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Around The World: July 19

  1. Written by: DHawes22

    July 19 Video: Lillard With The Summer League Poster Video: Just Casey With Wesley Matthews

    Oregon Live: Damian Lillard's poster dunk highlights Blazers' summer league win (Twitter reaction)
    "Ok I just saw the dunk. @Dame_Lillard just send a message to the others big of the league..."

    Oregon Live: Damian Lillard's 31 points lead Blazers past Hawks 84-78 in Summer League
    "Trail Blazers rookie point guard Damian Lillard scored 31 points and had a jaw-dropping third-quarter dunk on Thursday as the Blazers beat the Atlanta Hawks 84-78 to improve to 2-1 at NBA Summer League in Las Vegas."

    Sports Illustrated: Youngsters Shining At Summer League
    "Lillard has drawn so many rave reviews that it almost makes you nervous. He’s averaging 26 points per game and has shot 7-of-17 from three-point range despite clearly having the green light to gun and stretch the limits of his game. He has appeared very comfortable in control of Portland’s offense, running pick-and-rolls, directing guys to their spots and fighting through contact with surprising strength. Lillard goes left a ton, and he’ll have to mix that up more when the real games start. But he has been very, very impressive — he’s the first name that most executives and coaches mention when picking their brains about the best players this week."

    Ventura County Star: Biasotti: Evaluating summer talent tough in NBA
    "Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers: On the first possession of his first Summer League game, Lillard ran a perfect pick-and-roll to get fellow lottery pick Meyers Leonard a layup in traffic. It was the kind of play that NBA teams build their offenses around. Everyone on press row looked around with raised eyebrows, as if to say, "OK, that guy can play." Lillard, a point guard out of Weber State, finished the game with 25 points and led the Blazers to a comeback win over the New Orleans Hornets."

    Trail Blazers: Meyers Leonard: Cool Like Froyo
    "Just watch him, he's a clown," said Wesley Matthews. "He's a funny dude. He's a big kid. He fits in with this team. What I like most about him is he's who he is, but then on the court he's a man. He plays tough, he's about his teammates and he's about winning."

    Trail Blazers: Batum Still A Blazer
    "Nic never said that," Olshey said on Wednesday. "Let's be very clear, Nic made a couple of comments at the behest of the Minnesota Timberwolves and his agent. That was their agenda. That was never Nicolas' agenda. If I wasn't in constant contact with the kid, I wouldn't tell you that. I can tell you Nicolas called me after those articles went out and said, look, they asked me to do this, they put me up to it. It's not me. I just want to talk to you directly. I don't want my agent to know or the team to know. I just want you and I to be on the same page. He always wanted to be back in Portland."

    Trail Blazers: Finalists Selected For 2012-13 BlazerDancers
    "The Sunday returners danced before another panel of judges for one more round of cuts. After the morning of auditions the finalists were announced and veterans, who are automatically included in the finals, joined the narrowed field to learn the routines for the finals."

    Oregon Live: Blazers Coaching Search Plodding Along
    "We're going to find the right guy for our roster and we're not going to accelerate (the process) because everybody feels like we have to have a coach today," Olshey said. "

    Oregon Live: Blazers' Smith On The Road To Recovery
    "He took a hit, but he's a tough kid and he'll bounce back from it," Olshey said. "I think he showed enough for us to be more confident in his abilities (and in him) being a rotation-caliber player for us."

    Oregon Live: Trail Blazers request waivers on Dan Gadzuric, veteran center
    "Gadzuric played in two games last season for the New York Knicks. Before that the UCLA product from the Netherlands spent eight seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks before playing for Golden State and New Jersey in the 2010-11 season."

    Oregon Live: NBA High-5: Opportunity is there for Nicolas Batum to live up to contract with Blazers
    "Since returning to Portland yesterday, Batum has cranked up his Blackberry to make clear, via Twitter, that he's ready to move on. He has reported that he has spoken to teammate Nolan Smith, who is recovering from a concussion he suffered in summer league; tweeted a photo of the Blazers' practice facility, calling it "the office"; pondered a new "international corner" of the Blazers locker room with new signees Victor Claver and Joel Freeland, resurrecting the area that he used to share with Rudy Fernandez and Patty Mills; and wishing a happy birthday to LaMarcus Aldridge, who turned 27 today."

    Portland Tribune: Who said it? Olshey, Kahn clash on remarks from Batum's camp
    "Said Olshey: “I can tell you Nicolas called me after those articles (appeared) and said, ‘They put me up to it. It’s not me. I want to talk to you directly, Neil. I don’t want my agent to know or another team to know. I just want you and I to be on the same page.’ “He always wanted to be back in Portland. I think he would have liked to have done the deal straight up, just like I would have, but he listened to his representative, and he (Ndaiye) got him a hell of a deal.”

    Blazersedge: Transcript: Blazers GM Neil Olshey Talks Nicolas Batum, Ronnie Price, Roster
    "We're under the cap. We still have cap room. We created a valuable trade exception in the New York trade, we have a $3.5 million trade exception from the Raymond Felton trade. We also picked up three additional assets in that deal. We've got one roster spot remaining. We're going to sign a point guard later today. Just a minimum player that will flesh out our backcourt. We think he's going to be a nice addition. We'll hold the last roster spot for a little while to have some flexibility for trades or some further free agent acquisition."

    Ball Don't Lie: Anthony Randolph signs with the Nuggets, who will try to figure him out
    "The simple opinion here is pretty obvious: the Nuggets are getting a player with a ton of potential for a relatively small amount of money. In limited minutes, Randolph has never finished a season with a PER below 16.2, which suggests that he is at least worthy of more playing time. For that matter, head coach George Karl and the Nuggets have shown the willingness to experiment with lineups in the past. Though they have a good deal of young big men in need of playing time — to name three: JaVale McGee, Kenneth Faried, and Timofey Mozgov — Randolph has enough skills to find a place in their plans."

