NBA Notes: Lakers to retire Kobe Bryant's Nos. 8, 24 next season

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NBA Notes: Lakers to retire Kobe Bryant's Nos. 8, 24 next season

LOS ANGELES -- One retired jersey number just isn't enough for Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers will retire Bryant's No. 8 and No. 24 in a ceremony Dec. 18 during their game against Golden State, the franchise announced Tuesday.

Bryant wore No. 8 from 1996 to 2006, when he switched to No. 24 for the remainder of a 20-year career spent entirely with the Lakers. He will be the 10th player honored by the Lakers with a retired number hung high on the Staples Center wall, but the first in NBA history to have two numbers retired by the same team.

"Kobe's jerseys are taking their rightful home next to the greatest Lakers of all time," Lakers owner Jeanie Buss said. "There was never any doubt this day would come. The only question was when. Once again, Lakers fans will celebrate our hero, and once again, our foes will envy the legendary Kobe Bryant."

The five-time NBA champion and 18-time All-Star selection is the Lakers' franchise leader in points (33,643), games played (1,346), 3-pointers (1,827), steals (1,944) and free throws (8,378), among countless superlatives.

Bryant is the third-leading scorer in NBA history after becoming the first player to spend at least 20 seasons with one franchise. He retired in 2016 with a bravura 60-point performance in his farewell game against Utah.

"As a kid growing up in Italy, I always dreamed of my jersey hanging in the Lakers rafters, but I certainly never imagined two of them," Bryant said in a statement. "The Lakers have bestowed a huge honor on me, and I'm grateful for the fans' enthusiasm around this game" (see full story).

Timberwolves: Muhammad reportedly returning to team
MINNEAPOLIS -- A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that Shabazz Muhammad has agreed to return to the Minnesota Timberwolves on a one-year deal.

The Wolves and Muhammad agreed to terms on the veteran minimum deal on Tuesday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract has not been signed.

Muhammad has spent all four of his NBA seasons with the Timberwolves. He averaged 9.9 points last season and was a restricted free agent when the summer began. The Wolves eventually rescinded their rights to him to make him an unrestricted free agent. He never got the long-term offer for which he was hoping.

It was an important move the Wolves, who were thin on the wing behind starters Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler.

ESPN first reported the agreement.

Knicks: Oakley sues team owners for defamation
NEW YORK -- Former New York Knicks star Charles Oakley sued the team's owners Tuesday, saying he was defamed when they claimed he committed assault and was an alcoholic after his February arrest at a game.

The lawsuit details how Oakley was treated before and after he was forcefully removed from Madison Square Garden during the first quarter of a Feb. 8 Knicks' loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. It seeks unspecified damages.

Oakley was a Knicks fan favorite from 1988 to 1998. He was accused of striking a security guard during the February fracas.

Last month, prosecutors agreed to dismiss charges after six months of good behavior.

Many of the lawsuit's more venomous claims are directed at team owner James Dolan, who was near Oakley when the popular power forward was seen shoving security guards before they pulled him away from his seat.

The lawsuit says that long before the game, Dolan had "constantly disrespected" Oakley, refusing to make eye contact or shake his hand during meetings, denying him fan appreciation nights and making him pay for his own tickets to games.

The lawsuit blames Dolan for Oakley's removal from the game, saying Oakley "was treated like a common criminal" after Dolan directed security to "forcibly remove Mr. Oakley from the Garden and publicly embarrass him on live television" (see full story).

NBA Notes: Cavaliers get additional pick from Celtics to complete blockbuster

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NBA Notes: Cavaliers get additional pick from Celtics to complete blockbuster

CLEVELAND -- The blockbuster trade, delayed and in jeopardy of dying, is done: Kyrie Irving is headed to the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas is coming to the Cavaliers and the NBA can take a well-earned, late-summer break.

For a minute.

Concerned with medical findings after looking at Thomas' injured right hip, the Cavs have negotiated another draft pick from Boston to compete the mega-deal that stalled, the teams announced in a joint statement early Thursday.

The teams modified the original deal and Cleveland will also get a second-round pick in 2020 from the Celtics, a pick it acquired from Miami.

"The trade is now complete," the teams said in their statement.

After days of uncertainty, both sides can move forward toward a 2017 season that will start with the Cavs hosting the Celtics on Oct. 17.

The teams had a deadline of 10 a.m. Thursday to agree on the trade, which was prompted by Irving demanded to be dealt in July. New Cavs general manager Koby Altman pulled it off by sending the team's second-best player to the Celtics for Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and an unconditional first-round pick next year.

The Cavs had balked at pushing the Aug. 22 trade through last week after Thomas underwent a physical. He tore a labrum last season in the playoffs against Cleveland, and it's possible he might not be ready for the start of the season (see full story).

Timberwolves: Roth hired as head coach of G-League team
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Timberwolves have named Scott Roth as the coach of the inaugural Iowa Wolves G-League team.

The Timberwolves announced the hiring on Wednesday. Roth will oversee coaching of the team after the Timberwolves purchased the minor league team in Des Moines.

Roth was a player on the original Timberwolves team in 1989-90 and has been an assistant coach for seven different NBA teams. He spent last season as a scout for the Timberwolves.

Roth will be charged with installing a system in Iowa that mimics the one coach Tom Thibodeau runs with the Timberwolves. That way any young player who spends time in Iowa will be better prepared when he is called up to play for the NBA team.

It will be Roth's second stint in the G-League. He coached Bakersfield in 2008.

NBA Notes: Timberwolves owner wants meeting with Andrew Wiggins before max extension

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NBA Notes: Timberwolves owner wants meeting with Andrew Wiggins before max extension

MANKATO, Minn. -- Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said Monday that he is ready to commit nearly $150 million to Andrew Wiggins with a max-level extension of his rookie contract. Before he does so, Taylor wants to sit down face-to-face with Wiggins to hear the former No. 1 overall pick commit to the franchise in a similar fashion.

Wiggins' scoring numbers have improved in each of his first three seasons. He averaged 23.6 points per game and shot 35.6 percent from 3-point range last season, more than 5 percent better than his previous season. But the Wolves have not made the playoffs since 2004, and it's clear that when Taylor decides to give a contract of this magnitude after adding Jimmy Butler via trade and veterans Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford in free agency, he is expecting it to pay off quickly.

"To me, by making this offer, I'm speculating that his contribution to the team will be more in the future," Taylor told The Associated Press. "We've got to be better. He can't be paid just for what he's doing today. He's got to be better.

"So when you're talking about negotiations on his part, I'm already extending to him that I'm willing to meet the max. But there are some things that I need out of him, and that is the commitment to be a better player than you are today" (see full story).

Warriors: Curry vows to do more off the court
WALNUT CREEK, California -- A rich new contract in hand, Stephen Curry is more determined than ever to give back both his time and financial resources wherever he is needed in the Bay Area.

The Golden State Warriors superstar has yet to make a major purchase for himself since finalizing the $201 million, five-year contract late last month.

"I don't want to get too deep into it but for the last couple years trying to figure out how I can make the most impact off the court on a consistent and impactful basis," the 29-year-old Curry said Monday, going on two months after winning another NBA title. "Going forward and obviously keying in on the Bay Area specifically to hopefully leave a lasting impact for all the good that has happened in my life and my family here since I've been here the last eight years.

"Obviously over the next five to really impact the community for the better and use my platform, not only just dollars but my platform and connections and ideas to make that happen. The contract puts more of a responsibility to make that happen and I'm obviously aware of that. And I have a great team around me that's going to help me do that" (see full story).