Drew League to sit down with Kobe about Goodman rematch

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After a one-point loss on the wrong coast, Los Angeles-based Drew League players and officials said they wanted a rematch with the Washington D.C.-based Goodman League. This time on their turf.

Drew League officials are working to pull together a Sept. 10 event in Los Angeles, which is not a lot of time to get sponsors and arrange the details. And sponsors will not jump on and write checks until this is a sure thing. It is not yet.

Adding Kobe Bryant would make it a sure thing.

Which is why Drew League officials will be at Kobe’s door on Tuesday trying to talk him into playing, reports Mark Medina at the Los Angeles Times.

“I think he wants to play because he’s hungry like that,” Drew League Commissioner Oris “Dino” Smiley said of Bryant late Monday evening in a phone interview. “We have some real solid basketball and it’s well organized. I think he wants to be a part of it….”

Smiley argued Bryant’s appearance won’t necessarily dictate whether the Goodman League and Drew League can organize a rematch. They are, after all, only four days removed from a competitive and controversial game where the Goodman League won, 135-134, before a standing-room only crowd at Trinity University in Washington D.C.

Drew players and backers had questions about the officiating at the end of that game. Actually, that’s putting it nicely, they think they got screwed on a call that D.C. native Kevin Durant got that sent him to the line to hit two game-winning free throws. Then James Harden didn’t get a call on a last-second shot to win it at the other end.

Kobe did play in one Drew League game this year, a very special game.

Putting it simply — if Kobe is in this game is happening. He alone will draw the players and make potential sponsors drool. If he is out, it could still happen but Smiley has a much tougher road to travel. And not much time to do it either way.

Rumor: Patrick Beverley may meet with five teams before Clippers

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The Los Angeles Clippers want to bring Patrick Beverley back next season, his spark was at the heart of why this team made the playoffs and impressed with their potential.

First, however, the Clippers are going big game hunting for the likes of Kawhi Leonard and/or Kevin Durant (even with the Achilles injury). Beverley isn’t just going to sit around and wait for them, reports longtime NBA reporter Sean Deveney Tweeted.

The Bulls need a point guard and Beverley — a Chicago native — has said he is interested.

The Lakers also are reportedly big game hunting, but Beverley is the kind of guard they could use around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Phoenix and other teams have been mentioned.

Beverley is going to have options, but he loved his time with the Clippers last season, and that means something.

Pelicans reportedly pick up option year on coach Alvin Gentry

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David Griffin, the guy with the hammer in New Orleans, likes Alvin Gentry. They have a relationship that goes back to Phoenix, where Gentry was the coach and Griffin was in the front office (and was eventually GM).

Gentry also has a style of play — he wants to run and be up-tempo. That should fit very well with soon-to-be No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise the Griffin and the Pelicans want to keep Gentry around, as reported by Malika Andrews of ESPN.

This is another smart, stabilizing move by Griffin. The Pelicans want to build an athletic, fast-paced team and Gentry is the right coach for that style.  Maybe it doesn’t pan out, maybe the Pelicans ultimately need to go another direction with their coach, but right now this seems a good fit.

Report: Utah “frontrunner” to land Mike Conley Jr. if Memphis trades him this week

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Utah feels like it is close — a 50-win team two seasons in a row, an elite defense, an All-NBA center in Rudy Gobert and an elite shot creator in Donovan Michell. They look at the West next season, with a depleted Warriors team, and see an opening.

Yet when Utah fell to Houston 4-1 in the first round of the playoffs this year, it was reminded of what is keeping the team from being truly elite, and another shot creator and shooter is at the top of that list.

Enter Mike Conley Jr. He averaged 21.1 points and 6.4 assists per game last season, shot 36.4 percent from three, and plays strong defense. Conley would be an upgrade over Ricky Rubio at the spot.

The almost All-Star point guard out of Memphis is available via trade. He’s the kind of veteran floor general, shooter, and shot creator Utah could use. The Jazz and Grizzlies talked but couldn’t come to an agreement at the trade deadline, but the sides are talking again and conversations are “intensifying” in the run-up to the NBA Draft Thursday, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Grizzlies are intensifying talks to potentially move franchise cornerstone Mike Conley Jr., league sources told The Athletic. Memphis has been in conversations with the Jazz and Utah is a frontrunner to acquire Conley should the Grizzlies trade the point guard during draft week, league sources said.

What would be in a trade package? Certainly the No. 23 pick in this draft, plus some young players the Grizzlies like (maybe Grayson Allen, Royce O’Neal, and even someone like Jae Crowder. Reports say Derick Favors is not part of the discussion.

While anything can happen the week of the draft — and things change quickly — don’t be surprised if some version of this trade gets done.

Kawhi Leonard wins day with last laugh — his viral laugh — at end of speech

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Kawhi Leonard just won again.

He won his second NBA title leading the Toronto Raptors to the franchise’s first crown. He earned his second Finals MVP in the process.

Then on Monday he had the last laugh and won the Raptors’ championship parade in Toronto by ending his speech with his laugh, the same one that went viral at the start of the season.

Of course, what Leonard will do on July 1 was a cloud hanging over the parade, Leonard is a free agent this summer. Kyle Lowry at one point started a “five more years” chant during the parade, which is the maximum number of years Toronto can re-sign Leonard for.

Leonard, exactly as we all should have expected, dodged the question, while praising his time in Toronto.

Unfortunately, this was a parade marred by more serious concerns.