The NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved two big changes that will affect the upcoming season.

The league will now allow a coach's challenge and give replay centers the ability to prompt instant replay.

Coaches will now be able to challenge personal fouls charged to their respective team, a called out-of-bounds violation as well as goaltending and basket-interference violations, the NBA announced on Tuesday.

The replay center, along with the refs calling the game, can ask for instant replays involving whether a shot is a two- or three-point field goal, and if it was made before or after the shot clock expired.

"These initiatives further strengthen our officiating program and help referees make the right call," NBA president, league operations Byron Spruell said in a statement.

"Giving head coaches a voice will enhance the confidence in our replay process among teams and fans and add a new, exciting strategic element to our game.

"Enabling the NBA Replay Center to trigger instant replay will improve game flow and provide real-time awareness of any adjustments to the score."

A version of the coach's challenge has been in effect in the G League for the past two seasons and is being used at this year's Summer League. It will be adopted in the NBA on a one-year trial basis during the 2019-20 season.

Some key points to the coach's challenge, outlined by the league, include:

- To initiate a challenge, a team must immediately call a legal timeout and the head coach must immediately signal for a challenge by twirling his/her finger toward the referees.
- If a team attempt to challenge an event with no remaining timeouts, the team are charged an excessive timeout, for which the penalty is a technical foul, and no challenge will take place.
- If a team call a timeout to challenge an event that may not be reviewed, the team will be charged a timeout but retain their challenge.
- As with other replay reviews, in order to overturn the event as called on the floor, there must be clear and conclusive visual evidence that the call was incorrect.

The NBA had already taken steps to be more transparent in the officiating process last season by having centralised replay center make the "last two minute" reports on officials public.

Brooklyn Nets recruit Kyrie Irving is "misunderstood" and a "great team-mate", insisted Joe Harris.

Irving – a six-time All-Star and 2016 NBA champion – swapped the Boston Celtics for Eastern Conference rivals the Nets via free agency.

Harris and Irving were team-mates with the Cleveland Cavaliers and will be reunited once again in Brooklyn.

Irving will be joining the Nets after a rough stint in Boston, where he was reportedly unhappy and had issues with team-mates as well as the coaching staff.

Harris, however, defended Irving after telling the New York Post: "Kyrie, he's got a big personality. He's one of these guys that's misunderstood.

"The way that he's construed in the media is probably going to paint him in a light that is not necessarily true. I'd say you could ask a lot of people that played with him and they'd all say that he's a great team-mate and a good guy to be around."

Harris said he enjoyed his time playing with Irving and was looking forward to sharing the court with him again.

"None of us are perfect all the time," Harris said. "We're all going to have ups and downs throughout the course of the season. …  For him, unfortunately, he's just in one of these scenarios where there's so much more attention on him and people are paying much more attention to when he does have an off day.

"I have off days all the time, too, but nobody really cares when I have an off day. People care when Kyrie does."

Irving averaged 23.8 points and 6.9 assists for the Celtics last season.

"He's one of these guys where he's very much must-see," Harris said. "We all know the talent, but I got to see it for a year and a half every day. … He really is that talented. He's a top-10 talent."

The Nets also added star Kevin Durant and center DeAndre Jordan this offseason. Meanwhile, they sent D'Angelo Russell to the Golden State Warriors in a sign-and-trade.

Harris poured in a career-high 13.7 points per game and shot 47.4 per cent from three-point range for Brooklyn in 2018-19.

Willie Cauley-Stein said he could not turn down the opportunity to join the Golden State Warriors.

Cauley-Stein signed a one-year deal with Golden State shortly after he became an unrestricted free agent when the Sacramento Kings rescinded his qualifying offer in early July.

The 25-year-old center said the Warriors' stars helped recruit him to the team, who lost the NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors.

"Got the phone call and I just don't know how you could turn that down," Cauley-Stein said. "Talking to [head coach] Steve [Kerr], Draymond [Green], Steph [Curry], they were all really excited. It was pretty easy on me."

Cauley-Stein said before 2018-19 he was "ready to get paid" this offseason. But, his contract with the Warriors is reportedly worth about the veteran's minimum of $1.7million.

"It honestly just came down to situation," Cauley-Stein said. "I know I had said something about getting paid at the beginning of the year. But by the end of it, it was no longer about getting paid. It was about staying secure and building off that security… I think the Warriors are probably the best at doing that in the league. It was a really easy decision on me and my team's part."

Cauley-Stein averaged 11.9 points and 8.4 rebounds for the Kings last season.

He was originally selected by the Kings with the sixth pick in the 2015 draft, however, Sacramento general manager Vlade Divac said in June that Cauley-Stein still needed to prove he can be consistent.

