D'Angelo Russell

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Report: Kyrie Irving’s advisors urging him to strongly consider Nets

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The inescapable rumor: Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to the Knicks in free agency this summer.

Marc Stein of The New York Times and Stephen A. Smith of ESPN discussed that on Smith’s podcast.

Stein:

Right before the playoffs started, someone I trust very much told me, they might be a package deal, but they’re going to look at the Nets just as hard as the Knicks. But again, this is third-, fourth-hand stuff.

Smith:

I heard that about Kyrie, not about KD. That Kyrie and his folks – his folks are trying to convince him to look heavily at the Nets.

This is why tracking free agency is difficult. Everyone within a player’s camp doesn’t always unanimously agree on what’s best. Differing agendas get leaked by different people.

But it’s not difficult to view this situation as:

  • Irving would sign with the Knicks if Durant joins him.
  • Durant could still re-sign with the Warriors.
  • If Durant stays in Golden State, Irving would consider other options, including Brooklyn.

I also wouldn’t be shocked if Irving re-signs with the Celtics. But the Nets have been interested for a while.

Strong seasons from D'Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie (who signed a contract extension) reduce Brooklyn’s need for a point guard. But Irving would be a clear upgrade. The Nets are surely hoping Irving listens to the advisors Smith cited.

Still, luring Irving won’t be easy.

Brooklyn is better than New York. Unless the Knicks get Durant, Brooklyn is also better-positioned long-term than New York.

But the Nets aren’t the Knicks.

Prestige matters, and that’s an obstacle Brooklyn must overcome.

Nets’ D’Angelo Russell detained at LaGuardia Airport for marijuana possession

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Not an ideal situation for a player heading into a summer where he will be a free agent, but this isn’t going to slow down teams interested in him.

Brooklyn’s D'Angelo Russell was detained at LaGuardia Airport in New York when he was found to be transporting a small amount of marijuana, something confirmed by the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey. The USA Today had details on the incident.

Russell, who was flying from LaGuardia Airport to Louisville International Airport, was questioned by police after a routine search by TSA workers flagged what at first glance appeared to be a can of Arizona Iced Tea in a checked bag, a person with knowledge of the incident told USA TODAY Sports. Upon further inspection, the can had a hidden compartment where marijuana was discovered.

Russell received a summons to appear in court for marijuana possession of less than 50 grams, according to the Port Authority spokesperson. The citation Russell received is a violation under New York law and is punishable by a fine of $100 or less.

Recreational marijuana use is still illegal in both New York and New Jersey. However, this small amount he had, a “personal use” amount, is not something state law comes down hard on.

“We have been made aware of the situation involving D’Angelo Russell and are in the process of gathering more information at this time,” the Brooklyn Nets said in a released statement.

Russell is coming off a breakout season where he was an All-Star and averaged 21.1 points and seven assists per game. What fueled his rise was his shooting improved — 36.9 percent from three, and a true shooting percentage of 53.3 that’s close to the league average. He was nailing floaters in the lane, and his more consistent jump shot opened up the rest of this game. He was a leader in Brooklyn and helped lift the Nets to the playoffs, where he and his team played tough but fell short against the more talented 76ers.

There’s a debate about what Russell is worth, both on the open market and to the Nets. They want to keep him, but his agent is looking for a point-guard hungry team that will sign him to a max deal, which would start at $27 million a season. The Nets may want to keep Russell, but that price likely makes them balk.

This situation is not going to slow down teams looking to sign Russell, an NBA player who uses marijuana is, shall we say, not exactly outside the norm. Teams know this and so long as it doesn’t impact his play on the court, teams tend not to worry about these things.

Is D’Angelo Russell worth a $27 million max salary? Will he get it?

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D'Angelo Russell had a breakthrough year for the Brooklyn Nets.

He was an All-Star in his fourth NBA season, averaging 21.1 points and seven assists per game, and a lot of the jump came because his shooting improved — 36.9 percent from three, and a true shooting percentage of 53.3 that’s close to the league average. His hitting floaters and jumpers opened up the rest of this game, and his confidence grew as a leader. He pushed the Nets to the playoffs, where he and his team played tough but fell short against the more talented 76ers. Russell struggled to a 3-of-16 night in the closeout game Tuesday, it was a learning experience.

This summer Russell is a restricted free agent. Brooklyn wants to keep him… but for $27 million? That’s his starting salary at the max. Brian Lewis of the New York Post said that’s what Russell wants.

But he’s got a $21.1 million cap hold, and could get a max offer from a point guard-hungry team. That would be $27 million, which league sources have intimated is what Russell wants. The Nets haven’t shown themselves to being convinced he’s worth that much, and could well let the market decide.

The Nets have the right to match any offer, but would they go to the max to do it? League sources told me most teams see Russell as a step below max, however, if a team is trying to poach a player via restricted free agency they have to overpay to get the team with his rights to back off and not match. Ultimately, that means his agents (Austin Brown and Aaron Mintz) finding a team willing to pay the price to nab him. Depending upon how the draft lottery and the rest of free agency goes, that team may be out there.

Sean Marks and his Nets are going to have a very busy summer and Brooklyn — while it loves the team it built — may not look the same at all next season.

Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid usher 76ers past Nets and into 2nd round

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) Joel Embiid showed no mercy. He buried a 3-pointer that gave the 76ers a 24-point lead and waved his arms like a boss, exhorting an already jacked crowd to get louder.

