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May 26, 2015 | 10:05 PM ET Update
May 26, 2015 | 06:43 PM ET Update

WEIRD NBA NICKNAMES

Sauce Castillo beats them all, but there's many other amazing NBA player aliases.

   
May 26, 2015 | 05:41 PM ET Update

TRIVIA: CAN YOU IDENTIFY THESE SIXERS PLAYERS FROM THE SAM HINKIE ERA?

Dozens of players have donned the Sixers uniform during Sam Hinkie's reign. Some of them were fringe NBA players. Can you name them?

   
May 26, 2015 | 04:03 PM ET Update

As such, you can expect the Hawks to do everything possible to keep this group together this summer. That means re-signing Carroll and Millsap, who will both be coveted free agents. Carroll, a bargain at $2.4 million this season, could command $9-12 million a year on the open market, according to rival executives. Millsap, who made $9.5 million this season, might command $16 million or more. Depending on how it all unfolds, the Hawks could have the flexibility to add a $10 million player before using Bird rights to re-sign Carroll and Millsap, although market pressures could disrupt that. Bleacher Report

The most serious of those is Millsap's sprained right shoulder, which caused him to miss five games in early April and has never fully healed. There are whispers that it might require surgery after the season. Bleacher Report

With the next NBA season widely considered to be his last, Kobe Bryant has quietly signed with WME, The Hollywood Reporter has exclusively learned. Although his marketing contracts will continue to be handled by his Landmark Sports agent Rob Pelinka, WME will represent the 14-time All-Star in film, TV, books and digital, similar to what it does for its other superstar athlete clients, including LeBron James, whoseburgeoning Hollywood portfolio includes executive producing the Starz comedy Survivor’s Remorse, developing the Esquire docuseriesWinner’s Circle and an untitled NBC game show and playing himself in Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck. For his part, Bryant recently executive produced his first project, the documentary Kobe Bryant’s Muse, which aired on Showtime on Feb. 28. Oklahoman

TRIVIA: HOW OLD WERE THESE PLAYERS WHEN THEY ENTERED THE NBA?

Guess the age at which they played their first NBA regular-season game.

   
May 26, 2015 | 03:47 PM ET Update

Scott Skiles, who spent parts of five seasons coaching the Bulls, has emerged as the frontrunner to land the Orlando Magic head coaching job, sources confirmed. Yahoo Sports first reported over the weekend that Skiles had separated himself from a select group, which at one point appeared headed to include Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. But the Tribune reported last week that the Magic's interest in Thibodeau had been overstated despite Clippers coach Doc Rivers calls to the organization to promote Thibodeau. Rivers, whose first coaching job came with the Magic, has maintained strong ties to the franchise. Chicago Tribune

Disney and the NBA are teaming up to make three special episodes featuring the funniest moments by top NBA players on and off the court. Disney ... NBA ... Who better to represent than the Lopez brothers? Brothers Robin and Brook Lopez will team up with Disney stars Cameron Boyce and Jacob Bertrand in hosting the three-day special episodes "NBA Slam Funk!" from June 1 to June 3, which will be a "prank themed" feature that coincide with Disney's "Lab Rats," "Kirby Buckets," and "Mighty Med". NetsDaily

FREE AGENT RANKINGS: FROM BEST TO WORST

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

   
May 26, 2015 | 02:43 PM ET Update

Sources close to the process say Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried have kept no secret of their discontent and unless the Nuggets can pull off something major on the coaching front or make a significant trade, both have indicated they’d rather see a trade instead of sticking around for a long rebuild. When Lawson is at the top of his game, he is among the best point guards in the NBA. Faried, at times, has shown glimpses of being a star-caliber frontcourt player. Both could be very attractive trade chips if Denver decides to pull the trigger. Basketball Insiders

Sources close to the process say Denver has had no shortage of inquiring calls, but the Nuggets have not indicated one way or the other if they’re ready to pull the trigger. The Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings are both said be high on Lawson. Basketball Insiders

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love can travel with the team for the remainder of the postseason after having his left shoulder re-evaluated, general manager David Griffin confirmed to ESPN.com. Love traveled to New York to have the shoulder looked at by Dr. David Altchek last week while the Cavs were in Atlanta for Games 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Hawks, Griffin said. ESPN.com