"I don't really look at it like inconsistency," Cauley-Stein said. "Numbers don't lie. I think it's pretty cut and dry what consistency is. But I think it goes both ways. Being more vocal, I think that's something as a professional you have to be really good at. You have to be able to speak your mind."

The Warriors also added D'Angelo Russell in a sign-and-trade after star Kevin Durant decided to join the Brooklyn Nets.

The Oklahoma City Thunder appear to have entered rebuild mode - and Russell Westbrook could be the next star out the door.

With Kawhi Leonard having persuaded Paul George to leave the Thunder and join him at the Los Angeles Clippers, eight-time All-Star Westbrook is understood to be open to the idea of ending his stay with the franchise.

The 30-year-old point guard, who has undergone a series of operations on his right knee, could prove difficult to move on, though. He has four years and over $160million remaining on the mammoth contract extension he signed in September 2017.

Still, we take a look at the teams that could offer Westbrook a new home.

 

New York Knicks

After trading away franchise player Kristaps Porzingis, losing out on top free agents Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to the Brooklyn Nets and missing the chance to draft Zion Williamson, the Knicks will no doubt be keen to get a star on board.

They would have to wait until December to put together a package including players who they have recently signed, however.

 

Miami Heat

Having already signed Jimmy Butler in free agency, Miami is understood to be a destination that appeals to Westbrook.

The Heat have already got Hassan Whiteside off their books and could offer the favourable contracts of talented duo Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow, but a lack of draft capital to offer may prove troublesome.

 

Detroit Pistons

A move for Westbrook would likely require the Pistons' All-Star center Andre Drummond to head the other way. Still, Detroit's issue is the other salaries they could use in any deal; those contracts run for longer than the Thunder will surely have in mind for any new arrivals.

However, combining the former MVP with Blake Griffin would offer them a greater chance of success in a much-changed Eastern Conference.

 

Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves reportedly narrowly missed out on signing D'Angelo Russell, who joined the Golden State Warriors in a sign-and-trade deal that sent Durant to the Nets.

Exchanging Andrew Wiggins' contract, which has four years and more than $120m remaining, for Westbrook undoubtedly presents them an improved chance of contending this season.

Yet such an agreement would again rely on significant draft picks being offered.

 

Other contenders

Putting Westbrook on a team with two other ball-dominant players in James Harden and Chris Paul sounds like a crazy idea, but that has not stopped the Houston Rockets reportedly taking an interest. The Cleveland Cavaliers are expected to trade Kevin Love and focus on a rebuild at some stage, though they could scrap that and pair him with Westbrook to make themselves relevant once again.

Zion Williamson insists his absence from the New Orleans Pelicans NBA Summer League schedule is precautionary.

The Pelicans announced Williamson sustained a knee-to-knee hit with an opponent during Friday's 80-74 win against the New York Knicks that would rule him out of their remaining games in Las Vegas.

A statement said the number one overall draft pick would "move forward from this incident without issue" and Williamson seemed to confirm as much when he spoke to reporters after his new team-mates overcame the Chicago Bulls 109-72.

"It was more precautionary," he said.

"Now I just hone my craft and get ready for the season.

"It's very frustrating. You know me, I'm a competitor. Whenever I can play, I just want to play."

Despite being restricted to nine minutes on court against the Knicks, it was an experience the 19-year-old relished.

"The energy was high and it was actually my first taste of playing against NBA players, so it was great," Williamson added.

The Pelicans wrap up their Las Vegas commitments on Wednesday when they face the Cleveland Cavaliers.

 

D'Angelo Russell is surprised he ended up with the Golden State Warriors.

The 23-year-old guard had been linked to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers, among others, this offseason but was acquired by Golden State in a sign-and-trade after the Brooklyn Nets landed Kevin Durant.

Russell discussed the deal when he met with reporters during his introductory news conference on Monday.

"It was a lot of surprises, just all around, throughout free agency," Russell said, via The Athletic. "So, I think it's just one to add to it. I knew it was an opportunity, I knew it was something that could possibly be true. We had to wait until a few other pieces did what they did."

Russell is expected to slot into the Warriors backcourt next to star Stephen Curry next season as Klay Thompson continues to recover from the torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) he suffered in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors.

"I think it's something that, you have guys that can shoot, dribble and play make for others. That's a dangerous combo," Russell said. "A guy like [Curry], who gets hot anytime throughout the game, it's something that gives you an advantage throughout the game. To add another guy that can possibly do that, consistently, I think that's just an extra piece."

Russell had a career year for the Nets last season, averaging 21.1 points and seven assists while shooting 36.9 per cent from three-point range. He made his first All-Star team, as well.

Russell inked a four-year max contract, but many have speculated the Warriors may look to move him for another asset once Thompson returns healthy.

