Kurt Helin

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Derek Fisher to be on next season of ‘Dancing with the Stars’

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NEW YORK (AP) — Nick and Vanessa Lachey, retired athletes Derek Fisher and Terrell Owens, and singer Debbie Gibson headline the upcoming season of “Dancing with the Stars.”

Other cast members on the ABC reality competition include “Malcolm in the Middle” actor Frankie Muniz, professional wrestler Nikki Bella and “Property Brothers” star Drew Scott.

Derek Fisher had an 18-year NBA career where he was a five-time champion and Lakers’ legend, followed by a couple forgettable seasons as the Knicks coach.

The NFL’s Owens and the NBA’s Fisher are looking to follow in the footsteps of another pro athlete, former NFL running back Rashad Jennings, who took home the show’s Mirrorball Trophy last season.

The 25th season of “Dancing with the Stars” premieres Sept. 18.

Isaiah Thomas on Instagram says he will redefine himself in Cleveland

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Isaiah Thomas hasn’t talked much about being traded from Boston to Cleveland, other than he was hurt. Understandably. He poured his heart into being a Celtic, the fans loved him and he loved them. He played in a playoff game a day after his sister died in a car crash. He was an All-NBA guard for them, and they shipped him out the door.

Thomas posted this on Instagram, saying he would define himself in Cleveland.

The question now is when does Thomas get back on the court? Well, that and is he fully healthy when he does?

What Thomas brings to Cleveland this season is the same level of offense Irving brought last year — compare their stats from last season, they’re even — and intensity to play hard every night that the Cavaliers sometimes lack. He is in a contract year, too, so you know he wants to be on the court and will bring it every time he is. That can help the Cavaliers back to the Finals (that and LeBron James). Whether that gets him paid like he hopes next summer is another question.

Which leads to this interesting note from Chris Haynes of ESPN.

Heat sign guard Larry Drew II for training camp

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MIAMI (AP) — The Miami Heat have signed guard Larry Drew II, who will be heading to training camp with the team for the third time in five years.

Drew helped the U.S. win gold at the FIBA AmeriCup this past weekend. He has been in 96 games with Miami’s NBA G League affiliate in Sioux Falls, averaging 10.8 points and 7.8 assists on 48 percent shooting – and holds the league record with a 23-assist game in 2014.

He has also played internationally in Lithuania and Puerto Rico.

Drew was in camp with the Heat in 2013 and 2014. His lone NBA experience came in a 12-game stint with Philadelphia in the 2014-15 season, where he averaged 3.8 points and 3.7 assists. He played with the Sixers in the 2017 NBA Summer League.

Current, former NBA GMs say tampering is commonplace

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Sort of like speeding down an almost empty midwestern freeway, tampering in the NBA is something everybody does. The goal is just not to get caught.

The Lakers, specifically GM Rob Pelinka, got caught and paid a hefty $500,000 fine for it (although it could have been worse, the NBA said there was no deal between the sides, at which point they could have blocked George coming to the Lakers).

The incident put a spotlight on tampering in the NBA, which is something everybody does. Everybody. Look at what current and former executives told Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report.

“If you’re not cheating by the letter of the law,” says one former GM, “you’re not trying.”

Adds a current Eastern Conference GM: “You don’t get free agents without it. [Tampering] is what the whole league is built on. That’s the only way you can get anything done….

“If you’re an agent and you wait until July 1 to find out what your client’s options are, you’re going to get fired. You’ll be sitting there while your client’s options are falling off the table.”

Ever notice that at 12:01 Eastern on July 1, a minute after NBA free agency has begun, deals are announced. The only way that happens is with tampering. The two sides — the team and the player’s agent — have worked out the deal before free agency opened, they just couldn’t announce it yet.

Teams put out feelers and ask to see if there is interest in Player X coming to their franchise, if it is worth even pursuing. If it is, the sides get a sense of what the other is looking at concerning finances just to make sure they are in the ballpark. That way when July 1 rolls around, teams have an idea where to focus their resources.

Of course Pelinka wanted Paul George‘s agent to know his team was interested — you think the Lakers are the only team to do that? If so, you’ve also probably given money to help that poor Nigerian prince. The only difference is everyone around the league knows George has his eyes on L.A., the Magic Johnson interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live ticked off the Pacers owner, the Pacers then asked for an investigation, and Rob Pelinka left enough of a trail he got caught. However, if you don’t think Pacers president Kevin Pritchard has tampered, well, again, that Nigerian prince thanks you for your help.

There should be a broader discussion of if tampering is even something worth enforcing in the modern NBA. Right now it works about as well as stopping speeding on the highways of America. The Lakers let George’s agent know they were interested when he becomes a free agent next summer — so what? Was this news worthy of a fine? Now, if the two sides worked out a deal that involved off-the-books compensation in keeping a salary down — the Joe Smith/Timberwolves case — that’s different (and Bucher’s report says that still goes on to a degree). But the Lakers could have had Julius Randle, who shares an agent with George, go to him and recruit him and the league is good with that, the NBA league office will not stop player-to-player recruiting. Assistant coaches on Team USA are head coaches in the NBA who get to build relationships with the game’s elite with the NBA’s full approval. The line is fuzzy, poorly enforced, and seems an issue of times gone by.

The Lakers former GM, Mitch Kupchak, notoriously played by the rules and didn’t contact agents until July 1. How did that work with LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Durant — Kupchak’s Lakers were starting weeks behind everyone else in the process. Pelinka was playing the game, he just got caught.

And this Lakers’ fine isn’t going to stop anyone from tampering, just like that ticket doesn’t stop speeding.

 

 

Pennsylvania farmer creates “Trust the Process” Sixers corn maze

Photo credit: CBS 3
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No, Sam Hinkie has not taken up farming.

There’s a real buzz among Sixers fans about their team, which showed its potential last season for 31 games when Joel Embiid played. Now Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz will take the court with him (knocking on wood) and there are reasons for hope. Former GM Hinkie’s “trust the process” mantra to help fans through the dark days of the rebuild has become a rallying cry thanks to Embiid.

The R & J Farmers Market in Souderton, Penn., has taken it to another level with this corn maze.

The most impressive part is Rich Alterman did that without a GPS, he just drew it out on a graph then did it by hand (when the corn was younger and smaller).

We all just hope the Sixers can get healthy, on the court, and start living up to all the hype.

(Hat tip 247 Sports and CBS 3 in Philly).