Eric Freeman

  • Huge DeRozan deal solidifies Raptors' return to relevance

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 8 hrs ago

     

    The Toronto Raptors had the franchise’s best-ever season in 2015-16, winning a record 56 games and reaching the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time. They began a critical 2016 free agency period by locking up a homegrown All-Star for the long term, though perhaps at the expense of their long-term flexibility.

    As reported by Shams Charania of The Vertical, shooting guard DeMar DeRozan quickly agreed to terms to remain with the Raptors for five years and approximately $139 million. That dollar amount has not yet been finalized due to other offseason factors for Toronto, but DeRozan will certainly be under contract at a very high salary through his age-31 season in 2020-21.

    It’s only a questionable deal if a team’s only goal should be to win a title. But Toronto has found that steady progress can be a pretty great reward in its own right.

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  • NBA and Hornets do not support new version of N.C. 'bathroom law'

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 16 hrs ago

    The NBA has spent much of the spring and early summer engaged in one of the more notable state policy issues of 2016. In February, the North Carolina legislature passed House Bill 2, one of the most sweeping anti-LGBT laws in the nation. Although primarily known for its controversial “bathroom law” that forces transgender people from using the restroom assigned to the gender they were born into rather than the one they have chosen, HB 2 barred the creation of any new laws extending anti-discrimination to the LGBT community and even set limits on changes to the minimum wage. The outcry against HB 2 has been swift and constant, with many corporations that do business in North Carolina making statements against the law and threatening changes to their practices.

    The NBA and Hornets issued a statement Thursday making it very clear that they do not endorse the new bill:

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  • LeBron James to become free agent, near-certain to stay with Cavs

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

     

    For the third offseason in a row, LeBron James will be a free agent. For the second offseason in a row, there’s little doubt about where he’ll sign.

    The 2016 NBA Finals MVP has decided not to exercise his player option for the 2016-17 season, thereby putting him on the open market when free agency begins July 1. However, this move was considered highly likely and does not jeopardize LeBron’s promised return to Cleveland following the franchise’s first championship. It is almost entirely a financial decision.

    Chris Broussard of ESPN.com has the report:

    Finals MVP LeBron James will not exercise his player option with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 2016-17 season, according to his agent, Rich Paul.

    James, who had to inform the Cavs of his decision by Wednesday at midnight, will become a free agent July 1 for the third straight summer. He was slated to earn $24 million next season.

    On Tuesday night, however, Paul gave no insight into what type of contract his client would eventually sign with the Cavs or what the timetable is for his expected return to Cleveland.

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  • Kyrie Irving plans to razz Warriors on Team USA about the Finals

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 2 days ago

    One of the coolest things about USA Basketball is that it allows players who spend most of their careers as rivals to be teammates. Plus, unlike the All-Star Game, international basketball acts as a competitive atmosphere. Star players can take on new roles — just remember Kobe Bryant as a defensive specialist in 2008, or Carmelo Anthony’s discovery that he would have been the greatest EuroLeague player ever.

    At the same time, national team participants do not cast off their usual associations just because they wear the same uniform for about a month. For instance, Kyrie Irving is still the same person who beat new teammates Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Harrison Barnes in the NBA Finals two Sundays ago.

    Irving knows as much. In fact, he attends on reminding those Golden State Warriors that his Cleveland Cavaliers beat them whenever he gets the chance. From an interview with ESPN’s Mike and Mike on Tuesday morning (via SB Nation):

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  • These kids were so happy to meet the U.S. Olympic basketball team

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    Most of the discussion surrounding the U.S. men's basketball team for August's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro has focused on the players that will not be attendance. The stream of dropouts was steady right up until Monday's announcement of the 12-man roster in New York City, with LeBron James and Stephen Curry the two biggest names to remove themselves from the consideration. The Kevin Durant-led group that will go to Brazil is still the overwhelming gold-medal favorite, but it's clearly missing some of the most exciting superstars in the sport.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    It would be easy to use those high-profile absences as reason to pay less attention to Team USA when they start the Olympic tournament. However, the faces of the kids who were present at the USA Basketball unveiling in Harlem should be proof enough that such an opinion is pretty damn jaded. Just look at how this group of kids reacted to meeting some of their heroes:

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  • Even the Minnesota Timberwolves are worth $1 billion now

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 3 days ago

    It's now well established that any NBA franchise, no matter the success of the team on the court or the size of the market, is worth a lot of money. The $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers in August 2014 set a new standard, and the $850 million sale of the never-super-popular Atlanta Hawks in April 2015 indicated that such figures wouldn't only apply to major-market clubs.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

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    Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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  • NBA and WNBA become first pro leagues to march in NYC Pride Parade

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 4 days ago

    The NBA and WNBA made professional sports history this Sunday by becoming the first leagues to march in and hold a float in the New York City Pride Parade. NBA commissioner Adam Silver, NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum, and WNBA president Lisa Borders marched alongside a group of league employees in support and celebration of the LGBTQ community.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    Silver and Tatum both wore #OrlandoUnited t-shirts to honor the victims of the June 12 mass shooting at a gay nightclub, while various other employees and marchers donned shirts with rainbow-colored NBA team logos. Jason Collins, the first active NBA player to come out as gay, and Sue Wicks, an ex-WNBA player and Women's Basketball Hall of Famer, were also among the participants.

    Take a look at several photos from the NBA and WNBA portion of the march here:

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  • Kris Dunn shows off Gucci shoes and JC Penney suit at NBA draft

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 7 days ago

     

    The NBA Draft is an event known for its fashion, though not necessarily in a positive way. The most memorable outfits are the worst ones — Drew Gooden in the latest suit by Dr. Evil, Samaki Walker in a lab coat, and Jalen Rose as a mobster in hell.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    Sadly, most draftees now employ stylists to keep them on trend. For every Brandon Ingram in a snakeskin-effect jacket, there are seven guys in the same family of tuxedo jacket and bowtie combo.

    However, the rare player can still make news. That's what new Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Kris Dunn, the No. 5 pick, did when he mixed a J.C. Penney suit with bedazzled Gucci shoes. He grabbed plenty of attention when he shouted out both companies in his post-pick interview with ESPN's Lisa Salters:

  • New Laker Brandon Ingram goes bold at draft with wild jacket

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 7 days ago

    The general consensus heading into the 2016 NBA Draft was that two players held star potential — LSU's Ben Simmons and Duke's Brandon Ingram. The former went to the Philadelphia 76ers with the first overall pick, which left the Los Angeles Lakers to pick Ingram at No. 2. The franchise's millions of fans seem pretty happy about it, with Ingram set to join a young team looking to rebuild around high-potential options and new head coach Luke Walton in the wake of Kobe Bryant's retirement.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    We will have to wait several seasons to see if Simmons or Ingram ends up as the better player. For now, though, it's clear the Ingram has the more aggressive style in clothes. While Simmons opted for a pretty standard three-piece navy suit, Ingram went for the boldest look of the whole draft:

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  • Jimmy Butler pays tribute to Derrick Rose in Instagram post

    Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie 8 days ago

    Wednesday's trade of Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks ends an era for the Chicago Bulls, who drafted the hometown star with the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2008 and saw him develop into the NBA MVP just three years later. Rose became the face of the franchise, a status that became increasingly precarious and unproductive as his knee injuries diminished his abilities. The Bulls arguably suffered for planning to depend on Rose as much as they did over the past few seasons, but the decision to move him is an emotional one nonetheless.

    [Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball]

    [ STACK: J.R. Smith's hilarious shirtless celebration extended to a Cleveland golf course ]

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