"That's the business of it. It is what it is," Russell said. "You put yourself in position to go somewhere for a long period of time and it may not be what it is a year later. That's the business. I've come to the realisation of that, I understand that. Whatever situation I'm in, I know the business side of it. We'll just see. I can't predict it."

The Warriors traded Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies in order to create salary cap space to add Russell.

Magic Johnson is a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers' newest addition, Avery Bradley.

The former Lakers executive said getting Bradley will make Los Angeles "almost unbeatable".

Johnson also praised Bradley's defense and perimeter shooting, calling the 28-year-old guard an "outstanding pick".

Bradley is heading to LA on a two-year, $9.7million contract once he clears waivers, his agent Bill Duffy told ESPN.

Bradley was waived by the Grizzlies on Saturday after he started the 2018-19 season with the Clippers. He was traded to Memphis in February for JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple.

While with the Grizzlies, Bradley averaged 16.1 points and four assists per game. He shot 40.8 per cent from the field and 35.1 per cent from three-point range on the season.

He will join a number of newly acquired stars the Lakers landed, including Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins among others.

"Avery Bradley is an outstanding pick up for the Lakers with his incredible defense and ability to hit the three-point shot," Johnson tweeted on Monday.

"Laker Nation, I'm dreaming about the fourth quarter Lakers team with LeBron, AD, Danny Green, Avery Bradley, and Kyle Kuzma. That's almost unbeatable!"

The Lakers went after multiple players since missing out on Kawhi Leonard. LA signed Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee, Quinn Cook,  Rajon Rondo and Alex Caruso.

Leonard announced he was joining the Clippers over the weekend after long speculation he would return to LA, however, rumours originally placed him with the Lakers. His move, along with Paul George who helped sway Leonard to chose the Clippers, makes the city the new basketball powerhouse, according to Johnson.

"LA has just become the king of basketball," Johnson tweeted on Saturday. "It's going to be awesome to watch NBA basketball in LA this season!"

Jabari Parker is reportedly heading to Atlanta.

The forward signed a two-year deal worth $13million with the Hawks, Yahoo Sports reported on Monday. According to the report, the second year includes a player option.

Parker, 24, became a free agent after the Washington Wizards declined the last year of his two-year, $40m contract in June.

According to reports, the two sides expected to work something out before Parker decided to leave for Atlanta.

He was drafted second overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2014 and remained with the team until 2018, when he signed a $20m contract with the Chicago Bulls. He was traded to the Wizards before the deadline in February.

While talented, two severe knee injuries have derailed Parker's career. In 25 games with the Wizards, he averaged 15.9 points and 7.2 rebounds.

Golden State Warriors have traded Damian Jones to Atlanta Hawks, bringing in Omari Spellman in exchange, the NBA teams have announced.

Beaten finalists last season, the Warriors - who have lost Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets and Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies - are looking to bolster their bench ahead of the new campaign.

Jones was 30th pick in 2016, and was promoted to a starter at Golden State in 2018-19, though he was sidelined after 22 games due to a pectoral tear.

Spellman, meanwhile, was also the 30th pick in the 2018 draft, but he only featured in 46 games in his rookie season, averaging 5.9 points and 4.2 rebounds in 17.5 minutes per game.

And it was confirmed on Monday that the players had been traded, with the Warriors also handing the Hawks a second-round pick for the 2026 draft.

With Durant and Iguodala gone, the Warriors are also preparing to be without Klay Thompson due to a torn ACL.

By getting Spellman, the Warriors can pad their bench while the Hawks receive another utility man.

The San Antonio Spurs have re-signed forward Rudy Gay, the team announced on Monday.

The terms of the new contract were disclosed by the Spurs, but The Athletic reported previously the deal would be for two years and $32million.

Gay, who turns 33 in August, is one of two players in the NBA – along with LeBron James – who has at least 15,000 points, 5,000 rebounds, 1,000 steals and 500 blocks since he was drafted in 2006.

The 13-year veteran appeared in 69 games last season and averaged 13.7 points with a career-high 6.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 26.7 minutes. He also shot career-bests 50.4 per cent from the floor and 40.2 per cent from three-point range.

The new contract marks the third time the unrestricted free agent has signed with the Spurs after originally joining San Antonio in July 2017 and re-signing last year on a reported one-year, $10m deal.

Avery Bradley is set to join the Los Angeles Lakers after leaving the Memphis Grizzlies as a free agent.

The guard plans to sign a two-year, $9.7million contract with the Lakers on Monday once he clears waivers, Bradley's agent, Bill Duffy, informed ESPN.

Bradley, 28, was waived by the Grizzlies on Saturday, and his Lakers deal will reportedly include a second-year player option.

