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Leicester Riders sign Jesse Chuku

Basketball British Basketball League

Leicester Riders have added British forward Jesse Chuku to their roster ahead of the 2019-20 British Basketball League season. Chuku will make his BBL debut this fall for the Riders after eight seasons abroad, three of which professionally, onein
'Leicester Riders have added British forward Jesse Chuku to their roster ahead of the 2019-20 British Basketball League season. Chuku will make his BBL debut this fall for the Riders after eight seasons abroad, three of which professionally, onein Greece and then Spain the last two seasons. Graduating from Lehigh University averaging 9.6ppg and 5rpg in his senior season Chuku headed to Greece to play for Kolossos Rodou BC in a productive role off the bench for the side before heading to LEB Gold competing for Leyma Basquet Coruna (6.5ppg & 3.3rpg) then Melilla Basloncesto (4.3ppg & 2.5rbs) last season. “I’m very excited to sign for The Riders,”commented Chuku. “I believe that there is a professional atmosphere here and a winning culture that I am looking forward to being a part of.” Leicester Riders welcome @jessechuku , fourth-year pro out of @LehighMBB , to the roster for the upcoming season! Full story at https://t.co/f1SEDz8ZU4 #BritishBasketball pic.twitter.com/e8dmngyxIm — Leicester Riders (@RidersBball) July 17, 2019 Chuku is especially pleased to be returning to play in front of home fans for the first time since a junior. “After playing abroad for the past eight years, I feel a relief and excitement about returning home to play in front of family, friends, and familiar faces.” Coach Paternostro did not hesitate at the chance to sign Chuku this summer. “We are thrilled to be working with Jesse this season. When we found out he wanted to stay in England to play this season we jumped at the chance to sign him. He is a player with quality professional experience and is a guy we feel will fit in well with the way we play. “He is strong and very athletic so can block shots and can really run the floor, his versatility is something that we are looking forward to utilising this season.” Jesse Chuku, who becomes the first new signing of the summer, also commented on his thoughts on the BBL’s progression in recent years. “The BBL has come a long way especially in recent years, I have been impressed by the talent it has drawn to the league and the increasing interest among people. I definitely see it having exponential potential for growth in the future, especially as more homegrown talent joins the league.”'

Mike D’Antoni: Houston ‘One of the Favorites in the West, if Not the Favorite’

Basketball Slam

Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoniis amped for what he believes will be a “great year” in Houston, with his team as “one of the favorites in the West, if not the favorite.” D’Antoni says James Harden and new superstar teammate Russell Westbrook will
'Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni is amped for what he believes will be a “great year” in Houston, with his team as “one of the favorites in the West, if not the favorite.” Mike D'Antoni on landing Russell Westbrook: \'I think we're gonna be, as we were and still are, one of the favorites in the West, if not the favorite.We're going to go have a great year.I'm excited as heck.\' — Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) July 17, 2019 D’Antoni says James Harden and new superstar teammate Russell Westbrook will “make it work” in H-Town.Mike D’Antoni discusses coaching @JHarden13 and @russwest44 on The Woj Pod pic.twitter.com/vFVTGAz8PB — Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 17, 2019 Chris Paul is “going to be sorely missed,” according to D’Antoni, who adds that he can’t wait to work alongside the force of nature that is Westbrook. “That’s what great players do.Great players figure it out.They make it work.\' https://t.co/M7Z3T0WMbs — Reid Laymance (@ReidLaymance) July 17, 2019 Per The Houston Chronicle : “That’s what great players do,” D’Antoni said. “Great players figure it out.They make it work. “I go back to USA Basketball,” said D’Antoni, an assistant on the 2012 Olympic team that included Westbrook and Harden. “You have all those guys, and all of them have the ball in their hands.When you want to make it work, they all did.You’ve got the best team in the world with all that talent — nobody stepped on anybody’s toes.It was great.It’ll be the same thing. “You only get problems when the chemistry is not right or they don’t want to be there.I’m excited about it, and I think the pairing will work.” D’Antoni also cited Westbrook’s strength as an explosive ballhandler.Harden led the NBA and Westbrook was third in drives per game, but Westbrook led the league by far in assists off drives. “I think he’ll have a lot more room to get to the rim,” D’Antoni said of Westbrook. “He’s going to find a way to be devastating.He always has.That’s the way great players are.It makes my job a lot easier.We’ll try to maximize their potential and get the most out of everybody on the floor.He’s going to help with the rebounding and playing with such athleticism.That’s probably something we missed: the athleticism.He’ll bring that dynamic.He’ll bring a force to the table.” Related Rockets Owner: Russell Westbrook and James Harden ‘Wanted to Play Together’ . The post Mike D’Antoni: Houston ‘One of the Favorites in the West, if Not the Favorite’ appeared first on SLAM .'

