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 For full broadcast schedule stay tuned to this space.

 

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.

AEK became the first team to reach three figures in this season's FIBA Champions League when they beat EB Pau-Lacq-Orthez 102-82 in their Group B opener, while Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem showed their teeth on the road.

Keith Langford starred for the Athens outfit, amassing 27 points as Jonas Maciulis weighed in with 17. Matt Mobley's 25, including four of seven from three-point shooting, was in vain for EB Pau-Lacq-Orthez.

A third-quarter burst of 18-8 proved pivotal for Hapoel against Teksut Bandirma in Turkey and they hung on to win 73-69 as the hosts battled back in a thrilling finish.

Dyshawn Pierre was Dinamo Sassari's hero as he sunk two free-throws with 2.9 seconds remaining to seal a 79-78 win against Lietkabelis. It meant Pierre capped a double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds in style.

San Pablo Burgos were 11 points adrift at one stage before turning their game against Antwerp Giants on its head.

Goran Huskic led the way with 19 points for the Spanish newcomers, who were better to the tune of 21 during the third and four quarters to win 90-76.

Telekom Baskets Bonn followed their domestic win over Bayern Munich by beating Casademont Zaragoza 85-71, while Ryan Toolson starred in the closing stages for Manresa to see off Torun 85-81.

There were comfortable wins for Nymburk and Dijon over Bamberg and tournament debutants Falco Szombathely respectively.

LeBron James said he will not address the turmoil between China and the NBA following the fallout of his comments regarding Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar James was critical of Morey on Monday, labelling the Rockets GM "misinformed" for his tweet about the unrest involving China and Hong Kong.

Morey issued an apology for a now-deleted tweet, that read "Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong" amid the ongoing protests in the region.

The tweet angered Chinese officials and caused backlash in the Asian country against the Rockets and the NBA, which has financial interests in China worth billions of dollars.

James' comments reportedly did not go down well in Hong Kong, with the four-time MVP's jersey burned and trampled in demonstrations.

"I had a sense of [how] what I said felt for me," James said on Tuesday following questions about his comments and how they would be received in Hong Kong. "And like I said yesterday, when I speak upon things, I speak from a very logical standpoint on things that hit home for me. Yesterday, obviously, I gave thoughts on what I felt and how I saw things that transpired from that week that we were [in China]."

When asked whether he plans to learn more about the anti-government protests in Hong Kong, James added: "I plan on being here and being a captain of this team and trying to figure out how we can win a championship.

"That's my main goal right now. I feel like I talked about it yesterday. I tweeted out responses to people not understanding my knowledge and where it came from with my brain and learning from the situation. I'm talking about it now. I won't talk about it again.

"I'd be cheating my team-mates by continuing to harp on something that won't benefit us. We're trying to win a championship. That's what we're here for. We're not politicians. It's a huge political thing. But we are leaders and we can step up at times. I'm not saying at this particular time, but if you don't feel like you should speak on things, you shouldn't have to."

 

Brazil international Marcelinho Huertas and Giorgi Shermadini helped Tenerife make a winning start to the FIBA Champions League campaign as they beat Nizhny Novgorod 81-67.

Tenerife, who were beaten by Bologna in last season's final, were too good for their Russian opponents as Huertas scored 13 points and Shermadini contributed 24 along with nine total rebounds.

Newcomers Peristeri also got up and running with a 70-64 success over Gaziantep in their maiden Champions League match, having overcome a rotten start where they fell 20-4 behind.

Steven Gray, Scoochie Smith and Christos Saloustros all reached double figures for the victorious Greek side.

No team scored more points on Tuesday than Rasta Vechta, who enjoyed an 89-76 success over Anwil Wloclawek, as Trevis Simpson sunk six shots from beyond the arc in a 30-point contribution.

Elsewhere, there were wins for VEF Riga, Neptunas Klaipeda, Besiktas, Turk Telekom and Strasbourg.

