New York Knicks have two words to symbolize their early-season success. It’s simple. It’s catchy. It’s…big bong. The catch phrase has gone viral on NBA Twitter, and every win brings with it more bings, and more bongs. Just one week into the season, the Knicks were first in the Eastern Conference. It all started on
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5:33 PM ET Eric WoodyardESPN DETROIT, Mich. — The wait is over. A new era of Detroit Pistons basketball is officially underway as No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham will make his debut on Saturday against the Orlando Magic, coach Dwane Casey announced ahead of the 7 p.m. ET tipoff. Cunningham missed the entire preseason and
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Apr 18, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes (40) celebrates making a three point basket against the Dallas Mavericks during the second quarter at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports 2021 PFL Championship: Kayla Harrison mauls Taylor Guardado, earns armbar finish to secure lightweight title (Video) by Curtis
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11:57 PM ET Jamal Collier The Chicago Bulls are off to the franchise’s best start since the 1996-97 season. They improved to 4-0 on Monday night with a 111-108 victory against the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena, making Chicago the last remaining unbeaten team in the Eastern Conference. After overhauling their roster in free agency,
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Gerald Green is finally ending his NBA career after 12 years and will join the Houston Rockets coaching staff in player development. After 12 years playing for eight different teams, Gerald Green has officially retired. The journeyman swingman announced his retirement on Friday ahead of the Rockets’ game against the Rockets game against the Thunder,
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Rookie extension talks for Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton have reached a conclusion without a deal on the books, making Ayton’s future in AZ uncertain. It seems as if everyone from the 2018 NBA Draft class got the payday they deserved. Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Michael Porter Jr. and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander all got the contract extensions
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5:19 PM ET NEW YORK — A group of protesters gathered outside Barclays Center waving flags and signs while chanting, “No vaccine mandate, stand with Kyrie” before the Brooklyn Nets‘ home opener against the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday. Around 100 people stood in the plaza outside the arena and on the street blocking traffic on
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The Whiteboard is The Step Back’s daily basketball newsletter, covering the NBA, WNBA and more. Subscribe here to get it delivered to you via email each morning. The Miami Heat began this season with legitimate championship aspirations and they got off to a strong start in their season opener, pounding the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks 137-95.
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The Phoenix Suns hit back with a forceful statement denying “baseless claims” of racism, sexism and sexual harassment by owner Robert Sarver. Reports of allegations of racism, sexism and sexual harassment against owner Robert Sarver were met with unequivocal denial from the Suns organization on Friday. “We understand that an outlet is considering publishing a
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2:28 PM ET Ben Simmons did not take part in a scheduled individual workout at the Philadelphia 76ers‘ practice facility Thursday, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. It is unclear whether Simmons, who was suspended by the 76ers for Wednesday’s season-opening, 117-97 win over the New Orleans Pelicans for conduct detrimental to the team, will play
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8:02 PM ET Jamal Collier MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks handed out their championship rings and unveiled the banner for the franchise’s first championship in 50 years ahead of Tuesday night’s season-opening 127-104 win over the Brooklyn Nets. “Milwaukee, we did it,” Bucks forward Khris Middleton said to the crowd at Fiserv Forum during the
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Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports College football media reacts to Washington State firing Nick Rolovich for refusing COVID mandate by Cody Williams Seahawks rumors: Cam Newton not in play with Russell Wilson out by Aryanna Prasad Ben Simmons was at 76ers practice but was casually wearing sweatpants with his phone
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3:33 PM ET Phoenix Suns guard/forward Mikal Bridges has agreed to a four-year, $90 million rookie contract extension, his agents, Sam Goldfeder and Jordan Gertler of Excel Sports, told ESPN on Sunday. Bridges’ deal — averaging $22.5 million per season — is fully guaranteed, the agents said, and starts with the 2022-23 season. Goldfeder and
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6:18 PM ET Tim BontempsESPN The Charlotte Hornets signed guard LiAngelo Ball to a non-guaranteed contract Thursday, paving the way for him to eventually sign with their G League team, a source confirmed to ESPN. Ball, who averaged 9.6 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 17.4 minutes across five games for the Hornets’ entry
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Kevin Huerter doesn’t seem destined for NBA stardom. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t incredibly important to the present and future of the Atlanta Hawks. The act would be incredibly corny, but it would be fitting. You could give Kevin Huerter a nickname like the Hold Steady and you would have summed up his career