Thunder Could Keep Chris Paul For The 2019-20 Season.

Basketball Slam

While many expected the Thunder to trade Chris Paul after they acquired him in the Russell Westbrook trade, it appears the 34-year-old point guard may stay in Oklahoma City longer than expected.
'While many expected the Thunder to trade Chris Paul after they acquired him in the Russell Westbrook trade, it appears the 34-year-old point guard may stay in Oklahoma City longer than expected.ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski hears that the expectation now is that Paul will remain with the team at least through the start of the season.Paul and his representatives have worked with the team to find a trade destination but for a bevy of reasons, no deal has surfaced.Paul’s salary, which comes in at $38.5 million this upcoming season, makes trading the point guard difficult.Nearly every team has exhausted their cap room with Atlanta leading the league with approximately $7 million in available space and according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks , 40% of players are currently ineligible to be traded.Matching Paul’s salary in a deal is problematic for the Thunder at the moment.There’s a belief that the Thunder will have more success in their attempts to trade Paul after December 15, Woj writes.That’s the date many offseason signings become eligible to be traded.OKC is open to having Paul play out the season for the franchise and the point guard isn’t totally against the idea.Paul played in Oklahoma City during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons while the at-the-time Hornets were dislodged from New Orleans because of Hurricane Katrina.The Thunder want to remain competitive as they transition from the Westbrook era and the front office believes Paul can be a mentor to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is the team’s point guard of the future. . The post Thunder Could Keep Chris Paul For The 2019-20 Season. appeared first on SLAM .'

#NYvsNY Week Three Recap

Basketball Slam

The third week of #NYvsNY featured an appearance from the new MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and a ridiculous down-to-wire-game in Queens.Check it out below.
'The third week of #NYvsNY featured an appearance from the new MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and a ridiculous down-to-wire-game in Queens.Check it out below.View this post on Instagram The MVP came out to Queens to see an insane night of hoops at #NYvsNY. @giannis_an34 @nikenyc A post shared by SLAM HIGH SCHOOL (@slam_hs) on Jul 17, 2019 at 4:22pm PDT . The post #NYvsNY Week Three Recap appeared first on SLAM .'

Kemba Walker: ‘It’s Cool to Wear Antoine Walker’s Number’

Basketball Slam

The Celtics formally introduced All-Star point guard Kemba Walker to the local press Wednesday, and he revealed that former C’s forward Antoine Walker gave him “the blessing” to rock his old #8 jersey. “There’s no numbers available,” Walker cracked.
'The Celtics formally introduced All-Star point guard Kemba Walker to the local press Wednesday, and he revealed that former C’s forward Antoine Walker gave him “the blessing” to rock his old #8 jersey. “There’s no numbers available,” Walker cracked. sharp dressed man 8⃣ pic.twitter.com/UmY3C1vWXE — Boston Celtics (@celtics) July 17, 2019 President of basketball ops Danny Ainge said he “had a pretty good idea in March or April” that Kyrie Irving would bolt as an unrestricted free agent.Kemba is excited to improve Boston’s team chemistry—which was toxic last season—and join forces with rising star Jayson Tatum . Celtics looking for a change of culture and \'character\' with introduction of Kemba Walker, Enes Kanter. https://t.co/RpOjg5pYQU — Mark Murphy (@Murf56) July 17, 2019 Per ESPN : Naturally, one All-Star point guard replacing another is going to draw comparisons.That is especially true here, given how tumultuous Irving’s final season in Boston turned out to be.Walker, though, said he didn’t reach out to Irving before making his decision on whether to play for the Celtics.And, when it comes to the comparisons, Walker said he will have no problem dealing with them. “It’s fine,” he told ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan in a sit-down interview Wednesday. “It’s OK.I guess it’s going to come with the territory.It wasn’t a great year for those guys [last year]. There’s always such expectations with this organization, and things didn’t go well, so now that I’m coming in and I’m taking [Kyrie’s] place, I know I’m going to be asked questions about him and things like that. “It just didn’t work out.It happens.It happens so much in this league.We know how great of a player Kyrie is, but it just didn’t work out.Hopefully I can come in and it works out.That’s my plan.But you can’t tell the future.You never know what’s going to happen.But through hard work, dedication and us working together, hopefully we can get things back on track.” The fact he already has relationships with Tatum and [Jaylen] Brown — Tatum recently signed with Jordan Brand, which Walker is part of, and the two spent time in Paris together, and he went on a trip to Africa with Brown in the past — should help.And when asked directly about it, Walker said he was confident he’d be able to help them grow into the players Boston hopes they can be. “I think so,” Walker said. “I think so.I think my skills complement these guys.I love to get in the lane and I’m gonna have a lot of attention.That’ll definitely open up opportunities for other guys, but for the most part, I think I made my teammates better in other ways, just being a good teammate, wanting the best for those guys and pushing them as much as possible.It’s going to be fun.I’m looking forward to the opportunity.” Related Kemba Walker: ‘I’m Ready.I’m Truly Ready’ . The post Kemba Walker: ‘It’s Cool to Wear Antoine Walker’s Number’ appeared first on SLAM .'

