Dan Feldman

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 28:  Ben McLemore #23 of the Sacramento Kings dribbles the ball against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on December 28, 2015 in Oakland, California. 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.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Report: Bucks called Kings about Ben McLemore

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The Bucks are looking for a wing with Khris Middleton sidelined nearly the entire the season. They could surrender Michael Carter-Williams (who has been available) and/or Greg Monroe (who has been very available), which gives an idea of the caliber of fill-in they’re seeking.

Someone like Jeremy Lamb… or Ben McLemore.

Zach Lowe of ESPN on the Bucks:

they’ve called the Kings about the ghost of Ben McLemore and are open to moving either Greg Monroe or Michael Carter-Williams in the right deal, league sources say.

A deal centered on McLemore-for-Carter-Williams could make sense. Both have fallen out of favor (if McLemore ever gained favor).

Milwaukee is desperate for wing help without Middleton. Carter-Williams is stuck behind Giannis Antetokounmpo and Matthew Dellavedova.

Sacramento needs a point guard with Darren Collison suspended, and the 24-year-old Carter-Williams offers upside at the position that Collison, Garrett Temple and Jordan Farmar don’t. Ty Lawson could reclaim his near-star production, but that will require sobriety, focus and a reversal of last year’s massive decline.

I’d prefer Carter-Williams to McLemore in a vacuum, so the Kings should probably include more. But that’s the framework of a logical trade.

Michael Jordan to introduce Russell Westbrook at Oklahoma Hall of Fame induction

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook waves as he arrives for a news conference to announce that he has signed a contract extension with the Thunder, in Oklahoma City, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Organizers say Michael Jordan will introduce Russell Westbrook when the Oklahoma City Thunder star is inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame next month.

Hall of Fame officials announced the presenters Thursday for the ceremony on Nov. 17.

Jordan, who now owns the Charlotte Hornets, will introduce Westbrook, who signed a three-year contract extension with the Thunder in August. Westbrook is an ambassador for Jordan Brand.

Westbrook introduced Kevin Durant last year, when Durant said, “Hopefully we’ll be here next year for Russell Westbrook’s induction.” Durant left for Golden State in the offseason.

The 27-year-old Westbrook piled up 18 triple-doubles last season. The two-time All-Star Game MVP and former scoring champion averaged 23.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 10.4 assists last season and helped the Thunder reach the Western Conference finals, where they fell in seven games to Golden State.

Report: Kings rescinded Seth Curry’s qualifying offer as favor because he preferred to leave

DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 26:  Seth Curry #30 of the Dallas Mavericks poses for a portrait during the Dallas Mavericks Media Day held at American Airlines Center on September 26, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. 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.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

DeMarcus Cousins reportedly sought a trade from the Kings last year. They won’t deal him.

Rudy Gay seems to want out of Sacramento. He’s still there.

Yet, Seth Curry found an escape despite being a restricted free agent last summer.

The Kings rescinded Curry’s qualifying offer, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent and sign a two-year, $5,926,410 contract with the Mavericks. With the early returns in Dallas looking promising, how did Sacramento let him go so easily?

Kings TV play-by-play announcer Grant Napear:

That was pretty nice of the Kings and, I believe, also a miscalculation on their part.

If Sacramento knew Curry wasn’t in its long-term plans, OK, make his life easier and rescind the qualifying offer. But he’s a talented 26-year-old point guard who could help with Darren Collison suspended.

Instead, the Kings signed older Arron Afflalo, Garrett Temple and Matt Barnes to higher salaries than Curry got. We don’t know who else Sacramento was targeting, but forcing Curry to sign an offer sheet then not matching it was always an option. The Kings could have kept their options open longer – and maybe even wound up with a more valuable player in Curry if other targets passed.

He had some leverage as a free agent – far more than Cousins and Gay, who are under contract – but Curry’s restricted status could’ve helped Sacramento more than the team demanded. Remember, the Kings had Curry’s matching rights because they gave him his best contract offer last year. I don’t think they owed him this favor – unless they were set on not matching regardless.

There is value in appeasing agents. Relationships matter.

Having quality young talent on affordable contracts matters more, though.

Report: NBA, union optimistic about finalizing Collective Bargaining Agreement in next several weeks

AP Money Found
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The clock is ticking toward Dec. 15, when either NBA owners or the National Basketball Players Association can opt out of the Collective Bargaining Agreement effective July 1. Even if that happens, that’d leave plenty of time to negotiate a new deal before games are missed.

But why induce all that panic if you can preempt it?

Here’s more optimism on a revised CBA before Dec. 15.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association have made significant progress toward a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, and there is strong optimism among officials on both sides that a deal could be finalized in the next several weeks, league sources told The Vertical.

