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Around The World: June 22

  1. Written by: DHawes22  / avg. rating: 5.0

    June 22

    Trail Blazers: Mock Draft Database

    Draft Express: Pre-Draft Measurements Video: Trail Blazers Draft Workouts

    SLAM: Lift Off
    "If an opponent was caught between Clyde and the basket on a fast-break, the majority of defenders were smart enough to clear the runway and seek shelter. There were a few stubborn ones, though, like Bill Cartwright (0:40) or David Robinson (1:38), but they learned their lesson too, just through a harsher course. Carter may have had the trampoline bounce and Jordan may have had the “Secret Stuff” from Space Jam, but Clyde Drexler had wings. His soaring jaunts to the hoop were so were effortlessly powerful that Glide’s dunks were equal parts vicious and graceful, if that makes sense."

    Sports Illustrated: Bobcats' decision at No. 2 leads buzz in final week before draft
    "Lillard is known to like the fit in Portland and wants to be there, but it would be risky to wait until their second pick (No. 11) to get him. The risk could pay off, though, as sources from rival teams say the top candidates to take him (Toronto at No. 8 and New Orleans at No. 10) appear to be fixated more on different prospects than they are on Lillard (specifically, I'm told the Raptors are contemplating between Syracuse guard Dion Waiters, Connecticut guard Jeremy Lamb and Duke guard Austin Rivers, while the Hornets could be locking in on Rivers and Waiters if either of them are still there)."

    Trail Blazers: Beck: Arbitrator Grants Full Bird-Rights For J.J. Hickson
    "The ruling — which applies to any player who was claimed off waivers — also affects Chauncey Billups of the Los Angeles Clippers and J. J. Hickson of the Portland Trail Blazers. Billups and Hickson will now have full Bird rights, allowing them to re-sign with their teams for any amount up to the maximum salary."

    Trail Blazers: Trail Blazers And Wells Fargo Present Keys To Habitat For Humanity Family
    “On behalf of the Trail Blazers we want to thank all the people that volunteered for this project. Wells Fargo, you guys are great,” Trail Blazers Ambassador Jerome Kersey said. “We were out here with you guys and it was a terrific build. When the community comes together this is what can happen and it will happen again. It was a great, enjoyable time for the Trail Blazers to be associated with something like this. It was my first time and it was great being out here. I know I didn’t put as much work into this as others, but I tried to put my time in and I look forward to working on another project because this is what you have and it’s a safe environment for the families.”

    Trail Blazers: Video: Come For Joel Freeland, Stay For Arvydas Sabonis
    "But while Olshey is in Houston to scout a big man whose rights the Trail Blazers currently own, maybe another big man who is already a franchise legend will also catch his eye as the team looks to fill a gaping hole at the center position. Arvydas Sabonis, president of the Lithuanian Basketball Federation, Hall of Famer and beloved Trail Blazers alumnus, is in Houston with the Lithuanian team for the friendly against Great Britain, and as you can see in the video, Sabonis is on the court playing post defense, throwing no-look pass after no-look pass and generally making life difficult for some young fellow who has the unfortunate task of trying to box out that mountain of a man."

    Trail Blazers: Joel Freeland: 'The NBA Is Where I'd Like To Be'
    "I think this is my time to make that step if I get the opportunity," Freeland told Brendan Gallagher of The Telegraph. "All the things have to be in the right place though. They're coming over to watch me play on Saturday. I'm talking to their general manager, and will listen to their ideas, what he thinks I should be doing and what he would want from me. At the moment, until I have that meeting, I don't know exactly what will happen."

    Oregon Live: Arbitrator's ruling on Bird rights gives Blazers more options in dealing with J.J. Hickson
    "For the Blazers, the ruling gives them greater opportunity to keep Hickson, should they decide to do so. Hickson is set to become a restricted free agent once he signs a qualifying offer, which would be worth $4.4 million based on his rookie salary scale. Portland's salary cap room remains in flux. The Blazers definitively have $26.5 million in salary commitments on six players for next season -- LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews, Luke Babbitt, Elliot Williams, Kurt Thomas and Nolan Smith. They could add another $9.9 million in qualifying offers on Hickson and forward Nicolas Batum."

    Oregon Live: 2012 NBA draft: Should the Trail Blazers draft Terrence Jones? (poll)
    "Said a Western Conference GM: "Will he be able to stretch the floor and be like Lamar Odom, or will he be a strictly inside guy? He can handle the ball, he can rebound. The consistency will be key. He can disappear in games because he's unselfish. But I don't hold that against him because he played with so many good players. They can't all score every night."

