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  • Lopez officially traded from Nets to Lakers for Russell, Mozgov
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, June 23, 2017

    Brook Lopez played in three arenas, for nine coaches and with numerous teammates.

    • He also survived numerous trade rumors.

      On Thursday, his nine-year career with the Brooklyn Nets officially ended when he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for guard D'Angelo Russell and center Timofey Mozgov.

      Russell was the second pick of the Lakers two years ago out of Ohio State. He averaged 13.2 points as a rookie and improved to 15.6 points last season as the Lakers won 26 games.

      "We are extremely excited to welcome D'Angelo and Timofey to our Brooklyn Nets family," Nets general manager Sean Marks said in a statement released by the team. "D'Angelo is a versatile young guard with a bright future and we are enthusiastic about continuing his development along with our young nucleus, while Timofey will provide a veteran presence who can contribute on both ends of the floor. Both are great fits within Kenny's system."

      Also going to the Lakers are the rights to forward Kyle Kuzma, who was drafted with the 27th pick.

      The Nets drafted Lopez with the 10th overall pick in 2008 when the team still played in the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J. He played two seasons in Newark before the team moved to Brooklyn in 2012.

      "We would also like to thank Brook for all of his contributions to the team over his nine seasons with the Nets," Marks said. "As the franchise's all-time leading scorer and longest-tenured player, he has been an exemplary member of the organization and always represented the Nets with class both on the court and in the community. We wish Brook and his family nothing but success in the future."

      Lopez appeared in 562 games with the Nets and averaged 18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists in 32.2 minutes. Last season, he averaged 20.5 points and expanded his game to include 3-point shooting while becoming the longest tenured-player in franchise history.

      He was in rumors when the Nets tried to get Dwight Howard from Orlando in 2012 and again in 2015 when the team attempted to get Reggie Jackson from Oklahoma City

      "To Brook Lopez, a huge personal thank you for your integrity and commitment to the team over the last nine years," Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov said in a statement.

      Lopez also surpassed Buck Williams as the franchise scoring leader with 10,444 points, and he is the Nets' career leader in blocked shots with 972.

      Mozgov made his NBA debut with the New York Knicks in 2010 and was sent to Denver in February 2011 in the Carmelo Anthony deal. He won a championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.

      In 423 games with the Knicks, Denver, Cleveland and the Lakers, Mozgov has averages of seven points and five rebounds. In the first season of four-year, $64 million contract, the 30-year-old averaged 7.4 points and 4.9 rebounds in 54 games.

      Kuzma averaged 10.1 points in 96 games during three seasons with Utah. Last season, he led the Utes in scoring (16.4 points) and rebounding (9.3).

  • Timberwolves acquire All-Star Butler from Bulls
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, June 22, 2017

    Jimmy Butler is being reunited with Tom Thibodeau.

    • Moments before the Los Angeles Lakers made Lonzo Ball the second pick of Thursday's NBA draft, multiple outlets reported Butler was going to be dealt to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

      NBA commissioner Adam Silver confirmed the trade later in the evening.

      Butler was dealt for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the rights to Lauri Markkanen. Also going to Minnesota are the rights to Justin Patton, who was picked at No. 16 by the Bulls.

      Butler was the 30th overall pick by the Bulls in 2011 out of Marquette. He averaged a career-high 23.9 points last season as the Bulls were 41-41 and qualified for the postseason as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

      Thibodeau coached Butler from 2011 to 2015 before being fired. He joined the Timberwolves last season with the dual title of coach and head of basketball operations.

      Last season, the teams worked on a potential deal for Butler, but talks collapsed based on the belief that Chicago's demands were too high. Instead, the Bulls dealt Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks for Robin Lopez and hoped to regain some of the success they experienced in Thibodeau's tenure.

      By obtaining Butler, the Timberwolves are taking on the final three seasons of the $95 million deal he signed after the 2014-15 season. They had approximately $24 million available on their salary cap after waiving injured center Nikola Pekovic on Tuesday.

      LaVine is coming off a torn ACL but was showing steady improvement. Before getting hurt, LaVine shot 46 percent and averaged a career-high 18.9 points and shooting a career-best 45.9 percent.

      Since entering the league as Minnesota's first-round pick from UCLA in 2014, LaVine has averaged 13.7 points per game and shot 44.5 percent.

      Dunn was Minnesota's first-round pick last season and averaged 3.8 points on 37.7 percent shooting in 78 games.

      Markanen averaged 15.6 points and 7.2 rebounds in his only season at Arizona. The 7-footer became the highest-ever draft pick from Finland.

      Patton averaged 12.9 points and 6.1 rebounds. The 7-footer shot 57.3 percent and was the Big East freshman of the year.

  • Draft: 76ers tab Fultz No. 1, Ball goes to Lakers at No. 2
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, June 22, 2017

    NEW YORK -- For the last four years, the mantra of the Philadelphia 76ers has been "trust the process."

    • As the anticipation intensified and commissioner Adam Silver said the 76ers "were on the clock," fans at Barclays Center began chanting to express their excitement to another young piece being added to Philadelphia.

      With about 90 seconds left in the Sixers' allotted five minutes, Markelle Fultz officially became the first overall pick in Thursday's draft.

      The former Washington point guard averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists in 25 games. In his only collegiate season, Fultz shot 47.6 percent from the field, made 41.3 percent of his 3-point attempts, reached double figures 24 times and set a school record for points by a freshman with 579.

      "I'm very excited really, just like the fans in Philly, how they back up their players and everything like that," Fultz said. "And I'm just looking forward to going in there and giving it my all and hopefully changing the program around."

      The performance at Washington capped a meteoric rise on the amateur level for Fultz. Cut from the varsity team as a sophomore at DeMatha Catholic High School in 2013 because he was only 5 feet 9, Fultz dominated opponents on the junior varsity level and then continued his stellar performances in his final two years at high school.

      "I figured out I had a chance to make it there (the NBA) probably (in) my 11th grade," he said. "I just realized that I was doing stuff that other kids weren't doing and it just started to work out for me."

      When Fultz was cut from the high school team, the Celtics had recently acquired the pick from the Brooklyn Nets in July 2013. The Celtics were looking to rebuild after six seasons with Kevin Garnett paired with Paul Pierce and the Nets were looking to win instantly in their second season in Brooklyn.

      Neither side anticipated the deal would become so lopsided in favor of the Celtics, but the Nets posted the league's worst record last season, setting in motion the chain of events leading Fultz to become a 76er.

