NBA free agency 2018: Jeanie Buss has ‘complete faith’ in Lakers front office

George has sounded willing to return to OKC in recent days, which would make the Lakers a less attractive destination for James if he decides to opt out of his deal with the Cavaliers.

Lakers president Magic Johnson said Monday he would step down if the team fails to land big-name free agents over the next two offseasons. If he’s serious about his employment with the team, swinging a deal for Leonard would make him a man of his word. However, he needs the Spurs, who reportedly don’t want to trade Leonard within the Western Conference, to play ball.

The longer Kawhi Leonard goes without being traded out of San Antonio the more it looks like the Spurs are holding their star player hostage.

Leonard reportedly is still insisting the team trade him, while the Spurs are equally headstrong about keeping him in uniform at least until the 2019 trade deadline, ESPN reported Tuesday, citing unidentified league sources.

According to a separate ESPN report, the Lakers are feeling increased pressure to make a deal for Leonard happen as Paul George and LeBron James have progressively murky futures ahead of free agency, which begins Sunday.

The Rockets guard landed the prestigious award Monday after averaging 30.4 points, 8.8 assists and 5.4 rebounds in 2017-18, playing an integral role in his side being the number one seed in the Western Conference.

Russell Westbrook was named MVP ahead of the Houston star last year and Harden, 28, was taking nothing for granted despite being expected to land the award for the first time.

The last four years have been like knocking on the door, knocking on the door. Now the moment is finally here. said Harden.

Just every single year you try to come back and be better than you were the year before, and just to be holding that trophy finally, it means a lot. But it doesn’t stop here. We’ve got a long way to go. But it feels good to have it though.

Harden said he did not write an acceptance speech in case it would not be needed.

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James Harden should ‘hands down’ be MVP, Metta World Peace says

James Harden finished this season averaging 30.4 points per game, a career- and NBA-best. He is the first Rocket to lead the NBA in points per game in a season, and the second player in franchise history to average 30+ PPG in a season (Moses Malone – 31.1 in 1981/82).

Harden became the fifth different player to average 30 or more points and eight or more assists per game over the course of a season, and the second player in the last two years to do so. Before this, no player had done so since Michael Jordan in 1988-8Additionally, he is tied with Oscar Robertson and Russell Westbrook as the oldest players to accomplish the feat at age 28.

This season was the fifth time Harden has averaged 10 or more free throws attempted per game. He is one of 13 players 6-5 or shorter to do so over the course of a season.

Concerns about Williams’ work ethic contributed to him sliding out of the lottery and to Boston at No. 27 in last month’s draft. The Celtics introduced the 20-year-old big man at a news conference Friday morning, but he did not get back to town in time for Sunday’s afternoon workout.

Aron Baynes has agreed to a two-year, $11 million contract to remain with the Boston Celtics, league sources told ESPN.

The Spurs are engaged with several teams in trade talks regarding All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard, including the Lakers and Celtics, league sources told ESPN.

We expected him to be here, but obviously he missed his flight, said Celtics assistant coach Jay Larranaga, who will guide the summer squad in Las Vegas. We’re excited for him to get here [Monday] and get started.

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Mykhailiuk is an elite jump shooter who is still only 20 years old despite graduating from Kansas in the spring.

He is capable of shooting accurately off movement and occasionally off the bounce.

With a negative wingspan, Mykhailiuk likely won’t ever contribute positive value defensively, and his lack of a floor game on offense is a worry. But there’s equity in his shooting here.

It’s hard to see how Carr sticks in the NBA, but the Pelicans could do worse than betting on shot creation here.

Multiple media outlets, including ESPN and Yahoo Sports, were reporting projected picks throughout the draft before they were announced.

There were a couple of guys we felt really good about on the 19th pick, obviously Kevin (Huerter) was one of them, and it leaked who Milwaukee was going to take, Schlenk said (via ESPN).

So, all of a sudden, we were able to pull back out of that deal and keep the draft pick instead of packaging picks to move up because we knew that, two guys on the board we felt really good about and only one team in between us, so that was beneficial to us last night.

The Bucks drafted Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo with the 17th pick.

I still think there’s hope for Payton, who’s just 24, to turn into a decent starting point guard. Payton would take an important step in that direction with better shooting, and cutting his hair this offseason could help. Payton also needs to do more to harness his defensive tools after struggling to defend pick-and-rolls at the point of attack. If he shows improvement, Payton might have a better shot at landing a starting job in free agency next year.

Though Payton came cheap — New Orleans can sign him using the taxpayer midlevel exception without dipping into the larger non-taxpayer midlevel and incurring a hard cap — he still cuts into what the Pelicans can offer Rondo and DeMarcus Cousins without going into the luxury tax. As of now, New Orleans has about $98 million committed to 10 players, leaving about $26 million in buffer room below the tax line. Waiving center Alexis Ajinca and stretching his salary would give the Pelicans a bit more flexibility, but paying Cousins anything close to his $30.6 million max would surely mean entering the tax.

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NBA Draft 2018: See what the league’s newest rookies are wearing

NBA Draft fashion has become its own topic over the years. Fans still know what LeBron James, Joakim Noah, Jalen Rose and countless other players have worn the night their name was called.

What are this year’s draftees wearing on their special day? SN has put together its collection of the most memorable looks.

If they don’t want to be so transparent, they could go with Robert Williams now that Dwight Howard has been exorcised.

There’s been speculation among league honchos that the hush-hush nature of Gilgeous-Alexander’s workouts were designed to get him to the Clippers. A few teams ahead of No. 12 could scotch that plan, but we’ve got the Clippers getting their man.

