The New Orleans Pelicans' busy start to the offseason has continued with the team picking up their option on coach Alvin Gentry's contract for the 2020-21 campaign.

New Orleans have reportedly agreed a blockbuster trade to send Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers, with a number of players and picks coming the other way.

The Pelicans already boast the number one pick in Thursday's NBA Draft, too, with former Duke sensation Zion Williamson seemingly set to join the team.

And the latest in a series of moves apparently intended to build for the future has seen Gentry - coach since 2015 - handed an extension.

The 64-year-old is 145-183 since taking over, leading the Pelicans to the playoffs in 2017-18 but falling short last season amid off-court drama involving wantaway star Davis.

Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said in a statement on Tuesday: "We couldn't be happier to extend our relationship with Alvin.

"He is exactly the right coach at the right time for this franchise. As I have mentioned several times previously, the shared vision we have for the future of Pelicans basketball both on and off the floor will enable us to build a roster that fits both culturally and tactically.

"Perhaps more importantly, the relationship we have built over our many years together will enable us to challenge, empower and further one another and our franchise."

Two people were injured in a shooting during the Toronto Raptors' championship parade on Monday, police have said.

The shooting occurred in Nathan Phillips Square near Bay Street and Albert Street.

Toronto Police said two people suffered "serious but not life threatening" injuries and two people were taken into custody while two firearms were recovered.

Last week the Raptors won their first ever NBA title, beating the Golden State Warriors in six games of the Finals.

There were estimated to be over one million people at the championship parade.

 

 

While Lonzo Ball is on his way from the Los Angeles Lakers to the New Orleans Pelicans, younger brother LaMelo Ball is heading across the globe.

The 17-year-old announced on Monday he will sign a 'Next Stars' contract with Illawarra Hawks of Australia's National Basketball League (NBL).

"My agents did a ton of research on the options I had to play this coming season and Australia really made sense for me," Ball told ESPN.

"They have a really strong league, with excellent coaches and great players, including former and future NBA players, and great strength and conditioning programmes.

"My goal is to be the top pick in next year's [NBA] Draft and I feel they can help me reach that goal. Also, the timing of the season works well with the timing of next year's Draft."

NBL CEO Jeremy Loeliger said: "We couldn't be more excited to have LaMelo coming to join the NBL this season. I think it's a real win-win situation for everyone involved.

"It gives him a fantastic opportunity to play against some hardened professionals, which I think will do wonders in terms of getting him ready for his rookie year in the NBA.

"He'll get the chance to answer a lot of questions being asked by a lot of people - and everything I've seen makes me think he's going to take a lot of them by surprise."

Ball returned to high school basketball last season at SPIRE Academy in Ohio after a short stint playing professionally in Lithuania.

RJ Hampton, a five-star recruit from in the 2019 class, could be the new model for top high school prospects after he turned down the likes of Duke, Kansas, Memphis and the rest of the NCAA to play professionally for the NBL's New Zealand Breakers.

"I had already decided to play in the NBL prior to RJ's decision, I just hadn't yet narrowed down the team," Ball said. "But having RJ there only adds to the excitement. I think it will be a good experience for both of us to be there at the same time and to be able to play against one another."

From basketball to golf. Gary Woodland quickly realised the five-player game was not for him after facing eventual NBA guard Kirk Hinrich as the U.S. Open champion reflected on his first major title.

Woodland showed nerves of steel to claim a memorable three-stroke victory at Pebble Beach, denying two-time reigning champion Brooks Koepka on Sunday.

The 35-year-old American – who was calm throughout amid Koepka's surge – carded a two-under-par 69 to secure his maiden major.

Sunday's result proved Woodland's decision to swap college basketball in pursuit of a golf career was a wise one.

Woodland played D-II basketball at Washburn before transferring to play golf at Kansas in the early 2000s and the four-time PGA Tour winner recalled the moment he left the court for the greens.

"The moment really got forced on me," Woodland told reporters. "I went to school, to Washburn to play basketball, and I always believed if basketball didn't work out I could fall back on golf.

"And our first game we played Kansas at the University of Kansas. They were ranked number one in Division I, and we were ranked second in Division II. And that decision got forced on me really quickly. I was guarding Kirk Hinrich [who went on to play for the Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards and Atlanta Hawks], and, like, okay, I need to find something else, because this ain't gonna work. And that was my first game in college. I was a two-time State champion, All-State, blah, blah, blah, but that was a different level.