      Fultz was all set to become a Celtic, but on Monday the pick was officially dealt to Philadelphia. The deal was first reported on Saturday and when it was apparent the trade was going to occur, Fultz quickly worked out for the 76ers after a short drive from Maryland.

      "That morning I woke up, I didn't know where I was going," Fultz said. "I didn't know (who) I was working out for."

      Last season, the 76ers held the top pick for the first time since drafting Hall of Famer Allen Iverson in 1996 and selected Ben Simmons. Simmons injured a foot in training camp and never played while the Sixers improved their win total by 18 games to 28.

      Now they are hoping for more with the trio of Fultz, Simmons and entertaining center Joel Embiid.

      After Fultz was picked, fellow freshman Lonzo Ball was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the second pick. The Lakers used their third straight No. 2 pick on Ball, who averaged 14.6 points and led the nation with 7.6 assists per game in his only season at UCLA.

      Ball was projected to be picked by the Lakers' new front office of Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka. It became even more apparent the Lakers were going to select him once D'Angelo Russell was traded to Brooklyn for Brook Lopez.

      The Celtics used the third pick on Duke's Jayson Tatum but also were reportedly in talks with Indiana for Paul George.

      The Suns picked fourth for the second straight year and selected Josh Jackson from Kansas. In his only season in college, Jackson averaged 16.3 points and 7.4 rebounds.

      Sacramento was the only team with two lottery picks.

      The Kings' first pick at No. 5 was guard De'Aaron Fox of Kentucky and they selected Zach Collins of Gonzaga at No. 10 with the pick obtained from New Orleans for DeMarcus Cousins. They later traded the rights to Collins to the Trail Blazers for North Carolina's Justin Jackson (selected with the No. 15 pick) and the 20th pick.

      Orlando selected Florida State forward Jonathan Issac at No. 6 and Minnesota picked Arizona forward Lauri Markkanen, who is heading to Chicago as part of the deal that sent Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves.

      At No. 8, the Knicks picked French point guard Frank Ntilikina, who heard a mix of cheers and boos from fans. Before Sacramento used its second top-10 selection, Dallas made North Carolina State point guard Dennis Smith the ninth pick.

      The first surprise might have been Malik Monk falling out of the top 10. Monk, who averaged 19.8 points in his only season at Kentucky, went at No. 11 to the Charlotte Hornets.

      Luke Kennard was the second Duke player selected when the Detroit Pistons took him at No. 12 to improve a team that posted the third-worst 3-point percentage last season. Kennard averaged 19.5 points and shot 43.8 percent from long range.

      Denver picked Louisville's Donovan Mitchell at No. 13 and sent the guard to the Utah Jazz for Trey Lyles and the No. 24 pick.

      Bam Adebayo became the third Kentucky player picked when the forward went to the Miami Heat at No. 14.

      Portland picked Jackson at No. 15. The Trail Blazers traded him and the 20th pick to the Sacramento Kings for the rights to Collins.

      The Bulls picked Creighton's Justin Patton at No. 16 and sent him to Minnesota in the Butler trade.

      Milwaukee picked Michigan's D.J. Wilson at No. 17, Indiana selected UCLA forward T.J. Leaf with the 18th pick, Atlanta used the 19th pick on Wake Forest forward John Collins and Portland chose Duke's Harry Giles at No. 20, who was then traded to Sacramento.

      At No. 21, Oklahoma City selected Terrance Ferguson, who played in Australia after initialing committing to Arizona out of high school. Brooklyn picked Jarrett Allen out of Texas at No. 22, Toronto picked Indiana forward OG Anunoby with the 23rd pick and Utah picked Syracuse's Tyler Lydon at No. 24 though he was traded to Denver.

      Latvian center Anzejs Pasecniks was picked by Orlando at 25 and he was then traded to Philadelphia. Portland picked Purdue forward Caleb Swanigan at No. 26. Utah forward Kyle Kuzma went to Brooklyn at No. 27, and he was included in the D'Angelo Russell-Brook Lopez deal with the Lakers.

      North Carolina forward Tony Bradley went No. 28 to the Lakers, though he was reportedly traded to the Utah Jazz for the 30th pick and a second-round pick. The San Antonio Spurs picked Colorado point guard Derrick White at No. 29 and Utah ended the first round by taking Villanova guard Josh Hart though he was reportedly sent to the Lakers.

      Below are the picks from the second round. Announced trades denoted with a letter.

      31. A -- Charlotte (from Atlanta via from Brooklyn) -- G -- Frank Jackson, Duke

      32. Phoenix -- G Davon Reed, Miami (Fla.)

      33. Orlando (from Los Angeles Lakers) -- G -- Wesley Iwandu, Kansas State

      34. Sacramento (from Philadelphia via New Orleans) -- G Frank Mason, Kansas

      35. B -- Orlando -- F Ivan Rabb, California

      36. Philadelphia (from New York via Utah and Toronto) -- F Jonah Bolden (Australia)

      37. Boston (from Minnesota via Phoenix) -- F Semi Ojeleye, SMU

      38. C -- Chicago (from Sacramento via Cleveland) -- F Jordan Bell, Oregon

      39. Philadelphia (from Dallas) -- G Jawun Evans, Oklahoma State

      40. New Orleans -- G Dwayne Bacon, Florida State

      41. Atlanta -- G Tyler Dorsey, Oregon

      42. D -- Utah (from Detroit) -- C Thomas Bryant, Indiana

      43. Houston (from Denver) -- F Isaiah Hartenstein (Lithuania)

      44. New York (from Chicago) -- G Damyean Dotson, Houston

      45. E -- Houston (from Portland) -- F Dillon Brooks, Oregon

      46. Philadelphia (from Miami via Atlanta) -- G Sterling Brown, SMU

      47. Indiana -- C Ike Anigbogu, UCLA

      48. Milwaukee -- G Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina

      49. Denver (from Memphis via Oklahoma City) -- F Vlatko Cancar (Slovenia)

      50. Philadelphia (from Atlanta) -- F Mathias Lessort, (France)

      51. Denver (from Oklahoma City) -- G Monte Morris (Iowa State)

      52. F --New Orleans -- G Edmond Sumner, Xavier

      53. Boston (from Cleveland) -- G Kadeem Allen, Arizona

      54. Phoenix (from Toronto) -- F Alec Peters, Valparaiso

      55. Utah -- G Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga

      56. Boston (from LA Clippers) -- G Jabari Bird, California

      57. Brooklyn (from Boston) -- F Alexandar Vezenkov (FC Barcelona)

      58. New York (from Houston) -- G Ogunjen Jaramaz (Mega Bemax, Serbia)

      59. San Antonio -- F Jarron Blossingame, Clemson

      60. Atlanta (from Golden State via Philadelphia and Utah) -- F Alpha Kaba (France)

      A -- Traded to Pelicans for Dwayne Bacon and financial considerations

      B -- Traded to Memphis for a future second-round pick

      C -- Traded to Golden State for financial considerations

      D -- Traded to the Lakers along with Josh Hart for the rights to Tony Bradley (No. 28)

      E -- Traded to Memphis for a future second-round pick

      F -- Traded to Indiana for financial considerations

  • Lakers G Young to become free agent
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    Los Angeles Lakers guard Nick Young declined his player option and will become an unrestricted free agent, the team announced Wednesday.

