Eric Freeman

  • The Warriors are inviting trusted veteran JaVale McGee to camp

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    The Golden State Warriors have a reputation as one of the NBA’s most joyous and watchable teams, but this summer has threatened to make their 2016-17 season deathly serious. The acquisition of Kevin Durant has cast them as villains, to the point where many of the same NBA fans who looked upon the Warriors with awe throughout their 73-win season will watch them in the hope of seeing them lose this year. Anything less than a title will make the season a failure, and they’ll probably feel that pressure at various points from October through June.

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    If the Warriors need a dash of levity, it’s probably not going to come from their bench. While Sixth Man of the Year candidate Andre Iguodala is still around (potentially as a starter), fun veterans like Marreese Speights and Leandro Barbosa have been replaced by the permanent scowl of David West and a full season of expert flopper Anderson Varejao. Rookie Patrick McCaw impressed at Summer League and could bring some fun, there’s no guarantee that he’ll be in the rotation.

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  • Adam Silver doesn't love the 1+1 deals signed by LeBron and Durant

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 1 day ago

    One of the weirdest things about Kevin Durant’s decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Golden State Warriors is that he’s not committed to his new club past the 2016-17 season. Durant signed a two-year deal with Golden State that includes a player option on the second season, and no one believes he’ll actually accept it. That will make Durant a free agent when he has 10 years of service and the salary cap jumps to over $100 million, at which point he will be able to sign a contract that could total more than $200 million.

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    LeBron James has signed similar deals with the Cleveland Cavaliers in each of the past two offseasons, and he figures to do the same thing in upcoming weeks in advance of getting his own record-shattering contract next summer. James and Durant are the only two players who have pursued this long-term strategy — in fact, only a handful of stars would even consider the same, let alone choose it.

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  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar slams Trump, represents Muslims in DNC speech

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    The sports world has had relatively few representatives at this week’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, but those who have spoken on stage have largely come from basketball. Jason and Jarron Collins, friends of Chelsea Clinton from their time at Stanford, spoke on Monday in support of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for president and LGBTQ Americans. Yet that short speech will not get nearly the same attention as what basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said on Thursday night.

    The 69-year-old Hall of Famer, named a U.S. cultural ambassador by then-Secretary of State Clinton in 2012, opened his speech with a joke at Donald Trump’s expense and a reference to another all-time NBA great:

    OK, so Trump voters who think that people who speak out for black rights divide the country definitely aren’t going to like this joke. But it seems pretty clear that a good portion of the Wells Fargo Center crowd loved it.

    — ⓂarcusD (@_MarcusD_) July 29, 2016

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  • Craig Sager will not cover Olympics due to leukemia treatment

    Eric Freeman at Fourth-Place Medal 2 days ago

    Turner Sports reporter Craig Sager has been a presence on more TV networks than usual this year as he continues to fight leukemia. In addition to his return to TNT for his usual NBA coverage, Sager covered his first-ever NBA Finals game on a one-day loan to ABC in June and appeared at the ESPYs this month to accept the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. He was also set to continue his relationship with NBC at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics next month, continuing a run as sideline reporter for men’s and women’s basketball that began at the Sydney games in 2000.

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    NBC announced Thursday that Sager will no longer serve that role due to a setback in his recovery. Here is the full text of their short news release:

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  • Here's Karl-Anthony Towns dunking on all the children

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    In 2005, my friends and I took great interest in a McSweeney’s article titled “A Realistic Assessment of How Many 12-Year-Olds I Could Beat Up Before They Overtook Me.” It is exactly what it sounds like — author Matt Schweiger investigates how he, a 21-year-old of fairly average size, would do in a fight against an ever-growing number of pre-teen boys. He defines what kind of 12-year-old he would face, how he would attack them, and where he would begin to falter. Schweiger settles on a total of seven 12-year-olds, and it’s hard to disagree with his logic once you see how he gets there.

