Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is excited for the team's NBA season-opener against the Los Angeles Clippers.

James and the Lakers will open their campaign against city rivals the Clippers – led by Kawhi Leonard – in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Three-time NBA champion James is coming off a difficult first season in LA, where a groin injury restricted him to 55 games as the Lakers missed the playoffs for the sixth successive campaign.

James – who failed to appear in the postseason for the first time since 2004-05 – cannot wait to get started against the Clippers.

"Opening night is great. It's like the first day of school," James, who averaged 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists for the Lakers after arriving from the Cleveland Cavaliers, told reporters on Sunday.

"Laying your clothes out the night before. Just that excitement of getting things back going.

"I love to play the game. I obviously had the longest lay-off of my career, so to be where I'm at physically and mentally, no matter who we opened up against. For everybody, Tuesday is a great day."

Danny Green is one of the new faces at the Lakers, whose offseason was headlined by the recruitment of All-Star Anthony Davis.

Green teamed up with Leonard last season to lead the Toronto Raptors to their maiden NBA championship before moving to the Lakers, while the latter joined the Clippers.

"Everybody's excited to get the season started, but we know we're nowhere near where we want to be at — most teams aren't," Green said. "So, even though it's regular season, these games are going to be very much like preseason games.

"We just try to get better and win as we're getting better and getting to learn each other — learn the systems, learn our identity and also how to play other teams and other team's identity.

"But we're excited from all angles: From the players, to the coaches, to staff to the fans and we're going to have some fun with it but we're not nowhere where we want to be."

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma will miss the team's NBA season opener against the Los Angeles Clippers due to injury.

A nagging foot injury means Kuzma will sit out Tuesday's season-opening clash with rivals the Clippers.

Last month, the Lakers announced that Kuzma suffered a stress reaction in his left foot while training with Team USA for the FIBA World Cup.

The Lakers initially said Kuzma would be out indefinitely during recovery, and he has ramped up his training as of late to prepare for 2019-20.

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said: "Right now we're just talking about ramping up his activity and we’re not going to look past two days from now.

"We're going to try to increase his workload and activities this week and we'll see where we're at."

"There's still progression to be had," added Vogel. "He was very limited with what he did today, and it was all non-contact in limited duration. It's going to take some time for him to get his legs under him and build up to the point where he's playing live with contact, and then some time where we want to see him perform in that and respond well to that before we clear him to play."

Kuzma averaged 18.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game last season and is expected to be crucial to Los Angeles' success this year alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

The Utah Jazz have rewarded head coach Quin Snyder with a long-term contract extension, the NBA team announced on Sunday.

Utah and Snyder agreed to terms on a new contract that will build on the two years he has remaining on his current deal after the 52-year-old's appointment in 2014.

Snyder is in his sixth season with the Jazz and has helped Utah reach the playoffs in each of the last three years.

"I've really enjoyed working with Quin and appreciate the collaboration and innovation he's brought to our franchise," said Jazz president Steve Starks. "He is one of the most respected coaches in the NBA and we are excited to solidify his leadership of the Jazz for years to come.

"Quin has helped create and lead a special team culture on and off the court. His focus on our players' development and the day-to-day environment that he and his coaches have put in place is an excellent foundation."

The Jazz have high hopes and showed that in their moves during the offseason.

Utah quietly had one of the better offseasons in the league after acquiring Mike Conley via trade and signed Bojan Bogdanovic in free agency, while retaining the team's pillars — Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.

The Jazz are just one season removed from a fifth-place finish in the competitive Western Conference and arguably got better across the board ahead of 2019–20.

Utah will open up regular-season play when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder on October 23.

 

The Toronto Raptors have agreed to a four-year, $130million extension with Pascal Siakam, according to reports.

ESPN claimed the Raptors have come to terms on a max deal for Siakam, a key player in Toronto's run to a maiden NBA title last season.

Siakam had a breakout year for Toronto last season and was named the NBA's Most Improved Player for his efforts. The Cameroonian averaged 16.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.

Siakam finished the NBA Finals, in which the Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors 4-2, averaging 19.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

Drafted by Toronto with the 27th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the New Mexico State product spent most of his rookie season in the G League where he won Finals MVP and the championship with Raptors 905.

 

Kyrie Irving acknowledged he was "conflicted" but would not divulge discussions with commissioner Adam Silver as the NBA's relationship with China remains on the agenda.