    • Young, 32, had a player option with the Lakers for one more season that would have paid him $5.7 million.

      However, he has decided to test the open market after a productive 2016-17 season. He started all 60 games in which he played and averaged 13.2 points while hitting 40.4 percent of his 3-point shots.

      His decision continues the Lakers' makeover. They traded D'Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Brook Lopez and another 2017 first-rounder earlier this week. They cleared cap space that could make room for a high-priced free agent.

  • Bulls' Wade picks up $23.8M option for next season
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade is picking up his $23.8 million player option for next season.

    • The 35-year-old Wade informed the Bulls of his decision Tuesday night. The former Miami Heat star had until June 27 to inform the team.

      When asked by TNT about his decision, Wade said: "24 million reasons."

      The Chicago native averaged 18.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game in his first season with the Bulls in 2016-17. He played in 60 games and was sidelined late in the season with a fractured elbow. The scoring average was the second lowest of his 14-year career.

      "18.3 points a game in 29 mins on 43 percent shooting at 35 years old. if I'm 25 with the same numbers I'm getting 150 million," Wade wrote on Twitter just after midnight Wednesday morning.

      Wade told the Bulls he did not want to be part of a rebuilding process and his decision came with the team at the center of trade rumors involving All-Star Jimmy Butler before Thursday night's NBA Draft.

      The Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns reportedly are interested in Butler.

      Butler hopes to stay in Chicago and remains intent on trying to lead the Bulls back to Eastern Conference prominence, sources told ESPN's Marc Stein on Tuesday.

      The Cavaliers reportedly expressed interest in Butler and could be willing to part with power forward Kevin Love as part of a three-team trade.

      The Chicago Sun Times reported multiple Cavs players, including stars LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, reached out to Butler to gauge his interest. But Butler reportedly told the Cavs he would like to remain with the Bulls.

  • Hawks trade Howard to Hornets
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    The Atlanta Hawks traded center Dwight Howard and the 31st pick in Thursday's draft to the Charlotte Hornets for forward Miles Plumlee, swingman Marco Belinelli and the 41st pick, according to multiple reports.

    • The 31-year-old Howard, who signed a three-year, $70.5 million deal with Atlanta last July, averaged 13.5 points, 12.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 74 games during the 2016-17 season. Charlotte will be Howard's fifth team after spending his first 13 seasons with Orlando (eight), the Los Angeles Lakers (one), Houston (three) and Atlanta (one).

      Plumlee, who signed a four-year, $52 million contract last season, averaged 2.5 points and 2.1 rebounds across 10.8 minutes in 2016-17. He began last season with the Milwaukee Bucks before being dealt to Charlotte before the trade deadline.

      Belinelli averaged 10.5 points, 2.4 rebounds and two assists in 24 minutes last season. He comes with a $6.6-million cap hit as his three-year, $19 million contract expires after the 2017-18 season.

  • 76ers appear poised to take Fultz at No. 1
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    PHILADELPHIA -- For the second consecutive year, the Philadelphia 76ers will have the first overall pick in the NBA draft.

    • Last season, the Sixers selected LSU standout Ben Simmons, though he never played after suffering a broken bone in his foot toward the end of training camp.

      When the ping-pong balls landed in the 2017 draft lottery, Philadelphia came away with the No. 3 overall pick this year. But president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo pulled off a blockbuster trade with the Boston Celtics, allowing the Sixers to move up two spots to No. 1 again.

      It looks like Philadelphia is prepared to take Washington guard Markelle Fultz at No. 1. Paired with Simmons, the Sixers seem to have a rising backcourt for the next 10-to-12 years.

      Colangelo was rather vague when meeting with the media. That happens in the days leading up to the draft.

      "Most importantly we're taking the next step, I believe, in formulating a solid young core of players that ultimately will lead to a successful and sustainable product," Colangelo said. "That's our goal and that's where we want to be. With the certainty of No. 1, we know we control our circumstances."

      While Simmons missed the season, center Joel Embiid was limited to 31 games because of injuries. Forward Jahlil Okafor struggled with a balky knee. Philadelphia stumbled to 28 wins, putting its total number of victories at 75 over the last four seasons.

      The Sixers were fortunate in the lottery once again and seem primed to take another step with a high-caliber type of player at No. 1.

      "A lot of things are lining up, with hopefully good reason, again to be able to have the opportunity be able to select No. 1 and control our destiny," Colangelo said. " And then have Ben Simmons, and Jerryd Bayless, and others that will be either acquired in the trade or free agency join this mix, along with that developing core that was there, with a healthy Joel Embiid.

      "There's a lot of excitement and a lot of reason to move forward with a much further idea of what we have. Again, it is somewhat circumstantial that we're here. Nobody is angry about being here."

      If Philadelphia takes Fultz as expected, the rest of the top five in the draft appears to look like this: the Los Angeles Lakers selecting UCLA guard Lonzo Ball at No. 2; the Celtics taking Kansas guard/forward Josh Jackson at No. 3; the Phoenix Suns picking Duke forward Jayson Tatum at No. 4; and the Sacramento Kings selecting Kentucky guard De'Aaron Fox at No. 5.

      Of course, Florida State's Jonathan Isaac, Kentucky's Malik Monk and North Carolina State's Dennis Smith could all sneak in the top five because anything is possible on draft night.

      This is a particularly crucial draft for the Sixers. It's year five of coach Brett Brown's era and time to start winning for a fan base which has had to "Trust The Process," in honor of former general manager Sam Hinkie.

      Philadelphia also owns four second-round picks, acquired in previous trades with the Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks and Utah Jazz. They could attempt to package some draft picks and move up for another potential first-round pick.

      Clearly, the focus is on the No. 1 choice, also known as Fultz.

