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John Wall agrees to monster extension with Wizards

@ESPN

It was reported a few weeks back that the Washington Wizards had offered John Wall a huge contract extension, but he had decided to think it over before deciding to agree to those terms. Well, here we have it, late on a Friday night, news is breaking that Wall has agreed to stay in Washington through 2023.

Wall’s extension is for 4 years and $170 million. And to think, some people think he should’ve stayed four years and received his college degree rather than going one and done. I think he probably got the better end of that situation.

Quick shoutout to our own Jack Pilgrim for the number crunch and the subtle jab at the haters. Even more impressive than that number is what Wall could potentially be making per game in the final year of his contract.

A huge congrats to Wall and his family. This is exactly what Coach Cal is always talking about when he says he wants to change lives for these kids. It won’t be long until we’re hearing about deals like this for a bunch of former Kentucky guys.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Could Kyrie Irving be teaming up with Karl Towns?

Could Kyrie Irving be teaming up with Karl Towns?

Major NBA news broke in the last few hours, with reports circulating that Kyrie Irving made a request to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a trade before this upcoming season starts. ESPN is also reporting that there were four landing spots that were given as preferred by Irving and his agent. Those four teams were the New York Knicks, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Immediate thoughts on those four teams with the addition of Kyrie? The Knicks are a dumpster fire of an organization so that would be a waste of one of the top guards in the league. It’d be awesome to see him work in a Popovich inspired offense rather than an iso-offense that he ran in Cleveland. He could make a living in South Beach throwing lobs to Bam and Hassan Whiteside. But the most intriguing of the four teams are the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The T’Wolves are on the verge of being a contender for the top few spots in the Western Conference with the offseason addition of Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, and Jamal Crawford. Add in Kyrie to make a starting lineup of Irving at the point, Butler at the two, Andrew Wiggins at the wing, with Karl Towns and Taj Gibson running the paint. That team is incredibly solid, especially when you realize that the bench includes Teague, Crawford, and others.

Now obviously there are several factors that would influence a possible trade, but I went over to ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine to see if I could get the financials to work for both teams. I tried a few possible trades that did not work, but managed to find this possibility without too much work.

The Timberwolves would receive Irving, while giving up a few guys that most UK fans should recognize: former Louisville big man Gorgui Dieng, former Duke guard and Kentucky recruit Tyus Jones, and former UCLA Bruin and Kentucky recruit Shabazz Muhammad. Would both teams accept this trade? No way to know, but the possibility of it is extremely exciting to think about for Towns and Kentucky fans everywhere.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


WATCH: Skal Labissiere reunited with man who helped dig him out of the earthquake debris

WATCH: Skal Labissiere reunited with man who helped dig him out of the earthquake debris

Yesterday, I shared video and pictures of Skal Labissiere’s first trip back to Haiti in seven years, and today, we have some footage that is even more moving to pass along. As you know, Skal was trapped in the debris of the Haiti earthquake for over three hours until his father and others could dig him out. While visiting his old stomping grounds in Port-au-Prince today, Skal ran into one of the men who helped find him in the debris, and the video of their reunion is pretty special:

Here’s another video from @SacramentoKings of Skal touring his old neighborhood before arriving at his basketball camp, Camp S.K.A.L.:

Awesome stuff.


WATCH: Anthony Davis does the Drive-By Dunk Challenge

WATCH: Anthony Davis does the Drive-By Dunk Challenge

The Drive-By Dunk Challenge is the latest craze sweeping the internet, and last night, Anthony Davis got in on the fun.

The premise is simple: drive around, find a basketball goal in someone’s driveway, stop your car, and go dunk on it. Videos of kids doing the challenge have taken over the internet, but so far, Anthony Davis is the most famous participant:

Hey other NBA Cats: you’re on the clock.

Click through the jump to see some more drive-by dunks, albeit from normal human beings.

(more…)


Friday’s Top 10: NBA Cats get deals, KSR gets on Netflix, and Talking Season rolls on

Friday’s Top 10: NBA Cats get deals, KSR gets on Netflix, and Talking Season rolls on

Good morning, friends, and happy Friday. I don’t know about you guys, but it’s been a really long week. If only we could all be as lucky as these Kentucky fans, who are repping the Cats at The Narrows and Angels Landing in Zion National Park, Utah. Those pictures are incredibly gorgeous.

After an insanely slow news week, we had one of the busier nights in recent memory last night. Let’s hop right in.

1. Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze is out

The biggest bombshell came around 8 p.m., when Yahoo Sports announced that Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze resigned after the school discovered a call he made on his school-issued cell phone to an escort service in Florida. In a press conference, Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork said the call wasn’t the only reason Freeze was asked to resign, citing a “pattern of misconduct.”

Ole Miss co-offensive coordinator Matt Luke has been named the interim head coach. Somewhere, Les Miles is wondering how the grass in Oxford tastes. Somewhere else, Freeze is wondering if UofL has any job openings.

2. Dakari Johnson’s hard work paid off

Just after the Hugh Freeze news broke word came that Dakari Johnson agreed to a guaranteed two-year deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Since being drafted by OKC in 2015, Dakari has patiently worked on his game in the D-League, earning D-League First Team honors and turning heads in the summer league. Faced with a situation in which many would have given up, Dakari went to work and earned his second contract. Honestly, it’s downright refreshing to see hard work paying off.

3. Derek Willis agrees to one-year deal with the Pistons

Willis also made the most of his opportunity this summer and was rewarded with a one-year deal with the Detroit Pistons. For a kid who admitted that he doubted himself and didn’t always give 100% at times in his college career, Derek sure turned it around when it mattered. Best of luck to him and Keely as they head to Motor City.

4. The Louisville Kickoff Luncheon is today

Ready for some football? Mark Stoops, Eddie Gran, and Matt House will talk to reporters before the annual Greater Louisville Alumni Luncheon today around 11:30 a.m. Should any news break (such as Stoops confirming reports that Lynn Bowden is on campus), I’ll bring it to you. Maybe Freddie will even write us a short recap if we’re lucky.

5. John Calipari was in Washington yesterday

Cal took a break from recruiting to support his friend Kelly Knight Craft and her nomination as U.S. Ambassador to Canada. Cal was like a kid in a candy store all day, tweeting pictures with various members of Congress and the Senate, including Mitch McConnell, and making sure he was front and center when the cameras were flashing:

@HillaryWKYT

6. Jemarl Baker is first in CoachCal.com’s Meet the Wildcats series

Head on over to CoachCal.com to read more about the mysterious sharpshooter from California, or check out his skills for yourself in his #HorseWithTheCats session with Rex Chapman:

7. Kent Bulle is on the course RIGHT NOW at the British Open

After an opening round 68, Bulle is currently tied for 7th at -2 through ten holes. Granted, he was one of the first people on the course this morning, but that’s still awesome for our friend. We’ll keep track of his progress on The Golf Channel throughout the morning.

8. “Last Chance U” Season Two is now streaming

If you didn’t see the post below, we woke up to the very cool news that KSR was featured in the opening scenes of season two of “Last Chance U.” Scroll down to check it out. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to stop what you’re doing and binge the rest of it. Soon. Soon.

9. Lexington’s Eastern Little League All-Stars won the state title

Congrats to Lexington’s Eastern Little League 12-year-old All-Stars, who defeated Bowling Green East 11-8 to win the state championship on Wednesday night. This is the first state title for Eastern since 1953, and the squad will now make their first ever trip to the Great Lakes Little League Regional Finals in Indianapolis August 6-12. Good luck, kids!

10. Today on KSR: Vince Marrow and Lamar Thomas

Tune in for two hours of football awesomeness. Will they talk about Hugh Freeze?


The Pelicans introduce Rajon Rondo

The Pelicans introduce Rajon Rondo

It’s officially official: Rajon Rondo is a New Orleans Pelican. The Pelicans announced the addition today in a press release on their website.

“We are excited to welcome Rajon to the New Orleans Pelicans,” said Pelicans Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Dell Demps. “Throughout his NBA career, Rajon has showed that he’s a great competitor, leader and teammate with significant playoff experience.”

Rondo signing his contract with Dell Demps (Photo via Layne Murdoch Jr./New Orleans Pelicans)

Last season with the Bulls, Rondo averaged 7.8 points, 6.7 assists, and 5.1 rebounds in 26.7 minutes per game. He’ll share the Pelicans backcourt with Jrue Holiday and joins fellow former Cats De’Marcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Darius Miller, and potentially James Young on the roster. As the @PelicansNBA and @KentuckyMBB joked on Twitter, that’s a lot of Wildcats on one squad:

Keep in mind Kentucky plays UCLA at the Smoothie King Center on December 23. Wouldn’t be a bad idea to schedule a Pelicans game around then, guys. Just saying.


