76ers

NBA Notes: Nick Young to remain out west, join reigning champs Golden State

NBA Notes: Nick Young to remain out west, join reigning champs Golden State

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Veteran guard Nick Young is getting a new start with Golden State, agreeing to a $5.2 million, one-year contract Wednesday with the champion Warriors.

Young's agent, Mark Bartelstein, confirmed the deal in a message to The Associated Press. Warriors general manager Bob Myers also said the team would finalize a contract with Young once the free agency moratorium period concludes Thursday.

In addition, forward Omri Casspi is joining the Warriors on a $2,106,470, one-year contract, a person with direct knowledge of the deal said Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because it hadn't been announced. This will be the 29-year-old Casspi's sixth team as he enters his ninth NBA season, including two separate stints in Northern California with the Sacramento Kings. He played for Sacramento, New Orleans and Minnesota last season, averaging 5.2 points and 3.1 rebounds in 17.9 minutes.

Golden State's familiar-looking roster is taking shape. Two-time MVP Stephen Curry is back on a record $201 million, five-year contract; NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant agreed Monday to a deal for approximately $53 million over the next two years; 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala got a three-year contract with $48 million guaranteed; fellow key reserves Shaun Livingston for $24 million and three years, and David West on a one-year deal for the veteran minimum $2.3 million.

The 32-year-old Young last month declined the player option in his contract for next season with the Los Angeles Lakers, which would have paid him more than $5.6 million, and became a free agent. He had said in April that it was "60/40" he would leave the Lakers -- preferring to be part of a playoff team (see full story).

Heat: Waiters agrees on new deal to stay with team
MIAMI -- A person with knowledge of the situation says Dion Waiters is staying in Miami and has agreed on a new four-year, $52 million contract with the Heat.

The person spoke to The Associated Press Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the deal cannot be finalized before Thursday, under league rules.

Waiters averaged 15.8 points in 46 games last season for the Heat. He was a significant part of how Miami turned its season around after an 11-30 start, going 30-11 in the second half.

The Heat were 27-19 when Waiters played, 14-22 when he did not.

Waiters missed Miami's last 13 games with a badly sprained ankle, and the Heat wound up losing a tiebreaker for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. He played for $2.9 million last season.

Nets: Porter agrees to sign offer sheet, which Wizards can match
NEW YORK -- Following his best NBA season, Otto Porter Jr. has a big offer to join the Brooklyn Nets. It appears he'll be staying right where he is in Washington.

Porter has agreed to sign an offer sheet with the Nets, a person with knowledge of the details told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The Wizards plan to match the offer and keep Porter, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because contracts can't be signed until Thursday.

The Vertical first reported that Porter had agreed to sign a four-year, $106 million offer sheet with the Nets. Under NBA rules, the Wizards would then have two days to match the offer since Porter is a restricted free agent.

Porter finished fourth in voting for Most Improved Player last season after averaging 13.4 points and shooting 43.4 percent from 3-point range, fourth-best in the league. The No. 3 pick in the 2013 draft from Georgetown was one of the keys to a Washington team that reached the second round of the playoffs.

The Nets tried the restricted offer route twice last summer and fell short both times. Portland matched the Nets' offer to Allen Crabbe and Miami did the same with Tyler Johnson (see full story).

Knicks: 1st-round pick Ntilikina signs rookie contract
NEW YORK -- The New York Knicks have signed first-round draft pick Frank Ntilikina.

The Knicks announced the deal Thursday with the No. 8 overall selection.

The 6-foot-5 French guard is playing for New York's summer league team in Orlando, Florida.

Born in Belgium, the 18-year-old Ntilikina averaged 5.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 18.5 minutes in 31 games last season for Strasbourg in the French Pro A league.

Our NBA All-Star challenge — describe Embiid in one word

Our NBA All-Star challenge — describe Embiid in one word

LOS ANGELES —  From trash talking on the court to expressing himself on social media, Joel Embiid is a player of many (many) words. So if his fellow All-Stars had to describe him in just one, what would it be? 

Draymond Green: "'Funny.' He's hilarious. The stuff he says, he goes on TV talking about (Kevin Durant's) burner account, he's talking how he's a savage. His Instagram locations, pretty funny. He's a good guy." 

Andre Drummond: "I’d probably say 'charismatic,' 'funny,' 'savage.' He don’t care, he just does what he wants to.”

Paul George: “Personality,' in all caps."

(Why all caps?)

“Because he’s a big dude.”

John Wall: "He's just 'himself.' He's very confident."

Anthony Davis: “'Savage.' Cool dude, he lives by his own rules. He’s just enjoying life and having fun.”

Jimmy Butler: "'Remarkable' in the fact that his game on the court is insane. Then the way he's always saying something to somebody on social media is really 'remarkable.'"

Bradley Beal: “'Wild.' He has no filter, he doesn’t care. That’s my boy, but he just has no remorse, doesn’t care."

LaMarcus Aldridge: “'Entertaining,' because he’s always on TV expressing how he feels. So, entertaining.”

New NBA ASG great, but what in the world was before it?

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USA Today Images

New NBA ASG great, but what in the world was before it?

This week’s serving of Rob Rants focuses on the dichotomy of the 2018 NBA All-star Game and the show that comes with it. On the court, the game was a highly entertaining, competitive, tightly fought contest that incorporated a new concept that's a winner. The league also attempted something new prior to the game. That idea did not quite work as well. 

All-Star Games 
I generally am not a fan of All-Star Games. I haven’t watched the Pro Bowl in years. Same goes for the NHL All-Star Game. I find the MLB's midsummer classic to be the most watchable of the four. Plus, they have a captive audience as there are no other options that time of year. In recent years, I’ve taken more to the NBA three-point contest and skills competition rather than the dunk contest or the game itself. Full disclosure: I watched the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night for a few reasons. I wanted to see Joel Embiid’s first All-Star Game. I was curious about the new draft format of player selection. And my 16-year-old son who I was watching it with is a die-hard Sixers and NBA fan. So I watched all the way through. What I found were two polar-opposite productions. 

Premise
Along with ESPN’s College Gameday. I find TNT's Inside the NBA to be as good as it gets in terms of pregame shows. Ernie, Charles, Kenny, Shaq and crew were excellent as always. It’s what happened after they signed off that was a sight to be hold. 

Pregame show?
Philadelphia’s own Kevin Hart performed some type of musical/broadway play/comedy/is this really happening? Somehow Rob Riggle, the least funny man in the world, was involved. As were Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah and Ludacris. And there were cheerleaders and wild west folk. There may have been others but at that point, I began slipping into some kind of hypnotic coma. It went on interminably long. It was the kind of thing that, if Hart was not so popular and talented, can kill a career. It was that bad. But I strangely could not pull myself away. It was car crash, rubber-necking kind of bad. 

That mercifully ended and you thought it was game time. But we still had the anthems. First, the Canadian anthem, which was followed by the Star Spangled Banner. Fergie decided that she would turn Francis Scott Key’s composition into a steamy, sultry, lounge act from back in the day. To put it kindly, she missed the mark. Charles Barkley said at halftime that he needed a cigarette after her performance. It wasn’t quite Carl Lewis or Roseanne Barr-level of terrible, but it just capped a half hour-plus of strangeness that anyone who watched was never getting back. All of this just reaffirmed why I don’t generally indulge in these exhibitions. But then something funny happened. 

The game
The NBA smartly changed formats for All-Star selection this year. The league went playground style, having two captains choose their teams. LeBron James and Steph Curry were the two captains in charge of selecting from the voted-in All-Stars. The game, unlike recent years, had a different kind of competitive feel from the jump. Yes, it had the usual array of dunks and incredible passes, which the game should have. But there was defense played and fouls taken. Strategy was employed. To the players and NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s credit, the changes were a home run. The game came down to the last possession with Team Steph having a chance to tie with a three. Team LeBron played great defense and Curry could not get a shot off, giving Team LeBron the 148-145 victory. The game had the best of both worlds — incredible athletes showing off their skills and a level of care and compete not seen in a long time. And Embiid had an excellent All-Star debut with 19 points, eight boards and a great sequence where he nailed a rainbow three-pointer and then swatted Russell Westbrook at the other end of the floor.

Lesson here: tune in at tip-off. And no more Rob Riggle. Ever.