Dwyane Wade

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James Harden broke one of his youth camper’s ankles (VIDEO)

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It’s around the time of summer when NBA players (and coaches, and college coaches, and a whole lot of other people) are holding youth basketball camps.

I went to them as a kid (John Wooden’s was the best) and like me, these youth will have the memories of a lifetime, even if they move away from playing hoops someday. Especially this boy, who will forever be able to look back at this video from camp of James Harden breaking his ankles. (Via Houston Rockets Instagram)

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Meanwhile at @jharden13’s camp…😅

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Meanwhile, over at Dwyane Wade‘s camp, he was reminding some young children he is the best shot blocking guard of all time.

 

Exclusive video preview: Dwyane Wade joins America’s Got Talent as guest judge

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Dwyane Wade is retired. He’s got some time on his hands.

But if he wants to spend quality time this summer with his wife, Gabrielle Union, he’s got to get on the set of America’s Got Talent, because she is a judge on the hit show. So, Wade did exactly that and steps in this week as a guest judge.

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Next week… it’s going down on @agt

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In the video at the top of this page, you can see an exclusive of Wade and the rest of the AGT crew watching and judging an insane danger act out of India, a sneak preview of the show airing on NBC this Tuesday night (8 p.m.).

Wade knows talent on the court, but we’re going to see what talents impress him on the stage.

Kawhi Leonard, Paul George (Clippers), Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving (Nets) form pop-up super teams

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Five years ago…

The Clippers were embroiled in Donald Sterling’s scandal. There was talk of players boycotting. The whole franchise seemed toxic.

The Nets were entering years of pain. They’d traded several future first-round picks for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, who promptly declined and left the team in the basement. Brooklyn looked hopeless.

Suddenly, the Clippers and Nets are the NBA’s freshest powers after major offseason coups. Kawhi Leonard signed with the Clippers and convinced Paul George to request a trade to accompany him. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving joined Brooklyn through free agency.

This level of star grouping in a single summer is unprecedented.

A team has added two reigning All-NBA players in the same offseason just three times:

  • 2019 Clippers: Kawhi Leonard and Paul George
  • 2019 Nets: Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving
  • 2014 Cavaliers: LeBron James and Kevin Love

In 2014, LeBron returned home to Cleveland and pitched Love on joining him. The Cavs traded for Love with assurances he’d re-sign the following year.

The stories look similar in L.A. and Brooklyn this year.

Leonard wanted to return to his native Southern California, and he got George – another California native – to come along. Durant might resent the notion he was recruited, but playing near New Jersey is a homecoming for Irving. It seems Durant prioritized playing somewhere with Irving.

The big difference between this year’s situation and the Cavaliers in 2014: No incumbent star attracted Leonard, George, Durant and Irving to their new teams. Cleveland had Irving as a draw for LeBron and eventually Love.

The Clippers were starless. The Nets had no All-Star until D'Angelo Russell was named an injury replacement, and they weren’t keepinh him if landing Durant and Irving. (Russell got sent to the Warriors in a double sign-and-trade.)

That’s another way these situations are unprecedented.

Just eight teams have added multiple reigning All-Stars in the same offseason since the NBA-ABA merger. The preceding six already had an incumbent star who helped build the appeal:

Year Team Stars added Incumbent star
2019 LAC Kawhi Leonard, Paul George
2019 BRK Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving
2017 OKC Paul George, Carmelo Anthony Russell Westbrook
2017 BOS Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward Isaiah Thomas*
2014 CLE LeBron James, Kevin Love Kyrie Irving
2012 LAL Dwight Howard, Steve Nash Kobe Bryant
2010 MIA LeBron James, Chris Bosh Dwyane Wade
2007 BOS Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen Paul Pierce**

*The Celtics traded Thomas for Irving, but Thomas was integral in recruiting Hayward in the first place.

**Pierce wasn’t an All-Star in 2007 due to an early injury, but he was an All-Star the five preceding and five following seasons and played like one while healthy later in 2006-07. Not counting him as a star in 2007 would be true only as a technicality.

Yet, Leonard and George chose to be the stars on the Clippers. Durant and Irving chose to be the stars on the Nets. They didn’t follow anyone already in place.

This is an unintended consequence of the shorter contracts owners pushed for. They give players more opportunities to change teams and value new situations like this. This is also a continuation of LeBron exercising his power, first by joining Wade and Bosh on the Heat then by closing up shop in Miami and forming a new super team in small-market Cleveland.

Maybe it can’t happen anywhere. It’s no coincidence the Clippers and Nets play in the two largest markets.

But the Lakers and Knicks are still the most prestigious franchises in Los Angeles and New York. The Clippers an Nets didn’t even win a playoff series or get one star first to lure others.

It’s a new era in the NBA – one where top talent is ready to come together and assert itself.

Wherever that may be.

Report: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving taking discounts so Nets can give DeAndre Jordan four years, $40M

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Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan will sign with the Nets.

But Durant and Irving won’t get max contracts – just so Jordan can get a lucrative deal.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Brooklyn added two stars. That’s what matters most.

But this is a ridiculous overpay for Jordan. He turns 31 next month and has already shown signs of decline. Maybe he’ll play more energetically with his new star teammates. But mere motivation isn’t enough to create assurances someone his age will live up to this contract.

Durant and Jordan are friends, and that’s what seemed to drive this arrangement. It reminds me of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh taking discounts their first season with the Heat so Miami could sign Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller.

That Durant and Irving are footing the short-term cost of Jordan’s contract is a boon to the Nets. There are ways to structure Durant’s and Irving’s contracts with incentives to get them close to their max salaries. But they are not getting guaranteed maxes.

Brooklyn will have to deal with Jordan’s contract over the long run. It will likely make it more difficult to build a supporting cast around Durant and Irving.

But that’s a perfectly acceptable burden considering the upside of getting Durant and Irving.

Report: 76ers signing-and-trading Jimmy Butler to Heat

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Jimmy Butler told the Heat he wanted to join them.

Despite being capped out, Miami found a way to make it happen.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

A four-year max contract will pay Butler $140,790,600. Beyond Josh Richardson, the Heat must send out an additional $15,997,024 in salary to make this deal work. Most of that salary can’t go to the 76ers, who need cap space to sign Al Horford.

Butler should thrive in Miami’s culture. He becomes the the team’s leader and go-to player. The Heat don’t want to rebuild, and this makes them instantly better.

But Butler doesn’t elevate Miami into serious Eastern Conference contenders. He merely pushes them toward the playoffs, maybe winning a series. That’s not exactly thrilling for a franchise that was recently winning titles with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Butler will also turn 30 before the season and has heavy mileage. As good as Butler is right now, that limits his value. The backend of his contract could get ugly.

Will the Heat get enough output in the short-term to justify it? It’s a narrow needle to thread.

For parting with Butler, the 76ers get two nice players – Horford and Richardson. Richardson is a solid defensive wing who’s expanding his offensive game. He’s cheaper and younger than Butler, necessary for creating room to sign Horford now and important as Philadelphia builds long-term around Joel Embiid (and maybe Ben Simmons).

Miami has coveted Butler for a while. The Heat nearly traded for him when he was leaving the Timberwolves. It took a while and we don’t yet know the full cost, but Miami finally got its man.