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  • Hornets sign G Stone
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, August 23, 2017

    The Charlotte Hornets signed guard Julyan Stone on Wednesday after being released from his contract with an Italian team.

    • The 6-foot-6, 200-pound Stone appeared in 47 career NBA games (two starts) over three seasons with the Denver Nuggets (2011-13) and Toronto Raptors (2013-14), averaging 1.3 points and 1.1 assists in 7.0 minutes per contest.

      Stone, 28, joins the Hornets after a stint with Reyer Venezia Mestre of the Lega Basket Serie A in Italy, appearing in 26 games and helping the team to a 2017 Serie A Championship. Prior to his time with Reyer Venezia Mestre, Stone played with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA G League last season, seeing action in 33 games (31 starts) and averaging 7.9 points, 8.6 assists, 6.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 34.7 minutes.

      Stone also played for Royal Hali Gazientep (2015-16) of the Turkish Basketball Super League, a first stretch with Reyer Venezia Mestre (2014-15) and the G League's Iowa Energy (2013) and Idaho Stampede (2012).

      Stone was a four-year collegiate player at the University of Texas-El Paso (2007-11).

  • Cavs trade G Irving to Celtics for G Thomas, first-round pick
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, August 22, 2017

    The Cleveland Cavaliers agreed to trade All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics in exchange for a package led by fellow All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas on Tuesday.

    • The teams confirmed the Celtics also sent forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and the rights to the Brooklyn Nets' 2018 first round pick to the Cavaliers.

      "Kyrie is one of the best scorers in the NBA," Celtics president Danny Ainge said in a prepared statement. "He has proven that on the biggest stage, the NBA Finals, the last three years. He's been an NBA Champion, an Olympic Gold Medalist, and a four-time All-Star. For all he's accomplished, we think his best years are ahead of him."

      Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman said in a statement, "This trade needed to include both players and assets that we felt strongly could help us continue to compete for championships, and we believe it does. We look forward to Isaiah, Jae and Ante joining us and also felt that the unprotected first-round pick in the deal was very important for us and our future as well."

      Irving, who made headlines earlier in the summer when it leaked that he had requested a trade, moves on from a Cavaliers squad that reached the NBA Finals in each of the past three seasons and won a championship in 2016.

      "On behalf of the entire franchise, I want to thank Kyrie Irving for the six impressive years he spent in Cleveland wearing the Cavaliers uniform," Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert said in a statement. "From the moment we won the 2011 NBA lottery that put us in position to draft Kyrie to the 'The Shot' that sealed our first NBA championship and all of the electrifying play that made him a joy to watch, 'excitement' was always in the air when it came to Kyrie Irving. We wish him and his family well as he moves on to the next phase of his NBA career."

      Irving joins a Celtics squad that finished first in the Eastern Conference during the regular season last season but was bounced by the Cavaliers in five games the Eastern Conference finals. Thomas missed the last three games of the series with a hip injury, and he might not be ready for the start of training camp.

      "Isaiah and Jae have been a huge part of our success," Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said in a statement. "Isaiah's playoff performance under very difficult circumstances will live on in history, and we wish them all the best."

      Irving, 25, averaged a career-high 25.2 points on 47.3 percent shooting and 5.8 assists last season. He has three years and $60 million remaining on his contract.

      Thomas, a 28-year-old who finished third in the NBA with an average of 28.9 points in 2016-17, will be a free agent after the 2017-18 campaign.

      Irving was the first overall pick in the 2011 draft while Thomas was the last pick, 60th, in the same draft.

      "Isaiah embodied what it meant to be a Celtic," Ainge said. "He captured fans' hearts not only with his spirit, but his personality. Jae's toughness was contagious for our team. He improved his skills each year, but it's his energy and fight that will be remembered. We wish them and their families the very best."

      The Celtics and Cavaliers open the season in Cleveland on Oct. 17.

  • Raptors sign F McDaniels
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, August 22, 2017

    The Toronto Raptors signed forward K.J. McDaniels to a contract, the team announced Tuesday.

    • Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the club for McDaniels, who split last season between the Houston Rockets and Brooklyn Nets.

      McDaniels averaged 4.2 points and 1.7 rebounds in 49 games in 2016-17.

      A second-round selection by Philadelphia in the 2014 draft, McDaniels has averaged 5.3 points and 2.2 rebounds in 148 games with the 76ers, Rockets and Nets.

  • Mayo on possible return with Bucks: 'I owe them'
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, August 22, 2017

    O.J. Mayo would relish a return with the Milwaukee Bucks when he returns from his two-year suspension from the NBA.

