This morning’s headlines:
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Reports: Cavs, Celtics trying to iron out trade — The Cavs and Celtics have until 10 a.m. tomorrow for point guards Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas to pass their physicals. Yesterday, Thomas had his say about the status of his health in an interview with ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski, but questions remain as to whether or not Cleveland will try to extract more from Boston in the trade for him. Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com has more on the latest in this mega-trade:
Thomas, the 5-9 juggernaut who missed the final three games of the Eastern Conference finals against the Cavs last season because of a torn labrum, completed his physical in Cleveland Friday, and since team sources have said they’re reviewing their options on completing the trade.
The Cavs can accept the trade as it was proposed, ask Boston for additional compensation, or void the trade.
Multiple sources told cleveland.com that as of Tuesday afternoon, Cleveland hadn’t asked the Celtics for anything extra. Wojnarowski reports the two sides began to engage each other on a “solution.”
Wojnarowski also reported the Cavs no longer sought an additional player, and another draft pick would satisfy Cleveland. But, again, multiple sources told cleveland.com the Cavs never asked for another player, such as Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum.
The Cavs have said nothing publicly about Thomas’ hip, other than to confirm there were concerns. Celtics president Danny Ainge said last week that he thought Thomas would not be ready to start the season but would eventually be able to play this year.
Thomas status for this season matters for all sorts of reasons, including his contract status. He’ll be a free agent next summer and will be looking for a huge payday. The Cavs, meanwhile, are looking for another Finals berth.
“I don’t know what [Cleveland] is doing,” Thomas told ESPN. “It’s out of my control. I just want to talk about what I can control, and I know that this (hip) won’t be a problem into the future.”
Thomas refuted the rumors that he should’ve had surgery to repair his injured hip.
“I haven’t had one doctor tell me that this injury is going to hurt my career,” Thomas said. “Surgery was not the best option in this case. I aggravated it in March when [Minnesota’s] Karl-Anthony Towns fell on me. I kept playing on it, and making it worse — until I couldn’t play anymore last season.
“I am not damaged,” Thomas said. “I’ll be back, and I’ll be the same player..
Former Cavs GM David Griffin thinks the Thomas-Irving trade will go through.
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Durant makes first tech investment — Playing in Silicon Valley has had its off-court advantages for some members of the Golden State Warriors, particularly for Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala. Both players have gotten into the tech investing game over the last few years and now, Kevin Durant is doing so as well. USA Today‘s Jon Swartz reports on the company Durant is getting involved in and what his goals are:
The Golden State Warriors star invested an undisclosed amount in start-up Rubrik and was named a board adviser for advice on strategic marketing initiatives.
“It’s a perfect opportunity” in the business-to-business market that is a “major play for us,” Durant told USA TODAY exclusively on Monday, a day before he was to represent the cloud-data management start-up at the VMworld technology conference in Las Vegas.
It used to be that professional athletes tried to capitalize — and extend — their millions in contract payouts and endorsement deals by buying restaurants or starting music labels. These days, if the player hails from the NBA, they’re more likely to want to score returns in tech.
“Being in Silicon Valley, I play in front of (tech executives) and run into them at restaurants,” says Durant, in explaining his growing list of tech investments.
Durant is one of several NBA superstars making a fast break for tech investments, partnerships and start-up equity, coached by well-connected venture capitalists such as Ben Horowitz and an NBA off-court education program.
Golden State Warriors teammates Stephen Curry (co-founder of social media start-up Slyce) and Andre Iguodala (investor in Apple, Twitter, Facebook and Tesla) have also made the rounds. Twice, the online secondhand clothing marketplace for which Iguodala was men’s style director, was sold to eBay for an undisclosed sum in 2015. Warriors’ majority co-owner Joe Lacob is a partner at venture-capital giant Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
“Players train together and, increasingly, invest together,” says Darren Heitner, a sports attorney in in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who represents NBA players such as Draymond Green and Iman Shumpert. He credits Chris Bosh, who studied engineering at Georgia Tech; Anthony and Iguodala as those at the forefront of tech investing in the tightly-knit NBA community.