"And so when I transitioned to golf the next year, that was the first time in my life I'd ever focused solely on golf. It took me a little bit, but I got out here a year after school on the PGA Tour in 2009. It's 11 years later now being out here. I don't think my game is where it needs to be, but it's getting there. I'm becoming a more complete player, I have more shots. I can rely more on my putting, rely on my short game. Things I couldn't do even last year.

"We put a lot of work in this year in becoming a more complete player. I can play different golf courses. People probably growing up said U.S. Open wouldn't suit me, because I'm a long hitter, I'm a bomber. Coming to Pebble Beach, on top of that, it's a shorter golf course. And went out and proved, I think to everybody else, what I always believed, that I'm pretty good."

Koepka – who closed within a stroke of Woodland in the final round – was looking to become the first man since Willie Anderson in the early 1900s to claim a U.S. Open three-peat.

However, Woodland remained composed to stop world number one Koepka and create his own history in California.

"It was nice," Woodland said when asked what it was like to stop Koepka's history bid. "Obviously Brooks got off to a great start. And you knew he was going to come out. The conditions, the wind was down a little bit early in the round. You could play more aggressive. The first couple of holes he could attack, and he did that.

"It was nice for me to make that birdie on two to give myself confidence to kind of slow down everything. And obviously executing the birdie on three, as well. But Brooks, he's unbelievable. He lives for this moment. And obviously what he's done the last couple of years is phenomenal.

"So it was nice. I told him when I got done he needs to slow down a little bit. All day he was knocking on the door. I was proud of myself to stay in my moment and control myself and not get too worried about what he was doing."

NBA championship-winning head coach Nick Nurse plans to lead Canada at this year's FIBA Basketball World Cup in China.

Nurse guided the Raptors to their first title after dethroning two-time defending champions the Golden State Warriors.

With a championship under his belt, Nurse is now set to coach a Canada team potentially boasting Andrew Wiggins, Jamal Murray and Cory Joseph when the World Cup starts in August.

"I'm getting ready to take another situation soon because I think it's going to make me a better coach," the 51-year-old – who landed the Larry O'Brien Trophy in his rookie season – told reporters on Sunday.

Pressed on whether he was talking about Canada, who are looking for a new coach after Jay Triano stepped down in March, Nurse confirmed a deal was "just about done".

Nurse added: "It's something I'm looking forward to doing... I learned a lot as a coach in that run and I'm hoping this experience will do the same.

"It's a unique time with the World Cup and the Olympics within a short 13- to 14-month window. And it fits in OK. I'm just giving up some vacation time."

Canada will come up against Australia, led by Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons, Lithuania and Senegal in Group H at the World Cup.

Fred VanVleet said there is nothing more the Toronto Raptors can do to keep Kawhi Leonard as the two-time NBA champion enters free agency.

Leonard was named the NBA Finals MVP as he led the Raptors to their first championship at the expense of the Golden State Warriors.

The 27-year-old, who was traded by the San Antonio Spurs at the start of 2018-19, averaged 30.5 points and 9.1 rebounds while shooting 49 per cent from the field in 24 playoff games.

The Los Angeles Clippers have been linked to Leonard, while the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers will also reportedly pursue the Raptors star.

Discussing Leonard's future, Toronto guard VanVleet said: "I think that for us, at least speaking for myself, there’s nothing more that we can do.

"We've done it, the city's done it, the coaches have done it, the team-mates have done it. We've done our job. The best way to recruit somebody is to just be yourself over the course of the year."

"I would assume that he knows what is here and what makes this place special," VanVleet said as the Raptors look to re-sign Leonard. "And, if it's enough it'll be enough and if it's not then it's not. So, it's not the biggest deal in the world.

"He came here and did what he was supposed to do. He brought this city a championship and I think he's earned his freedom in his career to do what he wants to do and we'll all respect and admire him."

Marc Gasol, who was sent from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Raptors at the deadline, praised Leonard when he met with reporters on Sunday.

"I don't think there's any other player of his calibre in the NBA right now," Gasol said. "He's on a pedestal by himself."

The Raptors acquired Leonard — along with Danny Green — from the Spurs for a package centred around DeMar DeRozan in a blockbuster trade last offseason.

Green will also be a free agent this offseason and said he would like to return to Toronto. But, he added Leonard's decision will have an impact on his.