The Clippers are going to lose DeAndre Jordan one way or another, either in free agency or in a trade. So they’ll replace him with another big Aggie.

The Nuggets could move this pick, and even if they don’t, they’ll be active on the trade front in the coming weeks. Bridges is an outstanding athlete going to a team that needs wing help.

The bat has to be (in the lineup), Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told reporters over the weekend. You’ve got a guy who’s been as consistent as anybody we’ve had all season. So you’ve got to find a place for him.

We’ve never ruled out the outfield. None of that is out of the question. We haven’t featured that yet but it’s something that has been in the conversation. He’s been doing work out there, too. But, right now, it’s how do we improve at first base?

Carlos Martinez has had good success against Arizona, with a 2.88 ERA in eight appearances. That ERA ranks 20th among active major leaguers with at least 30 innings against the Diamondbacks. Martinez has been even more successful at Chase Field, with a 2.11 ERA, fifth among those with at least 20 innings.

Martinez has given up one homer against the Diamondbacks, that coming to Gerardo Parra in their first meeting. Since then, he has gone 33 1/3 innings without giving up a homer to them.

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Trea Turner sends a souvenir into the stands with a 1st-inning 2-run homer against the Phillies.

The Nationals broke out of their offensive funk in a big way.

Juan Soto hit two of Washington’s seven home runs, finishing with four hits and five RBI, and the Nationals routed the Philadelphia Phillies 17-7 on Friday night.

Erick Fedde (1-3) earned his first major league win in his eighth career start, allowing five runs on eight hits in five innings with three strikeouts and three walks.

Nick Pivetta (4-7) continued to struggle against the organization that drafted him. The right-hander was shelled for seven runs on seven hits, including three homers, in 1 2/3 innings to fall to 0-3 with an 11.94 ERA in five career starts against Washington. Pivetta, a fourth-round pick in 2013, finished June 0-4 with a 7.71 ERA in six starts.

I feel better than I have in a long time. I feel healthier than I have in a long time. There’s no end in sight, he said. I know I’m older. I try never to think age but to think of how you feel and how passionate you are … those are at a high level for me.

That’s great news for Duke fans and terrifying for the rest of the ACC and college basketball. Duke hasn’t missed the NCAA Tournament since 1995 (when Krzyzewski missed most of the season with back problems), and in recent years, has become the marquee landing spot for five-star recruits.

Entering 2018, Duke has three of the top five recruits (according to 247Sports) with R.J. Barrett, Cameron Reddish and Zion Williamson all slated to play for the Blue Devils.

It’s going to be fun trying to put together and offensive and defensive system that will be personalized for these kids, Krzyzewski said.

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Drew Steckenrider pitched a perfect eighth, and Kyle Barraclough earned his eighth save with a 1-2-3 ninth.

Steckenrider has thrown 15 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings, and Barraclough has thrown 20 2/3 — two more reasons the Marlins are on the rise.

We’re gaining some type of identity as to what kind of games we need to play to win, manager Don Mattingly said. We’re not going to outslug anybody. We’re going to have to pitch and play defense and scratch for runs.

Four pitchers have made their first major league start against New York this year, and they’ve combined to go 3-0 with an ERA of 1.57. But at the moment, the Mets are having trouble beating anybody.

It’s difficult right now, first-year manager Mickey Callaway said. I know the players are feeling it. I know the fans are feeling.

Jackson has won 10 consecutive decisions over Cleveland, a streak dating to 2008. His string against the Indians is the longest since Charlie Hough beat them 13 straight times from 1984-88.

Jackson has 13 strikeouts and hasn’t allowed a walk in 12 2/3 innings through his first two starts with Oakland. He topped out at 97 mph on Saturday.

Based on the way he was available and the way he’s been able to pitch for us it’s a surprise, but he’s always been able to do that a little bit with the sinker and the four-seamer, A’s manager Bob Melvin said.

Now he just manipulates a little bit more and the offspeed stuff with the changeup speed and the slider. . It really keeps you off-balance, he said.

The AL Central-leading Indians lost for the fourth time in five games.

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The Rockies blew leads of 5-2 and 7-5 and were down 8-7 before scoring twice off closer Sam Dyson (2-2) to avoid a series sweep.

Chris Iannetta hit a leadoff single in the ninth and was replaced by pinch-runner Pat Valaika. After pinch-hitter Tom Murphy popped out, LeMahieu sent a full-count pitch from Dyson into the left-field stands.

Two nights earlier, Dyson got LeMahieu to ground into a game-ending double play with the tying run on base.

The jump shot needs work, though. His ball pickup on his pull-up jumper is funky, and the lack of consistency could ultimately make him easier to defend without improvement.

Norvell’s breakout performance came against Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament. He finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds and four assists while shooting 6-of-11 from 3-point range.

As a freshman, the 20-year-old knocked down 37.0 percent of his triples, taking over eight per 40 minutes. He projects best as a two guard who can space the floor and attack closeouts off the bounce.

If this one does not happen, then every Mock Draft on the entire internet is in trouble.

The Kings’ relative lack of interest in Luka Doncic could be a smokescreen, but to what end? Just to mess with the rest of the league? Doncic’s camp believes the Kings are going to pass, so I’ll go with that.

We’ve been telling you since the Combine that the Grizzlies would consider trading this pick. They could get something done Thursday. If not, Carter is among the few who came to work out for the team.

The Mavs will have options here. Bamba is probably the favorite, but it would be a surprise to have Jaren Jackson Jr. available. There’s still an inkling that they like Michael Porter Jr. as well.

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