Chauncey Billups

NBA Notes: Kevin Durant reportedly takes discount to re-sign with Warriors for 2 years

NBA Notes: Kevin Durant reportedly takes discount to re-sign with Warriors for 2 years

A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that Kevin Durant has agreed to terms on a two-year deal worth about $53 million to remain with the Golden State Warriors.

The deal calls for about $25 million in the first year with a player option for the second season. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract cannot be signed until Thursday.

It represents a significant giveback for the NBA Finals MVP, who could have signed a max deal that would have paid him millions more next season. The concession from Durant gave the Warriors enough room to lock up Steph Curry to a max contract and bring back Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.

Durant joined Golden State last season after 10 years in Oklahoma City and helped lead the Warriors to their second championship in three seasons.

CAVALIERS: Billups withdraws from GM consideration
CLEVELAND — Chauncey Billups has withdrawn his name from the Cleveland Cavaliers' search for a new general manager.

Billups released a statement to ESPN on Monday saying that "the timing isn't right" to take the job in Cleveland. Billups had been in discussions with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert to replace David Griffin. Griffin and the Cavs abruptly parted ways just days before the draft.

The well-respected Billups has long expressed a desire to get involved in an NBA team's front office. Several factors came into play in his decision to turn this one down, including his job as an analyst for ESPN and his strong roots in Denver.

Cavaliers assistant GM Koby Altman has been running the show for Cleveland as the free- agent market opened.

NUGGETs: Millsap agrees for 3 years, $90 million
The Denver Nuggets have been chasing starry veterans the last two years, determined to add experience and firepower to a promising young core.

They finally landed a big one Sunday, agreeing to terms with four-time All-Star Paul Millsap on a three-year deal worth $90 million, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract cannot be signed until Thursday.

The former Atlanta forward was one of the strongest free agents remaining on the board two days into the new business year, not counting Warriors superstar Kevin Durant, who is expected to re-sign with Golden State. The Nuggets engaged with Millsap early in the process, outlasting several other teams, including the Phoenix Suns and Atlanta Hawks, whose new GM Travis Schlenk acknowledged could get outbid for the 32-year-old's services before free agency started.

Millsap gives the young Nuggets a proven veteran who should fit perfectly with coach Michael Malone and budding star Nikola Jokic. Millsap averaged a career-high 18.1 points last season to go with 7.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists. He is versatile offensively and is one of the NBA's most underrated defenders.

Yahoo! Sports first reported the agreement.

Newly elevated president of basketball operations Tim Connelly and GM Arturas Karnisovas have chased big-name veterans like Dwyane Wade, Blake Griffin and Kevin Love in trade talks or free agency over the past couple of seasons, determined to vault a rebuilding team back into contention in the powerful Western Conference.

With Paul George going from Indiana to Oklahoma City, Jimmy Butler from Chicago to Minnesota and Chris Paul from the Clippers to Houston among other significant moves in the last two weeks, it became more important than ever for the Nuggets to break through themselves.

Millsap will slide in at power forward next to Jokic, the 6-foot-10 Serb who averaged 16.7 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists last season. The Nuggets also have dynamic young wings Jamal Murray and Gary Harris.

The Nuggets (40-42) improved by seven games, but still missed the playoffs for a fourth straight season. They lost out to Portland for the eighth and final spot in the West. The string of futility has ramped up the urgency even more now that the Western Conference figures to be as stacked as it has ever been.

Millsap was a second-round draft pick of the Utah Jazz in 2006. He spent his first seven seasons with the Jazz, developing into a rugged, two-way player, then signed with the Hawks in 2013. He has career averages of 14.2 points and 7.5 rebounds and made $20 million last season.

After stripping coach Mike Budenholzer of his president's title, saying goodbye to GM Wes Wilcox and bringing in Schlenk, the Hawks are in the middle of a retooling process. They traded Dwight Howard to Charlotte and wouldn't get into a bidding war with the Nuggets to retain Millsap as they shift gears after seeing their win total drop from 60 in 2014-15 to 48 in 2015-16 and 43 last season.

In the last two years, Millsap, Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll and Al Horford have all left from that 60-win team, an exodus that has thrust the franchise into an uncertain position.

Millsap's arrival in Denver makes the Northwest Division in the Western Conference particularly grueling. Millsap and Jokic will have to contend with George and Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City, Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic in Portland and Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Butler in Minnesota. And that doesn't even take into consideration a possible Jazz trio of Gordon Hayward, Rudy Gobert and Ricky Rubio -- if Hayward chooses to stay in Utah.

JAZZ: Summer League begins with high expectations for Exum
SALT LAKE CITY — NBA Summer League rosters are typically composed of rookies getting their first taste of the league or players trying to catch the eye of an organization.

Utah's Dante Exum doesn't quite fit either category.

