Category: NBA JERSEYS

Sources: Rockets, D’Antoni close to extension

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The Houston Rockets and Mike D’Antoni have rekindled discussions about a contract extension for the head coach and are nearing an agreement, sources told ESPN on Saturday.

Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has agreed to eliminate the buyout language that was the primary reason that D’Antoni and his agent, Warren LeGarie, ended talks on May 30, sources said.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Fertitta and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey visited D’Antoni at his offseason home in West Virginia this week to smooth over any hard feelings. LeGarie was not part of those discussions and told ESPN that a deal still needs to be worked out through him.

“Did Mike speak to those guys down there? Yes, he did,” LeGarie told ESPN. “As always, they asked Mike what he thought, and Mike said, ‘Sounds great, but talk to Warren.’ Mike’s job is coaching, and he leaves the negotiating to me.10

“Mike is always affable with everybody out there, not trying to raise the rancor in a situation clearly gone astray.”

After the previous talks ended, Fertitta told reporters during a hastily arranged media availability that the offer to D’Antoni was a one-year extension with a $5 million base salary plus $4 million in incentives for advancing in the playoffs.

However, the original offer included only $2.5 million in guaranteed money, due to a buyout in case the Rockets fired D’Antoni before the end of the season, or if they did not make the playoffs and terminated him after the season.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

LeGarie maintains D’Antoni deserves a multiyear extension with a higher base salary than what the Rockets have offered so far.

D’Antoni, who is under contract through the 2019-20 season, has a 173-73 record in three seasons with the Rockets. Houston is 23-16 in the playoffs during that span, losing to the Golden State Warriors the past two seasons.

With Durant sidelined, non-Nike brands have big Finals opportunity

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The Golden State Warriors aren’t the only team feeling the hurt of Kevin Durant’s calf-induced absence from the 2019 NBA Finals.

Without Durant on the court — and with LeBron James home for the postseason for the first time since 2005 — Nike is facing its first Finals since 2006 without one of its active signature stars playing.

Even that Finals matchup between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks included former Nike signature players Gary Payton and Alonzo Mourning wearing black-and-red, Heat-themed editions of their respective late-’90s signature shoes, the Zoom Glove and Air Alonzo.

In the 13 seasons since, Nike has been able to count on signature stars such as James, Durant, Kobe Bryant and Kyrie Irving playing deep into June every year, giving the company the ability to introduce new technology, Finals-themed colorways and elaborate marketing campaigns.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Nike, the league’s official uniform and apparel outfitter, does boast Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam in this series, but none of them has their own shoe. In fact, Siakam’s 32-point performance in Game 1 came in Durant’s KD10, which was released two years ago.

For Under Armour, Anta, Puma, New Balance and Adidas, there’s an opening this spring for the first time in more than a decade, as Nike’s superstar roster had continued to dominate the landscape. The last Finals MVP who wore a non-Nike Inc. sneaker was Tim Duncan, who sported Adidas in the 2005 Finals, two years after Nike declined to re-sign him.9

A similar story could be unfolding in 2019 with Kawhi Leonard, who chose not to re-sign with the Nike-owned Jordan Brand and instead inked a deal with New Balance, immediately becoming the face of the company’s re-entry into the basketball market.

Leonard debuted the OMN1S model during All-Star Weekend in Charlotte and has worn a rotation of 27 different colorways in the months since. With an expected wide release not coming until October, the brand has released only a few hundred pairs of the sneaker to date. Dubbed the “2-Way Pack,” drafting from his status as perhaps the league’s best two-way player, a pair of the OMN1S and a similarly styled pair of the 997 Sport lifestyle sneaker was released online, selling out in mere seconds.

Luckily for New Balance, the sole launch to date featured the same colorway Leonard was wearing when he nailed his instant classic, Game 7 buzzer-beater over the outstretched arms of Joel Embiid, advancing the Raptors past the second round and toward their first trip to the NBA Finals in franchise history.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Both models were designed by Leonard himself, featuring regal hues of gold and purple, along with a faux crocodile, textured collar. The instant sell-out gave New Balance confidence and hope as it heads toward additional moment-driven, surprise releases should Leonard win the NBA championship.

In the week leading up to the Finals, New Balance digital banners flanked the streets of Toronto, declaring Leonard the “King of the North.” The morning after the Raptors’ convincing Game 1 win, the brand launched yet another billboard campaign, this time just off Oakland’s 880 highway heading toward Oracle Arena.

