Bulls pick up 2020-21 options on Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison

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CHICAGO -- The Bulls made an expected move to keep key parts of their young core under contract for the 2020-21 season by exercising options on Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison, the team announced Monday.

With an Oct. 31 deadline approaching, the Bulls picked up the fourth-year option on Markkanen for $6,731,508, ...Read more

Report: Kings finalize four-year contract extension with Buddy Hield before deadline

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Kings guard Buddy Hield told general manager Vlade Divac to show him the money Saturday during a playful moment at the team's annual Fan Fest at Golden 1 Center. Divac has reportedly done exactly that, signing the 26-year-old sharpshooter to a lucrative new deal and ending any uncertainty about his future in Sacramento.

KHTK radio host ...Read more

Sixers' Ben Simmons has plenty of game without shooting 3-pointers

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PHILADELPHIA -- There are questions about Ben Simmons' game.

Can he really shoot? Will he shoot? Where does he fit best in the 76ers' talented offense?

Simmons goes into his third playing season as an All-Star with a lot to prove.

The blue print to stop the electrifying point guard was out there. Sag off or don't even guard him at all in the ...Read more

Suspended Dion Waiters working, waiting after putting Heat on social-media blast

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MIAMI -- The one-game suspension of Dion Waiters imposed Saturday by the Miami Heat might not be as limited as initially announced.

In the wake of Waiters being suspended for Wednesday's season opener against the visiting Memphis Grizzlies for "conduct detrimental to the team," Waiters took to social media to question the coaching of Erik ...Read more

New Sixers forward-center Al Horford has proven to be the ultimate teammate

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BOSTON -- Jayson Tatum remembers coming into the NBA as a wide-eyed 19-year old after one season at Duke, a young player in much need of some veteran guidance.

For Tatum, now a third-year Boston Celtics forward who is considered a potential future All-Star, there was no better player, he says, to have as a teammate that first season than 33-...Read more

LeBron James: Lakers partnership with Anthony Davis comes at 'perfect' time

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LOS ANGELES -- Anthony Davis is experiencing something LeBron James went through nine years ago.

For the first time in his NBA career, Davis -- James' new teammate on the Los Angeles Lakers -- isn't the only superstar on his team.

"When you're able to put yourself around other great talent, you know that you don't have to put the most stress ...Read more

How the Charlotte Hornets' new case for pace falls primarily on Terry Rozier

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Pushing up pace is a logical thing for the Charlotte Hornets to explore this season.

But only if playing faster doesn't bleed into playing recklessly.

Coach James Borrego has coaxed faster pace -- essentially looking to run more off defensive stops and get into offense faster -- and new point guard Terry Rozier is tasked ...Read more

Lakers' Kyle Kuzma ruled out for season opener

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LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Lakers have ruled out Kyle Kuzma for Tuesday's season-opening game against the Clippers as he recovers from a stress reaction in his left foot.

Kuzma sustained the injury during the summer while he was with Team USA in Australia. He was cleared to do noncontact practices after the Lakers returned from China last ...Read more

Nunn making case for spot in Heat rotation. Spoelstra: 'He offers something that we need.'

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MIAMI -- Erik Spoelstra didn't need a 40-point performance from Kendrick Nunn to validate his view of the 24-year-old guard. But the Heat coach got one anyway.

"That game didn't move the needle any more or less for me," Spoelstra said following Sunday's practice, referring to Nunn's 40-point outing in Friday's preseason finale against the ...Read more

Heat suspend Dion Waiters one game for 'conduct detrimental to the team'; guard reponds on social media

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MIAMI -- The Miami Heat's zero-tolerance policy for violations of team rules and of the team's "Heat Culture" code will have guard Dion Waiters away from the team for Wednesday night's season opener against the Memphis Grizzlies at AmericanAirlines Arena.

And the differences between the team and the 27-year-old guard might not end there.