      "It's great excitement, obviously," Colangelo said of the buzz of having the top pick. "We have a much better idea of where we are today than just a few days ago and, again, sitting in the No. 1 spot, we couldn't be in a better place. So, we know where we are, we've got pick certainty now and we can zero in on the fine details of that selection now.

      "And plan -- we can get a head start on planning for some of the things that follow that can also help us with our trade thoughts and free-agent thoughts moving forward."

  • NBA notebook: Lakers acquire Lopez from Nets
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    The Los Angeles Lakers hold the No. 2 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, but they did not wait until Thursday night to begin reshaping their roster.

    • The Lakers have reached an agreement to trade point guard D'Angelo Russell and center Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for center Brook Lopez and the 27th selection in this year's draft, The Vertical reported Tuesday.

      Trading Russell, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft, all but assures that Los Angeles will select point guard Lonzo Ball of UCLA at No. 2 Thursday. It also gives the Lakers three first-round selections in the draft.

      Russell averaged 15.6 points and 4.8 assists in his second season with the Lakers and the 7-foot-1 Mozgov averaged 7.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 0.9 blocked shots last season.

      The 7-foot Lopez represents a dramatic upgrade for Los Angeles, particularly at the offensive end. He averaged a team-high 20.5 points last season for Brooklyn and owns career averages of 18.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in nine seasons with the Nets.

      --Chicago Bulls shooting guard Dwyane Wade is reportedly leaning toward exercising his $24 million player option to remain with the franchise next season.

      The 35-year-old Wade has until June 27 to make a decision.

      The Chicago native averaged 18.3 points in his first season with the Bulls. He played in 60 games and was sidelined late in the season with a fractured elbow. The scoring average was the second lowest of his 14-year career.

      Wade told the Bulls he didn't want to be part of a rebuilding process, so the former Miami Heat star is certainly closely watching the situation involving All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler. The Bulls are shopping Butler leading up to Thursday's NBA Draft and the Cleveland Cavaliers have reportedly expressed interest.

      --Pau Gasol will decline a $16.2 million contract option for next season and become a free agent, but he is expected to re-sign with the San Antonio Spurs on a long-term deal, according to multiple reports.

      The 36-year-old center intends to negotiate a lower annual salary so that the Spurs are able to offer free agents more money this offseason, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Gasol averaged a career-low 12.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks over 64 games (39 starts) in his first season with the Spurs last season.

      Former All-Star David Lee is also expected to opt out of his deal with San Antonio. Lee's option for next season is worth $1.6 million. The 34-year-old averaged 7.3 points and 5.6 rebounds in 79 games last season.

      --The Indiana Pacers and Los Angeles Lakers have begun discussing the possibilities of a Paul George trade, according to multiple reports.

      George recently relayed to the Pacers that he won't re-sign with the club after the 2017-18 season and added that he hopes to sign with the Lakers as a free agent. With Thursday's NBA draft approaching, Indiana is investigating whether it can trade the four-time All-Star forward to the Lakers either before the draft or on draft night.

      The Pacers are apparently asking for the No. 2 overall pick in the draft that belongs to the Lakers, as well as forward Brandon Ingram, who was the No. 2 overall pick in last season's draft. The Lakers aren't interested in that scenario as they have the knowledge that George could be had on the free-agent market 13 months from now.

      Indiana also has engaged in talks with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Other teams reported to have interest are the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers and Washington Wizards.

      --Kristaps Porzingis may not be long for New York as Knicks president Phil Jackson is considering trading the 7-foot-3 Latvian and has been fielding trade calls ahead of the draft, according to multiple reports.

      Porzingis, 21, has not been in contact with anybody within the Knicks' front office since the end of the season. He skipped exit meetings with Jackson and the team due to his frustration with the Knicks' dysfunction.

      The former fourth-overall draft pick in 2015 has averaged 16.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks over 138 games in his first two seasons with the Knicks. Last season, Porzingis averaged a career-high 18.1 points, 7.2 boards and two blocks in 66 contests.

      --Aron Baynes is set to become a free agent as the Detroit Pistons center will decline his $6.5 million player option, according to The Vertical.

      Pistons president and coach Stan Van Gundy has said repeatedly that he expected the 30-year-old Baynes to opt out and seek a better deal, the Detroit Free Press reports.

      The 6-foot-10 Baynes averaged 4.9 points and 4.4 rebounds in 75 games (two starts) last season with the Pistons. He has career averages of 5.2 points and 4.1 boards in 295 games over five seasons with the Pistons and San Antonio Spurs.

  • Lakers deal Russell to Nets, acquire Lopez
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    The Los Angeles Lakers hold the No. 2 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, but they are not waiting until Thursday night to begin reshaping their roster.

    • The Lakers have reached an agreement to trade point guard D'Angelo Russell and center Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for center Brook Lopez and the 27th selection in this year's draft, The Vertical reported Tuesday.

      Trading Russell, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft, all but assures that Los Angeles will select point guard Lonzo Ball of UCLA at No. 2 Thursday. It also gives the Lakers three first-round selections in the draft.

      Russell averaged 15.6 points and 4.8 assists in his second season with the Lakers, who will free themselves from a four-year, $64 million contract that they signed Mozgov to in July 2016.

      The 7-foot-1 Mozgov averaged 7.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 0.9 blocked shots last season -- his first with the Lakers and seventh in the NBA overall.

      The 7-foot Lopez represents a dramatic upgrade for Los Angeles, particularly at the offensive end. He averaged a team-high 20.5 points last season for Brooklyn and owns career averages of 18.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in nine seasons with the Nets.

  • Pacers reportedly talking with Lakers on George deal
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    The Indiana Pacers and Los Angeles Lakers have begun discussing the possibilities of a Paul George trade, according to multiple reports.

    • George recently relayed to the Pacers that he won't re-sign with the club after the 2017-18 season and added that he hopes to sign with the Lakers as a free agent.

      With Thursday's NBA draft approaching, Indiana is investigating whether it can trade the four-time All-Star forward to the Lakers either before the draft or on draft night.

      The Pacers are apparently asking for the No. 2 overall pick in the draft that belongs to the Lakers, as well as forward Brandon Ingram, who was the No. 2 overall pick in last season's draft.

      The Lakers aren't interested in that scenario as they have the knowledge that George could be had on the free-agent market 13 months from now.

      Indiana also has engaged in talks with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Other teams reported to have interest are the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers and Washington Wizards.