The Warriors want to fill the hole in Stephen Curry’s trophy case

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The 35-year-old swingman, who has been dealing with the injury throughout most of the Golden State Warriors’ postseason run, spends the moments following Game 2 of the NBA Finals limping through the locker room inside Scotiabank Arena. Iguodala peels off his jersey and tells the assembled media what continues to motivate him to play through injuries at the tail end of a 15-year career.

“I like Steph,” Iguodala says. “He’s a good dude, good guy to be around. That’s really the only reason why I like playing basketball.”

In this moment, Iguodala’s motive is far deeper than the joy he gets from playing alongside Stephen Curry; he is also determined to bolster Curry’s individual résumé. Coincidentally, that means getting Curry something Iguodala already has: an NBA Finals MVP award.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

“I’ve never seen a person, such a good person, ever get some backlash, whatever, from his peers,” Iguodala said. “Because they’re so jealous of what he has. … So whatever it takes to protect his legacy, I’m all for it.”9

Since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976-77, Curry is part of a small group of players who have won both a regular-season MVP award and a title but not claimed Finals MVP. Like Curry has the past two years, David Robinson and Julius Erving played alongside another MVP (Tim Duncan and Moses Malone, respectively) when they won their titles, while Kevin Garnett was four years removed from his MVP season — and on a different team — when he won his lone championship.
Iguodala echoed those sentiments, saying, “He’s not arrogant. He doesn’t go about life like a superstar. DeMarcus [Cousins] said it one day — he was like, ‘He’s the most normal superstar I’ve ever seen.’ He’s like, ‘This is unreal.’ But it’s just talk about culture. People don’t understand how important that is.“nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

Curry has played well on the game’s biggest stage. He was the team’s leading scorer in the 2015 Finals, averaging nearly 10 points per game more than Iguodala, who won Finals MVP. He led the Warriors in scoring again in 2016, when they lost in seven games to the Cleveland Cavaliers — a setback Curry blames himself for.

Kevin Durant arrived that summer, and took the Finals scoring lead from Curry en route to winning each of the past two Finals MVPs. Still, Curry averaged 27.1 points per game over those two series, an increase over the 25.7 PPG he put up in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 regular seasons.

“I think if you ask him he’ll take that championship and everyone being healthy,” said Bogut, who was part of the Warriors’ title team in 2015 and, after stints with Cleveland, Dallas and the Lakers over the past two seasons, rejoined Golden State earlier this season. “In my opinion, I don’t think [winning Finals MVP] changes the direction of his career, but I guess for the media people that are out there criticizing him for not having that, it might silence them a little bit, for at least a year — until they find something else to criticize him for.”

Sources: Rockets making CP3, others available

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Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has made his entire roster and future draft picks available in trade talks, a dramatic initiative with hopes of reshaping the team into a championship contender, league sources told ESPN.

The possibility of trading All-NBA guard James Harden is believed to be extremely limited, but the rest of the roster — including even Chris Paul and Clint Capela — could be more realistic trade targets, sources said.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china10

Paul’s remaining contract (three years, $124 million) and advancing age (34) make deal possibilities somewhat prohibitive.

The Harden-Paul dynamic wasn’t without its challenges this season for the Rockets, league sources said.

The Rockets have been more aggressive in offering up Capela in recent days, sources said.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Houston has lost in the Western Conference finals and conference semifinals to the Golden State Warriors in consecutive years.

Houston has made changes on its coaching staff, and extension talks with coach Mike D’Antoni appear to be stalled. He has one year left on his contract.

Kerr says Cousins could be active for Game 1

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Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins is questionable for Game 1 of the NBA Finals as he continues to rehab from a torn left quad, but Warriors coach Steve Kerr left open the possibility that Cousins could be active in time for tipoff of Thursday’s game against the Toronto Raptors.

“DeMarcus has done an amazing job,” Kerr said Wednesday. “Coming back from the injury which we felt at the time was season ending. He’s done an incredible job of rebounding, rehabbing. Now, here he is. He’s scrimmaged a couple times this week. He’s pain free. It is more a matter of rhythm, timing and condition. All those things. I think I mentioned if this was this the regular season, I’d throw him out there, whatever minutes he could tolerate. We’d build him up from there. It’s not the regular season. It’s the Finals. We have to figure out what is the best way to utilize him. How many minutes he can play. What the game feels like. Some of that will be determined by what is happening in the game. Some of the other stuff is just internal with our staff.”