"He can change a whole organisation," Green said.

LeBron James welcomed Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers, warning NBA rivals it is "just the beginning" after reports broke of a blockbuster trade with the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Lakers acquired All-Star center Davis from the Pelicans for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks – including this year's fourth selection, according to ESPN.

While the trade is yet to be officially announced, Lakers superstar could not hide his excitement via social media.

"AD on da way!! @antdavis23 [Rolling on the floor laughing emoji]," James wrote on Instagram with a picture of the pair in Lakers jerseys together.

"Let's get it bro! Just the beginning..."

Davis' agent Rich Paul told ESPN in January his client did not want to re-sign with the Pelicans and would prefer to be traded.

The Lakers were among his preferred destinations, however, Los Angeles were unable to strike a deal prior to the deadline.

James now has a second star to play alongside in Los Angeles, but that does not mean the Lakers are content with adding just one piece.

The Lakers now plan to pursue free agent point guard and Charlotte Hornets star Kemba Walker, according to reports.

They could also still pursue any and all of the other big-name free agents on the market like Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler.

James has reportedly already been in contact with Toronto Raptors star Leonard and Butler of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Magic Johnson congratulated the Los Angeles Lakers on their reported deal for New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis.

According to ESPN, the Lakers have acquired All-Star center Davis from the Pelicans for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round NBA draft picks – including this year's fourth selection.

Johnson, the former president of basketball operations for the Lakers, congratulated the team, but he took some time to mention general manager Rob Pelinka.

"Great job by Owner Jeanie Buss bringing Anthony Davis to the Lakers!" Johnson wrote on Twitter. "Laker Nation, the Lakers are back in a championship hunt! Congratulations to the entire organization. I know LeBron James has a big smile on his face. I’m loving this!!

"Laker Nation, you wanted the great Jeanie Buss to step up and bring a championship team back to LA and she's doing just that!

"And the Lakers still have over $30 million of cap space to spend on free agents starting June 30th.

"Great trade Rob Pelinka! Job well done."

Johnson – a five-time NBA champion with the team – resigned from his position with the Lakers on the final day of the regular season before accusing Pelinka of backstabbing him.

The Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly landed Anthony Davis in a blockbuster trade with the New Orleans Pelicans.

According to ESPN, the Lakers have acquired All-Star center Davis from the Pelicans for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round NBA draft picks – including this year's fourth selection.

The Pelicans endured a season filled with speculation around Davis' future after the big man requested a trade in January.

A reported possible deal with the Lakers was not agreed before the deadline.

New Orleans executive vice-president David Griffin said he was confident of keeping Davis after the Pelicans secured the first pick in the upcoming draft.

However, Davis – who had no intention of signing a new deal with the Pelicans – is set to team up with LeBron James in Los Angeles.

The Boston Celtics were also reportedly interested in Davis but could not strike a deal with the Pelicans.

Steve Kerr believes the Golden State Warriors are going to look "a lot different" next season following their loss to the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals.

Golden State's three-peat bid was ended on Thursday after the Raptors dethroned the Warriors with a 4-2 series victory.

Stars Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson suffered serious injuries in the Finals and are expected to miss a majority of next season.

Warriors head coach Kerr addressed the uncertainty heading into 2019-20, telling reporters: "Our team is going to look a lot different next year.

Durant will be out at least a year recovering from a ruptured Achilles, while Thompson attempts to bounce back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

This means two All-Stars will be missing from the Warriors' starting line-up for a while. Durant could decline the player option in his contract, and Kerr is unsure what the two-time NBA Finals MVP is thinking.

"I have no idea what Kevin's going to do. I know we all want him back," Kerr said.

And then there is DeMarcus Cousins, who missed a large chunk of 2018-19 recovering from a torn Achilles only to tear his quadricep in the first round of the playoffs.

While Cousins returned for the Finals, he was inconsistent and his one-year rental playing for the veteran minimum is over.

Kerr encouraged the big man to seek a more lucrative deal elsewhere, but said he could be welcome back again if he wanted to stay.

"I could absolutely foresee a place for DeMarcus here if he wants to come back," Kerr said.

When asked if this was the end of Golden State's dynasty, Kerr responded "No. I don't think in those terms."

Golden State's roster will be headlined by Stephen Curry and Draymond Green next season, but they are reportedly still prepared to give max offers to Durant and Thompson, despite their injuries. The Warriors are preparing for a fresh start in the city of San Francisco and it may be the beginning of a new era for the franchise.