      George, who averaged a career-best 23.7 points last season, has a major preference in joining the Lakers as he grew up in Southern California.

      The 27-year-old George is from Palmdale, Calif., a desert town about 60 miles north of Los Angeles.

      If George hits free agency, he will be eligible to sign a four-year, $130 million contract.

      If George remained with the Pacers, he could receive a five-year, $177 million extension.

      George has an 18.1 scoring average in parts of seven NBA seasons. He recovered from a serious compound fracture of his right leg in the summer of 2014 while playing for USA Basketball to regain his star status.

  • Pistons C Baynes opts out of contract
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Aron Baynes is set to become a free agent as the Detroit Pistons center will decline his $6.5 million player option, according to The Vertical.

    • Pistons president and coach Stan Van Gundy has said repeatedly that he expected the 30-year-old Baynes to opt out and seek a better deal, the Detroit Free Press reports.

      The 6-foot-10 Baynes averaged 4.9 points and 4.4 rebounds in 75 games (two starts) last season with the Pistons.

      He has career averages of 5.2 points and 4.1 boards in 295 games over five seasons with the Pistons and San Antonio Spurs.

      Baynes entered the league in 2009 and signed with the Spurs as an undrafted free agent, spending three seasons with San Antonio before signing with Detroit.

  • Bull market: Wade mulls option as Butler rumors gain steam
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Chicago Bulls shooting guard Dwyane Wade is reportedly leaning toward exercising his $24 million player option to remain with the franchise next season.

    • The 35-year-old Wade has until June 27 to make a decision.

      The Chicago native averaged 18.3 points in his first season with the Bulls. He played in 60 games and was sidelined late in the season with a fractured elbow. The scoring average was the second lowest of his 14-year career.

      Wade told the Bulls he didn't want to be part of a rebuilding process, so the former Miami Heat star is certainly closely watching the situation involving All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler.

      The Bulls are shopping Butler leading up to Thursday's NBA Draft. The Cleveland Cavaliers have reportedly expressed interest and could be willing to part with power forward Kevin Love as part of a three-team trade.

      Butler will reportedly push the Bulls' front office to get a deal done with the Cavaliers, the Chicago Sun Times reports. The newspaper also reported that multiple Cavs players, including stars LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, have reached out to Butler to gauge his interest.

      The Boston Celtics, who have a slew of draft picks to offer, are also reportedly interested in Butler.

  • Knicks are considering trade of Porzingis
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Kristaps Porzingis may not be long for New York as Knicks president Phil Jackson is considering trading the 7-foot-3 Latvian and has been fielding trade calls ahead of Thursday's NBA Draft, according to multiple reports.

    • Porzingis, 21, has not been in contact with anybody within the Knicks' front office since the end of the season. He skipped exit meetings with Jackson and the team due to his frustration with the Knicks' dysfunction.

      The former fourth-overall draft pick in 2015 has averaged 16.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks over 138 games in his first two seasons with the Knicks. Last season, Porzingis averaged a career-high 18.1 points, 7.2 boards and two blocks in 66 contests.

      New York missed the playoffs after going 31-51 and finishing 12th in the Eastern Conference.

      Porzingis' brother, Janis, who works for Porzingis' primary agent Andy Miller, reiterated last week the forward's desire to remain in New York.

      "Despite how the Knicks are treating their players, Kris wants to stay in New York," Janis Porzingis said via ESPN. "He loves the city and he loves the fans and he wants to win with this team.

      "If he's going to be traded, he's going to play out his contact and decide his future on his own."

      If Jackson decides to trade Porzingis, he is eyeing Arizona forward Lauri Markkanen as a possible replacement. Jackson had dinner with Markkanen on Monday night in New York and is considering drafting him with the Knicks' No. 8 overall pick on Thursday, The Vertical reports.

  • Gasol, Lee to opt out of deals with Spurs
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Pau Gasol will decline a $16.2 million contract option for next season and become a free agent, but he is expected to re-sign with the San Antonio Spurs on a long-term deal, according to multiple reports.

    • The 36-year-old center intends to negotiate a lower annual salary so that the Spurs are able to offer free agents more money this offseason, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

      The Vertical first reported Gasol's decision to opt out.

      Gasol averaged a career-low 12.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks over 64 games (39 starts) in his first season with the Spurs last season.

      The 16-year Spanish veteran has career averages of 17.9 points, 9.4 boards and 1.7 blocks in 1,119 games with the Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies.

      Gasol is a six-time All-Star and a two-time NBA champion.

      Former All-Star David Lee is also expected to opt out of his deal with San Antonio. Lee's option for next season is worth $1.6 million. The 34-year-old averaged 7.3 points and 5.6 rebounds in 79 games last season.

  • Clippers officially add West as consultant
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 19, 2017

    A week after helping the Golden State Warriors to a second NBA title in three seasons, Hall of Famer Jerry West will attempt to do the same for the Los Angeles Clippers.

    • West was officially named as a consultant to the Clippers on Monday. The former Los Angeles Lakers legend and front office executive will fill a similar role with the Clippers, who have yet to win a title.

      West was introduced as a press conference at the team's practice facility in Playa Vista, Calif. West credited owner Steve Ballmer, coach Doc Rivers and executive vice president Lawrence Frank for convincing him to join the Clippers and also said the deal runs for two years.

      "For them to want me to come here and maybe think I can help, I am really flattered," West said. "I am sold on the ownership here. I think they want to establish their own identity in this town, and that is what to me is most important. Establish their own identity and ability to win at the very highest level."

      Before officially joining the Clippers, West spent the last six seasons with the Warriors, helping the team win two championships. He joined Golden State in May 2011 and, after the team was 23-43 in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, the Warriors reached the playoffs in the next five seasons.

      West, 79, met with the Clippers and confirmed he received an offer last month. After meeting with the Clippers, he said isn't sure if the Warriors needed his input because it has become the league's top team in two of the last three seasons.

      Before joining the Warriors, West was a two-time NBA executive of the year.

      He was Lakers general manager/executive vice president of basketball operations for 18 years and won four NBA titles (1985, 1987, 1988 and 2000). He also served as the president of basketball operations for the Memphis Grizzlies from 2002 to 2007 and the team made their first three postseason appearances.

      West was a 14-time All-Star during his career with the Lakers, who went to the NBA Finals nine times in his playing career. He averaged 27 points, 6.7 assists and 5.8 rebounds, and is the league's 20th leading scorer with 25,192 points.

  • Durant plans to opt out, re-sign with Warriors
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 19, 2017

    NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant will opt out of his contract but re-sign with the Golden State Warriors in a move to save the team money.

