Kurt Helin

derrick rose trial

Derrick Rose rape lawsuit trial heading to Los Angeles jury

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The rape lawsuit trial of NBA star Derrick Rose is heading to the jury.

A Los Angeles panel is scheduled to begin deliberating Wednesday in a civil suit that claims Rose and two friends gang-raped his ex-girlfriend in 2013 at her Los Angeles apartment after she passed out from drugs or drink.

Rose’s attorneys call the sex consensual and contend the woman is simply seeking a $21.5 million payday.

In closing arguments Tuesday, Rose’s lawyer argued that the 30-year-old woman was suing for money and for revenge because the New York Knicks point guard ended their relationship.

However, the woman’s lawyer told jurors that she was the victim of a “classic” gang rape.

51 Questions: Which team will take biggest step back this season?

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We are in the home stretch of PBT’s 2016-17 NBA preview series, 51 Questions. For more than a month (and continuing through the start of the NBA season) we tackle 51 questions we cannot wait to see answered during the upcoming NBA season. We are entering the prediction portion of the preview season, today the PBT staff is tackling:

Which team will take the biggest step back this season?

Kurt Helin: Oklahoma City Thunder

In terms of the raw numbers, the Miami Heat may well take the title; they could lose 15 or more games this season compared to a year ago (thanks to no Chris Bosh or Dwyane Wade). But Miami’s slide is not as painful as Oklahoma City’s for the fan base — the Thunder will fall out of contender status. I expect OKC will win 7-10 fewer games than a season ago, but still make the playoffs. However, with Kevin Durant they were legit title contenders, without him they are likely a one-and-done postseason team at best. That’s  a real blow for the team’s fans.

Dan FeldmanOklahoma City Thunder

Could it be any other team? Losing Kevin Durant took them from legitimate championship contender to uncertain playoff team. Even if Russell Westbrook leads Oklahoma City to the highest end of its potential, there’s a huge drop knowing a title is no longer realistic.

Dane Carbaugh: Miami Heat

It’s hard to look at losing Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade and not think the Heat are in for a big step back. The Eastern Conference playoff teams from last season got tougher: Boston added Al Horford; the Hornets are building; Detroit is in Year 2 of Stan Van Gundy; Chicago is … well, they have Wade at least. The Heat re-signed Hassan Whiteside, and Justise Winslow will continue to grow. But if things go poorly for Miami to start, Goran Dragic could be an early trade piece and with him gone a Miami slump out of the playoffs would be almost guaranteed.

Watch DeMarcus Cousins drop 23 on Clippers Tuesday

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It was a showdown of the USA’s Olympic centers — DeMarcus Cousins vs. DeAndre Jordan.

Well, maybe “showdown” is a bit of a strong word for a preseason game, but Cousins got the best of his gold medal teammate dropping 23 points on 10-of-17 in the game. Cousins knocked down midrange jumpers, ran the floor in transition, and was a bully inside (especially when matched up with anyone smaller than himself, such as Blake Griffin). Cousins also pulled down eight rebounds and looked to be in midseason form in front of the home crowd at the new building in downtown Sacramento.

The Clippers came from behind in the fourth quarter to get the 92-89 win, if you care about such things in the preseason.

Report: Spurs deny any kind of trade talks involving LaMarcus Aldridge

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There have been a couple of reports this preseason suggesting the Spurs could come around to the idea of trading LaMarcus Aldridge, the latest coming from the highly-respected Jackie McMullan of ESPN. There have been questions about his fit off the court with the button-down Spurs organization, whether or not he was happy sharing the spotlight (an issue that was at the heart of the friction he had in Portland with Brandon Roy then Damian Lillard).

But did you really think the Spurs were going to rush into anything in the short term? That’s about as likely as the third presidential debate being a thoughtful, civil policy discussion. The Spurs have not made a move toward moving Aldridge, and they may never take that step. Jeff McDonald and Jabari Young break it all down at the San Antonio Express-News.

Spurs sources denied the report, saying no talks have occurred with any team….

They do not enter 2016-17 with the immediate intention of rebuilding in aftermath of Tim Duncan’s retirement. They did not sign Pau Gasol to a $31 million contract and bring Manu Ginobili back at $14 million with designs on scrapping everything and starting over.

Still, if their season goes unexpectedly south, league sources believe the Spurs might be tempted to investigate what return they might get for Aldridge.

So to be clear: If the Spurs — who most prognosticators see as the third or fourth best team in the NBA, a team on its way to at least 55 wins once again — struggle they might start to explore trade packages. Might. Don’t go counting on Aldridge coming to your team anytime soon.

The Spurs are going to make as good a run as they can at Golden State this season, and if that doesn’t pan out maybe next summer changes come. But don’t expect a rushed mid-season move, that’s just not who Gregg Popovich and the Spurs are.

LeBron James’ chasedown block in midseason form. Ask Kelly Oubre.

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Oh, young Kelly Oubre. If you steal the ball from LeBron James and try to race him to the rim the other way, you better not get cute at the rim with a soft lay-up off the glass. LeBron eats soft lay-ups for breakfast. Ask Stephen Curry about it.

Tuesday night the Wizards’ Oubre made a nice defensive play, trying to deny the pass to LeBron and making a steal when the pass came anyway.  Kyrie Irving got back on defense, which made Oubre hesitate a little getting to the rim — and then comes the patented LeBron chasedown block.

That gets me ready for the season to start.