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Spain and Greece are headed to the round of 16, and Senegal is in position to join them after shaking up Group B with an upset Monday at the Basketball World Cup. The Spanish earned a trip to their capital by routing Brazil in a battle of unbeatens to take the lead in Group A, while Greece clinched the first spot in Madrid by improving to 3-0 earlier in the day. Pau Gasol of the Chicago Bulls had 26 points and nine rebounds for Spain in its 82-63 victory over Brazil in Granada. The hosts had already routed Iran and Egypt by a combined 67 points, but have difficult first-round games remaining against France and Serbia following Tuesday's rest day.
As the summer wears on, with training camps and preseason play still off in (what feels like) the distant future, we turn our attention to the past. Join us as we while away a few late-summer moments recalling some of the most scintillating slams of yesteryear, the most thunderous throwdowns ever to sear themselves into our memories. This is Dunk History . Today, Joey Gulino on the time LeBron James seemed to make Cleveland every other sports city’s equal … or even higher. To say the Cavaliers won the summer of 2014 is to say Theodore J. Stepien lacked the acuity to own a basketball team. Cleveland added the best player on the planet, a ludicrously versatile power forward and a spate of veteran role players to a roster that already included one of the best young players in the game and several up-and-comers. If championships were, in fact, won in the offseason, this would be the equivalent of the Cavs going 16-0 in the playoffs while winning every game by 20 points. It’s silly to think LeBron James and Kevin Love won’t be the team’s most important acquisitions of the offseason. Silly. But another addition caught my eye this month: the addition of James Posey to the coaching staff . He still has a lot to prove on the sidelines, no question. But the memories of Posey the basketball player are still very fresh in my head. They’re dogged, obnoxious memories that frequently get in the way of others from LeBron’s first run in Cleveland. Which is to say, they’re emblematic of Posey’s defensive prowess.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is adjusting his staff after LeBron James' departure.
The Minnesota Timberwolves haven't made the playoffs in 10 years and just traded the face of their franchise so he can go chase a championship with LeBron James in Cleveland. Kevin Love is gone now, and yet somehow the Timberwolves have parlayed that into a record-setting week at the box office. After completing the long-rumored trade that sent Love to the Cavaliers and brought Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Thaddeus Young to Minnesota, the Timberwolves have sold more than 300 full season-ticket packages in the last week. ''The organization, from president-level on down has just been re-energized,'' Timberwolves senior vice president and chief revenue officer Ryan Tanke said.
The bad news just kept coming, the only difference whether the culprit was injury or interest. Paul George broke his right leg in a horrific collision that shook up teammates and perhaps the future of international basketball. Finally, Kevin Durant, the Americans' best player and the NBA's MVP, changed his mind about taking part in the FIBA Basketball World Cup. We're trying to prove that wrong.'' The former world basketball championship begins Saturday at four sites throughout Spain and the Canary Islands.
Kevin Love's phone rang in July and LeBron James asked the All-Star forward if he wanted to play with him in Cleveland. Getting used to a new city and new team after being acquired by the Cavaliers on Saturday, Love said he's committed to winning an NBA title with the Cavaliers - however long it takes. Love, who didn't make the playoffs during six sometimes rocky seasons with Minnesota, can opt out of his contract and become a free agent next summer. Cleveland is smitten with its newest superstar.
We all were more or less gobsmacked. June 28 was supposed to be the calm before the free agent storm, pitched just days after the tumultuous 2013-14 NBA season and the draft that youth-rocked the NBA’s world on June 26. Free agents were still days away from being legally pursued, the coaching carousal was in a slow churn, and nobody expected much of any NBA news to hit as the league’s media and followers settled in to what felt like its first Saturday night off since the 2013 offseason. Then Tim Bontemps of the New York Post, out of nowhere, dropped news that Jason Kidd was attempting to become coach and de facto general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks after a failed front office coup in Brooklyn. Days later, the Bucks would send second-round picks to the Nets for the right to hire Kidd away from the final two years of his coaching contract with the Nets, which would then send Bucks head man Larry Drew off to the curb after just one year on the job in Milwaukee. It was swift, and shocking, and nobody felt the blow harder than Drew. He said as much in a recent interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel : Larry Drew said he was "blindsided" by the way he lost his job as head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks. […] "From their (the owners') standpoint, there's no set time for these type of things," Drew said in an interview with the Journal Sentinel. "It caught me in a position when I least expected it. But I know how these things work. I don't have any hard feelings, any grudges against anybody. "Marc (Lasry) called me and I just wished him luck. I've got to keep moving forward." Maybe the most embarrassing snub Drew suffered was having to sit at the introductory news conference with No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker at the Milwaukee Public Market on the day after the draft, even though the owners already had talked to Kidd by that time. "The whole Jabari thing, putting me in that position, I don't think it was very professional," Drew said. "I wish it wouldn't have happened that way, but it did.” Drew went on to note that he eventually became “OK” with the move because he understands the nature of this beastly industry, which I suppose is best for all sides. Still, nearly two months later, the entire affair seems incredibly strange even by NBA standards. The Bucks, a team that would appear to typically toil in small market anonymity, became a go-to shot in the NBA media’s crosshairs last summer when it engaged in yet another season-long round of shooting for .500 at best. The team’s ownership and front office defended its years-long refusal to rebuild as both a financial concern and dignity-bred sense of competitive pride, which must have been a lot to talk oneself into as it hired, um, veterans like Drew, Carlos Delfino, and O.J. Mayo over last offseason. Delfino was injured, Larry Sanders was out of control, Mayo was terribly out of shape, and Drew was in over his head. The fans understandably rebelled , and in an incredible stroke of (bad?) luck, the team actually ended up inadvertently backing its way into the biggest tank job of the season. Ahead of squads like Philadelphia and Utah that were designed to lose, the Bucks ended the season with the