Pistons Claim Christian Wood Off Of Waivers

Basketball Slam

The Detroit Pistons have claimed big man Christian Wood off of waivers, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.Wood has shown flashes of intriguing promise at various points throughout his brief NBA career.
'The Detroit Pistons have claimed big man Christian Wood off of waivers, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.Wood has shown flashes of intriguing promise at various points throughout his brief NBA career.In 28 G League appearances in 2018-19, Wood averaged an impressive 29.3 points and 14.0 rebounds per game, eventually earning opportunities with the Bucks and Pelicans.The forward was released by New Orleans after their substantial roster overhaul this summer but didn’t last on waivers for long.Wood got a fair shake from the Pels last spring and averaged 18.2 points for the big league squad in the final seven games of the season. . The post Pistons Claim Christian Wood Off Of Waivers appeared first on SLAM .'

Reggie Bullock Undergoes Surgery For Herniated Disc

Basketball Slam

Recent Knicks signee Reggie Bullock has undergone surgery to repair a herniated cervical disc, the team announced in a press release.Bullock recently inked a free agent contract with the franchise after a substantial renegotiation following the
'Recent Knicks signee Reggie Bullock has undergone surgery to repair a herniated cervical disc, the team announced in a press release . Bullock recently inked a free agent contract with the franchise after a substantial renegotiation following the then-unpublicized medical condition.Bullock underwent the successful procedure at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York and the team will provide an update on his rehabilitation when training camp begins in September.When the Knicks discovered Bullock’s condition in their medical, they proposed a renegotiated contract.Bullock’s new deal is worth $8.7 million over two seasons (as opposed to the initial offer which was reported to be worth $21 million). . The post Reggie Bullock Undergoes Surgery For Herniated Disc appeared first on SLAM .'

Raptors, Cameron Payne Agree To Two-Year Deal

Basketball Slam

Point guard Cameron Payne has agreed to a two-year deal with the Toronto Raptors, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.The 24-year-old has bounced around the NBA since he was selected No. 14 in the 2015 NBA Draft.He most recently played summer
'Point guard Cameron Payne has agreed to a two-year deal with the Toronto Raptors, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.The 24-year-old has bounced around the NBA since he was selected No. 14 in the 2015 NBA Draft.He most recently played summer league ball with the Dallas Mavericks.Payne splits last season between the Bulls and the Cavaliers, averaging 8.2 points and 2.6 assists during his brief late-season run in Cleveland.Payne will look to carve out a role for himself on a Raptors depth chart that will return All-Star Kyle Lowry and postseason standout Fred VanVleet.The first year of his two-year deal is partially guaranteed. . The post Raptors, Cameron Payne Agree To Two-Year Deal appeared first on SLAM .'