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    Minnesota Timberwolves center and reigning Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns is apparently trying to test his own version of this game. Here is a video of him dribbling right through and dunking on several children at a basketball camp:

    A video posted by @legionhoops on Jul 28, 2016 at 10:55am PDT

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  • The NBPA is funding health insurance for most retired players

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    Michele Roberts has attempted to reform many aspects of the NBPA since she became its executive director in July 2014, but one of her most aggressive pushes has been to connect with the league’s many retired players. She has gone beyond basic introductions and newsletters, working to extend many benefits to retirees who may need the help to keep themselves healthy. That has been clearest in the decision to fund heart screenings for retired players, but there have been other efforts, as well.

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    The players’ union unveiled one of its most comprehensive efforts to help former players on Wednesday. As announced via press release, the union has voted to fund health insurance for all retired players with at least three seasons of NBA service:

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  • One of Brazil's most popular basketball players will miss the Olympics

    Eric Freeman at Fourth-Place Medal 3 days ago

    The Brazilian men’s basketball team will be without one of its most recognizable and popular players when it hosts the Olympic tournament in Rio de Janeiro. As announced by the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, veteran big man Anderson Varejao will miss the Olympics due to a back injury:

    Warriors center Anderson Varejao was examined earlier this week by Dr. Robert Watkins at the Marina Spine Center in Marina Del Rey, CA, and was diagnosed with a small lower back disc herniation. He is expected to be ready for the start of training camp, but will be forced to miss the 2016 Summer Olympics due to the injury.

    Varejao recently experienced back pain while participating with the Brazilian National Team and returned to California to be examined by Dr. Watkins, a renowned spine specialist.

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  • Amar'e Stoudemire was so much more than his highlights

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    History will not view the newly retired Amar’e Stoudemire as one of the best players of his era, but he is sure to go down as one of the memorable. Few big men have ever dunked with such ferocity, commitment, and constancy. Every time he took the court provided the opportunity for a fantastic highlight, and more often than not he gave us one.

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    It’s to Stoudemire’s credit that all those incredible moments seem more like the punctuation to his fantastic NBA career than they do the substance. There’s a reason that many people took to social media to post their favorite Amar’e dunks in the aftermath of his retirement announcement, but it’s not as if anyone thought they would speak for his full career. The videos were just the most readily available evidence of his greatness.

    Still, even then, he could do this:

    Amar'e Stoudemire gets crossed up, recovers and swats the ball to JJ Redick for an NBA 3 pic.twitter.com/tUzTsMGDfo

  • Kevin Durant gets hero's welcome at Team USA exhibition in Oakland

    Eric Freeman at Fourth-Place Medal 4 days ago

    Tuesday night’s pre-Olympics basketball exhibition between the United States and China is unlikely to be remembered for its result, a 107-55 thumping that confirmed everything we already know about Team USA’s dominance. They led 52-24 at the half and never looked in serious danger of winning in anything less than a blowout. It wasn’t always a thrilling display, but they dominated every facet of the contest.

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    Durant was surrounded by an overwhelmingly positive atmosphere as soon as he took the court. He met with fans and signed autographs over an hour before tipoff, taking in the love that has not come his way in most cities since his decision to leave Oklahoma City:

    #DubNation with a warm welcome for @KDTrey5 ???????????? pic.twitter.com/MkyYTDYceV

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  • Kevin Durant's Oklahoma City restaurant is rebranding

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 5 days ago

    We’ve written several times in this space about Oklahoma’s abrupt and intense breakup with Kevin Durant. When the best player in Oklahoma City Thunder history left for the Golden State Warriors several weeks ago, it brought on lots of heartache and more than a few price-cutting super sales. It’s been a reminder that cities forge real bonds with star athletes that cannot be ignored as soon as they change teams.

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    As one of the NBA’s best two or three players, Durant had stronger connections to OKC than most free agents. His departure has caused some headaches for colleagues and business associates, including those involved with KD’s, his restaurant. Now that the Durant name isn’t so strong in OKC, the eatery has closed to rebrand itself. From Brianna Bailey for The Oklahoman:

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