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Michael Cooper Diagnosed with Cancer

Michael Cooper Diagnosed with Cancer

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — Atlanta Dream head coach and former Los Angeles Lakers guard Michael Cooper has been diagnosed with early stage tongue cancer. Cooper has taken a leave of absence from the team and will have surgery this week, the Dream said on Monday.
Assistant coach Karleen Thompson will fill in for the 58-year-old, who is expected to miss two weeks. Cooper will have surgery at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta and is expected to make a full recovery.
“I’m fortunate that my condition was diagnosed early, and this episode illustrates the importance of screening and early detection,” said Cooper. “I know the team will be in good hands with Coach Thompson at the helm during my absence, and I look forward to returning to the court soon.”
Cooper won five NBA titles while playing for the Lakers during the “Showtime” era. He also won consecutive WNBA titles as the coach of the Los Angeles Sparks. This is Cooper’s first season with the Dream, which currently holds a 15-6 record.
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Sources: Cavaliers to Sign Top Pick Wiggins

Sources: Cavaliers to Sign Top Pick Wiggins

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Despite the rumored talks between Minnesota and Cleveland that include trading Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love, sources now say the Cavaliers plan to sign their top draft pick later this week. Those same sources also say the delay in signing Wiggins has nothing to do with the apparent trade talks.
Instead, the Cavs have been reportedly weighing how to use the remaining $1.4 million available to them after signing the Kansas forward. Wiggins’ contract will net him in the neighborhood of a reported $5.5 million as a rookie. Once signed, Cleveland must wait at least 30 days before they can trade him. 
After the Cavs sign Wiggins, they are expected to ink Mike Miller to a two-year $5.6 million deal.
Cleveland has also been rumored to have interest in Ray Allen, a teammate with Miller in Miami. However, the Cavaliers would only be able to give Allen the league minimum of $1.4 million.
All of these front office moves have been to try and build the best possible team around returning forward LeBron James.
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Lisa Leslie to be Inducted into Women’s Hall of Fame

Lisa Leslie to be Inducted into Women’s Hall of Fame

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) — WNBA All-Star Lisa Leslie will headline a class of six inductees into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. The announcement came Saturday during the WNBA All-Star Game.
Leslie will join former Houston Comet Janeth Arcain, University of Georgia standout Jannet Harris, former Oklahoma State coach Kurt Budke, former Duke and University of Texas head coach Gail Goestenkors and Oregon City High School coach Brad Smith. The 17th Hall of Fame class will be inducted on June 13, 2015 in Knoxville, Tennessee.
A four-time Olympic Gold medal winner, Leslie won two WNBA titles with the Los Angeles Sparks prior to retiring in 2009. Arcain won four WNBA titles with the Houston Comets and was an icon on the Brazilian national team. A three-time Kodak All-American, Harris became the first NCAA women’s basketball player to record 2,500 points and 1,250 rebounds.
Budke will be inducted posthumously after passing away in a plane crash, along with assistant coach Miranda Serna, in 2011. After becoming an icon on the junior college level, Budke helped build Oklahoma State into a powerhouse team in the Big 12 conference.
Goestenkors won at least 30 games in seven consecutive seasons while with the Blue Devils, appearing in four Final Fours. Smith retired in 2006 with a career record of 629-87 in 27 seasons. He was given the Morgan Wooten Award for lifetime achievement for coaching high school basketball by the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.
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Jimmer Fredette Heads to the Pelicans

Jimmer Fredette Heads to the Pelicans

Jed Jacobson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The New Orleans Pelicans have found a new sharpshooter. The team agreed to terms with Jimmer Fredette on a one-year deal on Thursday, worth the league minimum.
Fredette, who was drafted by the Sacramento Kings, finished last season with the Chicago Bulls after earning his release from the Kings. The guard played sparingly in eight games with the Bulls, spending time on the roster during their playoff run.
Fredette’s best season came in his rookie year, 2011-12, when he averaged 7.6 points per game and shot 36.1 percent from beyond the arc.
The Pelicans hope that the former Brigham Young star will replace the production lost when Anthony Morrow signed with Oklahoma City. 
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Lakers Claim Boozer off Amnesty Waivers

Lakers Claim Boozer off Amnesty Waivers

Christopher Trotman/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The Los Angeles Lakers added to their wealth of big men on Thursday, claiming forward Carlos Boozer off amnesty waivers. The Lakers won a blind bid against nine teams, putting up $3.25 million to garner Boozer’s rights, according to reports. 
“We’re very pleased to have won the bidding process and to have gained his rights, and look forward to his contributions next season,” Mitch Kupchak, Lakers general manager, said in a news release.
Boozer was released via the amnesty clause by the Chicago Bulls just over a week ago, making it possible for Chicago to sign free agents Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic. The Bulls still must pay the remaining $13.6 million on his 2014-15 contract, but by utilizing the amnesty clause, the contract comes off the books for salary-cap and luxury-tax purposes.
Los Angeles has already signed a pair of power forwards, reaching agreements with both Ed Davis and Jordan Hill. Boozer averaged 13.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in 76 contests for Chicago last season.
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Paul Pierce Joining the Wizards

Paul Pierce Joining the Wizards

Claus Andersen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Paul Pierce will don new colors next season. On Saturday, the small forward signed a two-year deal worth $11 million with the Washington Wizards.
Pierce, who spent the 2013-14 season with the Brooklyn Nets, signed a contract that includes a player option for next summer. The Wizards went after Pierce once swingman Trevor Ariza signed a deal with the Houston Rockets.
The ten-time All-Atar averaged just 13.5 points per game, playing only 28 minutes per contest last year with the Nets. Pierce had also garnered interest from such teams as the Dallas Mavericks, Rockets, and Los Angeles Lakers. 
Pierce, 36, joined Brooklyn as part of a mega-trade with the Boston Celtics that included Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry.
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Vince Carter to Join Grizzlies

Vince Carter to Join Grizzlies

Tom Pennington/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Not to be lost in the madness that was LeBron James’ announcement, Vince Carter is also reportedly on the move. Sources say the veteran shooter spent Friday finalizing a three-year deal to join the Memphis Grizzlies.
Sources say the contract is worth $12.2 million per year, luring Carter away from the Dallas Mavericks. Memphis had attempted to get the shooting guard via a trade in 2013 but ended with Tayshaun Price after Dallas backed out of the talks. The Grizzlies were also hoping that Mike Miller would re-sign, but the small forward informed the team that he would not return for next season.
The Mavs were hoping to re-sign Carter by utilizing the cap-room exception owrth $2.7 million per year. Reports say that Carter had told Dallas that he would return to the team for a two-year deal worth $8 million. However, that number would only be possible if the Houston Rockets chose to match the offer give to Chandler Parsons.
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Cavs Ink Irving to Extension

Cavs Ink Irving to Extension

Chris Chambers/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) — Even the potential of luring LeBron James back could not prevent the Cleveland Cavaliers from making a major signing. On Thursday, the Cavs made it official by signing point guard Kyrie Irving to a five-year, $90 million extension.
While the agreement was reached last week, Cleveland could not publicly confirm the deal until the NBA’s moratorium on free agency ended on Thursday. The new contract keeps Irving in a Cavaliers jersey through 2020.
“We are excited that Kyrie has officially committed to be here long term with the Cleveland Cavaliers,” owner Dan Gilbert said in a release. “The future has never been brighter as we are building the team and franchise for sustainable success. Kyrie is obviously a very big piece of our plan.”
The three-year veteran averaged 20.8 points, 6.1 assists, and 3.6 rebounds last year for Cleveland. Irving was also named the Most Valuable Player at the NBA All-Star Game.
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Clippers Sign Farmar to Two-Year Deal

