NBA rumors: Stephen Curry wins second three-point contest

On Sunday, Stephen Curry won the NBA All-Star 3-point contest for the second time, joining Larry Bird, Craig Hodges, Mark Price, Jeff Hornacek, Peja Stojakovic and Jason Kapono as multiple-time winners. Curry scored 28 points in the final round to edge Utah’s Mike Conley, who registered 27 points.

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Though he has more 50-point, perfect score dunks (eight) than any player in NBA history – more than Michael Jordan, more than Zach LaVine – Gordon stands alone as the league's best dunker without a crown. “Growing up as a little kid, that’s something I dreamed of – winning the NBA dunk contest trophy,” Gordon says in the opening to the documentary short "Mr. 50" that follows him through the 2020 event during All-Star Weekend in Chicago.
Gordon could be bitter about the results. “I don’t harbor any bad or negative feelings,” he said. He remains a fan of the event and is worried his experience – perfect scores, no trophy – may prevent others from participating. “I have some fears that I ruined the dunk contest, that people aren’t going to want to do it anymore,” Gordon said. “I hope that people see ‘Mr. 50’ and are inspired and continue to elevate that dunk contest because there are still dunks that haven’t been done. I’m not going to do them, but I hope somebody comes in and does them. It’s a great event. It’s beautiful for the game.”
The genesis of the documentary began with the idea to give viewers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of his weekend. “But it turned into something more,” Gordon said. “My friend and filmmaker Aaron Chapman chopped it up in a way that I had never seen before. It was much more artistic, much more poetic and raw. “The message I wanted to get across is to conquer your fears and be satisfied in your actions more than the outcome.”
Tom Orsborn: Pop on Keldon Johnson's selection to Rising Stars roster: "It means a lot to Keldon. I’m happy as hell for him. He deserves it. It really makes him feel good that his efforts have been applauded and rewarded and noticed, so that’s great."
For the first time during his third NBA season, Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons is going to be participating in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. And needless to say, he's looking forward to it. "Super excited. I can't wait man," Simons said of the dunk contest on NBC Sports Northwest's Trail Blazers Courtside.
Derrick Jones Jr. also offered him a key piece of advice when choosing to go with a dunk: Make sure you make it on the first try. And just how many dunks will Simons have in his bag of tricks? He's working on four. And if the contest goes into a dunk-off as it did last year between Aaron Gordon and Jones Jr. did, Simons has a bold plan for how to compete. "Anything extra, and I'm just gonna wing it."
Marc Stein: U.S. Rising Stars roster as the NBA announced via @nba_topshot: LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, Tyler Herro, De'Andre Hunter, Keldon Johnson, Ja Morant, Michael Porter Jr., Zion Williamson, James Wiseman.
The league tried to add high-profile names. Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Anthony Edwards — who recently had one of the most jaw-dropping dunks you’ll ever witness — turned down the league’s request to compete in the Slam Dunk Contest, league sources told Yahoo Sports. A field with Williamson and Edwards would have certainly made for must-see TV. Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown and Charlotte Hornets high-flyer Miles Bridges declined as well, sources said.
That even goes for Buddy Hield, who has an NBA 3-point shootout title to defend, although he was non-committal about the even. "Do you think I should go defend it?" Hield asked reporters when talking about the event. "I don't know yet, to be honest, I've been having mixed emotions, you know, cover rules and especially I don't have no time with my family. Just trying to see how the COVID rules and the boundaries are set up. No clear cut yes yet, I'll just see in the next couple of days." According to Hield, he received an invitation from the league to join the festivities, but he is still mulling it over.
Mike Vorkunov: Obi Toppin says he's the best dunker in the family. But he adds: "My dad still got some." Obi Toppin might steal some tricks from his dad, though. "Maybe I'll pull out one of his dunks. We'll have to see but he definitely has some tricks back then. I think I have better ones."
A wide grin broke across Toppin’s face at the possibility — a potential indicator he has inside intel of having a legitimate chance at an invite. “The Dunk Contest, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see,’’ said a smiling Toppin. “I don’t want to just give you all answers, but hopefully I might be able to be there. Maybe not. So we’re just going to have to wait and see.’’
Marc Stein: The Hawks’ State Farm Arena is emerging as the likely All-Star Game site, sources say. Discussions continue on various All-Star fronts but momentum is indeed building for a dunk contest and 3-point contest to be attached to the March 7 All-Star Game.
Steve Popper: Elfrid on Randle as an all-star: "Honestly, it’s not even a question. I don’t even know what we’re talking about. He’s definitely been playing at an all-star level. We’ve been winning. I don’t think it’s really a debate."
Bleacher Report: "There's only a couple of people that think D-Jones should have won, though ... You and D-Jones." D-Wade and Aaron Gordon clear the air about the 2020 dunk contest *NSFW* (via @DwyaneWade)

