Kyrie Irving says he has no intention of leaving the Cavaliers

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LAS VEGAS — Kyrie Irving is already playing at an All-Star level for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and earned the honor in just his second NBA season.

He’s unquestionably the player who will lead the Cavs to the playoffs and beyond in the future, provided the team continues to make smart roster decisions as it appeared to this offseason by adding Mike Brown as head coach, while going out and getting Earl Clark, Jarrett Jack, and Andrew Bynum in free agency.

But Irving has to want to stay for that to happen, and a recent report had appeared that said he was “not long for Cleveland.”

Irving took to Twitter to immediately shoot it down.

“I wish I knew “someone in the know” for all my facts, maybe I would go into journalism as well!!” Irving said, before following that comment up with this: “Rumors are rumors.”

Irving reiterated his commitment to the franchise at USA Basketball mini-camp on Monday, saying he’s happy with the offseason acquisitions and has no plans to leave the franchise anytime soon.

“I’m a Cavalier right now,” Irving said. “I’m happy to be a Cavalier. I kind of had a sarcastic approach to it from what was said, because it was probably just a rumor started. I don’t think he knows anybody in my camp, and I don’t know who the guy is. But that type of stuff I don’t even pay attention to. Right now I’m a Cleveland Cavalier and I’m happy to be here.”

Irving followed up with a quick “no” when asked if he had any intentions of leaving his current team, before expressing some genuine optimism for the season ahead.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Irving said. “Especially seeing [number one overall draft pick Anthony Bennett] play, and getting to see [Andrew Bynum] play when he’s healthy. I’m really excited about these pieces.”

“Right now it’s just about coming together, and doing things as a team that will propel us over the top,” Irving said. “What makes the good teams great is that camaraderie and that brotherhood. And that’s what we have to develop.”

Raptors promote Bobby Webster to general manager

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TORONTO (AP) — With rumors swirling about the Knicks chasing Raptors president Masai Ujiri, the Raptors have promoted Bobby Webster to general manager.

Webster, 32 years old assistant the youngest GM in the NBA, replaces Jeff Weltman, who left Toronto in May to become president of the Orlando Magic.

A former staffer at the NBA league office in New York, Webster joined the Raptors in 2013 and was named assistant GM in 2016.

He’ll help decide what to offer All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry, who opted out of the final year of his contract last month after Cleveland swept Toronto in the second round of the playoffs.

Forwards Serge Ibaka, P.J. Tucker and Patrick Patterson are all unrestricted free agents.

Also Wednesday, Toronto promoted Dan Tolzman to assistant general manager.

The Raptors have posted consecutive 50-win seasons and made four straight playoff appearances.

Jason Williams out 6-8 months after injury in Big3 debut

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NEW YORK (AP) — Former NBA point guard Jason Williams will miss six to eight months after suffering a knee injury in the opening game of the Big3.

Corey Maggette, also injured in the opening week of Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league of former NBA players, had surgery for a leg injury. There is no timetable for his return.

The injuries were announced Wednesday during a conference call with Cube and Big3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz, who also detailed a couple rules changes starting with this weekend’s game in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Games will be played to 50 points, instead of 60, with halftime coming when the first team reaches 25 points. Cube said that would help the four games per day move more quickly.

Report: Mutual interest between Knicks, Jeff Teague with Phil Jackson gone

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Phil Jackson’s exit is already opening doors for the Knicks.

No position differs more in the triangle from modern spread NBA offenses than point guard. But without Jackson demanding his point guard fit such a narrow profile, New York can pursue greater talents – like Jeff Teague.

Ian Begley of ESPN:

With Phil Jackson out and the triangle de-emphasized, the Knicks, under general manager Steve Mills, have interest in free agent point guard Jeff Teague, league sources told ESPN. League sources say the interest in Teague is mutual.

The Knicks aren’t as desperate at point guard after drafting Frank Ntilikina, but Ntilikina probably isn’t ready to run an offense full-time yet. Teague could be a stopgap – which might be necessary considering New York can’t easily pivot into rebuilding with Carmelo Anthony, Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee locked up.

Teague’s future with the Pacers appears uncertain with Paul George on the trade block. A key part of Larry Bird’s retooling last summer, Teague and Indiana might be headed in different directions now.

The Knicks make as much sense as anywhere for Teague – now that Jackson is gone.

PBT Extra: Rockets, with Chris Paul trade, show fearlessness in face of Warriors’ dominance

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The Rockets and Clippers both turned aggressive with today’s Chris Paul trade.

Houston is making a bold attempt to overtake the Warriors (a plan that could include other big moves). The Clippers are launching into rebuilding.

Kurt Helin breaks down what it means for both teams.