What would it mean for teams to win NBA Draft Lottery

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Fates will be decided by some bouncing balls and random numbers Wednesday.

Not just the fate of lock No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis (and guys like Andre Drummond, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Thomas Robinson and many more). It’s the fate of franchises (and general managers) that will be decided.

What would it mean to the 14 teams in the lottery to win? Here’s a run down (with their odds of pulling the top spot).

1. Charlotte Bobcats – 25.0%: It means a shot at redemption in the marketplace. Former owner George Shinn came in and ruined the Charlotte market, the new franchise has never fully won back the local fans. Not even with Michael Jordan as owner. Only three things can win the market back — a genuine superstar, winning and committed ownership. The Bobcats have had none of this and basically tanked this season with a weak roster to start. Anthony Davis would start to change that. There’d be a long way to go, but it would be a big start if they win this.

2. Washington Wizards -19.9%: You put Anthony Davis with John Wall and you have the cornerstones of a future contender in Washington. They need to change the locker room culture, they need veteran role players, they need a lot of things but Davis and Wall could be contender cornerstones.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers – 13.8%: They’ve started a turnaround with Kyrie Irving there, shaking off the memories of he who shall not be named. Any of the top three (or four) spots lets them bring in another quality player, likely a big, to pair with Irving as the rebuild goes forward. Davis accelerates that fast and you have the building blocks of contention.

4. New Orleans Hornets – 13.7%: They’ve got a new owner in Tom Benson who is committed to New Orleans, let’s just hope he can build a winner with the Hornets faster than he could with the Saints. Winning the lottery certainly speeds that along and gives the franchise a player to build around (with Eric Gordon).

5. Sacramento Kings – 7.6%: Winning the top pick would give the Maloof Brothers someone special they could help sell in the community to get a new arena built in Sacramento. Instead they’ll just try to take him to Anaheim.

6. Portland Trail Blazers (or Nets) 7.5%: The Nets have a slim shot at the top spot but a 25 percent chance of jumping into the top three — which means a 25 percent chance of keeping their pick. The Nets traded this pick to Portland in the Gerald Wallace deal and it is only top three protected. Basically, the Nets get lucky and draw the top pick and they can convince Deron Williams to stay and play with Davis, or they get the 2/3 pick and try to package that in a Dwight Howard trade. Otherwise Portland’s rebuild gets a nice player to fit in. Most likely the Blazers get it. If the Nets get a top pick right before they move to Brooklyn let the conspiracy rumors fly.

7. Golden State Warriors – 3.6%: For new owners trying to breath life into a long-quiet franchise, a marquee name to go with Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut would be a big boost and get them to the playoffs. And might help them sell that new arena they want in the city.

8. Toronto Raptors – 3.5%: They have a long, long way to go to recover from the Chris Bosh trade and they lack a star or team identity. Dwane Casey did a good job under the radar there last year, he deserves the chance to coach real talent.

9. Detroit Pistons – 1.7%: They have some nice young pieces — Brandon Knight, Greg Monroe — and a move up to the top spot suddenly makes them the young team on the rise in the east. Any of the top three spots really helps.

10. New Orleans Hornets (via Minnesota) – 1.1%: Remember last year the Cavaliers got the top pick not on their own high odds but on the low chances from a mid-season trade with the Clippers. That could happen to the Hornets, here.

11. Portland Trail Blazers – 0.8%: Do we really want to see the Trail Blazers draft a big man No. 1 overall again? They already have a good core with LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and guys like Luke Babbitt on the roster, add any of the top three picks and they look like a team on the rise.

12. Milwaukee Bucks – 0.7% They have a back court of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings, they win the lottery (or land in the top three) and get a good young big to put with them and you have something to really build on.

13. Phoenix Suns – 0.6%: Win the lottery and they definitely get Steve Nash to stay. Davis’ offense is supposed to be the part of his game that needs to develop. Things develop a lot faster when Nash is feeding you the rock.

14. Houston Rockets – 0.5%: This is a team that has had a lot of good role players — Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Kyle Lowry — but no star. They win this and suddenly they are a team on the rise with serious potential.

Fergie says she “tried my best” after national anthem blowback

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fergie is apologizing after trying something different with the national anthem at the NBA All-Star Game.

“I’ve always been honored and proud to perform the national anthem and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA,” the Grammy-winning singer said in a statement Monday. “I’m a risk taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn’t strike the intended tone. I love this country and honestly tried my best.”

Fergie’s slow, bluesy rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” on Sunday night wasn’t particularly well received at Staples Center or on social media before the 67th edition of the NBA’s annual showcase.

A low chuckle rumbled through the sold-out arena after she finished the first line of the song with a throaty growl on “the dawn’s early light.”

Fans throughout the star-studded crowd reacted with varying levels of bemusement and enthusiasm while her languid, 2 +-minute version of the song continued. Although Fergie was on pitch, her tempo, musical accompaniment and sexy delivery were not exactly typical for a sporting event or a patriotic song.

