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NBA “European vacation” roundup: Kobe a long shot

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As the NBA lockout drags out — and the two sides are not expected to talk seriously until August — the rumors about NBA players heading overseas continue.

All these rumors should be taken with a grain of salt — for one, international basketball governing body FIBA has yet to rule if an NBA player under contract can play overseas during the lockout. That said, we bring them to you.

• Kobe Bryant (or his people) apparently had conversations with Turkish team Besiktas (the team that signed Deron Williams), but it seems a real long shot they could get him now, as Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski explained. It stems from the match fixing scandal tied to Besiktas’ soccer team, which led to Besiktas’ assets being frozen.

Besiktas has credibility issues with soccer scandal, history of properly paying players. Makes it harder to get corporate sponsors for Kobe.

Reportedly, Kobe wanted $1 million a month in salary. Which sounds crazy but would still be more than $17 million less than he would make for a full NBA season.

• Maurice Evans, the vice president of the players union, has had conversations with European powers Real Madrid and Anadolu Efes (the club that just signed Sasha Vujacic), Hoopsworld reports. This could be Evans just being the good union soldier, trying to help gain leverage in the talks. But as a 32-year-old free agent, these deals might be as good or better than what he can get in the NBA next season. Evans has already played seasons in Greece and Italy.

• Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov said he is considering playing overseas and has had offers. Right now he is with the Russian national team preparing for Olympic qualifying.

• Marcin Gortat has not yet signed a deal with a team in Russia, but that is still on the table.

• Nets draftee Marshon Brooks said he is not going to sign overseas. This makes sense for a first round pick set to make guaranteed NBA money — if he got hurt overseas he’d never get his NBA deal. Big risk for first round picks like Brooks to play in Europe. Second round picks, who don’t get guaranteed deals, are a different story.

Craig Sager to get third bone marrow transplant thanks to anonymous donor

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 16:  Legendary TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager talks with Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors at Quicken Loans Arena on June 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. Sager is on a one game assignment for ESPN. 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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Craig Sager couldn’t be in Rio covering the Olympics for NBC, his cancer wouldn’t allow it. That didn’t stop Team USA from reaching out to him before they left. Or from Nike designing a sweet pair of shoes for him.

Now there is good news on his battle against leukemia — he will have a third bone marrow transplant, according to his son Craig Sager II.

This is fantastic news for a man and family who have been through a lot. Hopefully, this treatment is a step forward for Sager, a man beloved by everyone around the NBA.

Report: With Joffrey Lauvergne trade, Mitch McGary likely done with Thunder

DALLAS, TX - MARCH 16:  Mitch McGary #33 of the Oklahoma City Thunder at American Airlines Center on March 16, 2015 in Dallas, Texas.  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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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The Oklahoma City frontcourt is crowded. Enes Kanter and Steven Adams will start, and they will have Nick Collison, Ersan Ilyasova, Domantas Sabonis, and now Joffrey Lauvergne behind them.

Which likely means Mitch McGary‘s done as a member of the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.

McGary has battled injuries his two seasons in the league and got on the court for only 72 minutes total last season for the Thunder (he played in more games and put up solid numbers in the D-LEague). He was not part of the future there regardless. He’s an undersized five trying to play the four and what he brought as a rookie — energy — was not enough as a sophomore.

McGary will make $1.5 million this season. He may be tough to move because he’s suspended for the first five games he’s eligible to play next season for failing the league’s drug policy (five games is the standard suspension for testing positive for marijuana three times). Maybe a team looking to develop players will give him a shot, but there is little trade value for him.

Dwight Howard is shooting 19-footers to improve his free throw stroke

Dwight Howard
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If you can knock down a 19-foot shot, then a 15-footer should be easier. Right?

Apparently that — and just basic muscle memory — is the latest attempt to improve Dwight Howard‘s free throw shooting. And, he seems to be knocking down those shots.

It’s not hard to see the logic in this approach.

The challenge is form and reps are not the problems for Howard — or DeAndre Jordan or Andre Drummond or others — when it comes to hitting free throws. Anyone who says “why don’t they just practice the shot” doesn’t pay attention, these guys put in a lot of work on the shot. Pregame and in practice (I’m Los Angeles based), Jordan probably hits 65 percent from the line. At least.

The problem is mental. That can be a tougher hurdle to clear. Maybe taking 19 footers and knocking them down will have Howard feeling more confident at the stripe this season.

But we’re going to need to see it to believe it. Just like we’re going to have to see a rejuvenated Howard in Atlanta before we believe this season will be different from the last few.

Report: Veteran big man Jason Thompson agrees to deal in China

BEIJING, CHINA - OCTOBER 15:  Jason Thompson # 34 of Sacramento Kings in action during the 2014 NBA Global Games match between the Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings at MasterCard Center on October 15, 2014 in Beijing, China. 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 Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
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Until this season, Jason Thompson had never been to the playoffs. He spent seven seasons in Sacramento before getting traded to the Warriors last offseason, and then signing with the Raptors midseason when Golden State waived him to make room on the roster for Anderson Varejao. His NBA days appear over, at least for now. International basketball reporter David Pick reports that Thompson has agreed to a deal to play in China.

Since the CBA’s season ends in March, Thompson could theoretically join an NBA team for the stretch run next year. But he didn’t appear to have much interest on the free-agent market this summer.