Kurt Helin

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Report: Cavaliers sign former Net Markel Brown, give him chance to make team in camp

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The Cleveland Cavaliers enter training camp looking for guard depth. They technically have three open roster spots, although it’s expected J.R. Smith will sign a deal eventually to take up one of those.

The Cavaliers are going to give Markel Brown the chance to grab a spot on the roster, as reported by Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

The Cavaliers need help at the backup point guard spot and Brown is more of an undersized two guard, so we’ll see if this ends up being a fit.

Brown is a good defender but struggles on the offensive end. He took almost 60 percent of his shots beyond 16 feet last season, but shot just 36.6 percent from 16 feet to the arc, and 31.4 percent from three. This was a struggling Nets team that is searching for a solid backcourt, and the organization chose not to bring him back.

This is a longshot for Brown, but he’s getting a chance.

Stephen Curry gets game-winning shot blocked by 17-year-old camper

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Stephen Curry is on his sell more Under Armour shoes promotional tour of China and Asia, which has included a series of camps and clinics with young players from the country.

At one stop that included taking some of the top campers to both go through drills, then play in a game at a larger event that night. Curry entered that game late, and his team needed a game-winning three. No problem, Curry hits those all the time .

This time a 17-year-old blocked his shot.

Kevin Love couldn’t have done it any better.

That young man was named game MVP and earned an invite to the Warriors star’s elite camp in San Francisco.

Sacramento Kings sign Isaiah Cousins to partially guaranteed deal

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Isaiah Cousins was a good gamble by the Kings at No. 59 in the draft. Cousins spent last season playing in the shadow of Buddy Hield in Oklahoma, but he stood out on his own with his versatility — he hit 41 percent from three, can create in the pick-and-roll, and plays solid defense. He showed a little of that potential at Summer League.

The Kings are going to bring him to camp, something reported by Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

The smart money is on the Kings sending Cousins to the D-League to develop more.

As noted by The Vertical’s Bobby Marks, the Kings have 14 guaranteed and one of their partial guaranteed deals is Ty Lawson, who almost certainly will make the roster (the Kings need Lawson as a veteran point guard to run the show while Darren Collison is out on a yet-to-be-announced suspension after his guilty plea to domestic violence charges).

Cousins could develop into a “3&D” guy, but he needs time on the court and working with coaches.

Brad Stevens says Boston wanted Al Horford for fit as much as talent

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Brad Stevens had taken a roster full of role players and one undersized but dynamic shot creator (Isaiah Thomas) and turned them into a 48-win team that was a threat to make the second round of the playoffs. It was an impressive effort where the sum was more than its parts.

However, it was about as far as Boston could go without adding a major talent.

The Celtics go their man, Al Horford. Not just because of his 15.2 points on 50.5 percent shooting with 7.3 rebounds a game, but because of his versatility and fit up front with what Boston is doing, coach Brad Stevens said to Vice Sports.

“We played [Atlanta] ten times [last season], so we had a pretty good idea of what they were doing and they had an idea of what we were doing,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told VICE Sports. “One of the reasons we went after Al really hard on day one was because we thought that he fit in really well with how we play.”

Horford plays center like a forward — he can step out on the perimeter and hit threes, he can put the ball on the floor and drive, he is a gifted passer, he can get buckets around the rim, and he’s a good defender. Horford is good at nearly everything.

Boston’s offense has been about playing with pace and space — which is why Horford fits with the Celtics. He can set a screen for Thomas out high then pop out to the ar, keeping the defender out of the paint and forcing rotations. Put someone smaller on him and he can post up. Bring the double and he finds the open man. He can be used in a lot of ways on offense and is dangerous at each.

Stevens is just the guy to take advantage of Horford’s skill set. If Thomas, Avery Bradley, and Jae Crowder can make the adjustments, if the Celtics can keep the ball moving, if they can continue to defend well, this can be the second best team in the Eastern Conference. The foundation was already laid. Horford was just the first big piece they needed.

Isiah Thomas, Julius Erving, Bill Russell, Alonzo Mourning to present Shaq at Hall of Fame induction

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Shaquille O’Neal is entering the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend.

He enters with more than an incredible resume — four titles, three Finals MVPs, one regular season, MVP, 14 times All-NBA, and the list goes on — but as one of the most physically imposing and best big men ever to play the game. He did it drawing in fans the entire time with a personality almost as big as himself — he seemed to have a childlike joy at getting to play in the NBA.

Who is going to present him at the Hall this weekend?

Isiah Thomas, Julius Erving, Bill Russell, and Alonzo Mourning, Shaq told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports in an interesting Q&A.

It’s a career where Shaq said he could have done a lot more than he showed on the court.

“I only played 30 percent of my real game,” O’Neal told The Vertical. “I had a great career, but I didn’t get a chance to showcase what I can really do. That’s because the double- and triple-teams were coming so quick, I had to dominate, dominate, dominate inside. I had the ability to step out, go around defenders, dribble by people, but I never got to show that.

“I had to focus on being the most powerful, dominant player to ever play the game.”

Watch the highlights of early, Orlando Shaq and I don’t doubt his ability to dribble around defenders. Fans can often forget just how agile and quick Shaq was.

Congrats Shaq, you earned this weekend.