Dan Feldman

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Report: Cavaliers were worried, now amused, about Tristan Thompson dating Khloe Kardashian

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LeBron James was reportedly unhappy before the season about Cavaliers teammate Tristan Thompson dating Khloe Kardashian.

But that came from a gossip site, and it’s tough to read the veracity. More trustworthy reporters, for good reason, shy away from covering that type of stuff – though maybe a little too far.

Players’ personal lives often affect on-court production, and teams care for that reason.

So, it’s nice to get some insight from from a reliable source.

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

Team higher-ups were a little worried when Thompson began dating Khloe Kardashian in August, but now they are almost amused. When he comes to work, it’s as if the Kardashian thing doesn’t exist.

Thompson has proven himself a consummate team player, someone eager to maximize his production in a limited role rather than chase a bigger one – traits Lowe details in an excellent article.

At this point, the Cavs shouldn’t worry about Thompson dating Kardashian. He has kept his focus amid the increased attention, and he seems grounded enough to maintain it. Beyond that reality, any talk of a Kardashian curse is grounded in something between sexism and silliness.

12 referees selected to officiate NBA Finals

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NEW YORK (AP) — Danny Crawford has been chosen to officiate his 23rd NBA Finals, making him the most experienced of the 12 referees selected for the series.

John Goble was the lone first-time selection Tuesday when the NBA announced the referees who would work the series beginning Thursday between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Mike Callahan was selected for his 14th NBA Finals, Ken Mauer his 12th and Scott Foster his 10th. Monty McCutchen, Derrick Stafford, Tony Brothers, James Capers, Marc Davis, Ed Malloy and Zach Zarba round out the staff. Each has been picked at least four times.

The officials were selected by NBA Referee Operations management based on their postseason performance. Referees were evaluated after each round to determine advancement.

Crawford has officiated 33 NBA Finals games and Callahan 18.

Tom Washington and Sean Wright are the alternates for the series.

Report: Pistons open to trading No. 12 draft pick for win-now veteran

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Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy suffered through a miserable season.

Detroit finished a disappointing 37-45, fading from the playoff race down the stretch. Reggie Jackson began the season injured and never found his footing. Franchise player Andre Drummond, seemingly grating Van Gundy in particular, regressed in the first year of his max contract. Most players between struggled with shooting, defense or both. Van Gundy shuffled lineups to avail.

But after dealing with all that day after day, the Pistons coach can at least turn to Pistons president Stan Van Gundy for a solution.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

A drawback of a president/coach is him thinking too short-term. Is that the case here? Perhaps, but we don’t know whom the Pistons are targeting. They might not trade the No. 12 pick for someone less valuable just to get an immediate upgrade.

A deal would be tricky, too. If they retain restricted free agent Kentavious Caldwell-Popewhich appears likely – the Pistons would be near the luxury-tax line. Most veterans with the value of a mid-first-rounder make more money than the No. 12 pick, which would put even more stress on Detroit’s finances.

We also don’t know which players will be available at No. 12. The draft could drop off before then unless you’re enamored with someone like Donovan Mitchell or Luke Kennard.

It’s easy to slam the Pistons for this strategy, and maybe they deserve it. But for a president/coach, Van Gundy has been relatively patient so far. He deserves a little leeway to explore trades without inducing panic.

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.

Warriors favored over field to win 2018 NBA title

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The Warriors became the first team since Michael Jordan’s Bulls to be favored over the field for a championship entering the season.

They haven’t resolved that bet yet. They haven’t even re-signed Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant.

But the Warriors are already favored over the field to win the 2018 NBA title by BookMaker.eu with implied odds of 64%.

The Cavaliers are second at 29%. No other team tops 8%.

This won’t quiet the talk of the Finals matchup feeling preordained.

Here’s the full listing of BookMaker’s implied odds:

  • Golden State Warriors 64.29%
  • Cleveland Cavaliers 28.99%
  • San Antonio Spurs 8.00%
  • Boston Celtics 7.69%
  • Washington Wizards 3.85%
  • Houston Rockets 2.94%
  • Los Angeles Clippers 2.17%
  • Milwaukee Bucks 2.17%
  • Oklahoma City Thunder 1.52%
  • New Orleans Pelicans 1.32%
  • Miami Heat 1.23%
  • Toronto Raptors 1.23%
  • Utah Jazz 0.99%
  • Los Angeles Lakers 0.79%
  • Memphis Grizzlies 0.79%
  • Atlanta Hawks 0.66%
  • Chicago Bulls 0.50%
  • Indiana Pacers 0.50%
  • Minnesota Timberwolves 0.50%
  • Portland Trail Blazers 0.50%
  • Philadelphia 76ers 0.50%
  • Charlotte Hornets 0.40%
  • Denver Nuggets 0.40%
  • New York Knicks 0.28%
  • Orlando Magic 0.28%
  • Detroit Pistons 0.25%
  • Dallas Mavericks 0.25%
  • Phoenix Suns 0.25%
  • Sacramento Kings 0.20%
  • Brooklyn Nets 0.20%