From punchline to prominence. The Washington Wizards have gotten the break they needed to restart their franchise.
The Wizards won the NBA lottery and will have the top pick in June’s draft. They will now face a world of options as to how to approach the future of their franchise. Gilbert Arenas is their starting point guard, but John Wall is now right in front of them. They’ll have the option of trading the pick, trading Arenas, or moving Arenas to shooting guard.
We’ll discuss all those options later.
The Philadelphia 76ers were also big lottery winners, nabbing the #2 pick, moving up just like the Wizards did. They’ll have the option of either John Wall or Evan Turner, whoever the Wizards don’t pick.
The New Jersey Nets, who were looking like they had a chance to remake their franchise with the addition of John Wall and possibly a major free agent, fell to three and now face the likelihood of staying in the lottery for years unless they hit a homerun with the third pick.
The Timberwolves will likely not pick a point guard, falling to four and will now be facing a logjam with the #4 pick and a fleet of forwards to choose from.
We’ll have more coverage for you throughout the night.
NEW YORK (AP) — Craig Sager’s fight with leukemia will prevent the basketball sideline reporter form covering the Rio Olympics for NBC.
NBC said Thursday in a statement that the 65-year-old Sager is preparing for a third bone marrow transplant at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Sager was first diagnosed with leukemia in 2014 and announced in March that he was no longer in remission.
The Rio Games would have been Sager’s fifth Olympics.
Sager has worked for Turner Sports for 34 years. At the ESPY Awards this month, Vice President Joe Biden presented Sager with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.