The Jazz guard was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2014 draft and will be running a summer league team -- again. No other lottery pick from 2014 or 2015 currently is on an Orlando or Utah summer league roster. But Exum finds himself in the unusual position of trying to attain a more secure place in the 2017-18 Utah rotation.

"He's not the young guy anymore," Jazz summer league coach Alex Jensen said. "It's time. You've got to stand out.

"I don't think it's any one thing. When you watch the game, he can't blend in. You're too talented and too good to blend in, because a lot of guys are in their first and second year."

San Antonio, Boston, Philadelphia and Utah begin play in Salt Lake City on Monday; Play started Saturday in the eight-team Orlando summer league.

Exum said he wasn't planning to play summer league after the season ended, but the team would like to see more from him going into his fourth year. Time could be running out for the 21-year-old as the Jazz continue to try to upgrade their roster and build on last season's return to the playoffs. One area of particular focus is point guard. Utah traded into the lottery to draft guard Donovan Mitchell and took Nigel Williams-Goss in the second round. The Jazz also traded for Ricky Rubio over the weekend.

Exum was moved to off guard down the stretch of the season and averaged 6.2 points, 1.7 assists and 2.0 rebounds and shot 42.7 percent from the field. His career progression stalled when he missed all of 2015-16 with a torn ACL. He said he's focused on working on his jumper, his mid-range game, 3-point shot, driving to the basket and facilitating the offense.

The Jazz are hoping to re-sign Gordon Hayward, add depth to the roster and become even more of a threat in the Western Conference after earning the No. 5 playoff seed in 2017. That means the clock is ticking for Exum, who needs to show he's more than just athletically gifted in a 6-foot-6 frame.

"One of the biggest things for me is I just want to play," Exum said. "It was an emphasis this summer just to get out and play."

NBA Notes: Russell Westbrook wins league's MVP award

NBA Notes: Russell Westbrook wins league's MVP award

NEW YORK -- Russell Westbrook has been voted NBA MVP after setting a record with 42 triple-doubles last season.

Westbrook's victory ended the first NBA Awards show, which included two wins apiece for the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks.

Westbrook joined Oscar Robertson as the only players to average a triple-double for the season, and he broke Robertson's single-season record set when he had 41 triple-doubles in 1961-62.

The point guard beat out Houston's James Harden and San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard to succeed Stephen Curry, who had won the past two MVP awards.

Earlier, Milwaukee's Malcolm Brogdon became the first player not picked in the first round to win NBA Rookie of the Year in the common draft era.

Brogdon was the No. 36 overall selection out of Virginia. The common draft era began in 1966.

"I think it's an example for guys that are told they are too short, they are not athletic enough, they are not real point guards, they are not real shooting guards," Brogdon said. "I just think it's an important message for people to see, and it can be done. It just takes a lot."

Teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo won the Most Improved Player award.

Houston coach Mike D'Antoni won his second Coach of the Year award, and Eric Gordon was Sixth Man of the Year after setting a record for most 3-pointers off the bench in his first season as a reserve.

The NBA formerly gave out its individual awards at various points throughout the postseason before switching to the awards show this season and presenting them all at once in front of the league's top players and stars from the entertainment world (see full story).

Cavaliers: Billups still undecided on front-office job
CLEVELAND -- Chauncey Billups isn't sure if it's time to jump back into the NBA.

Nearly a week after first meeting with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, Billups has not yet decided whether to join Cleveland's front office, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Monday.

Billups is weighing several factors and remains unsure if he wants to lead the Cavaliers' basketball operations, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the talks.

Billups met twice last week with Gilbert, who is also looking for a new general manager after parting ways with David Griffin. The sides were unable to negotiate a contract extension following Cleveland's third straight trip to the Finals. The person says there's no timetable on a decision.

A five-time All-Star, Billups, who has no executive experience, would have to uproot his family in Denver to take the job. He also has to consider other factors, including the possibility that LeBron James could leave as a free agent after next season.

Billups has known Gilbert for years, but he may be hesitant to work for a passionate-but-demanding owner who has had four GMs in 12 years and couldn't work things out with Griffin despite an unprecedented string of success.

Billups is believed to be the only candidate so far to meet with Gilbert (see full story).

Nets: Russell seeks smooth start in Brooklyn
NEW YORK -- D'Angelo Russell wasn't only traded, he was insulted on the way out the door.

After the Los Angeles Lakers selected Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft, team President Magic Johnson said Russell played well but stressed that he needed a leader as his point guard. Given that Johnson is one of the greatest ever to play the position, the sting might have really hurt Russell.

But his turbulent time in Los Angeles is over, so the only voices Russell are listening to are in Brooklyn.

"It's good to be here. I can't really control that, what they say," Russell said Monday. "I'm gone. It's the past. I'm here now. It's irrelevant, honestly."

