San Antonio Spurs

NBA Notes: Kawhi Leonard to miss Spurs' opener with thigh injury

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NBA Notes: Kawhi Leonard to miss Spurs' opener with thigh injury

HOUSTON — Kawhi Leonard still isn't ready to play.

San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said the All-Star forward needs more time to get his injured thigh muscle right, meaning he won't be out there when the Spurs open their regular season on Wednesday against Minnesota.

"He's still rehabbing and when he's ready, he'll be ready," Popovich told reporters in Houston before San Antonio's preseason finale.

Leonard didn't play at all in camp or preseason, after a year where he averaged 25.5 points - raising his scoring average for the fifth consecutive season - and finished behind only Russell Westbrook and James Harden in the MVP race (see full story).

Cavaliers: Jefferson, Felder reportedly being dealt to Hawks
CLEVELAND -- Their roster overloaded, the Cavaliers are trading Richard Jefferson and Kay Felder to save money.

Cleveland has agreed to send Jefferson, Felder, two second-round draft picks and $3 million to the Atlanta Hawks in a move that will allow the Eastern Conference champions to avoid paying $12 million in luxury tax penalties, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Friday.

In return, the Cavs will get the rights to two overseas players, according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the league still has to approve the transaction. The deal could be completed later Friday or Saturday morning.

Jefferson and Felder were both on Cleveland's bench for Friday night's exhibition finale at Orlando. Jefferson did not return to the sideline for the second half, but Felder did. Neither logged any minutes.

Jefferson and Felder left without talking to reporters. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue declined comment (see full recap).

Celtics: Brown could be team’s X-factor
BOSTON -- One of Jaylen's Brown's nicknames is "Old Man."

It sounds like a strange moniker for a 20-year-old NBA player, until you spend just a few minutes inside Brown's world.

During the Celtics' massive overhaul this summer, the focus was on the trio of new Boston additions: Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and rookie Jayson Tatum.

But the forgotten player on Boston's rebuilt roster may be Brown.

The second-year forward out of California, where he was the PAC-12 freshman of the year in his lone year at the school, showed he is as cerebral as he is athletic. He didn't shy away from veteran tasks like guarding LeBron James during the playoffs. Now, he just might be the X-factor for the toughest challenger to the Cleveland Cavaliers' recent Eastern Conference supremacy.

Heat: Riley celebrates 50 years in NBA
MIAMI -- Pat Riley often was forced to wonder if his time in the NBA was over. Like when he got pulled out of a drill in his first training camp with San Diego and was told he had to get better. Or when Portland cut the newly married Riley a week after his father died. Or when he realized that his playing days were finished.

The fears were always unfounded.

A half-century later, he's still in the game.

Riley's NBA debut was exactly 50 years ago Saturday -- Oct. 14, 1967, the start of a Hall of Fame career that saw him go from player to broadcaster, broadcaster to coach, coach to executive. The Miami Heat president has stockpiled nine championship rings, became a best-selling author and motivational speaker, transformed the fashion sense of NBA coaches and left an indelible mark on franchises in Los Angeles, New York and Miami.

And he's not done.

"He's still going," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, Riley's former assistant who replaced him as head coach nearly a decade ago. "I think that is the ultimate sign of true greatness, his sustainability and ability to constantly adapt and stay ahead of the curve. He's always three, four, five steps ahead of the competition. His thought process is always ahead of the norm."

NBA Notes: Spurs star Kawhi Leonard to miss preseason with thigh injury

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NBA Notes: Spurs star Kawhi Leonard to miss preseason with thigh injury

SAN ANTONIO -- A lingering thigh injury for Kawhi Leonard has the San Antonio Spurs' season off to an ominous start.
Leonard will miss the entire preseason while rehabbing an injury to his right quadriceps, the Spurs announced Saturday. There is no definitive timetable for his return.

Coach Gregg Popovich told reporters in San Antonio that the thigh has bothered Leonard since the playoffs. The two-time All-Star and two-time defensive player of the year has been working on rehabilitation all summer but is still not ready to get on the court (see full story).

Cavaliers: Owner gets 'vile' voicemails after LeBron's 'bum' tweet
CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert received "vile, disgusting" voicemails after LeBron James called President Donald Trump a "bum" on Twitter.