Preseason games in China - involving Irving's Brooklyn Nets - were at the centre of controversy after a since-deleted tweet from Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey supported anti-government protesters in Hong Kong.

Morey's comments overshadowed what had been expected to be a celebration of the NBA in one of their key international markets, with media duties cancelled, although the games went ahead.

LeBron James, whose Los Angeles Lakers were also involved, weighed in on his return to the United States, suggesting Morey "wasn't educated" on the matter.

And Irving was asked about the situation following the Nets' final preseason game against the Toronto Raptors at Barclays Center, where fans were pictured wearing "Stand with Hong Kong" shirts in the stands.

Questions centred on a reported behind-closed-doors meeting between Silver and the players involved in China.

"I don't know whose notes [reports are from] or who is in there that you can't really depend on to keep a conversation like that in house," Irving said. "Especially when it is about the NBA brand and the NBA players being impacted by it.

"I stand for four things, man: inner peace, freedom, equality and world peace. So, if that is being conflicted inside of me, I am definitely going to have something to say, and I left it in that room."

Irving, who scored 19 points on 7-of-17 shooting in the defeat to the Raptors, added: "I understand that Hong Kong and China is dealing with their issues, respectively.

"But there is enough oppression and stuff going on in America for me not to be involved in the community issues here as well."

Silver claimed earlier this week the Chinese government had asked the NBA to fire Morey, adding: "We said there's no chance that's happening. There's no chance we'll even discipline him."

Russell Westbrook "will be alright" after his injury scare for the Houston Rockets, while coach Mike D'Antoni was stunned by another sublime performance from James Harden.

Harden had 44 points, seven assists, five rebounds and five steals in 35 minutes as the Rockets finished their preseason campaign with a 144-133 road win over the Miami Heat.

Point guard Westbrook left Friday's game in the fourth quarter in visible pain and ran directly into the tunnel after hurting his hand, while Austin Rivers suffered with a shoulder problem.

D'Antoni explained Westbrook, who scored 16 points, had suffered a finger dislocation just two days after the same thing happened in Wednesday's game with the San Antonio Spurs, which had meant he played this one with a bandage.

The Rockets begin the NBA season at home against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday.

"With Russ it was just his fingers got dislocated," said D'Antoni. "Pop them back into place and then go play, he'll be alright.

"Both of them told me they were OK, so we'll take that. Austin said he was OK, I don't know exactly what that means but it is up in his [shoulder] – he also strained that in Washington last year."

The Rockets ended the preseason with a 4-2 record and hopes for a championship challenge are high after former Oklahoma City Thunder team-mates Harden and Westbrook were reunited in the offseason.

D'Antoni was lost for words by Harden's display against the Heat. He connected with 8-of-16 three-pointers and played like it was game seven of the NBA Finals.

"That's the way he's wired - he loves to play," added D'Antoni. "I couldn't take him out in the fourth quarter if I wanted to. He wanted to play and he'd play 48 minutes if he could.  

"James was ridiculous. He gets better every time. I don't know what his ceiling is but he seems to be the most improved player of the year for me, he's ridiculous."

Harden, meanwhile, was eager to get the regular season started after being asked for his initial feelings about how playing with Westbrook again had been.

"Great," the 2018 MVP said. "Now preseason is over with and we get to the real thing. It's gonna be a long season of just trying to communicate and be on the same page, not only me and Russ - our entire team. 

"This preseason was a good test for us, now we're excited for the real challenge."

Asked if this was the most powerful Rockets team since he had been with the franchise, Harden added: "Yeah, I think so."

Zion Williamson's regular season NBA debut has been put on ice due to the New Orleans Pelicans rookie's knee injury, according to reports.

The Pelicans confirmed on Thursday that Williamson, the number one overall draft pick, would miss Friday's final preseason game against the New York Knicks due to "right knee soreness".

The 19-year-old instead remained in New Orleans for further testing and evaluation.

ESPN reported on Friday that the issue was set to keep Williamson out for a number of weeks, meaning he would miss the start of the NBA season, although he was said to have avoided serious injury.

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told reporters that the team believe Williamson hurt his knee on Sunday against the San Antonio Spurs.

Gentry told ESPN the former Duke sensation remained in high spirits, though, adding: "He's not dead, guys."

Williamson featured in four preseason games prior to the Knicks game, averaging 23.3 points.

New Orleans open the 2019-20 season against defending champions the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday.

New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson will miss the team's final NBA preseason game with right knee soreness.

