Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors

Report: Shawn Marion commits to play with Cavaliers, LeBron James

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Shawn Marion said going into free agency winning was what mattered. And when faced with basically just veteran minimum offers he took the one where he is most likely to have a shot at a ring.

As had been expected for weeks, Marion told the Cleveland Cavaliers over the weekend he would commit to play with them and LeBron James next season, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.

Sources told ESPN.com that Marion informed the Cavaliers this weekend that he intends to sign with them this month despite the fact that Cleveland can only offer him a minimum deal…

Sources say that Marion has been telling teams for weeks that he hopes to wind up with a championship contender if he leaves the Dallas Mavericks in free agency. Marion spent the past five seasons with the Mavs and helped them win the first championship in franchise history in 2011 as a key role player who guarded players at four positions.

The Cavaliers could offer only a $1.4 million veteran minimum salary for the 15-year veteran who averaged 10.4 points a game with a solid .537 true shooting percentage and he shot 35 percent from three last season for Dallas. For those numbers that’s below market value. But as we moved into late August the only other offer on the table was from the Indiana Pacers, who couldn’t go higher than $1.7 million without getting into the luxury tax that team president Larry Bird reiterated last week was a line the franchise would not cross. The Pacers could have used Marion to help fill in for the injured Paul George, but they are not a contender and will struggle to even make the playoffs in the East this season. There was reported late interest from the Los Angeles Clippers, but they can only offer the minimum and are in the much deeper Western Conference.

With LeBron, Kyrie Irving and by next weekend when it becomes official Kevin Love, the Cavaliers will be right at the top of the East (along with the Bulls). Marion adds needed versatility and veteran depth to that team, as does Mike Miller (and they continue to go after Ray Allen for that same reason). Marion is not vintage Matrix at age 36, but he can be a solid reserve and gives them defense.

It’s another great pickup by the Cavaliers.

Kings’ Rudy Gay suffers apparent torn left Achilles tendon, would be done for season

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This not only changes the Kings dreams of making the playoffs in the West, it also alters the trade deadline and free agency.

Rudy Gay, the Kings wing and second-leading scorer, has been diagnosed with a torn left Achilles tendon, according to the team. During the third quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Pacers, Gay drove out of the right corner and, untouched, fell to the floor hard. He had to be helped off the court by teammates.

Team doctors made the initial torn Achilles diagnosis, which will need to be confirmed by an MRI scheduled for Thursday. He would be out not only for this season but likely the start of the next one as well.

Without Gay, a lot more will fall on Matt Barnes and, once he returns from his calf injury in a couple of weeks, Omri Casspi. However, those two are a drop off from what Gay brought to the Kings, and the team’s playoff chances have taken a serious hit (they are 1.5 games out of the eight seed after Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers).

Gay was not happy in Sacramento and had said planned to opt out of the $14.3 million final year of his contract to be a free agent next summer, which made him someone potentially traded before the deadline (although the Kings being in the playoff hunt impacted that). Gay averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds a game for the Kings, and while his game was a little old school — more isolation and midrange shots than teams prefer — he put up points. Enough that he was drawing trade interest heading toward the deadline from Oklahoma City and other squads.

That is all off the table now. At age 30, if Gay does still opt out of his contract for next season this will impact what he would make on the free market.

Zaza Pachulia lays out Russell Westbrook, stands over him (video)

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Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.

Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.

Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.

Report: 76ers’ Ben Simmons sitting entire season still on table

TARRYTOWN, NEW YORK - AUGUST 07:  Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers poses for a portrait during the 2016 NBA Rookie Photoshoot at Madison Square Garden Training Center on August 7, 2016 in Tarrytown, New York. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?

It just won’t die.

Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.

Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.

76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.

It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.

Roy Hibbert passes ball into hoop, reacts with perfect facial expression (video)

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The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.

Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).