THE UNDERGROUND GOAT: Lou Williams Is Your Favorite Player’s Favorite Player

Basketball Slam

GRAB YOUR COPY OF SLAM 223 FEATURING LOU WILLIAMS COP THE LOU WILLIAMS COVER TEE Lou Williams is somehow both underappreciated and respected.He’s arrogant and humble.He’s young and old.He’s super laid-back and he’s an assassin.He lives in a quiet
'GRAB YOUR COPY OF SLAM 223 FEATURING LOU WILLIAMS COP THE LOU WILLIAMS COVER TEE Lou Williams is somehow both underappreciated and respected.He’s arrogant and humble.He’s young and old.He’s super laid-back and he’s an assassin.He lives in a quiet town and throws parties so big they inspire hit rap songs.He makes his own music and doesn’t care to promote it much.He never starts and is always one of the best basketball players in a game.He won’t go unnoticed and he won’t say a word.He does things his way and is the ultimate teammate.He keeps to himself and he’s cool with every celebrity you know.He hasn’t been an All-Star and he regularly puts up All-Star numbers.He writes his name in record books and could not give a shit about his legacy.The story of Lou Will can be broken down into what seems like a million contradictions, but they’re not.They all make perfect sense for the Underground GOAT.It’s a beautiful Thursday in mid-June and Lou Williams is kicking it at LouWillVille, his now-fabled home in suburban Atlanta.Wearing black sweatpants and Uggs that aren’t fully slipped on, he crashes on the living room couch.A nearby trophy case displays two Sixth Man of the Year awards—from 2015 and 2018—and a ledge for a third has already been put in place, even though a formal announcement of the 2019 winner has yet to come.Jerseys hung up in the basement trace Lou’s journey from a kid dreaming of the NBA to the No. 1 bench scorer in league history.Trying to explain that path and all that it’s encompassed isn’t easy.The truth is, it’s had a little bit of everything.Five different cities, an idol turned big brother, an acceptance and mastery of a unique role, a 3 a.m. trade call in China, an absurd amount of buckets.It’s featured a wide array of characters: Jermaine Dupri, Bow Wow, Allen Iverson , Meek Mill, Drake, Doc Rivers . It’s had ups and downs and strange twists, but the action continues to rise.Its protagonist is only 32 years old and has enough tales to fill several books.He once hosted a party so epic that it inspired Meek Mill, one of his best friends, to write the well-known song “House Party.” It went on to be certified gold and the music video was filmed back at LouWillVille.Lou raps himself and has collaborated on projects with Meek, 2 Chainz, Jadakiss and numerous others.He started his own label—Winners United—that has three artists currently signed to it.As a teenager, he was introduced to Jermaine Dupri and Bow Wow at a Jay-Z concert and would keep in touch with them on AOL Instant Messenger.They all remain tight to this day.He joined an unknown, unsponsored AAU club called the Suwanee Players and made them so good that they were eventually absorbed by a premier program—the Georgia Stars.At South Gwinnett High School, he scored 40 or more points in nine straight games.He spent a lot of time in the studio with Drake as the album If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late was being recorded.One of the tracks, “6 Man,” opens with a shout out to him.He led the Clippers back from a 31-point second-half deficit against the Warriors during the first round of the 2019 playoffs, dropping 17 of his 36 in the third quarter alone.A gunman attempted to rob him on Christmas Eve in 2011, but Lou talked the guy out of it.The two took a trip to McDonald’s instead, where they chopped it up about life.Who is this figure who’s transcended basketball, who has earned the respect of seemingly everyone he’s come across?Who is Lou Will? “I’m super laid-back,” Williams tells SLAM. “I mind my business.I stay in my own zone.And I do my own thing.” “Lou is just cool,” explains Andrea Hamilton, his manager. “He has that vibe, that aura.When people are around him, they gravitate toward him.They like his energy.He’s not one of those people walking around flashy.He’s the everyday guy who can go anywhere, talk to anyone, be in rooms with whoever.” “You know man, he’s just a regular dude,” says Jarrett Jack , who’s been close to Lou for the past 15 years. “One thing that I love about him—he seems like that regular dude that’s just from the neighborhood.Through and through, he’s still a ‘Let me get a 10-piece wings’ guy.” “He’s your favorite player’s favorite player,” adds Mike Scott , a friend of Lou’s since they were first teammates on the Hawks. “Lou is like an uncle.He’s just cool with everybody and everybody respects him.He’s like an old soul, man.He looks young, but Lou is really, like, 60.”  “He’s Uncle Lou,” says Jordan Clarkson , who played with Williams on the Lakers. “He’s on his own wave, he’s on his own vibe.He’s going to do what he wants to do.I think that’s why people look at him and respect him for who he is.” “He’s very humble, first and foremost,” describes his longtime trainer Chuck Ellis. “He’s a very loyal person.If you’re in his inner circle, if you’re his family, he’ll do anything he can for you.And he has a big heart—I’ve never seen him tell one fan no about taking a picture or signing an autograph or anything like that.” As the legend of Lou has grown, the man himself has never switched up.He’s the type of guy who loves to debate, mainly because his core values and beliefs cannot be shaken.He’s stubborn about his ways and constantly tries to impart wisdom.He even has his own little proverbs. “He’s always got something to tell you or some insight to give you,” Clarkson says. “He for sure got go-to quotes.” Do you think anyone’s gonna care about this in 15 years? is a popular one.Over the course of his career, Lou has often deserved a bigger spotlight.He has more than 13,000 total points and has been a major contributor to multiple organizations.This past season, he averaged 20.0 points and 5.4 assists in merely 26.6 minutes.But Williams doesn’t seek the public eye.He’s barely promoted any of his music and you won’t see him doing many interviews or photo shoots.  “He has always never really cared to get any recognition,” says Hamilton. “Even with us, he doesn’t want to do press, he doesn’t want to do media, he doesn’t want to do anything.I have to force him.I always tell him, ‘You owe me 10 things a year with no pushback.Just give me my 10.’” Others who’ve come to appreciate his game have made a point of speaking up for him.They understand how great he is and sense that outsiders don’t. “You can’t just say, ‘I’m gonna stop Lou Williams tonight,’” Kevin Durant told reporters during Golden State’s playoff series against L.A. “He’s straight buckets,” says Scott. “He’s a professional scorer.You know, he’s not the strongest, he’s not the fastest.But I mean, I can’t explain it.” No one can, really.Everyone knows what Lou’s going to do and yet he can’t be stopped.He likes to go left and has certain spots on the floor that he navigates toward.The pace is slow, methodical and intentional.He’s a killer out of the pick-and-roll and has a slight fade to his shot that creates just enough separation.As he dismantles a defense possession after possession, his expression doesn’t waver. “I’m an assassin,” Williams states. “I’m one of those people that—I’m not really talked about, but everybody knows that I’m there.No matter how many All-Stars are on the floor, I’m going to be one of those guys that’s gonna be talked about as well.There’s a lot of guys that you have to deal with on the frontline, but you know that somewhere, there’s somebody [else] that you got to look out for.I’m that person.” People with his skill don’t usually come off the bench.As an All-American in high school, Lou opted to bypass college and was the 45th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft by the 76ers.He got the chance to learn under his childhood hero in Allen Iverson, but barely saw the floor.Iverson was soon traded to Denver and Lou’s role gradually increased.He started nearly half the games for Philly during the 2009-10 campaign, before AI—now more like family to Lou—returned to finish his career there.From then on, Williams has embraced being a reserve. “My position was kind of weird because I’m coming off the bench, but I’m doing everything career-wise that you would expect from All-Star guys,” says Lou, who passed Dell Curry for the most bench points ever back in March. “So why not embrace it?It’s a different lane.There’s rarely guys that do that.It’s a small group of guys when you mention great six mans.” His role has been pretty consistent even as he’s changed teams.He signed with his hometown Hawks in 2012, won his first Sixth Man award with the Raptors in 2015, was with the Lakers during Kobe’s 2015-16 farewell tour and spent less than half a season with the Rockets before being hastily dealt to the Clippers in June of 2017.Within a five-month span, Williams found himself on his third franchise.He’s not one to lack confidence, but questions started to flood his mind.He was visiting China when the trade to the Clippers happened and remembers getting a call around 3 a.m. from his agent.Upon hearing the news, he “cried like a baby.” “Being on three teams in six months was an eye-opener for me,” Williams says. “Like, maybe I value myself more than other teams value me or the League values me.So I had to look in the mirror like, This is Year 12, you’ve had a pretty good run, you’ve had a pretty good career, are you coming to the end of the road? ” In an ongoing group chat with his teammates from Toronto ( DeMar DeRozan , Kyle Lowry , Chuck Hayes and Amir Johnson ), Williams disclosed that he would play one more year—the last on his contract—and then retire. “Just to be frank, I told those guys, ‘This year in L.A., I’m going to go out with a clear mind and go do what the fuck I want to do and I’m gonna go home,’” he recalls with a smile. “That was my mindset.I was planning my own farewell tour without telling anybody.” He went to L.A. to do the press conference but really didn’t want to be there (“You can look at my face—I’m holding the jersey like, let’s get this over with”). He planned to leave immediately and was en route to the airport when his phone rang.It was Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, insisting that they meet right away.The message Doc had for Williams was simple and clear: I don’t know what those other front offices were thinking, but you can get comfortable here.This is going to be home.It was exactly what Lou, who signed a three-year extension in February of 2018, needed to hear.He’s enjoyed the top two seasons of his career with the Clippers, claiming back-to-back Sixth Man of the Year trophies.Despite not having an All-Star on their roster—although many would argue Lou’s been more than deserving—the team has thrived, primarily because they all get along and love going to battle together.Now they’ll add Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to the mix and instantly become serious title contenders, if not the favorite.Though he’ll be turning 33 in October, Williams feels like he’s right in his prime.He recently came across a list of “The Top 10 Old Guys in the NBA” and was startled to see his name at No. 2, just after LeBron James .   “I was like, Damn, I’m considered one of the old guys .” — Ask those close to him for their most legendary Lou Williams story and you get a wide range of responses. “Most legendary Lou Will story?I don’t know—the off-the-court ones might not be the ones that could go in [the story],” jokes Jarrett Jack.There was the time he took Jordan Clarkson to a Waffle House in Atlanta and shut the joint down.They had the whole restaurant to themselves.Or when he faced off against Mike Scott’s squad in the AEBL—Atlanta’s Pro-Am league—and made a dude fall on his way to another 50-point performance.Or when he hosted a summer camp in Philly in 2012 even though he knew he wasn’t returning to the 76ers.Rather than cancel and begin his move to Atlanta, Lou stayed an extra month to put on the event.Piece together all of these anecdotes and you start to get a complete picture of Williams.On a peaceful Thursday afternoon, he relaxes on the edge of his pool.With the built-in stretch of sand and the mini palm plants, the setting resembles a Florida beach resort more than a backyard in Georgia.It’s quiet now, but there were over 700 people here not too long ago.Remnants of the annual MDW party (Meek, Iverson, Rick Ross, French Montana and James Harden are among the guests who’ve come through) aren’t hard to find.Garbage cans are packed to the brim.An outdoor seat cushion has been ripped up.The cabana has several “RESERVED” labels on it.Lou is fresh off an incredible season—perhaps his best—but he’ll tell you straight up: He doesn’t care how the overall basketball world remembers him.All that matters is that he has the respect of his peers.That much is undeniable. “You look at rap, you have your Jay-Zs, you have your Lil Waynes and all of those guys,” Lou says. “And then you have the guys that Lil Wayne and Jay-Z appreciate, like Bun B and Pimp C.Underground Kingz. “So in basketball you have your GOATS.You’ve got Michael Jordan . You’re going to have LeBron, you’re going to have Kobe, you’re going to have KD.And then you got guys like me who are from the underground, who are the underappreciated, the underdogs. “I feel like I’m the Underground GOAT.I’m the underground greatest of all time.” — GRAB YOUR COPY OF SLAM 223 FEATURING LOU WILLIAMS COP THE LOU WILLIAMS COVER TEE Alex Squadron is an Associate Editor at SLAM.Follow him on Twitter  @asquad510 . Portraits by Ryan Young . . The post THE UNDERGROUND GOAT: Lou Williams Is Your Favorite Player’s Favorite Player appeared first on SLAM .'