Kyle Lowry will remain with the Toronto Raptors for another two years after signing a one-year extension on Tuesday.

The reigning NBA champions confirmed the All-Star guard had agreed a new deal and, according to Lowry's agent Mark Bartelstein, the extension is for a further year and worth $31million.

Lowry had one year left on his old contract and will earn $33.3m this season, with the fresh extension keeping him off the free agent market next summer. 

“Kyle has been at the heart of every successful run our franchise has achieved the past seven seasons,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said. “He is a competitor, a winner at every level and the engine that our players and city feed off from.”

Lowry, 33, added he was proud of the success he had experienced in Toronto so far.

"I'm very proud of what we have achieved with the Raptors, and I'm happy to be able to continue to call Toronto my home,” Lowry said.

"Bringing a championship to the city of Toronto and the country of Canada has been one the best things I've done so far in my career, and I'll push for that goal every single year I play this game.”

Since Lowry joined the Raptors in 2012, he has been part of five All-Star teams. He is entering his 15th season in the league and eighth with Toronto, which makes him the longest-tenured player on the roster.

During the Raptors' postseason run in the last campaign, Lowry averaged 15.0 points per game with 6.6 assists and 4.9 rebounds in 37.5 minutes of play.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James criticised Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey for his "misinformed" tweet about the unrest between China and Hong Kong.

Rockets GM Morey issued an apology for a now-deleted tweet, that read "Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong" amid the ongoing protests in the region.

The tweet angered Chinese officials and caused backlash in the Asian country against the Rockets and the NBA, which has financial interests in China worth billions of dollars.

James was asked about the situation on Monday and while he believes in free speech, the four-time MVP was not happy with Morey's comments.

"I don't want to get into a ... feud with Daryl but I believe he wasn't educated about the situation at hand and he spoke," James told reporters. "So many people could have been harmed, not only financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually.

"Just be careful what we tweet ... even though, yes, we do have freedom of speech. But there can be a lot of negative that comes with that, too."

Morey quickly issued a clarification on his tweet at the time, saying it reflected his opinion, not that of the Rockets or the NBA. The NBA issued an apology to China, which in turn drew widespread and bipartisan condemnation in the United States.

"I think when we talk about the political side, I think it's a very delicate situation," James, who was speaking prior to the preseason matchup against the Golden State Warriors, added. "Very sensitive situation. For me personally, if any of you guys know me or always cover me, you guys know when I speak about something, I speak about something I'm very knowledgeable about. Something that hits home for me. Something I'm very passionate about.

"I feel like with this particular situation, not only was I not informed enough about — I just felt like it was something not only myself or my team-mates or our organisation had enough information to even talk about it at that point in time. And we still feel the same way."

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said he prefers Adam Silver's leadership to that of United States president Donald Trump.

Popovich was responding to criticism from Trump, who blasted the Spurs coach and Golden State Warriors counterpart Steve Kerr last week for their responses to questions about the NBA-China controversy.

Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey issued an apology for a now-deleted tweet, that read "Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong" amid the ongoing protests in the region.

While Popovich and Kerr unwilling to discuss the matter, NBA president Silver drew praise for his response after saying the league was "apologetic" but added that "we are not apologising for Daryl exercising his freedom of expression".

Popovich – who has been critical of Trump in the past – told reporters prior to the Spurs' 123-114 preseason loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday: "[Silver] stood by our nation and its principles. That's pretty huge in these days.

"Sometimes, it's kind of Orwellian. You think we're living in a place where, 'Is this really happening?' But that comparison was pretty stark when you put our president up against those leaders when he's with them or talking to him and how he reacts compared to the way Adam Silver reacted. I was proud of him. It was great."

Asked about Trump's comments, Popovich added: "All I did was make a comparison between Adam Silver's show of principle and courage in a tough situation, as opposed to how our president reacts when in the company of authoritarian figures, whether it's Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Russia or Turkey, whatever it is.