Gilbert said he was flooded with phone messages when the NBA's most celebrated player criticized Trump for rescinding a White House invitation to Golden State's Stephen Curry to honor the team's NBA championship.

"I received voicemails after LeBron tweeted that were some of the most vile, disgusting, racist," Gilbert said Friday on CNBC's "Squawk Box. "There's an element of racism that I didn't even realize existed in this country this much."

Gilbert said he had not told James about the voicemails. He called the comments unnerving (see full story).

Heat: Olynyk makes a big splash in end-of-camp scrimmage
BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Habits are something Miami coach Erik Spoelstra talks about often with his club, that word becoming as much of his everyday vernacular as probably any other.

Kelly Olynyk has noticed. He's also noticed that habits can be tough to break.

High on the to-do list for the Heat during this training camp that ended with a scrimmage Saturday was this: Getting Olynyk, the former Boston Celtics forward who signed a four-year deal with Miami this summer, as involved as possible with a core that largely returned intact from last season. It's a process, though both Spoelstra and Olynyk said afterward they like the way things are heading (see full story).

NBA Notes: Manu Ginobili returning to Spurs for 16th season

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NBA Notes: Manu Ginobili returning to Spurs for 16th season

SAN ANTONIO -- Manu Ginobili is returning for his 16th season with the San Antonio Spurs.

The Spurs re-signed the 40-year-old Argentine guard Thursday. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Ginobili will become the eighth player in NBA history to spend his entire career with one team and play at least 16 seasons, joining Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, John Stockton, Reggie Miller and John Havlicek.

Ginobili averaged 7.5 points, 2.7 assists and 2.3 rebounds in 69 games last season, In 992 career regular-season games, he has averaged 13.6 points, 3.9 assists and 3.6 rebounds. In 213 playoff games, the four-time NBA champion has averaged 14.1 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists.

Ginobili led Argentina to the 2004 Olympic title. He and Bill Bradley are the only players win an NBA and Euroleague titles and an Olympic gold medal.

Pacers: Team hopes new facility becomes selling point
INDIANAPOLIS -- Kevin Pritchard has a new sales pitch as the Indiana Pacers jump into the NBA's version of an arms race.

On Thursday, the team's president of basketball operations, players and other officials celebrated the opening of the St. Vincent Center, a five-story, state-of-the-art practice facility that is putting the health, training and comfort of players first.

"Indiana is not a small market, Indiana is not a big market, Indiana is good market and this matches that," Pritchard said. "We want players walking in here and thinking about how they can be their best and we want our coaches knowing they can do their best."

Everything inside the 130,000-square foot facility is intended to put players front and center -- from the offices where Pritchard and coach Nate McMillan can watch both courts to the circular locker room to the medical and nutritional facilities upstairs. The top floor has an 18,000-square foot sports performance center. The hydrotherapy room includes a big screen TV. The team meeting room has and the player's lounge both have customized oversized chairs.

The biggest difference might be that the Pacers will now have two full-sized practice courts overlooking Bankers Life Fieldhouse that are devoted exclusively to the NBA franchise. Previously, the team shared one practice court with the WNBA's Indiana Fever and that court also was used for community events (see full story).

NBA: G-League eliminates 4-game, 5-day stretches
NEW YORK -- Schedule changes have also come to the NBA G League.

Much like their NBA counterparts, G League players will no longer endure stretches of four games in five nights. Eliminating that for the first time was a key component of this season's NBA schedule, and it's now gone from the G League schedules as well.

The average number of back-to-backs also dropped in the G League, from nearly nine per team last year to seven this season.

"Much like the NBA, we had a strong focus on making our schedule more in line with our ongoing goals of player health and wellness," G League President Malcolm Turner said. "The NBA G League has always been a place for players to develop their skills and display their talents. These schedule adjustments will help up-and-coming NBA players perform to the best of their abilities."

There's four expansion teams in the newly rebranded G League, which has a record 26 franchises after adding the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (affiliated with the Los Angeles Clippers), Erie BayHawks (Atlanta), Memphis Hustle (Memphis) and Wisconsin Herd (Milwaukee).

Teams in the G League play 50 regular-season games, starting Nov. 3 and going through March 24. In previous years, the league was known as the NBA Development League.