    • Mayo has less than a year remaining on his ban for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

      "I want to go back to what I left (in Milwaukee)" the 29-year-old Mayo told The Crossover. "I was real close with (coach) Jason Kidd. ... I had great relationships with Giannis (Antetokounmpo) and Khris Middleton. I felt like I let them down, cheated them for two years. They paid me $8 million to be, in my eyes, a subpar player. They invested millions of dollars for me to be on top of my (stuff), and when you're not on top of your (stuff), it shows. I'll be 30 next summer. If they just give me the chance, I can make it up. I owe them."

      Mayo told The Crossover that the drug that led to his discipline was not a hard drug, rather marijuana. He also admitted that he abused prescription pain medication.

      The 6-foot-5 Mayo averaged a career-low 7.8 points as well as 2.9 assists and 2.6 rebounds during his third and final season with the Bucks.

      Mayo was originally a No. 3 draft pick of Memphis, where he spent the first four seasons of his career. Mayo joined Dallas for one season before signing with Milwaukee.

      In his career, Mayo has averaged 13.8 points, 2.9 assists and 3.1 rebounds.

  • Magic sign F Payne to two-way contract
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, August 21, 2017

    The Orlando Magic signed free agent forward Adreian Payne to a two-way contract on Monday.

    • The team announced the move but did not disclose financial terms of the deal.

      The 6-foot-10 Payne played in 18 games last season for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He averaged 3.5 points and 1.8 rebounds in 7.5 minutes per game. Payne also spent time with the Erie BayHawks in the NBA G League.

      Selected No. 15 overall in the first round of the NBA Draft in 2014 by Atlanta, Payne has played in 102 regular-season games during his career and started 24 of those with the Hawks and Timberwolves. His career averages are 4.0 points and 3.0 rebounds in 13.3 minutes per game.

      The former Michigan State standout has split time between G League teams Fort Wayne, Austin and Erie and the NBA.

      NBA rules allow for each team to sign two players to two-way contracts outside of the 15-man roster. Those players can be with the NBA team for 45 days not including time before the start or at the conclusion of the G League season. The Magic's G League franchise is located in Lakeland.

  • NBA investigates Lakers for alleged tampering with George
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, August 20, 2017

    The NBA is investigating the Los Angeles Lakers for alleged tampering involving Paul George after the Indiana Pacers filed a formal complaint.

    • The league released a statement Sunday from Mike Bass, executive vice president of communications.

      "At the request of the Indiana Pacers, the NBA opened an investigation into alleged tampering by the Los Angeles Lakers," the NBA statement said. "The independent investigation is being conducted by the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. The Lakers have been cooperative and, at this point, no findings have been made. We have asked both teams to refrain from commenting while the investigation is ongoing."

      Peter Vecsey on Patreon reported Saturday that Lakers president Magic Johnson, general manager Rob Pelinka and owner Jeanie Buss were contacted by an investigator for the NBA and asked to provide "any correspondence pertaining to" George, his agent and his parents.

      "As the NBA's statement made clear, we cannot comment about the specifics of any ongoing investigation," the Lakers said in a statement. "We can confirm, however, that we are cooperating fully with the NBA in the hope of clearing our name as soon as possible."

      The Pacers declined to comment when contacted by The Indianapolis Star on Sunday.

      George's agent contacted the Pacers on June 18 and informed the team that George would not return after his contract expired following the 2017-18 season and that his preference was to play for his hometown Lakers.

      When contacted in June, a source told The Indianapolis Star the Pacers were more concerned about finding a trade for George. The Pacers dealt the All-Star forward to the Oklahoma City Thunder on June 30 in exchange for guard Victor Oladipo and forward Domantas Sabonis.

      George, who is from Palmdale, Calif., previously mentioned his admiration of Lakers legends Johnson and Kobe Bryant.

      Within an hour of an initial report about George's intentions to leave the Pacers, Johnson tweeted "God is good!" Johnson also acknowledged in a late-night TV interview in April that he would welcome George as a Laker.

  • Heat sign former LSU standout Mickey
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, August 20, 2017

    The Miami Heat signed former Boston Celtics forward Jordan Mickey on Sunday.

    • Terms were not disclosed, but the deal is worth the $1.5 million guaranteed veteran minimum, according to the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel.

      Mickey, 23, split last season between the Celtics and the Maine Red Claws of the NBA G League. He appeared in 12 games (all starts) with the Red Claws, averaging 20.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.75 blocks, 1.6 assists and 32.6 minutes while shooting 51.5 percent from the field, 43.8 percent from 3-point range and 75.6 percent from the foul line.

      Mickey appeared in 25 games (one start) with the Celtics last season and averaged 1.5 points and 1.4 rebounds in 5.6 minutes of action while shooting 44.1 percent from the field.

      The 6-foot-8, 238-pound Mickey, a former second-round pick (33rd overall) of the 2015 NBA Draft out of LSU, also appeared in four postseason games with the Celtics over the last two seasons, including two games in the Eastern Conference finals last season where he totaled four points, five rebounds and a block in 18 minutes.

