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Reports: Toronto Raptors re-sign Kyle Lowry to three-year, $100 million deal

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Kyle Lowry is remaining a member of the Toronto Raptors.

News broke on Sunday that Lowry would re-sign with the Raptors for a reported three years and $100 million. The news seemed to follow the signing of Serge Ibaka, who inked a deal with Toronto earlier on Sunday morning for a reported three years and $65 million.

Lowry, 31, had several reported suitors, including the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Philadelphia 76ers. Minnesota traded Ricky Rubio to the Utah Jazz on Friday, and signed Jeff Teague once free agency opened on July 1.

The 76ers meanwhile had already drafted Markelle Fultz, likely pushing the opportunity for Lowry out of mind. The Sixers signed J.J. Redick to a whopping $23 million, one-year deal on Saturday.

Lowry is coming off of one of his best offensive seasons of his career, even if it was a bit of a dip from his spectacular 2015-16 campaign. Keeping Lowry in Toronto was obviously a huge priority for Masai Ujiri, and now that the deal is done we will have to see what other moves Toronto makes.

Via Twitter:

With Ibaka and Lowry now signed, it seems as though some kind of trade will have to be made with the contracts on the roster. Particularly, DeMarre Carroll and Jonas Valanciunas, who eat up a whopping $30 million of space in 2017-18.

Toronto will also reportedly try to move backup point guard Cory Joseph, so it’s unclear about what their bench roster will look like moving forward. Toronto had an opportunity to grab the one seed in a down year for the Eastern Conference this last season, but failed to do so. With their main stars paid and a core going forward, it will be interesting to see how they flesh themselves out.

On one hand, the East has gotten significantly worse with the trade of Paul George and Jimmy Butler to Western Conference teams. The Cleveland Cavaliers don’t yet have a general manager, and we still aren’t sure at this juncture whether Gordon Hayward or anyone else will be coming to Boston.

While a locked up core doesn’t make the Raptors any better over last year — and a depleted role player unit doesn’t help them — it’s not as though their opponents are doing much in the meantime. Getting Lowry locked down was an obvious choice for Toronto and there’s no doubt fans in Canada will be happy to see him return.

Lowry helped make his own announcement with an essay over at The Players’ Tribune.

Marcus Morris scores 31, leads depleted Celtics past Pelicans 113-100

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BOSTON (AP) — Kyrie Irving‘s shoulder wasn’t sore enough to keep him from cheering for Marcus Morris Sr. when he hit three 3-pointers to start the second half and propel Boston to a double-digit lead.

Al Horford‘s injured knee didn’t keep him from leaping to his feet when Jayson Tatum drove past Anthony Davis for a dunk.

With four of their regulars relegated to cheerleaders, the Celtics got a season-high 31 points from Morris and another 21 from Tatum to beat New Orleans 113-100 on Monday night for their sixth straight victory.

“The first thing was be a leader,” Morris said. “We had a lot of guys down … and keep trying to play the right way with the guys out there.”

Anthony Davis scored 41 points and Julius Randle had 20 points and 11 rebounds for New Orleans, which was playing back-to-back games after beating the Pistons in Detroit on Sunday. But Davis also had two shots blocked by Celtics rookie Robert Williams III.

“He had 41,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “I think everybody has gotten their shot blocked at one time or another.”

Jaylen Brown scored 19 for Boston, which was also without Gordon Hayward and Aron Baynes. Williams, in the longest appearance of his career, had career highs of seven points and 11 rebounds, while picking up three blocked shots – two on Davis.

“Well, he held him to 41,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens joked. “I thought Robert did a lot of good things. When you’re shooting jumpers and Robert’s in the vicinity, you feel him.”

The Celtics scored nine straight points in the last four minutes of the first quarter to take a lead they would never relinquish. They led 59-53 at the half before Morris hit three 3s – one from the left corner, one from the right wing and one from the top of the key – to make it 68-55.

New Orleans never got closer than nine points after that.

 

Lakers fans give Dwyane Wade standing ovation; check out L.A. tribute video

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Lakers fans take a lot of abuse from other fan bases, some of it well deserved, but the core fans know the game.

And they know how much Dwyane Wade has meant to it.

Which is why they gave him a standing ovation when he checked into the game Monday night in Los Angeles.

The Lakers also put together a tribute video that played in the arena.

Classy move, Lakers. Well done.

Pacers’ Myles Turner shuts down Bradley Beal at the rim (VIDEO)

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Myles Turner owned the paint in the first half — the Pacers’ center had five blocked shots in the first 24 minutes.

The big shut down was on Bradley Beal, this is how a big man recovers and goes after it.

Then later there was this play leading to a bucket on the other end.

Turner has had a strong defensive season in the paint so far for the Pacers, a big step for him. He’s sixth among centers in ESPN’s defensive real plus/minus stat (which has its flaws but is a good snapshot).

Washington learned that the hard way.

 

Report: Houston kicking tires on J.R. Smith trade with Cavaliers

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The Houston Rockets desperately need help on the wing (among other things, but wing is the personnel focus). The Rockets would also like to have less salary on the books next season, giving them some flexibility and lowering the tax bill.

J.R. Smith fits both of those bills, so Houston and GM Daryl Morey are at least taking a look at a potential trade, reports Marc Stein of the New York Times.

While there is some logic to this, we are a long way from it being a reality. Smith does not exactly have a positive trade value, at least as a player right now.

Smith was part of the rotation that helped the LeBron-led Cavaliers reach the NBA Finals last season, but he will be best remembered for the Game 1 blunder in the Finals that deflated the Cavs. Without the playmaking of LeBron, Smith struggled to start this season, shooting 34 percent for the Cavaliers in limited minutes, before going on hiatus from the team. That said, in a better situation where he was asked to play a small and specific role, maybe he could still help.

Smith is guaranteed $18.59 million this season but only $3.87 million of his $15.68 million salary for next season is guaranteed.

Houston seems a logical fit. Money wise, a Brandon Knight for Smith trade works, but the Rockets will have to throw in picks or other sweeteners to get the Cavaliers interested. Cleveland also likely will be patient, hoping that as the deadline gets closer there is a little bidding war for Smith.

Still, the Rockets are active on the trade market (as always), and they need wings, so this is worth keeping an eye on.