Jan Vesely exits NBA historically quickly

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Jan Vesely entered the NBA with a kiss.

He’s now kissing the league goodbye.

After being drafted No. 6 overall by the Wizards in 2011, Vesely has signed in Turkey (hat tip: Ben Standig of CSN Washington).

Spending so little time in the NBA after being drafted so high is rare. Unless Vesely – whose athleticism could never overcome his lack of skills – makes an unlikely NBA comeback, he’s on track to become just the seventh player drafted in the top six to spend three or fewer seasons in the NBA since the NBA-ABA merger.

The other six:

Jonny Flynn

Flynn regressed in two seasons with the Timberwolves, who drafted him No. 6 in 2009, and then a third year in Houston and Portland. He might have left the NBA after three seasons regardless, but a hip injury did him no favors.

Jay Williams

Williams, the No. 2 pick in the 2002 draft, had a decent rookie year. But a motorcycle crash before his second season ended his careerand nearly his life.

Len Bias

Bias infamously died due to a cocaine overdosed the day after the day after the Celtics drafted him No. 2 in 1986.

Chris Washburn

Drafted No. 3 by the Warriors in 1986, Washburn stunk for a season and a half in Golden State and a half season in Atlanta. Then, he was suspended for drugs, costing him his third season. A third failed drug test ultimately got him banned from the NBA for good.

Russell Cross

Cross, drafted No. 6 in 1983 by the Warriors, astoundingly lasted only one season in the NBA. According to the Chicago Tribune, he had a chronic knee problem dating back at least to his time in Purdue.

James Ray

The player drafted highest every out of Jacksonville University, Ray – chosen No. 5 in 1980 – lasted just three years with the Nuggets.

Assuming there are no later revelations to the contrary, Ray was the last top-six pick to exit the NBA as quickly as Vesely without injury or drugs playing a major factor. Just as the Wizards imagined in 2011, Vesely ultimately made history.

LeBron James wears one black, one white LeBron 15 shoes with “Equality” on back (VIDEO)

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LeBron James notched his third-straight triple-double on Sunday, this one coming against the Washington Wizards. But before the game, the story was all about how James was voicing a silent protest — in Washington D.C., no less — by wearing a special version of his shoes.

LeBron took to the floor wearing his LeBron 15s, but this player edition had the word “Equality” on the back of them. James wore one black shoe and one white shoe.

James wore the black versions of this shoe in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ opener to start the season.

Via Twitter:

LeBron finished the game with 20 points, 15 assists, and 12 rebounds. The Cavaliers beat the Wizards, 106-99.

Stephen Curry says he’d want in on potential Panthers ownership

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The Carolina Panthers are up for sale. Owner Jerry Richardson said he would sell the team late on Sunday following an announcement by the NFL that Richardson was under investigation for “workplace misconduct”. The NFL’s investigation and Richardson’s decision to sell was preceded by a report from SI saying Richardson had paid out settlements amid sexual harassment and racial slur claims.

Enter Sean Combs and Stephen Curry.

Combs — that’s Diddy, you to and me — has previously voiced his interest in being involved with the NFL, and after seeing that Richardson would be selling the team, jumped at the chance to boost his profile. Combs tweeted that he wanted to buy the team, and that’s when Curry joined in.

Via Twitter:

Naturally, Curry is from Charlotte and went to both high school and eventually college in the area, playing at Davidson. He’s an avid Panthers fan and has been on the sideline for the team publicly many times over the years.

Curry being part of an ownership group for the Panthers would be pretty wild. Perhaps Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan would like to join in? It seems like they would have the liquidity and credit availability between the three of them to get the team.

Then again, the asking price for the Panthers could be north of $2 billion. The last team to be sold was the Buffalo Bills in 2014 for $1.4 billion. In September, Forbes released a valuation for the Panthers that put them at $2.3 billion.

Might need to get a few others involved in this one.

Watch Raptors fans give Vince Carter a standing ovation in Toronto (VIDEO)

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Vince Carter is 40 years old and playing in what could possibly be his final NBA season. The Sacramento Kings guard started his career with the Toronto Raptors, and on Sunday he played what could possibly be his final game at the Air Canada Centre.

And so, when Carter was subbed out late in the fourth quarter on Sunday, the folks in Toronto did what came naturally: they cheered.

The whole thing was pretty great to watch, and a real testament to how Carter is viewed by fans in Toronto.

Via Twitter:

Carter scored just four points in 25 minutes for Sacramento, going 2-of-5 from the field while adding three blocks, two assists, a rebound and a steal.

The Raptors got the win over the Kings, 108-93.

Report: Isaiah Thomas looking at first week of January for return to Cavs

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Just when we though Isaiah Thomas had fallen off the collective radar of the NBA, he squeaks right back in.

Thomas, who the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired in a trade this summer for Kyrie Irving, has yet to play a game due to a nagging hip injury. That injury caused some back-and-forth squabbling between Cleveland and the Boston Celtics, but things got sorted and the teams went on their way.

Irving has been spectacular of course, helping to lead the Celtics to a record of 25-7 in the absence of Gordon Hayward, good enough for the top slot in the Eastern Conference.

Now, it appears that Thomas is ahead of schedule and will be ready to help the Cavaliers fight for that spot come early January. According to Yahoo! Sports’ Shams Charania, Thomas and Cleveland want him to be playing the first week of the new year.

Via Twitter:

Of course, we’ve heard this before. The team has said this season that Thomas would play in January. Then the line moved and the Cavaliers thought he would play in December. It’s now moved back to January, but reports are more firm as we’re closer to the expected date and Thomas is playing in 4-on-4 drills. The great news is this honed return date seems to directly target the second game of 2018 for the Cavaliers, which is conveniently against the Celtics.

No doubt Thomas will be jonesing to take on his former team, where he certainly would have preferred to stay after a stellar season in 2016-17. Still, Thomas has been in good spirits — he gets to play with LeBron James for goodness sake — and the Jan. 3 game will be one to watch.

If Thomas can’t make it for that January matchup, the next opportunity he will have to beat Boston will be on Feb. 11.