Clippers Sign Farmar to Two-Year Deal

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — After backup point guard Darren Collison left for Sacramento, the Los Angeles Clippers only had to look across the street for his replacement. The Clippers have snagged Jordan Farmar from the Los Angeles Lakers, signing him to a two-year deal.
The deal is worth a reported 4.2 million with a player option for the second season. The Los Angeles Times was the first to report the signing. Teams cannot officially sign until the NBA’s moratorium is lifted on July 10. 
“[The Clippers] came the hardest basketball-wise; it’s probably the best situation out there for me,” Farmar said in an interview with ESPNLosAngeles.com. “I turned down more money elsewhere. I get to stay home in L.A. and play for a contender, which is important to me.”
Farmar averaged 10.1 points, 4.9 assists, and 2.5 rebounds in 2013-14 for the Lakers after spending a year in Turkey. The 27-year-old battled through multiple injuries, missing 41 games.
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Boris Diaw Returning to Spurs

Boris Diaw Returning to Spurs

Andy Lyons/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — While the defending Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat wait and wonder about their “Big Three”, the world champion San Antonio Spurs continue to bring back the majority of their roster. Veteran forward Boris Diaw signed a new multi-year deal to return to the Spurs on Sunday.
Sources say that Diaw’s new contract is for three years, and is worth an approximated $22 million. The forward took to Twitter on Sunday to announce the signing saying, “Hey Spurs fans, Good news i stay in san antonio for a few more years. Lets win it again. #gospursgo”.
The 32-year-old averaged 9.1 points and 4.1 rebounds in 2013-14, helping the Spurs to a fifth NBA Championship.
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Spencer Hawes Signs with Clippers

Spencer Hawes Signs with Clippers

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — Free agent center Spencer Hawes has agreed to a $23 million deal for four seasons. The deal will not be official until the end of the NBA’s moratorium on deals is lifted on July 10.
Hawes averaged 13.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3 assists per game last year, splitting time between Philadelphia and Charlotte. The 26-year-old also hit better than forty-one percent from the three-point line nearly 45 percent.
The Clippers were reportedly working on a trade proposal for during the season, proving how much the team was looking for someone with his skill set. A 7’1″ center, Hawes is entering his eighth season in the NBA. Los Angeles is looking for another big man to bolster the roster after the firing of head coach Doc Rivers. 
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Melo Meets with Knicks and Lakers

Melo Meets with Knicks and Lakers

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — Thursday was a busy day for one of the NBA’s most sought after free agents. After spending two hours meeting with the Los Angeles Lakers, Carmelo Anthony also spent time with his most recent team in the New York Knicks.
Anthony sat down with members of both team’s leadership and discussed possible terms of contracts as he enters his first ever free agency period. The Lakers contingent was reportedly to include star Kobe Bryant, but the small forward was unable to get back to California in time following a family vacation in Europe. Bryant did say he planned to met with Anthony later in the day.
Following a two and a half hour meeting, Los Angeles told the small forward they would be willing to offer him maximum contract worth $96 million over four years. If Anthony chose to stay with the Knicks, he could garner a five-year deal with a $129 million price tag. New York reiterated to Anthony that he would be given such a contract if he chose to stay.
Anthony has also met with Chicago, Dallas, and Houston during this free agency period. 
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Griner Breaks WNBA Record with 11 Blocks

Griner Breaks WNBA Record with 11 Blocks

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(TULSA, Okla.) — Brittney Griner blocked 11 shots, a WNBA record, while adding 21 points in an 80-77 win for the Phoenix Mercury over the Tulsa Shock on Sunday night. The previous record of 10 was held by both Lisa Leslie (2004) and Margo Dydek (2001).
“I knew I had a couple of blocks, but I didn’t know how many,” said Griner. “To do that is pretty big, now I guess I have to try to beat it.”
Phoenix (10-3) has now won seven of its last nine games, following a loss to Tulsa back on June 6. The back-and-forth game went down to the final possession with the Shock (6-9) trailing by three. Skylar Diggins threw up a contested shot that bounced off the rim where the Mercury were able to grab the rebound and hold on to the win.
All five starters scored in double figures for Phoenix while Tulsa was led by three different players, including Diggins, with 16 points.
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Jason Kidd Allowed to Talk with Bucks