Kerr said “It hasn’t been decided yet,” if Cousins will be active, but Cousins participated in practice and was in a good mood as the Warriors got their first official workout going inside ScotiaBank Arena.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“I feel good,” Cousins said. “My quad is coming along. It’s healed for the most part. Still whipping things into the shape. Building the muscle endurance needed to play at a high level. Everything is coming along well.”8

Cousins, who tore the quad on April 15 in Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals against the Los Angeles Clippers, was asked if he would play if the decision were up to him.

“That’s the thing,” Cousins said. “It never really is up to me. We’ll put our heads together and figure out our best plan moving forward.”nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Cousins has repeatedly praised the Warriors medical staff for the time and effort they have put in to try and get him back on the floor. He returned from a torn Achilles on Jan. 15 after missing close to a year rehabbing that injury. If he is cleared to play, his teammates know it will be ‘a huge challenge’ for him to produce at this level after missing so much time.

“When you talk about DeMarcus, he’s someone who has been great in this league for years now,” Draymond Green said. “He probably [hasn’t] played basketball 16 of the 19 months. that right there alone is a challenge in itself. Then you talk playoff experience, where you and I both know the intensity level is completely different than a regular season game. He doesn’t have much playoff experience. then you get dropped in the NBA finals. Kinda some like guy who grew up in the suburbs going to private school, then one day got dropped in the ‘hood and was told to survive. Gotta figure that out.”

Whether Cousins is cleared for Game 1 or not, he is confident that he will contribute at some point in The Finals.

“I believe this is the stage every basketball player as a kid dreams of,” Cousins said. “To be here is a huge honor. Incredible feeling, I’m extremely excited about it. Makes me that much more antsy to get on the floor and help my teammates. If that opportunity is presented to me, I plan on taking advantage.”

Five pressing questions that will decide Bucks-Raptors

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About an hour after his team suffered a blowout loss at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks, Kawhi Leonard — never one to be subsumed into narratives or high drama — offered the most literal response to the most pressing question facing his Toronto Raptors.

“We’re going to Toronto,” said Leonard, when asked where his team, now trailing the Eastern Conference finals 2-0, goes from here. “Game 3.”nike nfl jerseys cheap china

You have to admire Leonard’s unflappable resolve. After outplaying the Bucks for most of Game 1 before losing in the closing minutes, the Raptors were outperformed wire-to-wire in Game 2. They struggled on each end of the floor, both with establishing a steady flow in the half court and with neutralizing Milwaukee’s rhythm. The Bucks, now 10-1 this postseason, are just two games from their first NBA Finals in 45 years — and they have yet to play their best basketball in the first two games of this series.10

Even though Leonard’s comment might seem imperceptive on the surface, he’s correct to point out that the action now heads to Toronto, because few things shift momentum in a series quite like a change in venue. Yet to hold serve in Toronto, the Raptors will have to quickly come up with some solutions to a few very pressing problems.

Few defenders in the NBA have thrived in that challenge more effectively than Khris Middleton this season, a pattern that has continued in the playoffs. Leonard scored 31 points in both games at Milwaukee, but he has worked exceptionally hard to do so. Middleton, as well as Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon, have limited Leonard’s drives to his right, influencing him to his weaker hand — and into the Bucks’ active help defenders. Time and again on Friday, Leonard found himself headed in a suboptimal direction off a screen only to encounter the likes of Brook Lopez — who, as Raptors coach Nick Nurse said on Saturday, “never leaves the paint” — or Ersan Ilyasova.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

In Games 3 and 4, the Raptors will need to figure out ways to shift the Bucks’ defense to give Leonard a little more breathing room in the half court. That might mean getting Leonard the ball later in the possession after some primary actions predicated on movement. For instance, Pascal Siakam can pressure defenses off the dribble, as can Kyle Lowry off some crafty pick-and-roll action.

The Raptors certainly ran these sorts of sets, but when they’re generating only 0.80 points per Leonard drive and 0.79 points on possessions when Leonard works in isolation, they’ll need to be even more resourceful.

Draymond: Warriors want sweep to get more rest

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As the Golden State Warriors attempt to become the first team since the 1960s Boston Celtics to go to the NBA Finals for the fifth straight season, Warriors forward Draymond Green said the group is motivated to finish off the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals and take advantage of the nine days off before the Finals begin May 30.