Dakari Johnson signs a guaranteed deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder

For the past two years, Dakari Johnson has quietly worked on his game in the D-League for Oklahoma City; now, that patience has finally paid off. According to Shams Charania, the Thunder are signing Dakari to a guaranteed two-year deal.

Dakari has certainly earned it. Last season, he was named a D-League All-Star and All-NBA D-League First Team after averaging 18.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 blocks for the Oklahoma City Blue. Earlier this month, he was second in the Orlando Summer League in scoring with 18 points per game. In the past year especially, Dakari has expanded his game, improving his ball-handling to the point that OKC even let him bring the ball down the court during the summer league on occasion.

Congrats to Dakari, a great dude who has kept his nose down and worked hard. He deserves this.

 


Derek Willis agrees to a one-year deal with the Detroit Pistons

Ready for some great news? According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, Derek Willis has agreed to a one-year deal with the Detroit Pistons.

Derek played for the Pistons in the Orlando Summer League, averaging 3.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.3 assists over four games. In his senior season at Kentucky, he averaged 7.0 points and 5.4 rebounds. With a deal in hand, he’ll head to training camp in September.

Congrats, Derek!

 


WATCH: Skal Labissiere returns to Haiti for the first time in 7 years

WATCH: Skal Labissiere returns to Haiti for the first time in 7 years

Seven years after being trapped in the rubble of the Haiti earthquake, Skal Labissiere has returned to his homeland.

By now, you are familiar with this story. In 2010, a 14-year-old Skal was trapped in the debris of the massive earthquake for three hours until his father dug him out. A few months later, his family sent him to the US to pursue his basketball career, which took him to Kentucky, and now, the Sacramento Kings. For the first time in seven years, Skal has returned to his homeland to host a basketball camp, a dream he’s had since leaving. Check out this heartwarming video of his visit from the Kings:

And some photos of Camp S.K.A.L., which started yesterday:

Photo via Sacramento Kings

Photo via the Sacramento Kings

I remember Skal telling me before the 2016 Draft how much it would mean to him to be able to return to Haiti to host a camp one day. That day has come, and I couldn’t be happier for him.

Nothing like home🇭đŸ‡č #GodisGood

A post shared by Skal LabissiĂšre (@skal_lab) on

 


WATCH: Karl Towns trolls Joel Embiid over NBA2K rating

Karl Towns is just about the nicest person you will ever meet, but even he couldn’t help but throw a little good-natured trash talk at Joel Embiid. The latest version of NBA2K comes out in two months, and to drum up publicity, the creators told several of the players their rating for an upcoming commercial. For gamers like Karl Towns, this is a pretty big deal, and when he learned his rating was higher than he thought, he threw a shot at Joel “Trust the Process” Embiid.

“Really?” Karl said upon hearing his rating was 91. “I can’t wait to tell Joel [Embiid] I have nothing to complain about. I do trust the process with that one, I do trust the process.”

The #NBA2K18 Process is looking just fine to @karltowns at Commercial Shoot

A post shared by NBA 2K (@nba2k) on

What was Embiid’s rating? Eighty-six, which he said was “bullcrap” (I’m not going to lie, I find Embiid really, really entertaining):

Joel Embiid discussing The Process behind his #NBA2K18 rating @joelembiid

A post shared by NBA 2K (@nba2k) on

Devin Booker was also an 86:

70 point game intact, @dbook checks in on his #NBA2K18 rating

A post shared by NBA 2K (@nba2k) on

Trust the process, Devin.


Nerlens Noel Disappointed with Dallas Mavericks Free Agency Negotiations

CSN Philly

Since NBA free agency season tipped-off with a frenzy on July 1, most of the marquee names have found a new home.  One of the few exceptions is former UK big man Nerlens Noel.

Traded from Philadelphia to Dallas near the 2017 season’s trade deadline, Noel was primed to join in on the free agency fun with a ton of money this offseason.  Eighteen days later, the restricted free agent has yet to receive the offer he’s looking for.

“We’re very disappointed with where things stand,” Noel’s agent Happy Walters told SportsDay. “Nerlens loves Dallas and spent June there working out, but we’re still waiting on a serious offer.”

The Knicks spent more than $70 million on Tim Hardaway Jr., but the proven rim protector can’t get a good deal.  What gives?

There’s no easy answer to the question, but as Yahoo! points out, he’s not alone.  Last year a trio of centers with a lesser pedigree received a combined $200 million.  Now Noel, Pau Gasol, Mason Plumlee and Alex Len are searching for money that just isn’t there.  Teams that needed centers a year ago panicked, leaving little cap room.  As the league shifts towards a perimeter focus, true centers have been left behind.

