VIDEO: England lose netball thriller to Australia - Hamilton top in final practice - Lewis Hamilton is in good shape to secure pole position at the Hungarian Grand Prix after setting the pace in final practice. Australia deny England in netball - Australia beat England 49-48 in a tense finale to top Pool B in the netball competition. Cook should resign - Pietersen - Kevin Pietersen says England captain Alastair Cook should resign as he "does not have the tactical brain to lead the side". Fury withdraws from Ustinov fight - Shaw deal too expensive - Mourinho - Puig, Dodgers go triple-crazy, beat Giants 8-1 (Yahoo Sports) - Yasiel Puig tied a franchise record with three triples and added a double and two RBIs as the Los Angeles Dodgers moved within a half-game of NL West-leading San Francisco by beating the Giants 8-1 on Friday night. The Dodgers matched a club record with five triples, including three during a five-run fifth inning that chased Tim Lincecum (9-7). It was the most triples in a game for the franchise since 1921 and most by a Dodgers player since Brooklyn's Jimmy Sheckard had three in 1901. Zack Greinke (12-6) tossed seven innings of four-hit ball, striking out 10 and walking one. Van Gaal tells players to speak English - Abreu hits 30th HR, White Sox beat Twins 9-5 (Yahoo Sports) - Jose Abreu hit his major league-leading 30th homer and drove in three runs, leading the Chicago White Sox past the Minnesota Twins 9-5 on Friday night. The Cuban rookie has 77 RBIs - Detroit's Miguel Cabrera began the day leading the majors with 80. Alexei Ramirez and Tyler Flowers also homered for the White Sox. Dayan Viciedo tied a career high with four of Chicago's 17 hits. Price, Rays beat Red Sox for 8th straight victory (Yahoo Sports) - David Price won his sixth start in a row, Evan Longoria hit a three-run double and the Tampa Bay Rays earned their eighth straight victory, beating the Boston Red Sox 6-4 on Friday night. The Red Sox lost their fourth consecutive game. He tied the team record shared by Matt Moore and Scott Kazmir for victories in consecutive starts. This was Price's first game against Boston since he hit David Ortiz with a fastball on May 30, setting off a verbal skirmish between the stars.

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The 10-man rotation, starring what John Wall does or does not need to do to help the Wizards' offense [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 25, 2014, 10:52 pm]
A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C: Fancy Stats. In which Neil Greenberg says the Washington Wizards' offense would be better if John Wall shot less. PF: Bullets Forever. In which Mike Prada gets his #wellactually on all over Neil Greenberg. SF: Gothic Ginobili. Aaron McGuire tries to explain what "cap smoothing" might mean in the context of a recent Zach Lowe report on how the NBA might try to prevent the salary cap from taking a giant leap if and when revenues spike in a particular year … like, say, when the new NBA television rights deal gets signed. I remain unsure that this would be legal — wouldn't it need to be collectively bargained? — but in terms of getting your arms around the issue, this is a good place to start. SG: TrueHoop. J.A. Adande on what Doc Rivers' thoughts of quitting and Chris Paul's thoughts of a boycott really boil down to: "For anyone contemplating bailing, it’s really about resolving a conflict with their own conscience. And the only way to do that would be to give back every dollar they ever made from [Donald] Sterling." PG: Bleacher Report. Kevin Ding on the season ahead for Jeremy Lin, which stands as both a make-or-break campaign and one in which there will be less pressure on him than there's been since he broke through with the New York Knicks. 6th: Sports Illustrated. Rob Mahoney offers a fair and reasonable consideration of the Golden State Warriors' reported continued insistence on not trading Klay Thompson for Kevin Love — an insistence that has opened the door to other deals that may well entice the Minnesota Timberwolves — and comes to a bone-simple and inescapable conclusion: "… cross-matching guards are more readily available than All-NBA power forwards." 7th: Triangle Offense. Russ Bengtson on Kobe at, or near, the end: "Bryant’s ov

