Report: Sixers trying to trade for Amare Stoudemire

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The Philadelphia 76ers are one of the more surprising teams in the NBA this season considering they’ve leapt out to a 14-6 record and currently lead the Atlantic Division by four games at this early juncture in the season. In an attempt to prove that they’re in it for the long haul, though, they’re apparently pursuing trades that they believe will make them title contenders.

Pursuing may actually be too strong of a word, but CSN Philadelphia’s John Finger reported on Sunday afternoon that the Sixers have put out feelers to the Knicks regarding the availability of big man Amare Stoudemire. Stoudemire is averaging 17.7 points and 8.2 rebounds so far this season, but is shooting an abnormally low 43 percent from the field as he tries to find his role in the Knicks lineup next to Carmelo Anthony.

It sounds like it’s probably a long shot, but there’s always something to be learned when NBA trade rumors are leaked — and, sometimes, where there’s smoke, the actual fire isn’t far behind.

According to a league source, the Sixers have inquired about Stoudemire, though it was categorized as “due diligence.” Nothing is said to be imminent or even in the early stages other than just talk, the source said. Nevertheless, in past seasons the Sixers were reportedly discussing trade scenarios with the Phoenix Suns in order to acquire Stoudemire.

It isn’t likely the Knicks would consider trading Stoudemire, but there have been a couple of reports already this season that indicate the former Suns big man isn’t happily coexisting with Anthony in the Big Apple. If that is indeed the case, it’d make sense for the Knicks to try and find a new partner for ‘Melo to work with as the Knicks attempt to dig themselves out of a bad start to the season.

It’s unclear exactly what the Sixers would have to give up to get Stoudemire — aside from Andre Iguodala, Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner, there aren’t a lot of of big names on the Philadelphia roster — but it would probably have to be quite a bit. For a young team that seems to be turning a corner, is it really worth adding Stoudemire while busting up the team’s core?

Either way, it’ll be intriguing to see what the market is for Stoudemire if he’s actually put on the trading block … or even if the Knicks will continue to listen to offers for their centerpiece power forward, really.

Victor Oladipo’s practice dunk better than anything he – or maybe anyone – did in dunk contest (video)

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Victor Oladipo has grown into far more than just a dunker.

In fact, in Saturday’s dunk contest, he didn’t look like a dunker at all.

The Pacers star missed all three attempts of his first dunk, and a Black Panther mask was by far the biggest draw of his second. Oladipo was eliminated after the first round.

Maybe Dennis Smith Jr. wasn’t the only eliminated dunker who left something in his bag. This Oladipo dunk – 180 degrees, throwing ball off the backboard with his left hand while in mid-air, dunking with his right hand – while preparing in Los Angeles was awesome.

Larry Nance Jr. had the contest’s best dunk. This would have rivaled it.

Pelicans owner Tom Benson hospitalized with flu symptoms

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METAIRIE, La. (AP) — New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson has been hospitalized with flu symptoms.

A statement released Wednesday by the NFL and NBA clubs says their 90-year-old owner is resting comfortably at Ochsner Medical Center, a hospital which also serves as a major sponsor and which owns naming rights to the teams’ training headquarters.

Benson has owned the New Orleans Saints since 1985 and bought the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012.

In recent years, Benson has overhauled his estate plan so that his third wife, Gayle, would be first in line to inherit control of the two major professional franchises.

 

Report: Seattle hosting Kings-Warriors preseason game

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Kevin Durant spent his rookie season in Seattle, before the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder. He has said Seattle fans deserved to see him grow up in the NBA after supporting his promising start.

They’ll get their chance.

Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee:

The Kings and Golden State Warriors have scheduled a preseason game next season in Seattle, according to multiple league sources.

The Oct. 6 meeting between Northern California teams will be the first NBA game in the Key Arena since the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City after the 2007-08 season and became the Thunder.

This game will be loaded with storylines. Not only Durant, but the Kings considered moving to Seattle a few years ago. And of course, the return of NBA basketball to Seattle.

At some point, Seattle will get its own team again. For now, this preseason game creates intrigue there.

Report: Kawhi Leonard cleared medically, seeking second opinion

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he’d be surprised if Kawhi Leonard played again this season, a stark reversal from just a month ago. Back then, even while announcing Leonard was out indefinitely with a quad injury, the San Antonio coach said Leonard wouldn’t miss the rest of the season.

What’s going on?

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

After spending 10 days before the All-Star break in New York consulting with a specialist to gather a second opinion on his right quad injury, All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard bears the burden of determining when he’s prepared to play again, sources told ESPN.

Leonard has been medically cleared to return from the right quad tendinopathy injury, but since shutting down a nine-game return to the Spurs that ended Jan. 13, he has elected against returning to the active roster, sources said.

The uncertainty surrounding this season — and Leonard’s future which could include free agency in the summer of 2019 — has inspired a palpable stress around the organization, league sources said.

At first glance, this sounds like Derrick Rose five years ago. Even after he was cleared to play following a torn ACL, the then-Bulls star remained mysterious about when he’d suit up. His confidence in his physical abilities seemed to be a major issue, and he was never the same player since (suffering more leg injuries).

But the Spurs famously favor resting players to preserve long-term health. They seem unlikely to rush back Leonard. They might even sit players who want to play more often. And Leonard isn’t Rose.

Still, it’s clear something is amiss in San Antonio. Maybe not amiss enough to end Leonard’s tenure there, but the longer this lingers, the more time for tension to percolate.