Kurt Helin

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Report: Hornets reach four-year, $56 million extension with Cody Zeller


Other GMs had their eyes on the Charlotte Hornets/Cody Zeller negotiations — if he became a restricted free agent next summer, teams felt they might be able to poach him.

Those teams are going to be disappointed.

Via Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

That’s a good price for a starting center (who may someday come off the bench, but will be a part of the rotation).

Zeller can do a little bit of everything on offense but none of it exceedingly well. He has a midrange game, he sets a strong pick and rolls hard to the rim, he can rim-run in transition, and he knows how to draw contact. He’s a banger, but with a little finesse to his game. It’s not pretty, but the Hornets were 2.8 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor last season.

In today’s NBA, $14 million a season for a solid, starting big man is a fair price and Zeller locks in a nice payday. It works for both sides.

Charlott now has their core — Nicolas Batum, Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, etc. — and Steve Clifford likes that group.

Hornets Guard Jeremy Lamb out 1-2 weeks with strained hamstring

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Hornets backup guard Jeremy Lamb has a strained left hamstring and will be out for this week’s games.

The team announced Monday that the 6-foot-5 Lamb will be reevaluated in one to two weeks.

Lamb suffered the injury in the second quarter of Charlotte’s home loss Saturday night to the Boston Celtics. The fifth-year NBA player is averaging seven points and four rebounds per game in three appearances this season.

Report: Minnesota near four-year, $64 million contract extension with Gorgui Dieng

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The Minnesota Timberwolves have their front-line star of the future in Karl-Anthony Towns.

They also have a center they like next to him in Gorgui Dieng. He can hit midrange shots on offense (allowing him and Towns to space the floor and not clog the lane), block shots on defense, and is a solid fit next to Karl-Anthony Towns.

So the Timberwolves have locked Dieng up, report Marc Spears of The Undefeated at ESPN (since confirmed by other reports).

In a world where Steven Adams and Rudy Gobert break the $100 million extension, getting a solid rotation player in Dieng for $16 million a year (on average) is about right. The going rate for starters in the NBA in this new CBA is going to be around $15 million, and Dieng is a starter.

It’s going to take the right player to be next to Towns, and Dieng’s ability to finish inside or hit from the midrange makes him one of those guys. The Timberwolves have a great young core, it’s smart to lock them up.

Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins fined $25,000 for throwing mouthpiece


If you bet the under on “will DeMarcus Cousins get fined by the league within the first week of the regular season,” got to the window and collect your winnings.

Saturday night beat Minnesota in a close game at home, but not before Cousins fouled out on a charge/block call with :37 seconds left in a three-point game. He was livid with the call, walked about a dozen rows up into the stands, and threw his mouthpiece to the ground in frustration.

For that, Cousins was fined $25,000, the league announced Monday.

That’s the going rate for a thrown mouthpiece (it’s what Stephen Curry got in the NBA Finals).

Cousins also was assessed a technical foul for the incident, giving him two techs on the season. In the first week of games.

All that said, the Kings are 2-1 and Cousins and new coach Dave Joerger are getting along well. Plus the new building in Sacramento is great, so all is right with the world for all DeMarcus cares.

Cavaliers’ Tuesday game time changed to avoid World Series conflict

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CLEVELAND (AP) —The NBA has moved up the start time for Tuesday night’s Cleveland Cavaliers game because of the World Series.

The game against Houston at Quicken Loans Arena will now begin an hour earlier at 6 p.m.

The champion Cavaliers requested the change to avoid an extended overlap with Game 6 of the World Series, which starts at 8:08 p.m. at neighboring Progressive Field.

The Cleveland Indians lead the Chicago Cubs 3-2 and can win their first World Series since 1948. In June, the Cavaliers defeated Golden State in Game 7 of the NBA Finals to end the city’s championship drought after 52 years.

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was granted a similar request when the team’s Oct. 25 opener was to begin at the same time as the World Series opener.

The Indians and Cavaliers have shared a downtown sports complex since 1994.