Among expected changes in the new CBA, league sources told The Vertical: A significantly higher rookie contract scale and two-way contracts between the NBA and NBA Development League that will add playing jobs for the union.

The NBA is swimming in money. Neither side wants to turn off the cash flow. That helps foster a deal.

Raising the rookie scale is important with the new national TV contracts making the current scale out of date. Two-way contracts would allow teams to appropriately pay fringe NBA players, and that could come with a lengthened draft.

These are problems that require common-sense solutions to make the system function better for both sides.

The biggest issue is always splitting Basketball Related Income (BRI), which is somewhat a zero-sum game. The more the owners get, the less the players get and vice versa. (It is not completely zero-sum, because a healthy split is necessary to maximize the overall revenue.) In the current CBA, players get between 49% and 51% of BRI. In the previous CBA, it was 57%.

Let’s hope BRI is not a remaining point of contention, because that’s a place either side can dig in its heels. If that’s agreed upon, ramp up the optimism even further.

Derrick Rose’s accuser testifies she passed out drunk or drugged on night of alleged rape, defendants’ lawyer requests she stop crying

FILE - In this June 24, 2016, file photo, New York Knicks' Derrick Rose speaks during a news conference at Madison Square Garden in New York. Phil Jackson made a risky move when he traded for the injury-prone Rose in June, and now the Knicks face the possibility of their point guard's involvement in a rape trial in California during his first preseason with the team.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

LOS ANGELES (AP) A woman accusing NBA star Derrick Rose and two friends of gang-rape testified Thursday in the trial of her $21.5 million lawsuit against the New York Knicks player, who appeared in court for the first time.

When Rose entered the courtroom, the woman paused and became emotional while being questioned by her attorney about the events on a night in August 2013.

The woman said she went to Rose’s rented Beverly Hills mansion for drinks, got very drunk, felt like she had been drugged, and does not remember much about the mansion or the evening.

She said she drank before going to the mansion then had 3+ shots of tequila when she got there and felt different.

“I just felt I was less in control, more goofy,” she said.

The witness said she had previously had tequila with Rose and felt like it gave her strength.

“This was the opposite,” she said.

She testified that when she got home to her apartment she vomited and passed out on her bed. Her lawsuit claims the three men came to her apartment and raped her.

During a break in testimony, a lawyer for the two friends objected to the woman’s amount of crying and asked the judge to order her to not cry.

The judge said he was unaware of courts that have ordered witnesses to not to cry.

“I’m not going to order the witness not to cry any more than I’m going to order her not to breathe,” said U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald.

The Associated Press is not naming the woman because it generally does identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault.

No criminal charges have been filed against Rose or the other men but Los Angeles police continue to investigate.

Rose, 28, didn’t appear in court during jury selection earlier in the week or when attorneys made opening statements Wednesday to the panel of six women and two men.

During opening statements, the woman wept quietly as her lawyer provided jurors with lurid descriptions. Rose’s defense fired back by portraying the encounter as something from a porn film, not a horror movie.

“The plaintiff will tell you all three men were in the bedroom at the same time,” said her attorney, Waukeen McCoy. “Each of them took turns raping her, they don’t even know who went first.”

In sharp contrast to McCoy’s statement, defense lawyers doubled down on their assertions that the accuser willingly had sex with the trio at Rose’s mansion in Beverly Hills.

They said the woman gave lap dances earlier under a sky full of stars by the side of Rose’s pool overlooking city lights, performed oral sex on Rose and had sex with his two friends before inviting them back to her apartment.

“There was no gang rape,” attorney Mike Monico said. “There was no rape at all.”

McCoy said the story about her having sex earlier in the night was falsely concocted to try to show she was insatiable and wanted to have sex with the men later that night.

Jurors will have to rely primarily on her word against that of Rose and the other two men, Ryan Allen and Randall Hampton. There is no physical evidence because the woman was not examined by a doctor afterward and did not report the alleged rape to police for two years – after filing the suit.

McCoy said the woman was too embarrassed to initially report the incident.

After sex, Rose took his condom, put it back in the wrapper and took it with him “like he was never there,” McCoy said.

NBA players are instructed to flush their condoms down the toilet or take them so women can’t use the sperm to impregnate themselves, Rose’s lawyer said.

Rose was traded to the New York Knicks this season after spending his previous seven years in his native Chicago with the Bulls. He’s in the final year of a five-year deal that will pay him $21.3 million.

The defense will focus on the many text messages the woman exchanged with Rose, whom she dated on and off for nearly two years. The lawyers said the messages showed she was lucid and not intoxicated after returning home from Rose’s mansion. They denied she was ever drugged.