Giannis Antetokounmpo

Central Notes: Wade, Bucks, Antetokounmpo

Speculation that Dwyane Wade could become a free agent this offseason hit a new level this week when the Bulls guard said that he’d be willing to sit down and chat about his future with the organization. If he were to be bought out in order to pursue a role elsewhere, what sort of impact could he reasonably expect to make? Frank Urbina of HoopsHype decided to take a look.

The two teams most often linked to Wade have been the Cavaliers and the Heat. A move to Cleveland would pair Wade with former teammate LeBron James while Miami is, of course, the place he spent the first 13 seasons of his career. Urbina, however, argues that the 35-year-old could have more suitors than just that and could end up being a game-changing reserve for a team’s second-unit if he parts ways with the Bulls.

In a comprehensive look at the type of value Wade is still capable of providing in the twilight of his career, Urbina writes that the Bulls vet has carved out a few reliable offensive moves that have helped him remain competitive despite dwindling athleticism, including an impressive post-up game and a potent fadeaway jumper.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Shortly after the news of Kyrie Irving‘s trade request broke, Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman was formally offered his position. His first order of business, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe writes, was to gauge if the point guard was serious. “I think we were in information-collecting mode when stuff first broke,” Altman said. “We had numerous teams call about it.
  • The Bucks have seen their season ticket numbers rise this summer on the heels of a solid 2016/17 and the looming benefits of a new venue. James Nelson of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes that the franchise is selling multi-year packs that will give fans the chance to watch the team in the BMO Harris Bradley Center this season and the team’s yet-to-be-named new facility in 2018/19.
  • Ever wonder just how much of a physical advantage Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has over some of his opponents? A post on Reddit demonstrates just how big the 22-year-old’s hands really are.

East Notes: Wizards, Brown, Tatum

The Wizards have gone all-in on preserving their core and head coach Scott Brooks understands just how important that can be. Brooks has, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic writes, seen what happens when a promising young roster falls apart thanks to his time with the Thunder.

We have our three players that we drafted all wanting to stay here and stay long-term,” the Wizards’ bench boss said. “That’s good. That’s good because if you don’t have your best players wanting to stay here, then nobody wants to stay here.

Thanks to Wizards’ owner Ted Leonsis‘ willingness to commit to their young players, Washington was able to match the offer sheet that the Nets signed Otto Porter to this summer and then follow that up with a supermax contract extension for John Wall.

Under their current deals, Wall, Beal and Porter will be under Wizards control for seven total years. Eight, if Porter ultimately exercises his player option for the 2020-21 season.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference:

And-Ones: Antetokounmpo, Teodosic, Sources, 2018 Standings

Bucks‘ All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was ruled out of Eurobasket earlier this week, which was met with disdain from the Greek basketball federation. The group accused the Bucks and NBA orchestrating an “organized and well-staged plan” to keep Antetokounmpo out of the event. However, a statement from the NBA reported by the Associated Press (via ESPN) explicitly denied the allegation.

“The NBA and the Milwaukee Bucks have followed all appropriate protocol under the NBA-FIBA agreement,” the NBA’s statement reads. “Giannis has an injury that has been confirmed through multiple examinations and any suggestion to the contrary is false.”

The Bucks explained that Antetokounmpo reported knee pain while training in Greece. The saga does not end there as, after a series of communications between the Bucks and the Greek team, Antetokounmpo was ultimately pulled from the tournament after the knee ailment did not improve. This subsequently led to the allegations that both the NBA and Bucks purposely sabotaged Antetokounmpo’s stint.

After a tremendous season with Milwaukee last season and major expectations for 2017/18, Antetokounmpo’s NBA future will be his most important.

Read up on more news around the basketball universe below:

  • Antetokounmpo will not be the only major name to be pulled from Eurobasket this week as the Clippers‘ major international signee, Milos Teodosic, will also not compete in the event, per Eurohoops (via Twitter).
  • As part of an in-depth look at the reporting side of the NBA, Steven Kyler of Basketball Insiders breaks down how “sources” work. Kyler explains how information is gathered from agents, front office personnel, the players, and other people inside the industry that leads to the stories that are reported across the internet.
  • As part of its Summer Forecast series, ESPN has released its predictions for standings in both the Western and Eastern conferences.

And-Ones: Antetokounmpo, EuroBasket, Anthony

Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s decision to skip EuroBasket is causing international conspiracy accusations, relays Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In a message written in Greek, Antetokounmpo announced on social media this morning that he will miss the tournament to keep from aggravating a knee injury. He is serving as an NBA ambassador this week in China, where he failed a physical administered by team doctors for the Bucks. Antetokounmpo called the decision to pull out of EuroBasket “by far the biggest disappointment in my career.”

However, the Greek basketball federation is casting doubt on the injury, claiming it’s a ruse by the Bucks to keep Antetokounmpo out of the competition. “A series of clues by which we were particularly worried about since Giannis arrived in Greece and the national team training camp started, had created the conviction of an organized and well-staged plan by the NBA franchise in which Giannis has signed,” the organization charged in a written statement translated by Eurohoops.net. EuroBasket will get under way August 31st.

