Why Raptors' Kawhi Leonard isn't unanimous NBA Finals MVP

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    Raptors star Kawhi Leonard finished the 2019 NBA Finals with averages of 28.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.2 blocks, so it was no surprise he earned the Finals MVP trophy after leading Toronto to its first title in franchise history.

    What did come as a surprise? Leonard not receiving every Finals MVP vote. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

    MORE: Three reasons why the Raptors beat the Warriors

    The Athletic's Sam Amick shared the results from the 11 voters, and legendary NBA analyst Hubie Brown decided to go with . . . Fred VanVleet.

    VanVleet posted 14.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.2 steals per game while shooting 45.5 percent from the field and 39.3 percent from 3-point range. He had a huge performance in the deciding Game 6 on Thursday night, scoring 22 points and drilling five of his 11 3-point attempts. 

    To be clear, the Raptors needed VanVleet's[......]

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    Cousins open to re-signing with Warriors in free agency

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    DeMarcus Cousins has been rather quiet about his impending free agency, though he indicated after the NBA Finals that he would consider returning to the Warriors. 

    “I’m open,” Cousins told reporters. “We’ll see what happens.”

    Cousins was in a tough position last offseason when he entered free agency. He was dealing with a torn Achilles, which he suffered while playing with the Pelicans, that would keep him sidelined much into the 2018-19 season. He ended up signing a one-year, $5.3 million deal with the Warriors.

    “It was a weird summer last summer. So you never know how things work out,” Cousins said (via the San Jose Mercury News). “I’m open and I’ll make the best decision for mys夜网论坛elf and my family. We’ll see which way the wind blows.”

    Cousins had an up-and-down year with Golden State. He was cleared to play in January but struggled at times while adjusting to his role. Then he tore his left quad muscle in Game 2 of Golden State's opening-round playoff series against the Clippers. He missed several games before returning in the finals. 

    “Tough season for him in terms[......]

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    Will Durant re-sign with Warriors? Kerr has 'no idea'

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    It's the biggest question of the offseason – will Kevin Durant re-sign with the Warriors in free agency? 

    Now that the NBA Finals are over and the start of free agency is only a couple of weeks away, both Golden State coach Steve Kerr and general manager Bob Myers admitted they don't know whether Durant will return to the Warriors or sign with another team. 

    "I have no idea what Kevin is going to do," Kerr told reporters Friday (via NBC Sports). "I know that we all want him back.

    "We think that this is a great situation for him and vice versa, so hopefully we get him back and keep this thing going with the understanding that he's a free agent and we want what's best for him and he's free to make any choice he wants.

    "Hopefully he's back, and we'll give him any advice, any console that he needs, and ultimately he's going to make his own decision. He earned that." 

    Myers also said he wasn't sure if Durant would be back, but he explained the Warriors want to do everything they can to keep him. 

    [......]

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    NBA Draft order 2019: Complete list of picks for Rounds 1 and 2

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    The NBA Finals may have ended just a week ago, but the new faces of the upcoming season are already set to join their future organizations. 

    The Pelicans will have the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft held Thursday, June 20 at 7 p.m. ET at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. and have been the recent center of much of the league's buzz after sending Anthony Davis to the Lakers for a bundle of players and picks.

    Former Duke freshman Zion Williamson is a virtual lock to be the No. 1 overall pick in a draft that is deemed by many to only have three potential stars (Williamson, Ja Morant and RJ Barrett). With a lack of sure-fire prospects making up the bulk of the first round, trades among teams are likely to be frequent and plenty. 

    MORE 2019 NBA DRAFT:
    SN's final mock draft | Top 60 big board

    Last year's top five picks consisting of Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III, Luka Doncic, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Trae Young were part of a class for the ages — for the first time since the 1984-85 season, all five picks made the NBA All-Rookie First Team.

    Below is the complete list of all NBA Draft picks in 2019 from No. 1 overall to No. 60.

    How many rounds are in the NBA Draft?

    The NBA Draft consists of only two rounds, the fewest[......]

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    NBA Summer League 2019: Zion vs. RJ, Tacko takes Vegas and other interesting debuts

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    With the 2019 NBA Draft officially in the books, it's time for rising stars and rookies to show their respective organizations just how well their college games translate to the pros in the NBA Summer League.

    While many of the top picks, such as Zion Williamson or Ja Morant, don't need to dazzle with highlights — Morant won't even suit up for the Grizzlies as he recovers from knee surgery — the 10-day tournament in Las Vegas serves as a last chance for many former college standouts to make an NBA team or sign a G League contract.

    NBA DRAFT TEAM GRADES: Who passed with flying colors?

    The Summer League begins July 5 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Vegas and Cox Pavilion on the campus of the University of Nevada. It will feature all 30 NBA teams along with the Chinese and Croatian national teams. The 32 teams play a minimum of four games each before the top eight are seeded in a tournament that culminates in a championship game July 15.

    While the games don't count for anything, there are compelling matchups:

    Pelicans vs. Knicks, July 夜网论坛5

    Former Duke standouts Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett — the Nos. 1 and 3 picks in the draft, respectively — will have to wait precisely zero games for a reunion on the hardwood. The Pelicans and Knicks face off on the opening day of the tournament in a game that will be broadcast o[......]