Joakim Noah on LeBron James' return to Cleveland: 'I really hope that we can kick his ass' [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 25, 2014, 10:40 pm]
In a league that’s getting smaller and quicker, the need for a knockout low post presence at center and power forward has been minimized. The NBA, more than ever, values spacing and sharing, and less of the low post hoggery that dominated the league’s first few decades or dull two-man game’ry that dominated the 1990s and early aughts. The Chicago Bulls boast what is probably the league’s deepest frontcourt, but it hardly reminds of the sluggo outfits from days of NBA yore. With Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic up front, the team is able to field four players with fabulously versatile games that could produce a ferocious array of passing, finishing, shooting from the outside and the ability to make life hell for opposing offenses. The one problem? None of these guys should be playing small forward, and there are only 48 minutes in a game, and just two positions to fill. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau discussed as much in an interview with Chicago-area 87.7 The Game on Thursday morning, via Pro Basketball Talk: "I'm not sure on who's starting and who's finishing yet," Thibodeau told the Kap & Haugh Show on 87.7 FM The Game on Thursday morning. "Here's the thing, I know all three are going to have a significant role. I have 96 minutes there and I look at all three of those guys as starters. We'll see how it unfolds when we get to training camp and we let them play together." Regardless of how the minutes are divided up, Thibodeau only has one goal in mind. "We're always going to do what's best for the team and make us function at the highest level." Thibs went on to confirm that his current situation is “a great problem to have,” and he’s not wrong in that regard. The question that most Bulls fans fear, however, is whether or not Thibodeau will actually be faced with this “problem.” Joakim Noah missed just two games last season and in 2012, but he ended this year limping with a knee injury (that eventually required surgery) the C

Fat Joe on 'the Picasso of sneakers' and nearly punching Mark Cuban [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 25, 2014, 10:04 pm]
Rapper Fat Joe joined Complex Magazine's web series "Quickstrike" and shared a story about the time Michael Jordan sent him a letter in jail with hosts Russ Bengtson and DJ Clark Kent, and somehow that wasn't the best yarn Fat Joe spun during a fascinating conversation for basketball sneakerheads. No, the top tale Fat Joe told this day involved Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and a knuckle sandwich. It starts at the 6:25 mark of the embedded YouTube video, and it gets progressively funnier. I'll tell you a funny story. I don't know if I ever told this story before. We was in All-Star Weekend, and Jordan put up the collection 1-23, and it was an auction going to some charity. I think I had bidded up to like a half a million dollars, because it came in a case. It was in my crazy days, but it was in a glass case. Jordan was actually doing the auction. I was almost nervous I might win. So, I'm like, "Oh, sh--," and I keep going and bidding. And somebody outbid me. And when I turned around, it's Mark Cuban. He goes up to me, and he says to me, "Fat Joe, guess what?" I said, 'What?" He said, "I'm gonna throw it in my closet with the rest of the stuff." I wanted to punch Mark Cuban in the face. "You motherf---er." I'm over here thinking, "This is it. This is like the Picasso of sneakers." I know what I could do and what I can't do. I couldn't spend a half a million dollars on these sneakers. I still was doing it. You know what I mean? It's crazy. How about Cubes tempting fate with a man pushing three bills who was once arrested for allegedly hitting a man with a baseball bat? Even if those charges were later dropped, it's probably not the wisest move to talk trash immediately after snatching the white whale of sneakers from Fat Joe.

Here's JaVale McGee as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in a rap video (Video) [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 25, 2014, 9:02 pm]
It's been kind of a while since we've caught up with JaVale McGee; that can happen when a player's been sidelined for nearly nine months after suffering what wound up being a

The Los Angeles Lakers have offered their open head coaching post to Byron Scott [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 25, 2014, 8:49 pm]
In the end, as is usually the case, Kobe Bryant got what he wanted. We hope he’s happy. The Los Angeles Lakers are in negotiations to bring Byron Scott back into the Laker family as head coach – ESPN was the first to report the interest, which Marc Spears discussed here. The 53-year old won three championship rings as a Laker shooting guard during the 1980s, and his final season in the NBA was on a Laker team that featured Bryant in his rookie year. Since then, Scott has had an up and down career as a head coach, with some wondering if his final season with the Cleveland Cavaliers would be the last we see of Scott as a leading man. Patience paid out, apparently, as Scott and the Lakers had shown mutual interest and engaged in several interviews in the weeks since Los Angeles and former head coach Mike D’Antoni decided to part ways on April 30. Byron had been on Los Angeles’ radar, but it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not he took it as a slap to the face that Lakers general manager (and former Laker teammate) Mitch Kupchak waited nearly three months to make a formal offer. It’s not Scott had much choice in the matter. He spent three disastrous years with the post (and pre)-LeBron James Cavaliers, years that saw the team’s young players show little in the way of player development, running up one of the league’s worst defenses along the way. It’s true that he was asked to coach a team in rebuilding mode – even if the Cavaliers owner and general manager at the time refused to go into such a mode following James’ departure – but the abject lack of movement up the standings wore on Scott’s critics. Scott was well-liked by his players, though, as reportedly he eased off the Pat Riley-styled practices that marked his time as coach of the New Jersey Nets and the then-New Orleans Hornets. After several years as an assistant, Scott started his head coaching career by making the daring move of establishing a Princeton-like offense in New Jersey