      Mickey averaged a nation's best 3.64 blocks in his final season at LSU, blocking at least 100 shots in consecutive seasons to become just the second player in school history to reject at least 100 shots during a single season, joining Shaquille O'Neal.

  • Clippers reportedly offer GM job to Thunder's Winger
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, August 20, 2017

    The Los Angeles Clippers reportedly offered Oklahoma City Thunder executive Michael Winger their general manager job.

    • A deal is expected soon, league sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Sunday.

      The 37-year-old Winger is an assistant general manager/team counsel for the Thunder. He would report directly to Lawrence Frank, the Clippers' new president of basketball operations.

      On Aug. 4, Clippers owner Steve Ballmer announced that Doc Rivers will no longer be the team's president of basketball operations, allowing him to concentrate on his primary coaching duties.

      Winger has spent the past seven years with Oklahoma City, working alongside executive vice president and GM Sam Presti.

      Winger, one of the league's most respected young executives, worked five years with the Cleveland Cavaliers under former general manager Danny Ferry before joining the Thunder in 2010.

      The Clippers restructured their front office this offseason after Rivers relinquished his basketball operations duties and Frank was promoted. Frank is a two-time head coach with the New Jersey (now Brooklyn) Nets and the Detroit Pistons.

      The Clippers will be operating next season without Chris Paul, who was traded to the Houston Rockets in June after the All-Star point guard said he planned to leave the franchise in free agency.

  • Celtics to retire Pierce's No. 34
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 18, 2017

    The Boston Celtics plan to retire Paul Pierce's No. 34 during the season next year, cementing his 15-year legacy with the franchise.

    • The Celtics announced Friday they will honor Pierce after a midseason game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11.

      A 10-time All-Star, Pierce spent the first 15 years of his career with the Celtics, helping the club to the NBA title in 2008.

      "We teamed up with Paul from the beginning of our ownership and grew to be champions together," Celtics co-owner and governing partner Wyc Grousbeck said in a statement. "He's a great person and a great Celtic."

      Ten other Celtics players donned the No. 34 prior to Pierce getting drafted by the team with the 10th overall pick in 1998. The Celtics now will raise his number among the other legends and champions.

      "I will always be grateful for the sacrifices Paul made to help the Celtics be great," said Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. "His love for the game was contagious and his talents and hard work were legendary. He was one of the greatest players of his era."

      Pierce's No. 34 will be ceremoniously lifted to the rafters of TD Garden less than 10 years after he helped raise the Celtics' 17th championship banner to the very same ceiling in 2008.

      "The moment I was drafted by the Celtics, I knew I was joining one of the most historic organizations in the NBA," Pierce said. "For 15 years, I played at the Garden, looking up at the jerseys of some of the most iconic players in the game -- Russell, Bird and Cousy. To now be recognized alongside those names is such an honor. I have always said I would be a Celtic for life, and now it is really coming true."

      Pierce was named the NBA Finals MVP in 2008. He averaged 21.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.08 steals and 38.8 minutes in that six-game series en route to the Celtics' first championship banner since 1986 as they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers.

      "Paul was a transcendent player, a great leader, and wonderful teammate; simply one of the great Celtics in every way," said Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca. "His number in the rafters will forever remind us of the joy he brought to the game of basketball and his love for the fans and the city of Boston."

      While his role in the 2008 NBA Finals will be forever remembered as a key part of his Celtics legacy, it was a performance earlier that postseason that is widely remembered as one of his more iconic moments in Boston. Battling the Cleveland Cavaliers in a decisive Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Pierce and LeBron James battled head-to-head in a back-and-forth scoring affair that saw both stars score over 40 points. The Celtics captain scored 41 points to upend Cleveland 97-92 and advance to the Eastern Conference finals.

      Pierce's 15 seasons in Boston from 1998-99 to 2012-13 trails only John Havlicek (16) for the most seasons spent in a Celtics uniform. Pierce averaged 21.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.44 steals and 36.6 minutes in his 1,102 career games with the Celtics.

      Pierce, a 6-foot-7 forward, tops the franchise lists in 3-point field goals (1,823), free throws (6,434) and steals (1,583), while also placing as the Celtics' second all-time leading scorer with 24,021 career points.

      Pierce's No. 34, which was also retired at the University of Kansas on Jan. 25, 2003, will represent the 22nd retired number in Celtics franchise history. He becomes the first Celtic to have his number retired since Cedric Maxwell's No. 31 was retired on Dec. 15, 2003.

      Pierce signed a one-day contract with the Celtics on July 17 in a move that allowed him to retire as a member of the franchise.

      Pierce averaged 19.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists while playing in 1,343 career games with the Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Clippers.

