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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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Spurs Stomp Heat, Take 3-1 Finals Lead

Spurs Stomp Heat, Take 3-1 Finals Lead

Andy Lyons/Getty Images(MIAMI, Fla.) — Kawhi Leonard had 20 points and 14 rebounds while playing tremendous defense against LeBron James to help San Antonio dominate the Heat in a 107-86 win in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

The Spurs now take a 3-1 lead in the series and are one win away from a world championship.

“I’m pleased that they performed as well as they did while we’ve been in Miami, and that’s about as far as it goes,” said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich. “Now we’ve got to go back home and play as well or better.”

For the second straight game, San Antonio dominated, leading by as many as 24 points in the third quarter. The Spurs shot 57.1 percent from the floor as a team, including 9-for-21 from three-point distance. Miami, who had not lost at home this postseason prior to Game 3 on Tuesday, shot just 45 percent in the loss.

Despite 28 points from LeBron James, 19 of which came in the third quarter, the Heat were unable to find an answer defensively. Now they must do what no team has ever done, win an NBA Finals after trailing 3 games to 1. 

Tim Duncan surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most career playoff minutes (8,869) as well as Magic Johnson’s all-time record for double-doubles in the postseason (158). Duncan has helped bring San Antonio all four world titles in franchise history, the most recent of which in 2007. He can add a fifth to his resume on Sunday when the team returns to San Antonio.

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Dwayne Wade Fined $5K for Game 2 Flop

Dwayne Wade Fined $5K for Game 2 Flop

Ron Elkman/Getty Images(MIAMI, Fla.) — Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade was fined $5,000 on Monday for over-exaggerating a foul in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

The league deemed that Wade “flopped” late in the second quarter when fouled by San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili.

“He took a swipe and he hit me,” said Wade before the fine was announced. “It was a late call by the ref, but he called it.”

The incident occurred with 4:09 to play in the second quarter. Ginobili took the ball nearly 35 feet from the basket. Wade embellished the contact, drawing a foul, and made both resulting free throws. Ginobili was relegated to the bench with his third foul of the half.

The Heat went on to win the game by two points, 98-96, evening the series at one game apiece.

Game 3 is Tuesday night in Miami.

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Sterling Changes Mind Again; Won’t Sell Clippers, Will Sue NBA

Sterling Changes Mind Again; Won’t Sell Clippers, Will Sue NBA

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has changed his mind once again. The embattled owner has withdrawn support of the sale negotiated by his wife and will go forth with a $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver.

“I have decided that I must fight to protect my rights,” Sterling said Monday in a letter. “While my position may not be popular, I believe that my rights to privacy and the preservation of my rights to due process should not be trampled.”

The deal to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion was negotiated by Sterling’s wife Shelly last week. Max Blecher, Sterling’s attorney, now says the owner will challenge the sale, as well as the actions taken by his wife.

Sterling and his attorneys are alleging that that the league violated his rights by using information obtained from an “illegal” recording that brought to light racist comments made to a girlfriend. 

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James Scores 35, Heat Tie Series

James Scores 35, Heat Tie Series

Andy Lyons/Getty Images(SAN ANTONIO, Texas) — After two days of taking criticism for missing the final four minutes of a Game 1 loss, LeBron James scored 35 points and added 10 rebounds as Miami defeated San Antonio 98-96 in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. The Heat have won 13 straight postseason games after a loss, evening the series at one game apiece.

“What happened on Thursday was Thursday,” said James after the win. “My whole focus was how I was going to try to help this team even this up and just try to make some plays.”

One play he made was an assist to Chris Bosh for a go-ahead three at the 1:18 mark of the fourth quarter. That gave Miami a 95-93 advantage that they would not relinquish. A Dwayne Wade layup on a broken play upped the lead to five with nine seconds remaining to seal the deal.

The back-and-forth affair saw San Antonio lead by as many as eight points, and hold a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. While nursing an 87-85 advantage, both Tim Duncan and Tony Parker missed a pair of free throws midway through the frame. James followed with a three-pointer to take the lead and regain momentum.

Duncan finished the game with 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Spurs while Parker had a team high 21 points. Four different players for the Heat scored in double-figures. Game 3 is Tuesday night in Miami.

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Ex-Tarheel Star Claims he Took “Paper Classes”

Ex-Tarheel Star Claims he Took “Paper Classes”

Craig Jones/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Rashad McCants, a junior on North Carolina’s 2005 national championship men’s basketball team, says that he barely went to class and tutors wrote his papers so he would remain academically eligible.

McCants told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” that he made the dean’s list in the spring of 2005 without ever attending one of the four classes in which he received A’s. The second-leading scorer on the ’05 title team further accused Tarheels head coach Roy Williams of knowing about such “paper classes”. Those so-called classes were part of the African-American Studies Program at UNC.

The allegations come just a couple of years after the Raleigh News & Observer began reporting about widespread academic fraud on the North Carolina campus. An investigation published in 2012 found that 15 members of the national championship basketball team accounted for enrollments in the courses.

An independent investigation by the university found 54 classes in African and Afro-American Studies were “irregularly” or “aberrantly” taught from 2007 to 2011. While the NCAA sanctioned the Tarheel football team for improper benefits and academic misconduct, the athletic department as a whole was largely unpunished.

Although McCants claims that it was the norm for tutors to write papers on behalf of student-athletes, members of the UNC athletic department have painted other pictures. 

“I have gotten to know some of Mr. McCants’ teammates, and I know that claims about their academic experience have affected them deeply,” said UNC’s athletic director Bubba Cunningham in a statement to “Outside the Lines”. “They are adamant that they had a different experience at UNC-Chapel Hill than has been portrayed by Mr. McCants and others.”

“With respect to the comments made today, I strongly disagree with what Rashad [McCants] has said. In no way did I know about or do anything close to what he says and I think the players whom I have coached over the years will agree with me,” said men’s basketball coach Roy Williams in a statement released on Friday. “I have spent 63 years on this earth trying to do things the right way and the picture he portrays is not fair to the university or me.”

A copy of McCants’ unofficial transcript shows that he obtained 10 A’s and six B’s in African-American classes, but received six C’s, one D and three F’s in non-African-American Studies courses.

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Jazz Hire Quin Snyder as Head Coach

Jazz Hire Quin Snyder as Head Coach

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Atlanta Hawks assistant coach Quin Snyder has been hired to become the head coach for the Utah Jazz. The team announced a three-year deal with an option for a fourth on Friday.

“The opportunity to join the Utah Jazz and to be part of such a highly respected franchise with an incredibly bright future is a great honor,” said Snyder in a statement released by the team. “I approach this opportunity with gratitude and humility and am committed to doing everything I can to help the Jazz become a championship-caliber team.”

A longtime assistant, Snyder has also spent time with the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers. The 47-year-old was also the head coach of San Antonio’s D-League team in Austin, Texas. Snyder was also the head coach at the University of Missouri from 1999-2006.

Snyder replaces Tyrone Corbin who went 112-146 after taking over for Jerry Sloan on Feb. 10, 2011, making the playoffs in the strike-shortened 2011-12 season. A formal news conference will take place on Saturday to introduce the new coach.

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