Altchek, who performed the season-ending surgery on Love's dislocated left shoulder at the end of April, said the All-Star forward also can stop wearing the sling he's used to stabilize it for the past month. ESPN.com

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May 26, 2015 | 01:07 PM ET Update

Milwaukee officials, leaders of the Wisconsin state Legislature and the president of the Milwaukee Bucks all said Tuesday they're close to reaching a deal to pay for a new $500 million arena for the NBA team. The goal is to announce a deal Wednesday, said Rep. John Nygren, co-chairman of the Legislature's budget-writing committee. Nygren's committee is finalizing the state budget this week and intends to include a Bucks financing component. Associated Press

Talks have been ongoing for months to come up with a way to pay for the arena that's part of a planned $1 billion entertainment district in downtown Milwaukee. Without a new stadium by 2017, the NBA has said it will buy back the team and relocate it. No one has said publicly what the terms of any deal would look like. But Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said after Tuesday's meeting that the state's contribution would be "significantly less" than the $220 million Gov. Scott Walker initially proposed in January. Associated Press

REAL ESTATE: WHERE DO PLAYERS OWN HOMES?

NBA players spend a lot on real estate. But where and how much exactly? Find out here

   
May 26, 2015 | 11:45 AM ET Update

The safe assumption is the Nets will make strong offers to both Lopez and Young once they opt out of their current contracts and become free agents July 1. All signs point to Lopez, despite his worrisome injury history, declining his $16.74 million option for next season and heading to the open market after responding to a near-trade to Oklahoma City with a monster second half. Young, despite his status as a longtime King favorite, is likewise believed to be leaning toward bypassing the $10-ish million he is owed for 2015-16 to do the same. ESPN.com

It's very hard to imagine the Nets actually going through with releasing Williams between now and the Aug. 31 deadline that would allow Brooklyn to waive him and stretch out payments on the $43 million he is owed for the next two seasons. But you can rest assured they'll ponder it. It's a largely unappetizing prospect, considering a) they'd still have to pay Williams nearly $9 million a season for the next five years and b) he remains one of the better players and most feared shooters on the roster, despite his up-and-down health and steep decline in stature. ESPN.com

Serena Winters: This morning on @TheHerd, @ESPN_Colin said he talked to his 2 best NBA sources about rumors surrounding Kevin Love leaving CLE. Response: "There is a real feeling even amongst LeBron & others they don't know what he's (Kevin Love) going to do." (@ESPN_Colin on @TheHerd) Twitter @SerenaWinters

It is widely assumed the Nets will explore the trade markets for both Joe Johnson (with his expiring $24.9 million deal) and Jarrett Jack (due $12.6 million over the next two seasons but only partially guaranteed in 2016-17) to try to get away from tax territory that way, instead of waiving and stretching Williams. Neither of those ideas is as complicated as trying to trade D-Will himself, with $21 million next season and $22.3 million in 2016-17 owed to the 30-year-old, but you wouldn't describe trading Johnson or Jack for purely financial motivations as easy, either. ESPN.com

Some rival executives think the Nets might go ahead and explore the Plumlee marketplace anyway, in hopes teams remember his dogged play for Team USA the past summer more than his struggles to get on the floor under first-year Nets coach Lionel Hollins. Now, though, would not appear to be the ideal time to see what shopping him might fetch. ESPN.com

There is no debate that post-ups make up a shrinking portion of the scoring pie, though there is some debate about why that is. Only eight teams this season finished even 10 percent of their possessions2 with a post-up, per Synergy Sports. A decade ago, 22 teams hit that mark, and every team ended at least 7.5 percent of its trips with some kind of post-up. One-third of teams finished with a lower post-up share than that this season. Just about everyone agrees that fewer players are entering the league with any clue of how to operate with their back to the basket. “There are maybe two handfuls of guys who can post up anymore,” Kidd says. Players who don’t learn post skills at a lower level won’t get the leeway or practice time to develop them in the NBA, coaches say. “It’s probably the hardest part of offense to get good at,” says Steve Clifford, the Hornets coach. Grantland