Philly obeyed its most popular player and went wild – and the All-Star center believes the good times have only just started.

“We think we can win it all,” Embiid said.

Ben Simmons thumped his chest after a big dunk , Embiid pointed toward an overmatched defender on a slam of his own, and Philadelphia flexed its offensive muscle from the opening tip to beat the Brooklyn Nets 120-100 on Tuesday night and close out their Eastern Conference playoff series in five games.

Up next, a second round series against the Toronto Raptors, who dropped their playoff opener before winning four straight against Orlando – the same thing the Sixers did to Brooklyn.

“We still have more to do. A lot more to do,” coach Brett Brown said.

Any late arrivals missed the defining moments of the game from a jovial Sixers team that enjoyed toying with the sickly Nets.

The Sixers stunned the Nets with a 14-0 run in front of the loudest and rowdiest packed house of the season.

Embiid again shook off a bad left knee and had six points and five rebounds in the first two minutes to chants of “MVP!” The Nets later trailed 20-2, and Simmons put an exclamation point on the stunning first quarter when he drove the paint and used a right-handed jam to make it 32-12 – with a thump of his chest for emphasis.

“They did whatever they wanted before we could even get on the board,” Nets All-Star guard D'Angelo Russell said.

Brooklyn’s Jared Dudley was soundly booed during pregame introductions and each time he touched the ball in the first. Dudley had stirred trouble when he said Simmons was “average” in the half-court. Dudley bumped Embiid in Game 4, triggering a skirmish with Jimmy Butler that spilled into the stands. Dudley heard “Dudley sucks!” chants from opening tipoff and got a view of this rout from the bench in the second half. He flashed a few smiles in the waning moments, his time as a playoff name over.

The teams tangled again in the final two minutes, and the deep reserves had to be separated. Sixers mascot Franklin ran out wearing oversized gold boxing gloves to bring a dose of levity to the ruckus.

Philadelphia’s Jonah Bolden and Greg Monroe, and Brooklyn’s Dzanan Musa and Radians Kurucs were ejected.

“Our team was physical the whole time,” Simmons said. “I think we need to take that up to Toronto.”

Embiid got the last laugh in the second quarter with a baseline dunk over Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and pointed at the hapless defender. Embiid was hit with a technical but by then, who cared? Embiid buried a 3 from the top of the arc that made it 41-17 and about blew the roof off the arena. Sixers general manager Elton Brand, who sits in the first row of the press seating, had his eyes locked on the scoreboard for each replay of the big man’s 3.

Embiid had 23 points and 13 rebounds, Simmons had 13 points and no starter played more than 27 minutes in a game that could have been called off after the first quarter.

Hollis-Jefferson scored 21 points for the Nets, who head into the offseason after their first playoff series since 2015.

“We never made a push back,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “I’m surprised we didn’t come out with more grit, more fight.”

Brand is as much to credit for the Sixers’ success as anyone, using his rookie season as GM to orchestrate trades for Butler and Tobias Harris that kept Philly humming along in a 51-win season. But even before the trades, the Sixers were expected to make it this far in the playoffs. They did last season and were knocked out by Boston in the East semis in five games. The midseason trades for Harris and Butler were expected to push the Sixers to at least the conference final. Brown has said the goal is to play in the NBA Finals.

“They’re going for big things. They can compete for a championship, quite honestly,” Atkinson said.

TIP-INS

Nets: Joe Harris, the NBA’s top 3-point shooter, hit his first one since Game 1 with the score well out of hand. Harris was just 3 of 16 through the first four games. … Nets general manager Sean Marks was suspended for the game for entering the referees’ locker room after Brooklyn’s loss to Philadelphia in Game 4. … Simmons smothered Russell and the Nets star was held to eight points on 3 of 16 shooting.

76ers: Their 29-point halftime lead was the largest in playoff franchise history. The 31 points allowed matched the lowest in the shot-clock era.

UP NEXT

The Raptors went 3-1 vs. the Sixers this season.

“You can credit it or you can discredit it,” Brown said. “I’m discrediting it. We have a new group. We have a new opportunity.”

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Jimmy Butler, Jared Dudley ejected after scuffle following Joel Embiid block

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Welcome to the playoffs.

Emotions already were running high as Brooklyn faced what isn’t officially but might as well be a must-win game Saturday.

Then with 7:42 left in the third quarter this happened, and all those emotions burst out.

It started with Joel Embiid making a hard block on a Jarrett Allen dunk attempt. Brooklyn’s Jared Dudley — who started for the Nets and has been huge for them this series — came in to protect his man and shoved Embiid. Then Jimmy Butler decided to protect his guy and ran in and shoved Dudley. Then it all broke loose, including D'Angelo Russell moving the pile with his shove.

After the official reviewed the video (and consulted with the official video center), Butler and Dudley were ejected as instigators — that is a win for Brooklyn, the 76ers lost the better player in that trade.

Embiid was given a flagrant 1 for a foul with contact to the head. For my money that’s over the top in this case, he got the ball and blocked the shot, and this is the playoffs. That was not an intentional blow.

The Nets got a couple free throws and the game moved on, but you can be sure this is going to linger.

The playoffs are just more fun when there is bad blood between the teams.