adidas unveils the D Rose 4: Launch event recap

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CHICAGO — There’s an excitement level that seems palpable surrounding the return of Derrick Rose to the NBA this season, and that feeling is intensified even more in the city of Chicago, where adidas held a monster of a launch event for Rose’s latest signature shoe, the D Rose 4.

The United Center was where it all went down, and a large media contingent, thousands of high school-aged kids, rapper Big Sean and Rose himself were all in attendance for what was an overwhelming show of support for one of the game’s most exciting and explosive players.

The event began in a space normally used as a private lounge on game days, but adidas transformed the area deep inside the arena into a showcase of the latest gear in the D Rose collection.

Once we spent some time checking out the gear and getting a few minutes to interview members of the adidas team and Rose himself, it was time to head into the arena for the main event, which was essentially a giant pep rally all for one very important person.

Rose got the full game night intro treatment, and briefly addressed the crowd before things got started.

The afternoon’s show included performances from Big Sean, whose songs (if you’re unfamiliar) are thick with R-rated lyrics that he managed to edit out as much as possible during the live versions. A funny moment came in the middle of one of his final songs, when even he seemed surprised by the language included when forced to think about it while playing in front of a teenaged audience.

“I didn’t realize there were so many cuss words,” he said into the mic mid-verse.

But the kids knew every song, and even when Big Sean omitted a word or two, it could be heard easily being sung by thousands of his fans.

Highlights of the event can be seen in the clip below.

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The day was a celebration of Rose, but it was also about introducing his latest signature shoe to the world. Rose was so pleased with the way the D Rose 4 turned out that he had a hard time identifying just one favorite part.

“I think the whole shoe is nice,” Rose said. “It’s kind of like my whole personality into one shoe. The front of it is clean, you could wear it with anything if you kind of put your pant leg over it. The back is kind of crazy, just like me on the court — I play aggressive, attacking. So for them to put both sides of my personality into the shoe, I think that’s what makes my shoe special.”

The D Rose 4 features a tailored design, and will launch October 10 for $140 at adidas.com.

Fans can join the Derrick Rose conversation at the adidas Basketball Facebook Page and on Twitter and Instagram with @adidashoops, #DRose4.

It was truly a special event for a special player, both in terms of his on-court talent as well as his very personal connection to the city he grew up in, and the fans who can’t wait to continue to show their support when they see him next — starting at point guard once again for his hometown Bulls.


D Rose 4 Launch

Sixers will talk contract extension for Joel Embiid this summer, want to lock him up

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Could Joel Embiid be Philadelphia’s Stephen Curry?

No, I don’t mean taking 30-foot bombs that demoralize opponents (although, no doubt Embiid is game for trying it). I mean in having a contract extension off his rookie deal for less than the max, a value contract that allows the Sixers the cap room to secure a title contender around him.

After three seasons in the NBA, Joel Embiid is eligible for a contract extension this summer (one that would be negotiated now but not kick in until the 2018-19 season). Teams lock up their stars at this point, and Embiid is that — he was dominant in the 31 games he played. But it’s 31 games in three seasons, how much do the Sixers want to pay here?

Sixers owner Joshua Harris said extending Embiid is a priority for the team this summer, speaking at a press conference, via the Courier Times.

“Look, I’d just say we want Joel to be on the team for a long time,” Harris said. “We want us all to grow old together. That’s the way I would put it.”

A max contract for Embiid would be five years at about $130 million, an average annual salary of $26 million. Because of his injury history, would he be willing to sign five years at $100 million, maybe with an opt-out after four? That extra cap space may not sound like a lot, it’s not a Curry-level savings, but it would help the Sixers’ team building.

If the two sides can’t reach a deal by Oct. 31 (the deadline), Embiid will play out this season then be a restricted free agent next season. If he stays healthy, he will get a max deal from another team that the Sixers would just match (the Sixers and Embiid could also reach a deal).

The Sixers are not about to let Embiid go, they have their young core they believe they can contend with in a few years. Plus he is a fan favorite. The only question left is cost.

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.