Report: Cavaliers, Timberwolves still talking Kevin Love for Andrew Wiggins trade, with Bennett also in now

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LAS VEGAS — The Cavaliers are trying to keep Andrew Wiggins out of the spotlight at Summer League. Thursday night he was not made available to the media after the Cavaliers game, leaving new coach Dave Blatt to expound upon how Wiggins is dealing with the trade rumors swirling around him before he ever signed a contract.

“Rumors are rumors, that’s why they call them rumors,” Blatt said after a game where Wiggins was aggressive and got to the free throw line 20 times. “Sooner or later in one’s career you’re going to have to deal with it. So if he has to deal with it now so be it. It’s Summer League, he’s learning everything as he goes along.”

But those rumors will not die.

Chris Broussard of ESPN had a non-update update of sorts on where the reported talks between the Cavaliers and Timberwolves stand, but with a few more details.

The Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers have discussed a blockbuster trade centered on Kevin Love and the league’s past two No. 1 draft picks, league sources told ESPN.

In an attempt to add Love, a three-time All-Star, the Cavaliers are willing to part with Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. One source said the Cavs also are willing to give up a first-round draft pick for next season.

Bennett was the No. 1 overall pick the year before and after a rough rookie season he has come to Summer League in shape and has been one of the more impressive players in Las Vegas, working hard on the glass and showing a pretty good touch around the rim. He’s not a future superstar, but he looks like a solid young rotation big man.

There are still a lot of games being played here.

Minnesota is trying to drive up the price they are getting back for Love, ideally getting Golden State into the bidding offering Klay Thompson. The buzz in Las Vegas is Thompson is still not part of the deal.

The other question on the table: Will Kevin Love opt-in to the last year of his deal for whatever team trades for him? This is what Chris Paul did when the Clippers traded for him. If the Cavaliers are willing to give up two No. 1 picks for him plus a future first rounder (or if the Warriors throw in Thompson) that’s a lot to give up for a guy who could walk at the end of the season as a free agent. He reportedly has said he would want to stay with LeBron James in Cleveland, but Dwight Howard’s people said early on the big man wanted to stay in Los Angeles. Things change. The Cavaliers would be foolish to give up the potential of Wiggins without that security of an extra year from Love.

But the sides are talking.

Dikembe Mutombo to receive Sager Strong Award

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NEW YORK (AP) — Hall of Fame basketball player Dikembe Mutombo will receive the Sager Strong Award at this year’s NBA Awards show.

The award is named for longtime Turner Sports sideline reporter Craig Sager and presented annually to an individual who has been a trailblazer while exemplifying courage, faith, compassion and grace.

Mutombo’s honor was announced Tuesday by the NBA and Turner.

The four-time Defensive Player of the Year created the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation to improve conditions for people in his native Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital has treated nearly a quarter of a million people since opening in 2007.

He will receive a colorful suit jacket, the kind Sager fashioned during his years on air before dying of leukemia. The award will be presented on June 25 in Santa Monica, California.

Former New Orleans coach Monty Williams was last year’s inaugural recipient.

Kyle Kuzma says Lonzo Ball hitting weight room hard this offseason

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It wasn’t just Lonzo Ball‘s awkward jumper that was a problem for him, so was his finishing around the rim — Ball shot less than 50 percent in the restricted area and 43.6 percent inside eight feet. In today’s NBA, he has to become more of a consistent scoring threat to open up his passing lanes.

Part of that is Ball getting physically stronger, something that also would help him avoid injuries and play in more than 52 games (what he did as a rookie). That part he is working on already, Kyle Kuzma told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

“Consistency in the weight room, that is the biggest thing,” Kuzma said on Tuesday of what he has seen out of Ball this offseason so far. “He has been in there pretty much every day I have been in here around this time. You can tell he is taking the weight room a lot more serious and that is going to help him by allowing him to recover faster and hopefully next year be on the court more because of that weight room.”

The Lakers are counting on the development of their young core — Ball, Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, etc. — as well as free agents they can attract this summer to lift them into the playoffs next season.

Magic Johnson told Ball this is going to be the most important summer of his life, that now he has to put in the work to take his body and game to the next level. To play like a No. 2 pick.

So far, so good.

Re-watch highlights from the final minutes of Houston’s series-tying win

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After the game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said his team ran out of gas, which is what led to their 3-of-18 fourth-quarter shooting and just 12 points. There’s some truth to that, particularly with Andre Iguodala out forcing other guys into the rotation and a heavier load on the stars.

But give the Rockets credit here.

Part of what wore down the Warriors was fantastic pressure defense from Houston that made Golden State really work on offense. As Golden State got tired, players settled for midrange jumpers, not getting to the rim much (three times in the quarter) and not having the legs under their threes (0-of-6 in the quarter).

Meanwhile, it wasn’t pretty, but James Harden and Chris Paul were making plays.

Check out those plays again in the video above — we finally got a good game in a series, we should savor that.

Steve Kerr on Warriors’ late possession vs. Rockets: “I wanted the timeout”

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The Houston Rockets leveled the Western Conference finals against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night by a margin of 95-92. The win for the Rockets was ugly, but it leveled the series at 2-2 heading back to Houston.

It was a close game down the stretch, and it looked like Golden State’s last chance to get the win was going to come on a possession with 11 seconds to go following a missed James Harden jumper.

The Warriors immediately turned up the floor and did not call a timeout. The resulting possession was messy, and it wound up ending on a difficult Klay Thompson turnaround jumper. Golden State would get another shot at a 3-pointer with half a second left thanks to a foul on Thompson’s miss, but many were still left wondering why Steve Kerr did not choose to call a timeout during the possession before.

Kerr addressed the decision after the game.

Via Twitter:

You sort of have to side with Kerr in principle, but if you’d seen the way the Warriors played the rest of that fourth quarter you would probably err on calling a timeout and letting them set something up. Curry was 1-of-8 in the fourth, Durant shot poorly most of the game, and Golden State scored 12 total points in the final period.

When you consider Curry got a look at a wide open 3-pointer in the corner with 0.5 seconds left on the clock when the Warriors did call a timeout on the next possession, it makes it look even worse.

In any case, Houston beat out Golden State in a close game and we’re headed back to Texas for Game 5 on Thursday.