Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo, four-time winner LeBron James and 2018 MVP James Harden headline the list of finalists for the NBA’s six major individual awards, all of which were announced Saturday afternoon. Antetokounmpo, James and Harden were the three finalists for MVP, with the finalists for each of the six awards — MVP, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, Most Improved Player and Coach of the Year — being determined based off voting results from a panel of sports writers and broadcasters from across the globe.
Congrats to the new MVP, but we respectfully disagree. 📝 @JHarden13 ⤵️ ✔️ Finished Top 2 in MVP voting 4 out of the last 5 seasons ✔ 1st player in NBA history to avg at least 35.0ppg & 7.0apg in a single season ✔ Scored 40+ pts 28 times this season, 50+ 9 times & 60+ twice
Mark Berman: Hakeem Olajuwon (@Hakeem Olajuwon),1994 MVP, on @jharden,2018 MVP: "It's long overdue.I think James has been the MVP for the last 2 or 3 seasons. I'm happy for him he got it this time because it's well-deserved. He's 1 of the hardest working players n the league. I really admire his ability"
Sam Amick: Here at the TNT/NBA awards show in a Santa Monica hangar, where James Harden is expected to be named MVP later tonight and will say a few words from this here podium. As I mentioned last week, LeBron will not be attending
Tim MacMahon: Scott Brooks says James Harden deserves to be MVP ... "but you can always argue LeBron can get it every year. Like Michael Jordan should have had 12 of them. LeBron’s the same type of player."
August 2, 2021 | 1:19 am EDT Update
“It looks like [Kawhi] is expected to re-sign with the Clippers, but sources informed me that he will listen to other teams.” @ChrisBHaynes on Kawhi Leonard’s free agency
Sources tell cleveland.com the Cavs are no longer expected to pursue Los Angeles Lakers free agent guard Alex Caruso or Indiana Pacers pesky reserve TJ McConnell — both of whom will garner interest from several suitors and could command the full mid-level exception, which starts around $9.5 million.
That means the Cavs need to set their sights elsewhere. Sources say they are considering splitting the exception among two players, depending on the target, but would use the full MLE on the right fit. Indiana sharpshooter Doug McDermott will get consideration, sources say. But that will be a battle. Shooters get paid in this league. A source suggested the Cavs would likely have to go an extra guaranteed year to boost their appeal. Let’s call that the “Cleveland tax.”
Alec Burks is another possibility. The Cavs like him and would be interested in a reunion, a source says. Burks played about half a season with the Cavs in 2018-19 before getting sent to Sacramento in a three-team trade that netted Cleveland a first-round-pick.
The 26-year-old “Greek Freak” sat next to the gleaming NBA championship trophy, along with his NBA Finals MVP award and his brother, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, 29, who also plays for the Bucks. “We had to go through a long process (to bring the trophy to Greece),” Giannis Antetokounmpo said. “We don’t know how many days we will stay, but we will take it with us to the places we grew up, to Sepolia and Zografou.”
Antetokounmpo added that part of his desire to win is “because I’m a people pleaser. I want to win for (son) Liam, my mother, my family, my friends, for Greece. “I might win the next title next year, or three years from now. But even if I never win another title in my life, I will still be OK, because that will have been God’s plan.”
August 2, 2021 | 12:45 am EDT Update
Tommy Beer: Stephen A. Smith, on @SiriusXMNBA , says that although Dame Lillard has not yet demanded a trade, Smith knows “for a fact” that if Dame were to be traded, New York “would be his number 1 destination,” adding “I’m telling you what I know. I’m not guessing.”