Monthly Archives: August 2017

Cheap Houston Rockets Jersey For Sale

Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander donated $4 million to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund started by Mayor Sylvester Turner, the team announced.

“Our hearts are heavy seeing the devastation that so many of our friends, family and neighbors are experiencing,” the Rockets said in a statement.

Alexander’s donation was one of several pledged by teams and athletes to aid victims of flooding in Houston, including a $50,000 pledge by Rockets point guard Chris Paul to Texans defensive end J.J. Watt’s online fundraiser.

Paul’s donation pushed the total raised by the fundraiser to $500,000. Watt later upped the goal of the fundraiser to $1 million.

Now classified as a Tropical Storm, Harvey has devastated the Houston area with flooding as a result of unprecedented rainfall totals.

Among other donations announced Monday:

–The Texans and owner Bob McNair donated $1 million to the United Way of Greater Houston Flood Relief Fund. The NFL Foundation said it would match the $1 million donation, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his family pledged to match all funds donated to the American Red Cross in support of Harvey flood relief up to $1 million.

–Major League Baseball also contributed to the cause, joining with the players’ association to donate $1 million to the Red Cross and relief organizations chosen by the players.

–St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Carpenter, who is from the Houston area, said in a tweet that he will donate $10,000 for each home run he hits for the rest of the season to relief efforts.

Cheap LeBron James Jersey Wholesale

LeBron James is fired up over the idea of fans burning a player’s jersey, and he let it be known in a Twitter rant on Thursday.

James posted five tweets on the subject, defending new teammate Isaiah Thomas, who was traded to the Cavaliers on Tuesday night as part of a deal that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics.

There have been images on social media of Celtics fans burning Thomas’ jersey in response to the trade. And there were videos of Utah Jazz fans doing the same to Gordon Hayward jerseys in July after the free agent announced he’d be signing with the Celtics.

Thomas had emerged as the face of the Celtics since arriving at the trade deadline in February 2015.

The Celtics also sent Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a 2018 unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the deal.

On Tuesday, James retweeted one Cavs fan’s response to the trade. In that video, the fan shows an Irving jersey lying on the ground and then places a sign on top of the jersey saying, “Thank U so much.”

James is no stranger to this type of negativity after leaving a team, having experienced it firsthand when he left Cleveland in 2010 and the Miami Heat in 2014.

In the aftermath of James’ departure from Cleveland after “The Decision” in 2010, images of fans burning his jersey circulated on social media, and the same happened — to a much lesser extent — when he left Miami to return to Cleveland four years later.

James wasn’t the only one to weigh in on the subject. Former NBA player Ray Allen, who played for four different teams during his 18 years in the league, is familiar with receiving backlash from fans.

Allen posted on Instagram, essentially echoing James’ sentiments.

A little more than a month after the Celtics’ Game 7 loss in the 2010 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, Allen signed with the rival Heat, taking the backup role that seemed to bother him so much in Boston.

Cheap Paul George Jersey Outlet Sale

The possibility of impermissible contact between Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and four-time All-Star Paul George is at the crux of an NBA probe into tampering, league sources tell ESPN.

The Indiana Pacers filed tampering charges with the NBA against the Lakers, and the league issued a statement Sunday saying that an investigation is underway.

The Lakers are denying the allegations filed by the Pacers, insisting that there is no evidence of tampering, and they expect to be cleared in the matter, a team source told ESPN.

“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.”

If the league office’s probe — which was initiated around the time of the NBA draft in late June — can prove that the Lakers tampered with George while he was under contract with Indiana, they can be punished in several ways, including a loss of draft picks, fines up to $5 million, future restrictions on acquiring George and possible suspensions of offending officials.
The Lakers are denying the Pacers' allegations of tampering with Paul George while he was under contract with Indiana.
If the NBA finds evidence that the Lakers had engaged in a side agreement with George, he could be prohibited from signing a free-agent deal with Los Angeles or being part of a trade to the Lakers.

Nevertheless, it is unclear whether any evidence exists that could incriminate the Lakers or Johnson. The NBA is using the law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to probe the matter, the NBA said.

