Kurt Helin

Kevin Durant got an impressive (and large) Tupac tattoo on his leg

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Tupac lives!

At least in spirit — and now on the leg of Kevin Durant, who picked up some serious ink while in Las Vegas this week for Team USA training camp. From the Mercury News’ Marcus Thompson:

Kevin Durant's new tattoo #2PacForever

A post shared by ThompsonScribe (@thompsonscribe) on

Durant has a lot of tattoos, but they are they are largely on his chest and back (they don’t show up during games while he’s in uniform. This one will get noticed.

NBA makes it official: 2017 All-Star Game pulled from Charlotte due to “bathroom law”

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This has been rumored for months and reported as all but done this morning, now the NBA has made it official:

The 2017 NBA All-Star Game has been pulled from Charlotte.

From the official press release of the NBA.

“The NBA has decided to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte with the hope of rescheduling for 2019.

“Since March, when North Carolina enacted HB2 and the issue of legal protections for the LGBT community in Charlotte became prominent, the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets have been working diligently to foster constructive dialogue and try to effect positive change. We have been guided in these discussions by the long-standing core values of our league. These include not only diversity, inclusion, fairness and respect for others but also the willingness to listen and consider opposing points of view….. While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2.

“We are particularly mindful of the impact of this decision on our fans in North Carolina, who are among the most passionate in our league. It is also important to stress that the City of Charlotte and the Hornets organization have sought to provide an inclusive environment and that the Hornets will continue to ensure that all patrons — including members of the LGBT community — feel welcome while attending games and events in their arena.”

The Hornets added this statement:

“We understand the NBA’s decision and the challenges around holding the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte this season.  There was an exhaustive effort from all parties to keep the event in Charlotte, and we are disappointed we were unable to do so.  With that said, we are pleased that the NBA opened the door for Charlotte to host All-Star Weekend again as soon as an opportunity was available in 2019. We want to thank the City of Charlotte and the business community for their backing throughout this entire process, starting with the initial bid. We are confident that they will be just as supportive and enthusiastic for the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.”

Other NBA teams backed the move, something summed up by Gregg Popovich in Las Vegas with Team USA.

“I agree with the league and Bruce Springsteen and everybody else who pulled out,” Popovich said.

Good for the NBA. This was the right move.

As you might imagine, the North Carolina governor feels differently.

There’s not room on the Internet to discuss everything wrong in that statement.

Turner Broadcasting — which owns TNT, the channel that has exclusive broadcast rights to All-Star Weekend — backed the NBA’s position.

“At Turner, and our parent company Time Warner, diversity in all its forms is core to our value system and to the success of our company. Laws to the contrary go against our fundamental belief of equality and inclusion for all individuals. We fully support the NBA’s decision to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game and all of the weekend’s events originally scheduled to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina. The annual All-Star Game and accompanying weekend competitions are viewed by millions of fans every year on TNT and we look forward to working with the league to once again produce a memorable and entertaining event.”

North Carolina’s legislature called a special session earlier this year approve HB2, which restricts transgender bathroom use (you have to use the bathroom for the gender with which you were born) and preempted anti-discrimination ordinances put in by Charlotte and other North Carolina cities that tried to block discrimination against gays and lesbians. The law led to a business backlash — PayPal, Deutsche Bank, and others have pulled plans for expansion in the state off the table — as well as a social one, including things such as Bruce Springsteen canceling a concert in the state. Now the NBA has joined that list.

While there have been some talks about modification of the law, that was never likely in an election year — this law is red meat to a socially conservative Republican base, and in a red state that was not going to change before the election in what is seen as a swing state this time around.

While rumors have circulated for a while that Orlando had pushed for the All-Star Game, it appears that New Orleans is now the front runner. Chicago and Brooklyn may also be in the mix.

Klay Thompson mentions Manu Ginobili saying he, Warriors will sacrifice to win

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It’s been the biggest talking point, the biggest question for people looking for a reason not to coronate the Warriors heading into next season:

Are they truly going to share the ball? Are they all willing to sacrifice touches and points — some, certainly more than others — to get those wins?

Over the course of Team USA’s camp in Las Vegas this week, the Warriors on hand have brushed off this question, basically dismissing the core idea they would be selfish. Here is what Klay Thompson said Wednesday, as reported by Ethan Sherwood Staus of ESPN.

“I know how good I am in this league. I’m not going to judge my performance off numbers or anything. If we get wins, it really doesn’t matter, man. It’s all good….

“I look at a guy like Manu Ginobili who came off the bench almost his entire career,” Thompson said. “Never averaged more than 20 points a game, but he’s a four-time champion, you know? He could have easily been on another team and averaged 25 a game, but he sacrificed to win, and that’s what I expect to do next year. I don’t care about averaging 25 or even 20. I just want to finish it out and get back to the Finals and enjoy that ride.”

While Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are going to give up some touches and points, the real sacrifices — the Chris Bosh in Miami level sacrifices, as Straus pointed out — are going to fall on Thompson and Draymond Green. Both of whom have said they are willing to do it — and both of whom have the personalities to accept that role.

There is going to be an adjustment period the first half of the season as the Warriors figure out how to fit Durant into what they do — the Warriors will still be good, but there will be rough patches. But because guys will sacrifice, they will have it figured out by the All-Star break. Which is bad news for the rest of the league.

AP source: Pelicans, 2nd-rounder Cheick Diallo agree on 3-year deal

Associated Press
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) A person familiar with negotiations says the New Orleans Pelicans and second-round draft choice Cheick Diallo have agreed to a three-year contract at the NBA minimum, with a team option in the third season.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract has not been announced.

If Diallo plays through the end of the contract, it could be worth about $2.5 million.

The Pelicans traded up in the second round of last month’s draft, sending the 39th and 40th overall picks to the Los Angeles Clippers, to select the 6-foot-9 Diallo out of Kansas at 33rd overall.

Diallo recently played for the Pelicans’ NBA Summer League team in Las Vegas, averaging 10.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in five games.

Jason Terry confirms Rockets told him they will not bring him back next season

Associated Press
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The Jet is going to be landing somewhere other than Houston next season.

The Rockets extended the contract of James Harden this summer, then rolled the dice on Eric Gordon‘s health to get more shooting — but that will soak up most of the minutes at the two guard spot (assuming Gordon and Pablo Prigioni play together off the bench). They will not need the services of Jason Terry, something Terry himself confirmed to Justin Termine of Sirius XM NBA Radio.

Terry has said he wants to play a couple more years then jump into a front office (or maybe coaching) job.

He averaged 12.1 points a game and shot 35.6 percent from three for the Rockets last season, numbers that will likely decline as he turns 39 next season.

Nobody has snapped him up yet, but at the very least he’s the kind of veteran that teams will turn to in training camp or during the season when they are hit by an injury, or a player did not pan out as they expected and they need more guard depth. I’d be surprised not to see him back in the NBA next season.