The Los Angeles Lakers have offered their open head-coaching post to Byron Scott [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 25, 2014, 8:49 pm]
In the end, as is usually the case, Kobe Bryant got what he wanted. We hope he’s happy. The Los Angeles Lakers are in negotiations to bring Byron Scott back into the Laker family as head coach – ESPN was the first to report the interest, which Marc Spears discussed here. The 53-year-old won three championship rings as a Lakers shooting guard during the 1980s, and his final season in the NBA was on a team that featured Bryant in his rookie year. Since then, Scott has had an up-and-down career as a head coach, with some wondering if his final season with the Cleveland Cavaliers would be the last we see of Scott as a leading man. Patience paid out, apparently, as Scott and the Lakers had shown mutual interest and engaged in several interviews in the weeks since Los Angeles and former head coach Mike D’Antoni decided to part ways on April 30. Byron had been on Los Angeles’ radar, but it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not he took it as a slap to the face that Lakers general manager (and former Lakers teammate) Mitch Kupchak waited nearly three months to make a formal offer. It’s not Scott had much choice in the matter. He spent three disastrous years with the post (and pre)-LeBron James Cavaliers, years that saw the team’s young players show little in the way of player development, running one of the league’s worst defenses along the way. It’s true that he was asked to coach a team in rebuilding mode – even if the Cavaliers owner and general manager at the time refused to go into such a mode following James’ departure – but the abject lack of movement up the standings wore on Scott’s critics. Scott was well-liked by his players, though, as reportedly he eased off the Pat Riley-styled practices that marked his time as coach of the New Jersey Nets and the then-New Orleans Hornets. After several years as an assistant, Scott started his head-coaching career by making the daring move of establishing a Princeton-like offense in New Jersey despite

Carmelo Anthony, after getting $124 million from Knicks: 'I want to win. I don't care about the money' [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 25, 2014, 7:35 pm]
Carmelo Anthony just agreed to a five-year deal worth well over $120 million to return to the New York Knicks. Actually, thanks to ShamSports.com's Mark Deeks, we can get precise — Anthony will earn $124,064,681 over the next five seasons. It's a contract he couldn't have gotten anywhere else, per the structure of the collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and its players; the so-called Larry Bird exception allows teams to offer a fifth year and a maximum raise of 7.5 percent in deals to re-sign their own free agents, while limiting other teams looking to poach a player to four-year deals. This is why Anthony said before the start of the 2013-14 season that he planned to enter free agency come summertime. This is why he exercised his early termination option to make that happen. And this, we all figured, is why — after a free-agent tour that saw him meet with several teams limited to four-year offers that couldn't crack the nine-figure mark — he chose to take the longest, richest, most lucrative deal available to him, and stay in New York. This is what we all figured, but now, Carmelo Anthony is saying it ain't so. From Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com: "I want to win. I don't care about the money," Anthony told ESPN.com. "I believe Phil will do what he has to do to take care of that." "I don't think we're that far away," he added. "People use 'rebuilding' too loosely." [...] the 30-year-old Anthony said he is invigorated to work with a new team president in Phil Jackson and a new coach in Derek Fisher. "It's a matter of me believing in the organization, believing in Phil," Anthony said. "I wanted to go somewhere where I can end my career." That last sentiment — "I wanted to go somewhere where I can end my career" — echoes remarks Anthony made during an interview with VICE Sports before the start of free agency, in which he framed his decision as "looking at the next six to eight years of your career — the end of your career, at that. So do you want to