"It comes off as really feckless, impotent, cowardly by comparison."

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said superstar Stephen Curry is ready to have a great season in the NBA.

Following the departure of Kevin Durant in free agency and Klay Thompson's knee injury in the NBA Finals in June, all eyes are on Curry for the 2019-20 campaign.

Kerr spoke with media after Golden State's practice on Sunday and was asked if Curry will be tasked to do more this season in the wake of Durant's departure and Thompson's injury.

"Just the usual," Kerr said. "I'm not looking for anything different than what he's done for five years, but what he's done is pretty special: two MVPs and a perennial top-five player."

Kerr went on to say Curry's had an "incredible camp" so far and thinks the two-time MVP is in position for a special season.

"To me, he's at his peak physically, mentally," Kerr said. "He's seen every defense that people have thrown at him now during his career, and he's ready to have a great year.

"He's in his prime age-wise, strength and conditioning-wise and defensively he's seen everything that's come his way... So he's kind of in his sweet spot right now, and he has been the last couple years. And hopefully that continues for the next few years."

While Thompson is not expected to return to the team until at least February or March, Curry will not need to bear too much of a burden as the Warriors signed former Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell to a four-year, $117million contract during free agency.

"It's just the natural way of our offense and how we play," Curry said. "I'm going to have the ball in my hands a lot more. Just got to make the right plays, be confident, aggressive, assertive every possession." 

"Steph's smart," Kerr added. "And he realises what we've lost in the last couple of years from a veteran leadership standpoint. So he understands he's got more responsibility in that regard now."

The Warriors visit the Los Angeles Lakers for a preseason matchup on Monday, before Golden State open the regular season against the Los Angeles Clippers on October 24.

Anthony Davis became the latest star to suffer an injury during NBA preseason as the Brooklyn Nets eased to a 91-77 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in China.

Davis suffered a sprained thumb midway through the first quarter, joining the Nets' Kyrie Irving on the sidelines after he aggravated a facial injury in the sides' previous meeting on Thursday.

Star Lakers signing Davis tweaked his thumb while going up to block a shot at the rim, staying in the game for a short period before heading to the locker room for further evaluation.

He came back to the sidelines with an ice pack taped to his right hand and was ruled out for the rest of the game.

Davis served as the starting center, finishing the game with six points while shooting 2-of-7 from the field - both buckets coming off assists from LeBron James.

The former New Orleans Pelicans superstar added three rebounds and two blocks in 12 minutes before leaving due to the injury.

Los Angeles were able to keep it close through the first half but saw the Nets pull clear in the third quarter as Caris LeVert shone in Irving's absence.

LeVert left the previous clash early with a knock, but he scored 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting and grabbed four rebounds. Taurean Prince also played a big role off the bench with 14 points.

The game brought to an end a trip to China that has been clouded in controversy stemming from a since-deleted tweet by Daryl Morey earlier this week, with the Houston Rockets GM supporting anti-government protesters in Hong Kong.

The two scheduled fixtures went ahead but all media availability was cancelled, overshadowing what had been expected to be a celebration of the NBA in one of its key international markets.

As the teams return to the United States, the Lakers' next preseason game is set for Monday against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center.

The Nets host the Toronto Raptors next on Friday at Barclays Center.

Zion Williamson rose to the occasion on his first home match as an NBA player, scoring a game-high 26 points in the New Orleans Pelicans' preseason win over the Utah Jazz.

The Pelicans triumphed 128-127, with Williamson's impressive points tally coming in only 23 minutes on the court.

Drafted number one overall ahead of the 2019-20 season, the 19-year-old also had five rebounds and a plus-minus of +13, the best recorded by a player on either team.

Williamson shot 9-of-12 from the field, draining his only three-point attempt from 25 feet of the match to score his first in the professional ranks.