    Ball Don't Lie: Zach Randolph might have backed into a nice little pay bump from the Memphis Grizzlies
    "The Grizzlies do attempt to cut corners, though, as they should. They're a small-market team, and while Heisley has paid out big salaries and the resultant luxury tax before, he's also attempted minor machinations while paying rookies and keeping other forms of payroll tidy. A figure like $1.3 million may not mean much by itself, but in a 2014-15 season that will see the Grizzlies paying just under $60 million to Randolph, Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol and Michael Conley Jr. alone? Suddenly that number turns into real people money, and not just what Zach probably spends on muscle cars."

    Ball Don't Lie: Understanding JaVale McGee’s massive new contract with the Denver Nuggets
    "Four years, and $44 million, according to Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears. Appropriate money, considering his contemporaries, and mindful of his per-minute stats. Eight figures a season, though, for a guy that seems to make eight blog-ready mistakes a week. Eight figures a season for a guy that immediately becomes the Denver Nuggets' highest-paid player. That's right, cats and kittens, JaVale McGee is apparently the franchise guy that Nuggies have been waiting for. He's their cornerstone!''

    Ball Don't Lie via Forth-Worth Star Telegram: The Dallas Mavericks are not worried about Dirk Nowitzki, if you were wondering
    "Dirk is one of, if not the, hardest-working people in the history of the Mavericks, so I don't foresee his hunger for a championship to end," Nelson said. "Once you've got one, you want to get another one and another one. It's our job to surround him with the kind of team that can put ourselves in position to make those dreams come true."

    The Basketball Jones: The amazing, possibly true story behind Brian Cardinal’s big contract
    "An exceptionally well-connected league insider once told me the story of how Brian Cardinal got his mid-level. Seems Memphis owner Michael Heisley, frustrated by general manager Jerry West’s lack of activity, walked into West’s office one day and asked why he hadn’t signed anyone yet. So an exasperated West picked up his phone, called Cardinal’s agent and offered the mid-level on the spot. Then he turned to Heisley and said something along the lines of “There, you happy now?”

    SLAM via ESPN: Dwight Howard Ready to Sign Extension With Lakers if Traded?
    "Dwight Howard has long coveted the Brooklyn Nets as his next landing spot, but after a summer filled with daily rumors of four-team trade proposals, the six-time All-Star has moved on from his Big Apple infatuation and is locked in on joining the Los Angeles Lakers, sources say. The Lakers, Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly discussing a three-team trade that would send Howard to the Lakers, Andrew Bynum to the Cavaliers, while the Magic would receive Anderson Varejao and multiple draft picks."

    SLAM via Boston Globe: Boston Celtics Get Courtney Lee in Sign-and-Trade With Houston Rockets
    “Lee, 25, had been No. 1 on the Celtics’ list after Ray Allen signed with the Miami Heat, but the Celtics did not have enough salary cap space to sign Lee outright. Lee was seeking in the $5 million per season range, and the Celtics have apparently put together some contracts and draft picks that enticed the Rockets to sign Lee to a deal and then send him to the Celtics."

    DIME: What A Dwight Howard Trade Could Mean For Andrew Bynum
    "Cleveland no longer has LeBron James, but they have Irving, Dion Waiters and a coach (Byron Scott) who appears committed to the future. A combo of Bynum and Irving would be devastating, and I think Bynum would embrace the former Dukie. He spent years as the whipping dog in L.A., forced to scavenge for the leftovers from veterans like Bryant, Gasol and Lamar Odom, and even when he did that right, Phil Jackson would find some way to needle the kid. With the Cavs, he’d instantly become one of the most accomplished people in the organization, and the shackles that Kobe began to help loosen this season would come all the way off. With the 20-year-old Irving, they could grow together."

    ESPN: U.S. men's hoops trounces Britain
    "It was fine with me, definitely fine with me," Anthony said of the change. "(Krzyzewski) came to us this morning, me and Chris, asked if we were OK with it. I'm like, why wouldn't we be? It is what it is. He wanted to put a different lineup out there against this team, see some different things. He's still trying to figure it out as a coach as well with this new group."

    ESPN: Top 10 free agents for 2013
    "It'll be a real challenge for Thunder general manager Sam Presti to keep both Harden and Serge Ibaka, who become restricted free agents at the end of next season. It's more or less a toss-up as to who is the more valuable player. Harden, the NBA's reigning sixth man of the year, has developed a rep as the all-important glue guy and could command roughly $10 million a year for his services. Harden has the unique ability to get his own shots while not disrupting the sometimes delicate balance that exists between high-volume scorers Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It's also worth noting that Harden is closer off the floor to Westbrook and Durant, and it could ultimately play a role in Harden's possible return."

    Sports Illustrated: Lin opens up about leaving Knicks: 'Honestly, I preferred New York'
    "Honestly, I preferred New York," Lin said. "But my main goal in free agency was to go to a team that had plans for me and wanted me. I wanted to have fun playing basketball. ... Now I'm definitely relieved."

    Sports Illustrated: By letting Lin walk, Knicks might make right call for wrong reason
    "Does it make sense? Lin is not terribly quick and not really a deadly outside shooter, despite what we saw against the Lakers. (He shot 32.3 percent from three-point range this year.) He is terribly turnover-prone. I see why smart people think he is a backup. It is normally foolish to let a player leave as a restricted free-agent -- you match the contract, keep the asset and trade him later if you'd like. But this contract could cripple a team in two years."

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