“Teams are switching more,” says Danny Ainge, the Celtics GM. “And that means the post-up is still relevant.” Brutalize the switch, and a team may ditch the idea — unshackling the pick-and-roll again. Posting up against mismatches isn’t just for big guys, either. The Rockets know Terry can’t stick with Curry, but they can’t slide him over to Thompson or Harrison Barnes, either. Those guys aren’t high-volume post-up killers, but they’ve shown they’re just polished enough to do back-to-the-basket damage against shrimps. You don’t have to be great. You just have to be competent. That competence has been a crucial ingredient for Golden State in this series against Terry, and in past playoff series against Tony Parker and Ty Lawson. Grantland

A few executives have dumped the term “stretch 4” altogether and replaced it with “playmaking 4” — a term I’m officially stealing right now. Shooting is nice, but it’s not enough anymore as defenses get smarter, faster, and more flexible working within the loosened rules. Spot-up guys have to be able to catch the ball, pump-fake a defender rushing out at them, drive into the lane, and make some sort of play. If they can’t manage that, a possession dies with them. “In a playoff series, you can figure out shooting,” Karl says. “You just cover Kyle Korver. All that cute stuff they ran for him all year long — they only get that once in a while now. The shooters who have playmaking ability — those are the guys that are really kicking ass.” Grantland

The game looks gorgeous, but there is a nostalgia tugging at a generation raised on the shoulder-shaking artistry of Kevin McHale, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Michael Jordan: Has the league inadvertently killed the back-to-the-basket game? “We are losing a part of our sport,” Jason Kidd says. “The game is getting out of balance,” says George Karl, now coaching perhaps the league’s preeminent post-up brute. “But until we figure out a way to make the post-up more efficient, we’re not going back. You just can’t win throwing the ball into the post 60 times per game.” Grantland

Michael Scotto: Orlando Magic will hire Scott Skiles as head coach later this week, a league source confirms. The news was first reported by @Peter Vecsey. Twitter @MikeAScotto

Does Mikhail Prokhorov really want to keep this team? That has been the steady insistence from Prokhorov in recent weeks and months. He keeps saying he is only willing to sell off a minority stake in the team ... up to 49 percent. Around the league, mind you, skepticism persists. ESPN.com

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS IN NETS HISTORY

Deron Williams and Joe Johnson move up a few spots in a list topped by their former head coach.

   
May 26, 2015 | 09:55 AM ET Update

Facing the prospect of elimination from the playoffs Monday night, Rockets guard Jason Terry was adamant that Game 4 of these Western Conference finals would by no means be his last. At 37 and soon to be a free agent, Terry told ESPN.com that he fully intends to return for a 17th NBA season in 2015-16. "One hundred percent," Terry said before Monday's tipoff. ESPN.com

Thompson will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season. The Cavaliers will have the right to match any offer he receives out on the open market, and I'm told Paul will aggressively do his due diligence in finding the right situation business-wise and basketball-wise. Cleveland Plain Dealer

Multiple times James declined to elaborate on what it would mean for the organization to secure the services of Thompson long-term. The four-time MVP refused to go there. That is, until now. "Tristan should probably be a Cavalier for his whole career," James said on Monday after practice. "There's no reason why he shouldn't. This guy is 24 years old. He's played in 340-plus straight games, and he's gotten better every single season. It's almost like, 'What more can you ask out of a guy?'" Cleveland Plain Dealer

The respect and admiration for his old-school style of play has increased dramatically in recent weeks, internally and externally. "I appreciate the compliment, if that's a compliment, from LeBron," Thompson said. "But I'm just here to work. Just coming to work, do what the team asks from me, whether it's on the court, off the court, in the community, and just be a professional." Cleveland Plain Dealer

The Indiana Pacers will bring unsigned draft acquisition Stanko Barac to Indianapolis for mini-camp workouts in June, league sources told RealGM. Barac, a 7-foot-2 center out of Croatia, turned his attention this year toward making the leap into the NBA. He signed a deal with Cedevita in the Euroleague midway through the season, gradually improving his play. RealGM

Everything had been going so right in these playoffs, nothing could stop them, the path to a title was clear ... until Stephen Curry slammed to the floor in the second quarter. And everything stopped. Time froze. The march to a championship halted. The Warriors were already down by 19 points at the time -- and eventually would lose 128-115 in Game 4 -- but that was minor compared to the sight of Curry slamming his head against the hardwood and staying on the floor for several frightening minutes. "A lot goes through your mind," center Andrew Bogut said of Curry's fall. "First and foremost you don't want anyone to get hurt or anyone to go to the hospital. "He didn't, so that was a positive sign." Contra Costa Times