http://twitter.com/BleacherReport/status/1256408096517189633
Aaron Gordon has put his displeasure with the 2020 Dunk Contest into a "diss" track titled "9 OUT OF 10," in which he calls out Dwyane Wade for the vote that helped him lose to Miami's Derrick Jones Jr. In an epic dunk contest back in February, Gordon dunked over Chance the Rapper (twice) and threw down 360-degree, between-the-leg slams. The battle between Gordon and Jones carried on into a "dunk-off" in which each player had to improvise dunks that hadn't been rehearsed. For Gordon's final dunk, he cleared 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall.
The latest installment comes two months after Gordon lost to Wade's former teammate, Derrick Jones Jr., in a controversial dunk contest during NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago. Last week Gordon released a diss rap track aimed at Wade, one of the judges who gave Gordon a nine when jumped over 7-foot-5 rookie Tacko Fall on his final dunk. The song is titled "9 out of 10." The chorus goes, “Nine out of 10, can you please fix your lens? Nine out 10 got you playing pretend. Nine out of 10, here we go again. Nine out of 10, could have bought the fam' a Benz. Nine out of 10, are you making amends? Nine out of 10, probably lost an M.”
The latest installment comes two months after Gordon lost to Wade's former teammate, Derrick Jones Jr., in a controversial dunk contest during NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago. Last week Gordon released a diss rap track aimed at Wade, one of the judges who gave Gordon a nine when jumped over 7-foot-5 rookie Tacko Fall on his final dunk. The song is titled "9 out of 10." The chorus goes, “Nine out of 10, can you please fix your lens? Nine out 10 got you playing pretend. Nine out of 10, here we go again. Nine out of 10, could have bought the fam' a Benz. Nine out of 10, are you making amends? Nine out of 10, probably lost an M.”
Jason Richardson: Well, I think Aaron Gordon has been robbed twice in a row. I might be biased, but I think the dunks he did were unseen and spectacular. He was great. I think he should be a two-time dunk contest winner. I totally believe that. It’s special what he can do. It’s special what most of these guys can do now. I was just talking to a kid yesterday who recognized me when I was working out at the gym. I was telling him how these guys are evolving. It’s just funny how evolved these guys are, how crazy they’re jumping and the tricks they’re coming up with. It’s just amazing.

http://twitter.com/Rachel__Nichols/status/1233530240359636992
But has the increased attention stemming from Saturday night’s memorable victory over Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic changed Jones Jr.? “Man, he walked in and didn’t say nothing to me this morning,” Jimmy Butler joked. “Nah, he’s the same dude. He’s always going to be like that. And I know him: If he goes to the dunk contest next year, he’ll win it again.”
Much like in 2016 when Gordon was the tough-luck loser to two-time champion Zach LaVine, Gordon has spent the past few days dealing with the fall out of an event he’s always thought he was destined to win at some point in his basketball career. In the subsequent four days since the Dunk Contest ended, Gordon has heard from countless numbers of fans, fellow NBA players and celebrities in the music and movie industries about a result they felt was wrong. That, in a weird and twisted sort of way, has helped to soothe Gordon’s disappointment over the results, he said. ``I definitely feel some type of way about it,’’ Gordon said while carefully choosing his words. ``I’m definitely kind of irritated a little bit and a little frustrated, as well. ``But it’s OK, it’s really OK,’’ he added. ``We’ve got to move on because it’s over now. I think it will be talked about for years and years and years, which is really cool. But at the same time, it’s over.’’
We talked to Dr. J -- who was in the building for the dunk contest -- at Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C. on Monday ... and we asked the hoops legend if the Orlando Magic star was robbed by the judges in Chi-town. "I don't know if robbed is the right term, if it had ended in a tie, I don't think anybody would've been upset. But, a contest like that going into basically 2 overtimes. Third overtime. You hate to have a loser." BUT, forced to pick a winner, Dr. J -- who won the inaugural ABA Dunk Contest in 1976 -- says Gordon's final dunk was justtttttttt a little better than Derrick Jones Jr.'s jam. "I think [Gordon's] last dunk was cleaner. Neither one of them were 50's because they had shot their load in terms of their best stuff."

