Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins working out ahead of training camp

Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins are already getting a jump on next season.

The Pelicans’ big men have begun working out together in Los Angeles and Las Vegas in an effort to get ahead of training camp and the 2017-18 season after being unable to practice together last year.

We’ve just tried to get in as much work as possible this summer, Davis said, via the team’s website. We didn’t have that much time last season to work out with each other, because we didn’t have training camp or [many practices]. So we wanted to take advantage of this opportunity, where we had time in the summer in the same city and can get in some work in together, because we’ll be playing with each other a lot.

It was a roller-coaster ride for me and an inconsistent year for us as an organization, Drummond said, via The Detroit News. We were really hot and cold, and dealing with Reggie (Jackson) being injured was tough to get adjusted to Ish (Smith) right away.

My play wasn’t where it was supposed to be and I take responsibility for that as well; I wasn’t playing up to my potential and I can’t allow that to happen again.

Drummond, who will turn 24 later this month, underwent sinus surgery earlier this year, and he feels the procedure will help him rediscover his form.

I’m not going to play with a filter anymore; I’m going to play the game I need to play to be a great player for my team, Drummond said. I feel like I’m in great shape and I can actually breathe. I don’t get tired as easily and I’m sleeping better. Everything has been a plus since I got that surgery.

The Pistons finished last season 37-45, which kept them out of the playoffs. This offseason, they traded Marcus Morris to the Celtics for shooting guard Avery Bradley, who will instantly be the team’s best perimeter shooter and defender.

If Drummond is able to replicate his 2015-16 season, this Pistons could throw their name into the mix in the Eastern Conference.

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What will Clippers look like with Blake Griffin as No. 1 option in post-Chris Paul era?

There was almost a 50-50 split of Griffin’s assisted and unassisted baskets last season, so taking over as the primary scorer and playmaker shouldn’t be new territory for him next season. He can’t rely on his athleticism as much as he once could, but he is a much more polished scorer at this stage of his career. Whereas dunks made up 20.9 percent of his field goal attempts in 2011-12, they only accounted for 7.8 percent of his attempts in 2016-17. Meanwhile, Griffin has gone from converting 38.2 percent of his looks from just inside the 3-point line shots that have accounted for over a quarter of his attempts in his career to 43.6 percent.

One of the specific areas where Griffin has shown growth is in the pick-and-roll. He proved to be a powerful finisher as the roll man when he was a rookie, but Griffin has thrived as the ball handler in pick-and-rolls over the last couple of seasons. Even though it’s not something he does frequently (these types of plays made up 5.7 percent of his scoring in 2015-16 and 7.2 percent in 2016-17), the scoring opportunities he can create as the ball handler could make it a bigger part of his game next season.

So when it comes to the hottest ticket for Raptors home games this season, there should be major interest in quality of roster, and not necessarily the intensity of a rivalry. But the real question will be how often these out-of-conference star players actually suit up when their respective teams make the rare trip across the border.

And we also know the league understands how resting players affects the experience of its fans. Commissioner Adam Silver addressed the topic in April, and though no rules were set in stone, he put forth basic guidelines: Try to rest star players one at a time, and not when a game is being nationally broadcast. Also, when possible, try to do so at home.

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NBA referees condemn LaVar Ball for his sexist rant towards a female official

The NBA Referees Association is not happy with LaVar Ball’s sexist rant about a female referee after an AAU game on Friday in Las Vegas.

She’s a woman who’s trying to act I get that she’s trying to break into the referee thing, Ball said. But just giving techs and calling fouls, that’s no way to do it. I know what she trying to say: I gave LaVar, I gave him a tech, I’m strong.’ That ain’t got nothing to do with it. Just call the game.

On the afternoon of June 30, the sides thought they had a deal. On a conference call between the teams, everyone tentatively agreed. George to the Cavs, (Kevin) Love to the Nuggets, (Gary) Harris and other pieces to the Pacers, sources said… But then (Pacers GM Kevin) Pritchard, who had been on the conference call when the deal was tentatively agreed to, sent the message that his team was backing out, sources said. There was no deal.

