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Posts of category  "Basketball Daily Updates"

With Kyrie Irving now a member of the Boston Celtics, the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ odds of winning the 2018 NBA title have decreased drastically. Even if the Cavs dealt their newly acquired 2018 first-round pick for a plug-and-play talent to make a run at the title in LeBron James‘ contract year, winning it all would be considered a long shot — at least according to TV analyst and former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy.

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In Isaiah Thomas‘ introduction as a Cleveland Cavalier on Thursday, answers about the recovery status of his hip injury — when he might return, his current limitations, and the extent of his injury — went unanswered as new GM Koby Altman dodged questions and refused to update his status.

“We’re not going to address specifics of the injury,” Altman said. “We’re not going to put a timetable on his return, and we’re also not going to rush it at all.”

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Isaiah Thomas was driving home in Seattle when he returned a missed phone call from Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge.

It was on that phone call that Thomas had learned he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. After hearing the news that he had been traded, Thomas had one question: “To where?”

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NBA Odds And Ends

With NBA training camps firming in sight, NBA teams are starting to lock up their training camp deals and lock in those final roster moves, which puts a number of situations on the radar as needing answers. Here are a few:

Nothing New On Carmelo Anthony

With NBA Training camps set to start up around the NBA in less than 18 days, the moment of truth awaits the New York Knicks and forward Carmelo Anthony.

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It’s been a quiet off-season for the Phoenix Suns. Outside of the draft, the team has done little to add to the roster. Around them, the Western Conference has seen an influx of star talent and player movement: Paul George; Paul Millsap; Chris Paul; the list goes on. How will the Suns fair come training camp and the regular season? Here’s a look.

FIVE GUYS THINK…

To hear people talk, Devin Booker could be the reincarnation of Kobe Bryant. His 70-point game last season put him on people’s maps as the league’s next great scorer, and it’s hard to argue with that logic, even this early in his career. He is really good at scoring the basketball, but so far he hasn’t been good enough to lift his team out of the West’s lower half and return the Suns to the playoffs. That day might be coming, though, especially with athletic kids like Josh Jackson and Marquese Chriss giving fans further optimism for what lies ahead. Phoenix isn’t ready for primetime just yet, but the pieces are starting to look like they’re in place. With great veteran leadership in place, the Suns are rising in the West.

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When the call came into his Indianapolis office the final week of March, George McGinnis figured Hall of Fame president John Doleva wanted to discuss one of the candidates for 2017 enshrinement. Maybe Doleva had another topic in mind. McGinnis wasn’t sure. He just knew it wasn’t about candidate George McGinnis.

That’s how long the wait had been. Retired since 1982 after a full-circle homecoming with the Indiana Pacers, already on the ballot long enough that he had passed through two election committees and was now relocated to a third, McGinnis said he didn’t even realize he was still under consideration.

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If Jerry Krause were around to give his enshrinement speech at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Friday, his oratory technique could have told so much of his story.

All Krause would have had to do was cup one hand in front of his mouth and whisper, the way he so often did.

“I ain’t sayin’. If I told you it wouldn’t be a secret,” he was fond of saying.

Krause’s induction as a member of the Hall’s Class of 2017 is no secret, nor is the unfortunate fact that the former Chicago Bulls general manager and longtime scout in both the NBA and Major League Baseball died at age 77 on March 21, 2017 — 11 days before he was named for enshrinement in Springfield, Mass., as a contributor to the game.

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – There is no way, really, for Tracy McGrady to comprehend this so soon, no way to process his adopted hometown taking the fury of Hurricane Harvey and then later watching as his home state braces for the projected mayhem of Hurricane Irma, one historical storm turned personal followed by another hellacious weather event that will be personal, both wrapped around his celebration of enshrinement into the Hall of Fame.

So he won’t try. McGrady will not attempt to separate the ricocheting emotions when he takes the stage inside stately Symphony Hall on Friday night as the biggest NBA name among the Class of 2017. He will talk about the sadness of destruction and the joy of induction, together.

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GETTY IMAGE

The Cleveland Cavaliers got a lot back for Kyrie Irving, but the most valuable long-term piece is unquestionably the Brooklyn Nets’ unprotected first-round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. While Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder help them out now, Brooklyn’s pick projects to be somewhere in the top-5. The 2018 draft is expected to be really good, especially at the top, so this should give Cleveland the opportunity to acquire a potential superstar.

There’s just one problem: The Cavaliers may not hold onto the pick. According to Cleveland.com, the team is considering moving it if the price is right.

As owners of Brooklyn’s No. 1 pick, which could be a top-five pick in next year’s draft, Cleveland has fielded numerous calls already about a potential trade. It could be a part of a major trade package for the Cavs later this year, or, conceivably, the Cavs could make that pick next June.

Cleveland also has its own first-round pick in 2018, which it can trade. The Cavs also have multiple trade exceptions and second-round picks, and are pleased with their assets for potential trades or to replenish the roster in the event of a rebuild.