http://twitter.com/Vivek/status/1229180177432760320
It was admirable of 34-year-old Dwight Howard, the 2008 dunk champ, do get back out there with Jones, Gordon, and White Men CAN Jump spokesman Pat Connaughton. Sources said Howard’s Friday night dunk contest practice was drawn out, with Howard having to revise his dunk routine with dunks that he could actually pull off. He posted the lowest single dunk score in Saturday’s contest, with a 41 for jumping, posing with his arms spread, then spinning and dunking. “I was going to put my arms in the rim,” Howard said, when asked what dunk he might’ve done in the finals. “I couldn’t wait to do it. But it’s OK. I’m happy to be here.”
Amid the controversial yet inconsequential finish of the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest, the league veered from the rules to determine Saturday’s winner. Instead of letting the judges vote for either Orlando’s Aaron Gordon or Miami’s Derrick Jones Jr. after the first dunk of the dunk-off in the final round, the NBA allowed Gordon and Jones to attempt a second dunk-off dunk, which isn’t in the rules.
Malika Andrews: Derrick Jones Jr. said that he expected the judges to make it so there would have been a third “dunk off” round after Aaron Gordon dinked over Tacko Fall: “He clipped Tacko’s head, so they couldn’t give him a 50. I expected them to give him a 48 so we could go again.”
Andre Iguodala: The right guy won.... Kenny wasn’t behind the judges table....
Jorge Sierra: No dunk titles for Gordon, but he will get a lot of sympathy out of this. That’s worth something. Nikola Vucevic: That’s worth nothing when you get robbed twice
Karl-Anthony Towns: #DunkContest pic.twitter.com/BBLp9iSVzM

http://twitter.com/KarlTowns/status/1228886910929686528
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April 19, 2021 | 8:10 am EDT Update
Reigning EuroLeague scoring champion Mike James has emerged as a candidate to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, Eurohoops has learned via a source. James was suspended indefinitely by CSKA Moscow in late March following an incident with team head coach Dimitris Itoudis and has headed back to his native United States. UPDATE: He will join the Nets, according to Chema de Lucas.

Raptors sign Yuta Watanabe to standard NBA contract

The Toronto Raptors announced Monday they have signed forward Yuta Watanabe (YOU-tuh wah-tuh-NAH-bay) to a standard NBA contract. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Watanabe, 6-foot-9, 205 pounds, is averaging 4.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 13.4 minutes in 39 games (one start) as a two-way player with the Raptors this season. He is shooting .448 (56-125) from the field, including .400 (24-40) from three-point range, and has scored in double figures six times. Watanabe recorded a career-high 21 points Apr. 16 vs. Orlando.
Hasheem Thabeet is looking to make an NBA comeback, his agent Jerry Dianis told me on Saturday. The 7’3″ big-man just won MVP honors while playing in Taiwan for the Hsinchu JKO Lioneers. “Bottom line Hasheem Thabeet was given a opportunity, and he killed it,” Dianis told me. “MVP performance with career highs in points, rebounds, minutes played, assists and steals. Thabeet averaged 18.3 points, 14.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game.
Storyline: Hasheem Thabeet NBA return?
To gauge who are the top international players, HoopsHype polled 15 NBA talent evaluators, including 10executives and five scouts. Each talent evaluator was asked to list his top five international players. The criteria included any player pro player not in the NBA right now. Some of the talent evaluators prioritized former NBA players and older veterans who are having an immediate impact on their team overseas. Others placed a higher value on younger prospects who are likely to come to the NBA in upcoming drafts. 1. Nikola Mirotic (Barcelona): The 30-year-old forward is shooting an astounding 59.7 percent from the field and 47.2 percent from beyond the arc while scoring 15.9 points per game. “He’s the guy that’s been most productive in the NBA, and someone you can put in an NBA game right now if you had to,” one NBA executive told HoopsHype.
2. Josh Giddey (Adelaide 36ers): “He has great size and excellent court vision,” an NBAexecutive told HoopsHype. “He sees the floor so well, and he’s probably too unselfish at times. His shooting will need a lot of work. He needs to become a consistent threat from three and he needs to improve at the line, but he’s playing in a tough league at a young age and he’s having success.”
3. Vasilije Micic (Anadolu Efes): The 6-foot-5 Serbian guard has his draft rights retained currently by the Thunder. While some have speculated he could make the jump to the NBA, his agent, Misko Raznatovic, denied having talks with any clubs for next season at this time. Still, Micic has drawn the attention of NBA teams with his play. “He’s almost an elite passer,” one NBAscout told HoopsHype. “He’s a good shooter, both on and off the dribble. He’s not athletic but has enough strength after his first step to get at the rim once he gets a runway. He’s very smart. His basketball IQ is off the charts.”
“With the recent conclusion of his season in Taiwan, Hasheem is an unrestricted free agent,” Dianis added. “He is in the best shape of his life as certified by his recent MVP performance. Hasheem looks forward to helping an NBA team that needs his athleticism and size off the bench. I have no doubt Hasheem will be inundated with worldwide opportunities.”
Storyline: Hasheem Thabeet NBA return?