Basketball News

  • More than one year apart has done little to cool the rivalry between Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Westbrook finally earned a win over Durant and the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a much-needed victory, which also happened to be their first against Golden State since Durant left the Thunder.
  • The Los Angeles Clippers don’t look like themselves. The Clippers were one of the better teams over the last six seasons in the hyper-competitive Western Conference, never finishing lower than fifth, but an early-season nine-game losing skid suggests their days of relative dominance are over. Los Angeles has big problems on offense and defense, from its lack of depth to lacklustre performances by stars Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
  • The Process is paying off. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, two of the players the Philadelphia 76ers drafted with lottery picks from being a terrible team for years, have Philadelphia on course for something it hasn’t seen since 2012: a playoff berth. The only real concern is that they both remain healthy enough to make it through an entire NBA season.
  • The Houston Rockets are the James Harden show once again while Chris Paul recovers from a knee injury, and Harden has responded with some of the best basketball he’s ever played. Harden’s recent performances put him next to all-time greats like Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan, and it could be a sign he’s on his way to winning the MVP award some people felt he deserved last season.
  • The Boston Celtics are doing everything they can to show they’re still a contender to win the Eastern Conference despite losing Gordon Hayward for the season. With the Cleveland Cavaliers struggling, the Celtics have jumped out to an early lead in the standings thanks to a nine-game winning streak that includes a victory against the San Antonio Spurs and impressive road wins against the Milwaukee Bucks and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
  • The first two weeks of the NBA season have not gone the way the Cleveland Cavaliers thought they would. Cleveland is struggling to produce wins against some of the league’s weaker teams, stumbling to a 3-4 record and mired in a three-game losing skid after dropping games to the Brooklyn Nets, the New Orleans Pelicans, and the New York Knicks. The Cavaliers’ concern goes beyond the losses themselves to how they are losing games, and the team addressed these issues in a team meeting on Tuesday.
  • One week into the NBA season, the Phoenix Suns are a fiasco. The three lopsided losses in their first three games was only the most visible part of their issues, which extended from coach Earl Watson to starting point guard Eric Bledsoe. Phoenix is now trying to distance itself from both people, firing Watson and deactivating Bledsoe in an attempt to salvage their disastrous start.
  • Gordon Hayward’s first season with the Boston Celtics ended in horrific fashion almost immediately after it began. Hayward, who was one of the offseason’s biggest free agent signings, suffered a fractured tibia and a dislocated ankle in the first quarter of Tuesday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, sending shockwaves throughout the sports world with one of the worst basketball injuries in quite a while.
  • LeBron James and Kyrie Irving ended last season as teammates in the NBA Finals, but they begin the 2017-18 campaign on opposite ends of the court, representing the two top teams in the Eastern Conference. Irving and the Boston Celtics visit James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday to open the NBA season with a game that should set the tone for the East.
  • The Oklahoma City Thunder capped a busy offseason of big moves by agreeing to a long-term extension with Russell Westbrook. The contract will pay Westbrook an NBA-record $205 million over five years starting next season, with a player option for another $28 million in the sixth, and it appears the Thunder expect to still be contending for titles at that point.
  • Free agency isn’t expected to last long for Dwyane Wade, who agreed to a buyout with the Chicago Bulls on Sunday. The 35-year-old free agent is reportedly ready to sign a one-year veteran’s minimum deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers once he clears waivers on Wednesday, reuniting him with his good friend and former Miami Heat teammate LeBron James.
  • After an offseason of waiting, Carmelo Anthony got his wish. The New York Knicks traded Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a second-round pick, ending the polarizing star’s tenure with the struggling franchise. Anthony was on the trading block for months, which diminished the value of his return, but the deal should leave both sides satisfied, even if the Knicks and Anthony are just happy to be rid of one another.
  • The NBA took a long look at jump shooting in the offseason and came up with two important rule changes that should have a positive impact on the safety and flow of the game. Starting this season, a flagrant foul can be assessed when a defending player impedes a jump shooter’s landing space, and a foul on the perimeter will no longer be a shooting foul if the player is simply gathering the ball to shoot instead of already in a shooting motion.
  • Tilman Fertitta has achieved his dream of owning the Houston Rockets, and all it took was an apparently record-breaking sum of money. Fertitta agreed to purchase the franchise from Leslie Alexander for $2.2 billion according to ESPN, which is more than anyone has ever paid for an NBA team.
