NBC Sports and Yahoo Sports have teamed up in new deal

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In case you missed the business news wires this morning — because you were busy reading about the latest Lakers implosionNBC Sports and Yahoo Sports have formed a new partnership.

Yahoo! and the NBC Sports Group today announced a content and promotional deal combining Yahoo! Sports’ original reporting expertise, coverage of big events, Rivals college content and popular fantasy sports products with NBC Sports Group’s growing digital assets and significant television promotion and integration. This alliance of two of the most-trusted brands in sports will become the daily habit of fans looking for an all-star lineup of digital and on-air experiences.

That’s what press releases read like. Here’s what it means for you.

If you are a fantasy player, this is great news. Yahoo is a fantasy sports powerhouse and if you play fantasy (basketball, football, anything) and don’t check out NBC’s Rotoworld all the time you’re doing it wrong. Now that those two will share content it is going to be a great fantasy spot.

It’s also going to mean a lot of things in terms of video, investigative reporting (Yahoo kills it at that) and a lot of Yahoo’s team of amazing writers showing up on the NBC Sports Network. There are a lot of video and TV ends to this deal.

What is it going to mean around here at PBT? Not much will seem or feel different at all for you readers. We are going to keep doing what we do. Kelly Dwyer and guys at Ball Don’t Lie will keep doing what they do. Neither site is not moving or changing. PBT already has a great relationship with Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski — notice he was the first guest on our podcast — and we will be continuing to link to him, Marc Spears and the other guys there all the time.

What you may notice is more comments because more eyeballs and clicks should be flowing our way. Be nice to one another… or, in some of your cases start being nice to one another. What would your mother say if she saw some of the things you wrote here?

In all seriousness, I’m pumped. NBC/Yahoo is the largest sports portal on the Web. It’s going to be a force of nature. I’m honored to be part of it and will keep working hard to live up to it.

Now, can we get back to talking about Andrew Bynum’s hair?

LeBron James: ‘I still got Pandora with commercials’

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Dwyane Wade revealed last year that LeBron James refuses to use his phone internationally unless he’s on Wi-Fi.

LeBron’s friend and new Cavaliers teammate again brought up that claim, and LeBron confirmed – then went even further about his own cheapness.

LeBron in a joint interview with Wade on ESPN:

No. I’m not doing that. I’m not turning on data roaming. I’m not buying no apps. I still got Pandora with commercials.

LeBron – he’s just like us!

As funny as that line is, keep watching to see LeBron hilariously explain how his hairline affects his interviews.

PBT Extra: LeBron as MVP and other NBA postseason award predictions

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Last year, Russell Westbrook had a historic season on his way to the MVP award, with James Harden and Kawhi Leonard right on his heels. But heading into this season, the dynamic for MVP — and many of the NBA awards — feels very different and wide open.

In this latest PBT Extra, I lay out my preseason predictions for every award — LeBron James for MVP, Ben Simmons for Rookie of the Year, and on down the list. There are a few leaps and surprises in there (predicting Most Improved or Sixth Man before the season is a crap shoot, so why not gamble).

Now the predictions season is over, let’s get on to the games.

Jazz: Dante Exum undergoing surgery after shoulder injury

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Jazz point guard Dante Exum hurt his shoulder in a preseason game – an injury that immediately looked like it could be season-ending.

Though Utah doesn’t outright say Exum is done for the year, this doesn’t engender much hope.

Jazz release:

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Danté Exum who suffered a separated left shoulder on October 6 vs. Phoenix.

After further evaluation, Exum (6-6, 190, Australia) has elected to undergo surgery to stabilize the AC joint of his left shoulder. The surgery is scheduled to take place Tuesday, October 24 in Los Angeles. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.

Exum (obviously) didn’t receive a contract extension before today’s deadline, so he’ll become a free agent next summer. After one full missed season already and two years of limited effectiveness, it’s not even clear Utah will extend Exum a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. The former No. 5 pick almost certainly won’t meet the starter criteria, which means his qualifying offer would be worth $4,333,931 (down from $6,619,903 based on his draft slot).

The Jazz will start Ricky Rubio, and Raul Neto will be the primary point guard behind him. Wings Rodney Hood, Alec Burks, Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles can all share facilitating duties.

Utah will probably be just fine without Exum this season, which speaks to his marginal place long-term.

Sprained ankle has LeBron James questionable for opener vs. Celtics

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James‘ playing status for Tuesday’s season opener against Boston remains unclear.

James has been slowed by a sprained left ankle for more than two weeks and it’s still not known whether he’ll be on the floor when the Cavaliers take on the Celtics and Kyrie Irving, who asked to be traded by Cleveland this summer.

Following Monday’s practice, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said “I really don’t know” when asked if James will play.

James took part in some post-practice shooting drills with teammates. He did not speak with the media as the Cavaliers prepared for their opener, a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference finals.

James has never missed an opener in his NBA career, and teammate J.R. Smith doesn’t expect him to miss this one.

“Oh, he’s going to go,” Smith said. “He’s going to go, trust me that. I don’t care what he’s got to do, he’s going to play.”