NBA issues flopping warnings to Royal Ivey, Gustavo Ayon and Tony Parker

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Tony Parker? Flop? Well, I never!

The NBA has officially warned Parker, Royal Ivey and Gustavo Ayon today for violating the anti-flopping policy established this season. While this is solely a warning for all three players, if they’re accused of violating the policy again, they will be subject to a $5,000 dollar fine.

Parker’s flop came late in the fourth quarter of a game against the Houston Rockets on December 28th. You’ve probably seen this one in your rec league a few times. After a Houston miss, Parker had his eye on a defensive rebound, but he felt a slight nudge in his back, so he flailed his arms up and acted as if he had been shoved out of the way by Toney Douglas. Embarrassingly enough, the ball simply went out of bounds and no foul was called on Douglas, but the league took note of Parker’s embellishment act. You can watch the video of Parker’s flop here on NBA.com.

Royal Ivey’s flop was even more hilarious than Parker’s, and came in a game on December 26th against the Memphis Grizzlies. Ivey was guarding Jarryd Bayless coming up the court, and got picked off by a completely legal screen set by Memphis big man Darrell Arthur. In a clear attempt to earn a foul call in a tight game, Ivey really sold it, twisting in the air and flailing in a manner that was inconsistent with the amount of actual contact. You can watch video of Ivey’s flop here on NBA.com.

And finally, we have Gustavo Ayon’s flop in a game on December 26th against the New Orleans Hornets. Ayon got his Vlade Divac on, and treated Robin Lopez as if he were Shaq by completely collapsing to the ground as Lopez tried to establish post position. You can watch Ayon’s flop here.

Parker, Ivey and Ayon join the list of nine other players (Omer Asik, Chauncey Billups, Zaza Pachulia, Gerald Wallace, Reggie Evans, Patrick Patterson, Kevin Martin, Donald Sloan, and J.J. Barea) to be warned by the league for flopping. Wallace and Evans have both been fined $5,000 dollars as repeat offenders, and will be fined $10,000 for their next violations.

If you’d like to know what the league qualifies as a flop, here’s the NBA’s official flopping video, complete with unintentionally hilarious narration:

Rumor: Raptors trying to trade up in draft for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

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The Raptors have major problems in the playoffs annually.

Is a coaching change enough to fix them?

Toronto already fired Dwane Casey and promoted assistant Nick Nurse after a highly successful regular season. Perhaps, major roster turnover could follow.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander projects to be a late lottery pick. The Raptors have no selections in this draft. So, acquiring one high enough to pick the Kentucky point guard would take plenty.

Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are stars. Toronto’s bench is stocked with solid young players. O.G. Anunoby is very promising.

So, the Raptors have pieces to move. The only question how much they’d package for a draft pick.

Toronto already has Lowry, Fred VanVleet and Delon Wright at point guard. But Lowry is 32, and VanVleet will be a restricted free agent this summer. If they really believe in Gilgeous-Alexander, the Raptors should try to get him.

All that said, this is the time of year rumors – both credible and not – fly. So, it’s worth remaining skeptical while still considering the validity of what reputable reporters like Stein convey.

Luka Doncic, Donte DiVincenzo, Jerome Robinson among NBA draft invitees

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Of course DeAndre Ayton will attend Thursday’s NBA draft. The Suns will likely draft him No. 1 overall.

But what about more marginal first-round prospects?

The NBA’s draft invite list is an important tool in judging their stock. The league wants to avoid players sitting in agony until their names are called. So, the NBA works to invite only the prospects most likely to get picked high in the draft.

The full list of invited players (which the league notes is subject to change):

Luka Doncic will go high in the draft, and though how high is still uncertain, his inclusion on this list says nothing about his stock. It just speaks to whether we’ll see him Thursday night. His attendance will depend at least on when Real Madrid’s season ends, though the NBA is apparently confident enough to list him.

Jerome Robinson has climbed draft boards since the season ended. He must be impressing in workouts and interviews.

Donte DiVincenzo is a bit of a surprise selection, as he’s not widely viewed as a first-round lock. Perhaps, the league is looking to capitalize on his popularity stemming from a breakout NCAA tournament championship game.

This will only reinforce the idea Chandler Hutchinson received a promise. Otherwise, he’s a surprise invitee.

Among the top players not attending: Kevin Huerter (Maryland), Jacob Evans (Cincinnati), Troy Brown (Oregon) and Josh Okogie (Georgia Tech). Though they could go higher than players listed here, that says something about Huerter’s Evans’, Browns’ and Okogie’s stock, too.

Report: Rudy Gay opting out of Spurs contract

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Kawhi Leonard reportedly wants to leave the Spurs, but he’s at their whims.

This doesn’t mean Rudy Gay will depart San Antonio, but he’s taking control of his future.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

Gay’s option-year salary was $8,826,300.

I doubt Gay, who turns 32 this summer, will draw such a high starting salary on his next contract – though I certainly wouldn’t rule it out. He could likely get a multi-year deal with a higher total value.

Or he could chase a ring elsewhere.

Remember, Gay gave up money to leave the Kings last summer. No matter how much the Leonard situation should make us rethink the Spurs’ culture, San Antonio probably isn’t “basketball hell.” Still, the Spurs clearly don’t look as appealing as they once did, and Gay has shown how much he values team quality.

Gay is coming off a nice season, and San Antonio might try to re-sign him. Danny Green has a $10 million player option for next season, which will swing whether the Spurs have the flexibility for a bigger move this summer.

Report: LeBron James’ camp likes Collin Sexton

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In 2014, LeBron James tweeted his fondness for Connecticut point guard Shabazz Napier. The Heat traded up to get Napier in the draft, but LeBron left for the Cavaliers that summer, anyway.

Could history repeat itself, this time in Cleveland?

LeBron has already talked up Oklahoma point guard Trae Young, but maybe LeBron and his camp want the Cavs to take a different point guard – Alabama’s Collin Sexton – with the No. 8 pick.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, via Jordan Zirm of ESPN Cleveland:

The Cavaliers should take the best prospect available. Worrying about what LeBron might want makes a mistake only more likely.

LeBron might stay in Cleveland, but as 2014 showed, it won’t be because of a draft pick. If he stays, it very well could be by opting into the final year of his contract. His player-option salary ($35,607,968) is slightly higher than his projected max salary as a free agent (about $35.35 million). If LeBron opts in, the best chance of keeping him long-term is building a better team around him.

That means taking the best prospect at No. 8 or trading the pick for someone who can help LeBron win now. If the top prospect is Sexton, that’s fine. But the Cavs are fare more likely to appease LeBron by getting the pick right in the long run rather than choosing the prospect he wants now.