Jason Kidd Allowed to Talk with Bucks

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — After helping to turn the Brooklyn Nets season around and reach the playoffs, Jason Kidd’s future with the team is uncertain. Reports surfaced late Saturday night that the first year head coach could be on his way out of the Big Apple and headed to Milwaukee.
Sources confirmed a report from the New York Post that Kidd was allowed to speak with the Bucks after his request for a promotion was denied by Nets ownership. Kidd reportedly asked for personnel decisions to be added to his duties in addition to his coaching as well as part ownership. Milwaukee then asked, and was granted, permission to talk with Kidd about leaving Brooklyn.
Negotiations were said to be far enough along that the two sides were discussing compensation for the Nets when Kidd was hired away. Milwaukee, which already has a coach and general manager under contract, was purchased by Marc Lasry and Wes Edens earlier this year. Lasry was once a part-time owner of the Nets when Kidd was playing for the franchise, and was even a financial adviser to the former point guard. 
Should they need a new coach, sources say Brooklyn has shown interest in Mark Jackson, Lionel Simmons, and George Karl among others. In his first season as an NBA head coach, Kidd went 44-38 after a 10-21 start. Brooklyn reached the playoffs for a second straight year before being ousted by the Miami Heat in the second round. 
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NBA Selects Isaiah Austin in 2014 Draft

NBA Selects Isaiah Austin in 2014 Draft

Mike Stobe/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — In an emotional moment, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that former Baylor star Isaiah Austin was drafted by the league during Thursday night’s draft. Austin, who was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome last weekend, was forced to give up his dream of playing in the NBA, so the draft announcement was ceremonial.
Marfan syndrome effects the connective tissue within the body that can cause severe damage to the heart. The illness was discovered as part of Austin’s physical in preparation for the draft.
“For Commissioner Silver to even invite me here was a tremendous blessing and it just shows how much class that man has,” Austin said. “It’s really been a tough week for me, and it’s been really rough. I’ve just had a tremendous amount of support from everybody around the world, telling me they’re praying for me and everything.”
Austin averaged 13 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game in 35 contests with Baylor. The 7’1″ forward also revealed this year that he was playing with a prosthetic right eye after multiple surgeries to repair a detached retina suffered years ago proved to be unsuccessful. 
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Bulls Trade for McDermott

Bulls Trade for McDermott

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — In the first of many anticipated moves, the Chicago Bulls traded to get former Creighton star Doug McDermott at the NBA Draft on Thursday night. The Bulls gave up both of their first-round picks to get the sharp-shooting forward.
McDermott was drafted by the Denver Nuggets, who also get Anthony Randolph and a future second-rounder with the 11th overall pick. Chicago originally held the 16th and 19th overall picks, selecting Jusuf Nurkic and Gary Harris before the deal.
McDermott was the consensus player of the year in college basketball this past season, averaging 26.7 points per game and shooting over fifty percent from the field. The 6’7″ forward also shot 45 percent from three-point range as a senior, finishing fifth all-time on the NCAA scoring chart with 3,150 points.
Chicago was the lowest scoring team in the NBA in 2013-14, scoring 93.7 points per game while shooting just 33.3 percent from downtown. The Bulls are expected to be a top destination for free agent forward Carmelo Anthony, and they’re hopeful the acquisition of McDermott boosts their odds.
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Carmelo Anthony Opts Out