The story on the tampering charges involving George was first reported by Peter Vecsey.

Team officials aren’t allowed to make contact with players or their agents to discuss future plans unless it’s after the opening of the players’ free-agency year on July 1.

The Pacers’ charges represent a growing concern among many NBA teams that some potential suitors are reaching out to players and agents with one or two years left on current deals, trying to manipulate opt-outs and trades, league sources said.

George informed the Pacers in June that he planned to opt out of his contract in 2018 and intended to sign a free-agent deal with the Lakers. He was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis on June 30 in a deal that was finalized on July 6. George has been public in his desire and interest to potentially play for his hometown Lakers.

George could be eligible to sign a four-year deal worth approximately $130 million in free agency.

George, 27, has long been connected to a possible return to his Southern California roots to play for the Lakers. The Lakers have started to clear salary-cap space to pursue George and Cleveland’s LeBron James in 2018 free agency.

George averaged 23.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 2016-17. George, a four-time All-Star, was part of the 2016 USA Olympic gold-medal team less than two years after suffering a broken leg.

Lonzo Ball, Ben Simmons Rookie of the Year NBA Rookie Season wins

A ballyhooed NBA rookie class has caused disagreement among Las Vegas oddsmakers.

William Hill’s Nevada sportsbook on Wednesday opened Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball as the favorite to win Rookie of the Year at 9-5. The next day, the Westgate SuperBook went with Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons as the favorite at 5-2.

Dallas Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr. and 76ers guard Markelle Fultz, the No. 1 overall pick, are next at 4-1 and 13-2, respectively. Sacramento Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox and Boston Celtics small forward Jayson Tatum are each listed at 8-1, rounding out the players with odds in the single digits at William Hill.

Simmons sat out last season, recovering from foot surgery, but is expected to make his debut this year and spearhead a Sixers squad with playoff aspirations.
Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball opened as a 9-5 favorite at William Hill's Nevada sportsbook to win NBA Rookie of the Year.
“We expect Philadelphia to exceed the Lakers in wins and make the playoffs in the East, with Simmons having better stats [than Ball],” Jeff Sherman, assistant manager at the Westgate, told ESPN in a text message. “Had Simmons come out in this loaded class, he still would have been the No 1 pick in the draft.”

Simmons and the 76ers are currently favorites to make the playoffs at the Westgate. Ball and the Lakers are 6-1 underdogs to reach the postseason in the rugged Western Conference.

This will be the first season that Nevada sportsbooks will offer betting on the NBA Rookie of the Year and regular-season MVP. William Hill made the request to gaming control and, upon approval, opened betting on the awards Wednesday.

“With so much attention on the rookie class and the stars of the league, this is a fantastic year to start offering them,” Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill U.S., said in a release.

Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook opened as the favorite to win the regular-season MVP. Westbrook, who averaged a triple-double last season on his way to winning the MVP, is listed at 5-2 at William Hill.

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant is next at 4-1, followed by Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James at 6-1 and San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard at 13-2. Houston Rockets guard James Harden is 15-2.

Released the NBA schedule, including the main free agent for the first time to visit the old team

Jimmy Butler and Gordon Hayward will have to wait until 2018 to return to their old stomping grounds, but Paul George will see the Pacers before Christmas.

The NBA released its schedule Monday, and the ESPN and ABC television schedules include Butler’s return to Chicago, Hayward’s reunion with Utah and George’s first trip to Indiana after all three stars moved during the offseason.

George was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder after he made it clear that he would not re-sign with the Pacers when he becomes a free agent next summer. George and MVP teammate Russell Westbrook will visit the Pacers on Dec. 13 in a game that will air on ESPN.

Chicago and Utah will have to wait longer to welcome back their former stars. It will be one big former Bulls reunion on ESPN in Chicago on Feb. 9 when Butler, Taj Gibson and coach Tom Thibodeau face the Bulls. Chicago traded Butler and the 16th overall pick (Justin Patton) to Minnesota for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the No. 7 overall pick (Lauri Markkanen).

