FORMER TOP PICK IN HOT WATER: Late on Thursday, the NBA announced that 2018 No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton would be suspended for 25 games for violating the NBA’s Anti-Drug policy. It’s a shame, too, considering the big man went off in the Suns’ season opener, dropping 18 points, securing 11 boards and blocking four shots in what was a 29-point win for Phoenix.
Ayton, in a statement released on Thursday, claimed ignorance as to why he took the banned substance, calling the issue an “unintentional mistake.” The NBPA is already preparing for arbitration in order to reduce the penalty, but we’ll see how that goes.
SUPERSTAR DENIES COMMENTS: After a firestorm was created due to Giannis Antetokounmpo’s comments regarding his future in Milwaukee, where the reigning MVP was quoted as saying that if the Bucks begin to underperform, his future with the team would become more uncertain, the superstar now claims he never used those words. Regardless: It’s a major player playing in a small market, so this pre-agency will be an important one to track moving forward.
📅 Here are the key contract dates for the Milwaukee Bucks going forward.
EXTENSIONS STILL ROLLING IN: Turkish swingman Cedi Osman has agreed to a four-year extension with the Cavs. Osman is averaging 9.0 and 3.5 rebounds thus far in his three NBA seasons.
WARRIORS BACK TO REAL LIFE: The Warriors gave up 141 points in their first game of this new era. That’s the worst mark ever for Golden State with Stephen Curry on the floor. So yeah, not a promising start at the Chase center.
L.A. IGGY? Everybody is convinced Andre Iguodala will play for the Lakers this season.
YOUNG STAR FOCUSED AS EVER: Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Abrams talked to Donovan Mitchell about his past, his stint with Team USA this summer and about what he wants to accomplish with the Utah Jazz. Safe to say: Mitchell is focused on winning it all, and wants to do it in Salt Lake City.
SNEAKERHEAD: Rockets 3-and-D expert PJ Tucker is well-known for his status as the NBA’s premier sneakerhead, and it’s led to all of the big sneaker companies fighting for his services now that he’s a sneaker-brand free agent, despite him not being a superstar. He talks about that here.
SUPERSTAR BACKCOURT’S RELATIONSHIP: Russell Westbrook and James Harden have a strong relationship outside of basketball, which the two superstar guards believe will help them as they assimilate to playing alongside each other. It’ll be a process, though, as the Rockets lost their season opener to the Bucks 117-111.
CHANGE OF PLANS: It took all of one game for the Lakers to go back on their LeBron-as-full-time-point-guard plan. Now, with Rajon Rondo healthy and set to return to the rotation, James will apparently be moving back off the ball while the 33-year-old Rondo becomes the team’s starting point guard. At least for some games, according to head coach Frank Vogel, who says a lot of it will depend on matchups or giving LeBron nights where he gets a lesser amount of the load.
TALKING ABOUT LEBRON: We researched the MVP vote throughout history, and according to our data, LeBron James is indeed the second-greatest player of all time, except, in this case, he’s trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, not Michael Jordan.
VP DUNKS ON NBA: Mike Pence was not happy with how the NBA handled the fallout in China after Daryl Morey’s now-infamous tweet, discussing the issue in a speech recently. This story will just not go away.
🔥 Charles Barkley (and China) fired back.
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? 🤔
Click here for the answer.