  • Durant won't go to White House to visit Trump
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 17, 2017

    If the Golden State Warriors are invited to White House, Kevin Durant said he will not visit with President Donald Trump to celebrate the team's 2017 championship.

    • Durant was honored in his hometown of Seat Pleasant, Md. and the 2017 Finals MVP told ESPN he will not attend any possible ceremony with Trump.

      "Nah, I won't do that," Durant told ESPN. "I don't respect who's in office right now."

      Durant and the Warriors are scheduled to visit the Washington Wizards Feb. 28. The Warriors have been officially been invited by the Trump administration.

      "I don't agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that," Durant told ESPN. "That's just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they'll all agree with me."

      Durant's comments occurred as Trump is dealing with the fallout over what transpired in Charlottesville, Va., last Saturday, which has caused many sports figures to vent their frustrations.

      Last Saturday, 32-year-old Heather Heyer was protesting a white supremacist rally and was killed when a car plowed into the crowd of protesters.

      Durant said he thinks Trump is playing a role in the increased public visibility of white supremacists.

      "He's definitely driving it," Durant told ESPN. "I feel ever since he's got into office, or since he ran for the presidency, our country has been so divided and it's not a coincidence."

      Durant is not the only NBA star to speak out against Trump.

      On Tuesday, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James called out Trump on twitter by saying: "Hate has always existed in America. Yes we know that but Donald Trump just made it fashionable again! Statues has nothing to do with us now!

      During the regular season, Golden State's Steve Kerr and San Antonio's Gregg Popovich were among the more vocal coaches in publicly criticizing Trump.

  • Former Laker, Notre Dame star Hawkins dies
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 17, 2017

    Former NBA player Tommy Hawkins, who was also a college star at Notre Dame, has died. He was 80.

    • Hawkins, a forward for the Los Angeles Lakers and Cincinnati Royals, died in Malibu, Calif., on Wednesday, according to family members. No cause of death was revealed.

      Hawkins became an award-winning broadcaster after his NBA career ended in 1969, and later served as vice president of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1987-2004.

      Hawkins was the first black basketball All-American at Notre Dame and his 1,318 career rebounds at the school still stand as a school record.

      He was selected third overall in the 1959 NBA draft by the Minneapolis Lakers. After one season, the team moved to Los Angeles and Hawkins had two stints with the franchise in that city -- two seasons from 1960-62 and three from 1966-69. He played for Cincinnati from 1962-66.

      Hawkins averaged a career-high 11.6 points for the Lakers in 1967-68. He had career averages of 8.7 points and 6.0 rebounds.

      "He was and will always be part of the Lakers family," team CEO and majority owner Jeanie Buss said in a statement. "His baritone voice and easy demeanor made him a favorite of the fans and media, as well as everyone who had the honor of calling him a friend."

      Notre Dame inducted Hawkins into its ring of honor in 2015. He scored 1,820 career points.

      "I feel blessed and privileged that I got to develop a relationship with him as the head coach at Notre Dame," Fighting Irish head coach Mike Brey said in a statement. "Tom was a trailblazer, a class act and a true Notre Dame man."

  • Nuggets add Weiss, Booth to staff
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, August 16, 2017

    The Denver Nuggets hired veteran NBA coach and player Bob Weiss to join head coach Michael Malone's staff as an assistant coach.

    • Tim Connelly, the Nuggets' president of basketball operations, also announced Wednesday the hiring of Calvin Booth as assistant general manager.

      The 75-year-old Weiss brings 34 years of coaching experience to Denver, including 31 at the NBA level.

      Weiss, who spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Charlotte Hornets, has been a head coach on four occasions, compiling a 223-299 career record (.427) with the San Antonio Spurs (1986-88), Atlanta Hawks (1990-93), Los Angeles Clippers (1993-94) and Seattle SuperSonics (2005-06).

      Along with the last four seasons in Charlotte, Weiss' tenure as an assistant coach includes stops with the San Diego Clippers (1977-80), Dallas Mavericks (1980-86), Orlando Magic (1989-90) SuperSonics (1994-2005) and Hawks (2012-13).

      In 2008, Weiss became the first former NBA head coach to be a head coach in China, where he spent two seasons leading the Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons (2008-10) and one season with the Shandong Lions (2010-11).

      Prior to coaching, Weiss played 12 seasons in the NBA. Drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers as the 22nd overall pick in the 1965 NBA Draft, he averaged 7.6 points, 3.7 assists and 1.8 rebounds in 783 career games for the 76ers, SuperSonics, Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls, Buffalo Braves and Washington Bullets. Weiss also saw action in 53 playoff games, including winning the 1967 NBA Championship with the 76ers.

      Booth, 41, joins the Nuggets after spending the past four seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves' front office, most recently serving as the director of pro personnel.

      Prior to his promotion last season, Booth was a scout for the New Orleans Pelicans during the 2012-13 season before transitioning to the same position in Minnesota for the start of the 2013-14 season.