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    Celtics frontrunner to land All-Star Kemba Walker

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    Kemba Walker could indeed be bound for Boston.

    The Celtics have emerged as the frontrunner to land the Hornets guard when free agency begins Sunday, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported‏, citing unidentified league sources.

    According to The Athletic, also citing unidentified league sources, Walker and the Hornets have experienced "sizable gaps and stalemate" in their contract discussions so far. This has opened the door for potential competitors in Boston, New York and Dallas, the report noted.

    Walker has insisted his top choice is to stay with the team that drafted him ninth overall in 2011 after spending his entire eight-year career in Charlotte, but the Lakers and Mavericks have also expressed interest in signing him.

    He became eligible for a “supermax” deal when he was named to the All-NBA third team after the season ended.

    "Charlotte’s definitely my first priority," Walker told The Athletic earlier this month. "That’s where I’ve been for eight years and that’s all I know. Not many people get a chance to play for one NBA team throughout their career. … Charlotte is my home, man. I’ve been there for eight years and it’s b[......]

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    NBA free agency rumors: Kemba Walker commits to Celtics

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    Things have come together quickly for Kemba Walker.

    The star point guard has informed the Hornets that he intends to sign with the Celtics when free agency begins Sunday at 6 p.m. ET, according to multiple reports.

    The Athletic had reported Saturday that Walker will agree to a four-year maximum contract worth $141 million.

    With a sizable void left to fill, ESPN reported the Hornets are already considering Elfrid Payton, TJ McConnell, Ish Smith and Emmanuel Mudiay to potentially replace him.

    Walker had insisted his top choice was to stay with the team that drafted him ninth overall in 2011, though it was reported that the two sides experienced "sizable gaps and stalemate" in their contract discussions, which opened the door for potential suitors.

    Despite drawing interest from New York and Dallas, Boston has long been rumored to be the landing spot for Walker, who became eligible for a “supermax” deal when he was named to the All-NBA third team after the season ended.

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    NBA championship odds 2020: Lakers, Bucks lead pack after first day of free agency

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    A whirlwind first day of NBA free agency wrapped up on Sunday night with several faces heading to new places, including Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant (Nets), D'Angelo Russell (Warriors), Kemba Walker (Celtics) and Al Horford (76ers).

    With Golden State losing its share of star power to free agency (Durant) and injury (Klay Thompson) and Kawhi Leonard potentially leaving the defending champion Raptors, the NBA is wide open, meaning several teams have enticing championship odds. 

    MORE: Signings, trades from the first day of NBA free agency

    Despite missing the playoffs last season, the Lakers, who already have LeBron James and Anthony Davis — and could be adding Leonard — have the best odds to win the 2020 NBA Finals at 3/2. The Bucks and 2019 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo are right behind with 13/2 odds, while the 76ers and Warriors (10/1) sit in a tie for third. 

    Notably, the Nets, who signed both Irving and Durant, sit at 25/1, behind nine other teams. With Durant likely to miss the entire season and Irving replacing Russell on a team that was the No. 7 seed in the East last season, the odds make some sense. But if you bel[......]

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    Rumors: Warriors signing Cauley-Stein, Glenn Robinson

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    Golden State is adding to its free-agency haul.

    The Warriors have agreed to terms with Willie Cauley-Stein and Glenn Robinson, according to reports from Yahoo Sports and The Athletic.

    Cauley-Stein, 25, entered the summer as a restricted free agent with the Kings, but Sacramento rescinded its qualifying offer earlier this week, which allowed him to sign with any team. Cauley-Stein's agent said last month the center needed a "fresh start."

    Cauley-Stein averaged 11.9 points and 8.4 rebounds in 81 appearances for the Kings in 2018-19 while shooting 55.6% from the field.

    Robinson, on the other hand, is fresh off a one-year, $4 million deal he signed with Detroit. The 6-6 wing averaged 4.2 points per game in the 47 appearances he made with the Pistons last season.

    Golden State doesn't have an abundance of[......]

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    LeBron James officially presents Lakers No. 23 to Anthony Davis; what number will LBJ wear?

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    LeBron James marked a new Lakers era Sunday night with a ceremonial passing of ... his number? 

    James posted a picture on Instagram of him and new teammate Anthony Davis holding a Lakers jersey No. 23 with Davis' name on the back. The accompanying caption read, in part, "Officially a Laker!!"

    Davis has worn No. 23 throughout his seven-year career with the Pelicans.

        View this post on Instagram         

    Officially a Laker!! 😱💪🏾🙏🏾 #LakeShow

    A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on Jul 7, 2019 at 6:59pm PDT

    Not only had LeBron indicated that he might give up his Lakers number for his new teammate, but James also hinted previously at what number he might wear beginning in 2019-20.

    Some 10 days before the Davis deal officially became a reality, James tweeted a tiny No. 6 with a praying-hands emoji.

    The back story: James has worn No. 23 for most of his career, including two stints with the Cavaliers and his first season with the Lakers. However, he wore No. 6 in his four seasons with the Heat (and he usually wears a No. 6 in Lakers practices). 

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