Giving up the pick would probably be difficult, because it’s the kind of thing that the team should only move if it’s able to bring back a superstar that would help the Cavaliers win a title this year. Even then, if the pick puts Cleveland in a position to take someone like Michael Porter or Marvin Bagley, you can make the case that it’s better to use the pick than trade it away. That way, the Cavaliers would either give LeBron James a young sidekick with a bright future or have a player to build around if he leaves in free agency.

Of course, so much of this depends on what players are available throughout the season. Cleveland’s pursuit of a championship this season is obviously important, but that doesn’t mean the team should sell low on Brooklyn’s pick.

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Retired basketball legend and walking “Type A” personality example Kobe Bryant recently took to social media to issue seemingly random challenges to several NBA players and celebrities. These included challenges to Isaiah Thomas to make First Team All-NBA, Giannis Antetokounmpo to earn NBA MVP honors and rapper Kendrick Lamar to revolutionize the music program at a local high school. They involved competition. They involved bold communication. They involved the assumption that others care what Kobe thinks of them.

All in all, it was classic Kobe.

So we here at Bleacher Report decided to pick up where the Mamba left off and issue challenges for the best player on each of the 30 NBA teams. Why stop at only a few guys? What about Blake Griffin, Rudy Gobert, Jimmy Butler and the dozens of other stars who make up the NBA universe? What about them?

We split the task among the six writers with the most Mamba blood: Michael Curtis, Maurice Peebles, Brad Rowland, Dave Schilling, Seerat Sohi and Josh Tolentino. Nobody tells a Mamba what to do, so each writer has fashioned the challenges in their own way: by poking fun; by diving into stats; by “speaking” directly to the challenged player; by keeping it brief.

See below to find out which challenges the league’s stars should embrace this upcoming season. And always remember, guys: Kobe’s watching.

Atlanta Hawks: Dennis Schroder
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Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Challenge: Make the Eastern Conference All-Star Team

In some ways, it would take a significant jump for the guard to get serious All-Star consideration. But it almost makes sense from a trajectory standpoint.

Dennis Schroder averaged 17.9 points and 6.3 assists in 79 regular season games a season ago. Those numbers jumped to 24.7 points and 7.7 assists in the small sample of a playoff series against John Wall and the Wizards. Given that Schroder is, quite easily, the No. 1 offensive option for the rebuilding Hawks, it feels safe to assume he will have a higher usage rate this season, which could allow for another spike in raw production.

The defensive end, which usually seems to matter less in these considerations, was a challenge for Schroder in his first full season as a starter. In the playoffs, though, he elevated his effort and showed significant flashes of what he could be, if everything comes together. Banking on that over 82 games is aggressive, but landing somewhere in the middle could do the trick.

Oh, and did we mention that the Eastern Conference might be down this season? That can only help Schroder’s case.

— Brad Rowland

Boston Celtics: Kyrie Irving
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Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Challenge: End LeBron James’ NBA Finals Streak

The Boston Celtics are the Taylor Swift of the NBA. They’re constantly in the headlines, constantly praised for doing things “the right way” and are held up as an example of who others should aspire to be. But for the Celtics—much like with Swift—in the end it doesn’t even matter (R.I.P. Chester). What are we all talking about here? A team with a ton of new faces and no depth ousting perhaps the greatest team in NBA history? A music video about a beef from two years ago everyone already forgot about? C’mon, Celtics. C’mon, Taylor.

Forced analogies aside, there is one thing the C’s can do to make a long-term impact on the league. Kyrie Irving, I challenge you to end LeBron James’ NBA Finals streak. As you’re well aware, your frenemy King James has been in each of the last seven NBA Finals. It’s on you to ensure his streak doesn’t make it to eight. Kyrie, nobody cares if Boston earns the No. 1 seed and nobody will think more of you should Bron run through your new squad like he ran through replacement hairlines while filming Trainwreck. Meet him in the east finals. Beat him in the east finals. There’s no other path to success.

— Maurice Peebles

Brooklyn Nets: Jeremy Lin
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Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Challenge: Bring Back Linsanity

Jeremy, your challenge is simple. I challenge you to bring back Linsanity.

Remember Linsanity? Of course you do. It’s why you’re relevant. You need to bring that feeling back to the city of New York, more specifically to the borough of Brooklyn. D’Angelo Russell will enter this season thinking he’s the best player on the court, but anyone who actually watches NBA games and not just Twitter recognizes that you’re a far more complete player than D’Angelo. You’re a better three-point shooter than people think, you’re a better defender than people think, and your hair game is a marketer’s dream. Now is the time for Linsanity’s return.

Remember back when you dropped 38 in Kobe’s eyeball and made him exit MSG with an L? Remember getting 28 and 14 on 20 shots and sending Dirk back to Dallas? Let D-Lo get all the attention but none of the field goal attempts. Embrace your inner Mamba. Everybody needs to go a little Linsane sometimes.

— Maurice Peebles

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