Jazz fans will see Hayward, who signed with the Boston Celtics, on March 28 in a game on ESPN.

Chris Paul will be back in Los Angeles to visit his former team, the Clippers, for the first time as a member of the Houston Rockets on Jan. 15.

Excluding the opening-week and Christmas games that were revealed last week, here are some other notable matchups that were revealed for next season:

On Oct. 26, New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins gets his wish to return to Sacramento and play against his former team. Cousins has been looking forward to this game since he was traded by the Kings on All-Star Sunday.

The Rockets play the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 1 (ESPN). If Carmelo Anthony is still in New York, he will face the team that he was willing to waive his no-trade clause for, only to see the Knicks hold out for a better deal.

The Brooklyn Nets visit the Lakers in D’Angelo Russell’s return to Los Angeles on Nov. 3. The Lakers traded Russell to Brooklyn — in a deal involving Brook Lopez — to make room for Lonzo Ball.

Joel Embiid will face Ball for the first time when the Philadelphia 76ers visit the Lakers on Nov. 15 (ESPN). Embiid and LaVar Ball, Lonzo’s outspoken father, traded social media jabs during the summer. Also, No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz faces Ball, the No. 2 pick, for the first time in the NBA.

The Lakers are on ESPN 11 times this season, including on Nov. 22 when they visit the Sacramento Kings for a budding rivalry showdown between Ball and fifth overall pick De’Aaron Fox. Fox was disappointed when Ball was held out of a highly anticipated showdown at the Las Vegas Summer League in July.

On Jan. 3, the Thunder visit the Lakers (ESPN). Considering that George made it no secret that he originally wanted to become a Laker before being traded, this game will have plenty of buzz. The Lakers and Magic Johnson are gearing toward a big free-agency summer in 2018. George will be a free agent, and Westbrook could be too if he opts not to sign a supermax extension. Both are from Southern California.

The second of two regular-season matchups between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers will be played Jan. 15 in Cleveland. The first game is set for Christmas Day.

On Jan. 20, the Thunder visit the Cavaliers in an ABC game.

On March 11, LeBron James makes his annual trip to play the Lakers in Los Angeles (ESPN). There will be plenty of hype surrounding James’ future and the possibility of him becoming a Laker next summer. James can opt out of his contract after this season, and he has been the subject of speculation with the Lakers preparing for their big superstar shopping spree.

For the first time in league history, the schedule does not have any team playing four games in five nights. This is part of the NBA’s effort to cut down on injuries and reduce the number of games in which teams rest healthy players.

Back-to-back slates also have been reduced to an average of 14.4 per team, down from 16.3 per team last season. No team has more than 16 back-to-backs this season.

NBA star Kevin Durant: Meant no offense in comments about India

Basketball star Kevin Durant has issued an apology for saying India is “20 years behind” and for several other comments about the Asian country.

The Golden State Warriors forward tweeted Friday that he’s “sorry that my comments about India were taken out of context.”
NBA star Kevin Durant: Meant no offense in comments about India
Durant said he plans to return to India to run more basketball camps and that he meant no disrespect.

Durant traveled to India recently and spoke about the trip in an interview with The Athletic published this week.

In the interview, Durant marveled at the “cows in the street, monkeys running around everywhere, hundreds of people on the side of the road” and visible poverty.

“It’s a country that’s 20 years behind in terms of knowledge and experience,” he said, adding that his visit to the Taj Mahal was eye-opening and not what he had imagined.

He had expected the monument to be “holy ground, super protected, very, very clean,” but instead, as he drove up, it reminded him of places where he grew up near Washington, D.C., he said.

“Mud in the middle of the street, houses were not finished but there were people living in them. No doors. No windows … stray dogs and then, boom, Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world.”

Oumar Ballo has a little Shaq and a lot of potential in his game

Oumar Ballo is flashing pro potential at a young age.

Oumar Ballo put himself on the radar of NBA teams, colleges and international scouts with a dominant performance earlier this month in the FIBA Under-16 African Championship held in Vacoas-Phoenix, Mauritius, a tiny island nation in the Indian Ocean.

The 6-foot-10, 238-pound 15-year-old posted 25.7 points and 22.8 rebounds per-40 minutes on 68 percent shooting from the field, helping Mali cruise to an 8-0 record and first-place finish that secured the emerging West African basketball powerhouse a spot at the FIBA Under-17 World Championship in 2018 in Argentina.

The level of competition at the event was admittedly fairly weak, with traditional African talent hotspots Nigeria, Senegal, South Sudan, Angola and Cameroon all declining to send representatives to the event for reasons such as internal federation politics, a lack of resources and an inability to gather their most talented prospects already playing in the U.S. or Europe. Still, Ballo’s performance — and especially his potential — playing up a year on the competition is notable.

With a 6-5 mother and 6-8 father, Ballo grew up playing soccer in Koulikoro. He didn’t pick up a basketball until he decided he was too tall to keep kicking a ball. The switch to hoops came at the urging of his mother and brother, Drissa, who is 6-10, 260 pounds and as a 15-year-old moved to France, where he still plays professionally.

Ballo started training with coach Mohamed Diarra in Koulikoro at age 11, leading to an invite to the Canterbury International Basketball Academy (CIBA) in Las Palmas in the Canary Islands of Spain shortly after. CIBA stands out among others for its association with Canterbury, a private British school where most of the classes are conducted in English. The goal is for students (the majority of whom are not athletes) to continue their studies at universities in Europe or the U.S.

“Life was hard at first in Spain,” Ballo said. “Leaving my family behind at that age was difficult. I didn’t speak any English or Spanish. But I want to be a professional basketball player, so I had to do it. I had to be focused. I practiced three times per day at Canterbury, while being a full-time student. I played three to four games per week, against older players, which helped me a lot.”

Ballo has been with CIBA for two seasons, winning MVP of the Under-16 Spanish Championship in May after helping his relatively new team finish in third place alongside traditional powerhouses like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Joventut, Malaga and Estudiantes, with Ballo ranking first in rebounding and second in scoring.

He stands out first and foremost because of his height, massive frame, huge hands and 7-foot-5 wingspan that allows him to dominate the interior against other players his age, despite never having lifted weights seriously. He patterns his game after Shaquille O’Neal and it’s easy to see why with his ability to move opponents around with brute force and his willingness to take (and dish out) contact inside the paint.

"Every single day people ask me how did I get so big like that?" Ballo said. "How can I only be 15 years old? The answer is my parents. Look at my brother Drissa. He is a beast."

Ballo is more than just a wrecking ball in the post, though, as he has exceptionally soft and reliable hands, allowing him to catch almost anything thrown his way and also emerge as a force on the backboards. In the 30 games in our database, Ballo has grabbed an outrageous 23.5 rebounds per-40 minutes, nearly 10 of which come on the offensive glass.

Highly mobile, coordinated and fluid, with good balance and a solid feel for the game, Ballo can pass the ball much more effectively than your typically raw 15-year-old. He sees both sides of the floor and showed a soft touch finishing off the glass or throwing in turnaround jumpers. His footwork and shooting mechanics are promising, a testament to the skill work on fundamentals that has been instilled in him over the past two years at CIBA, even if that hasn’t quite translated to the free throw line yet, where he made just 52 percent of his attempts at the U16 African Championship.

With that said, Ballo has quite a bit of work to do on his intensity level and polish. He can get away with being bigger and stronger than his opponents, and will look somewhat lackadaisical at times with the way he runs the floor, boxes out or puts a body on opponents defensively, which makes sense considering the circumstances. As players in his age group catch up physically and the competition stiffens, he won’t be able to get by operating at half speed. While he’s fluid and nimble, he’s not a freakish athlete who can compensate with overwhelming quickness and explosiveness. He’ll have to play hard all the time.

Cynics will look at Ballo’s chiseled frame for a 15-year-old and wonder if he’s truly the age his passport lists. FIBA Africa has some experience with fake documentation, unfortunately, and has made it mandatory for all players competing in the U16 Championship to succumb to an “age test.” While far from foolproof, these X-rays conducted on players’ wrists indicate whether the bone has fused, which would suggest they are no longer growing and thus not likely to be 16 or younger. Mali has a better reputation than many countries in West Africa for the stringency and accuracy of its bureaucratic documents, something that was put to the test when Ballo moved to Spain at age 13.

