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  • NBA board votes for stiffer tampering measures
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 20, 2019

    Seeking to enforce compliance with tampering and salary-cap circumvention, the NBA board of governors on Friday unanimously passed a number of stiffer measures.

    • With the league seeking a "culture of compliance," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the new rule changes could involve, "Suspending executives ... taking away draft picks ... voiding contracts. ... All those provisions are on the table. The ultimate goal is compliance."

      Speaking after two days of meetings in New York, Silver added, "Our teams want to know that they're competing on a level playing field and frankly don't want to feel disadvantaged if they are adhering to our existing rules."

      If a player/agent solicits unauthorized benefits or contact regarding contract matters, a team must be notified within 24 hours, under the new rule changes. Also, five teams each year will be randomly audited to make sure no rules have been broken.

      Fines for tampering with team or player personnel would increase from $5 million to $10 million, and increase to $6 million for a team and $250,000 for a player for unauthorized agreements.

      Other changes approved by the board included adapting language in the league regarding traveling violations and establishing a deadline for teams to submit lineups 30 minutes before game time, 20 minutes more than previously stated.

      --Field Level Media

  • Carter signs with Hawks for record 22nd season
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 20, 2019

    Vince Carter signed a contract Friday with the Atlanta Hawks, returning for his 22nd -- and what he has said will be final -- NBA season.

    • Contract terms were not announced.

      Even though 2019-20 will be Carter's last season, he has a chance to mark a couple of firsts.

      When he plays in his first game of the new season, he will become the first NBA player to play in 22 seasons, surpassing Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, Robert Parish and Kevin Willis. When he plays in the first game in the 2020 calendar year, he will be the league's first player to play in four decades.

      Carter was the 1998-99 NBA Rookie of the Year with the Toronto Raptors, who selected him No. 5 overall in the 1998 NBA Draft. An eight-time All-Star, he enters his second year with the Hawks, where he'll also be counted on to mentor a young team that includes guards Trae Young, Kevin Huerter and De'Andre Hunter, forward John Collins and rookie swingman Cam Reddish.

      Of that group, Collins will be oldest when the season starts, turning 22 on Monday.

      Last season in Atlanta, Carter scored 7.4 points per game in 76 contests with the Hawks while playing on a one-year, $2.4 million contract. He started nine games.

      Carter, whose acrobatic dunks helped earn him the nickname Vinsanity, has averaged 17.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists in his career. Aside from the Hawks and Raptors, he has played for the New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings.

      He was the 2000 winner of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest and won an Olympic gold medal with Team USA later that summer.

      Also on Friday, the Hawks announced the signing of guard Tahjere McCall. He most recently played on the Hawks' Las Vegas Summer League team, starting four games and averaging 11.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.5 steals in 31.0 minutes.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Sefolosha, Rockets agree to 1-year deal
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 20, 2019

    The Houston Rockets and forward Thabo Sefolosha have agreed to a fully guaranteed one-year deal for the veteran's minimum, ESPN sources confirmed on Friday.

    • Sefolosha, 35, will be reunited with former Oklahoma City Thunder teammates James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Sefolosha played six seasons for the Thunder, from 2008-14.

      Last season, his second with the Utah Jazz, Sefolosha dealt with hamstring and hip issues. He played only 50 games and averaged 3.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 12.2 minutes. He's considered an efficient 3-point shooter, making 35.2 percent of his career attempts, including 43.6 percent last season.

      Sefolosha, a 13-year NBA veteran, also played for the Chicago Bulls (2006-09) and the Atlanta Hawks (2014-17).

      In 828 career games (475 starts), he has averaged 5.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists.

      The New York Times first reported the agreement.

      --Field Level Media

  • Clippers coach Rivers gives assist to OKC in landing Leonard
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, September 19, 2019

    Earlier this summer, the Oklahoma City Thunder sent the Los Angeles Clippers a list of players available in a trade. And the list proved to be the key to landing marquee free agent Kawhi Leonard, coach Doc Rivers said.

    • "We just showed him guys that we thought would match him and when he saw Paul George's name he said, 'I want to play with him,'" Rivers told the Los Angeles Times.

      The Clippers signed Leonard and traded for George, announcing the transactions on July 5. The Clippers sent the Thunder four future unprotected first-round picks and one protected first-round pick, and the teams agreed to two pick swaps.