Instead of that three-teamer, Pritchard instead chose to send George to the Thunder in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. Perhaps Pritchard was hesitant to send his biggest star to a team within the Central Division. Maybe the other pieces beyond Harris simply weren’t enough for Pritchard’s liking. Regardless of the reasoning, the bottom line is George ended up in Oklahoma City, and Cleveland continued its downward offseason spiral.

James can become a free agent after next season. Irving is under contract for the next two seasons with a player option for the 2019-20 season, but he’s intent on leaving. Love is under contract through the 2019-20 season, but it’s clear the Cavs are willing to part ways with him if the deal is right.

There is a huge minefield around Quicken Loans Arena at the moment. New Cavs GM Koby Altman has to tread lightly.

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LeBron James developing HBO sitcom centered on sneaker culture

LeBron James is becoming a major player in Hollywood.

His company, Spring Hill Entertainment, a joint television and film venture with Warner Brothers, the four-time NBA MVP and three-time champion, already produces Starz hit comedy Survivor’s Remorse, set to begin its fourth season Aug. 20, and NBC’s The Wall. Now, the outfit is set to add another show to its catalog. According to Shadow and Act, James and business partner Maverick Carter are combining forces with HBO to put together a sitcom centered on the sneaker culture. The show, still untitled, will focus on two best friends and their wild employees at an up-and-coming sneaker shop outside L.A..

It’s fitting subject matter for James and Carter. James has a lifetime Nike contract worth a reported $1 billion and has 14 signature shoes under his belt. He also owns his own high-end sports fashion boutiqe UKNWN.

Since then, Griffin has averaged 21.2 points, 9.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 2.6 turnovers per 36 minutes without Paul on the floor, according to NBA.com. The difference is, however, the Clippers were plus-3.3 when Griffin was on the floor without Paul in 2013-14, and they’ve been in the negative since. It’s why they’ll have to be smart with who they put next to Griffin moving forward.
Pairing him with Pat Beverley, Lou Williams, Danilo Gallinari and DeAndre Jordan gives them enough shooting for the lineup to have a respectable spacing rating.

They will likely see similar results with Teodosic at one of the guard positions because he has the skills to take some of the playmaking burden off Griffin as well as the ability to spot-up from NBA range. If they replace someone like Gallinari with Sam Dekker at small forward, though, their spacing rating starts to dip under 50.0 percent.

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John Wall on Kyrie Irving: ‘I’d stay put’

John Wall wants nothing more than to keep playing with the team that drafted him, so to hear that Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the team that picked him up on draft day baffled the former Kentucky star.

That was crazy to me. I didn’t know that was happening at all. Well, too bad, Wall said (via CSN Mid-Atlantic). It’s kinda tough. If I had been to three straight [NBA] Finals, I’d want to stay but you never know what type of relationship or what type of details they have going on the backside. Nobody knows what’s going on behind closed doors.

These games will be our 25th and 26th in Mexico, the most played in any country outside of the United States and Canada, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. They will also mark the 25th anniversary of our first game in Mexico City, a milestone in our relationship with our Mexican fans and a further indication of our desire to strengthen our ties to Mexico and Latin America.

The games likely will draw huge crowds, especially since fans will want a glimpse of the Nets’ revamped team with Jeremy Lin, DeMarre Carroll and D’Angelo Russell in action.

Fans will also get to see Westbrook playing alongside Paul George and watch Hassan Whiteside work with Kelly Olynyk in the Heat’s first game in Mexico.

We are thrilled to be able to participate in the NBA Mexico City games, Heat president Pat Riley said. The game of basketball is truly a global game and we are proud to be a part of its return to Mexico City. We look forward to our first-ever regular-season game there and bringing the HEAT experience to our fans in Mexico.

The games will be televised by ESPN in the U.S. and Televisa in Mexico. Fans also can watch the games via the NBA app.

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