Carmelo Anthony Opts Out

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony has informed the team that he will opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent. Anthony, who had hinted towards the decision during the regular season, will be able to negotiate with any team on July 1.
Anthony has the ability to sign a maximum contract worth $96 million over five years with any team outside of the Knicks. Should he choose to resign with New York, the small forward could command a max deal worth $129 million.
Sources close to Anthony say the Chicago Bulls are one team that he would consider playing for. Among others that could garner his services are the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks. ESPN.com reported earlier in June that the Miami Heat have also inquired about signing Anthony. Meanwhile, Knicks president Phil Jackson had expressed his hope that Anthony would “opt in” to the final year of his deal and test free agency in 2015.
New York went 37-45 this past season, led by Anthony’s 27.4 points per game. Should he leave, Anthony would become the fifth player in the last 30 years to change teams after averaging more than 27 points that year and the first to do so since LeBron James.
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David Blatt Offered Cavaliers Head Coaching Job

David Blatt Offered Cavaliers Head Coaching Job

Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Sources close to the Cleveland Cavaliers indicate the team may have found their new head coach. According to multiple media reports, David Blatt was offered the head job on Thursday and the two sides are currently in contract talks.
A longtime European coach, Blatt led Russia to a bronze medal in the 2012 Summer Olympic games. He also was the head coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv, winning the Euroleague Championship this season. The 55-year-old has spent more than 20 seasons coaching in Europe for four different countries.
Blatt was the starting point guard at Princeton for legendary coach Pete Carril from 1977-1981 before having a 13-year playing career overseas. Blatt’s teams have been seen running a similar “Princeton-style” offense that he was taught in his collegiate career. If he accepts, Blatt would be the third Cavaliers head coach in as many seasons.
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Nowitzki Makes Plea for ‘Melo in Dallas

Nowitzki Makes Plea for ‘Melo in Dallas

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Carmelo Anthony, projected to be one of the top free agents if he chooses to opt out of his contract, may have a new suitor. Over the weekend, Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki made his pitch for Anthony.
“If Carmelo would really love to come here, we’d love to have him,” Nowitzki said in a radio interview.
Despite being under contract for next season, Anthony is expected to opt out of the final season of his contract with the New York Knicks and test free agency.
Along with the Mavericks, the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, and Miami Heat have also been rumored to have interest in the small forward. Still, Knicks president Phil Jackson has publicly stated his desire for Anthony to remain in New York.
“Listen, I think I’ve showed over my 16 years that I can play with anybody,” Nowitzki said. “The only tough season I think we’ve had is when we had [Antawn] Jamison and Antoine Walker and myself who are all three kind of the same four-men, but other than that I think I’ve shown over my career that I can play with anybody. I’ll adjust, whether I have to get out of the way or go to the corner more, post up, pass. I’ll do whatever, really, that needs to be done out there to win or for this franchise to be a winner.”
Anthony, who has said he would like to remain in New York, has stated on multiple occasions during the season that he planned to become a free agent this summer. Should he choose to re-sign with the Knicks, ‘Melo could ink a maximum contract worth $129 million over five years. If Anthony signs with another team, his contract would only be able to be a maximum of $96 million over four seasons.
Dallas won 49 games last year and made the playoffs as the eight seed. The Mavericks were champions in 2011 and are projected to have more than $30 million in cap space.
The Knicks won just 37 games this year and are not expected to have enough cap space to create a contender for the 2014-15 season.
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Sources: Cavaliers Reach Out to Marc Jackson

Sources: Cavaliers Reach Out to Marc Jackson

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Marc Jackson may not be in his new job for long. The current ESPN Analyst, who rejoined the network after being fired by Golden State last month, is reportedly being targeted by the Cleveland Cavaliers for their vacancy.
Sources say that Cavaliers general manager David Griffin called Jackson and spoke with him about becoming the team’s head coach. No formal interview was set-up and there have been no reports to gauge Jackson’s interest in the position.
The team has already interviewed such candidates as Alvin Gentry, Lionel Hollins, Vinny Del Negro, and former Cavalier Mark Price. David Blatt, the former coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv, is reportedly a person of interest as well. 
Jackson coached the Golden State Warriors for three season, building up a 121-109 record and helping to lead the team into the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time in 22 years. The Warriors won 51 games in 2013-14 under Jackson’s tutelage. 
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