      "We showed him everybody else, and he didn't want to hear it. He just stayed on Paul George," Rivers told the Times about Leonard. "So after the meeting we sat down and I said, 'We got to get Paul George. I don't know how we are going to do it, but we have to do it.' We did know that Oklahoma City wanted to break their team up, so that helped. But we didn't know if we could get him."

      Leonard, who lead the Toronto Raptors to their first-ever NBA championship in June, drive a hard bargain in other ways, too. He told Rivers and team owner Steve Ballmer that he wanted to see a commitment to improvement throughout the franchise, from players to facilities.

      "Kawhi said, 'I want to play for you.' And he pointed at me," Rivers told the Times. "He said, 'Mr. Ballmer, I love the things you do and what you stand for, but your team is not good enough, and if you don't change your team, I'm not coming.'"

      Leonard signed a three-year, $103.14 million deal with the Clippers with a player option for 2021-22, in July.

      Since then, the Clippers unveiled their plans to build an arena and team facilities on 26 acres in Inglewood, Calif., where the NFL's Rams and Chargers will play beginning in 2020. The $1 billion-plus, privately financed proposed stadium also includes an outside fan area, similar to Toronto's Jurassic Park. The Clippers announced a $100 million investment in community programs to benefit area residents last week.

      --Field Level Media

  • USA retains No. 1 FIBA world ranking
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, September 19, 2019

    USA Basketball remains No. 1 in the FIBA world men's rankings despite a shocking seventh-place finish at this month's World Cup in China.

    • World Cup gold medalist Spain remained at No. 2, with Australia jumping eight spots to No. 3, World Cup silver medalist Argentina climbing one spot to No. 4 and bronze medalist France dropping two spots to No. 5.

      The U.S. team has held the top spot since winning the 2010 world championship.

      The FIBA rankings incorporate results from the past eight years, a stretch that includes two Olympic gold medals (2012, 2016) and a World Cup title (2014) for the Americans.

      Rounding out the FIBA top 10 are Serbia, Greece, Lithuania, Russia and the Czech Republic.

      --Field Level Media

  • Wizards G Thomas (thumb) out 6-8 weeks
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 18, 2019

    Washington Wizards guard Isaiah Thomas will be out 6-8 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a ruptured ligament in his left thumb on Wednesday.

    • He suffered the injury Monday in workouts.

      "This was an unfortunate setback for Isaiah, but with his resolve and the top care he will receive from our medical team, we expect him to make a full recovery," Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said in a release. "In the meantime, he will continue to mentor our young guards and have a positive impact on the team as we start training camp."

      Given the rehab timetable, Thomas will miss the season opener in Dallas on Oct. 23.

      The Wizards signed Thomas to a one-year deal in July.

      Thomas, 30, is a two-time All-Star who appeared headed to superstar status when he averaged 28.9 points per game for Boston in 2016-17, leading the Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals.

      However, he sustained a hip injury in the second game of the conference finals against the Cavaliers. Thomas missed the rest of that series, a five-game Cleveland win, then was traded to the Cavaliers in the August 2017 deal that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston.

      Thomas was limited to 15 games for Cleveland due to the hip ailment, and he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in February 2018. He appeared in 17 games for the Lakers before undergoing season-ending right hip surgery in March 2018.

      A free agent that summer, Thomas signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Denver Nuggets, but he struggled through another injury-plagued season. He got in just 12 games, all in the season's second half, and averaged 8.1 points and 1.9 assists.

      In 485 career games (324 starts), Thomas is averaging 18.6 points, 5.1 assists and 2.5 rebounds.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA approves sale of Nets to Tsai
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 18, 2019

    The NBA Board of Governors officially signed off on the sale of the Brooklyn Nets and full ownership of Barclays Center to Joe Tsai for an American sports record $2.35 billion.

    • Tsai, who paid $1 billion for a 49 percent share of the Nets in 2018, is paying an additional $1.35 billion to Mikhail Prokhorov for the remaining 51 percent share.

      "We are thrilled that Joe Tsai is becoming the principal owner and governor of the Brooklyn Nets," said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in a statement. "In addition to being a passionate basketball fan, Joe is one of China's preeminent internet, media and e-commerce pioneers and his expertise will be invaluable in the league's efforts to grow the game in China and other global markets. I would also like to thank Mikhail Prokhorov and Dmitry Razumov for their enormous contributions to the Brooklyn community, the Nets organization and the league. They leave a thriving team, well-positioned for the future."