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5:15 PM ET ESPN News Services The Sacramento Kings are exercising the third-year option on guard Tyrese Haliburton, a source told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Friday. Haliburton averaged 13.0 points, 5.3 assists and 1.5 steals in 58 games last season and was named to the NBA All-Rookie first team. He suffered a season-ending knee injury
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Western Conference teams have posted a winning record against Eastern Conference teams in 12 straight seasons. Will that change in 2021-22? Between the rise of small-ball and the proliferation of 3-point shooting, the NBA has undergone seismic changes over the past decade. Throughout it all, Western Conference teams have consistently dominated their Eastern Conference counterparts
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10:58 AM ET After architecting the franchise’s first NBA championship in 50 years, Milwaukee Bucks general manager Jon Horst has agreed to a long-term contract extension, he told ESPN on Friday. Horst had one year left on his contract, and his new deal — finalized Friday morning with his agent, Brian Elfus, and team officials
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2:52 AM ET Philadelphia 76ers All-Star guard Ben Simmons passed his physical and held a meeting with the team’s front office on Tuesday but remains ineligible to participate in team-related activities until Friday at the earliest due to NBA health and safety protocols, sources told ESPN. Simmons met with Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl
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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports Mike Zimmer finally said something nice about Kirk Cousins after Seahawks win by Josie Rohach Tyron Woodley finally got the Jake Paul tattoo and its hilarious (Photo) by Curtis Calhoun New Orleans Pelicans superstar Zion Williamson is apparently recovering from foot surgery. Third-year superstar Zion Williamson, of the New Orleans Pelicans,
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7:04 PM ET Associated Press BOSTON — The Boston Celtics say center Al Horford has tested positive for COVID-19. Horford is currently in isolation and didn’t travel with the team for its two-game exhibition road trip to Florida, which includes games in Orlando on Wednesday and Miami on Friday. He is the second Celtics player
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11:29 AM ET Discussions have gained momentum on All-Star Ben Simmons returning to the Philadelphia 76ers, likely as soon as this week, sources told ESPN on Monday. Philadelphia management and coach Doc Rivers progressed in talks over the weekend with Simmons’ agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, on a resolution for Simmons to report to
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Los Angeles Lakers, Pau Gasol (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images) Yankees vs. Red Sox MLB live stream reddit: Watch AL Wild Card Game by Jordanna Clark 2021 PFL Championships: Raush Manfio reflects on gauntlet on the path to the lightweight finals by Curtis Calhoun Pau Gasol announced his retirement from professional basketball and the Los
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2:11 PM ET Associated Press MIAMI — Udonis Haslem and Bam Adebayo were yelling at each other during practice Sunday, which was a critical step for the Heat. It meant things were normal again. Their captain is back. Haslem — the NBA’s oldest active player at 41– returned to practice Sunday, joining his team for
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Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors. (Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports) UFC Vegas 39: Mackenzie Dern vs. Marina Rodriguez preview and prediction by Curtis Calhoun Alex Cora gives ominous update on Chris Sale before postseason by Scott Rogust Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry becomes one of the first victims of new NBA rule change. Monday
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The Whiteboard is The Step Back’s daily basketball newsletter, covering the NBA, WNBA and more. Subscribe here to get it delivered to you via email each morning. The NBA preseason is officially underway and even a sample size of a single game we’re already seeing some rookies showing out against the increased level of competition and
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Federal prosecutors announced an enormous fraud case Thursday morning, which included the arrest of 18 former NBA players. The final days before the NBA season finally starts are usually filled with injury updates, glowing assessments of preseason games and optimistic goals for the upcoming season. Oh, and accusations of massive, collaborative insurance fraud. On Thursday,
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8:43 PM ET Associated Press TORONTO — Ontario’s major indoor professional sports teams have been given the green light to host capacity crowds. The NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators and the NBA’s Toronto Raptors will be able to play in front of full arenas when their seasons start this month, Ontario Sports Minister
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Jarrett Allen has done everything you could ask from a young, athletic big man. But his place with the Cleveland Cavaliers still doesn’t feel secure. Jarrett Allen joined the Brooklyn Nets in the years when the team was still reeling from giving up all their first-round picks to the Boston Celtics in a 2013 trade.