“By and large, players in the NBA are able to vastly improve financial situations with guaranteed, multimillion-dollar contracts” courtesy of a record $2.6 billion TV deal, Heitner says. “Rather than get paid in one-off endorsement deals, they’re leveraging investment opportunities for longer-term security.”
In the tightly-knit NBA community, with fewer players than in the NFL and Major League Baseball, athletes tend to train together and share advice, according to Heitner.
Sports agents and athletes point to the cautionary tales, such as those of Gilbert Arenas and Antoine Walker, both of whom squandered fortunes despite each earning more than $100 million during their careers.
“From a tech investor perspective, I would point out that celebrities have generally been exploited by those raising money,” venture-capital legend Roger McNamee says.
But those are the risks in a fledgling industry that Durant and his peers are willing to take. “I bounce ideas off (Conway and Horowitz),” he says. “Those are good mentors to give us knowledge.”
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Parker upbeat as rehab work continues — Yesterday was a big day for the Bucks as they both revealed their new classic uniforms for 2016-17 and announced the date of their annual game at the MECCA arena as well. On hand for that event was forward Jabari Parker, who is working his way back from his ACL injury suffered last season and gave an update on his status, writes Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Of all the members of the Bucks’ roster, he’s the only one who certainly won’t play on Oct. 26. That’s because he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee for the second time six months ago and the injury is expected to keep him out of game action until February.
While Parker won’t be able to fully take part in the event, he didn’t look any bit disappointed on Tuesday. He proudly stood in front of the assembled crowd at UWM Panther Arena, smiling next to the Nike Classic Edition uniforms he helped unveil while looking forward to the day this season he’ll get to compete wearing one.
“It’s something to have,” Parker said of the “Return to the MECCA” game. “I wouldn’t have been able to step foot in here, so at least I can kind of get some shots up or watch a game here, so that’s the most important. That’s what I try to be — grateful — for any opportunity.”
Asked how things are going now, six months into the process, Parker opted for a playfully coy response.
“You’ve just got to be there to see,” he said with a smile. “Come visit me one day. I get lonely in that gym.”
He then got more serious.
“I am (coming along),” Parker said. “Just staying within my means and doing what I can control each and every day.”
Over the course of the spring and summer, Parker has been in the gym lifting weights, doing some running and putting up shots as part of his rehab. The activities he can participate in are limited and he still can’t do much more than dribble and shoot when it pertains to basketball-specific skills.
He insists, though, that the long hours out of competition aren’t making him stir crazy.
“I’m not because anything is better than being on crutches,” Parker said. “I’ve been there and I’m just thankful for the little I can do. I can move forward. I like to conquer the task ahead of me.”
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) August 28, 2017
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Agent: Sullinger ‘exploring’ option of signing with Nets — After spending four seasons with the Boston Celtics to start his career, Jared Sullinger signed with the Toronto Raptors last summer as a free agent. However, his stint in Canada wasn’t a long one as he played just 11 games for the Raptors before injuries sank his season. Now a free agent again, he may be looking to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, writes Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:
Free agent Jared Sullinger is “exploring the opportunity” of signing with the Nets, his agent David Falk told the Daily News.
On Tuesday a picture surfaced on social media of Sullinger wearing Nets gear while posing with Brooklyn’s D’Angelo Russell at the team’s practice facility. However, Falk said nothing has been finalized.
“I’m a big fan of the coach (Kenny Atkinson),” Falk said. “He’s a great motivator, and they have a great facility.
“(Sullinger) is a talented big man and we’re looking into an opportunity”
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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Goran Dragic is retiring from international play after EuroBasket … Elton Brand says “the hype is justified” about the Sixers’ high hopes for 2017-18 … Neil Olshey signed a contract extension through 2020-21 … The Pelicans and Wolves are reportedly both in pursuit of Dante Cunningham … Former Rockets star Steve Francis is doing what he can to help Hurricane Harvey victims as is Thunder center Enes Kanter … Five things to take away from the Grizzlies’ offseason signing of Ben McLemore, Tyreke Evans and Mario Chalmers …
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