    Sporting News: 2012 NBA draft: Jared Sullinger may slide out of Top 10
    "Either way, it’s a safe bet that Sullinger won’t drop out of the first round entirely. “It’s not like the fact that he has the physical issue is a shock,” one personnel executive told Sporting News. “Anybody who was going to draft Jared wasn’t doing so because he is an insanely good athlete. That’s not his game. He is going to post up and bully you in the paint. The question is more, is the back thing something that is going to prevent him from developing at the NBA level? And no one knows the answer to that.”

    Oregon Live: NBA High-5: For Portland native Erik Spoelstra, Heat's championship is validation
    "But here in Portland, we should raise a micro-brew to the man who steered Miami to the title -- a man who fostered his love of basketball in his Raleigh Hills neighborhood, in the hallways of Whitford Middle School, Jesuit High School and the University of Portland and especially on the courts, sidelines and offices of the Portland Trail Blazers."

    Hoopsworld via Sports Illustrated: Cavs, Bobcats Consider Swapping Picks?
    "As Charlotte continues to ponder its decision at No. 2, numerous executives expect the Bobcats to be approached by Cleveland (No. 4) about the possibility of swapping picks (if it hasn’t happened already) in order for the Cavaliers to land Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal. While Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving is known to be a huge proponent of drafting North Carolina small forward Harrison Barnes, it appears Beal has shot up their big board just as he has so many others, and it’s widely believed that he won’t get past Washington at No. 3 if they don’t make a move."

    Blazersedge: The 2012 NBA Draft: The Portland Trail Blazers and Austin Rivers
    "What "Gloria" was to Laura Brannigan, scoring is to Rivers. He's like a pool shark, knocking down shots from impossible angles, always trying to run the table. He's the epitome of modern basketball theory. Everything he attempts is either a three-pointer or a layup. Why mess around with anything in between? His scoring is set up by his blinding first step and his incredible array of dribble moves. He's Mozart with the ball in his hands, making the whole court dance on a string. Many people talk about a quick release on jumpers. Rivers doesn't have that, but he has one of the quicker releases on his interior floaters that I've seen. In traffic it's like, "I wonder if he's going to go up with i....whoops! Too late. He scored!" He's got legit range as well. Summed up, his one-on-one scoring ability is unparalleled in this draft and he has the potential to step in among the best dribble-based scorers in the league."

    Ball Don't Lie: Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra gets Gatorade bath from Udonis Haslem after winning NBA title (VIDEO)
    "We have a brotherhood now that you don't necessarily have unless you've been through the fire together, and two years of it made us all more closer," he added. "And it makes this moment that much more gratifying." I bet red Gatorade's never tasted so sweet."

    Ball Don't Lie: Mark Cuban absolutely destroys ESPN’s Skip Bayless on air, Skip Bayless doesn’t seem to care (VIDEO)
    "Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban went on ESPN on Friday morning to absolutely devastate Skip Bayless' willfully ignorant view of pro basketball. It was a destructive, stunning, and completely one-sided batch of brilliance from Cuban spurred on by smarts, nuance, and research. And, because Skip Bayless doesn't care about being wrong just as long as the check clears and he's got someone with a strong enough Q Rating for the next segment, it made absolutely no impact. Thanks for trying, Mark, but we lost Skip a long time ago."

    Ball Don't Lie: The Oklahoma City Thunder? Gone till November
    "Let's also point out the fact that this team's ownership has enjoyed the shared gate receipts to 43 playoff games over the last three years, with 20 or so set to presumably hit next season and beyond. On top of those sellout crowds. On top of the ad revenue you get from being the only game in town. On top of their own personal wealth. Fret over the more punitive luxury tax all you want, but the Thunder have the money to make it happen. In their first bit of spending since taking the team from Seattle, the Thunder's ownership HAS to make this happen."

    Ball Don't Lie: Miami Heat victory party at LIV: LeBron, D-Wade, Bosh and Co. rack up $200,000 bar tab in all-night bash (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)
    "That's what the Dallas Mavericks did last year after clinching the O'Brien at the AmericanAirlines Arena, with Dirk Nowitzki and company hammering down a monster magnum of Ace of Spades champagne en route to ringing up a $110,000 bar tab, happily paid by victorious Mavs owner Mark Cuban. On Thursday night — and, really Friday morning — the Miami Heat washed away the agony of that defeat and threw themselves whole-hog into the thrill of victory, taking over LIV and casting aside Cuban's credit-card bill like it was a receipt for your airport sandwich."