The Minnesota Timberwolves appear to have realized that Kevin Love isn't coming back [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 25, 2014, 7:17 pm]
By most accounts, Minnesota Timberwolves part-owner/president/head coach/lead sandwich artist Flip Saunders has finally come to the conclusion that he won’t be able to convince Kevin Love to stay in town. That one year of Flip on the pine and a possible postseason placement for the Wolves wouldn’t be enough to encourage Love to pass on opting out of his contract in the summer of 2015 and explore the free agent market. It once seemed a given that Saunders was deluded enough to think that his offseason and regular season touch would be enough to help change the All-Star forward’s mind, but it appears as if Saunders has come to his senses. Now, comes the trade bit. Or, actually, the trade bit started weeks ago. It probably should have started months ago, and it’s going to take at least another month to conclude. That much became certain last week, when the Chicago Bulls signed rookie Doug McDermott to a contract, and especially apparent when the Cleveland Cavaliers signed top overall pick Andrew Wiggins to his first contract on Thursday. Per NBA law, the new professionals cannot be traded for 30 days following the signing, which means we have at least 29 more days to wait out a potential Love-to-Cleveland/Chicago inevitability. This is, of course, presuming that any talk of Love heading to Golden State is dead in the water. Both Minnesota and Golden State seem curiously attracted to Klay Thompson, a rare top scoring shooting guard that does an adequate job at times of defending point guards. Thompson would immediately be in line for a maximum contract extension should the Warriors relent and trade the shooter, which seems like an odd starting over spot for a rebuilding team like Minnesota. Wolves scorer Kevin Martin would also be sent to Golden State, and he’s a reasonable enough approximation of Thompson on the offensive end, while Love would be a massive upgrade over David Lee. Like we said, both sides seem a little off, here. That is what has held up Loveâ

The Minnesota Timberwolves appear to have realized Kevin Love isn't coming back [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 25, 2014, 7:17 pm]
By most accounts, Minnesota Timberwolves part-owner/president/head coach/lead sandwich artist Flip Saunders has finally come to the conclusion that he won’t be able to convince Kevin Love to stay in town. That one year of Flip on the pine and a possible postseason placement for the Wolves wouldn’t be enough to encourage Love to pass on opting out of his contract in the summer of 2015 and explore the free-agent market. It once seemed a given that Saunders was deluded enough to think his offseason and regular-season touch would be enough to help change the All-Star forward’s mind, but it appears as if Saunders has come to his senses. Now, comes the trade bit. Or, actually, the trade bit started weeks ago. It probably should have started months ago, and it’s probably going to take at least another month to conclude. That much became certain last week, when the Chicago Bulls signed rookie Doug McDermott to a contract, and especially apparent when the Cleveland Cavaliers signed top overall pick Andrew Wiggins to his first contract on Thursday. Per NBA law, the new professionals cannot be traded for 30 days following the signing, which means we have at least 29 more days to wait out a potential Love-to-Cleveland/Chicago inevitability. This is, of course, presuming that any talk of Love heading to Golden State is dead in the water. Both Minnesota and Golden State seem curiously attracted to Klay Thompson, a rare top scoring shooting guard who does an adequate job at times of defending point guards. Thompson would immediately be in line for a maximum contract extension should the Warriors relent and trade the shooter, which seems like an odd starting-over spot for a rebuilding team like Minnesota. Wolves scorer Kevin Martin would also be sent to Golden State, and he’s a reasonable enough approximation of Thompson on the offensive end, while Love would be a massive upgrade over David Lee. Like we said, both sides seem a little off, here. That is what has held up Lo

Manu Ginobili and the final stand against the Argentine Basketball Federation [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 25, 2014, 7:04 pm]
With the foundation they've laid for the future of basketball in their country crumbling around them, the final chapter penned by the historic core of Argentina's national team may be its most important. At the 2002 FIBA World Championships, an Argentine team featuring a 25-year-old Manu Ginobili, 23-year-old Andres Nocioni and 22-year-old Luis Scola handed the U.S. its first post-Dream Team international basketball defeat on the way to a silver medal. A cohesive and complementary bunch, they went on to win 2004 Olympic gold, creating the model to which even Team USA ultimately aspired. In more than a decade since, basketball's popularity has grown immensely in Argentina, ultimately becoming the nation's second most prominent sport behind only soccer. Throughout, Ginobili, Nocioni and Scola remained, proudly wearing their white and blue jerseys on courts around the globe. In their mid-30s now, entering what could very well be their last international competition as a trio, they should be leaving behind a legacy that lasts long after their gone. Only the widespread corruption that has poisoned many of the nation's government programs has apparently infected basketball, too. According to reports translated from Spanish in the San Atonio Express-News and the great Spurs blog Pounding the Rock, the Argentine Basketball Federation has fallen roughly $20 million in debt and has at times forced national team members to train uninsured for free under less than ideal travel conditions. Complaints from the Argentine players have since resulted in the ousting of ABA head Germán Vaccaro, but doubts about new president Daniel Zanni and the remaining board members reportedly persist. As a result, Scola declared in a blunt interview with Argentine newspaper Clarín, "The crisis is more important than the World Cup. If I don't play, the horrendous management of the basketball association will be to blame." Soon afterwards, both Ginobili and Nocioni pledged their support on

