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Cavaliers say they’re not upset with Jeff Green roller-skating while out injured

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With a bow essentially put on J.R. Smith‘s soup throw, the Cavaliers have moved onto another silly “scandal.”

Jeff Green is out with a back injury. Yet he – gasp – roller-skated, as video posted by LeBron James to Instagram shows.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

Green, James, and JR Smith were among those who appeared on James’ Instagram account skating away on Sunday at a private party described internally on the Cavs as a “team bonding” event. It is not clear which other Cavs personnel attended.

Cavs staff, in talking with cleveland.com, said while the appearance of Green on roller skates at a time when he can’t play because of a back injury is not a great look, the team’s intent was to keep Green out of games for a period of five days to rest his body from the rigors of NBA court battles.

Roller skating should not be equated with the pounding the body takes during a game, they said.

Were people actually upset with Green? Or are the Cavs just combating faux outrage?

Everyone should be happy that Green is healthy enough to skate. That could show progress. It doesn’t mean he’s ready to play NBA basketball.

Arizona: Deandre Ayton, Allonzo Trier and Rawle Alkins declaring for NBA draft

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller was reportedly recorded arranging a $100,000 payment to freshman star Deandre Ayton. Miller denies it, but the FBI and NCAA are surely looking into Tuscon.

Which is why it’s clearly time for Ayton and other top Wildcats to leave town.

Arizona honored Ayton, junior shooting Allonzo Trier and sophomore small forward Rawle Alkins during its senior-night ceremony, acknowledging all three will turn pro after the season.

Ayton is a potential No. 1 pick. Paying $100,000 for him would be a bargain. The 7-footer is a beast – strong and fluid. He’s an elite finisher and rebounder. His jumper, with range beyond the college 3-point arc, suggests an incredible ceiling. But he can fall in love with his still-developing outside shot, and there are questions about his work ethic and defensive tenacity. Still, Ayton presents a package teams will covet very high in the draft.

Trier and Alkins are more likely second-rounders, though either could climb into the first round. They’re both scorers with good range and question marks – athleticism for Trier, size for the 6-foot-4 Alkins.

Report: Nuggets, Grizzlies changing color schemes

AP Photo/John Dunn
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Behind Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets are transitioning into a new era.

That’ll apparently include changing color schemes.

Denver, already moving away from powder blue, will go nearly full throwback. The Grizzlies will also make a more subtle change.

Conrad Burry of SportsLogos.net:

Check out Burry’s post for mockups of what the teams’ new jerseys might look like.

The Nuggets were mostly awful the last time they wore maroon and blue, 1994-2003. I’m not sure why they want to call back to that era. If they wanted a color scheme from their past, they should have gone rainbow – a more fun look reminiscent of happier times.

Memphis’ change would barely register if I weren’t so curious what happens to 3Shadesofblue.

Report: NBA planning more holistic approach than just changing draft for young prospects

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
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NBA commissioner Adam Silver has indicated a desire to change his league’s one-and-done rule.

But that might not simply be again allowing players to join the NBA out of high school.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Silver’s aim is much more comprehensive than simply re-opening the door for 18-year-olds to play in the NBA, sources said.

A plan is expected to include the NBA starting relationships with elite teenagers while they are in high school, providing skills to help them develop both on and off the court. It would ultimately open an alternate path to the NBA besides playing in college and a way 18-year-olds could earn a meaningful salary either from NBA teams or as part of an enhanced option in the developmental G League, sources said.

The NBA is focusing on getting involved in two important periods in which they currently have minimal contact with prospects: the high school years and the time between high school graduation and when a young player is physically and emotionally ready to join the NBA.

The system for elite 18-year-old basketball players is mostly broken. There’s an opportunity here, especially with the NCAA’s absurd amateurism rules coming under enhanced scrutiny. The NBA has the most resources to throw at the problem.

If the NBA’s plan includes putting these players in its minor league, those minor-league salaries must rise significantly. Otherwise, players will still go to college, where scholarships and cost-of-attendance aren’t nothing and under-the-table payments will never be stopped.

As for younger players, the United States could see academies like the NBA has opened around the globe. I’m not as convinced putting boys so deeply on an NBA track is good, though. It’ll be good for the players who make the NBA and the league itself. But what about those who wash out?

Still, more options – especially for the 18-year-olds currently shut out of the NBA – would be better. It’s about time the NBA stopped ceding that time to college basketball and competed to have a better alternative.

Kobe Bryant on Oscar: ‘I feel better than winning a championship’ (video)

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Kobe Bryant has spent most of his life manically devoted to basketball. That earned the former Lakers star five NBA titles.

In retirement, Kobe claimed another victory – in the Oscars.

Kobe:

I feel better than winning a championship, to be honest with you. I swear I do. Growing up, as a kid, I dreamt of winning championships and working really hard to make that dream come true. But then to have something like this seemingly come out of left field. I heard a lot of people tell me, when I started writing, they would ask me, “What are you going to do when you retire?” And I’d say, “Well I want to be a writer. I want to be a storyteller.” And I got a lot of, “That’s cute. That’s cute. You’ll be depressed when your career’s over, and you’ll come back and play.” And I got that a lot. And s to be here now and have this sense of validation, this is crazy, man. It’s crazy.

Kobe sounds like someone with a healthier mindset. He still has that chip on his shoulder, but he also seems happier – less consumed by winning and losing, enjoying the experience more.

Of course, that’s easier to do when you win.