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Celtics, Lakers, and Magic headline 2017 NBA Draft Lottery winners and losers

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The 2017 NBA Draft Lottery is over, and the Boston Celtics — a team in the Eastern Conference Finals — hold the No. 1 overall pick. The Los Angeles Lakers will pick at No. 2, and the Philadelphia 76ers at No. 3. Who will take Markelle Fultz and who will take Lonzo Ball isn’t yet clear, but they seem slated to go right next to each other at the top of the draft.

A dizzying amount of picks changed hands thanks to protections and swap rights, but the final order ended up looking like this:

1. Boston (via Brooklyn)
2. L.A. Lakers
3. Philadelphia
4. Phoenix
5. Sacramento
6. Orlando
7. Minnesota
8. New York
9. Dallas
10. Sacramento (via New Orleans)
11. Charlotte
12. Detroit
13. Denver
14. Miami

We won’t know who really wins this thing until we get deep into next season, but an initial reaction of winners and losers thanks to aforementioned pick swaps and ping pong balls I think looks pretty clear.

Winners

Celtics
Boston traded for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen during the summer of 2007, then took home the Larry O’Brien Trophy in 2007-08. The Celtics then traded Garnett and Pierce in 2013 for three of Brooklyn’s first round picks as well as the right to swap picks in 2017.

Boston traded for a championship, then traded those guys to either add the best player in college basketball or to be able to swap for an existing superstar. They’re doing all that with a team that was already the No. 1 seed in the East and is in the conference finals. That is getting some serious run out of the Big 3. Paul Pierce even thinks so himself.

Celtics fans have to know they came up huge on this one, and even though there might be some overlapping talent with Isaiah Thomas and either Fultz or Ball, that also gives them more weapons to be able to take down LeBron James and the Cavaliers in coming seasons. Or, as Celtics GM Danny Ainge hinted at after the lottery, they might be looking to use that pick to trade for a guy like Jimmy Butler or Paul George.

Lakers
Los Angeles didn’t get the pick they wanted, but they got the next best thing. It’s entirely possible that Ball is a serious talent and missing piece for LA, and they have burgeoning young talent on the roster. Couple that with rumored interest from 2018 free agent Paul George, the Lakers could be on their way back up.

They also keep their 2019 first round pick, which would have gone to Orlando, so things definitely worked out well for Lakers fans.

Sixers
Philadelphia didn’t get the top pick, and someone like Fultz would fit in nicely especially as the 76ers look to add competent ball handlers. But without Fultz or Ball on the board, the Sixers can look at guys like Josh Jackson and De'Aaron Fox to fill out their roster as they add a healthy Ben Simmons next season.

The important thing is that the 76ers still wound up in the Top 3, with the availability to now use that pick to keep building on The Process or to swap for veteran talent, something not many have talked about. The other good news here is that because of pick swaps, the Sixers not only got a high selection this season but have the Lakers’ first round pick unprotected for next year.

Losers

Magic
A serious blow here for the Orlando Magic, who wound up with the No. 6 pick and do not get to keep the Lakers’ 2019 first round pick. Orlando is without a GM at the moment, and finished just 29-53 this season. Their roster is in flux, they’re back toward the bottom of the league, and their new GM will need to knock it out of the park with that No. 6 pick if they want to be able to capitalize with the young talent they already have.

Heat
Miami wound up with the No. 14 pick, which is right where they should be. The Heat had a 98 percent chance to end up at the end of the lottery, but I still think that’s some kind of bummer. Miami had an awful start to the season, but finished 30-11 to tie the Chicago Bulls for No. 8 in the East, just narrowly missing the playoffs. The up-and-down nature of Miami’s season combined with missing out on the postseason and getting the last pick in the lottery sort of sums up a weird, frustrating season in Florida.

James Dolan’s MSG threatens to sue Steve Ballmer’s Los Angeles Clippers

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This story requires a little background.

