UPDATE (9:10 EST): Scott Schroeder of NBA FanHouse and Ridiculous Upside offered his take on the Spurs’ situation:
[For what it’s worth], I’ve been told Spurs haven’t decided on Larry Owens for sure. It’s pretty likely, but not confirmed by anyone. Yet.
7:25 EST: Zabian Dowdell scored the honor of being the first D-League call-up of the season almost a week ago, but Larry Owens may not be far behind. According to Jonathan Givony of Draft Express, Owens could soon be called up by the San Antonio Spurs, making Owens the first call-up following the D-League Showcase.
San Antonio is among the most embedded NBA teams in terms of the D-League relations. They operate their very own D-League affiliate, the Austin Toros, and have been pretty creative in retaining talent in order to use the Toros as a true farm team. Owens himself isn’t a member of the Toros (he plays for the Thunder-affiliated Tulsa 66ers), but the Spurs clearly have an understanding of the value of the D-League as a resource and a player pool, and could be dipping in soon to offer Owens a 10-day contract.
Owens should fit right at home in San Antonio, tucked away in the corner to fire away from three-point range. He’s made 37.7% of his three-point attempts during his two-year D-League career, and an impressive 46.4% mark from long range during last season’s D-League playoffs (during which Owens led the 66ers all the way to the D-League Finals). On top of that, Owens is a solid positional rebounder and a long defender, making him a suitable complement for the Spurs’ array of talented players. Owens won’t play much if at all, but he certainly fits the San Antonio mold of the role-player-in-waiting, ready to step in and contribute at the first sign of injury trouble.
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.