    • Durant plans to decline his player option for 2017-18 and become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 before re-upping with the Warriors, according to multiple reports on Monday.

      The 10-year NBA veteran was scheduled to receive approximately $28 million in salary next season, but he will take about $4 million less than the max contract he is eligible to receive. One of the reasons is to give the Warriors more salary cap space and negotiating room in their attempt to keep forward Andre Iguodala, ESPN reported.

      In addition to Iguodala, the Warriors are trying to retain free agents Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia and other bench players.

      Durant's new deal apparently will be similar to his current one, which is for one year plus a player option.

      The 6-foot-11 forward left the Oklahoma City Thunder last summer to sign with the Warriors. He played a big role this season in leading Golden State to its second NBA championship in three years over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

      In this year's Finals, Durant averaged 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists as the Warriors wrapped up the series in five games.

      Warriors guard Steph Curry also will become a free agent, but he is expected to sign a "super" max five-year, $205 million deal. He made $12.1 million this past season.

  • Griffin out as Cavaliers GM
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 19, 2017

    A year ago, David Griffin was celebrating the Cleveland Cavaliers' first championship and the city's first title since 1964.

    • Now Griffin is the former general manager of the Cavaliers after the team announced Monday that his contract will not be renewed when it expires June 30.

      The Cavaliers announced it was a mutual decision. The announcement coincided with the one-year anniversary of Cleveland's 93-89 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. The victory made the Cavaliers the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the finals and was the city's first title since the Browns won the NFL championship in 1964

      "On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank Griff for his leadership and many contributions during his time here, including most recently his role in the franchise's first NBA championship," Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert said in a statement.

      The Cavaliers did not immediately name a replacement for Griffin, who reportedly could not agree with Gilbert on the team's future direction for roster construction.

      Griffin took the job on an acting basis in February 2014 after Chris Grant was fired. Griffin was named the permanent GM in May 2014 and his first moves were hiring David Blatt to coach and drafting Andrew Wiggins.

      After the Cavaliers signed LeBron James in July 2014, he traded Wiggins to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love. He also acquired J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert from the New York Knicks in January 2015, fired Blatt on Jan. 22, 2016, due to a "lack of fit" and replaced him with Tyronn Lue.

      According to reports, negotiations broke down despite James telling ESPN in April that Griffin deserved a new contract.

      Multiple reports stated James was not consulted about the decision to let Griffin go, and Bleacher Report said James is "disappointed" with Griffin's departure and "concerned" about what the move means for the Cavaliers. James signed a multi-year contract with the team last summer and the deal contains a $35.6 million player option following the 2017-18 season.

      The move occurred as rumors surfaced about the Cavaliers attempting to get Paul George in a trade from the Indiana Pacers and Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls. Reports said the Cavaliers' front office encountered trouble in trade talks because of the uncertainty about Griffin.

      According to the Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski, 2004 Finals MVP Chauncey Billups is a candidate for the job based on his relationship with Lue and Gilbert.

      Whoever gets the job will become the fifth GM since Gilbert purchased the team in 2005. Gilbert inherited Jim Paxton and fired him in April 2005. Danny Ferry held the position from 2005 to 2010, coinciding with the team's first appearance in the NBA Final in 2007.

      Ferry left the team about a month before James departed to Miami via free agency and, like Griffin, reportedly disagreed with Gilbert about the team's direction.

  • NBA notebook: Celtics, 76ers finalize deal for top pick
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 19, 2017

    The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers made their agreed-upon trade official Monday, a deal that will see the teams swap the Nos. 1 and 3 picks in Thursday night's NBA Draft.

    • The 76ers acquired the top overall pick from Boston in exchange for their No. 3 selection and a future first-round pick, according to statements released by both teams.

      The Celtics and 76ers agreed on the parameters of a deal on Saturday night after Philadelphia held a workout with point guard Markelle Fultz, who will become the fourth No. 1 overall pick in franchise history by the 76ers on Thursday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

      "We are very pleased with the outcome of this trade, which puts us in the enviable position of selecting first overall in consecutive draft years," Philadelphia president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said. "History suggests that No. 1 has the greatest odds of producing franchise-level talent and we are confident that this year's draft class has that very potential. Thursday night will see us take another significant step toward building a successful and sustainable basketball program."

      --The Los Angeles Lakers, who have the No. 2 pick in Thursday's NBA Draft, reportedly are working to acquire another high first-rounder as they search for players to improve their outside shooting and perimeter defense.

      The Lakers have engaged at least two teams in the draft lottery as they continue their rebuilding process, league sources told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.

      Los Angeles currently holds the second and 28th picks in the first round. The Lakers have been contacted about their No. 2 pick, but it remains unlikely they would trade out of that position, according to the report.

      With the No. 2 pick, the Lakers are considering UCLA's Lonzo Ball, Kansas' Josh Jackson and Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox. Ball hosted a second workout for the Lakers on Friday.

      --Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki will be one of the captains for the NBA's Africa Game on Aug. 5.

      The NBA and National Basketball Players Association announced that Nowitzki, who is from Germany, will be a co-captain of Team World along with Charlotte Hornets All-Star Kemba Walker.

      Team Africa will be captained by the Los Angeles Lakers' Luol Deng, a two-time NBA All-Star who is from the South Sudan, and the Atlanta Hawks' Thabo Sefolosha, an 11-year NBA veteran whose father was born in South Africa.

      Nowitzki is a 13-time NBA All-Star and 2011 NBA champion. Last season, he became the first international player with 30,000 career points.

  • Mavericks F Nowitzki named co-captain for Africa Game
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 19, 2017

    Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki will be one of the captains for the NBA's Africa Game on Aug. 5.

    • The NBA and National Basketball Players Association announced Monday that Nowitzki, who is from Germany, will be a co-captain of Team World along with Charlotte Hornets All-Star Kemba Walker.

      Team Africa will be captained by the Los Angeles Lakers' Luol Deng, a two-time NBA All-Star who is from the South Sudan, and the Atlanta Hawks' Thabo Sefolosha, an 11-year NBA veteran whose father was born in South Africa.

      Nowitzki is a 13-time NBA All-Star and 2011 NBA champion. Last season, he became the first international player with 30,000 career points.

      NBA Africa Game 2017, which will take place in Johannesburg, will once again feature a Team Africa vs. Team World format and will be played in support of UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and SOS Children's Villages South Africa.