In ...Read more

After six seasons with no playoffs, Lakers feel they have all the pieces in place for a title

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LOS ANGELES -- LeBron James became a Los Angeles Laker in the summer of 2018 without another superstar, surrounded by young teammates who he knew weren't ready to compete for a championship. He talked constantly about having to be patient.

This month, James stood in the back of a hallway at Staples Center near the weight room players use before...Read more

Celebrating division titles is no longer good enough for Clippers

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LOS ANGELES -- The disappearance was not noticed all at once.

Upon the Clippers' return to Los Angeles from training camp in Hawaii this month, a few coaches and players caught wind immediately that something had changed while they were away. It took others more than a week.

Gradually, a realization swept through the team's Playa Vista ...Read more

Rockets to head to NBA Finals

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Dan Woike looks at how the Western Conference teams stack up (with predicted order of finish):

1. Houston 2018-19: 53-29 (4th; eliminated 4-2 in semifinals by Golden State)

HELLO: Russell Westbrook (trade), Tyson Chandler (FA). GOODBYE: Chris Paul (trade).

James Harden gets a new backcourt partner in Westbrook, who doesn't shoot nearly as ...Read more

Lakers' Vogel playing it coy about starting lineup

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LOS ANGELES -- NBA teams can have up to 20 players during the offseason before trimming their rosters to 15 for the regular season. That means the bench area can become a crowded place. Often the players at the bottom of the team's totem pole wind up sitting on the floor while their more prominent teammates get spots on the bench -- whether they...Read more

Bucks to lead the East with Sixers right behind

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Dan Woike looks at how the Eastern Conference teams stack up (with predicted order of finish):

1.Milwaukee 2018-19: 60-22 (1st; eliminated 4-2 in East finals by Toronto)

HELLO: Wesley Matthews (FA), Robin Lopez (FA). GOODBYE: Malcolm Brogdon (trade), Nikola Mirotic (overseas).

Milwaukee lost a 50-40-90 shooter in Brogdon, a valuable stretch ...Read more

Tobias Harris takes over Jimmy Butler's role with Sixers as clutch scorer

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PHILADELPHIA -- The 76ers are Tobias Harris' team -- off the court.

Now, he and the Sixers need to find a way to make it more of his team on it.

Harris re-signed for five years and a franchise-record $180 million in July, making him the Sixers' key offseason move. They will need a big year from the 6-foot-9 forward if they expect to make an ...Read more

Quickley, Sestina lead the way for Kentucky in feel-good Blue-White Game

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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The feel-good that is synonymous with Kentucky's Blue-White Game was present in Rupp Arena on Friday night.

Immanuel Quickley breathed life into Kentucky coach John Calipari's comments him about being reborn as a sophomore. Quickley played with newfound purpose and effectiveness. He finished with a game-high 25 points.

Nate ...Read more

Devin Askew picked Kentucky. Is Cade Cunningham next?

Sports / Basketball /

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky picked up a major point guard recruit late Thursday night with the commitment of five-star prospect Devin Askew.

Can John Calipari land another?

With Askew committed to the Cats -- and a good possibility to eventually reclassify and play at Kentucky next season -- attention fully turns to Cade Cunningham, the No. 1 ...Read more

Chet Holmgren continues to turn heads on recruiting trail. Will Kentucky get involved?

Sports / Basketball /

The summer of Chet Holmgren was clearly no fluke.

The 7-foot, 190-pound high school prospect who took the recruiting circuit by storm and rocketed up the 2021 rankings over the past few months was back at it again this past weekend at the USA Basketball minicamp in Colorado Springs, Colo.

His unique style of play left his peers (and their ...Read more

Kings' Harrison Barnes to help pay for Fort Worth woman Atatiana Jefferson's funeral

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Kings forward Harrison Barnes is covering a majority of the funeral costs for Atatiana Jefferson, the 28-year-old woman who was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check last week in Fort Worth, Texas.

Barnes, who previously played for the Dallas Mavericks, discussed his decision to pay for Jefferson's ...Read more