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LaMelo Ball has endless talent, creativity and imagination. What can he do for the Charlotte Hornets now that he has experience too? In a May contest against the moribund Pistons, LaMelo Ball did one of the coolest things anyone has done on the basketball court in a long time. Detroit turned the ball over and
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This week, The Long Two looks at how Jordan Poole could help fill in for Klay Thompson and whether the Knicks can replicate last year’s success. Given the variables at play, it’s nearly impossible, and certainly exhausting, to confidently project a likely outcome for the Golden State Warriors this season. Uncertainty over how Klay Thompson
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10:56 AM ET Associated Press NEW YORK — Eighteen former NBA players have been charged with defrauding the league’s health and welfare benefit plan out of about $4 million, according to an indictment Thursday in New York. Federal prosecutors planned a news conference for noon ET Thursday to describe the case that was brought in
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Russell Westbrook, Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports Giants: Second-half stats back up Gabe Kapler’s pitcher choices for NLDS by Alicia de Artola Los Angeles Lakers’ Russell Westbrook reveals that Pau Gasol was his favorite player growing up. Pau Gasol officially announced his retirement from professional basketball on Tuesday,
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11:00 PM ET PHOENIX — Trevor Ariza will be sidelined about two months after having surgery on his right ankle, the Los Angeles Lakers announced Wednesday. Ariza, one of 11 new players added in the offseason, underwent an arthroscopic debridement procedure Wednesday. He has missed most of training camp because of the ankle. The Lakers
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De’Andre Hunter will be crucial to the short- and long-term success of the Atlanta Hawks, provided he stays healthy enough to remain on the court. Most NBA teams fall into one of two categories: those aggressively pursuing as many wins as possible and those stockpiling talent with the hope of eventually competing for a championship.
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John Collins has become one of the best offensive big men in the NBA. Is that enough to help take the Hawks to the next level? It would be unavailing to try and categorize John Collins within the broader positional category of big men. While he certainly possesses conventional qualities of both power forwards and
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12:09 PM ET Associated Press MADRID — Pau Gasol announced his retirement from basketball on Tuesday, ending a career that lasted more than two decades and earned him two NBA titles and a world championship gold with Spain’s national team. The 41-year-old had already announced his farewell from international basketball in August after Spain lost
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After cashing in this summer, can Gary Trent Jr. cement himself as a fixture of the Toronto Raptors’ post-Kyle Lowry era? Gary Trent Jr. is waltzing into a golden opportunity in 2021-22. With Kyle Lowry now in Miami, the Toronto Raptors will be reinventing themselves. Fred VanVleet figures to take over as their full-time point
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How can OG Anunoby take the next step as an offensive threat, without sacrificing the defensive intensity that’s made him so essential to the Toronto Raptors? As he enters his fifth season, OG Anunoby is trying to become something that may or may not actually exist. The idea of a two-way wing holds an outsized
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Golden State Warriors, Andrew Wiggins, Jusuf Nurkic (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) Jaguars owner responds to Urban Meyer’s ‘inexcusable behavior’ by Josie Rohach Golden State Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins got vaccinated just in time to put Jusuf Nurkic on a poster.  After what felt like an eternity debating Andrew Wiggins’ possibilities this season with the Golden State
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12:41 PM ET Tim BontempsESPN The Brooklyn Nets are being tapped as the heavy favorites to win this season’s championship by the league’s general managers, and star Kevin Durant is picked as the slight favorite to win his second Most Valuable Player award. In the annual survey of all 30 general managers released Tuesday by
