Adrian Wojnarowski

  • David Blatt's key to success: Learn to coach LeBron James

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 14 hrs ago

    CLEVELAND – Thirty-three years away, and Cavaliers coach David Blatt comes with a confession: He's a little lost here. It isn't coaching in the NBA, but immersing himself back into these United States. All those years, all those seasons in Israel and Russia, and Blatt's still searching for his bearings in America's Rustbelt.

    "It does not feel like the same place it was when I left," Blatt told Yahoo Sports on Wednesday morning. He was sitting inside his Quicken Loans Arena office, a few blocks from his downtown apartment. Everywhere he goes here, people have been gracious and encouraging and that makes everything easier.

    Nevertheless, Blatt says, "It's a readjustment to be back, yes, but the biggest change is in me. I see the world differently. I no longer see the world through the eyes of simply an American kid growing up here. I see them through the eyes of a worldly man who has experienced new sets of surroundings and made me look now at the world and the USA that I live in again, in a whole different way.

    Only, he doesn't dare. Not yet, anyway. Not so soon.

    "You have to be creatively realistic."

  • Grizzlies confident Kings' 'media campaign' won't lead to win being overturned

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    Memphis Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace told Yahoo Sports he expects the NBA will validate his franchise's protested victory over the Sacramento Kings, "regardless of the media campaign being waged."

    In the aftermath of the Grizzlies' 111-110 victory on Thursday night, Sacramento filed a protest with the league office insisting Courtney Lee's buzzer-beating shot should've been disallowed. The Kings maintain an inbounds pass to Lee had been tipped and the game clock should've run out before Lee could've caught and scored the basket.

    Memphis officials have been bothered over what they believe has been an unsavory public and media campaign to pressure the commissioner's office into changing the call, league officials told Yahoo Sports.

    "After a thorough review, the play was correctly upheld. The inbounds pass was not tipped and Courtney Lee did get his shot off in time. The league even posted conclusive video footage supporting the call on its replay website.

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  • Sources: Rudy Gay reaches agreement on extension with Kings

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    Rudy Gay has reached agreement on a three-year, $40 million contract extension with the Sacramento Kings, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Gay has one year left on his current deal, which will pay him $19.3 million.

    The extension begins with the 2015-16 season, and includes a player option for the the 2017-18 season, sources told Yahoo Sports. The ability to exit the deal early gives Gay a chance to become a free agent in the summer of 2017, when he’ll be 31 and the market will be flush with the proceeds of the new $24 billion television package.

    Gay's agent, Alex Saratsis of Octagon, finalized the details of the deal with Sacramento management over the past several days, culminating with an agreement on Saturday night. The Kings have wanted to re-sign Gay for several months, and Gay decided to push forward with an agreement in recent days, deciding to bypass free agency in the summer.

    Gay is averaging 22.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists for the Kings, who are 6-4 this season.

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  • Reggie Jackson embracing the task of saving the Thunder’s season

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    BOSTON – Reggie Jackson still doesn’t own a car. He drives a Hyundai on a sweetheart lease with an Oklahoma City dealership. He’d use a moped, but understands that’s probably a bad idea. He shops for his clothes on the Macy’s and H&M clearance racks, forever searching for the double markdown – red sticker clumped upon red sticker.

    “I just need to look presentable on the walk from the bus into the arena,” Jackson told Yahoo Sports. “My goal every day, basically, is to not get fined for the dress code. I’ve never needed much.

    “I’m a minimalist.”

    The minimalist point guard for the minimalist roster. For several more weeks, Oklahoma City must do more with less, and Jackson’s the perfect player to hold together this season. Thrust into one of the NBA’s most pivotal positions, Jackson’s the performer tasked with the biggest burden in building a bridge from playoff possibility to the return of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

    “I love putting that pressure on myself. I love being relied upon for so much. I love being the leader out there, being the coach’s eyes, be part of the chess game.”

  • Sources: Thunder guard Reggie Jackson focused on restricted free agency in 2015

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 19 days ago

    After discussions on a contract extension perished on Friday, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Reggie Jackson is determined to pursue restricted free agency as a means to hunt a starting job in the NBA, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Jackson has been described as eager to get on the market next summer, out of All-Star Russell Westbrook’s shadow and prove his value as a frontline NBA point guard.

    As rival teams evaluate restricted free-agency candidates next July, league executives believe Jackson holds a distinct advantage among his peers: The Thunder’s investment into their star players may limit how far the franchise can go to match a rich offer sheet and make Jackson an ideal target to change teams.

    “Bottom line,” one NBA general manager told Yahoo Sports, “how much are they willing to pay for Westbrook’s backup?”

    The Thunder’s past inability to re-sign two key players to rookie extensions – James Harden and Jeff Green – led to the organization trading both players. Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti has insisted the Thunder would match any offer sheet for Jackson next summer, but skepticism exists throughout the league.

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  • Sources: Ricky Rubio agrees to $55M contract extension with Timberwolves

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 19 days ago

    Ricky Rubio has reached an agreement on a four-year, $55 million contract extension with the Minnesota Timberwolves, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    The contract includes $1 million in possible incentives, a source said.