He battled with the Jazz's defensive star Rudy Gobert, delighting the sold-out crowd at the Smoothie King Center by making two layups against the Frenchman, collecting two fouls and following up his one miss in their enthralling head-to-head with a two-handed slam.

"You gotta give him respect, two-time Defensive Player of the Year," Williamson said of Gobert after the game. 

"I just went in there strong and tried to finish."

Of his first career three, Williamson added: "It was great, my first instinct was how to get back on defense as coach gets upset about that. 

"Hopefully I get a lot more of them throughout the year.

"It was great to finally get out here and see the support we have here in New Orleans. I'm glad they came out, hopefully we'll see them all season. I hope I can continue to play the way I am."

Prior to facing the Jazz, he had 29 points in 27 minutes against the Chicago Bulls after a 16-point debut against the Atlanta Hawks.

Gobert took solace in not being dunked on by Williamson but said: "He has a great future ahead of him.

"He's kind of surprisingly agile and I think he catches a lot of people off guard because of that. He can change direction pretty quick."

Kyrie Irving's Brooklyn Nets debut lasted just a minute as the much-discussed NBA preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers went ahead in Shanghai on Thursday.

Irving, who signed for the Nets alongside the injured Kevin Durant for the upcoming season, was trying to play through a facial fracture suffered in a pickup game last month, wearing a clear mask.

However, the former Boston Celtics star appeared to aggravate the issue early on as he clashed with Rajon Rondo and was immediately withdrawn.

The contest at least finally meant some basketball was played amid a week of controversy stemming from a since-deleted tweet by Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey supporting 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 in China.

Some fallout continued, with media duties for both teams and league commissioner Adam Silver cancelled, but the game represented a brief respite from a tumultuous few days.

The Nets prevailed 114-111 as some of the NBA's top stars took to the floor, although Caris LeVert followed Irving in making an early exit with an apparent eye problem.

Their absences made Spencer Dinwiddie the key man as he scored 20 points and Taurean Prince added 18 to lead six Nets in double figures.

LeBron James scored 20 points in 24 minutes to pace the Lakers, as he and Anthony Davis (16 points in 25 minutes) shared the floor as team-mates for the first time.

Brooklyn's Theo Pinson broke 111-111 tie with 20.9 seconds to play by hitting the second of two free throws, before Dzanan Musa's dunk with nine seconds left capped the scoring.

Los Angeles had a last shot to tie on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope's three-pointer as the clock ran down, but it bounced away.

United States president Donald Trump blasted Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and San Antonio Spurs boss Gregg Popovich for their responses to questions about the NBA-China controversy.

Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey issued an apology on Sunday for a now-deleted tweet, that read "Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong" amid the ongoing protests in the region.

The issue has highlighted the NBA's relationship with China, which Kerr was noncommittal about on Monday when asked about the fallout from Morey.

Kerr and Popovich have been highly critical of Trump in the past and the country's leader was scathing of the NBA coaches.

"I watched this guy, Steve Kerr, and he was like a little boy who was so scared to be even answering the question," Trump told reporters Wednesday when asked about Kerr's refusal to discuss the issue.

"He couldn't answer the question. He was shaking. 'Oh, I don't know. I don't know.' He didn't know how to answer the question. And yet he'll talk about the United States very badly."

On Popovich – who was also reluctant to discuss the issue of protests in Hong Kong – Trump said: "I watched Popovich. Sort of the same thing, but he didn't look quite as scared actually.

"But they talk badly about the United States, but when it talks about China, they don't want to say anything bad. I thought it was pretty sad actually. It'll be very interesting."

Trump added: "I watch the way that Kerr and Popovich and some of the others were pandering to China, and yet to our own country, it's like they don't respect it.

"It's like they don't respect it. I said, 'What a difference – isn't it sad?' It's very sad. To me, it's very sad."

Made aware of Trump's comments about Kerr, Warriors superstar Stephen Curry – who has also been critical of the US president – replied: "welcome Steve to the club".

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