    Ball Don't Lie: Mike Miller, with his body falling apart, puts the Miami Heat over the top in Game 5
    "The game went like this for the 32-year-old veteran: Twenty-three points in 23 minutes off the Miami bench, 7-8 shooting from long range, zero turnovers, a litany of good leak-ahead and extra passes (though he didn't register an assist) and five rebounds for one of the better rebounding guard/forwards of his generation. All paired with the oft-injured Miller clutching at his shorts between possessions, clearly pained from the back, wrist and whatever other injuries that have dogged him significantly over the last two seasons."

    The Basketball Jones: Chill out with your CO2 gun, Juwan Howard
    "Just kidding. You’re an NBA champion now, Juwan, after playing for every franchise in every decade of the league’s existence. You are the NBA’s Susan Lucci, so go nuts. Fire that CO2 gun like a boss, wear your glasses that you probably actually need because you’re developing sight problems in your old age, just do whatever you want. You’re the only Fab Five member to get an NBA championship ring, which basically means you need to do enough celebrating for five people. Stock up on CO2 refills because you’re going to be busy."

    SLAM: Fear, Not Love
    "I'm sure Spo has said it 100,000 times, is staying in the moment," Chris Bosh said after Game 4. "The Thunder ran through the ’11-12 season like an AAU team running their tired dads off the court, and it caught up to them when they ran into a hungrier version of themselves. Think of how great Durant and the Thunder can be if they thirst for a Championship like it’s the only thing keeping them alive. That’s the way James played over the last three weeks. That’s why I believe the Thunder will never reach their full Championship potential without a Kevin Durant who is hellbent on absolute destruction. One who will bite Derek Fisher’s head off for making silly plays. One who refuses to hug the opposing MVP as the final buzzer sounds. One who will not only ignore his mother but pretend he doesn’t recognize her until he’s holding that trophy. Kevin Durant can lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a Championship, but only when he stops being so… Kevin Durant."

    SLAM: Royce White, No. 20 (Mock)
    "At a “grown-man” 6-8, 260 pounds, White often served as the Cyclones’ de facto point guard. All offensive possessions went through his hand at some point. His size, savvy and court vision grade as high as any at this level since Danny Manning back in 1986."

    ESPN: Why the Finals had to end this way
    "For the Heat, freedom means no longer having to worry that the team would let down LeBron or Chris Bosh, who bore such criticism by assembling here, or disappoint guys like Miller and Battier, who signed up at lower costs to try to make this thing work. Riley said the thought of anything less for them sickened him and Heat owner Micky Arison. Now all have been rewarded with championship rings. No need to explain, apologize or be on the defensive for their approach; this free agency-dependent, star-driven, top-heavy squad was designed strictly to win championships. Perhaps, Riley hopes, all of the resentment harbored against the Heat can be released now that the means have been justified."

    ESPN: Daily Dime
    "His 26 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists in the closeout game represented, by any measure, the cherry on one of the greatest individual playoff runs in history. He averaged 30 points and 10 rebounds during the playoffs; moved to power forward when Chris Bosh missed nine playoff games with an injury; led rallies from deficits in three consecutive series; delivered one of the most dominating games of this generation with 45 points in a road elimination game in Boston; got his first Game 7 victory; set a record for number of playoff games with at least 25 points, five rebounds and five assists; and became the fifth player ever to have multiple Finals triple-doubles. You could go on and on. The summation is that James is a worthy champion. "

    ESPN: The Oklahoma City Thunder are ...
    "Going to get no sympathy from anyone in the league. They're set up so well for the future, even when you factor in all the tough decisions to come with James Harden and Serge Ibaka and filling the other holes on this roster, that they just have to grit through this pain. And they will. I have no doubt."

    Sports Illustrated: Roundtable: What's next for Heat, Thunder after NBA Finals?
    "The Thunder. Three years ago, they opened the season 3-29. Two years ago, they made the playoffs but lost in the first round. Last year, they reached the conference finals. This year, they made it all the way to the Finals. No one in their core four -- Kevin Durant, Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka -- is over 23 and their progression has been steady. The next step is the title. They will grow from this, just as the Heat grew from their loss to the Mavericks. The Thunder will return hungry while the Heat will combat the same hangover as any other champion, maybe more severe, considering the struggle to get to this point. The Bulls are also a threat depending on Rose's rehabilitation, but he is a long way from a return."

    Sports Illustrated: Robinson, Drummond work out for Bobcats
    "I'm a little better off the dribble than people think," Robinson said. "My shot has gotten a lot better since the season was over. I'm learning how to read the defense better than I ever did before, so I'm just learning a different pace of the game and it's helping me."


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