“I think it’s very motivating for us to try to sweep this series and have that time off,” Green said on Sunday. “Obviously we’re a little banged up, so nine days off would be great for us. Allow Andre [Iguodala] time to heal, Shaun [Livingston]’s old — but also allow the possibility of Kevin [Durant] and DeMarcus [Cousins] to get healthy and come back as well. So I think it’s very important for us to come out tomorrow with the right mindset. We didn’t do that against the Clippers. We extended the series and all of a sudden Klay [Thompson] and Steph [Curry] was going into the Houston series questionable because of some ankle injuries they suffered in series that should have been over. And so we understand that. We got a great opportunity.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Despite the fact that the Warriors hold a 3-0 lead in the series, Green knows the Blazers aren’t going to let Golden state roll over them in a potential closeout game. But after coming back from double-digit deficits in the second half of each of the past two games of this series, the Warriors enter Monday night’s contest with more confidence than they’ve had all season.

“We know this team is, they’re a very resilient group,” Green said of the Blazers. “They’re not going to lay down. They have great leadership in Dame [Damian Lillard] and C.J. [McCollum] and they’re going to come out and continue to play, and play with the force that they can play with. It’s on us to make sure we can play with the right mindset and focus, that we know what it takes to close out a series, especially on the road.”8

Green, who earned his seventh career postseason triple-double in Game 3 on Saturday night, has been dominant at times throughout the postseason, helping the Warriors come together after Durant suffered a calf injury in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets. Green opened up about just how much his mindset changes when the postseason begins.

“When I finish the playoffs every year I’m exhausted,” Green said. “And more so mentally than physically because I view these games like life or death. Like I’ll be stressed out the entire playoffs. It’s like a life-or-death situation for me. That’s how I view it. And so when you have that mindset and you’re viewing it that way, it’s easy to raise your game because it’s bigger than just that particular game. And so there’s been times when I’m like, ‘Dude, I’m putting too much strain on myself. Too much stress on myself.’ And I can’t change it because this is the times I live for.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“This is what I enjoy most. This is what you play for, this is what you train for, to be at your best at this time of year, to try to win a championship. And so when you look at it from that standpoint, which is the way I look at it, it makes it a lot easier to step up to that challenge because you’re playing for something so much bigger than to win that game.”

Green has thrived in the postseason since entering the league in 2012, and like many on the Warriors’ roster, he acknowledged the grind of an 82-game regular season is tougher to handle after years of long playoff runs and the stress that comes with them.

“For me personally I kind of view the season in three different parts,” Green said. “You come into the season and you’re ready to go. In the league, you kind of hit that point of where, ‘All right, get me to the All-Star break.’ And then you come out of the All-Star break and you’re refreshed, and you’re ready to go again. And that works and that happens for like two weeks and then it’s like, ‘Get me to the playoffs.’ You feel like you’re getting life at each one of those moments. And for me personally once you get that new life in the playoffs, it’s the playoffs. If you got to find life again in the playoffs you’re going home. And you should. It’s the part of the year I love. It’s the part where you’re playing for all the marbles. If you can’t get up for this, what can you get up for?”

Butler after 76ers’ 36-point loss: ‘We laid an egg’

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Brett Brown became a meme, Joel Embiid was mocked by Raptors fans the way he normally mocks opponents, and the 76ers suffered one of their worst losses in the franchise’s postseason history in a 125-89 defeat Tuesday night.

The Sixers now trail the Raptors 3-2 in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

“I think we laid an egg,” guard Jimmy Butler said after the 76ers coughed up 19 turnovers leading to 31 Toronto points and failed to crack 100 points for the fourth time this series.
By halftime, Philadelphia had more personal fouls (16) than made field goals (14), and the Sixers’ two All-Stars, Embiid and Ben Simmons, struggled as much as anyone. The duo combined for seven turnovers in the first half, which was more than the field goals and assists they combined to register in that span (six).cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Embiid, still reeling from the upper respiratory infection that limited him in Game 4, finished with 13 pcheap nike nfl jerseys wholesaleoints on 5-for-10 shooting (2-for-6 from 3), six rebounds, one assist and eight turnovers. In the past five postseasons, only two players have finished a game with one or zero assists and eight or more turnovers: Kevin Durant in 2016 and Embiid, who has now done it twice, as he matched his one-assist, eight-turnover game in the first round against the Miami Heat last year.10

“It sucks,” Embiid said. “I know I got to do a better job for us to win. I got to do the little things. When I’m needed to score the ball, I got to show up. Setting screens, I got to do a better job of rebounding the ball. So that’s on me. … I just got to do more.”

Embiid played one of his finest games as a pro in Game 3 against the Raptors, putting up 33 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks to put the Sixers up 2-1 in the series. In the two losses since, he has totaled just 24 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks.

