Deron Williams

Report: Turkish team which signed Deron Williams has its accounts frozen

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Allright, so this one’s a little complicated. Let’s work the NBA angle and go backwards.

Deron Williams signed with Besiktas. He even tweeted a photo of the signed contract and everything. But of course, that could get messy if the team can’t pay him. There have been concerns about overseas players betting paid in general due to financial concerns of the clubs, but Besiktas is considered a pretty solid club, what with their European football arm and all.

Funny story though. Jonathan Givony of Draft Express reports that Besiktas’ accounts are frozen in connection with allegations of football match-fixing. Whoops. From Reuters:

A Turkish court jailed the coach and deputy chairman of Istanbul club Besiktas pending trial on Wednesday in a match-fixing investigation which has overshadowed preparations for the new soccer season, media reports said.

The Istanbul court has already jailed 26 people including the chairman of champions Fenerbahce, who feature highly in the probe, and the latest ruling targeted a second of the city’s “Big Three” clubs which dominate Turkish football.

via Soccer-Top Besiktas figures jailed in match-fixing probe | Reuters.

The Reuters article does not confirm Givony’s report on the accounts being frozen, but it would make sense considering the involvement of the federal government in Turkey. If brought to trial and convicted, this could put a major damper on Williams’ intentions to leave the states to make some money abroad. It would also grant the owners more power and squash the movement of players to Europe, given that no one wants to go through the hassle of being involved in something like this.

Match-fixing’s about as low-down as it gets in sports in America, but it’s important to remember the basketball club has had no charges brought against its members so far.

Report: Khris Middleton could return to Bucks before All-Star break

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 16:  Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts during their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 16, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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The Bucks projected Khris Middleton to miss about 70 games when he tore his hamstring before the season. That extended absence often leads players just to shut down for the year, but Middleton vowed to return in time for the playoffs.

He might get back far sooner than that.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star ‎break.

Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.

The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.

Isaiah Thomas nutmegs Knicks center Marshall Plumlee (video)

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Isaiah Thomas usually saves his best play for the fourth quarter, but the Celtics guard showed out early with this pass between Marshall Plumlee‘s legs to get Kelly Olynyk a layup.

Thomas uncharacteristically just didn’t have enough late. Though he scored 39 points, he shot just 2-for-9 in the final period, as the Knicks pulled away for a 117-106 win.

Kevin Durant misses dunk so hard, ball flies past halfcourt (video)

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Kevin Durant played great in the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night, but – perhaps fueled by excess emotion – he missed this incredibly emphatic dunk attempt.

Later, Russell Westbrook showed his former teammate how to do it (sparking their apparent conversation):

James Harden outduels Giannis Antetokounmpo as they produce fantastic highlight video

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James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo met in a battle of two of the NBA’s best point guards. (Still weird to say.) The final lines:

  • Harden: 38 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 blocks
  • Antetokounmpo: 32 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks

The winner? Harden and the Rockets, who topped the Bucks, 111-92.

But the real winner? Anyone who gets to watch this highlight video. It just gets better as it goes.