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?

Josh Jackson’s first pitch is… just a bit outside

Associated Press
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Josh Jackson is not going Bo Jackson on us and playing baseball in the offseason.

The highly-rated forward out of Kansas who was the No. 4 pick of the Phoenix Suns was invited to throw out the first pitch before Friday night’s Diamondbacks game.

To quote Bob Uecker, he was just a bit outside. He tried the corner and missed.

Lonzo Ball was able to make his first pitch, ergo, he will turn out to be a much better NBA player. Obviously, these skills correlate.

Report: Re-signing Nerlens Noel Mavericks’ top off-season priority

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This is a Mark Cuban owned team, you don’t think the Mavericks are going to make a serious run at a free agent come July 1? Pelicans’ point guard Jrue Holiday has long been known to be a target, but there will be others.

But keeping their new core together, including restricted free agent Nerlens Noel, is the top priority, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Rumors like this are out there in part from Dallas to hope to chill the market for Noel. While he could be a defensive force who provides some scoring around the rim, with Noel’s injury history they may be able to get him at less than max money — because if he’s at the max the Mavericks are flirting with the luxury tax (and Cuban isn’t going to want to pay the tax for a borderline playoff team at best).

What Dallas fears is what Brooklyn did last season to Allen Crabbe in Portland and Tyler Johnson in Miami — some team to come in with a max or near-max offer sheet that drives up the price. Dallas will match, they will keep the young core together, it just gets more expensive.

Next season in Dallas will be a deserved big farewell to Dirk Nowitzki. He will be the focus, but behind him Dallas will try to be building for the future. They made the trade deadline move to make sure Noel is a part of that, the only question now is how much it costs them.

Magic Johnson on drafting Lonzo Ball: “what I needed was a leader”

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Nobody, not even his critics with the Lakers, question that D'Angelo Russell had talent. What they questioned from the start was his work ethic and maturity. I was told by sources with the team he often was the last one to team meetings, often one of the first out of the gym, and the whole Nick Young thing spoke to the maturity question. Byron Scott took a lot of heat as Lakers’ coach for benching him, and Scott’s communication skills were lacking, but he had reasons. Russell also just 21 and maybe he finds his way, but the Lakers weren’t willing to wait anymore.

Which is why the Lakers were willing to move him to Brooklyn in the Brook Lopez trade, and why the Lakers went after Lonzo Ball in the draft, Magic Johnson said, via Baxter Holmes of ESPN.

Is Lonzo Ball a leader? Only time will tell, he has the potential.

Will players want to play with him? Yes, if the passing skills he showed in college transfer to the NBA. If guys know they will get the rock if they run/cut, then they will do just that. It’s some simple B. F. Skinner stuff here — if players are rewarded they will keep doing it. Get them the rock in transition and they will get out there every time.

Ball has flaws in his game, there are certainly questions about his defense, and how that awkward shot translates remains to be seen (it goes in but his time to get it off will decrease at the NBA level)? Will he be a scoring threat in the half-court? He’s got work to do. But answer those questions and the Lakers may have the key piece to help anchor a franchise he’s been looking for.

Sacramento Kings waive guard Arron Afflalo

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento Kings have waived guard Arron Afflalo one year after signing him as a free agent.

The Kings cut ties with Afflalo on Friday before his entire $12.5 million contract for 2017-18 would become guaranteed. Afflalo will get $1.5 million instead.

Afflalo averaged 8.4 points and 2 rebounds in 61 games this past season for Sacramento. He has averaged 11.3 points per game in his 10-year career.