Klutch Sports Group Gets Significant Investment From United Talent Agency

Basketball Slam

Rich Paul’s Klutch Sports Group, the talent agency that represents LeBron James, Anthony Davis and a growing list of NBA stars, has received a significant financial investment from the global United Talent Agency, Joe Vardon of The Athletic reports.
'Rich Paul’s Klutch Sports Group, the talent agency that represents LeBron James, Anthony Davis and a growing list of NBA stars, has received a significant financial investment from the global United Talent Agency, Joe Vardon of The Athletic reports.UTA is an enormous talent agency founded in 1991 with nearly 1,000 players and 300 agents.Until buying in to Klutch, however, they lacked an athlete division.Paul will continue to manage his existing Klutch clients but will also head up UTA’s brand new sports division, with a headquarters in Beverly Hills.The pairing will give Paul and his Klutch clients access to considerable resources that UTA already commands.With rival firms like Creative Artists Agency being able to offer a range of services and connections that stretch far beyond the sports world, Klutch can begin to offer similar. “ This puts me in direct competition with the largest agencies in the world, ” Paul told Vardon. “ There is nothing we cannot do for an athlete.If a guy wants to write a book, great.If he wants to be a ‘Fortnite’ champion, great.If he wants to act, great.He wants to buy a surfboard company?Fantastic.There is nothing we cannot do for the modern athlete. “ UTA presently represents a host of major celebrities like Will Ferrell, Angelina Jolie and Kevin Hart.They’ve also represented athletes with off the court endeavors, including Rob Gronkowski and retired NBA star-turned-analyst Chris Webber.Klutch Sports Group’s rise as a gamechanger on the NBA landscape has been profound.The UTA investment could help Paul and the seven-year-old firm reach new heights. . The post Klutch Sports Group Gets Significant Investment From United Talent Agency appeared first on SLAM .'