The Forum in Inglewood was best known for decades as being both fabulous and the home of the Los Angeles Lakers, back from the Jerry West era and through Magic’s “Showtime” teams. Then in 2001 the Lakers moved downtown to Staples Center, and after that the Forum went through some rough times. It was a number of things, including a mega church for a while, but mostly it was empty. Then several years ago the Madison Square Garden company (owned by Knicks owner James Dolan) bought the Forum, fixed it up, and started booking it again. Now the Forum is one of the hot major concert/event spaces in Los Angeles again, and it’s about to get a boost because it’s adjacent to where Stan Kroenke is building the new Los Angeles Rams stadium. Hello gentrification!

Now enter Steve Ballmer. The Clippers’ owner wants out of Staples Center and the Lakers’ shadow, so he has proposed to build his new arena in Inglewood in another space adjacent to the Rams stadium — land that MSG used to lease. As you might imagine, Dolan’s MSG is not thrilled — they are already battling with Staples to fill their space, now a state-of-the-art arena is moving in down the street.

In a proxy Knicks/Clippers battle, MSG may sue to Clippers and Inglewood in an attempt to block the new building. Here is what Dolan’s attorney in the case, Marvin Putnam, told the Daily Breeze in Los Angeles.

“The mayor made it extremely clear that he needed that piece of land back for a kind of ‘Silicon Beach,’ ” said Marvin Putnam, a partner with the law firm Latham & Watkins, which filed the damage claim that serves as a precursor to a lawsuit. “They’re attempting to flat-out trick people.”

(Inglewood Mayor James) Butts declined to comment, and there is no proof that he made those statements. But when Madison Square Garden Co. relinquished the parking lease to the city, its approved contract states that the land would not be used for anything that would hurt the Forum’s business, according to documents.

Right now the Clippers and Inglewood are in an exclusive negotiating agreement to come to terms on the sale and plans for the property. Putnam told the paper — and the Inglewood City Council — that if the deal goes forward they will sue to block it.

It’s impossible to say how this will turn out, although as a former government reporter I will say these cases tend to be decided in favor of the side about to spend a ton of money on a new building.

 

Jaylen Brown’s #drivebydunkchallenge video is awesome

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I love the drive by dunk challenge (if you prefer, the #drivebydunkchallenge), it would be the best thing on NBA Twitter this summer, if it wasn’t for Kyrie Irving.

But the best one yet comes from Boston’s Jaylen Brown.

He steals the ball, and the best part is the guy who comes over like he’s going to stop Brown from throwing it down.

Nets’ Jeremy Lin: ‘We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says’

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The Nets went 20-62 then traded their best player (Brook Lopez) for a worse player (D'Angelo Russell). Brooklyn’s biggest free-agent signing this summer (Otto Porter) plays for the Wizards. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert are nice developmental pieces but hardly seem on the verge of breakthroughs.

Still, Nets guard Jeremy Lin expects big things next season.

He set expectations in an Instagram Live video (hat tip: AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today):

We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says.

The Nets are on the right track given their asset constraints. Though worse than Lopez now, Russell – eight years younger and on a low-paying rookie-scale deal – is more valuable. Brooklyn made the favorable swap by absorbing Timofey Mozgov‘s awful contract, a wise use of assets considering the difficulty of attracting free agents. An aggressive offer sheet for Porter was a reasonable swing in that situation, as well.

But that’s all helpful in the long run. In the short term, the Nets are almost certainly stuck as lousy. Maybe they can sneak into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, but even that is a huge longshot.

Not that Lin cares what I say.

Check out Top 10 blocks from Summer League (VIDEO)

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When you think of Summer League basketball, sharp defensive rotations is not the first thing that comes to mind. Defense, in general, tends to be an after thought.

But there were some great blocks.

Here are the top 10 blocks from the Las Vegas Summer League. Enjoy the flashes of defense from Vegas.