Joe Lacob says re-signing Klay Thompson remains a priority for the Golden State Warriors in the wake of the torn left ACL he suffered in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

The five-time All-Star guard could reportedly be out for 10 months after doing serious damage in a 114-110 defeat that sealed a first NBA title for the Toronto Raptors on Thursday.

Thompson was seeking a max contract this summer in free agency, but Warriors owner Lacob remains intent on keeping the 29-year-old.

"I don’t know yet what we're going to do," Lacob told Yahoo Sports. "I’ve said for a long time I want Klay to be a Warrior for life, and so this doesn’t change anything as far as I’m concerned."

Although Thompson’s first choice is to re-sign with the Warriors, who drafted him in 2011, he would reportedly consider other teams if obstacles come up,

Before Thompson went down awkwardly after going up for a dunk, he was the best player on the floor in Game 6, scoring a game-high 30 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field, 4-of-6 from 3-point range, and 10-of-10 from the free-throw line, while grabbing five rebounds in 32 minutes.

In eight seasons with Golden State, Thompson has averaged 19.5 points per game.

Just as importantly, he emerged as a vocal leader during the 2019 NBA Finals.

"I'm not going to say anything because the free-agency period isn't here yet," Lacob said. "You know I have the utmost regard for Klay's talent and for him as a person. I'm pretty sure we'll talk this summer, and he'll hopefully be a Warrior for life.”

The free-agent negotiating period begins on June 30.

As Klay Thompson writhed in pain on the floor of Oracle Arena, laying with him in ruin were the Golden State Warriors' hopes of completing a three-peat of NBA titles.

Thompson, having landed awkwardly on his left leg after a foul by Toronto Raptors swingman Danny Green as he attempted a dunk, was helped from the court with what was later revealed to be a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

At that point, the Warriors were leading 83-80, but with Golden State minus Thompson as well as Kevin Durant, the odds were stacked against them preserving that advantage and forcing a Game 7. However, Thompson – knowing not taking the resultant free throws would prevent him from being allowed to return if able – limped back out of the tunnel to nail both – his brief re-emergence sending a raucous home crowd into hysteria.

It was yet another indelible moment in the history of a 53-year-old building that has been the scene of so many for the Warriors and, as Golden State bid farewell to their Oakland home ahead of a move back across the bay to San Francisco and the glistening new Chase Center, epitomised the spirit that has defined this battered and bruised team's efforts in an absorbing Finals series.

Fittingly, the Warriors did not collapse after Thompson left the game for good and they led going into the final five minutes. A bad pass from Green even gave the Warriors a potential last shot to win and force Game 7, but Stephen Curry's 27-foot three-point effort bounced off the back of the rim.

With Curry – the Warriors' only healthy primary scorer in the closing minutes – being hounded by a swarming Raptors defense, Kevon Looney battling a fractured sternum and a bench woefully lacking in depth compared to that of Toronto, Golden State's success in staying in the game until the bitter end is worthy of the effusive praise head coach Steve Kerr delivered after the game.

"It's amazement that we're sitting in this position with, during the game we have a chance to win the game and force a Game 7 and go back to Toronto," Kerr said. "And you just think, how? How has this group of guys put themselves in position to do it?"

The pride the Warriors and their fans may feel in the immediate aftermath will soon have to give way to a realisation of the extremely challenging situation they now face heading into next season.

Thompson and Durant are scheduled to be two of the big prizes on offer in free agency, but the Warriors will be determined to try and keep one if not both, with Thompson much more likely to remain with Golden State. Yet, even if they somehow hang on to both, the Warriors will be paying lucrative contracts to players largely unable to contribute in 2019-20.

Durant will likely miss most of next season with his ruptured Achilles suffered in Game 5 while Thompson is unlikely to return until early 2020. Any salary cap space the Warriors allocate to re-signing Thompson or Durant will have a knock-on effect on their ability to add to a bench in dire need of reinforcements, meaning the severely depleted side that fell short on Thursday could form the basis of next season's team.

The burden will therefore fall on Curry to carry the Warriors' hopes for their first year back in San Francisco but, with a lack of other scorers around him, there is a blueprint to minimising his impact executed to near-perfection by the Raptors that others will surely look to replicate and make Golden State's path to the playoffs an arduous one.