The Pelicans will face the New York Knicks on Friday without young star Williamson, it was announced on Thursday.

Williamson did not make the trip to New York and will remain in New Orleans to undergo further evaluation.

In four preseason games for the Pelicans this season, Williamson – the number one draft pick – has averaged 23.3 points.

The Pelicans open their regular-season campaign against defending champions the Toronto Raptors on October 22.

Veteran NBA forward Luol Deng signed with the Chicago Bulls on Thursday in order to retire as a member of the team.

A two-time All-Star from South Sudan, where he has worked to develop young basketball players, Deng was taken seventh overall by the Bulls in the 2004 NBA Draft.

"He was a role model on and off the court during his nine-plus years in Chicago, and he gave everything he had to help us win," Bulls president and COO Michael Reinsdorf said in a statement.

"I want to thank Luol for not only what he accomplished on the court for the team, but also for the leadership he demonstrated through his philanthropic efforts."

In 902 NBA games over 15 seasons with the Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves he averaged 14.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 34.3 minutes per game.

The 34-year-old averaged 15.9 points and 6.7 rebounds in 62 playoff games in seven postseasons, six with Chicago and one with Miami.

John Paxson, Bulls executive VP of basketball operations, said Deng would be remembered for "the fierce competitiveness he brought to both ends of the floor every night."

Deng ranks in the top five on the Bulls all-time list for minutes (fifth, 22,882), points (fourth, 10,286), field goals made (fifth, 3,987) and attempted (fifth, 8,675) and steals (fifth, 639).

He led the Bulls in scoring in 2011-12 (15.3 ppg) and 2012-13 (16.5 ppg).

The Bulls will honour Deng at a game to be determined later this season.

There will be a World Series game in Washington D.C. for the first time since 1933.

Two quarterbacks are heading to the bench and Jalen Ramsey has finally been dealt.

While all of that has been going on there has been some monetary proposals in the NBA.

All that and more on this week in US Sports.

 

1. Nationals earn first World Series berth

It was a historic week in Washington D.C. after the Nationals swept the St Louis Cardinals in four games to earn the first World Series berth in Nationals/Expos history.

The Nationals were the 29th team to make the Fall Classic, leaving the Seattle Mariners as the only organisation to not have been to one.

While this is a big day for this franchise, it is also one for some very loyal Washington D.C. fans as this will be the first World Series played in D.C. since 1933 when the Senators faced the Giants and lost in five games.

The Senators moved to Minnesota in 1961 and became the Twins.

 

2. Quarterbacks head to the bench

The Marcus Mariota era may be over in Tennessee, while the Josh Rosen era in Miami is at least on hold.

The Tennessee Titans announced this week that Mariota will be replaced under center by Ryan Tannehill going forward. The Miami Dolphins also announced Rosen will once again be on the bench and replaced by veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Rosen is still young having been taken in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft so he has some time to still find his way, but Mariota is bordering on being a veteran at this point, so this very well might be the end of his career as a starter.

 

3. Ramsey on the move

Ramsey finally got his wish this week as he was traded by the Jacksonville Jaguars to the Los Angeles Rams for first-round picks in 2020 and 2021 and a fourth-round pick in 2021.

This came on the heels of the Rams' trade of Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens earlier in the day.

Ramsey asked to be traded by the Jaguars after a Week 2 spat with head coach Doug Marrone.

He got his wish and is thrilled to be playing for a NFL Super Bowl contender.

 

4. NBA contracts being weighed and measured

It is that time of year where players and teams figure out what they will be paid or what can be afforded, and Wednesday, several reports came out that players have been given some offers.

Pascal Siakam is weighing an extension with the Toronto Raptors, as is Bogdan Bogdanovic with the Sacramento Kings, but Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown turned down a four-year, $80million extension which came as a surprise to some.

At the same time, the Kings have apparently not offered guard Buddy Hield an extension and he may be open to a trade if they do not give him the money he is looking for.

The NBA season starts next week, but there is still plenty to be decided going forward.

Jamaica centre Samardo Samuels is expected to join Athens-based club Panionios BC ahead of the new Greek Basketball League (GBL) season.

The much-traveled 30-year-old former NBA player was recently back in the United States where he took part in the Big 3 league.  Samuels represented the Trilogy. 

Prior to the move, the controversial player had found himself without a club, after being suspended by French basketball outfit Limogues following an argument with the coach.

A string of short stints has followed the player since 2017 when he signed with Spanish club Real Betis Energia Plus.  The big man parted ways with the club after a coaching dispute. 

Samuels signed with the Serbian club Partizan for the rest of the 2017–18 season.  He was suspended by the club on November 15, for the violation of its discipline code, just a day after Partizan lost in a EuroCup game against Alba Berlin.  The player reportedly criticized head coach Miroslav Nikolić and made inappropriate remarks to a female journalist.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Digicel, parent company of SportsMax, announced a multiyear expansion of its partnership that will deliver more than 200 live NBA games each season, tipping off on October 22 with the L.A. Lakers taking on the L.A. Clippers.

Extensive NBA programming will be provided to more than 30 Caribbean territories, including the Dominican Republic through Digicel, SportsMax and the SportsMax app.

Digicel, the Official Broadcast and Wireless Partner of the NBA in the region, through its subsidiary SportsMax will air over 200 regular-season and playoff NBA games, the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Finals and The Finals in the Caribbean, including the Dominican Republic, while offering preferred access to all NBA games through NBA League Pass on its Digicel Play cable system and the SportsMax app with new bundle and standalone offerings. 

“We are thrilled to extend this landmark deal with the NBA that allows Digicel, through SportsMax, to continue to be the Home of Sports in the Caribbean, delivering the NBA as part of the best line-up of sports programming to Caribbean basketball fans across cable-TV and streaming platforms,” said SportsMax President and CEO, Olly McIntosh.

“We are seeing an incredible appetite for NBA content from fans in the Caribbean, including the Dominican Republic, and we are thrilled to bring them more live games and content through this renewed partnership with Digicel,” said NBA Latin America Senior Vice President, Arnon de Mello. “We look forward to working with Digicel to continue to grow the game in the region.”

Digicel and SportsMax will also offer original NBA programming, including NBA Action, the league’s weekly show that offers the latest news, features, highlights and analysis from around the NBA, and NBA TV, the league’s 24-hour television network.  Fans will have access to select NBA TV programming, offering in-depth NBA coverage, highlights and appearances by current NBA players, coaches and legends. SportsMax’s programming will include onsite coverage from marquee NBA events.

Territories covered by the partnership include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Saba, St. Barthelemy, St. Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Martin, St. Maarten, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, and Turks and Caicos. Stay tuned to this space for full NBA broadcast schedule.

Bradley Beal has signed a two-year, $72million contract extension with the Washington Wizards, according to his agent Mark Bartelstein.

All-Star guard Beal has been at the centre of hypothetical trades for months, but the Wizards have seemingly made it clear they have no interest in letting him go – though they are yet to confirm an agreement.

According to ESPN, the extension will begin in the 2021-22 season and includes a third-year player option for 2022-23. The deal guarantees the 26-year-old $130m over four years.

"Brad has always made it clear to me, that in a perfect world, he would never leave Washington,” Bartelstein told ESPN.

"He has felt an obligation to be the focal point in turning the Wizards into an elite team. He's thrilled about all the resources that [team owner] Ted [Leonsis] is pouring into the franchise and thrilled how committed [Leonsis] and [general manager] Tommy [Sheppard] are to building something special."

A recent report from The Washington Post suggested there was growing belief Beal would leave the Wizards, but he has been convinced to remain.

"Washington is where I've been the last seven years, going on eight. It would be great to play in one place forever," Beal told The Washington Post in June.

Beal averaged 25.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists in 82 games for the Wizards last season. He shot 47.5 per cent from the field and 35.1 per cent from three-point range.

Ben Simmons conceded he is "not a great shooter", but the Philadelphia 76ers guard feels his other strengths make up for that.

Coming into this season Simmons is 0 for 17 from beyond the arc in his career, but last week he hit a three-pointer in a preseason game against Guangzhou.

"I am confident to say I am not a great shooter," Simmons told reporters.

"I am getting better, though. It is a game. It is five people on the court. I lack something that I am not that great at, but other areas I am very great at.

"I run the floor as well as anybody. Physically, I can rebound the ball at 6-10. As a point guard, I can guard 'one' through 'five'. That is one thing that is coming into my game which I am excited about. I love getting better; I love spending time in the gym and building that confidence."

But while he has struggled with his shooting previously, Simmons has been seen repeatedly making shots in practice and plans to make it a part of his game this season - at least more so than he did over his first two NBA seasons.

"It is something I have been working toward getting better as a player, as you would do as a writer. Everybody works to get better," he added.

Page 1 of 19
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.