There’s more NBA-related news from around the world:

  • Two players who will be part of EuroBasket are Magic teammates Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier, who faced off in a preparation game today, relays Josh Cohen of NBA.com. Fournier’s French team, the defending champions of the event, easily dispatched Vucevic’s Montenegro squad, 100-70. The French roster is stocked with current and former NBA players, including Boris Diaw, Joffrey Lauvergne and Nando de Colo.
  • The KnicksCarmelo Anthony, who has been the subject of trade rumors nearly all summer, makes a Basketball Insiders list of players who could most benefit from a deal. Anthony has been at an impasse for weeks, as he will reportedly only waive his no-trade clause to go to Houston, and the Rockets and Knicks have been unable to craft a mutually acceptable deal. Others who could use a change of scenery, according to the Basketball Insiders panel, are the SixersJahlil Okafor and the SunsEric Bledsoe.
  • An ESPN panel reacted to the network’s projected standings for the upcoming season by picking the teams most likely to outperform and underperform their rankings. The Sixers got multiple votes for both categories in relation to a projected 37-45 record.

Central Notes: Kennard, D. Williams, Antetokounmpo

The Pistons are more optimistic than ever about rookie Luke Kennard after watching his summer league performance, writes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. The 12th pick in this year’s draft, Kennard averaged 17.2 points per game as Detroit’s team advanced to the finals in Orlando. He made 11 of 23 shots from 3-point range during the 10-day competition and eased any fears the Pistons may have harbored about his defense.

“Pretty much what we thought offensively, maybe even did a better job passing the ball than I thought,” said coach/executive Stan Van Gundy. “He’s able to make plays off the dribble , that nice change of pace, and things I hadn’t seen a lot of. He really has a great feel for the game and how to play in addition to clearly his ability to shoot the ball.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Richard Jefferson offered some insight on his Road Trippin’ podcast about why Deron Williams is unlikely to return to the Cavaliers, relays Daniel Rappaport of Sports Illustrated. Jefferson said the veteran guard’s “eyes did not light up” about coming off the bench in Cleveland, but joked that the Warriors’ “eyes lit up” whenever Williams checked into the Finals. Williams didn’t turn out to be a good fit for the Cavs after joining the team in late February in the wake of buyout with the Mavericks. He was particularly bad in the Finals, shooting 2 of 16 for the series and averaging 1.0 points and 1.2 assists per game. Williams’ contract with Cleveland expired after the season, and he remains a free agent.
  • Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, whose $100MM extension begins with the start of the season, has another big payday ahead, writes Nick DePaula of ESPN. He will be a free agent in the shoe market at the end of September after making just $25K from Nike last year and expects to top that figure several times over. Antetokounmpo is hoping to exceed the nearly $5MM-per-year deal that Kristaps Porzingis received from Adidas, with one industry specialist speculating that he could receive $7MM to $10MM annually.
  • The Bucks won’t be the only team playing at their new arena, according to the Associated Press. The NBA team has reached a seven-year agreement allowing Marquette to use the facility, which is expected to open ahead of the 2018/19 season.

Kyrie Irving Rumors: Spurs, Celtics, Porzingis

If the Cavaliers had received assurances from LeBron James that he intends to remain with the franchise beyond the 2017/18 season, their approach to a Kyrie Irving trade might be much different, writes ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. While the Cavs certainly haven’t given up hope of James remaining in Cleveland, the franchise wants to use an Irving trade to protect itself against his possible departure — that means focusing on acquiring a young potential star, rather than targeting veteran help for LeBron.

Initially, the Cavs’ desire in an Irving trade was to acquire young players and picks that could help the team down the road and to get pieces that could help the club contend immediately. However, that kind of massive return may not be available for the star point guard, forcing the Cavaliers to choose one path or the other. And with LeBron unwilling to commit, the Cavs are leaning toward prioritizing long-term pieces over short-term help.

As Wojnarowski details, Josh Jackson (Suns), Jayson Tatum (Celtics), Jamal Murray (Nuggets), and even Kristaps Porzingis (Knicks) are among the young players the Cavaliers have their eye on in trade talks. In his own piece on the situation in Cleveland, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders agrees that those four teams – Phoenix, Boston, Denver, and New York – are mentioned most frequently as trade partners, and continue to have discussions with the Cavs.

Here’s plenty more on the Irving situation:

  • According to both Wojnarowski and Kyler, teams around the NBA believe that the Cavaliers will ramp up trade talks and get more serious about moving Irving in September, with training camps approaching.
  • The Spurs have interest in Irving, but the fact that the Cavs are prioritizing young potential stars over veteran help means Cleveland doesn’t have much interest in the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge, Tony Parker, or Danny Green, says Wojnarowski.
  • Although the Cavaliers are intrigued by Tatum, the Celtics have yet to make an official offer for Irving and the two sides haven’t formally discussed this year’s No. 3 overall pick, according to Wojnarowski. Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe adds (via Twitter) that Boston has remained in touch with the Cavs throughout the process.
  • The idea of including Porzingis in an Irving offer is currently a “non-starter” for the Knicks, per Wojnarowski. However, Woj adds there may still be some lingering tension between Porzingis and the franchise, and teams are wondering how emphatic the Knicks’ “no” really is — especially if the Cavaliers would be willing to take on Joakim Noah‘s contract.
  • Wojnarowski reports that the Bucks have shown interest in Irving. However, with Giannis Antetokounmpo obviously untouchable, Milwaukee may not have a young star who makes sense for the Cavs.
  • Although the Clippers have been mentioned as a possible landing spot for Irving, a league source tells Kyler that L.A. doesn’t appear to have the right combination of assets to appeal to the Cavs — a third team would be necessary, and even that may not be enough to make the Clips a serious contender for Irving.

