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LeBron James calls Luka Doncic his favourite player in the NBA

By Sports Desk May 17, 2022

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  • Kyrie Irving opts in for $37m with Brooklyn Nets Kyrie Irving opts in for $37m with Brooklyn Nets

    Kyrie Irving has exercised his $37 million player option with the Brooklyn Nets for next season, confirming his decision on Monday.

    The move ends any chance of a sign-and-trade deal and takes Irving off the market when the free agency negotiating period begins on Thursday.

    Locking in the enigmatic Irving ends speculation of him fleeing—for now, at least.

    Earlier this off-season, Irving had given the Nets a list of approved destinations if a sign-and-trade deal were to happen. The only team on the list that explored acquiring Irving was the Los Angeles Lakers, ESPN reported earlier Monday.

    “Normal people keep the world going, but those who dare to be different lead us into tomorrow,” Irving told The Athletic. “I've made my decision to opt in. See you in the fall. A11even.”

    Irving has played just 103 of a possible 226 games since signing with Brooklyn in the 2019 off-season.

    Irving chose not to receive any COVID-19 vaccinations, leaving him unable to play for much of last season due to municipal regulations in New York. He played 29 games in 2021-22, averaging 27.4 points and 5.8 assists.

  • Sedin brothers, Luongo and Alfredsson headline Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2022 Sedin brothers, Luongo and Alfredsson headline Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2022

    Twin brothers Daniel and Henrik Sedin, along with former Vancouver Canucks team-mate Roberto Luongo and long-time Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, headline the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2022. 

    Finish women's hockey great Riikka Sallinen and Herb Carnegie, a black hockey pioneer, were also selected Monday to be inducted in November. 

    Daniel and Henrik played all 17 of their NHL seasons together for the Canucks after being selected second and third overall in the 1999 NHL draft. 

    Henrick finished his career with 1,070 points and won the 2009-10 league scoring title and the Hart Trophy as league MVP that season, while Daniel ended with 1,041 points and won the NHL scoring title in 2010-11 with 104 points. 

    Henrik routinely set up his brother, finishing his career with 830 assists (27th all time) while Daniel was the beneficiary of Henrik's passes, tallying 393 goals. 

    The brothers each won an Olympic gold medal for Sweden at the 2006 Games and helped lead the Canucks to 11 playoffs trips and a berth in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. 

    While the Sedins fuelled the offense for those Canucks teams, Luongo protected the net, serving as Vancouver's goaltender from 2006-07 until he was traded to the Florida Panthers on in March 2014.

    Over a 19-season career from 1999-2000 to 2018-19, Luongo ranks second among all goalies with 1,044 games played while his 489 wins are fourth most. 

    A three-time finalist for the Vezina Trophy, Luongo ranks ninth all time with 77 career shutouts and was also the goalie on the Canada team that won the 2010 Olympic gold medal. 

    Alfredsson, who also won an Olympic gold as a team-mate of the Sedins on the 2006 Sweden team, spent 17 of his 18 NHL seasons with the Senators. 

    The winner of the 1995-96 Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie, Alfredsson finished his career with 444 goals (tied for 64th all time) and 1,157 points (55th most in NHL history). 

    Sallinen, the first woman not born in North America to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, won bronze medals for Finland at the 1998 and 2018 Olympics, while Carnegie, who died in 2012 at the age of 92, is widely considered the best black hockey player to never play in the NHL. 

  • 'Nothing has changed' – Bulls reiterate desire to re-sign LaVine 'Nothing has changed' – Bulls reiterate desire to re-sign LaVine

    The future of two-time All-Star guard Zach LaVine remains the biggest question mark this offseason for the Chicago Bulls.  

    The franchise's desires, however, have been made crystal clear.  

    "We hope Zach is here for a long time, and nothing has changed," executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas said Monday.  

    Karnisovas and the Bulls have repeatedly made their desire to re-sign LaVine public, with the NBA's free agent negotiating period set to start on Thursday.  

    Karnisovas spoke at a news conference intended to introduce first-round draft pick Dalen Terry, but LaVine's unrestricted free agency again took centre stage.  

    LaVine previously said that he plans on exploring his options in free agency but has not ruled out returning to Chicago.  

    The Bulls could offer LaVine a contract up to five years and about $212million, while the largest offer he could receive from another team would be near $157m over four years.  

    Expectedly, Karnisovas remained quiet on the offer the team plans to make to LaVine.  

    "I'm confident. I'm confident in approaching this free agency in the next couple of days, sitting down with our group, looking at a lot of things," he said. 

    After scoring a career-high 27.4 points per game in 2020-21, LaVine's production and efficiency dipped a bit last season as he battled thumb and knee injuries, averaging 24.4 points a night.  

    LaVine had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in May.  

    "I think he's gonna be healthy," Karnisovas said. "I think he's now progressing great."

    The Bulls got off to a strong start last season, leading the Eastern Conference into February but losing 15 of 22 games to close the regular season.

    Despite ending a four-year playoff drought, they were dispatched in the first round in five games by the Milwaukee Bucks.  

    Even with the disappointing end to the season, Karnisovas would like to keep together the core of LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic and Lonzo Ball.  

    "This group has been here only since October," Karnisovas said. "We're still trying to get used to how to play with each other."

    While free agent deals will not be officially recognised by the league until July 6, teams and players can agree to terms starting from this Thursday.

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