Rookie Aaron Gordon drops lovely young defender with crossover at Orlando Magic community event (Video) [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 25, 2014, 4:13 pm]
When talent evaluators discussed the best traits of Arizona's Aaron Gordon in the lead-up to the 2014 NBA draft, they typically praised his work as a quick, long-armed and athletic defender, a relentless worker on the glass and hustler for loose balls, and his potential as a devastating finisher in transition. Clearly, the 6-foot-9 forward, whom the Orlando Magic chose with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, has been working to add "ankle-breaking ball-handling" to the "pro" side of his ledger ... much to the chagrin of this young attendee of the team's Magic FIT Program: Of all the things this determined young defender learned during the fitness and education program — which is aimed at improving "the knowledge of healthy food choices and fitness exercises among at-risk children," according to John Denton of Magic.com — the most important* one she learned was the lesson Uncle Drew's always trying to teach. It's OK, though; everybody gets crossed up sometimes. It even happens to Hall of Famers. Just get back up and keep sliding, young lady. Vine via Adam Papageorgiou. Hat-tip to Scott Rafferty at Hardwood Paroxysm. - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL, "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.

Chris Paul has talked to Doc Rivers about boycott if Donald Sterling still owns Clippers next season [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 25, 2014, 3:15 pm]
Terming it "unacceptable" for Donald Sterling to maintain ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers as a court case over the future of the franchise nears its conclusion, All-Star point guard and National Basketball Player's Association president Chris Paul told ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman that "he has spoken to coach Doc Rivers about the possibility of sitting out if Sterling remains in control" come the start of the 2014-15 NBA season. "That's something me and Doc are both talking about," Paul said on Thursday after coaching his AAU program, CP3. "Something has to happen, and something needs to happen soon -- sooner rather than later." [...] "We're all going to talk about it," Paul added. "We're all definitely going to talk about it. Doc, Blake (Griffin), DJ (DeAndre Jordan). It's unacceptable." NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told reporters at Las Vegas Summer League earlier this month that, given the nature of the legal proceedings surrounding the contested sale of the team, Sterling retaining ownership into the start of next season remains a possibility. "No, I cannot say with certainty [Sterling won't still own the team], and I can't say with certainty because it's in the hands of the probate court right now, and Donald is in the process of suing us for lots of money, and we're defending ourselves against those lawsuits," Silver said. "… I can say with certainty we are doing everything in our power to move Donald out as an owner in the NBA. "And as I said, if the probate ruling doesn't go in our favor, we'll recommence our procedures under termination. The only reason I say I can't say it with certainty, it's possible some court would step in and stop us." Paul's remarks came two days after interim Clippers CEO Dick Parsons testified that Rivers "told him he will quit" his job as the Clippers head coach if Donald Sterling retains ownership. (Rivers expressed uncertainty about his future three months ago, in the throes of the Sterling saga, as well.) "If Doc were to lea

The NBPA is OK with Thunder's Josh Huestis becoming 1st domestic draft-and-stash 1st-rounder [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 25, 2014, 2:52 am]
When the Oklahoma City Thunder selected forward Josh Huestis with the 29th overall pick in June's draft, the selection struck most analysts as a bit of a reach. The Stanford senior had projected as a mid-second-rounder, if drafted and all, and figured to have to adjust to playing on the wing in the NBA. He was a player with promise, though not necessarily an ideal choice for a title contender with a need to improve a relatively thin bench. Then it turned out that the franchise had a more complicated plan. On Saturday, Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman reported that Huestis was likely not to sign his league-mandated, guaranteed rookie contract from the Thunder and would instead sign a low-salary deal (roughly $30,000) with the Tulsa 66ers, the franchise's NBDL affiliate. In effect, that would make Huestis the NBA's first domestic draft-and-stash player, a decision that builds off a relatively long tradition of teams taking foreign prospects and not having them come to America for a year or two (or longer) so that they can develop on another team's dime. Nevertheless, the Huestis case is fairly different, because the Thunder would effectively be overseeing a player's development without taking on the financial risk of a rookie deal (or even a D-League contract, which is administered by the NBA). While there is no evidence that the Thunder hoodwinked Huestis — in fact, it's been assumed that he was only drafted in the first round because he agreed to sign with the 66ers — the move has drawn considerable criticism. Tom Ziller of SB Nation has laid out the most complete case against the move, but the main takeaway is that the deal violates the spirit of several rules, including the cap on roster spots, so the Thunder can save some money and a relatively light luxury tax punishment. Meanwhile, Huestis will make something below a living wage while the franchise that drafted him makes millions of dollars in profit. On Thursday, Grantland's Zach Lowe wrote about the situ

The 10-man rotation, starring the Dallas Mavericks, who could be making a move after a strong summer [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 24, 2014, 8:54 pm]
A look around the league and the Web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C: Sports on Earth. Michael Pina on the "minor miracle" of the Dallas Mavericks' offseason work, and how Mark Cuban, Rick Carlisle and the staggeringly selfless Dirk Nowitzki might have another contender on their hands. PF: numberFire. One area where the Mavs still look a little shaky, though, is at the point — who should start there? SF: Silver Screen and Roll. OK, Kobe says he likes the moves, but seriously: could this year's model be the worst Los Angeles Lakers team we've ever seen? SG: Pounding the Rock. Jesus Gomez brings us up to speed on the roiling chaos within the Argentine Basketball Association, which could result in the veteran members of the team's legendary "Golden Generation," like Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola, Andres Nocioni and Pablo Prigioni, not suiting up for this summer's FIBA World Cup. PG: Bright Side of the Sun. Amid rumors that the Phoenix Suns might be interested in making a run at Greg Monroe, Garrett Benson questions why Ryan McDonough, Jeff Hornacek and company would be considering a max or near-max deal for a restricted free agent big man who doesn't seem to line up with Phoenix's game plan. 6th: Gothic Ginobili. "… if NBA fans are going to boycott the NFL for their treatment of the [Ray] Rice case, they should probably start off by storming the NBA's league office in New York and demanding answers on the NBA's pitiful track record." 7th: FOX Sports Ohio. To hear LeBron James' closest longtime friends tell it, even they didn't know where he was going until the essay went live. Zac Jackson talked to LeBron's pals about what it was like spending the week before the announcement with James in Vegas. 8th: Hoop365, TrueHoop, SB Nation and The Triangle. More ideas, coverage and consideration of the Oklahoma City Thunder's reported p

You can bid on Michael Jordan's NBA-record-setting $33 million 1997-98 contract with the Chicago Bulls [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 24, 2014, 8:13 pm]
There never seems to be any shortage of Michael Jordan-related memorabilia on the collectibles circuit. From baseball cleats to "Flu Game" kicks, golf bags to love letters, plastic to glass and all the way up to expansive compounds, if you're an M.J. aficionado of means, there's just about always something cool and His Airness-specific on which you can bid hard-earned greenbacks. Compared to all those fun finds, a few sheets of old paper probably seems like a pretty lame way to spend your paper. The latest Mike item to hit the market, though, isn't just any ol' stack. It's Jordan's actual, physical contract for the 1997-98 NBA season, a one-year deal covering a campaign in which he led the NBA in scoring for the 10th time, took home his fifth NBA Most Valuable Player award, beat the Utah Jazz to win his sixth and final NBA championship ... and got paid an NBA single-season-record $33 million to do it all. Now, thanks to Heritage Auctions, you can get your hands on the Bulls' own copy of the contract covering Jordan's final season in the Windy City ... and it'll cost you an awful lot less than it cost Jerry Reinsdorf. From the auction house: After delivering on his $30 million contract for the 1996-97 season with the fifth NBA Championship for the Chicago Bulls during his tenure, the legendary Jordan leveraged that success in the form of a ten percent bump to break his own record as the highest-paid figure in the sport's history. And, once again, Jordan supplied the only acceptable return on that staggering investment, a sixth and final NBA title for the Windy City franchise he defined. This team issue of the most lucrative NBA contract ever executed entered the hobby over a decade ago through a charity auction, a copy addressed from the NBA offices to the mastermind behind the greatest "modern" basketball dynasty, Irwin Mandel. Now in his forty-first and final year with the Bulls, Mandel is one of the longest-serving (with a single team) and most well-respected exec

