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NBA Notes: Clippers acquire Danilo Gallinari in 3-team trade

NBA Notes: Clippers acquire Danilo Gallinari in 3-team trade

DENVER -- The Los Angeles Clippers acquired sharp-shooting forward Danilo Gallinari from Denver as part of a three-team trade that also involved Atlanta on Thursday.

In the swap, Los Angeles sent Jamal Crawford, Diamond Stone, cash considerations and a protected 2018 first-round pick to the Hawks. The Nuggets receive a 2019 second-round pick from Atlanta.

Gallinari joins a Clippers team that recently traded Chris Paul to Houston, but agreed to a five-year deal with Blake Griffin. They also have DeAndre Jordan in the frontcourt.

The 28-year-old Gallinari was originally selected by New York with the sixth overall pick in 2008. He wound up in Denver as part of the blockbuster deal in February 2011 that sent Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks.

A fan favorite, Gallinari averaged 16.2 points and made 535 3-pointers for the Nuggets. He missed the 2013-14 season as he recovered from a torn left ACL.

"Danilo has been a special player for the Nuggets organization as well as a prominent figure in the Denver community for the last six years," said Tim Connelly, the president of basketball operations for Denver. "He was a consummate professional throughout his time with us and we want to wish him all the best as he begins this new chapter" (see full story).

Mavericks: Nowitzki agrees on 2-year, $10 million deal
DALLAS -- A person with knowledge of the agreement says the Dallas Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki have agreed on a two-year, $10 million deal that assures a 20th season for the star forward.

The second year of the contract carries a team option, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team hasn't announced the deal. The 39-year-old Nowitzki is set to join Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers as the only players to spend 20 seasons with one franchise.

The deal is similar to the one the Mavs and Nowitzki reached last year, although for significantly less money. Last year's contract was for two years and $50 million, and the club declined the option before free agency opened this year (see full story).

Knicks: Hardaway Jr. inks $71 million offer sheet
NEW YORK -- The New York Knicks are trying to bring back Tim Hardaway Jr.

The Knicks signed the guard to a four-year, $71 million offer sheet Thursday, agent Mark Bartelstein said.

Hardaway is a restricted free agent, so the Atlanta Hawks will have two days to match the offer.

The deal was first reported by ESPN.

Hardaway was a first-round pick of the Knicks who spent two seasons in New York before they traded him to Atlanta for the rights to point guard Jerian Grant. The Knicks later dealt Grant to Chicago in a trade for Derrick Rose.

Hardaway struggled early in Atlanta but played well last season, averaging 14.5 points.

Pacers: Team says George deal was best for future
INDIANAPOLIS -- Kevin Pritchard struggled to make the deal.

Eventually, he figured dealing Paul George was the best way to protect the Indiana Pacers.

On Thursday, Pritchard finally made the blockbuster trade official by announcing the four-time All-Star was heading to Oklahoma City in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

"It was difficult both on a personal and professional level," Pritchard said in a statement issued by the team. "Everyone here knows what Paul meant to this franchise; he was both a tremendous human being as well as player here for seven years. We thank Paul and his family for their contributions to the Pacers and wish him well."

George essentially forced the move when word leaked that he intended to leave the team as a free agent next summer just before the NBA draft.

That disclosure put the Pacers in a bind: Build around George for one final run at an NBA title, lose their star player and get nothing in return or shop George for the best deal they could find with his public plans hurting his trade value. Pritchard called the news a "gut punch" during last month's draft. He hasn't spoken to reporters since then, but under NBA rules the deal could be announced Thursday.

"We feel very strongly about the potential Victor and Domantas bring to our team and what they mean for the future of the franchise," Pritchard said. "Both are highly competitive, highly skilled and both are winners. That is why both were lottery picks. That is why we sought them out to be part of this deal" (see full story).

Grizzlies: Team to retire Randolph’s No. 50
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Memphis Grizzlies are planning to retire the No. 50 jersey worn by Zach Randolph, who is leaving the team after eight seasons to sign with the Sacramento Kings.

In a tweet on the Grizzlies' official account , majority owner Robert Pera says that No. 50 "will never be worn by another member of the Memphis Grizzlies." Pera also thanks Randolph for helping "turn a lottery team into a perennial playoff contender" and helping "make a basketball team a model of community service."

Randolph, a free agent, is joining former Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger at Sacramento. He agreed to a two-year, $24 million deal.

Randolph, who helped Memphis earn seven straight playoff appearances , will become the first player to have his number retired by the Grizzlies.

Interesting new odds on LeBron James' free agency destination, next season's Rookie of the Year

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AP Images

Interesting new odds on LeBron James' free agency destination, next season's Rookie of the Year

Brett Brown is "star hunting." He's not naming names, but it's clear that LeBron James is at the top of his (and everybody's) list.

Until free agency officially starts on July 1, there's going to be plenty of speculation about whether the Sixers can actually land James. Bovada's latest odds on which team James will be playing for in Game 1 of the 2018-19 season don't give the Sixers a great shot.

The Lakers are now strong favorites, at 4/13. That's presumably because Spurs star Kawhi Leonard reportedly wants out of San Antonio and would like to return to his hometown of Los Angeles, specifically with the Lakers. Though the Spurs have said they want to keep Leonard if possible and reports are they don't want to trade him to a team in the Western Conference, the Lakers would definitely be a much more enticing option for James if they managed to get Leonard. 

The Sixers have the fourth-best odds, which are listed in full below.

What team will LeBron James play for Game 1 of the 2018-2019 Season?
Los Angeles Lakers                   4/13
Cleveland Cavaliers                   13/4
Houston Rockets                      15/2
Philadelphia 76ers                     10/1
Boston Celtics                          18/1
San Antonio Spurs                    20/1
Los Angeles Clippers                25/1                                           
New York Knicks                       30/1
Miami Heat                                40/1

2018-19 Rookie of the Year Odds

This season's Rookie of the Year hasn't even been announced yet. We'll know Monday night whether Ben Simmons brings home the award. But the odds for next season's Rookie of the Year are already out, and one of the newest Sixers, first-round pick Zhaire Smith, appears on Bovada's odds.

Unsurprisingly, Smith, who has a lot of room to grow (see story), is a long shot. The No. 16 selection has 45/1 odds to win. No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton has the best odds at 13/5, followed by the Mavs' Luka Doncic and the Kings' Marvin Bagley III. Mikal Bridges has 22/1 odds, while fellow Villanova product and new Milwaukee Buck Donte DiVincenzo makes an appearance at 40/1.

The complete odds are below.

2018-2019 NBA Rookie of the Year – Odds to Win
Deandre Ayton                          13/5
Luka Doncic                              3/1
Marvin Bagley                           9/2
Trae Young                               7/1
Jaren Jackson Jr                       9/1
Mohamed Bamba                      11/1
Kevin Knox                               15/1
Michael Porter Jr                       15/1
Mikal Bridges                            22/1
Collin Sexton                            22/1
Miles Bridges                            28/1
Wendell Carter Jr                       28/1
Donte DiVincenzo                     40/1
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander          40/1
Zhaire Smith                              45/1
Lonnie Walker                           50/1
Robert Williams                         50/1

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With Bryan Colangelo saga in rearview, Sixers use draft as 1st step in repairing image

With Bryan Colangelo saga in rearview, Sixers use draft as 1st step in repairing image

Even Brett Brown had to admit just how much of a whirlwind this month has been for him.

“This has been a really different June,” he said after the 2018 NBA draft.

That’s certainly an understatement.

In a matter of weeks, Brown went from drawing up plays during the postseason to orchestrating his first draft as interim general manager. And there’s no time to take a breath with free agency barreling down the calendar on July 1.

While Brown has been tasked with running the Sixers’ front office operations for the time being (see story), he has also been put in charge of an even bigger challenge: reshaping the team’s image.

No matter your feelings on the Bryan Colangelo saga, there is no denying it was a black eye for the Sixers. One the franchise could ill afford heading into such an important summer.

So Brown set out to show that the Sixers are truly all about the player-friendly, tight-knit and development culture they have cultivated throughout “the process.” The reinforcement started with grabbing a pair of players in the draft with not only first-round talent, but first-rate character.

“When you look at sort of the values that were most important to us as we decided how to grow this team and select our players, there were none more important than just good people and character,” Brown said Friday of first-rounders Zhaire Smith and Landry Shamet. “Personally, when you would see me work the players out and then intermittently we would call people into my office, there was a connection and a comfort level that I had just talking to them as people.”

Of course talent trumps everything and Brown admitted the duo was ultimately snagged because of basketball ability above all else. However, it’s no coincidence that both players are soft-spoken and eager to grind for whatever minutes come their way on the court.

“I just want to come in here, put my work in and let it play out,” Smith said.

“At the end of the day, I just want to be a player that’s known to do whatever a coach needs me to do,” Shamet said. “Whatever the staff or my team needs me to do, that’s what I’m going to be. … Coming in and working hard and doing what I can on a day-to-day basis.”

What’s a little competition between family?

Oh, make no mistake, the Sixers see the program they’ve constructed as a family. And now that the branch of the tree that tends to talk way too much on social media is gone, Brown wants every draft pick that enters the building (and superstar that is willing to listen) to know this organization is a place you want to be.

“We’d like to welcome Zhaire’s family, we’d like to welcome Landry’s family to our home,” Brown said. “As I told these two young players, [they have] the ability to walk into this building and look up behind us and recognize the true history of this organization. To be able to look around and see the backyard that they now have and see sports science, and see a strength and conditioning program, and see an analytics department, and seeing the medical staff, and seeing the video area, and looking at our kitchen, which we kind of designed almost like a college atmosphere where we all go up as a team, as a family, an organization and spend time. This is their backyard where they’re going to get better.”

Now Brown hopes the franchise is stable enough again to add a high-profile name to the family by the time the July 4 BBQ rolls around.

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