      Tsai is the co-founder of e-commerce company Alibaba.

      Prokhorov purchased the team from Bruce Ratner in 2010 and completed a move to Brooklyn and Barclays Center in 2012.

      The purchase price exceeds the previous record sale price of $2.2 billion, the cost to David Tepper to buy the Carolina Panthers and Tilman Fertitta to buy the Houston Rockets.

      --Field Level Media

  • Curry planning to play in 2020 Olympics
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 18, 2019

    Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry is planning to be part of the team that represents the United States at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

    • "That is the plan, for sure," Curry told ESPN's Rachel Nichols.

      "You know, obviously knock on wood, you don't want any injuries or things like that to interfere."

      Team USA is coming off an embarrassing seventh-place finish in the FIBA World Cup.

      The U.S. team had won 58 consecutive tournament games in FIBA and Olympic competition with NBA players dating to 2005 coming into the tournament, but left without a gold medal for the first time since 2006.

      Curry has been on two of the World Cup teams during that stretch, but has yet to compete in the Olympics.

      "I've never been on the Olympic team. I've been on two World Cup championship gold-medal teams. But the Olympics is the experience that I want. And next year will hopefully be it," said Curry.

      The American squad had to cope with more than two dozen defections from NBA stars who backed out of their commitment to play before the tournament. Of the 35 players named last summer as possible members of the roster, only four made it to China: Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton, Harrison Barnes and Myles Turner.

      "We're still the best," said Curry, before adding a caveat.

      "If we get the guys that are supposed to be there, in terms of, you know, representing us in the Olympic stage and the commitment's been there, and I think it'll be there next year."

      --Field Level Media

  • Air Jordan, other NBA owners in tequila venture
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 16, 2019

    Michael Jordan and three other NBA owners have joined to create a super-premium tequila brand, Forbes reported.

    • Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wes Edens partnered with Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Hornets, to create the tequila brand Cincoro. It reportedly is among the most expensive tequila brands being sold.

      The idea to create a tequila brand stemmed from a night during 2016 NBA owners' meetings in New York where the group, plus Grousbeck's then-fiancée Emilia Fazzalari, met for dinner. They was forced to wait due to a reservation mix-up, so they talked tequila.

      "That was when we realized there was an opportunity in the market to create a new tequila, a better tequila," said Fazzalari, now Grousbeck's wife who spent 29 years in financial services and has been heading up the project as CEO. "We let our hair down and became true friends that night."

      Now, the parent company Cinco Spirits Group produces four tequila flavors that launch this month in 12 markets and go nationwide in January.

      "The biggest problem we are going to have is the supply," Edens, co-CEO of the private equity firm Fortress, told Forbes. "I'm in the logistics and infrastructure business. Logistics are going to be a problem because the stuff is so good. It really is."

      --Field Level Media

  • Magic retain options on Bamba, Fultz, Isaac
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 16, 2019

    The Orlando Magic announced Monday that center Mo Bamba, guard Markelle Fultz and forward Jonathan Isaac have been signed through the 2020-21 season.

    • A third-year team option on Bamba and fourth-year team options on Fultz and Isaac were exercised, according to Jeff Weltman, president of basketball operations. Terms were not disclosed by the team, but Fultz's option reportedly was for $12.3 million.

      "(They) have each demonstrated a strong work ethic, while exhibiting a commitment to team values," Weltman said. "We look forward to exciting futures with them as part of the Magic family."

      Bamba, 21, played in 47 games (one start) as a rookie last season with Orlando, averaging 6.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in 16.3 minutes a game. He did not play the rest of the season after it was announced in February that he had a stress fracture in his left tibia.

      Fultz, 21, began last season with the Philadelphia 76ers, playing in 19 games (15 starts) and averaging 8.2 points and 3.7 rebounds in 22.5 minutes a game. He did not appear in a game for the Magic, who acquired the former No. 1 overall pick in a February trade for Jonathon Simmons and future draft picks.

      Fultz sat out most of last season while undergoing therapy for thoracic outlet syndrome, which causes compression or irritation of the nerves or blood vessels between the lower neck and upper chest.