      In February, the NBA and NBPA announced that Bismack Biyombo (Orlando Magic, Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Emmanuel Mudiay (Denver Nuggets, Democratic Republic of the Congo) will play for Team Africa, and that CJ McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers, U.S.) will play for Team World. The NBA said a full roster of players and coaches will be announced at a later date.

      The sold-out NBA Africa Game 2015, the first NBA game on the continent, took place Aug. 1, 2015, at Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg. There have been more than 70 current or former NBA players from Africa or with ties to the continent, including NBA Africa Ambassador Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria) and NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of the Congo), both of whom played in the 2015 game.

  • Celtics, 76ers finalize deal to swap top picks
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 19, 2017

    The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers made their agreed-upon trade official Monday, a deal that will see the teams swap the Nos. 1 and 3 picks in Thursday night's NBA Draft.

    • The 76ers acquired the top overall pick from Boston in exchange for their No. 3 selection and a future first-round pick, according to statements released by both teams.

      The Celtics and 76ers had agreed on the parameters of a deal on Saturday night after Philadelphia held a workout with point guard Markelle Fultz, who will become the fourth No. 1 overall pick in franchise history by the 76ers on Thursday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

      "We are very pleased with the outcome of this trade, which puts us in the enviable position of selecting first overall in consecutive draft years," Philadelphia president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said. "History suggests that No. 1 has the greatest odds of producing franchise-level talent and we are confident that this year's draft class has that very potential. Thursday night will see us take another significant step toward building a successful and sustainable basketball program."

      Boston, with leading scorer Isaiah Thomas already manning the point guard position, was equally thrilled to drop down two spots and receive what they expect to be a high first-round pick in either 2018 or 2019.

      "We're thrilled to be able to select what we expect be an impact player with the third pick in this year's very talented draft class, while also adding a highly valuable future asset as we continue to build towards Banner 18," Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said.

      Boston will receive the 2018 first-round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers -- if that selection falls between the No. 2 to No. 5 range. Otherwise, the Celtics will have a choice of first-rounders in 2019 -- either from Sacramento or Philadelphia, whichever pick is higher.

      Philadelphia will pair Fultz, a high-scoring point guard out of the University of Washington, with Ben Simmons, last year's No. 1 overall pick who missed the entire season with a foot injury.

      In his only season with Washington, the 6-foot-5, 186-pound Fultz averaged 23.2 points and 5.9 assists. He shot 47.6 percent, averaged along with 5.9 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals over 25 games during his freshman season with the Huskies, who posted a 9-22 record.

      Boston, meanwhile, could potentially own the draft rights to seven first-round selections over the next three seasons.

      The Celtics have been linked with either Josh Jackson of Kansas or Jayson Tatum of Duke at No. 3, although multiple media outlets reported the team may be willing to deal the pick.

      Lonzo Ball of UCLA is expected to go No. 2 to the Lakers, although the sides have yet to reach agreement on a deal. Ball hosted a second workout for the Lakers on Friday.

  • Lakers attempt to add another first-round draft pick
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 19, 2017

    The Los Angeles Lakers, who have the No. 2 pick in Thursday's NBA Draft, reportedly are working to acquire another high first-rounder as they search for players to improve their outside shooting and perimeter defense.

    • The Lakers have engaged at least two teams in the draft lottery as they continue their rebuilding process, league sources told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.

      Los Angeles currently holds the second and 28th picks in the first round. The Lakers have been contacted about their No. 2 pick, but it remains unlikely they would trade out of that position, according to the report.

      With the No. 2 pick., the Lakers are considering UCLA's Lonzo Ball, Kansas' Josh Jackson and Kentucky's De'Aaron. Ball hosted a second workout for the Lakers on Friday.

      Ball's outspoken father, LaVar, who was not invited to Lonzo's first workout at the Lakers' facility in El Segundo on June 7, was present for Friday's workout at an unspecified location in the Los Angeles area near his home.

      Magic Johnson, president of basketball operations, and general manager Rob Pelinka were the only representatives of the Lakers to attend Friday's workout, according to ESPN. Coach Luke Walton remained in El Segundo for a draft workout with other players.

      Ball, 19, averaged 14.6 points, 7.6 assists and 6.0 rebounds over 36 games in his lone season with the Bruins in 2016-17.

  • Pacers F George informs team he will test free agency after next season
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, June 18, 2017

    All-Star forward Paul George informed the Indiana Pacers he won't resign with the franchise and plans to become a free agent after next season, according to multiple reports on Sunday.

    • George can opt out of his contract following the 2017-18 season and become a free agent and is targeting the Los Angeles Lakers as his next club.

      The 27-year-old George is from Palmdale, Calif., a desert town about 60 miles north of Los Angeles.

      George reportedly had his agent relay the news now to Indiana president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard so he was upfront with his plans as well as giving the franchise the opportunity to prepare for its future.

      The Pacers are already shopping George, according to The Vertical. While the four-time All-Star would prefer to be shipped to the Lakers, Indiana reportedly has discussed a potential deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

      One report said the Pacers are requesting a "substantial package of talent and draft picks" in exchange for George, who averaged a career-best 23.7 points last season.

      A deal with the Lakers might be harder to work out as that franchise is aiming to build around the young players it has been collecting in recent seasons. Los Angeles also has the No. 2 overall selection in Thursday's draft.

      If George hits free agency, he will be eligible to sign a four-year, $130 million contract.

      If George remained with the Pacers, he could receive a five-year, $177 million extension.

      George has an 18.1 points-per-game average in parts of seven NBA seasons. He recovered from a serious compound fracture of his right leg in the summer of 2014 while playing for USA Basketball to regain his star status.

  • 76ers deal with Celtics for No. 1 pick, expected to take Fultz
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, June 18, 2017

    After working out for the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, guard Markelle Fultz said he wanted to get some cheesesteaks.

    • With the NBA Draft being held on Thursday, Fultz might have plenty of time to get the sandwiches as a member of the 76ers.

      The Sixers agreed on a trade with the Boston Celtics on Saturday night that involves multiple draft picks that would give Philadelphia the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

      "I'm definitely going to get some cheesesteaks from somewhere," Fultz told reporters after working out for the 76ers. "I have to get a cheesesteak. I'm big on that."

      Multiple media outlets reported the deal will happen and once it becomes official, the 76ers intend to use the pick on Fultz in Thursday's draft at Barclays Center in New York.

      The deal is expected to be announced Monday since the league offices are closed on weekends.