Golden State All-Star Draymond Green captured Sunday’s mood – and became an instant GIF – when he was shown open-mouthed on the scoreboard and the television broadcast in apparent confusion over the unique vocal stylings. Green then chuckled to himself after realizing he was on TV.

After a forceful finish, Fergie finally got big cheers when she shouted, “Let’s play some basketball!”

The Black Eyed Peas singer, born Stacy Ann Ferguson, is from nearby Hacienda Heights, California.

Famed basketball commentator Charles Barkley joked that he “needed a cigarette” after Fergie’s performance during the TNT halftime show.

Former Lakers star Shaquille O’Neal leaped to Fergie’s defense, saying: “Fergie, I love you. It was different. It was sexy. I liked it. Leave her alone.”

Others on social media weren’t as kind, with criticism of the performance outpacing the positive reviews.

 

Did Lakers help keep LeBron James in Cleveland with trade?

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When the trade went down between the Lakers and Cavaliers before the deadline — sending Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to Cleveland in exchange for Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye plus Cleveland’s 2018 first-round draft pick (top-five protected) — it caught the NBA by surprise.

The first reaction for a lot of people to the deal? This opens up as much as $70 million in cap space for the Lakers this summer (depending on other moves with players such as Julius Randle). Los Angeles could sign two max players — LeBron James and Paul George. Why would Cleveland help Los Angeles open up room to steal LeBron.

The Cavaliers didn’t see it that way — they knew they had to make a major shakeup or LeBron was gone. At that point, does it matter where? So in a series of moves, Cleveland GM Koby Altman radically remade the roster around LeBron. The goal was to energize them back into being the team to beat in the East, and from there make it hard for him to leave as a free agent. Since the trades, the Cavaliers are 2-0 and LeBron has clearly been reinvigorated, plus they will add Kevin Love back in a few weeks.

Altman’s plan seems to be working, one executive told Mark Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays in Cleveland now,” one high-ranking Eastern Conference team executive said. “The Cavaliers put a really good team around him. The Cavaliers have made it really tough for him to decide to leave Cleveland again. The Lakers might have helped them keep LeBron.”

I had heard from sources for a while LeBron to the Lakers was not likely (Paul George is another story, that door remains open). As Spears notes, the Lakers did not have an All-Star in Sunday’s game. Even if LeBron and PG13 went to Los Angeles, that team was third or fourth best in the West next season. LeBron is in full on legacy mode and wants to win rings. Los Angeles is not the place to do it.

Houston is interesting (and it’s still a team I hear some execs think has a real shot), but the gutting or role players on that roster to make it work would be a concern. Maybe a dark horse such as Philadelphia can emerge. However, if LeBron can lead this newly-energized Cavaliers team to the Finals again (his eighth consecutive trip there), they get a high draft pick with the Brooklyn pick, then LeBron gets a commitment from Altman and owner Dan Gilbert to keep spending and being aggressive, where is he going to be closer to a title than at home?

Lou Williams trolls Jimmy Butler for resting during All-Star Game

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Jimmy Butler was in Los Angeles and enjoying his well-earned All-Star slot on Team Stephen.

Well, except for the actual playing basketball part. Butler did not set foot on the court during the All-Star Game at his own request.

“Rest,” Butler said when asked why he didn’t play. “I have to rest. I have to rest my body up. This Timberwolves season is very, very important to me. I’ve got to make sure I’m ready to roll when I get back there.”

Lou Williams, the Clippers’ guard who likely would have been near the front of the line for an open All-Star roster spot in the West (likely second in the queue behind Chris Paul), but instead took part in the Saturday Skills Competition then had Sunday off, trolled Butler for it on Twitter.

This seems more good natured than genuinely bitter.

Williams will roll with it, but his point’s a valid one — if you’re an All-Star, at least play a little and give the people what they want. Get out there for five minutes or whatever. LaMarcus Aldridge only played four minutes, no big deal.

If you’re not going to use the roster spot, give it up to someone who will.

Report: Raptors won’t sign Vince Carter if he gets bought out

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Of returning to the Raptors, Vince Carter said, “It’ll happen one day.” It sounds as if the Kings would buy him out if he wants.

Will he end the season with Toronto?

Josh Lewenberg of TSN 1050:

After speaking with a few team sources, I can confirm that they’ve had internal dialogue and debate about the idea of bringing Vince Carter back. It’s something that they wanted to do over the summer. That’s why they made him an offer, something that I’ve reported in the past. And it’s also something that they’d be open to in the future, perhaps next year in some capacity. But they’ve decided now is not the right time. And I think the consensus seems to be there’s so much going on right now, and they want this season to be about this team, their accomplishments and their playoff push and not the sideshow that I think would come with a Vince Carter return.

The Raptors (41-16) are on pace for their best record ever. They’re excelling offensively and defensively. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are spearheading a more dynamic offense that spurs hope for more playoff success.

Toronto is probably correct to save the Carter reunion for another year – though it depends who else is available. That 15th roster spot could be useful. If Carter is the best player who’d sign, the Raptors should sign him and deal with the hoopla.

But it’s not clear whom they could get or whether they could even get Carter. He hasn’t sounded like someone who’d forgo guaranteed salary to play for the minimum.