      Before beginning his front office career, Booth played for seven different teams over a 10-year career in the NBA. He appeared in 366 games (83 starts), averaging 3.3 points and 2.8 rebounds.

      Booth and Connelly worked together on two separate occasions with the Washington Wizards and also later with the Pelicans.

  • LeBron speaks out, calls Trump 'so-called president'
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, August 16, 2017

    Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James referred to President Donald Trump as the "so-called president of the United States" while calling for unity in the wake of the Charlottesville, Va., tragedy over the weekend.

    • During his annual family reunion charitable event Tuesday night in Sandusky, Ohio, James gave an emotional speech as he held his daughter, Zhuri, in his arms and was flanked by his two sons, LeBron Jr. and Bryce Maximus, while standing on stage before students, parents, Cavs teammate JR Smith and pop musician Jordin Sparks.

      James took advantage of his first public appearance since the NBA Finals to call out Trump's actions.

      "I know there's a lot of tragic things happening in Charlottesville," James said, via ESPN.com, before leaving the stage at Cedar Point amusement park. "I just want to speak on it right now. I have this platform and I'm somebody that has a voice of command, and the only way for us to be able to get better as a society and us to get better as people is love.

      "And that's the only way we're going to be able to conquer something at the end of the day. It's not about the guy that's the so-called president of the United States, or whatever the case. It's not about a teacher that you don't feel like cares about what's going on with you every day. It's not about people that you just don't feel like want to give the best energy and effort to you. It's about us. It's about us looking in the mirror. Kids all the way up to the adults. It's about all of us looking in the mirror and saying, 'What can we do better to help change?' And if we can all do that and give 110 percent ... then that's all you can ask for.

      "So, shoutout to the innocent people in Charlottesville and shoutout to everybody across the world that just want to be great and just want to love. Thank you, and I love you all."

      A "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville led by white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members clashed with counter-protesters in the streets and a car plowed into the crowd on Saturday, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring at least 19 others.

      Trump initially said on Saturday that "many sides" were to blame for the violent scene, then on Monday condemned neo-Nazis, white supremacists and KKK members involved as "repugnant" before stating at a press conference Tuesday "there is blame on both sides" for what happened.

      James has been outspoken on his political beliefs in the past, endorsing Hillary Clinton in the November election and introducing her at a rally in Cleveland two days before she lost to Trump.

      James also referenced Trump on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, hours before his foundation's event:

      "Hate has always existed in America. Yes we know that but Donald Trump just made it fashionable again! Statues has nothing to do with us now!"

  • Raptors sign F Wiltjer
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, August 15, 2017

    The Toronto Raptors signed forward Kyle Wiltjer, the team announced Tuesday.

    • Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but TSN reported the contract was for one year.

      The 6-foot-10, 240-pound Wiltjer appeared in 14 games with the Houston Rockets last season, scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in a total of 44 minutes.

      Wiltjer was productive for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the D-League, averaging 20.5 points and 6.4 rebounds while shooting 37.9 percent from 3-point range in 22 games.

      At Gonzaga, Wiltjer was a first-team All-West Coast Conference selection in his final two seasons while averaging a team-leading 20.4 points as a senior. He began his college career at Kentucky.

  • NBA schedule includes old faces returning to former homes
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, August 14, 2017

    The NBA offseason featured plenty of movement. However, two notable stars who changed addresses will have to wait until the new year to face their former teams at the place they used to call home.

    • The NBA released its regular-season schedule on Monday, with Jimmy Butler and Gordon Hayward returning to Chicago and Utah, respectively, in 2018.

      Butler joins Taj Gibson and coach Tom Thibodeau in a reunion of sorts when the Minnesota Timberwolves face the Bulls on Feb. 9. Chicago traded Butler and the 16th overall pick of the 2017 draft to Minnesota for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the seventh overall selection.

      Hayward, who signed with the Boston Celtics as a free agent, will return to Utah for a game against the Jazz on March 28.

      Paul George will make a familiar trek to Indiana to face the Pacers on Dec. 13. George was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder after making it clear that he would not re-sign with Indiana when he becomes a free agent next summer.

      Chris Paul, who was a longtime member of the Clippers, will join his new team in the Houston Rockets when they make a return to Los Angeles on Jan. 15.

      The league announced its marquee television matchups for opening week and Christmas Day last week.

      The defending champion Golden State Warriors will begin their title defense and hold their championship ring ceremony at home against the Rockets on Oct. 17.

      Last season's runners-up, the Cleveland Cavaliers, will start the season on the same day at home against the Celtics in a rematch of the Eastern Conference finals.

      Here are a few other notable matchups:

      Three-time All-Star center DeMarcus will join the New Orleans Pelicans on Oct. 26 in a road game against the Sacramento Kings, his former team.