league’s worst record and were rewarded with the draft’s No. 2 pick. By the time former owner Herb Kohl sold the team to new owners Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens, the writing would have been appeared to be on the wall for Drew following a 15-win season – but sometimes it takes owners years to clean house in both the front office and on the sideline. Topping that, Drew still had two years left on his contract. So did Jason Kidd, following an Eastern conference semifinals appearance in Brooklyn. That didn’t stop the two sides from reaching out to each other, even as Drew was helping introduce Jabari Parker to the excited Milwaukee faithful, in front of the cameras and on record. Larry Drew was never long for this team, because even with a raw and rebuilding roster, new ownership usually means itchy trigger fingers and a thirst for the big headline. Edens and Lasry certainly doled out enough cash to earn that particular headline with Kidd, following in the footsteps of Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov as Mikhail leapt after big name after big name in his first few years with Brooklyn. Prokhorov’s Billy King-led work created a money-hemorrhaging monster that the Nets will be trying to recover from for years, which makes it all the more understandable that Jason Kidd would want to jump ship to a younger, more pliable team. Even if he, y’know, kinda cost another man and his staff their jobs. Without any apparent remorse. We know Jason Kidd pretty well right now. We also know Larry Drew: solid guy, solid basketball guy. The Bucks will be paying him for the next two years the difference between his current assistant coaching contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the deal he signed with Milwaukee last summer, and it’s a fair enough tradeoff. Larry Drew doesn’t get to run a team as the head coach any more, but he will be paid head coaching money to work with LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving. Jason Kidd has to wrangle with Larry Sanders, and he still has to figure out a way to eventually depose John Hammond in order to employ a GM that will cede to his ever-changing whims. Considering just how many bridges Kidd has burned through the years, it remains to be seen just who that guy is going to be. Don’t weep for Larry Drew. By his own admission, even after the blindside hit, he’s doing just fine. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops
When a team trades its franchise player, it's expected that many people surrounding the franchise will treat it as a stone-cold bummer. It's rare to get anything approaching value for one of the top stars in the NBA, and swapping an established, excellent player for a clear rebuilding project doesn't always seem like a fair deal. It's not always good form to turn the player who pushed for the deal into an outright enemy, but it's understandable that fans would be a little ticked off. The team's owner, on the other hand, is usually expected to act with a little more decorum. On Wednesday, Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor answered questions regarding the trade of All-Star power forward Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was not especially complimentary of Love's skills. From Derek Wetmore for ESPN1500.com : "I think Kevin, his offensive skills got better than I think we estimated. The only thing that I still have a question mark about will be his health. I had that concern then, I still have that concern and I think Cleveland should have that concern, too," Taylor said. "If they sign him to a five-year contract like they're thinking about, I mean that's a big contract in a guy that's had sometimes where he's missed games." Taylor said his relationship with Love remains good, but that he has not talked to him since the season ended. He also said he doesn't plan to talk to him until they run into each other, which presumably would be Jan. 31, when the Wolves host Love's Cavaliers. [...] "I question Kevin if this is going to be the best deal for him because I think he's going to be the third player on a team. I don't think he's going to get a lot of credit if they do really well. I think he'll get the blame if they don't do well. He's going to have to learn to handle that. "I think he's around a couple guys who are awful good. Now I'm not saying that Kevin's not good, but I think where maybe he got away with some stuff, not playing defense on our team, I'm not sure how that's going to work in Cleveland. So I would guess they're going to ask him to play more defense. And he's foul-prone," Taylor said. Taylor isn't entirely dismissive of Love, because he says he wishes the Wolves had offered him a five-year max-level extension when they had the chance. In some way, Taylor is sad that Love is gone, even if he goes out of his way to suggest that the Timberwolves will only miss him so much and that the Cavaliers may not have obtained the all-around superstar they imagined. I'm not sure that their supposed "good relationship" will persist beyond this interview, but anyone who thinks such a thing exists certainly has affection for the departed player. Regardless, this is a bizarre way to speak about the second-best player in franchise history. As noted by Dan Feldman of ProBasketballTalk , Taylor doesn't challenge Dan Gilbert's post-Decision letter against LeBron James in the annals of owner-to-player criticism. But it's odd to send off a player who helped a franchise achieve relevance over several seasons by saying that he's not quite the great player he's cracked up to be. It's possible to poke holes in Taylor's logic — Love's new teammates are just as likely to cover for his defensive mistakes as they are to expose them, getting minimal credit on a title contender will likely exceed what he'd receive in Minnesota, injuries can be random, etc. — but the substance of his remarks isn't really the issue. The story here is that an owner largely dismissed the achievements and potential future success of his former franchise player. The problem is rudeness, not that the opinion is wrong. Sadly, this is not the first time Taylor has criticized a departed star. Several months after the Wolves dealt Kevin Garnett to the Boston Celtics in the 2007 offseason, he claimed that KG "tanked" the end of the 2006-07 season . Even if that were true, Taylor decided to question the effort of a fanatically competitive player who led Minnesota teams well beyond when they were able to contend for championships. Taylor's points may have some merit, but they are defined by a lack of appreciation for what players do for the franchise he owns. He speaks of what players were unable to do for him rather than what he could not provide them. Love, for his part, spoke highly of his experience with the Timberwolves when questioned during his introductory Cavaliers press conference on Tuesday. It's standard operating procedure for players to praise the fans and organization they just pressed to leave, but it's also a really basic display of gratitude. When players don't do it, we look down on them. Owners, for all their wealth, deserve to be held to the same standard. - - - - - - - Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @FreemanEric
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