Central Notes: Giannis, Bucks, Cavs, Rose, Pistons

The Bucks should still have at least a couple years before they have to start worrying about Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s long-term future in Milwaukee, considering the young star hasn’t even played one game on his new four-year contract with the franchise. Still, recent comments made by Antetokounmpo may stir up a little premature anxiety among Bucks fans.

As Michael D. Sykes of SBNation details, Antetokounmpo was asked recently by a fan about Kevin Durant‘s departure from Oklahoma City, and whether the Bucks star would avoid a similar situation a few years from now.

“A lot of people say they’re going to stay on a team and decide to move to a different team,” the Bucks forward said. “But you guys got to remember: A guy might want to stay on a team, but if the team doesn’t do the right things and the right moves for the player to become great. Because, KD, the reason he wanted to stay in OKC was to win, right? So, they didn’t win the championship. That’s why he decided to leave. So do not hate only the player. Because sometimes it’s not up to the player.”

Antetokounmpo’s statement was probably more of a defense of Durant than a hint at his own future, so there’s little reason to read much into it at this point. But the Bucks’ front office will certainly take note. The club figures to do all it can over the next several years to convince its star player that he can win a title in Milwaukee, and surround him with players capable of helping him do so.

Here’s more from around the Central division:

  • The Bucks continue to explore possible trades involving Greg Monroe and/or John Henson, sources tell Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times. Previous reports indicated that both highly-paid big men were on the block. Within the same piece, Woelfel adds that Milwaukee is expected to name an assistant general manager by the end of the week. That assistant GM will work closely with new GM Jon Horst in the team’s front office.
  • The Cavaliers had interest in Derrick Rose regardless of Kyrie Irving‘s status, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. However, as Wojnarowski writes, the Cavs are starting to engage in trade discussions involving Irving, and the possibility of Rose gaining a more significant role in Cleveland “grows every day.”
  • The Pistons have a new jersey ad sponsor, reaching a deal with Flagstar Bank, per Darren Rovell of ESPN (Twitter link). One third of the league’s teams have now announced jersey sponsorship deals, as our ongoing list shows.

Antetokounmpo Wins Most Improved Player Award

Giannis Antetokounmpo was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player, as was announced on the TNT awards show Monday night.

The Bucks point forward posted averages of 22.9 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 5.4 APG and 1.9 BPG last season. The previous season, he averaged a slash line of 16.9/7.7/4.3/1.4.

Antetokounmpo topped the two other finalists, Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Nuggets center Nikola Jokic in the voting. In the Hoops Rumors staff picks, Antetokounmpo received two of the five votes.

Green, Gobert Headline 2016/17 NBA All-Defensive Teams

The NBA has announced its All-Defensive teams for the 2016/17 season, and Defensive Player of the Year finalists Draymond Green, Rudy Gobert, and Kawhi Leonard all earned a place on the First Team. Green led the way with 99 First Team votes, while Gobert received 97 votes for a spot on the First Team.

Here are the full rosters for the NBA’s All-Defensive teams:

First Team:

Second Team:

Avery Bradley (Celtics), Klay Thompson (Warriors), and John Wall (Wizards) were among the other players receiving votes who just missed out on an All-Defensive spot.

As Bobby Marks of The Vertical observes (via Twitter), Gobert’s cap hit for the 2017/18 season will now increase by $500K to $21.9MM based on his spot on the All-Defensive First Team.

NBA Reveals Award Finalists

The NBA is in the process of revealing its finalists for each of the major year-end awards on TNT, the winners of which will be announced at the official award show on June 26.

Below is an ongoing list that we’ll update as the NBA on TNT crew reveals more.

Most Improved Player of the Year
Giannis Antetokounmpo
Rudy Gobert
Nikola Jokic

Hoops Rumors Analysis: MIP


Sixth Man of the Year
Eric Gordon
Andre Iguodala
Lou Williams

Hoops Rumors Analysis: Sixth Man


Rookie of the Year
Malcolm Brogdon
Joel Embiid
Dario Saric

Hoops Rumors Analysis: ROY


Coach of the Year
Mike D’Antoni
Gregg Popovich
Erik Spoelstra

Hoops Rumors Analysis: COTY


Defensive Player of the Year
Rudy Gobert
Draymond Green
Kawhi Leonard

Hoops Rumors Analysis: DPOY


Most Valuable Player of the Year
James Harden
Kawhi Leonard
Russell Westbrook

Hoops Rumors Analysis: MVP

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