Clippers forward Matt Barnes uses social media in hopes of finding aunt's killer [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 24, 2014, 8:04 pm]
Seeking justice for his aunt Tanganyika Williams' murder in Sacramento earlier this month, Clippers forward Matt Barnes is hoping his vast social media following will help track down the alleged killer. Barnes twice shared pictures of suspect Michael Lee Williams — the 51-year-old estranged husband of the NBA veteran's aunt — with his nearly 600,000 followers on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. "This dude stabbed my auntie in the neck last week & left her for dead on the sidewalk, she ended up dying on the way to the hospital in the ambulance," Barnes wrote on his various accounts. "If you hv any info on his where abouts contact the #SacPD # SacramentoWeNeedYourHelp #RIPTang" Indeed, Michael Lee Williams allegedly stabbed his 48-year-old estranged wife on July 8 and left her to die on the street, according to The Sacramento Bee.  A police description listed Williams as 5-foot-7 and 220 pounds with brown eyes and hair. He is believed to still be in the Sacramento area. Williams reportedly served 13 years in an Oklahoma prison for shooting with intent to kill on Feb. 6, 1992. As the Bee noted, a 1991 Daily Oklahoman report named Williams as the trigger man when his then mother-in-law was shot in the face. Swell guy, this Michael Lee Williams, allegedly. Barnes rose to stardom in the Sacramento area, playing for Fair Oaks (Calif.) Del Campo High before attending UCLA and embarking on an 11-year NBA career that includes a year with the Kings in 2004-05. On his various social media accounts, Barnes posted his cousin Taquita Lugo's contact info for any tips on the suspect's whereabouts. Lugo told The Sacramento Bee the family has received some helpful clues in the search as well as some not so helpful responses — some of which Barnes appeared to address in his second Instagram post on the subject. The best and worst of social media, apparently. As Barnes said, "How would you feel if this was your mom, your sister, your daughter, aunt, wife or girlfriend?"

Jason Collins to Tony Dungy: 'Shouldn't you want all challenges?' [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 24, 2014, 6:47 pm]
On February 23, the Brooklyn Nets signed center Jason Collins to a 10-day contract. Collins was lucky to be in the league even the season before, but with the relatively wispy and aging Kevin Garnett forced into duty at center and Brook Lopez out for the season, Brooklyn badly needed a defensive stalwart up front. The transaction resulted in a large press conference in the Staples Center media area, as the Nets were playing the Los Angeles Lakers later that night. Collins would be the first openly gay player in NBA history, and he dutifully and intelligently discussed that significant moment in the face of press contingents from the two largest media markets in the NBA. It meant a lot to millions, and it will mean a lot to millions more that will badly need role models as they come to terms with being born a certain way. When I wrote my column discussing the transaction, I cried. When I watched a clip of Jason Collins entering that night’s game later that evening, I cried. And then, I forgot. And Jason Collins went back to being Jason Collins, the dude who moves his feet and defends the rim. And nobody even really noticed when the Nets and Collins ended what was genuinely a historic season in the second round of the playoffs down in Miami. That is to say, it wasn’t a distraction. Collins, partway into his turn with the Nets, told reporters that just one NBA player had used denigrating language regarding his sexuality on the court, a small percentage of the language that many of us many have used during a single game, played in less-informed times during our adolescence, much less half a season spent with 400-some opponents. Now we have Tony Dungy, the sainted ex-NFL head coach, in the crosshairs as he talked up the supposed distraction St. Louis Rams draftee Michael Sam would be as he attempts to make an NFL roster as the league’s first openly gay player. Dungy has poorly backtracked on his initial comments, passing the buck onto his reaction to Sam’s since-