      The Rockets will play Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 1.

      Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid will get a firsthand look at second overall pick Lonzo Ball and the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 15. Embiid and Ball's outspoken father, LaVar, have exchanged social media jabs during the summer. Markelle Fultz, the top overall pick, is also involved in the game.

      The Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets play in Mexico City on Dec. 9 and the 76ers and Celtics tip off in London on Jan. 11.

      The Cavaliers and Warriors will play their second regular-season matchup on Jan. 15 in Cleveland. The first one is the highlight of the Christmas Day slate.

      Cleveland superstar LeBron James will travel to Los Angeles to face the Lakers on March 11. Speculation abounds on whether "The King" will call L.A. his home (for basketball purposes) in the not-too-distant future.

  • Lakers sign G Weber
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, August 14, 2017

    The Los Angeles Lakers signed guard Briante Weber on Monday, the team announced.

    • Although terms of the contract were not announced, multiple media outlets reported last week that it would be a one-year deal.

      Weber, 24, appeared in 20 games last season with the Charlotte Hornets and Golden State Warriors, averaging a combined 3.1 points and 1.1 assists.

      The 6-foot-2, 165-pound Weber appeared in 27 games with the Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Warriors and Hornets in his two NBA seasons, averaging 3.4 points and 1.6 assists.

      An NBA D-League All-Star selection in 2017, Weber was a three-time Atlantic 10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year at Virginia Commonwealth.

  • Durant apologizes for comments about India
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, August 12, 2017

    Forward Kevin Durant of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors issued an apology for comments he claims were "taken out of context" regarding the development of basketball in India.

    • In a Q&A with Durant that appeared in The Athletic earlier this week, he was quoted as saying that the country is "20 years behind in terms of knowledge and experience."

      In a statement on Twitter, Durant said: "Sorry that my comments about India were taken out of context, I'm grateful for the time I've got to spend there and I'm really pissed about how my comments came off, that's my fault, should've worded that better. I spoke about the difference between my imagination and reality there in Delhi and about where the game is compared to the rest of the world. No offense from this side, I'm coming back out there for more camps and cool (stuff). Sorry ....."

      Durant, the Most Valuable Player in the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, also said in the Q&A that he was surprised to see so many underprivileged people in India eager to learn about basketball.

      In addition, he talked about seeing cows in the streets, monkeys on the loose and hundreds of people on the side of the roads.

      Durant returned on Thursday from his visit to India, where he promoted the building of community basketball courts, and said he hopes to return in the future.

  • NBA notebook: Knicks, Rockets revive trade talks
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 11, 2017

    Carmelo Anthony could still join the Houston Rockets after all.

    • After initial talks between the New York Knicks and Rockets about an Anthony trade stalled, the teams have re-engaged in discussions to send the 10-time All-Star to the Magnolia City, according to an ESPN report on Friday.

      Anthony will only waive his no-trade clause to be dealt to the Rockets, refusing to include more teams on his list of potential destinations, league sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

      Houston is reportedly trying to find a third team to make the deal possible, and finding a way to include forward Ryan Anderson, who has three years left on his $60 million deal, is viewed as an obstacle.

      --LeBron James might be considering whether to bring his talents to Los Angeles next season, and there's a chance Kyrie Irving could be going with him. In a manner of speaking.

      Irving, who asked the Cleveland Cavaliers for a trade in July after he grew sour of playing alongside James, has his sights set on the Los Angeles Clippers as a team he would like to play for if traded.

      "(Irving) loves L.A. and he's been working out there a lot this summer," veteran NBA reporter Peter Vecsey of Patreon.com said.

      James, who owns a home in Los Angeles, is rumored to be considering teaming up with Los Angeles-area native Paul George on the Lakers next summer.

      --The Los Angeles Lakers signed forward V.J. Beachem.

      Terms of the deal were not released by the team, but ESPN reports Beachem's contract is partially guaranteed.

      Beachem, a former Notre Dame standout, was not selected in the 2017 NBA Draft. He averaged 14.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in 36 games for the Fighting Irish last season.

      He played four games with the Minnesota Timberwolves during the NBA's summer league in Las Vegas.

  • Irving reportedly highly interested in joining Clippers
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 11, 2017

    LeBron James might be considering whether to bring his talents to Los Angeles next season, and there's a chance Kyrie Irving could be going with him.

    • In a manner of speaking.

      Irving, who asked the Cleveland Cavaliers for a trade in July after he grew sour of playing alongside James, has his sights set on the Los Angeles Clippers as a team he would like to play for if traded.

      "(Irving) loves L.A. and he's been working out there a lot this summer," veteran NBA reporter Peter Vecsey of Patreon.com said.

      James, who owns a home in Los Angeles, is rumored to be considering teaming up with Los Angeles-area native Paul George on the Lakers next summer.

