Dane Delgado

Dane Delgado is a writer for NBC Sports.

Report: Bucks sign Thanasis Antetekounmpo to two-year deal

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Player movement in the NBA is the defining feature of the league at this moment. Paul George forced his way out of Oklahoma City just a year after signing a massive 5-year super-max contract. Teams, particularly small market ones, are afraid to lose their stars and understandably so.

Perhaps that influenced the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to reportedly sign Thanasis Antetokounmpo to a 2-year deal this week?

Via Twitter:

Thanasis Antetokounmpo is the older brother of Bucks star and 2019 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis is still under contract, but is eligible for a super-max extension of his own in the summer of 2020.

Milwaukee would of course like to get Giannis to sign that contract and remain with the Bucks throughout his prime (at the very least). His brother is a borderline NBA player, having appeared in just three games for the New York Knicks last season, so it’s not like he’s going to add much to a championship-hopeful team like Milwaukee.

But a gesture, no matter how large or how small, is appreciated in this business and the fact that the team is willing to take care of their own won’t go unnoticed by the Antetokounmpo family.

Wizards acquire Davis Bertans from Spurs in three-team deal with Nets

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WASHINGTON — Forward Davis Bertans has been traded to the Washington Wizards by San Antonio as part of a three-team deal that allowed the Spurs to acquire DeMarre Carroll from the Brooklyn Nets.

The 6-foot-10, 225-pound Bertans ranked sixth in the NBA last season in 3-point shooting percentage, making 42.9 percent of his attempts. He averaged 8.0 points and 3.5 rebounds for San Antonio.

Bertans was a second-round draft pick in 2011, but the Latvian played professionally in Europe until joining San Antonio in 2016. His brother, Dairis, is with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Carroll agreed to a $12 million, two-year contract with the Spurs.

The Wizards sent the draft rights to forward Aaron White to Brooklyn in the trade. Washington took White in the second round in 2015 and he has been playing overseas.

Washington announced the swap after new league year officially opened Saturday.

Grizzlies to retire Mike Conley’s No. 11 jersey


The Memphis Grizzlies plan to retire Mike Conley‘s No. 11 jersey.

Conley played for Memphis for 12 seasons before he was traded to Utah in a move that was approved by the NBA on Saturday.

Grizzlies Owner Robert J. Pera says in a release that Conley “represented the Grizzlies and the City of Memphis with true heart and class during his 12 seasons. His talent, determination and resilience elevated our team to a perennial playoff contender, and his altruism and sportsmanship helped shape the community focused nature of our franchise.”

The 31-year-old Conley averaged 21.1 points and 6.4 assists in 70 games in his last season with the Grizzlies.

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

Magic Johnson says Los Angeles is now the ‘king of basketball’


Things are certainly looking up for the NBA in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Lakers have LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Clippers have Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. It’s a bevy of stars where before there was a dearth.

Leonard certainly kept us guessing, and we thought he might head to the Lakers to team up with LeBron and Davis. But now he has his own team and his own second star in George, and the rivalry at Staples Center is going to be bigger than ever.

To that end, former Lakers executive and player Magic Johnson says that he thinks that L.A. is the new king of basketball.

Via Twitter:

This is completely fair given that the Mecca of basketball — New York — still doesn’t have it’s marquee team competing at the level the NBA would like. Until James Dolan decides to sell the Knicks franchise, it’s unlikely that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will have true rivals in Brooklyn.

The timeline for superstar teams is shorter than we expect, but the next couple of years in Southern California should be wild to watch.

Kevin Durant will wear No. 7 for Brooklyn Nets

via Twitter

Kevin Durant is a member of the Brooklyn Nets. In his journey eastward he’s apparently decided to not only leave the Golden State Warriors, but to change his number as well.

For the entirety of his career — first with the Seattle SuperSonics, then with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and finally with the Warriors — Durant has worn No. 35. But according to a post to Durant’s Twitter page on Sunday, that’s all over.

When Durant takes the floor for the Nets, whether next season or in 2020-21, it looks like he will be wearing No. 7.

Via Twitter:

This is quite a turnaround. It’s not just that Durant has always worn 35: his Twitter handle, has the number in it, and his 35 Ventures company is named after it.

Why is Durant changing numbers now? It’s hard to say. Even in the release about the number change, Durant didn’t give more information to help us.

Of course, Durant was seen wearing a hat with a “7” on the front of it during these last playoffs, so naturally folks are drawing their own conclusions about whether this was a long time coming.

This is a new chapter for Durant, so perhaps he wants to try to reshape the marketing around the previous iteration of his public persona? We’ve seen LeBron James go from No. 23 to 6 successfully when he played with the Miami Heat, signaling a change from his Cleveland Cavalier days. Michael Jordan famously came back to the Chicago Bulls wearing No. 45 in 1995. Number changes can be innocuous or calculated, and it’s not that weird for a star player to switch it up.

Other instances of this haven’t worked as well. Kobe Bryant changed from No. 8 to 24 for the 2006-07 season, just months after settled his Colorado sexual assault case in March of that year. It was viewed as Bryant trying to control the marketing narrative around him.

Whatever Durant’s motives, he’s going to sell a ton of jerseys — especially those Nets Coogi ones — and it doesn’t matter which number is on it.

Durant is going to have his 35 retired by the Warriors here soon enough. Perhaps he will be able to dominate the Eastern Conference enough to get his 7 retired at Barclays Center?

Only time will tell.