaters, sweatsuits and everything, shorts, shoes." Dallas Morning News

 

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS IN SPURS HISTORY

The big stars from the Gregg Popovich years crowd the top of the list.

   

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