      The Clippers may be looking to rebuild after trading All-Star guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets earlier this offseason, but they did retain the services of All-Star forward Blake Griffin.

      Building around the 25-year-old Irving would be a great start, but Vecsey does not believe the Clippers have the assets to pull off a trade.

      "Do they have the assets they get him? I don't see how," Vecsey said. "But they also have (consultant) Jerry West and he's been able to figure out before ... the Lakers didn't have the assets to get Shaq (Shaquille O'Neal) and he wheeled and dealed and figured out and they got him ... he was able to get Kobe (Bryant) for (Vlade) Divac in the draft."

      Irving's reported list of preferred destinations also includes the New York Knicks, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves.

  • Lakers sign F Beachem
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 11, 2017

    The Los Angeles Lakers signed forward V.J. Beachem on Friday.

    • Terms of the deal were not released by the team, but ESPN reports Beachem's contract is partially guaranteed.

      Beachem, a former Notre Dame standout, was not selected in the 2017 NBA Draft. He averaged 14.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in 36 games for the Fighting Irish last season.

      He played four games with the Minnesota Timberwolves during the NBA's summer league in Las Vegas.

      Los Angeles went 26-56 last season and finished 14th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference.

  • Houston bound? Knicks, Rockets revive Anthony trade talks
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 11, 2017

    Carmelo Anthony could still join the Houston Rockets after all.

    • After initial talks between the New York Knicks and Rockets about an Anthony trade stalled, the teams have re-engaged in discussions to send the 10-time All-Star to the Magnolia City, according to an ESPN report.

      Anthony will only waive his no-trade clause to be dealt to the Rockets, refusing to include more teams on his list of potential destinations, league sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

      Houston is reportedly trying to find a third team to make the deal possible, and finding a way to include forward Ryan Anderson, who has three years left on his $60 million deal, is viewed as an obstacle.

      The Rockets intend to pair Anthony with fellow All-Stars James Harden and Chris Paul, who was acquired in an offseason trade with the Los Angeles Clippers and opted into the final year of his contract for cap purposes.

      New York appears to be ready to build around star forward Kristaps Porzingis and recently re-acquired guard Tim Hardaway Jr., who the team signed to a four-year deal reportedly worth $71 million in July.

      However, ESPN reports the Knicks are willing to begin training camp with Anthony on the roster and that new general manager Scott Perry is seeking a more specific package for Anthony than ousted president Phil Jackson.

      Anthony, 33, averaged 22.4 points on 43.3 percent shooting along with 5.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 74 games with the Knicks last season, his seventh in New York and 14th in the NBA.

  • NBA notebook: Paul to make Rockets debut against Warriors
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 10, 2017

    The highly anticipated debuts of Chris Paul with the Houston Rockets and Gordon Hayward with the Boston Celtics will highlight the opening night of the NBA season, the league announced Thursday.

    • Paul and the Rockets will visit the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday Oct. 17 as the second part of a doubleheader on TNT.

      In the opener, Hayward and the Celtics will visit the Cleveland Cavaliers in a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference finals.

      The NBA also announced its five Christmas Day matchups with an NBA Finals rematch between the Cavaliers and host Warriors on ABC (3 p.m. ET) representing the marquee contest.

      MVP Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder and MVP runner-up James Harden of the Rockets will square off on ABC (8 p.m. ET) on the Thunder's homecourt. The other contest on ABC will feature the Washington Wizards visiting the Celtics at 5:30 p.m. ET.

      --The Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics will pack their bags and head across the pond to play a regular-season game at the O2 Arena in London on Jan. 11, the NBA announced.

      The contest will be the league's eighth regular-season contest in London.

      --When NBA owners meet in September, they are expected to approve rules designed to discourage teams from benching healthy players for regular-season games, USA Today reported.

      The rules will be in effect at the start of the 2017-18 season, and teams will be penalized for not abiding by them.

      The specifics of the rules and the consequences remain unknown at this point, however. Enforcing any rules regarding the resting of a healthy player may be difficult to do, starting with the problem of determining whether the player is actually healthy.

      Earlier this week, the league office announced scheduling improvements designed to provide more rest for players.

      --Sacramento Kings forward Zach Randolph was arrested on a felony charge of marijuana possession with intent to sell by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Wednesday night.

      The arrest was part of a disturbance that resulted in damage to five Los Angeles Police Department vehicles and one sheriff's vehicle, according to ABC-7 in Los Angeles.

      Officers reportedly encountered a group drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana and playing loud music while blocking the street in the Nickerson Gardens area in Los Angeles. The disturbance escalated with Randolph being arrested at 11 p.m. PT and booked 5 1/2 hours later with bail being set for $20,000, according to police reports.