Curry returned to the game in the middle of the third quarter in Golden State's 128-115 loss in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals after it was determined he had suffered no more than a contusion to his head. "I feel pretty good," he said after the game. "It could have been a lot worse." San Jose Mercury-News

"I've had worse symptoms from getting hit in the head, but that was the scariest one," said Curry, who returned with 17:58 left in the second half. "Because you're in the air for a long time, not knowing how you're going to hit the floor, knowing it's going to happen. … The seconds after it is a scary feeling, hearing all those voices." Houston Chronicle

His father, Dell, joined the Golden State owners and general manager, Bob Myers, in the locker room. Dell kept texting his wife in the stands, offering Steph's mother, wife and mother-in-law updates on his condition. Hours earlier, the Curry family was a portrait of ease at a table inside the restaurant of the Four Seasons Hotel. They were sitting with Kris Stone, the Under Armour shoe executive, and waiting until it was time for the short walk to the Toyota Center. Curry's wife is pregnant, the shoe executive has to offer a blockbuster new endorsement deal sooner than later, and basketball's hottest star is five victories away from claiming an MVP and an NBA championship in the same season. Yahoo! Sports

Curry's fall almost took away a lot more from the Warriors, putting everybody associated with the franchise through an emotional wringer. But Game 5 is another day, and Curry will be playing in it. "We just don't want to come back to Houston," Thompson said. "We want to go to the finals for the first time in 40 years or whatever. "It's not going to be easy; (the Rockets) are here for a reason. We have to come and play with more intensity and play together, and we'll win the game." Contra Costa Times

Marc Stein: Had chance to ask Steph Curry if he'll go out of his way to avoid replays of scary fall. "I've seen it once," he said, "and once was enough" Twitter @ESPNSteinLine

"When he was twisting his ankle (frequently earlier in his career) and having his ankle issues, that was aggravating," Sonya Curry told USA TODAY Sports. "But this was scary, because I didn't know for a while what was going on down there...I just kept telling (Steph's) wife that God wouldn't have it happen like this. It couldn't end like this. He's going to get up. He's going to be fine. So when he did get up, I was just praising God." USA Today Sports

"I was texting people at home, and asking them what they were saying on TV," Sonya said. "They were texting me, and telling me stuff they were saying on TV, that he was running in the hallways and everything. But these are strong men, and with the adrenaline they'll keep doing stuff just to get out there and to not disappoint their team. I'm still not convinced (that he's ok). I need to talk to him, and I need to just see where his head is. For one, just to assure him that we support him, but also (to tell him to) think long term." USA Today Sports

He's no Sam Dalembert. Longtime Toronto-based journalist Michael Grange, who currently works for Rogers Sportsnet, described how Thompson immediately fit in with the Canadian national team without wanting star treatment. "There's always been a little bit of a concern [pro players] are used to playing roles but want to branch out from their NBA team," Grange said. "Like Sam Dalembert, he wanted to come back and play for the national team and all of a sudden he wanted to be Shaq [Shaquille O'Neal]. He wanted to get 30 touches and they're like, 'No, Sam, just f-----g get some rebounds and block shots.' "And Tristan, I don't know if there was anxiety about that, but I was a little curious of if he was going to come to the national team and all of a sudden want to play stretch 4. But the amazing part about him was he just f-----g played his ass off. ESPN.com

James suffered leg cramps and played through a sore right knee, strained lower back and tender right ankle Sunday. He required a postgame IV in the locker room after logging 47 minutes. "I got extensive treatment," James said Monday. "I'm not going to elaborate on exactly what I got. Just right after the game, just started trying to prepare my body and get ready for Game 4." ESPN.com

Westchester Knicks interim head coach Craig Hodges is expected to return to the team’s sideline as an assistant coach next season, though no final decision has been made, a league source tells D-League Digest. Hodges, 54, took over at the helm of the New York Knicks D-League affiliate after inaugural head coach Kevin Whitted was fired after posting the second-worst record (10-36) last season in the D-League. D-League Digest

THE PLAYERS WITH THE MOST 10-DAY CONTRACTS IN NBA

Knicks forward Louis Amundson has signed seven 10-day contracts throughout his pro career, but he's still not close to the king of the NBA journeymen.

   

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