Ballo confirmed that he conducted the bone test prior to the Championship.

“Everyone did it,” he said. “So why not me?

“Every single day people ask me how did I get so big like that? How can I only be 15 years old? The answer is my parents. Look at my brother Drissa. He is a beast.”

Ballo’s future plans, both according to him and his coach at CIBA, Santi Lopez, point heavily toward the NCAA once he graduates high school in 2020.

“I want to pass from high school to college to the NBA,” Ballo said. “I want to be a pro.”

“He must go to college,” Lopez said. “He must be ready for that. You never know your future, if you have a bad injury, you need academics in your pocket. That’s the first goal for him.”

Soumaila Samake blazed the NBA trail for basketball players as a 7-footer from Mali and the No. 36 pick in the 2000 draft. It took 16 years until Mali had its second draft selection, when Cheick Diallo was selected by New Orleans with the No. 33 pick.

Can Oumar Ballo follow in their footsteps? Only time will tell. He’ll have to keep working, gain experience and make the right decisions for his development.

Next summer’s FIBA U17 World Championship could be his coming-out party for college coaches and NBA scouts, especially if joined by good friend and fellow highly touted Malian big man N’Faly Dante, the No. 20 recruit in the 2020 high school class, according to ESPN.

Lopez thinks very highly of Ballo but feels it’s too early to speak with him about the NBA.

“Too many people are on him right now,” he said. “Everyone is talking to him about being professional and going to the NBA. It doesn’t help a 15-year-old boy. I prefer to speak with him about academics, improving, doing his best, in order to have a good future. And then we can see. Now he needs to work.

“He has the potential to do it. He may still be growing. His body is immature. He’s still a baby. We have facilities, coaches, good players around, and a great private school. He has everything he needs to get there.”

After James Harden MVP snub, Rockets GM Daryl Morey says NBA might be better without awards

Know as a prolific scorer and now the recipient of the NBA's richest contract extension, James Harden elevate his game to MVP levels in 2016-2017 season. Witness the Beard's finest moments in this ultimate highlight.

Russell Westbrook winning the MVP award over James Harden has Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey wondering if the NBA should just eliminate awards.

Morey told The Crossover in a telephone interview that he has questions about the method of voting the league uses to name its award winners. Morey made his comments on Saturday but they weren’t published by the website until Monday.

“I don’t know if this is a good process,” Morey told The Crossover. “The ones that are decided by players or executives or media, they all have their strengths and weaknesses. I honestly don’t think there’s a good process. You could argue for eliminating the awards altogether. I don’t really see a good way to do it that doesn’t have major issues. I like clean answers. If there’s not going to be a set criteria and there’s going to be issues with how it’s structured, for me, it might be better to not have it.”

Westbrook, who averaged a triple-double this season for the Oklahoma City Thunder, had 888 points in the MVP voting, while Harden had 753.

Morey’s comments drew a sarcastic response from LA Clippers forward Blake Griffin on Twitter.
After James Harden MVP snub, Rockets GM Daryl Morey says NBA might be better without awards
At issue for Morey is the reasoning presented to him in 2015 when Stephen Curry edged Harden for the MVP nod — that the Warriors’ record (67-15) was superior to the Rockets’ mark (56-26).

If the same criteria was used this year, then Harden should have won the award instead of Westbrook because the Rockets (55-27) won more than the Thunder (47-35) this season.

“I didn’t like how a different MVP criteria was used this year, compared to the last 55 years, to fit more of a marketing slogan. People thought a different criteria for selecting the MVP this year was the way to go,” Morey told The Crossover.

Morey said that since “the criteria seems to be shifting away from winning,” the Rockets’ acquisition of Chris Paul this offseason “probably doesn’t help anyone’s chances on our team.”

He added: “But we’ve moved on since the award isn’t focused on winning anymore. Let’s just win and not worry about it.”