If Shane Battier plays overseas, he’s playing in China

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Since Yao Ming entered the NBA (miss you, Big Fella), China has emerged as an untapped market for both the league and its players looking for brand-expansion. The Rockets, in particular, took full advantage of their connections to Yao and cashed in, becoming celebrities as the country started to embrace the game fully. Shane Battier was among those who recognized the potential and has made efforts to make himself a known commodity in the country.

Battier spoke to Sports Illustrated, and when asked about his prospects for playing overseas, made it clear he has one particular place in mind should he head over:

“If I were to play anywhere, I would look at China first because I have some connections there depend,” he said. “It would depend on the tenor of the negotiations and if it looks like well play a season.”

Battier believes more players will be inspired by Deron Williams decision to play in Turkey. “I was proud of him for taking that chance,” he said. “That will be a great experience for him and I would not be surprised if more guys follow suit. But it will be surprising if guys go over there for August training camp [as thats when camps tend to open in Europe]. If it doesnt look like well have the normal exhibition seas and preseason, you could see a bunch of guys go to Europe.”

via Shane Battier has plan in place during NBA lockout – Ian Thomsen – SI.com.

Battier is filling an interesting role in the lockout. He’s one on hand questioning Billy Hunter and the direction of the NBPA’s leadership, which paints him as some sort of rogue, and on the other supporting the players in their efforts and pushing back on ownership.

While Battier’s age and relative lack of stardom limits his European opportunities, in China he’s a known entity. It’s a smart play. We’ll see if Battier winds up making good on those connections.

Report: Wizards signing Donald Sloan

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The Wizards look like they solved their backup-point-guard problems with Tim Frazier.

But they also looked like they solved their backup-point-guard problems with Trey Burke and then Brandon Jennings last year – and look how that turned out.

So, even after trading for Frazier, Washington is still trying to increase stability behind John Wall.
CSN Mid-Atlantic:

The Wizards added some depth to their backcourt on Thursday by signing veteran guard Donald Sloan to a one-year deal, CSN’s Chris Miller confirmed on Thursday night.

The 29-year-old Sloan has played for the Hawks, New Orleans Hornets, Cavaliers, Pacers and Nets in a five-year NBA career. He spent last season in China.

Sloan isn’t much of a scorer, and he’s only a decent distributor. But he makes up for it with all-around adequacy, highlighted by his rebounding for his position.

The veteran will compete with second-year Sheldon Mac, whose salary is just $50,000 guaranteed, to be Washington’s third point guard.

Report: Knicks sign Nigel Hayes to partially guaranteed deal

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Nigel Hayes became a cult hero at Wisconsin for bringing a “BROKE COLLEGE ATHLETE ANYTHING HELPS” sign to GameDay and soliciting Venmo donations, challenging the stenographer in a press conference and “accidentally” calling a stenographer beautiful in front of a hot mic.

After going undrafted, Hayes and his colorful personality are headed to New York, where Knicks fans are starving for fun.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Could Hayes stick into the regular season? The Knicks have just 14 players with guaranteed salaries, leaving one more spot for a player on an standard contract. Chasson Randle has an unguaranteed salary that becomes partially guaranteed around the time training camp opens. The Knicks could also sign other players, though they’re down to just minimum exceptions.

Hayes – a 6-foot-8 forward – has a chance, but he’s most likely ticketed to New York’s minor-league affiliate after being waived by the parent club.

Who is betting favorite to win Rookie of the Year? Lonzo Ball? Ben Simmons? Depends.

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The Rookie of the Year race is wide open heading into next season.

It’s that way every year — if you had predicted Malcolm Brogdon was going to win a year ago, you would have been laughed out of the building — but this coming season has a lot of talent at the top of the board who could win. Lonzo Ball, Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, Jayson Tatum all have a real shot — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Who is the better favorite? Depends on where you do your betting.

The William Hill’s Nevada sportsbook (which works with a number of Las Vegas casinos, such as the SLS), has this (hat tip ESPN):

Lonzo Ball 9-5
Ben Simmons 5-2
Dennis Smith Jr. 4-1
Markelle Fultz 13-2
De'Aaron Fox 8-1
Jayson Tatum 8-1

The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas has Simmons as the betting line favorite at 9-4

The online betting site Bovda.lv has this line

Lonzo Ball 9-4
Dennis Smith 3-1
Ben Simmons 5-1
Jayson Tatum 5-1
Markelle Fultz 8-1

Traditionally, Rookie of the Year goes to a guy who has the ball in his hands, is aggressive, and puts up raw numbers. It celebrates scorers.

This year a whole lot of guys can fit that bill, more than are mentioned here. It’s going to be a wild ride.

Check out the first NBA 2K18 trailer (VIDEO)

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The NBA season is coming… and that means NBA 2K18 also coming.

To whet the appetite of you gamers out there, check out the first trailer for the upcoming game, with music by Mobb Deep.

You can pre-order the game now.