    Rubio, 24, will make nearly $14 million a season for the Wolves, a package comparable to Eric Bledsoe’s five-year, $70 million extension with the Phoenix Suns.

    "I am really thrilled," Rubio wrote in an email to Yahoo Sports. "I couldn't be happier. They showed they believe in me and I'm up for the challenge. I want to lead this young team."

    Agents Dan Fegan and Jarinn Akana completed the deal with Minnesota officials late on Friday afternoon.

    The T'wolves are counting upon Rubio to be the cornerstone of their franchise as they transition from the post-Kevin Love era to a young core centered on rookie Andrew Wiggins.

    Rubio is one of the NBA’s most dynamic passers and playmakers, and there’s a sense he’s finally reached a full recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered two years ago.

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  • Jimmy Butler rejects Bulls’ final offer, plans to enter restricted free agency

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 20 days ago

    Talks on a contract extension for Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler ended without a deadline deal on Friday, agent Happy Walters told Yahoo Sports.

    Butler rejected the Bulls’ final offer on Friday morning and plans to enter into restricted free agency in July.

    “It came down to me deciding that I want to bet on myself,” Butler told Yahoo Sports in a text message on Friday. “It was about me believing that I put the work in this summer to become a better player with the hope that my improvement will give the Bulls a better chance to win a championship.”

    The sides still have until midnight EST on Friday to reach agreement on a 2011 draft class rookie extension, but Bulls officials expressed to Butler and his reps at Relativity Media, Walters and Steve McCaskill, that they made their final offer earlier on Monday.

    The Bulls will have the chance to match an offer sheet and retain Butler next summer, but looming is the threat of a rival believing that it can extract Butler with a steep offer that threatens the Bulls’ payroll structure. Teams could include a player option on a three-year deal that would allow Butler to become an unrestricted free agent in 2017.

  • Spurs star Kawhi Leonard plans to explore restricted free agency in 2015

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 20 days ago

    San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard plans to explore restricted free agency next summer after contract extension discussions ended, his agent Brian Elfus told Yahoo Sports on Friday afternoon.

    Elfus and Leonard have held firm on their desire for a maximum contract extension, something Spurs management won’t consider until July.

    “We feel Kawhi is deserving of a max contract, and we are disappointed that something couldn’t get done,” Elfus told Yahoo Sports. “There’s no debating Kawhi’s value. The market has been set. He’s done everything the Spurs have asked of him, exceeded all of their expectations. Coach [Gregg] Popovich has gone out of his way to call Kawhi the future face of the franchise. We have great respect for the Spurs organization, but here, we simply agree to disagree.

    “There will be no shortage of teams interested in Kawhi’s services next year. There will be a lot of contract scenarios available to us, and we will explore them all.”

    Leonard, the 2014 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, needed to reach an agreement by midnight ET on Friday – the deadline for rookie extensions for the 2011 draft class.

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  • How LeBron is wielding an influence never before seen in the NBA

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 20 days ago

    CLEVELAND – In the uneasy moments lurching toward tipoff, the neatly manicured mythology of LeBron James’ homecoming flickered on the spectacular screen suspended over the Q Arena floor. All around, the shoe company’s commercial played out with thousands upon thousands of Clevelanders surrounding the prodigal son in the Cavaliers’ huddle, thousands more reaching out, across blocks and streets, responding to the superstar’s declarations of duty about winning a championship for them.

    No one does fairy tales like Nike, an unapologetic peddling of product for a summer transaction. The most conditional kind of love washed down onto James upon his Cavaliers return on Thursday night, Northeast Ohio determined to distill romance out of something that was far more a free-agent power play than the storybook journey home that it’s been framed.

    “This was great, but I’m glad it’s over,” James said.

    Yes, James loves this region, but give him this too: The world’s best basketball player is testing the reach of the iconic athlete into athletic and coaching representation, pursuing power and control that no active athlete’s ever dared.

  • Sources: Alec Burks agrees to four-year, $42 million extension with Jazz

    Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports 20 days ago

    Utah Jazz guard Alec Burks has reached an agreement on a four-year, $42 million contract extension, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Reachable incentive clauses could push Burks’ deal to $45 million, sources said.

    Burks has developed into one of the NBA’s better young shooting guards and is a cornerstone of the franchise’s youthful core.

    Burks, a member of the 2011 NBA draft class, and his agent, Andy Miller, had until midnight EST on Friday to negotiate an extension with Utah – or Burks could’ve entered into restricted free agency in 2015.

    Burks, 23, is the third young Jazz player, along with Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors, to reach a four-year extension with the franchise.

    The Jazz and power forward Enes Kanter ended extension talks Wednesday, and he’ll enter into restricted free agency in July. Utah can match any offer sheet and retain him.

    Burks has averaged 16.5 points in his first two games, two and a half points above his average in the 2013-14 season. Jazz coach Quin Snyder plans to feature Burks as a major part of his system.

    Utah drafted Burks with the 12th overall pick out of Colorado in 2011.

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