After league review, Mavs complete trade to make Ajinca a Raptor

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Considering that the news that Peja Stojakovic had given the Mavs a verbal commitment to join the team essentially came paired with a report that Dallas would sent Alexis Ajinca to Stojakovic’s old team, the Toronto Raptors, in exchange for no tangible assets at all, it’s not surprising that league officials raised an eyebrow. Regardless, the NBA looked into the specifics of the Ajinca trade and apparently failed to find evidence of collusion; the Mavericks announced today that the deal has been completed, and that in exchange for Ajinca they will receive the rights to Georgios Printezis, who will likely never play in the NBA, and generate an Ajinca-sized $1.5 million trade exception.

Officially, these are two separate and unrelated moves, but unofficially the Mavs sent Ajinca — along with a wink and a nudge — to the Raptors in exchange for Stojakovic, who will cost Dallas far less than his previous annual salary of $15 million. Toronto will foot that bill, while Dallas will likely sign Peja for the league minimum.

Ajinca is a talented big, even if he has yet to find a real NBA home. Charlotte seemed like a poor fit from the very beginning, and though Rick Carlisle gave Ajinca some playing time as a reserve forward and center in Dallas, he was on the court to showcases his abilities for a potential trade, not to establish a long-term place with the Mavs. Ajinca never would have been a Maverick if not for the salary matching required in trades for teams over the salary cap, and Dallas had been shopping Ajinca in hopes of finding him an alternative home.

Toronto could be an interesting opportunity for Ajinca, who isn’t ready to play big minutes in the middle, but paradoxically could benefit from large amounts of playing time. Dallas couldn’t afford to play Ajinca all that much given how much they have at stake, but the Raptors are focused on development and team construction, not competing for a playoff spot. Ajinca could theoretically earn a regular spot in Jay Triano’s rotation, but the pressure is on him to learn the Raps’ system, and prove that he’s worthy of an investment of resources.

Arson suspected at bar where Zach Randolph’s brother killed

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MARION, Ind. (AP) Investigators have determined a fire likely was intentionally set at an Indiana bar, one day after the brother of NBA star Zach Randolph was fatally shot there.

The fire happened at Hop’s Blues Room in Marion early Sunday – less than 24 hours after 35-year-old Roger Randolph was found dead.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze that caused an estimated $20,000 in damage. Marion Fire Department Investigator Brandon Eckstein says the cause of the fire was arson.

Early Saturday, Roger Randolph died shortly after he was found shot in the parking lot of the business. Police say no arrests have been made.

Zach Randolph was a star player in Marion and now plays for the Sacramento Kings.

Authorities didn’t immediately say whether they believe Randolph’s death and the fire are related.

Report: First round picks will walk across draft stage with two family members

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The NBA Draft is a big moment for many young men entering the league. Before the picks are announced, TV coverage shows players waiting at their tables among parents, siblings, and their agents.

Now, the NBA is apparently turning the first round into even more of a family affair.

According to Yahoo! Sports, first round selections will be invited to bring two family members to walk across the stage with them as they are selected during the draft on Thursday night. Those members will also be in the greenroom, so they will get the full experience of what it’s like to be an NBA draft pick themselves.

Via Yahoo!:

This is going to be pretty neat to see, and it should make the smiles of the players even bigger as they get to experience a lifelong dream right alongside their support networks.

The 2018 NBA Draft kicks off on Thursday, June 21 at 4:00 PM.

It’s the 10 year anniversary of Kevin Garnett’s ‘Anything is possible’ (VIDEO)

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The Boston Celtics were world champions back in 2008. After a whirlwind summer in 2007 where the team traded for both Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, things came together for the Celtics as Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo filled out an impressive roster.

Boston had two consecutive seven-game series to open the postseason in 2007-08, beating the Atlanta Hawks in the first round and then LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second. They then dispatched the Pistons in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals, and Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers in six in the NBA Finals.

The Celtics hadn’t won the championship since the 1985-86 season, and suffered through patently bad teams or talented ones that tended to get clumsy with early playoff exits.

When Boston finally did win their title, it was Garnett who game us one of the more iconic moments of their celebration, shouting “Anything is possible!” as he was interviewed after the game.

Via Twitter:

A decade later, Boston is again in the hunt for another championship and seemingly set up to do so for years to come.

Report: Minnesota’s Tyus Jones considered asking for trade, Thibodeau eased concerns

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If there was one thing at the top of the list that set off Timberwolves fans on Twitter last season — and that is a long list — it was the burying of backup point guard Tyus Jones on the bench.

Jones played well on the floor — he is an excellent pick-and-roll ball handler, knows how to run an offense, is strong in transition, and can knock down a spot-up jumper — and the Timberwolves were 5.8 points per 100 possessions better than their opponents when he was on the court. Yet coach Tom Thibodeau jerked Jones’ minutes around — he leaned heavily on starter Jeff Teague and backup guard Jamal Crawford, then mid-season brought in Derrick Rose and gave him run. Jones’ minutes were up and down when they never should have been — even Teague went to Thibodeau and said to play Jones more.

It got to the point that after the season, the third-year guard considered asking for a trade, reports Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.

But sources told Sporting News that Jones met with team management after the playoffs, and Thibodeau reasserted his support of Jones and his development. Even if the Wolves re-sign Rose, Jones was assured, his minutes and opportunities would increase because Crawford is not expected to return to the team. Rose mostly played shooting guard with the Wolves last season, so there’s a chance Jones could play alongside Rose as a backcourt bench unit.

Jones had considered requesting a trade, but the meeting with the team defused that notion before it arose. And for now, at least, the Wolves have no intention of dealing him.

Thibodeau is saying the right things, we’ll see if his actions back up his words. Jones will be a restricted free agent in the summer of 2019 and he has a lot of fans around the league in other front offices. If Minnesota doesn’t give him enough burn he will hunt out a place that will (and may pay more than Minnesota wants to match).

It’s one of a number of issues around the Timberwolves that could derail, at least temporarily, a team that is on the rise in the West.