      A two-time All-Star, Randolph signed a two-year, $24 million contract with the Kings this summer after ending his eight-year tenure with the Memphis Grizzlies.

      --Oklahoma City Thunder forward Patrick Patterson underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, the team announced.

      Patterson, who will be re-evaluated in four to six weeks, is expected to start at power forward for Oklahoma City after agreeing to a three-year, $16.4 million contract in July.

      --The Milwaukee Bucks signed a jersey advertisement patch deal with Harley-Davidson, the team announced.

      The motorcycle manufacturer's iconic orange, white and black logo will appear on the Bucks' white, green and black jerseys. Harley-Davidson was founded in Milwaukee.

  • Paul makes Rockets' debut against Warriors in opener
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 10, 2017

    The highly anticipated debuts of Chris Paul with the Houston Rockets and Gordon Hayward with the Boston Celtics will highlight the opening night of the NBA season, the league announced Thursday.

    • Paul and the Rockets will visit the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday Oct. 17 as the second part of a doubleheader on TNT. Paul, a nine-time All-Star point guard, spent the past six seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers, while the Warriors will be receiving NBA championship rings for the second time in the past three seasons.

      In the opener, Hayward and the Celtics will visit the Cleveland Cavaliers in a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference finals. Hayward joined Boston as a free agent during the summer after seven seasons with the Utah Jazz, including making his first All-Star appearance last season.

      Cleveland once again will have LeBron James on the floor but the status of guard Kyrie Irving remains unclear after he asked to be traded.

      The NBA also announced its five Christmas Day matchups with an NBA Finals rematch between the Cavaliers and host Warriors on ABC (3 p.m. ET) representing the marquee contest. The two teams have met in each of the past three finals.

      MVP Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder and MVP runner-up James Harden of the Rockets will square off on ABC (8 p.m. ET) on the Thunder's homecourt. The other contest on ABC will feature the Washington Wizards visiting the Celtics at 5:30 p.m. ET.

      The Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks begin Christmas Day with a noon ET tip at Madison Square Garden on ESPN. The contest is Philadelphia's first Christmas Day affair since 2001.

      Squaring off on Christmas Night (10:30 p.m. ET, TNT) will be the Minnesota Timberwolves and host Los Angeles Lakers.

      The remainder of the NBA schedule will be announced next week. The Oct. 17 opening, pushed up to give players more rest, is the earliest start since the 1980-81 campaign began on Oct. 10, 1980.

  • NBA preparing to approve "rest rule"
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 10, 2017

    Fans get upset when a healthy superstar sits out a game for a day of rest, and the NBA apparently plans to do something about it this season.

    • In September, the NBA owners are expected to approve rules designed to discourage teams from benching healthy players for regular-season games, USA Today reported Thursday.

      The rules will be in effect at the start of the 2017-18 season, and teams will be penalized for not abiding by them.

      The specifics of the rules and the consequences remain unknown at this point, however. Enforcing any rules regarding the resting of a healthy player may be difficult to do, starting with the problem of determining whether the player is actually healthy.

      Earlier this week, the league office announced scheduling improvements designed to provide more rest for players. Teams will no longer play four games in five nights, and the number of back-to-back games has been reduced.

      The new approach caused the NBA to decide to open the season on Oct. 17. That represents the earliest start since the 1980-81 campaign began on Oct. 10, 1980.

      Commissioner Adam Silver suggested changes might be in store during at April news conference.

      "There is an expectation among partners that teams are going to act in appropriate ways, (and) find, as I said, that right balance between resting on one hand and obligations to fans and partners on the other," Silver said in April, according to USA Today.

      "There is a recognition from teams that on one hand a certain amount of resting is just inevitable and appropriate to keep the players healthy, but that they shouldn't be resting multiple starters on the same night.

      "And, incidentally, wherever possible, they should rest at home. Because there, while I feel for the home fans, just as much as the away fans, the away fans may only get a chance to see that team once. And of course, the home team home fans can see that team many times."

  • Harley-Davidson riding with Bucks' jerseys
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 10, 2017

    The Milwaukee Bucks signed a jersey advertisement patch deal with Harley-Davidson, the team announced Thursday.

    • The motorcycle manufacturer's iconic orange, white and black logo will appear on the Bucks' white, green and black jerseys. Harley-Davidson was founded in Milwaukee.

      "It's a perfect fit for Harley-Davidson and the Bucks, two international brands with deep Milwaukee roots, to join together through this partnership," said Matt Pazaras, the Bucks' senior vice president of business development and strategy.

      "Harley evokes as much passion among its riders as the Bucks do for our fans. And with that passion, along with its iconic logo and what it represents, Harley is the coolest brand for our players to sport during games."

      Don't expect to see Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo sign an endorsement deal with Harley-Davidson and get a free bike. Riding a motorcycle is prohibited in NBA contracts.