HEIGHTENED EXPECTATIONS: After six playoff appearances in a row and coming off their first deep postseason run in almost two decades, the Blazers have one goal in mind for this upcoming season: championship. And they’re not afraid to talk about it. At a team dinner prior to the start of training camp, the Blazers’ leaders, ranging from their general manager Neil Olshey to their head coach Terry Stotts, to All-Stars Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, spoke up about a title being a legitimately attainable goal for Portland this season.
For what it’s worth, we’re not that high on them. Then again, we never are and end up proven wrong.
HOW THE TRADE SAUSAGE WAS MADE: The Los Angeles Lakers trading for Anthony Davis was one of the league’s major transactions of the summer. Here are all of the behind-the-scenes details of how the deal got done.
EXTENSION TALKS: We talked with a bunch of NBA execs about the rationale behind their decision to extend a player contract or not. Main takeaway: There’s fear on both sides.
Nuggets’ Malik Beasley is reportedly a candidate to get an extension.
KNICKS NO LONGER COOL? The ever-outspoken Kevin Durant went on a major radio show yesterday to talk about a wide-variety of topics, from his decision to sign with the Brooklyn Nets to how much he thought he put into signing with the New York Knicks, before getting into why elite players aren’t signing with the historic orange-white-and-blue team. He then hopped on Twitter to talk to fans about his Knicks-related comments.
IT FINALLY HAPPENED: Ben Simmons hit his first three in the NBA. No, seriously. And it looked clean, too.
INTERNATIONAL SITUATION NOT GOING AWAY: The latest developments on the China-NBA situation include the cancellation of multiple events that were supposed to happen prior to the game, and Chinese TV making the call to no longer broadcast either of the preseason games that will take place there. All signs point to the two games themselves getting cancelled, too, though that hasn’t happened yet.
VOTE OR… RUN LAPS: Doc Rivers is encouraging his players to register to vote, talking to them about the importance of civic duty and setting up a station outside of the team facilities for players to register after practice.
THE NBA MOM: NBPA executive vice president Chrysa Chin is considered a second mom by multiple players, someone they can talk to when they’re having a problem, either NBA-related or in their personal lives, and someone who can help them fix said problems.
LUKA DONCIC FOR… FOUR? The Dallas Mavericks have set up a four-point line – actually, two four-point lines – in their practice facility. It doesn’t actually count for four points, not even in practice, but it’s to help Mavericks players get used to spotting up from even further out, which will help improve their spacing once the regular season rolls around.
STARTING ELSEWHERE: The popular former NBA TV show The Starters have a new podcast, titled No Dunks, which will premiere on The Athletic this season.
TRADE RUMOR RANKINGS
These are the players with the most mentions in our trade rumors page the last seven days:
SALARY QUIZ: WHO’S THIS NBA PLAYER? 🤔
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