Amir Johnson; Mirza Teletovic; Alan Anderson

Terrence Ross says Kevin Garnett NBA’s best pick-setter ‘because he sets illegal screens but he never gets caught,’ wants Nets in playoffs

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I didn’t want Toronto to trade Kyle Lowry at the trade deadline, because I think the Raptors are one of the most fun teams in the NBA. They’re young and hungry, and they have a solid shot of winning just the second playoff series in franchise history. Even if Lowry’s impending free agency forces tough decisions this summer, this season’s run justifies itself. It wasn’t the time to break up such an enjoyable group.

A key figure on this fun roster: Terrence Ross.

Ross is quickly becoming one of my favorite players in the league, and participating in a reddit AMA only endears him further – especially these fearless answers.

Question:

Who do you think is best at setting picks in the NBA, and why is it Amir Johnson?

Ross:

best at setting picks is kevin garnett because he sets illegal screens but he never gets caught. he’ll literally hold you and you can’t get around him.

Question:

Also, who do you want as a first round matchup in the playoffs?

Ross:

i want brooklyn personally.

The Raptors are currently third in the East, but just a half game ahead of the Bulls. The Nets are fifth, ahead of the sixth-place Wizards by about a tenth of a percent. There a lot of ways the standings could fall into a Toronto-Brooklyn matchup, and I’m rooting for any of them.

Most players won’t be so open about their desired opponent, saying they’ll be glad to to face any challenge in the playoffs. But Ross, and these Raptors, march to their own drum. That’s what makes them so enjoyable.

In the AMA, Ross also praises Lowry – the most-deserving player not selected to the All-Star game – in ways opposing coaches who vote for reserves should have recognized.

Question:

Who talks on D? Who is the most vocal and who calls out the opposing team’s plays?

Ross:

kyle lowry. always. before every play i ask him, ‘yo what they running?’.

usually the team come down the court, lowry will recognize the play and call out what they’re doing.

Question:

Who’s the one teammate on the Raptors you look up to for leadership?

Ross:

kyle lowry because he’s the smartest guy on the team. he makes the biggest impact on the games.

In perhaps the gem of the chat, Ross called Tyler Hansbrough ‘psycho t,’ which led to this question:

i thought he hated being called psycho t?

Ross:

maybe, but i still call him that! his other nickname is chops. he calls himself chops, but we don’t. he’s crazy, so we still call him psycho t.

Kurt and I don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on nicknames. When Kevin Durant disproved of his “Slim Reaper” nickname, Kurt argued that made it a better nickname. “You’re not supposed to like your nickname,” he said. I, on the other hand, believe someone should some have some limited right of refusal on his nickname.

But we, and I presume everyone else in the entire world besides Koko Costanza, definitely agree someone can’t choose his own nickname.

Chops? Get the heck out of here with that. Psycho T it is.

Joking with Justin Timberlake at golf tournament, Stephen Curry throws mouthguard. Again.

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Well played Stephen Curry, well played.

He was joking around with Justin Timberlake at the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe this weekend (you can watch it on NBC, check your local listings) when Curry poked a little fun at himself by throwing his mouthguard.

Last time he did that he got a $25,000 fine. This time he got some laughs.

WNBA rescinds fines regarding protest shirts

FILE - In this Wednesday, July 13, 2016 file photo, members of the New York Liberty basketball team await the start of a game against the Atlanta Dream in New York. The WNBA is withdrawing its fines for teams and players that showed support of citizens and police involved in recent shootings by wearing black warmup shirts before and during games. WNBA President Lisa Borders said in a statement Saturday, July 23, the league was rescinding penalties given to the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury and their players for wearing the shirts–which was a uniform violation. The players started wearing them to show solidarity after shootings in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
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LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and a number of Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets players wore “I can’t breathe” T-shirts in warmups after the death of Eric Garner in New York. LeBron and his then Heat teammates wore hoodies for a photo shoot after the Travon Martin shooting. NBA players have made other protest fashion statements, with no repercussions from the league.

But when WNBA players wore black warmup shirts in support of Black Lives Matter and other anti-violence protests, the WNBA came down with fines for the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty and Phoenix Mercury ($5,000) and players involved ($500) for uniform violations. That led to a lot of backlash — including among WNBA players. Some refused to answer basketball questions with the media after recent games.

Saturday, the WNBA rescinded the fines. As they should have.

The women’s players’ union supported the move, via a statement from the director of operations Terri Jackson.

“We are pleased that the WNBA has made the decision to rescind the fines the league handed down to the players on the Fever, Liberty, and Mercury. We look forward to engaging in constructive dialogue with the league to ensure that the players’ desire to express themselves will continue to be supported.”

I want a league — for men or women — where player’s individuality and statements can be made — I don’t want the NBA to be the button-down, cookie cutter NFL. Let the players be themselves. And if players want to weigh in on the biggest social issue of our time, they should. Without fear of repercussion.

Good on the WNBA for coming around to that.

Meyers Leonard says he hopes to be ready by start of Blazers’ season

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 8: Meyers Leonard #11 of the Portland Trail Blazers takes credit for a foul call during the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on December 8, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Meyers Leonard could be poised for a big season in Portland. His minutes jumped last season because he provided spacing. With Portland adding Evan Turner on the wing to go with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, any big who can stretch the floor is going to get run, and Leonard has turned himself into a stretch four.

Leonard just hopes he can show what he can do at the start of the season — he’s still recovering from shoulder surgery. Here is what he told the Associated Press.

“My hope is to be ready right around the start of the season,” he said. “It’s a progression, first introducing rebounding, grabbing stuff overhead, then one-on-one, three-on-three, extending to the full court. We’ll see. You just never know.”

Leonard had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in April (they could have used him in the playoffs), and the timeline then was to have him back around the start of the season. Before he was shut down, he proved enough to get a four-year, $41 million contract extension with the Trail Blazers this summer.

The Trail Blazers will start Al-Farouq Aminu at the four, and Moe Harkless can certainly play there too (I’m far less sold on the future of Noah Vonleh). Leonard wants to get back before someone starts to steal any of his minutes.

Pelicans sign Jones for 1 year, Frazier for 2 years

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 21:  Terrence Jones #6 of the Houston Rockets reacts to a play as Cody Zeller #40 of the Charlotte Hornets looks on during their game at Toyota Center on December 21, 2015 in Houston, Texas. 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 Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) The New Orleans Pelicans say they have signed free-agent forward Terrence Jones and re-signed guard Tim Frazier.

A person familiar with the negotiations says Jones, a four-year veteran, signed a one-year deal Friday for the NBA minimum of about $1.14 million, while Frazier has signed a two-year deal worth about $4.1 million. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Pelicans have not released contract terms.

The 6-foot-9 Jones, who was Anthony Davis‘ teammates on Kentucky’s 2012 national championship team, has spent his first four NBA seasons with Houston, posting career averages of 10.4 points and 5.8 rebounds.

Frazier played in 16 games for New Orleans late last season, averaging 13.1 points, 7.5 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 29.3 minutes per game.