Catching up with Pat Williams, the only man to deal two top overall NBA draft picks [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 24, 2014, 5:41 pm]
It’s an open secret that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves are currently discussing a format that would send some combination of Kevin Love to Cleveland and the last two top overall NBA draft picks to Minnesota in a deal. There are many issues to consider as the negotiations prattle on. Love is a fantastic player, but he may not fit the Cavaliers’ most desperate needs at this point. Minnesota isn’t exactly a free agent destination, so the team wants to make sure that it deals an all-world superstar for the right amount of contributors in return. A third team will probably have to be involved to make the transaction NBA-legal. The last two No. 1 NBA draft picks are to be admired, as Anthony Bennett and (especially) Andrew Wiggins have All-Star potential, and Cleveland is likely wary of setting itself for the sort of Ted Stepien-sort of ignominy that can haunt a franchise even if it employs LeBron James until his retiring day. Basketball is a team sport, but superstars matter; and this is why the top overall pick is often so desperately coveted. Teams will trade up and down the draft to no end, but when it comes to the pick of the litter, front offices usually pass on giving up their chance at what they think is that draft’s top stud. The top selection hasn’t been dealt since 1993, when the Orlando Magic traded Chris Webber to Golden State for Anfernee Hardaway and a cadre of future first rounders. Prior that that, the top pick hadn’t been dealt since 1986, when the Philadelphia 76ers traded Brad Daugherty to Cleveland for Roy Hinson and cash. The general manager behind those moves? Affable NBA lifer Pat Williams, who discussed the deals with FOX Sports’ Erik Malinowski recently: "I think that there's so much hope resting on this draft pick that that you don't want to destroy the hope people have that this kid may be your franchise guy," he told FOXSports.com by phone from his office in Orlando. "I think that's why these trades are so r

Anthony Bennett is breathing free, literally, after tonsil surgery he hopes will help raise his game [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 24, 2014, 4:22 pm]
Anthony Bennett's rookie season could have gone worse. The Cleveland Cavaliers forward could have been framed for a murder he didn't commit, for one thing, or forced to play a deadly yearlong game of cat-and-mouse with a deranged genius bent on world domination; either of those things would have been way worse than just struggling to perform up to the expectations that come with being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft. Once you eliminate the plotlines of potential suspense/thriller films, though, it's difficult to envision a scenario in which the former UNLV product's 2013-14 campaign could have been more diametrically opposed to the way he and his new employers drew it up. Bennett began his professional career behind the 8-ball, after pre-draft surgery to repair a torn left rotator cuff not only knocked him out of Summer League and the Cavs' offseason program, but also left him unable to resume five-on-five work until a month and a half before the start of the season. He had a hard time getting in shape during Cleveland's exhibition slate and couldn't hit the broad side of the barn after the regular season began; before long, he was hearing boos at home, sparking debates about the prospective merits of a D-League stint, and being tabbed as perhaps the biggest No. 1 pick bust of all time ... all before he could legally buy beer. (In the States, that is; you can purchase a Molson free and clear at 18 in Bennett's native land of Canada.) Things got better as the season wore on, with the 6-foot-8 Bennett turning in some performances that reminded us why Cleveland rolled the dice on him; a March knee injury effectively ended his season, but his marked post-All-Star-break improvement bought him a little bit of breathing room as he entered his first full proper NBA offseason. There was just one problem, though — Bennett still couldn't really breathe, thanks to the asthma and sleep apnea that had compounded his conditioning problems and often left him, as Gra

Hey dads, here's Frank Caliendo reading LeBron James' 'I'm coming home' essay as Morgan Freeman (Video) [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: July 24, 2014, 2:42 pm]
If you're anything like me, when you finished reading the Sports Illustrated essay in which LeBron James explained why he'd decided to leave the Miami Heat in free agency and rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers, the first thing you thought was, "This was great and all, but it's suffering from a serious lack of Frank Caliendo." Luckily, the folks at ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike" were thinking the exact same thing as I was — this happens all the time — and they invited the comedian on their radio show to read LeBron's essay in a celebrity's voice. He chose Morgan Freeman because, I'm guessing, everybody involved really loved "Last Vegas." That did sound like Morgan Freeman! Also, that essay is longer than you remember it being! Unfortunately, the segment ended before Caliendo could read Jason Collins' famed S.I. essay as Robin Williams. Oh, well. Maybe next time. Hat-tip to The Big Lead. - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL, "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.





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