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Report: NBA stars exhibition tour a go, starts in Puerto Rico Saturday

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It’s on.

Eighteen NBA stars — led by Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard — will be on a two-week exhibition tour of the world. It will start this Saturday in Puerto Rico, a stop that was in doubt 48 hours ago but now everything seems to be a go.

That is according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo, who said the formal announcement will follow on Tuesday.

The tour will begin in Puerto Rico and is scheduled to continue to London, Macau and Melbourne, Australia. Organizers are considering adding a fifth city to the tour, sources said, and are doing some last-minute tinkering with the other stops and dates.

Players such as Dwyane Wade(notes), Kevin Garnett(notes), Carmelo Anthony(notes), Rajon Rondo(notes) and Kevin Love(notes)have been promised as participants to tour promoters.

There is supposed to be some kind of international television broadcast, for those that want to watch. What we will get in the United States — my guess is live streaming online — remains to be seen.

This is a chance for the players to make some money, rumored to be six figures at least for all the players and up to $1 million for a few elite.

This is not going to work as a “see, the players can make money without the NBA” bargaining tool because there are 430 NBA players not on this tour and not benefititng. Was there ever a doubt that the elite players in the league could make a few extra bucks?

But for the players involved it is a chance to expand their global brand, which does matter.

Al Horford shows he still has hops dunking on Solomon Hill (VIDEO)

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That’s just nasty.

Atlanta’s Al Horford gets the ball out high, but within his range, so when he pump fakes Indiana’s Lavoy Allen goes flying by. That opens up the lane and Horford attacks it, Solomon Hill tries to cut him off, but Horford just finishes threw him.

Pacers and Hawks played an entertaining, close game Friday night.

Dwyane Wade shows he still has hops with dunk on Hornets (VIDEO)

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Dwyane Wade still has some springs.

In what may be his best dunk in recent memory, he shoulders Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to create space in transition, then gets up and throws it down before Nicolas Batum can get there for the block.

Not sure even Wade saw that one coming.

Reigning dunk champ LaVine: ‘I’ve got tricks up my sleeve’

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine is heading back to All-Star weekend to defend his slam dunk title. And he says he has “a few tricks up my sleeve” after dominating the event last year.

LaVine will compete against Detroit center Andre Drummond, Denver swingman Will Barton and Orlando forward Aaron Gordon in Toronto next weekend.

LaVine was one of the breakout stars of All-Star weekend last year with his electric performance in the dunk contest. He says he debated about coming back and made his decision after strong encouragement from his fans.

If LaVine wins, he will become the fourth player in the 31-year history of the event to repeat as champion. Michael Jordan, Jason Richardson and Nate Robinson are the others.

Report: Blake Griffin has second procedure on hand, timeline remains unchanged

Blake Griffin
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Blake Griffin will still return to the Clippers some time in March (barring any setbacks).

That said, he had a second procedure this week to repair the boxer’s fracture in his right hand, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Clippers forward Blake Griffin underwent a second procedure this week on his broke right hand, sources told ESPN. The procedure was a part of the original surgery last week, so sources said the 4-6 week timeframe for his return remains unchanged.

This might help explain why Griffin’s hand looked so swollen and scarred this week. But to be clear, this was a planned second procedure, not a setback.

Griffin suffered the fracture punching a Clippers’ equipment manager while everyone was out to dinner in Toronto recently, while Griffin was still sidelined with a quadricep injury. The Clippers have moved on, but it is likely the league will tack on a couple of game suspension for Griffin upon his return to health.

And no, the Clippers are not looking to trade Griffin in spite of this. So stop asking.