Jazz to join NBA Summer League in Las Vegas

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The Jazz have never participated in the nine-year history of the Las Vegas Summer League despite their close proximity, and it has nothing to do with any type of faux moral outrage over the event being held in Sin City.

The reasons have been much more personal.

Utah once hosted a summer league of its own called the Rocky Mountain Revue, but the Vegas version became more appealing to teams and essentially put the Utah one out of business. The Jazz have held a grudge ever since, but have agreed to put that aside and will send a team to Las Vegas this summer.

From Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

But the Jazz, which has had a connection to Las Vegas going back to the mid-1980s when it played some of its home games at the Thomas & Mack Center, has had an apparent change of heart. It will field a team for the first time when the NBA Summer League tips off its 11-day run July 11 at the Thomas &Mack and Cox Pavilion for what will be its 10th anniversary season of competition. …

“Las Vegas has always supported the Jazz, and it was clearly a consensus among my staff that Utah needed to be included,” said Warren LeGarie, who founded the summer league and helps run the event for the NBA. “I think it was just a matter of being persistent, and persistency won out. …

“Having our training camp in Orlando was difficult for us, and we felt it was time to move forward,” Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey said. “We feel there’s a natural tie-in with Las Vegas, and it’ll be great for our fans to follow us and be able to see our young players. We’re very excited about the move.”

The Orlando Summer League is very different than the one held in Vegas, in that it’s completely off limits to fans. Games are held on one of the practice courts inside the Amway Center, with only team personnel and media allowed in to witness the action.

The event in Las Vegas is hoping to continue to grow and become more of an off-season attraction, and adding a team like Utah that’s just a short drive away is only going to help in getting that goal accomplished.

Report: Pacers offered Paul George for Kyrie Irving

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The Cavaliers think they were close to trading for Paul George, a text message away from completing a three-team trade with the Pacers and Nuggets that would have sent Kevin Love to Denver.

But Cleveland could’ve ensured itself George, whom Indiana ultimately dealt to the Thunder. All the Cavs had to do was send Kyrie Irving to the Pacers.

Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe of ESPN on The Lowe Post podcast:

  • Windhorst: “I know that around the draft and in the Paul George talks, the Cavs were not willing to make Kyrie Irving available for Paul George.”
  • Lowe: “We can say on this podcast: The Pacers offered Paul George for Kyrie Irving. That’s a thing that happened, according to people that we’ve talked to.”
  • Windhorst: “Multiple times.”

Even if the Cavaliers knew of Irving’s unhappiness – maybe they did, or at least should have – while George was still in Indiana, this would have been a bad trade for them.

Irving is locked up for two more years, and George is on an expiring contract. That simply makes Irving more valuable than George, who – like LeBron James – could have walked in a year. George is ineligible for a reasonable contract extension, and there’s so much buzz about him joining the Lakers.

Now, if the Cavs were more on top of Irving’s trade request when George were still available, maybe they would have more aggressively tried to bridge the gap. Perhaps, Indiana could have sent another player or draft pick.

But Cleveland shouldn’t be kicking itself over not dealing Irving for George straight up.

Report: LeBron James eager for Kyrie Irving to be traded

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LeBron James reportedly wants to fight Kyrie Irving over the guard’s trade request.

But sometimes, people continue to work with those whom they dislike. LeBron partnered with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert again and again, after all.

Might LeBron realize keeping Irving is Cleveland’s best chance to win another title? Could LeBron put personal feelings aside in that pursuit?

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

Irving has asked for a trade and James is eager to see him off.

This might explain why the Cavs appear so gung-ho about moving Irving. LeBron usually gets what he wants in Cleveland, especially in a contract year.

It’s not too late for LeBron and Irving to reconcile until a trade is completed, but with LeBron welcoming Derrick Rose, they just move further from that possibility.

Damian Lillard says players who want to leave team owe teammates, fans truth

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Damian Lillard was making the rounds on a media tour Monday, and at virtually each and every stop he was asked about Kyrie Irving and Carmelo Anthony. We told you about Lillard’s recruiting pitch to Anthony.

One of his stops was with one of my favorite radio shows,  Bill Reiter’s Reiter Than You on CBS Radio. Lillard talked about what players owe teammates when they try to push their way out of town.

“You owe your teammates first because those are the guys that you spend the most time around that you have relationships with, more so than anybody else,” Lillard said. “And also the fans because they are part of your team. They’re the people that come and cheer for you and support you as much as anybody. So I think they’re the two groups of people that you owe the truth. They deserve to know the truth in where you stand and what your plans are.”

Hard to argue with that.

Of course, honesty can lead to some bad blood. If Kyrie Irving went to his teammates and the fans in Cleveland and said, “Look, LeBron James is leaving in a year, and I don’t want to be the guy holding the bag, so I’m forcing my way out while I can” how would that go over? It’s the truth — or maybe the largest part of the truth, there is never just one thing — but it would rub a lot of people the wrong way. And Irving would get roasted in the media (more than he is already).

It sounds good to be honest, and a lot of guys try, but they have talked themselves into that narrative before they sell it everywhere else. Everything is spin, to a degree.

Watch Stephen Curry make fun of Klay Thompson’s 360 dunk fail in China

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By now we have all seen Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson brick that dunk attempt in China, right?

Here is the link to the video if you haven’t seen it.

Well, teammate Stephen Curry was also in China this week and decided to do a little mocking of Thompson’s missed dunk for the crowd.

It was all in good fun, and of course we all know about the Warriors team culture. Glad that Curry and Thompson can jab at each other like this.