Philadelphia 76ers v Brooklyn Nets

Report: Sacramento interested in Shaun Livingston to be starting point guard

6 Comments

The Sacramento Kings have an Isaiah Thomas problem. They’d like to keep the diminutive but impressive (20.3 points a game) young point guard around, but he is a restricted free agent likely to draw offers this summer. The problem is with Rudy Gay opting in and accounting for the No. 8 pick the Kings are at $68.5 million in salary, that’s over the cap and less than $9 million from the luxury tax line (estimated to be around $77 million). The Kings could lose him.

How do they replace what he brings at point guard?

Maybe Shaun Livingston. The Kings are interested in the guy who had a solid season for the Nets, reports Sam Amick at the USA Today.

The Kings are on the lookout for a starting point guard, and one name to keep an eye on is the Brooklyn Nets’ Shaun Livingston. The 28-year-old free-agent-to-be whose career looked all but over in 2007 when he had a devastating leg injury while with the Los Angeles Clippers had his best season yet in 2014-15, helping the Nets turn their season around when he started in place of the injured Deron Williams and remaining a vital part of their program even after he returned.

Livingston also might come cheaper than Thomas.

All of this really comes down to how big an offer Thomas gets on the free agent market. If, because of his defensive liabilities, other teams offer him closer to a league average salary, the Kings likely match. However, if it gets up to $8 million or more the Kings may be forced to consider other options (and paying the luxury tax is not one of them, not for a roster that may well not make the playoffs).

Just something to watch when free agency opens up July 1.

Aaron Gordon both legs over the mascot, ball-under-the-legs dunk (VIDEO)

4 Comments

TORONTO — Zach LaVine won the NBA All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest, but in an epic night for my money this was the single best dunk.

Orlando’s Aaron Gordon broke ground with this one — guys have jumped over mascots and other players before (and a Kia hood), but by splitting their legs apart. Gordon just put both legs over Stuff (that’s the mascot’s name, Stuff the Magic Dragon, I don’t make this up) — and took the ball off the mascot’s head, went under his legs, and threw it down.

Insane.

Gordon deserved a trophy for his performance in this dunk contest.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

9 Comments

TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.

In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.

And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.

The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.

There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)

“I was prepared for four (second round dunks),” LaVine said. “To tell the truth, he came with something that no one else has done. He did two dunks that were just crazy with the mascots, jumping over them. We just kept pushing each other until the last dunk. I’ve got to give it up to my boy Will “The Thrill” Barton. It’s because of him I think I won. Because he said try to go from the free-throw line. I’d never done that before, and I just tried it. So I guess it was a great dunk. I think it was the best one ever.”

The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.

“If I knew it was going to be like that, I would have prepared better and we would have been here dunking all night, going back 50 after 50 after 50 after 50,” Gordon said. “We would have been here all night. I didn’t know it was going to be like that. I was just hoping Zach was going to miss, and it wasn’t going to happen. You could see as my facial expressions when Zach dunks it, it’s like okay, that’s a 50. Like I know we’re going to have to dunk again.”

So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.

Gordon was close to perfect.

Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk

2 Comments

TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.

Zach LaVine opens Slam Dunk Contest title defense with spectacular behind-the-back slam (VIDEO)

during the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 at Air Canada Centre on February 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. 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.
1 Comment

TORONTO — Zach LaVine clearly heard all the talk that Aaron Gordon or Will Barton had a chance to upset him in the Slam Dunk Contest. He came out ready to prove his superiority right off the bat. This behind-the-back slam was his first attempt of the night:

Even better was the reaction, both from Andre Drummond and from LaVine’s Minnesota teammates: