Allen Iverson returns home with Big3, eager to please Philly fans

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Allen Iverson plans to run on that familiar court one more time, cup his ear the way he used to in his prime and implore his adoring fans to make more noise.

AI is back home, Philly.

“It’s exciting,” Iverson told The Associated Press. “I just want to give them a couple flashbacks of the time I had here. I love them. The only relationship like the relationship I have with Philadelphia fans is (Michael Jordan) in Chicago. It’s everlasting. They supported me all throughout my career, through all my ups and downs and that’s why I love coming back here. They’re the No. 1 fans in the world.”

Iverson returns to the floor at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday night when the Big3 comes to town. The main event features two Philadelphia legends. Iverson’s 3’s Company team faces Julius Erving’s Tri-State team in the fourth game. Dr. J won’t be playing, though.

Iverson hasn’t done much of that, either. The former NBA MVP is a player-coach but he has spent more time coaching in the first three weeks. The 42-year-old has six points on 3-for-13 shooting.

“I’m going to do what’s best to get us the win,” Iverson said, explaining that he can’t guard bigger opponents in the post.

That’s just fine with Ice Cube.

“You gotta commend AI,” the rapper-actor told AP. “He’s trying to win. If he was on the ego tip, he wouldn’t sub himself out, even though he’s getting posted up. That’s the cool thing about it. You see guys’ real competitive juices going.”

No matter how little he plays, Iverson is an integral part of Ice Cube’s league of former NBA players.

“We don’t launch without AI,” Cube said. “We had names, we had players. But we didn’t have box office, we didn’t have that marquee name that you need to make a splash in a league like this. What’s great with him and Dr. J and playing in Philly, you have Dr. J who helped cement the ABA, and you have Allen Iverson establishing the Big3. Years from now, we can look back and say this wouldn’t have happened without AI taking a chance on us.”

Iverson, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last year, is enjoying the ride.

“Seeing guys give it their all and watching how the fans embrace it, guys putting on a show for them, that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “These games haven’t been watered down. They’ve been competitive. I like the direction it’s heading. I’m happy to be a part of it. Years to come, I can brag to guys about being one of the first guys to play in the Big3 because it’s going to soar, man. It’s going to get bigger and bigger every year.”

Three weeks into Season 1, Ice Cube is already thinking ahead.

“I can definitely see the future of this league where guys step straight from an NBA court onto a Big3 court,” he said. “I think the competition is gonna get stiff. I’m pretty sure there’s some big names out there waiting to play the game and have fun. Everybody is having a ball – players, fans, the league.”

 

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.

 

Memphis Grizzlies sign former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies have signed former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, a second-round pick in last month’s NBA draft.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Brooks was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 45th overall pick. The Grizzlies acquired him in exchange for a future second-round pick.

Brooks, 21, averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a junior at Oregon last season. He was named the Pac-12 player of the year and helped Oregon earn its first Final Four berth since 1939.

 

Report: Even after Kyrie Irving requests trade, Carmelo Anthony still focused on Rockets, not Cavaliers

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Carmelo Anthony was reportedly willing to waive his no-trade clause for the Rockets or Cavaliers. Cleveland never seemed overly interested, but Houston was. Anthony became set on the Rockets, even reportedly expecting a trade to Houston.

Then, Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavs.

That has thrown everything for a loop. Maybe Cleveland is more keen on trading for Anthony now? The Knicks are reportedly interested in trading Anthony and draft picks for Irving.

But any deal still depends on Anthony’s approval, and it’s now unclear he’d still grant that for the Cavaliers.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

However, a source close to Anthony said late Friday that the All Star forward is focused on getting a deal done with Houston.

Consider this another indication LeBron James will leave Cleveland next summer. Of course, Anthony might have other reasons for preferring Houston. But when reading tea leaves on LeBron’s future, this is a clue.

I doubt LeBron has completely decided his plan, and he hasn’t even necessarily shared his thinking with Anthony, a close friend. Remember, LeBron edited his coming-home essay while on a flight with an unknowing Dwyane Wade, another close friend. But it was one thing for LeBron to strand Wade in Miami, a desirable city where Wade was happy even before LeBron arrived. It’d be something else entirely for LeBron to ditch Anthony in Cleveland. If LeBron is considering leaving, maybe he’d tell Anthony to stay clear.

Anthony could also be operating without hearing directly from LeBron. But if LeBron’s friend believes LeBron might leave, that’d still say something (though obviously not as much).

Back to the possibility that Anthony prefers the Rockets for other reasons. What happens if New York and Cleveland agree to a trade? Does Anthony still hold out for his top choice? Or does he relent and accept what was once his second choice? For now, it seems as if he’s still angling for Houston and will cross other bridges if he reaches them.