As the scene of five straight NBA Finals appearances, Oracle was a home built on the spirit encapsulated by Durant's ill-fated decision to return from a calf injury, Thompson's memorable free throws and the Warriors' refusal to go quietly in the face of a deck heavily stacked against them. Yet this final show of grit in Oakland was an incredibly costly one that may turn what should be a celebratory first season at Chase Center turn into a damp squib.

Kyle Lowry struggled to comprehend what he had achieved with the Toronto Raptors after taking the long road to an NBA title.

Point guard Lowry scored 26 points and provided 10 assists as the Raptors secured a 114-110 victory in Game 6 on Thursday to dethrone the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.

The 4-2 series success secured Toronto a maiden championship in the franchise's history, while it was also a first ring for Lowry, who arrived from the Houston Rockets in a trade in 2012, in his 13-year NBA career.

"Words can't explain how I feel. It's been a long, long time," he told the media.

"Thirteen years of NBA basketball. A couple [of] years of college. A couple [of] years of high school basketball. And to be able to say I'm a world champion, it makes me feel great.

"To do it with the group of guys that we did it with is amazing, like it's just kind of still surreal. Kind of, it hasn't hit me yet.

"I'm still kind of in this moment of just like, 'Is this real yet?' And for me just at the end of the day, I work extremely hard on my game, I work extremely hard on myself, and I am extremely hard on myself.

"And I'm happy to be able to say I'm a champion - it's been a long time coming."

Lowry was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round back in 2006, spending three years there and in Houston before joining the Raptors.

The 33-year-old has thrived in Toronto, making the Eastern Conference NBA All-Star roster for five successive seasons. He also won a gold medal as part of the United States' squad at the 2016 Olympics in Rio too.

Asked in his post-game press conference if he ever wondered about "keeping the battle going", he replied: "No. I always wanted to keep working, I love this game, I love this job, I love my life.

"I just continue to grow, just continue to get better as a man, as a basketball player, as an individual."

Lowry struck up a close friendship with DeMar DeRozan during their time together in Canada before the latter was dealt to the San Antonio Spurs as part of the deal to acquire Kawhi Leonard last year.

While the trade was disappointing from a personal point of view, Lowry understood the decision taken by Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri and quickly buckled down to make it work with his new team-mate.

"When he made the trade as a friend of mine, my emotions were there, but I understood that I had to go to work, and I still played for the Toronto Raptors," Lowry said. 

"So I knew that that's my job, my job was to go out there and to be the best basketball player I could be."

Nick Nurse hopes his incredible journey to winning the NBA Finals with the Toronto Raptors will "inspire" other coaches.

The Raptors were crowned NBA champions for the first time on Thursday after a 114-110 triumph over the Golden State Warriors sealed a 4-2 series success.

Steve Kerr's Warriors came into the Finals looking for a third straight Larry O'Brien Trophy, but inspired by offseason trade recruit Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors upset the odds.

For Nurse, it completed one of the more unusual coaching stories, with a career that has seen him lead teams like the Birmingham Bullets, Manchester Giants, London Towers, Brighton Bears and Telindus Oostende.

He returned to North America and coached in the G League from 2007 until 2013, before spending five years as a Raptors assistant and finally landing an NBA top job with the same franchise in June 2018. 

"Well, I would hope it inspires some people that are in those situations to keep working," Nurse told reporters after the famous victory at Oracle Arena.

"I always say that all those jobs meant the world to me at the time, winning with Birmingham in 1996, winning with Rio Grande Valley, whatever year that was. And those games and jobs meant the world to me and I loved all those jobs. 

"I think you can't do very good work if you don't love what you're doing. I never really got discouraged. I didn't really care about the level I was coaching at, I was just trying to learn and get better. That's it."

Nurse feels the way the beaten Warriors battled all the way through the postseason despite the injuries suffered by the likes of Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins and Klay Thompson will have increased the level of respect they hold around the league.

"A hundred percent," the 51-year-old said. "That was hard on them. I think they had a rough year injury-wise, and they kept playing. 

"They got through some playoff rounds and guys in and out. And obviously a lot of things, a lot of bad breaks in the Finals, to be honest.

"Like us, they kept on playing. They were super-intense, high-level games and both teams desperately trying to win. I have a tremendous amount of respect for coach [Steve] Kerr and his staff and their players, for sure."

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