Kurt Helin

Watch Charles Barkley struggle to pronounce “Jonas Valanciunas” last season


The Toronto Raptors were good last season, second best team in the East. That means the guys on Inside the NBA on TNT had to talk about them.

Which means Charles Barkley had to say “Jonas Valanciunas” a lot. Which is high comedy. While a lot of people struggle to say his name the guy is a solid NBA center who, with a little practice, you can say (and spell) his name pretty easily.

This comes from a YouTube user, via Reddit, with a hat tip to Eye on Basketball.

Watch highlights of USA’s 111-74 rout of Argentina in exhibition game

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Argentina isn’t considered a medal contender heading into the Rio Olympics. Their golden generation — led by Manu Ginobili — has picked up a lot of speed on the downhill side of their careers at this point.

They didn’t provide much of a challenge for Team USA in an exhibition game Friday night in Las Vegas, one won by the USA 111-74. Kevin Durant impressed playing with his new teammates in dropping 23 points, Paul George had 18, and the Americans had their way in the game.

Which is what we’re going to see a lot of in Rio — the USA’s talent level is just steps above any other team in the tournament.

Report: Mavericks up final deal with Dirk Nowitzki to two-years, $50 million


After a few years of Dirk Nowitzki giving Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks major financial concessions to help pay for a better team, the Mavericks are paying him back.

Dallas is signing Nowitzki to a larger-than-expected two-year, $50 million contract, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

The Dallas Mavericks and face of the franchise Dirk Nowitzki have finalized their expected new deal with another bump in pay that sets the star forward up to earn $50 million over the next two seasons and play until age 40, league sources told ESPN.

Sources said Friday that the Mavericks have tacked an additional $10 million onto the original two-year, $40 million contract that the sides, as ESPN first reported, agreed to earlier this month.

While it’s $25 million a season, only $5 million of the second year is guaranteed.

Good on Dallas for rewarding the greatest Maverick ever.

Draymond Green reaches plea deal: $560 fine, no charges

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The more details that came out about Draymond Green‘s “altercation” or whatever one wanted to call it, the incident sounded more and more like something police and prosecutors probably shouldn’t spend a lot of time on. There are more serious crimes in Lansing than one guy slapping another in a bar.

The case is now going away with a plea deal, according to Christopher Haxel of the Lansing State Journal.

NBA star Draymond Green has reached a plea agreement that will allow him to avoid jail time and reduce the charges he faced for allegedly slapping a Michigan State University football player to a noise violation, officials announced Friday.

The former MSU All-American will pay a $500 fine and $60 restitution fee. He had faced a charge of misdemeanor assault or misdemeanor assault and battery. A noise violation is a civil infraction.

Because it’s a civil infraction, there is no “guilty” or “not guilty” plea entered. It just goes away. Also, Green cannot contact Jermaine Edmondson — the victim in the case — for a year. Which is probably just fine with Green.

Green’s attorney said they would have gone to trial over the incident, but it would have taken time out of his NBA schedule. Which is good, do we need to clog a courtroom with this?

Edmondson allegedly taunted Green at the club, which led to their parties getting in some kind of relatively mild altercation. While the incident itself between Green and a former Michigan State football player Edmondson (Green attended Michigan State) was not a big deal, it did cause waves. Green apologized to his USA Basketball Olympic teammates for the distraction.

“We were talking about the things that are important to us as a team, that are really strong principles, and being able to maintain your composure is one of them,” USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said of the apology. “He knows that’s not what happened and what should have happened. He had a chance to share with the players.”

Green said he learned not to put himself in these situations. Makes sense. Or, just ignore the fools taunting you in a bar.

Cavaliers officially sign free agent Chris “Birdman” Andersen to one-year contract


CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cavaliers have officially signed veteran forward Chris “Birdman” Andersen to a one-year contract.

The NBA champions needed a backup center after losing Timofey Mozgov in free agency and are hoping the 38-year-old Andersen can fill that role. A 14-year veteran, Andersen, known for his multiple tattoos and toughness on the boards, split last season with Miami and Memphis.

In Cleveland, he will be reunited with former Heat teammate LeBron James. They won an NBA title together in 2013.

Andersen has averaged 5.5 points and 5.1 rebounds in his career, which began with Denver. He will wear jersey No. 00 with Cleveland.

James remains unsigned for next season, but he has informed the Cavs he will re-sign with them at some point this summer. James is expected to sign another one-year deal. Also, the Cavs are likely to re-sign forward J.R. Smith.