  • The long saga of the NBA offseason’s biggest trade is finally over. The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics have agreed to terms that will send Kyrie Irving to the Celtics in exchange for a package including Isaiah Thomas, whose injured hip originally put the deal in jeopardy.
  • The biggest trade of the NBA offseason might not happen. A deal between the two best teams in the Eastern Conference that would see Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving move to the Boston Celtics in exchange for a package including Isaiah Thomas is now in danger of falling apart due to questions about Thomas’ health.
  • Just when everyone thought the frenzy of summer moves had wound down in the NBA, the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers pulled the trigger on the biggest deal of all, swapping superstar point guards and drastically altering the trajectories of their respective franchises.
  • If the Golden State Warriors are invited to the White House to celebrate their NBA championship like many NBA champions before them, they will be without at least one of their stars. Finals MVP Kevin Durant has no interest in visiting the White House as long as Donald Trump is president—a stance he felt the need to publicly express following the tragic events last weekend in Charlottesville, West Virginia.
  • The Cleveland Cavaliers are still the best team in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, but they might not be for much longer. Their demoralizing Finals loss was only the beginning of an offseason filled with turmoil and missed opportunities, and the long-term losses for Cleveland could include its two best players.
  • While most of the NBA’s stars seem to be moving to the crowded Western Conference, Gordon Hayward decided to do the opposite, leaving the Utah Jazz to sign with the Boston Celtics in a move that could disrupt the balance of power in the Eastern Conference.
  • The Toronto Raptors are paying a steep price to keep their window of contention open, re-signing Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka amid the chaos of the NBA offseason. The futures of both Lowry, who opted out of the final year of his previous deal with Toronto, and Ibaka, who was acquired last season, did not appear tied to the Raptors, but the team reportedly offered them a combined $165 million over the next three years.
  • The Houston Rockets do not appear satisfied with finishing a respectable third in the Western Conference behind the eventual champion Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs. Houston made its intention to compete for a title clear by acquiring Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, forming the backcourt of another potential superteam.
  • The Phil Jackson era is apparently about to come to an end in New York.
  • Turns out the MVP debate between Russell Westbrook and James Harden was slightly overblown. Westbrook’s historic triple-double season was too much to ignore, and he was named the 2016-17 NBA MVP on Monday in a vote that wasn’t close.
  • The Chicago Bulls provided some draft day entertainment on Thursday, dealing Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Butler, who was reportedly on the trading block heading into the draft, became the centerpiece of a trade that also featured Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine heading to Chicago and the Bulls and Timberwolves swapping first-round picks.
  • The Philadelphia 76ers will select first overall once again at the NBA draft on Thursday following an announced trade with the Boston Celtics.
  • LeBron James did everything he could, but this was Kevin Durant’s year. Durant and the Golden State Warriors overcame James’ triple-double average in the NBA Finals through sheer force of will, coming within a game of posting the first perfect playoff run in league history and capping their second title in three years with a 129-120 win in Game 5 on Monday.
  • For most of Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday, the Cleveland Cavaliers seemed to have a chance at winning. Energized by their home crowd, the Cavaliers had avoided falling into a massive hole against the Golden State Warriors like they did in the first two games, and they even held onto a lead for most of the fourth quarter.
  • It will be difficult to top the drama of last year’s NBA Finals rematch between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, but a third meeting between the basketball juggernauts has the ingredients to do it. Golden State won the first Finals against Cleveland and was about to take the second before LeBron James dragged the Cavaliers back from a 3-1 deficit, but the Warriors now have Kevin Durant, making the rubber match the most star-laden title series in league history.
  • The NBA conference finals were unfolding in a mostly predictable manner before Sunday’s game between the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Golden State Warriors need one more win against the San Antonio Spurs to reach the finals with a perfect 12-0 postseason record, while Cleveland was set to do the same with two road wins already in the bag and Boston’s main playmaker Isaiah Thomas sidelined for the remainder of the playoffs.
  • The subject of the most buzz heading into June’s NBA draft isn’t a team, or a prospect, or even a professional basketball player. LaVar Ball, 48-year-old father of draft prospect Lonzo Ball, has done everything in his power to make himself the focal point of his son’s draft candidacy. But much of what he’s said and done recently could come back to haunt him, especially if Lonzo can’t to live up to LaVar’s endless hype.