Author: Kurt Helin


Report: Suns targeting Goran Dragic’s brother Zoran


Goran Dragic, who is coming off a breakout season in Phoenix, has been masterful for Slovenia this World Cup (and that happens to be Team USA’s opponent Tuesday). He’s averaged 16.5 points a game on 58.8 percent shooting, hit 38.5 percent from three and dished out 4.3 assists a game.

His brother Zoran Dragic has been his team’s second best player — 13.5 points a game on 53 percent shooting overall, and he’s shooting 45 percent from three. The pairing of the brothers has given Slovenia one of the best offenses in the World Cup.

Now the Suns might try to pair them up in the NBA, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Sources here in Spain told this weekend that the Phoenix Suns are indeed among the three NBA teams expressing the most serious interest in signing Goran Dragic’s younger brother Zoran….

European media reports have pegged the Indiana Pacers as another suitor for Zoran Dragic.

This makes a lot of sense for the Suns, mostly because of the unsettled nature of the Eric Bledsoe situation (that relationship has deteriorated and he may sign the qualifying offer) and in keeping Goran Dragic a Sun as he is a free agent next summer and will have multiple suitors.

According to the report, Zoran Dragic can get out of his contract with Spanish side Unicaja Malaga, although he is going to have to pay some of the buyout as it is larger than NBA teams are allowed to pitch in.

After his play in this tournament a few NBA teams will come knocking, but Phoenix has all the right reasons to be motivated to get a deal done.

FIBA World Cup round of 16 roundup: USA, Spain meeting still on track

Brazil vs Argentina - 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup

We are down to eight teams at the FIBA World Cup after the first two days of the win-or-go-home knockout rounds. We know you were watching football all weekend (so were we), so here is the roundup of what you missed.

Bottom line, it still looks like Team USA vs. Spain will meet for the gold medal Sept. 14. Both look clear and away to be the best teams.


USA 86, Mexico 63: This went pretty much as expected, another easy USA win behind 20 points from Stephen Curry. NBA free agent Gustavo Ayon put up 25 and 8 for Mexico, but this game was never in doubt as the Americans came out with a little fire from the start for a change. Next up for them is Slovenia, who the Americans beat by 30 in a Madison Square Garden exhibition a couple weeks back.

Slovenia 71, Dominican Republic 61: Goran Dragic had 18 points and six assists to get his team the win. Their reward? Team USA next round. This is why Dragic was complaining about Australia throwing a game to get the three seed in their group, so they avoided the Americans longer (in theory). They got blown out by Team USA in an exhibition, but having seen the Americans should help in this meeting. Not enough, but it will be closer.

Turkey 65, Australia 64: Hey Aussies, getting on the other side of the bracket to avoid the Americans only works if you win and advance. Australia led by five with 1:02 left when Cavaliers guard Matt Dellavedova made a lay-up. But Emir Preldzic hit a two threes including one with five seconds left to lift Turkey. Next up Lithuania.

Lithuania 76, New Zealand 71: Give New Zealand credit, they fought hard and made this one close but in the end they had no answer for Raptors big man Jonas Valanciunas who had 22 points and 13 boards in the game. They have a tough but winnable game with Turkey next (then the USA looming after that).


Spain 89, Senegal 56: Spain looks dominant. Yes, they could beat the USA. Senegal was no match, with Pau Gasol scoring 17 on 8-of-10 shooting, while Serge Ibaka chipped in 11 and Marc Gasol had 9. Minnesota’s Gorgui Dieng had a fantastic tournament for Senegal but he struggled against this huge front line for Spain, shooting just 1-of-9 on the night.

France 69, Croatia 64: Nicolas Batum came alive with 14 points to spark the defending European champions France to the win. France beat Spain to get that Euro title last year, now they have to face Spain again in the next round, and it’s going to turn out differently. Nets incoming rookie Bojan Bogdanovic had 27 in a losing effort.

Serbia 90, Greece 72: Big game from Bogdan Bogdanovic — the guy the Suns drafted in the first round this year, not to be confused with the Croatian Bogdanovic who is the Nets property — with 21 points. Serbia was much the better side in this one and looked like a team that could be in the mix for the bronze medal.

Brazil 85, Argentina 65: Everyone was pumped for this South American skirmish, but Brazil just owned the game as Argentina’s golden generation just looked old and slow. Raul Neto stole the show for Brazil with 21 points, while the combination of Tiago Splitter Anderson Varejao looked good inside combining for 19 points and 17 rebounds. Brazil may be my favorite to get the bronze right now, but they have a tough game with Serbia coming.

Cavaliers fans read LeBron James’ “I’m coming home” essay (VIDEO)

LeBron James

The LeBron James returning home to Cleveland as the prodigal son story resonated. Across the nation his approval rating soared, and as the owner helped assemble a super trio people cheered it (unlike when the players decided to control their own destiny in Miami).

Nowhere did it go over as well as Cleveland. For understandable reasons.

Here is a video of Clevelanders reading the essay LeBron penned with Lee Jenkins in Sports Illustrated about his return home.

Raptors’ Jonas Valanciunas has monster game for Lithuania (VIDEO)

New Zealand v Lithuania - 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup

Too big, too strong.

Toronto’s Jonas Valanciunas has led Lithuania through the World Cup and that continued Sunday in the first round of the knockout stage against New Zealand. Valanciunas had 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting plus pulled down 13 rebounds to lead his team to a 76-71 win.

That included this dunk where he was just too strong for the New Zealanders. He was the difference in what was otherwise a closer than expected game.

LeBron James spoke to Ohio State football before Virginia Tech game. That didn’t end well.

Virginia Tech v Ohio State

I don’t know what LeBron James said to the Ohio State Buckeyes before they took the field Saturday night, I just know he shouldn’t save that speech for a big Cavaliers game during the season.

LeBron is Mr. Ohio now, the king loved by all now that the prodigal son has returned.

To capitalize on that, Urban Meyer invited him to speak to the Ohio State football team before a nationally televised game Saturday against Virginia Tech that the Buckeyes were expected to win. From WSYX’s Clay Hall:

Except that things didn’t go as planned — the No. 8 Buckeyes lost to the unranked Hokies. Virginia Tech led early, Ohio State came back to tie the game 21-21, then the Hokies scored 14 fourth quarter points to get the win.

LeBron didn’t stick around for that part.