      In 2015-16, the Sixers won 10 games and used Ben Simmons with the top overall pick. Simmons was the first No. 1 pick for the Sixers since Hall of Famer Allen Iverson in 1996 and he missed the season with a foot injury as Philadelphia improved its win total to 28.

      According to reports, the Sixers are expected to give up the No. 3 pick, the Los Angeles Lakers' first-round pick in 2018 and possibly another future first-round pick. That pick could be a protected pick in 2021.

      Fultz, the former Washington guard has been the consensus No. 1 overall pick in many mock drafts. The workout in Philadelphia occurred instead of a previously scheduled meeting with the Celtics.

      Fultz worked out at the team's practice site in Camden, N.J., and hours before the workout, the buzz was building. Joel Embiid, who maintains an active presence on social media, tweeted a picture of himself and teammate Dario Saric standing in front of a locker with a Fultz's name plate.

      "He and I have been talking before when I was in college," Fultz said. "He's a cool guy. He's giving me tips and pointers and he's pretty funny, so when I saw that it was pretty cool and pretty funny. I'm pretty happy that the players here want me to come here."

      When Fultz arrived from his home in Maryland at the facility, he was wearing a black 76ers hat and there was an overflow media crowd taking pictures. Fultz also posed for pictures with Embiid, Simmons and Robert Covington.

      The Celtics own the pick from their 2013 deal that sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets. They are set at point guard with Isaiah Thomas and are reportedly interested in drafting Kansas forward Josh Jackson if the pick does not get traded.

      Before Friday, it was likely Fultz was going to be a Celtic. Reports began surfacing about a potential deal and rumors surfaced that the Atlantic Division teams were already in advanced talks for a deal.

      In his only season with Washington, the 6-foot-5, 186-pound Fultz averaged 23.2 points and 5.9 assists. He shot 47.6 percent, averaged along with 5.9 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals over 25 games during his freshman season with the Huskies, who posted a 9-22 record.

      His rise to likely being the top overall pick in Thursday's draft is occurring three years after Fultz was playing on his high school's junior varsity's team.

      Last season, Fultz led the Pac-12 in scoring, was sixth among Division I players and the most prolific freshman scorer in the country.

      His scoring average is the third highest among freshmen in the last 10 seasons. Only Kevin Durant for Texas in 2006-07 and Michael Beasley for Kansas State in 2007-08 were better and they were No. 2 picks in their respective draft classes.

      Fultz told reporters it would be "crazy" to play for the Sixers.

      "They have a young team, and I think the upside of it would be crazy," Fultz, an Upper Marlboro, Md., native, said after the workout. "I'm close to home. So a lot of my family can come out and just show love, and this city has great fans."

  • Potential No. 1 pick Fultz to work out with 76ers
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, June 17, 2017

    Markelle Fultz, expected to be the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, will work out for the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, further ramping up speculation of a trade for the top overall selection.

    • The Boston Celtics, who will draft No. 1, are reportedly in serious discussions with the 76ers about a trade for Fultz, the star point guard out of the University of Washington. Philadelphia holds the third pick in the draft.

      The Sixers confirmed that Fultz will work out for them Saturday in Camden, N.J.

      The Vertical and ESPN both reported that Philadelphia is attempting to trade its No. 3 pick and other considerations to snag Fultz, who averaged 23.2 points and 5.9 assists at Washington. The 76ers own two first-round picks in the 2018 draft, including an unprotected selection they would receive from the Los Angeles Lakers.

      Boston is set at point guard with Isaiah Thomas and has been linked to Kansas forward Josh Jackson if it decides to trade down. Philadelphia already brought in another point guard, Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox, for a workout on Saturday.

      If the 76ers could pull off the deal, they could put Fultz in the backcourt with last year's No. 1 overall pick, Ben Simmons, who has yet to play an NBA game but could play the shooting guard spot.

      Philadelphia could have a core group of Fultz, Simmons, and Joel Embiid, which could be a prominent trio for years.

      ESPN's Chad Ford reported Thursday that the Celtics were considering taking Jackson with the first pick. The Lakers have been linked to UCLA guard Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 selection.

      This year's draft will be held Thursday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

  • NBA notebook: Celtics, 76ers reportedly in talks for top pick
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, June 16, 2017

    The assumption has been that the Boston Celtics would take Washington point guard Markelle Fultz with the No. 1 pick in next week's NBA draft, but a report on Friday suggests the Philadelphia 76ers are attempting to acquire that pick.

    • The Celtics are having serious discussions with the 76ers about a trade for that would give Philadelphia the top pick, ESPN reported Friday.

      The most recent offer on the table would have the Sixers sending Boston several draft picks, including the No. 3 overall selection, in exchange for the top pick, which presumably would be Fultz. The most likely scenario is for Boston to receive three draft picks to give up one.

      Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported the Sixers might send the Celtics the No. 3 pick this year as a well as two future first-round picks to acquire the top pick this year. If the 76ers could pull off the deal, they could put Fultz in the backcourt with last year's No. 1 overall pick, Ben Simmons, who has yet to play an NBA game but could play the shooting guard spot.

      --Indiana Pacers guard Monta Ellis and Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Bullock were each suspended five games without pay for violating the NBA's anti-drug policy, the league announced.

      The suspensions begin during the 2017-18 regular season.

      "Monta's suspension is a very serious matter to our franchise and it will be dealt with accordingly," Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said in a statement.

      Ellis, 31, averaged 8.5 points last season, his lowest output since his rookie season (2005-06). Bullock, 26, averaged 4.5 points in 31 games for Detroit last season.

      --One day after projected No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz worked out for the Los Angeles Lakers, possible No. 2 pick Lonzo Ball took his turn at impressing club brass.

      The Lakers possess the second pick in Thursday's draft and it is likely the franchise will be choosing between Ball, the former UCLA point guard, Kansas forward Josh Jackson and Kentucky point guard De'Aaron Fox.

      Los Angeles was scheduled to meet with Ball's outspoken father, LaVar.

      The Lakers worked out Fultz in case the Washington standout guard doesn't end up going first in the draft. The Boston Celtics own the No. 1 overall selection.

      --The Milwaukee Bucks promoted Jon Horst to general manager, the team announced.

      Horst was previously the director of basketball operations for the Bucks and has spent nine years with the organization.

      Horst replaces John Hammond, who recently departed to take a similar position with the Orlando Magic.

      Milwaukee considered promoting assistant general manager Justin Zanik before settling on Horst. Also in the mix was Arturas Karnisovas, but the Denver Nuggets' executive was promoted to general manager of that franchise earlier this week.