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If you think a Scottie Pippen comparison is hyperbolic for Tyrese Haliburton, maybe you need to watch more of Tyrese Haliburton. Scottie Pippen has become the archetypal second-best guy. That’s kind of what happens when you win six championships as the wingman for arguably the greatest player in basketball history. But the legacy that’s been
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De’Aaron Fox is fast. But is he fast enough to outrun the chaotic legacy of the Sacramento Kings, and strong enough to carry his team with him? Plastic bullets fill the air. Bone claws slowly protrude from skinned knuckles. Jim Croce’s voice offers sad reservations about time and bottles. And there is De’Aaron Fox, at
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4:10 PM ET SAN FRANCISCO — Golden State Warriors swingman Andrew Wiggins received a COVID-19 vaccination and will be eligible to play in home games this season. Warriors coach Steve Kerr made the announcement following Sunday’s practice. “Andrew got vaccinated,” Kerr said. “He just told me today that he was fine with us acknowledging it
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Mitchell Robinson has carved out a niche with the New York Knicks with insane highlights and absurd numbers. Now he’s ready for more. There can be beauty in simplicity. Catch ball. Dunk ball. Stand here. Jump. Swat ball. That’s not to call Mitchell Robinson’s basketball responsibilities simple. He is often playing as the defensive anchor
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  Brandon Ingram is just five years into his NBA career but once again finds himself in the unfortunate position of being defined by his relationship to others. Brandon Ingram has established a healthy NBA resume. He’s averaged 23.8 points per game for two consecutive seasons. He’s made an All-Star team and won Most Improved
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Why Zion Williamson’s foot injury could spell trouble for the Pelicans, plus what Michael Porter Jr.’s max extension means for the Nuggets moving forward. Monday’s NBA headlines rightfully centered on a small but vocal group of maddeningly selfish and deeply misguided players using incoherent, bad-faith rhetoric to support grossly irresponsible and scientifically indefensible decisions to
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After quieting critics by guiding his Atlanta Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals, what does Trae Young have in store for an encore? Trae Young might be the NBA’s next great villain. Like any good wrestling heel, Young seems to revel in infuriating fans. After hitting a game-winning floater in Game 2 of the Atlanta
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6:26 PM ET The NBA has reached a 95% vaccination threshold of its players, reflecting a steady rise since the opening of training camps this week, league sources told ESPN on Thursday. That uptick — which includes players who’ve minimally received one vaccination shot, sources said — comes as unvaccinated players prepare for losses of
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Bam Adebayo has quickly become one of the most dynamic centers in basketball, and the 24-year-old’s growth will be key to Miami’s pursuit of an NBA title. A full appreciation of Bam Adebayo begins with the understanding that he isn’t a first option. The Heat’s 24-year-old Swiss-Army knife center doesn’t singlehandedly lift his team into
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Already a generational scoring talent, Zion Williamson may only be scratching the surface of his potential as a player. Even in an era when young stars take less time than ever to ascend, Zion Williamson’s rise is exceptional. With fewer than 100 NBA games under his belt, the 21-year-old has already established himself as one
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Memphis has always been a city of music. Here are three songs that sum up the city’s newest young star, Ja Morant. Great NBA players have a tell, some signature tic or stylistic element that makes them who they are. Observant viewers could see a silhouette of Kevin Durant’s jumper or of Chris Paul bringing
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With the Boston Celtics, Jayson Tatum has already cemented himself as one of the best players in the league. What happens next may be out of his control. Jayson Tatum has been places. Not just any places. Members-only, behind-the-velvet-rope, you-must-be-this-tall-and-successful-to-enter places. He’s been to so many places it’s hard to remember he’s still only 23.