Brandon Ingram Close To Normal Workouts Following Clotting Scare

Basketball Slam

Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram was welcomed as a member of the New Orleans franchise yesterday and spoke about his struggle to recover from a clotting issue that cut his 2018-19 season short.
'Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram was welcomed as a member of the New Orleans franchise yesterday and spoke about his struggle to recover from a clotting issue that cut his 2018-19 season short.Originally diagnosed as a sore shoulder, it was eventually discovered the Ingram had a blood clot in his right arm – a term that carries more weight since Chris Bosh’s career was cut short due to his own clotting issues in 2016.While Ingram’s condition is unrelated to Bosh’s, it still required surgery and last season the 21-year-old former No. 2 pick had thoracic outlet decompression surgery at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center . Ingram told the media at the Monday Pelicans press conference that he’s returned to working out in limited capacities, working on his shooting form and lower body, but hasn’t resumed full workouts, including putting up actual jumpers or scrimmaging (Ingram shoots with his right). Ingram said that there is no formal timetable for his full return.While the Pelicans aced the Anthony Davis trade given the circumstances, vice president of basketball operations David Griffins’ haul will look considerably nicer if Ingram is able to return at full capacity.Ingram averaged 18.3 points and 5.1 rebounds for the Lakers in 2018-19 and has an offensive skill set that few his height and length could dream of. . The post Brandon Ingram Close To Normal Workouts Following Clotting Scare appeared first on SLAM .'

Thunder GM: ‘Russell Westbrook is the Most Important Player’ in Franchise History

Basketball Slam

The Oklahoma City Thunder officially announced the Russell Westbrook trade Tuesday, with general manager Sam Presti calling him “the most important player in the brief history” of the franchise.
'The Oklahoma City Thunder officially announced the Russell Westbrook trade Tuesday, with general manager Sam Presti calling him “the most important player in the brief history” of the franchise. “Russell Westbrook is the most important player in the brief history of the OKC Thunder.He has left an indelible mark on this team, city and state.” -GM Sam Presti pic.twitter.com/53SbwyAIXl — OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) July 17, 2019 Westbrook, 30, was dealt to the Houston Rockets after 11 memorable seasons in exchange for Chris Paul , two first-round draft picks (2024 and 2026) and two pick swaps (2021 and 2025.) Presti says the team worked with the Westbrook camp to ensure he landed on an NBA title contender.View this post on Instagram I can’t even begin to put into words all of the emotions I have right now.It’s been one heck of a journey Oklahoma!When I came here, I was 18 years old, bright eyed, and completely unaware of all the amazing things that would soon take place.I grew up in Oklahoma with an amazing bunch of people.The people here are what makes this place so special.From the fans, my coaches, my teammates, the entire Thunder organization, Mr.Bennett, Sam Presti, my friends, and everyone in the entire community.You are all what makes Oklahoma such a beautiful place, and the reason I’ve loved playing here all of this time.You have supported me through all of the ups and the downs, and stood by me through the good times, and tough times.For that I am eternally grateful to you.I’ve met so many amazing people who have helped shape me into the man that I am today.I hope I have impacted the Oklahoma community as much as Oklahoma has made an impact on me and my family.I’m leaving Oklahoma with so many friends and so much gratitude.I could never thank you all enough for sticking with me.It’s been a dream and a whirlwind. #WHYNOT A post shared by Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) on Jul 12, 2019 at 3:16pm PDT Per The Oklahoman : “None of us could have anticipated the player he has become, and we are all deeply proud of what he has contributed to the success of the franchise and to our community,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a team release. “ Russell and his wife Nina, their three children, his brother and his parents will always remain part of the Thunder family.We wish them nothing but happiness and success in the future.” In his statement, Presti confirmed that before trading Westbrook, he spoke with the franchise star and his agent about his and the team’s futures. “Through those conversations we came to the understanding that looking at some alternative situations would be something that made sense for him,” Presti said. “As a result, and due to his history with the Thunder, we worked together to accommodate this.Our ability to have these types of conversations and work so closely with Russell and his agent Thad Foucher is only possible because of the depth of the relationship that has been built over the last 11 years.” Westbrook leaves OKC as the all-time Thunder leader in scoring (18,859), assists (6,897), rebounds (5,760) and steals (1,442). The eight-time All-Star and 2017 NBA MVP led his team to nine playoff appearances. “I have a great deal of respect for Russell and there is no way to adequately describe our appreciation for what he has meant to Oklahomans,” Thunder Chairman Clay Bennett said in a team release. “His legacy here is immense, and he will be honored by the team for all he has done.We wish he and Nina and their family all the best.While this era of Thunder basketball now comes to an end, I’m confident our talented team of people will once again position the Thunder for success in the future.” Related Report: Russell Westbrook Began ‘Quietly Grumbling’ After First Round Exit . The post Thunder GM: ‘Russell Westbrook is the Most Important Player’ in Franchise History appeared first on SLAM .'

