Kurt Helin

Watch the Top 10 plays from Las Vegas Summer League

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There’s no more NBA basketball for a couple of months, so let’s enjoy the highlights from Las Vegas courtesy the people at NBA.com.

Yes, there are Lonzo Ball passes. There also is a De'Aaron Fox crossover, and a John Collins dunk you’ll want to see.

Kyrie Irving on the future of the Cavaliers: “We’re in a peculiar place”

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There’s a sense that the foundation that sent the Cleveland Cavaliers to three straight NBA Finals — and brought the city its first major sports championship in 54 years — is crumbling. From the decision of owner Dan Gilbert not to pay up and listen to GM David Griffin to the aging roster of role players to the rumors of LeBron James leaving next summer, there are reasons for concern.

Kyrie Irving was attending the Sports Illustrated Fashionable 50 event Tuesday night when SI’s Maggie Gray asked him how different this Cavaliers team could look in a couple of years.

“Like I said, we’re in a peculiar place,” Irving said. “The best thing we can do is handle things with class and professionalism. Obviously, we have a great owner that’s willing to spend a little money on guys that he believes in. At this point, we just see what happens throughout the summer.”

Dan Gibert is willing to spend, he’s paying the tax to keep this team together. Just don’t confuse that with spending smartly. While the Cavaliers have brought back Kyle Korver and signed Jose Calderon this summer, the Rockets went out and signed P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute — the kind of wing defenders Cleveland needs against Boston and Golden State. This team needed to focus on the big picture and without Griffin could not pull it off.

It’s impossible to say what LeBron will do in the summer of 2018 — he doesn’t know yet — but he is keeping his options open. That includes leaving, but it also includes staying. He’s going to see how this season plays out, how the management situation with the Cavaliers plays out, then weigh his options. None of that will stop the rampant speculation that will follow the team all season — every Instagram post will send fans into a frenzy.

The Cavaliers, with all this drama, are still the team to beat in the East. That said, Boston has narrowed the gap. If the cracks in the foundation in Cleveland keep growing, the Celtics are poised to pounce, and the speculation about the future in Cleveland will only grow louder.

Check out Markelle Fultz’s Summer League highlights from Utah (mostly)

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The Sixers’ No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz‘s Las Vegas Summer League was cut short — 15 minutes into his first game there he went down with a high ankle sprain that ended his summer (fortunately, it’s not nearly as serious as other summer injuries Sixers players have had to deal with in recent years.

However, in Utah Fultz showed promise as a smooth playmaker and scorer — he scored 20 points per game on 46.9 percent shooting. He knows how to use the pick-and-roll well for a rookie. Check out his highlights above.

Fultz is going to get his chance this fall, with the ball in his hands and showing what he can do off the ball when Ben Simmons is running the show.

Con man posing as Adele’s manager got shoes from Paul George, Oladipo, others

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Do you know who Adele’s manager is? Of course not, nor should you. That’s not something you would need to know, we need to focus on things that impact our daily lives, like why The Hound is having visions of the White Walkers in the flames?

Multiple NBA players also did not know who Adele’s manager is either, so when a Florida con man posed as said manager and promised tickets in exchange for shoes, he got some. The Miami Herald has the details.

Two months ago, police arrested a notorious South Florida con man on accusations that he impersonated the manager of singer Adele to try to get tickets to a Miami hip-hop concert. But his scam targeted a host of other sports stars and celebrities over the years, prosecutors said Tuesday in filing new criminal charges against Justin Jackson and his wife….

Offered Adele concert tickets in exchange for sneakers from basketball players Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook and Bismack Biyombo, among others, purportedly for an auction to benefit charities. He succeeded in getting sneakers shipped to him from NBA stars Paul George, Victor Oladipo and Richard Hamilton.

First off, and this should be obvious, this Justin Jackson is in no way related to the Justin Jackson just drafted by the Kings out of North Carolina. (That hooping Jackson had a decent Summer League, BTW).

I don’t blame the players here, they get charity requests for gear all the time and were good enough to pitch in — the con man also had an email sent from the “manager” of Lionel Messi to bolster his claim. Maybe those players and the people around them do a little more research in the future, but this isn’t that big a deal.

According to the Herald report, the con couple face more than a dozen felony charges related to their efforts with not only the basketball players but a host of other stars. Jackson did two years in prison already related to a scam where he got jewelry from a story pretending to be Madona’s manager.

 

 

Lakers’ GM Rob Pelinka goes Old Testament in describing Caldwell-Pope signing

Associated Press
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There is an electricity around the Lakers right now that hasn’t been there in years — one filled with hope for the future. There is new management in place on the basketball side with Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka that the fan base trusts. They drafted Lonzo Ball, who showed at Summer League why people think he could be a franchise-changing player. And the team has made moves (with more to come) to have a couple of max salaries slots next summer when a host of elite players will be on the market.

Among the smart Lakers’ moves: signing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a one-year, $18 million contract. Caldwell-Pope has great potential to step forward as a valuable “3&D” wing who fits with the Lakers’ young core and gives the team a much-needed defensive boost.

Laker GM Rob Pelinka described signing KCP as a literal gift from God (hat tip Silver Screen and Roll).

“I would venture to guess there’s people in the room that are familiar with the stories in the Book of Genesis. Where there was a time when the Israelites were wandering in the desert and, all of a sudden, bread came down from heaven. That’s kind of what today feels like for us, to have KCP join.”

This is not a road Pelinka wants to travel, and I don’t simply mean comparing signing a young wing to the story of God feeding his hungry people in the desert (or saying a story from Exodus is in Genesis). The last time a  player was described as manna from heaven it was Darko Milicic by Timberwolves GM David Kahn, who had just acquired arguably the NBA’s biggest draft bust from the Pistons. He is not the GM model Pelinka wants to follow, and the Lakers hope this signing works out a little better.

It’s summer, so we will just move along. Nothing to see here, it’s all harmless fun. But if the Lakers can land Paul George as a free agent next summer, I can’t wait to see Pelinka’s biblical comparison.