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How can we measure Luka Doncic’s greatness against expectations when he just keeps smashing them each season? Much of an NBA player’s reputation rests on what is expected of them, and whether or not they meet those expectations. If fans assume a player will offer very little and they then display consistent competence, it may
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6:29 PM ET Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid called the situation with his disgruntled co-star Ben Simmons “disappointing” and “borderline kind of disrespectful” to the rest of the team. The comments came following a report by The Athletic that Simmons feels his partnership with Embiid has “run its course.” Simmons has yet to report to
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7:52 PM ET Associated Press NEW YORK — Instant replay of out-of-bounds violations in the final two minutes of regulation or overtime of NBA games this season will be initiated by a coach’s challenge rather than by referees. The NBA’s Board of Governors approved the change Wednesday on a one-year trial basis. Under the previous
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Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Clippers Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Is Richard Sherman the answer to the Buccaneers defensive struggles? by Jaleel Grandberry Russell Westbrook is entering his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers and wanted nothing to do with the Los Angeles Clippers during the offseason.  There’s only one team that plays
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Cade Cunningham is a franchise-changing talent. But the Detroit Pistons will need to be patient with him as he grows into himself. The night Cade Cunningham went first in the draft to the Detroit Pistons, Kendrick Perkins called him the most complete draftee since LeBron James. Anthony Davis and Luka Dončić may disagree, but simply
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For the first part of this season, Jamal Murray will be an inanimate object for the Denver Nuggets. What happens when he comes back to life? These injury timetables are like forgettable Wyclef Jean songs. You’re gone until you’re not. Everyone is lucky if it’s only until November. But the Denver Nuggets’ Jamal Murray will
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Lonzo Ball hasn’t ascended to stardom, but the 24-year-old is one of the smartest players in the NBA and only getting better. Lonzo Ball is not a star, and each facet of his game is grounded in that fact. Where many NBA players stretch themselves beyond their limits, Ball seems to work under no delusions
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8:03 PM ET Tim BontempsESPN The NBA informed its teams Tuesday night that it is finalizing an agreement with the National Basketball Players Association on a set of health and safety protocols for the upcoming regular season, according to information in a memo obtained by ESPN. The protocols will require unvaccinated players to be under
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Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Georgia injury report: Dawgs gets great updates on injured starters ahead of Arkansas showdown by Ethan Lee Joel Embiid took time during the Philadelphia 76ers’ media day to address the ongoing Ben Simmons saga. All-star point guard Ben Simmons has dominated most of the NBA off-season talk. It was
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11:43 AM ET Andrew LopezESPN NEW ORLEANS — Zion Williamson suffered a broken right foot during the summer but should be available for the regular season, New Orleans Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said Monday. During his remarks at media day, Griffin said Williamson injured the foot early in the offseason
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12:16 PM ET Four-time NBA champion Manu Ginobili — one of the greatest international players in basketball history — is returning to the San Antonio Spurs as a special advisor to basketball operations, sources told ESPN. Ginobili, 44, will work in a player-centric role focusing on the on-and-off court development of a young Spurs roster,
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The NBA has denied Golden State Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins’ religious exemption request from San Francisco mandate requiring COVID-19 vaccination.  After submitting a religious exemption from the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s order that requires the COVID-19 vaccination at large indoor events for people 12 and older, the NBA denied Golden State Warriors‘ Andrew Wiggins’
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2:47 PM ET Tim BontempsESPN GREENBURGH, N.Y. — New York Knicks general manager Scott Perry said Friday afternoon that the organization — including all players, coaches and staff — is fully vaccinated, meaning the Knicks will have no issues with New York City’s vaccine mandate this season. “I think it’s a credit to our players,
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3:55 PM ET Rui Hachimura will miss the start of Washington Wizards training camp because of personal reasons, the team announced Saturday. The Wizards announced Hachimura’s excused absence and said there will be “further updates when appropriate.” The Wizards have high expectations for the forward, who is projected to start and will be counted on
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8:08 PM ET ESPN News Services GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The NBA has denied Andrew Wiggins‘ request for a vaccination exemption, leaving the Golden State Warriors swingman ineligible to play home games until he meets San Francisco’s vaccination requirement. The ruling was announced Friday hours after the New York Knicks said their entire roster is vaccinated,
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With the WNBA playoffs kicking off tonight, here are the five stars who could dominate this postseason. The 2021 WNBA season was jampacked with a plethora of storylines, it being the first full season since the pandemic hit. This season we saw the resurgence of many stars who missed the W Bubble, iconic Twitter moments
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The Whiteboard is The Step Back’s daily basketball newsletter, covering the NBA, WNBA and more. Subscribe here to get it delivered to you via email each morning. Ben Simmons (or someone in his camp) delivered another emphatic message to the Philadelphia 76ers yesterday through ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, saying he would never play another game for the
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The Whiteboard is The Step Back’s daily basketball newsletter, covering the NBA, WNBA and more. Subscribe here to get it delivered to you via email each morning. J.J. Redick, who announced his retirement Tuesday morning after 15 NBA seasons, will be remembered first and foremost as a shooter. His 41.5 career 3-point percentage is the sixth-best
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9:31 AM ET Associated Press JJ Redick, the sharpshooter who was The Associated Press Player of the Year at Duke before embarking on a 15-season NBA career, announced his retirement Tuesday. Redick, 37, played with six NBA teams — the Magic, Clippers, 76ers, Pelicans, Bucks and Mavericks. He averaged 12.8 points in 940 regular-season games,
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