He started the 2018-19 season with the Los Angeles Clippers but was traded in February to the Grizzlies for JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple.

The latest Lakers signing will boost their bench further after the team added Danny Green and re-signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

He will also join, among other newcomers, All-Star Anthony Davis, who has been presented with the number 23 jersey by LeBron James, and DeMarcus Cousins.

In 14 games with the Grizzlies, Bradley averaged 16.1 points and four assists.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have landed another future first-round pick after agreeing a deal to trade forward Jerami Grant to the Denver Nuggets for a 2020 draft selection, according to ESPN.

The trade, which saves the Thunder $39million in salary and luxury tax, marks the sixth first-round pick the team have obtained in the past week after securing five future first-rounders for trading Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers in a shock move.

The Thunder found themselves in rebuild mode after George requested to be traded to join Kawhi Leonard in Los Angeles. 

Speculation is rife over Russell Westbrook too. Reports suggested the former NBA MVP and his agent had asked for a meeting with the general manager Sam Presti, with a trade before the new season not ruled out.

Grant is under contract for the next two years and will have a player option for the 2020-21 season.

The 25-year-old was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 39th overall pick in 2014 and spent two years there before being traded to the Thunder.

Grant averaged 13.6 points and 5.2 rebounds for OKC last season, both career highs.

LeBron James marked a new Los Angeles Lakers era on Sunday night with a ceremonial passing of his number to new team-mate Anthony Davis. 

Lakers star James posted a picture on Instagram of the pair holding a Lakers number 23 jersey with Davis' name on the back, with the accompanying caption reading, "Officially a Laker!!"

Davis has worn 23 throughout his seven-year career with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Not only had James indicated that he might give up his Lakers number for his new colleague, but he also hinted previously at what number he might wear beginning in the 2019-20 season.

Some 10 days before the Davis deal officially became a reality, James tweeted a tiny number six with a praying-hands emoji.

James wore 23 for most of his career, including two stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers and his first season with the Lakers. 

However, he wore six in his four seasons with the Miami Heat and often does so in Lakers practices too. 

What we do know with relative certainty is that James will not wear the 11 Lakers numbers that have been retired: eight and 24 (Kobe Bryant), 13 (Wilt Chamberlain), 22 (Elgin Baylor), 25 (Gail Goodrich), 32 (Magic Johnson), 33 (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), 34 (Shaquille O'Neal), 42 (James Worthy), 44 (Jerry West) and 52 (Jamaal Wilkes).

Kevin Durant has officially signed with the Brooklyn Nets and the star has a new number.

The team on Sunday confirmed the news first reported on June 30 but, earlier in the day, Durant announced an unexpected change.

The Nets star has worn number 35 for his entire 12-year NBA career, but he announced that he will don a number seven jersey when he hits the court for Brooklyn.

Durant explained his decision via Instagram on one of his business pages, Thirty Five Ventures.

Durant credited his old number for allowing him to honour someone close to him, travel, gain new experiences and form important bonds, among other things. But he says the change signifies the next chapter in his basketball career.

The 30-year-old forward won back-to-back NBA titles with the Golden State Warriors in 2016-17 and 2017-18 and averaged 26.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game last season.

He got off to a hot start in the playoffs but suffered a calf strain against the Houston Rockets in the second round. Durant would not play again until Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors, when he ruptured his Achilles.

Durant declined his player option with Golden State to team up with his close friends Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan in Brooklyn and is expected to miss most, if not all, of 2019-20. However, once he does return, he could make the team a serious contender in the Eastern Conference.

The Nets posted a 42-40 record in 2018-19 and were eliminated from the postseason by the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round, but their new-found star power could drive a surge to the top in the near future.

The Golden State Warriors dealt Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday, but they plan to retire his number nine jersey.

Iguodala was integral to the Warriors winning their first NBA championship in 40 years in 2015 and was named the NBA Finals MVP.

He was due to earn $17million next season and his departure is understood to be down to Golden State needing to generate cap space after reportedly signing D'Angelo Russell to a four-year, $117m max contract.

Despite trading Iguodala for Julian Washburn and a future first-round draft pick, the Warriors will honour his impact on the franchise by retiring his number.

"As we look back six years [after signing Iguodala], we actually underestimated what his value would be to our team, both on the court and in the locker room," Warriors co-chairman and CEO Joe Lacob said in a statement.

"In what has been well documented, Andre sacrificed for the betterment of our team and, in one of the best stories of this journey, earned NBA Finals MVP honours in 2015.

"He has been absolutely vital to our success during five consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals and three championships. We thank Andre for all of his contributions and look forward to seeing his number in the rafters at Chase Center." 

Iguodala averaged 7.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.1 steals in 413 regular-season appearances for the Warriors.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.