The Nets introduced Russell and center Timofey Mozgov in a news conference at their training facility, having acquired the pair in the deal last week that sent center Brook Lopez and a draft pick to Los Angeles.

Russell is just 21 and himself was the No. 2 pick just two years ago, the kind of player who isn't usually available via trade. But the Lakers needed to make room for Ball, and the Nets are in desperate need of talent after finishing with the worst record in the NBA.

"Looking at what the Lakers were dealing with, we're always in that talent-acquisition mode here," general manager Sean Marks said. "We will be for a while, but adding a player -- specifically D'Angelo being 21 -- we could've easily drafted somebody who was a year older than D'Angelo" (see full story).

NBA Notes: Chauncey Billups meets with Cavaliers for 2nd straight day

NBA Notes: Chauncey Billups meets with Cavaliers for 2nd straight day

CLEVELAND -- Chauncey Billups once competed against the Cleveland Cavaliers as a player. He could be joining them as an executive.

Billups met with team owner Dan Gilbert on Wednesday for the second straight day to discuss a front-office position with the Cavaliers, who are regrouping after losing to Golden State in the NBA Finals.

Gilbert could be close to offering a job to Billups, according to a person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks. Billups is the first person to meet with Gilbert since he parted ways with general manager David Griffin this week when talks about a possible contract extension broke down.

Billups was in Cleveland, but as of 7 p.m. EDT there was no official agreement in place. The 40-year-old is likely weighing whether Cleveland is a good spot for him to begin a new career, given the team's recent upheaval and that superstar LeBron James will be eligible for free agency after next season.

While the Cavaliers are looking for Griffin's replacement after he guided them to three straight Finals, it's believed that Billups would take on a different role, perhaps as the team's director of basketball operations. Trent Redden, who served as the senior vice president of basketball operations, is also not returning next season.

Billups has no previous experience as an NBA executive, but he does have a long-standing relationship with Gilbert from their time together in Detroit and he knows the league well. Billups, who was a five-time All-Star, also is close with Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue (see full story).

Wizards: Frazier acquired from Pelicans for pick
WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards have acquired point guard Tim Frazier from the New Orleans Pelicans for a second-round pick in the NBA draft.

Wednesday's deal gives the Pelicans the No. 52 overall selection Thursday night.

That was the only pick Washington had this year. Its first-rounder went to Brooklyn in the Bojan Bogdanovic deal at the trade deadline.

The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Frazier has averaged 6.2 points, 4.4 assists and 2.4 rebounds in three NBA seasons with New Orleans, Philadelphia and Portland. He has played in 127 regular-season games, making 40 starts.

Last season, he averaged 7.1 points and 5.2 assists for the Pelicans in 65 games, including 35 starts.

With Washington, Frazier could be the primary backup to All-Star point guard John Wall.

Lakers: Young declines contract option for next season
LOS ANGELES -- Nick Young will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after declining his $5.66 million contract option for next season with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers announced Young's decision Wednesday.

Young has spent four tumultuous seasons with the Lakers, averaging 13.1 points and 2.3 rebounds over 220 games.

The Los Angeles native realized a childhood dream by joining the Lakers, but the 10-year NBA veteran's tenure has coincided with the worst four-year stretch in the 16-time NBA champions' history.

After struggling on the court during the 2015-16 season and enduring upheaval in his personal life due to an infamous video scandal with then-rookie D'Angelo Russell, Young enjoyed a career revival last season under new coach Luke Walton. Young averaged 13.2 points while hitting 40.4 percent of his 3-pointers.

Hornets: Coach says Howard can return to All-Star level
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte coach Steve Clifford is confident he can help newly acquired Hornets center Dwight Howard become a dominant force and an NBA All-Star again.

Clifford is familiar with Howard, having coached him for six seasons as an assistant in Orlando and Los Angeles.

"I know what he has to do to play well," Clifford said Wednesday. "He understands that I know him. I know his game. Being around him in different settings I have a feel for what he likes to do... There is no reason he can't get back to playing at a really high level."

General manager Rich Cho said Clifford's familiarity with Howard is a major reason the Hornets pulled the trigger on a trade that sent guard Marco Belinelli, center Miles Plumlee and the No. 41 overall pick in the NBA draft to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Howard and the No. 31 overall pick. It meant taking on Howard's contract, which will pay him $47 million over the next two seasons.

Now the question becomes if Howard can bounce back from two tumultuous seasons in Atlanta and Houston, and also fit in in Charlotte.

Howard was an NBA All-Star eight straight seasons from 2007-14. But Howard didn't play in the fourth quarter two of Atlanta's first-round playoff games last season, something that irked the 13-year NBA veteran. Atlanta dealt Howard to Charlotte just one year into a three-year, $74 million contract (see full story).