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NBA Notes: Rose back on court with Team USA

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NBA Notes: Rose back on court with Team USA

LAS VEGAS -- Derrick Rose says he feels old.

The 25-year-old point guard's rigorous play on Monday during the U.S. basketball team's first practice dictated otherwise.

"I was joking with Kyle Korver, I told him `I'm getting old, man. I've got to stretch, I've got to use rollers and stuff.' He looked at me kind of weird," Rose said laughingly. "But I feel a lot more mature. I've been preparing for this for a long time. I've dedicated my whole summer to this. I think I've sacrificed a lot for this moment."

Rose, the Chicago Bulls star who is coming off two knee injuries that kept him out for much of the last two seasons, said he played roughly nine minutes of the team's scrimmage during a two-hour practice. He added he was excited about how he felt physically.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski was elated with Rose's play, saying he was most impressed with his defensive pressure and tenaciousness.

"I think Derrick was a great excitement for us, because you hear about how he's worked out, but to see him today, I mean, he put it all out," Krzyzewski said. "He was playing to exhaustion. That was a big plus for today, to see him. I was pleased that he didn't hold anything back. He played his butt off" (see full story).

Timberwolves: Mo Williams agrees to deal
MINNEAPOLIS -- Mo Williams is on his way to Minnesota, which means J.J. Barea could be on his way out.

The Timberwolves and Williams have agreed to a $3.75 million, one-year contract, the player's agency, Priority Sports, announced on Monday. The agreement gives the Timberwolves an experienced and versatile combo guard to play behind Ricky Rubio.

Williams turns 32 in December and is coming off a season in Portland in which he averaged 9.7 points per game for his lowest output since his rookie year in 2003-04. But his ability to shoot -- he is a career 38.5 percent shooter from 3-point range -- and handle the ball made him an attractive target for the Timberwolves, who were looking for a quality veteran to play behind Rubio and alongside rookie Zach LaVine next season.

The Timberwolves had one of the most productive starting units in the NBA from an offensive standpoint last season, but the production dipped dramatically when the reserves took the floor. Alexey Shved struggled mightily and was never able to assume the primary ball-handling role that the team envisioned when they brought him over from Russia in 2012 (see full story).

Cavaliers: Tickets gone for LeBron homecoming show
AKRON, Ohio -- LeBron James' Ohio hometown says fans quickly claimed the thousands of tickets available for the homecoming event expected to be his first public appearance in the state since announcing his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The free tickets for the Aug. 8 show at InfoCision Stadium in Akron were released Monday and were gone within hours.

Akron spokeswoman Stephanie York won't divulge how many tickets were offered but says demand was overwhelming. She says organizers hope to make more available.

York says the event is more of a show than a party or rally. The stadium holds more than 27,000 people, but it's unclear how much space will be used for the event.

James has created big buzz by returning to Cleveland four years after leaving for the Miami Heat.

Winless Suns fire head coach Earl Watson

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Winless Suns fire head coach Earl Watson

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns have fired coach Earl Watson just three games in to the NBA season.

The Suns announced the firing Sunday night after hours of meetings at the team's headquarters.

Assistant coach Jay Triano, a former head coach of the Toronto Raptors, was named interim coach. Triano was an assistant at Portland before coming to Phoenix last year.

Watson was promoted from assistant to interim coach of the Suns after Jeff Hornacek was fired Feb. 1, 2016. The interim tag was removed on April 19 of that year. With an extremely young team, the Suns struggled under Watson. He compiled a 33-85 record. Watson's only full season was 2016-17, when the team went 24-58.

The 38-year-old Watson played collegiately at UCLA and in the NBA for 10 seasons. He often spoke of his long talks with John Wooden, emphasized togetherness and a family atmosphere to nurture the young squad but wins were hard to come by.

And owner Robert Sarver apparently didn't like what he saw. Phoenix is 0-3 and two of the losses were especially ugly. The Suns were blown out 124-76 by the Portland in their season opener Wednesday night, the most one-sided loss in franchise history and the most one-sided season opener for any NBA team.

Phoenix was routed by the Clippers in Los Angeles 130-88 on Saturday night.

"I Dont wanna be here," point guard Eric Bledsoe tweeted Sunday, just as the news of Watson's firing surfaced in an ESPN report. The tweet by Bledsoe, a former Clipper, was followed by one from the Clippers' DeAndre Jordan saying "Come back home bro."

Bledsoe has been rumored in possible trades for months.

Watson's dismissal is the first NBA coaching change in well over a year. Hornacek's hiring by the New York Knicks, which was finalized in June 2016, had been the most recent change -- and the irony there is that Watson got the job in Phoenix with 33 games left in the 2015-16 season, after the Suns fired Hornacek.

Watson was the league's second-youngest active coach behind the Lakers' Luke Walton, and the Suns were tied with the Chicago Bulls as having the youngest opening-night roster in the NBA this season.

"I'd like to see the fight be a little bit more," Watson said after the blowout loss to the Clippers. "Or a lot more, until you know they're just fatigued."

The Suns came into this season with only four losses by 40 or more points in franchise history. They've had two in the first three games of this season. Phoenix has not made the playoffs in seven years, the longest drought in the franchise's 49-year history.

Watson was the 17th Suns coach in the franchise's history.

This was the first NBA season where every coach who started one year had the same job to begin the next.

Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for inappropriate comments toward fan during Sixers game

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Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for inappropriate comments toward fan during Sixers game

NEW YORK — The NBA has fined Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving $25,000 for responding to a fan with inappropriate language.

Kiki VanDeWeghe, the NBA' executive vice president of basketball operations, announced the fine Sunday.

Irving spoke to a fan at halftime of Boston's 102-92 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night (see story). 

The NBA fined Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins $25,000 for language he used toward a fan late in a loss to Memphis on Wednesday night in the season opener.