When the Sixers center checked out of Game 5 for good with 9:05 remaining in the fourth quarter, fans in the stands at Scotiabank Arena — including Canadian rapper Drake, the Raptors’ global ambassador — spread their arms out and mimicked Embiid’s airplane celebration that he broke out after his late windmill dunk in Game 3.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Embiid hasn’t been able to help the Sixers land a win since.

“I just saw them shake their bodies,” Embiid said of the fans. “I didn’t pay attention about what the hell they were doing. Good for them. … I don’t care if it offends anybody, but what I do is all about having fun. I don’t care. And I’m going to do that because I know I’m going to dominate.”

Kyrie Irving’s failed leadership tells the story of the Celtics’ failed season

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cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesaleAt first, it seemed like things were going to be just fine.

When the Boston Celtics convened for media day back in September, they were the heavy favorites to represent the Eastern Conference in this season’s NBA Finals, and arguably no team in the league had a brighter road ahead.

Brad Stevens saw something different.

“I knew going in that it was going to be super challenging, but October screamed it,” the Celtics coach told ESPN recently. “I knew after the first two exhibition games, it was going to be really, really hard.”cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

It turned out to be harder than he could have imagined. And in the end, it was too difficult to overcome, as Boston suffered a fourth consecutive loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday to crash out of the second round of the playoffs.9

This was not what was supposed to happen to a team that made the conference finals the past two years — and then added a healthy Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to the mix.

There are plenty of reasons to explain why this season was so hard, and why these Celtics were so disappointing. At the root of all of them, though, is Irving — and, more specifically, his leadership through words and actions on and off the court.

Those comments became the guideposts of this long, strange trip of a season in Boston, the things that — in retrospect — were signaling to the world how hard this was turning out to be for the Celtics.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Irving’s words not only defined the Celtics’ disappointing season; they help to explain how a season that was supposed to mark Boston’s return to the top of the sport instead left all involved searching for answers.

D’Antoni: Tucker ‘wouldn’t let us lose’ in Game 3

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“Oh, I said something to all of them,” Tucker said, cracking a slight grin after the Rockets’ 126-121 overtime win in Game 3 to record their first victory of the Western Conference semifinals series.

D’Antoni didn’t need any more convincing. He called timeout and substituted in Tucker. Suddenly, Durant appeared to be human again, scoring only seven points on 2-of-7 shooting in the final 15 minutes of the game, including overtime, with Tucker as his primary defender.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Tucker dominated the glass down the stretch, grabbing nine of his game-high 12 rebounds in the fourth quarter and overtime, a major factor in the Rockets’ dominating the rebounding battle by a 55-35 margin. He also scored all seven of his points after checking back in with 10 minutes, 1 second remaining in regulation. He unleashed a primal screen after fighting for two offensive rebounds and muscling in a lead-changing, and-1 putback for his first points at the 7:19 mark of the first quarter and made two smart cuts for buckets in overtime.

“That’s who Tuck is,” D’Antoni said. “He’s a winner, and he wouldn’t let us lose.”10

Reigning MVP James Harden had his highest-scoring game of this postseason. He put up 41 points, including half of the Rockets’ 14 in overtime, sinking a stepback 3 and floater in the final minute to seal the win.

Shooting guard Eric Gordon had a sensational night, scoring 30 points on 11-of-20 shooting and hitting half of his 14 3-point attempts.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Center Clint Capela made his biggest impact of the series after a disappointing first two games, scoring 13 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and rejecting an Andre Iguodala dunk attempt in spectacular fashion.

But it was Tucker, the lowest-paid and lowest-scoring member of Houston’s starting lineup, whom Rockets teammates and coaches raved about the most after notching their first win of the highly anticipated series between West heavyweights.

“Tuck doesn’t do any of the glamorous stuff,” said guard Chris Paul, who had 14 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. “All of the stuff he does doesn’t [necessarily] show up on the stat sheet. We say it all the time, but it’s always nice for other people to get a chance to see it and appreciate it. He’s easily one of the most valuable guys on our team just because of the way he plays. He plays hard, and he forces you to do the same.”

Tucker’s toughness and versatility give the Rockets the option to go small and counter the Warriors’ feared “Hamptons 5” lineup, which features Draymond Green at center. Houston played much of the fourth quarter and all but 44 seconds of overtime with Tucker, who is 6-foot-6, at center surrounded by four guards and still outrebounded the Warriors by a 17-9 margin in that span.