Caris LeVert Makes Lasting Impact Off The Court in Brooklyn

Basketball Slam

Last month, Caris Levert’s inaugural 22 Initiative came to a conclusion, coinciding with the end of the 2019 NBA season.
'Last month, Caris Levert’s inaugural 22 Initiative came to a conclusion, coinciding with the end of the 2019 NBA season.The 24-year-old rising star for the Brooklyn Nets established his initiative in partnership with the non-profit organization UWantGame to provide a once in a lifetime learning experience to 22 sports minded high school students in the New York City area. “We did a lot of different cool things,” says LeVert “We went to the Nike headquarters [and] talked to the execs there.They went to a Nets game, got to talk to Sean Marks and things like that, so it’s been huge for the kids so far.” In addition to their trip to the Nike office and meeting with the Brooklyn Nets GM at Barclays Center, the kids had the opportunity to visit both the ESPN and Bleacher Report studios and also met with BSE Global CEO Brett Yormark.On each of their trips the students were given a chance to ask questions to the executives from each company, who in return provided them with insight into the business world and overall sports industry.After a year of mentoring the kids, the only thing left to do was celebrate.To wrap up the school-year long initiative, Caris hosted a bowling party at Bowlmor Times Square for all the participating students and their families.Not only was LeVert there early, moments later, his teammate Rondae-Hollis Jefferson also made an appearance in the bowling alley—surprising both Caris and all of the participating students to cap off an incredible year.When Levertwas a teenager his mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, whichultimately prompted his entrance into charity work once he was established inthe NBA.He now participates with his mother, Kim, in the annual Walk MS event to raise awareness andmoney for fighting MS.The former Michigan star has always been charity andcommunity minded, with the inspiration for his own initiative coming directlyfrom the kids he is able to impact.  “I’m hugewith helping kids out [and] mentoring.Growing up I had dreams of being an NBAplayer but I never really knew any of them so I always said that when I didmake it I wanted to give back to the community.”  Caris found himself constantly absorbing knowledge and new-found energy from the very same kids he was mentoring, and therefore he’s quick to note the benefits of working with the youth. “Kidswatch everything.Kids are super smart.You can learn from kids almost morethan they learn from you, and it’s a constant learning environment so I justlove being around people of all ages but especially young people cause they areso observant.” LeVert hopes that his mentees will not only learn professional skills through their exposure to business executives in sports, but also, and most importantly, essential life skills and lessons from their bond with him and their peers. “I think the most important thing in life is building relationships and the people you meet,” he says, adding that in the end the program’s efforts are only a success if it leads to the kids wanting to further expand their network to broaden their options down the road. “I wish that they’re working, I really wish they’re working” Caris will take on 22 new students in September with the start of what looks to be a promising Brooklyn Nets 2019-20 campaign.As LeVert’s career rapidly develops, so will the lives of another 22 local high school students fortunate enough to participate in his one-of-a-kind initiative. . The post Caris LeVert Makes Lasting Impact Off The Court in Brooklyn appeared first on SLAM .'

Anthony Davis: ‘I Have One Year Here’

Basketball Slam

Anthony Davis is only committed to the Lakers for a season, and won’t reveal what his future plans are.Davis, 26, will become an unrestricted free agent next summer, and says only then will a decision be made.AD hopes to celebrate his first NBA
'Anthony Davis is only committed to the Lakers for a season, and won’t reveal what his future plans are.Davis, 26, will become an unrestricted free agent next summer, and says only then will a decision be made.Great conversation with @AntDavis23 , on finally becoming a Laker, whether he'd change anything about the last year, trying to recruit Kawhi, why he thinks the Lakers are poised for a title…and oh yeah, I asked him how long he's planning on staying, too. pic.twitter.com/tzEXqU6KNo — Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) July 15, 2019 AD hopes to celebrate his first NBA championship in Los Angeles in mid-June.Per ESPN : You’ve come here and said already, “I’m here to win titles.” Rob Pelinka told the media, “Anything less than a championship is not a success.” Are you guys worried you’re setting the bar a little bit too high here?AD: “No.We have a standard, and that is it, you know.Especially for me as a player.If I don’t win the championship, then that season was not a success.” At your introductory press conference, they introduced you as someone who they hope will be a “pillar of the Lakers for a decade to come.” AD: “Yeah.” You’re only signed through this season.Do you think you will be a pillar of the Lakers for years and years to come?AD: “Honestly, Rachel, I’m just focused on this season.I don’t know what’s going to happen.I have one year here, so I’m going make the best of this year.And when that time comes around in the summer or, you know, whenever the season’s over — hopefully, around, you know, mid-June, after we just had a parade, and I need a couple days to think — then we can talk about that.But until then, I’m trying to do whatever I can to help this team win this year.” Related Anthony Davis Would Put Lakers Roster ‘Up Against Anybody’ . The post Anthony Davis: ‘I Have One Year Here’ appeared first on SLAM .'