There’s still time for Noel to make the money he deserves, but as a restricted free agent, he has little leverage.  His agent is using the press to make something happen, but will it help or hurt the BBN’s favorite flat-topped shot-blocker? Only time will tell.


Happy birthday, Bam Adebayo!

Not only is today National Caviar Day, it’s Bam Adebayo’s birthday. The former Cat and current Miami Heat rookie turns the ripe old age of 20 today. Don’t worry, Bam, you don’t look a day over 48.

After the Heat drafted Bam 14th last month, Pat Riley said he believes Bam could one day have his jersey retired at American Airlines Arena, high praise that the young fella did his best to back up in the summer league. In seven games over the Orlando and Las Vegas summer leagues, Bam averaged 16.6 points and 8.5 rebounds. His shooting percentages dropped off in Vegas, but it’s clear he’s got promise:

Happy birthday, Bam. Enjoy South Beach.

South Beach I'm Home @jabariashe

A post shared by Bam Adebayo (@bam1of1) on

 


The Boston Celtics reportedly want Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis is currently on a roster full of Cats down in New Orleans, but should the Boogie/Brow experiment not work out, a big suitor is apparently waiting in the wings. The Vertical’s Chris Mannix is reporting that the Boston Celtics are prepared to make a “strong run” at Davis should he decide sharing a frontcourt with DeMarcus Cousins is not in his best interest.

Davis is currently under contract with the Pelicans through the 2020-21 season, but should the opportunity arise, it sounds like Brad Stevens is ready to pounce. Can you blame him? Davis would be the piece the Celtics need to achieve superteam status. Last season, he averaged 28.0 points (off 50.5% shooting), 11.8 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks, and scored at least 40 points in eight games. If you had to choose one Kentucky player in the league to build your team around right now, it’d be a close race between him and Karl Towns.

I’m still rooting for Boogie and the Brow (and maybe John Wall joining them down the line), but Davis to the Celtics is an intriguing thought, especially on a slow Tuesday night.

[The Vertical]


De’Aaron Fox and Willie Cauley-Stein show off Kings’ new jerseys

De’Aaron Fox and Willie Cauley-Stein show off Kings’ new jerseys

Photos via Kings.com

The Sacramento Kings turned to a pair of former Kentucky players to show off their new jerseys today. De’Aaron Fox and Willie Cauley-Stein are modeling Nike’s new Icon and Association edition uniforms, which will replace the traditional home and away uniforms in the league this upcoming season.

Each team in the league will have four uniforms to choose from. Here’s Willie in the Association Edition, a white uniform that pays homage to the league:

And De’Aaron in the Icon edition, a uniform in the team’s primary color that honors each franchise:

The other two versions have yet to be released, and the Kings are the first to show off their new Nike threads. How are they different than the old uniforms? To start, they’re made of 100% recycled fabric (20 bottles were used to create each uniform). Designers also moved the armhole and neck and side seams to create a better fit and altered the hemline of shorts and jerseys for better range of motion.

Does this mean Kentucky basketball is getting new uniforms this year as well? Please???

[Nike, Kings.com]


LaVar Ball takes yet another shot at De’Aaron Fox

Photo: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Lonzo Ball had a heck of a run in the NBA Summer League, but as always, his dad won’t stop talking about De’Aaron Fox. A week ago, Ball sat out of the Lakers’ game vs. the Kings with a “sore groin,” a move most interpreted as him ducking another matchup with Fox. When asked about it on Fox Sports Radio on Sunday, LaVar Ball went off as only LaVar Ball could, claiming Fox is only famous because of Lonzo.

“Duck De’Aaron Fox? Have you heard about De’Aaron Fox? Hell nah. You can’t hear about him unless he puts my boy’s name in his mouth. He been doing all this stuff and ain’t nobody been talking about him. So he and his dad gotta link themselves to us to be relevant. De’Aaron Fox had a whole season and the only thing they talk about is 39 points against Zo. You don’t put Zo in a sentence, nobody cares about him.

And the little white guy, what’s his name, [Lakers guard Alex] Caruso, gave him a tailwhipping. Let’s put that one out there. That boy outplayed him all day. All day.”

Caruso scored 18 points in 30 minutes while Fox scored 12 points in 20 minutes before leaving the game with an ankle injury. Not exactly a “tailwhipping,” but hey, whatever drives the narrative, right, LaVar?

Listen to the segment yourself below, starting around the 8:18 mark: