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Byron Mullens hopes to prove the doubters wrong with the Clippers

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Byron Mullens was one of the free agent signings made by the Clippers this offseason that was an attempt to hopefully boost their frontcourt depth.

Once you get past Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan in the starting lineup, things begin to deteriorate rather quickly, with Mullens and Ryan Hollins the next bigs in off the bench — and that’s it.

The selling point with Mullens is that he’d be a stretch player, capable of hitting mid- to long-range outside shots, thus helping to space the offense. That hasn’t been the case yet in his career as we’ve detailed previously, so he’s hoping his play will change some opinions in this upcoming season.

From Eric Patten of Clippers.com:

“There are still a lot of doubters and a lot of people kind of saying, ‘Why did the Clippers do this?’ but I hope to prove people wrong. I’m not going to let anybody down on the team,” Mullens said. “I have a lot of stuff to do this year and I’m going to have a lot better shot selection this year, playing a better role on a better team.”

One of the primary things Mullens will be asked to do for the Clippers is space the floor from the center and power forward position. He made 66 3-pointers last season after attempting just 51 in his first three seasons combined.

“[Head Coach Doc Rivers] just said, ‘We want you to come in and spread the floor,’” Mullens said. “But there’s also going to be some other things that I’m going to have to do like rebounding, and stuff like that, of course.”

Those “other things” are what Mullens will need to contribute next season, unless his shooting percentages take a somewhat miraculous turn for the positive.

As we’ve pointed out, Mullens shot 208 three-pointers last season, and connected on just 66 of them, good for a mark of 31.7 percent. He also shot 33.3 percent 10-15 feet from the basket, and 33 percent when he was 16-23 feet out. Most troubling given these numbers is the fact that 7.5 of his 10.6 field goal attempts per game came shooting jumpers from one of these spots on the floor.

Proving people wrong will entail Mullens improving monumentally on these numbers.

LeBron James talked Justin Bieber out of performing at Donald Trump’s nominating convention

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 29: Justin Bieber drinks champagne at the podium during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 29, 2016 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Lars Baron/Getty Images
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With the Republican National Convention being held in Cleveland, you knew there was going to be a LeBron James influence.

It apparently kept Justin Bieber away from Donald Trump and Co.

TMZ

Justin Bieber got a $5 million offer to perform at a Republican event during the GOP Convention, but turned it down after his manager considered quitting and LeBron James urged him to reject it … sources tell TMZ.

That’s a lot of money for a single gig. This either speaks to the power of LeBron’s words — or the embellishment of Bieber’s value.

Watch Bulls’ Dwyane Wade press conference live (video)

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Dwyane Wade playing for a team other than the Heat will be strange.

You can get your first glimpse of that weirdness today, when the Bulls introduce Wade at 3 p.m. Eastern.

If the above video doesn’t load, click here to watch the press conference.

Russell Westbrook laughs off Kevin Durant question (video)

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, right, gestures after scoring as forward Kevin Durant stands by during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Los Angeles. The Thunder won 117-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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How does Russell Westbrook feel about Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder for the Warriors?

Westbrook has been silent on the signing, leaving Durant and anonymous sources to speak on his behalf — and the NBA world hungry for his response.

The first glimpse:

Feel free to read way too much into that laugh.

(hat tip: reddit user esoh)

Phil Jackson: ‘Today’s players simply lack the skills to play the triangle’

New York Knicks president Phil Jackson speaks to reporters during a news conference in Greenburgh, N.Y., Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Derek Fisher was fired as New York Knicks coach Monday, with his team having lost five straight and nine of 10 to fall well back in the Eastern Conference playoff race. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
AP Photo/Seth Wenig
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See whether you can follow this timeline:

1. Knicks president Phil Jackson stated his commitment to the triangle offense entering the 2015-16 season.

2. Jackson in a December interview published today, via Charley Rosen of Today’s Fastbreak:

Today’s players simply lack the skills to play the triangle. They know how to play one-on-one, catch-and-shoot, and they’ve mastered crossover dribbles, spins, playing off of screens and step-back shots. They don’t know how to execute things like inside-reverse pivots and other basic footwork. They have no sense of timing or organization. They don’t really know how to play five-on-five basketball. It’s strictly generational.

That’s why Fish {Derek Fisher} wants to uptempo the offense. And why he spends a half-hour before practice doing lots of skills work.

3. Jackson fires coach Derek Fisher, who — according to interim coach Kurt Rambis — resisted the triangle.

4. Jackson said the Knicks would continue to run the triangle and even ran a triangle camp for New York players.

5. Jackson hired Jeff Hornacek, who has little triangle experience, and said the new coach wouldn’t have to run the triangle.

¯_(ツ)_/¯

Maybe Jackson, relying on his December thoughts, finally changed his mind about the triangle. Maybe he believes players can still be taught triangle skills and actually plans to have Hornacek use the system.

Or maybe the Knicks are just rudderless.