Mike Miller

Report: Mike Miller tells friends he’ll likely sign with Thunder

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Mike Miller, who just cleared waivers after being amnestied by the Heat, becoming an unrestricted free agent, will have no shortage of contending suitors. Smart front offices – the type of front offices that can build a winning team that would entice Miller – recognize his value as a 3-point shooter, both because long-distance field goals space the floor and offer a 50 percent boost in value over other baskets.

Apparently, Miller is zeroing in on one of those contenders. Ken Berger of CBS Sports:

This would be a huge boon to the Thunder, who traded James Harden for Kevin Martin in order to save money. Then, Martin left for Minnesota as a free agent, because Oklahoma City wasn’t willing to pay the salary necessary to keep him. There was a report Oklahoma City would pursue Dorell Wright, but he signed with the Trail Blazers.

Miller won’t be the premier bench scorer Harden and, to a lesser degree, Martin, were, but the former Heat forward would be a low-cost and viable replacement. A team with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook can always use spot-up 3-point shooters, which is why the Heat wanted Miller to play with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

Money led Miami to amnesty Miller, and money led the Thunder to downgrade their bench. But Miller – who will still be paid $12.8 million minus a potential setoff by the Heat – might come at just the right price for Oklahoma City now. Even though the Thunder just received a financial bailout from the rest of the league, their luxury-tax situation remains unchanged, and that doesn’t live room for a high-priced addition.

Before Westbrook got hurt in the playoffs, Oklahoma City played like the NBA’s second-best team throughout the season behind the Heat. The loss of Martin hurts, and other contenders have upgraded, but the Thunder were substantially younger than Miami, so Oklahoma City’s championship window is wide open.

Miller could be the piece – the off-the-bench shooter – who didn’t seem available for the right price a few days ago, but who could make all the difference next June.

Former Magic player Keith Appling arrested for third time in four months

Orlando Magic's Keith Appling (15) makes a shot in front of Philadelphia 76ers' Jerami Grant (39) and Nerlens Noel (4) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
AP Photo/John Raoux
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Former Magic player Keith Appling was arrested in May.

Former Magic player Keith Appling was arrested in June.

Former Magic player Keith Appling was arrested in August.

Robert Allen of the Detroit Free Press:

Former Michigan State basketball player Keith Appling was arrested after a traffic stop Sunday, his third arrest since May, Detroit police said.

Appling, 24, was pulled over at about 9 p.m. on the city’s east side after driving away from a traffic stop, and a gun was found in a bag on the side of the road, according to an Associated Press report.

Kyle Lowry wishes Bismack Biyombo a happy 48th birthday

TORONTO, ON - MAY 27:  Bismack Biyombo #8 talks to Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors in the first quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers in game six of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Air Canada Centre on May 27, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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Bismack Biyombo might have left Toronto, but he didn’t escape jokes about his age from the Raptors.

Biyombo – according to official records, which have been disputed – turned 24 yesterday.

Unofficially? Kyle Lowry:

Hakeem Olajuwon, David Stern enshrined in FIBA Hall of Fame

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 27:  Hakeem Olajuwon (L) greets NBA Commissoner David Stern looks on during the 2013 NBA Draft at Barclays Center on June 27, 2013 in in the Brooklyn Bourough of New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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The FIBA Hall of Fame (not to be confused with the Basketball Hall of Fame, which is not to be confused with the NBA Hall of Fame, which doesn’t exist) enshrined Hakeem Olajuwon and David Stern in its 2016 class.

Olajuwon won a gold medal with Team USA in the 1996 Olympics. A Nigeria native, he has helped promote basketball in Africa.

After growing the sport’s popularity stateside, Stern pushed to globalize basketball as NBA commissioner.

The full list of 2016 inductees:

PLAYERS
Panagiotis Fasoulas (Greece)
Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria/USA)
Manuel Raga (Mexico)
Juan Antonio San Epifanio (Spain)
Michele Timms (Australia)
COACH
Jorge Canavesi (Argentina)

CONTRIBUTOR
David J. Stern (USA)

The criteria:

The over-riding objective of the Hall of Fame is to reflect the history of the sport.
The honour may be awarded posthumously.
The key conditions for induction to the FIBA Hall of Fame are:
•    Outstanding achievement at the international level from a personal effort or initiative
•    Having contributed to the performances of players, technical officials, coaches, and administrators or to the global development of basketball.

Olajuwon and Stern seem to fit the bill.

Now, if only there were a Hall of Fame that appropriately recognized NBA achievements.

Blake Griffin went back to Oklahoma for alumni weekend, heard Thunder recruiting pitch

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Blake Griffin reportedly doesn’t want to leave Los Angeles when his contract is up next summer. This is a guy who has done stand up, is executive producer of a television show, and is generally loving the perks of living in Los Angeles.

Still, the dream lives on in Oklahoma City that he will come in and be the next star there and pair with Russell Westbrook.

Griffin was back in his native Oklahoma for alumni weekend with the OU basketball team, and he heard the sales pitch.

Griffin blows this off, just like he is going to try to blow off the dozens and dozens of reporters who will ask him about his summer plans during the season.

But he has to know the recruiting pitches are coming all season, especially when he visits OKC.