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Dewayne Dedmon opting out of Spurs contract

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Dewayne Dedmon made quite a ruckus during the playoffs – especially if you consider all the noise he prompted from people calling for the Spurs to include him more regularly in their rotation, particularly against the Rockets.

Those minor controversies in big moments overshadowed a quietly productive season in which Dedmon ranked second among centers in defensive real plus-minus (behind only Rudy Gobert).

Now, it’s time for Dedmon – who signed a two-year deal last summer that would have paid $3,028,410 next season – to capitalize.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

San Antonio Spurs center Dewayne Dedmon will decline his $3 million player option for next season and become an unrestricted free agent, league sources told The Vertical.

Dedmon is in line for a major raise – one San Antonio might not be able to afford. Some teams might even rate him as starting-caliber, but unless those teams need a center and have cap space – a rare combination in this market – Dedmon might have to settle for something like the non-taxpayer mid-level exception (which offers a starting salary of $8,406,000). This is probably the last chance for Dedmon, who turns 28 before the season, to get a big contract.

The Spurs have Dedmon’s Non-Bird Rights (technically a form of Bird Rights), which allow them to exceed the cap to pay him a starting salary of $3,477,600 (120% his previous salary). Any more and San Antonio would have to use cap space or its own mid-level exception.

Perhaps, Dedmon warrants that.

The athletic 7-footer is a mobile defender, good rim protector and quality rebounder. But he still fouls too much, and he hasn’t displayed quite enough defensive awareness to earn a coach’s trust.

Dedmon is limited offensively, but he finishes well on pick-and-rolls. He can play a role on that end.

Dedmon’s 18 minutes per game this season were a career high. Would his production hold up with more responsibility?

His defensive versatility is welcomed on a team with LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol and David Lee (the latter two of whom can also become free agents). But Dedmon might have become a luxury the Spurs can no longer afford – especially if they chase Chris Paul.

Report: Wizards signing Donald Sloan

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The Wizards look like they solved their backup-point-guard problems with Tim Frazier.

But they also looked like they solved their backup-point-guard problems with Trey Burke and then Brandon Jennings last year – and look how that turned out.

So, even after trading for Frazier, Washington is still trying to increase stability behind John Wall.
CSN Mid-Atlantic:

The Wizards added some depth to their backcourt on Thursday by signing veteran guard Donald Sloan to a one-year deal, CSN’s Chris Miller confirmed on Thursday night.

The 29-year-old Sloan has played for the Hawks, New Orleans Hornets, Cavaliers, Pacers and Nets in a five-year NBA career. He spent last season in China.

Sloan isn’t much of a scorer, and he’s only a decent distributor. But he makes up for it with all-around adequacy, highlighted by his rebounding for his position.

The veteran will compete with second-year Sheldon Mac, whose salary is just $50,000 guaranteed, to be Washington’s third point guard.

Report: Knicks sign Nigel Hayes to partially guaranteed deal

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Nigel Hayes became a cult hero at Wisconsin for bringing a “BROKE COLLEGE ATHLETE ANYTHING HELPS” sign to GameDay and soliciting Venmo donations, challenging the stenographer in a press conference and “accidentally” calling a stenographer beautiful in front of a hot mic.

After going undrafted, Hayes and his colorful personality are headed to New York, where Knicks fans are starving for fun.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Could Hayes stick into the regular season? The Knicks have just 14 players with guaranteed salaries, leaving one more spot for a player on an standard contract. Chasson Randle has an unguaranteed salary that becomes partially guaranteed around the time training camp opens. The Knicks could also sign other players, though they’re down to just minimum exceptions.

Hayes – a 6-foot-8 forward – has a chance, but he’s most likely ticketed to New York’s minor-league affiliate after being waived by the parent club.

Who is betting favorite to win Rookie of the Year? Lonzo Ball? Ben Simmons? Depends.

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The Rookie of the Year race is wide open heading into next season.

It’s that way every year — if you had predicted Malcolm Brogdon was going to win a year ago, you would have been laughed out of the building — but this coming season has a lot of talent at the top of the board who could win. Lonzo Ball, Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, Jayson Tatum all have a real shot — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Who is the better favorite? Depends on where you do your betting.

The William Hill’s Nevada sportsbook (which works with a number of Las Vegas casinos, such as the SLS), has this (hat tip ESPN):

Lonzo Ball 9-5
Ben Simmons 5-2
Dennis Smith Jr. 4-1
Markelle Fultz 13-2
De'Aaron Fox 8-1
Jayson Tatum 8-1

The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas has Simmons as the betting line favorite at 9-4

The online betting site Bovda.lv has this line

Lonzo Ball 9-4
Dennis Smith 3-1
Ben Simmons 5-1
Jayson Tatum 5-1
Markelle Fultz 8-1

Traditionally, Rookie of the Year goes to a guy who has the ball in his hands, is aggressive, and puts up raw numbers. It celebrates scorers.

This year a whole lot of guys can fit that bill, more than are mentioned here. It’s going to be a wild ride.

Check out the first NBA 2K18 trailer (VIDEO)

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The NBA season is coming… and that means NBA 2K18 also coming.

To whet the appetite of you gamers out there, check out the first trailer for the upcoming game, with music by Mobb Deep.

You can pre-order the game now.