Kevin Durant

Best of NBA: Cavaliers win thriller after Celtics' Hayward goes down with injury

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Best of NBA: Cavaliers win thriller after Celtics' Hayward goes down with injury

CLEVELAND -- Boston's Gordon Hayward broke his left ankle just five minutes into the season, a grisly injury that overshadowed Kyrie Irving's return to Cleveland and the Cavaliers' 102-99 win over the shocked Celtics on Tuesday night.

LeBron James scored 29 points -- 13 in the fourth quarter -- in his most extensive action in three weeks because of a sprained left ankle. He also fed Kevin Love for a critical 3-pointer with 46.3 second left to put the Cavs up 102-98.

Irving, who asked to be traded this summer after six seasons in Cleveland, had a chance to tie it with a 3-pointer at the horn but missed. Irving then shared a warm embrace with James, his teammate for three seasons.

Irving finished with 22 points for the Celtics, who overcame an 18-point deficit in the third and led with 2:04 left.

Love had 15 and Derrick Rose 14 in his debut for the Cavs (see full recap).

Rockets rally to spoil ring night for Warriors
OAKLAND, California -- Kevin Durant's baseline jumper swished through the net just barely too late, and the Houston Rockets rallied in the fourth to beat Golden State 122-121 Tuesday on the night the Warriors received their championship rings.

The Warriors had one last chance with 10.6 seconds left and Durant came up with the ball after Stephen Curry had missed. Durant and the Warriors thought they'd won and confetti began to fall when the two remaining officials -- the third got hurt in the fourth quarter -- reviewed the play and said Durant's shot was after the buzzer.

Trevor Ariza's 3-pointer with 2:09 remaining pulled Houston within 119-118 then Patrick McCaw hit a baseline jumper immediately after Golden State's timeout. James Harden made a layup and PJ Tucker hit two free throws with 44.1 to make it 122-121.

Nick Young came off the bench to hit six 3-pointers and score 23 points in a brilliant Warriors debut, Curry scored 22 points and Durant had 20 after a slow start. Klay Thompson added 16 points.

Chris Paul had four points on 2-for-9 shooting in his Rockets debut, while Harden scored 27 points and Eric Gordon 24 for the Rockets. Houston opened the fourth with a 9-0 run to get back in it (see full recap).

Markelle Fultz and Kevin Durant learned hesi pull-up jimbo from same guy

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Markelle Fultz and Kevin Durant learned hesi pull-up jimbo from same guy

Kevin Durant's most recent sit down with Bill Simmons has produced some very entertaining basketball talk that included a couple of fun Sixers-related nuggets.

In part 1, KD mentioned being most excited to go up against Ben Simmons from this year's rookie class.

In part 2, Durant discusses Markelle Fultz's "hesi pull-up jimbo," a nickname for his jump shot move that will definitely come up more in the years to come. "Hesi" stands for hesitation.

Durant shares that the guy who taught Fultz the move also taught it to him back in the day.

"So you hesi with the left — when I seen Markelle Fultz do it, he hesi'd with left and didn't put it back down, he went straight into the shot; that's tough. The dude who taught him that taught me that. I know the hours of work he put in on that."

KD clarifies that the jimbo, or jimmie, is a jumper. Both Durant and Fultz hail from outside the Washington, DC area.

You'll get to know Fultz's move real well this coming season.

Listen for the Fultz segment around the 26:00 minute mark below:

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."