      He was limited to 14 games as a rookie in 2017-18, averaging 7.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 18.1 minutes a game.

      Isaac, 21, played in 75 games (64 starts) with Orlando in 2018-19, averaging 9.6 points and 5.5 rebounds in 26.6 minutes during the regular season.

      A first-round selection (sixth overall) of the Magic in the 2017 NBA Draft, Isaac has career averages of 8.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in 24.8 minutes over 102 career regular-season contests (74 starts).

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Nets hiring ex-Turner exec Levy as CEO
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 16, 2019

    The Brooklyn Nets will reportedly hire former Turner Media president David Levy as CEO.

    • ESPN reported Monday that the Nets will make the move official after Joseph Tsai's purchase of the team is formally approved later this week at the league's board of governors meeting in New York.

      Levy spent 33 years with Turner, rising from ad sales account executive in 1986 to the role of president in 2013. He left the company earlier this year after AT&T completed its acquisition of Time Warner Inc. and Turner.

      Levy replaces Brett Yormark, who stepped down as CEO of the Nets and Barclays Center last month.

      At Turner, Levy worked closely with the NBA in his role overseeing Turner Sports' TV coverage. He has a strong relationship with commissioner Adam Silver, according to ESPN.

      --Field Level Media

  • Spain tops Argentina for World Cup title
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, September 15, 2019

    Spain defeated Argentina 95-75 to capture its second World Cup title on Sunday in Beijing.

    • Ricky Rubio scored 20 points, Sergio Luill had 15 and Marc Gasol chipped in 14 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

      Rubio, of the Phoenix Suns, was named tournament MVP.

      This was the second championship this year for Gasol, who won the NBA championship in June with the Toronto Raptors. He was the only Spanish player who was part of Spain's 2006 world championship team.

      Spain took a 14-2 lead at the start, but Argentina scored 11 unanswered points. Still. Spain never trailed in the game.

      Argentina's Gabriel Deck led all scorers with 24 pints. Nico Laprovíttola scored 17 and Facundo Campazzo had 11 for Team Argentina.

      Team USA finished the tournament in a disappointing seventh place.

      --Field Level Media

  • Jordan selling share of Hornets, will remain majority owner
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, September 15, 2019

    Michael Jordan is selling a percentage of ownership in the Charlotte Hornets to a pair of New York based businessmen.

    • The deal is pending NBA approval, but that is expected to occur quickly, the Charlotte Observer reported.

      Jordan's new partners will be Gabe Plotkin, a founder of Melvin Capital, and Daniel Sundheim, a founder of DI Capital. How much of the team they will buy has not been disclosed, but the Observer called it "a large piece" though Jordan will remain majority owner.

      "I'm excited to welcome Gabe and Dan as my partners in Hornets Sports & Entertainment," Jordan said in a team-issued news release. "While I will continue to run the Charlotte Hornets, make all decisions related to the team and organization, and remain the team's NBA Governor, Gabe and Dan's investment in the franchise is invaluable, as we continue to modernize, add new technology and strive to compete with the best in the NBA.

      "Both Gabe and Dan are industry standard-setters and proven leaders, with a belief in philanthropy and a passion for the game of basketball. They share my commitment to Charlotte and the Carolinas, and I look forward to working with and learning from them."

      Jordan, a six-time NBA champion, bought the Hornets for about $180 million in 2010 and controls about 97 percent of the team equity. Earlier this year, Forbes valued the Hornets at about $1.3 billion - 28th of the 30 NBA teams.

      The Hornets finished 39-43 last season and lost their leader, Kemba Walker, in free agency in the offseason. They made the playoffs three times this decade, losing in the first round each time.

      --Field Level Media

  • Popovich on World Cup: 'There's no blame to be placed'
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, September 14, 2019

    Team USA defeated Poland 87-74 on Saturday to finish in seventh place in the FIBA World Cup tournament, and coach Gregg Popovich had a few words for those who have criticized the red, white and blue for not bringing home a gold medal.

    • "Some people want to play the blame game. There's no blame to be placed anywhere," Popovich told reporters. "They want to play the shame game, like we should be ashamed because we didn't win a gold medal. That's a ridiculous attitude. It's immature, it's arrogant, and it shows that whoever thinks that doesn't respect all the other teams in the world and doesn't respect that these guys did the best they could."

      The American squad had to cope with more than two dozen defections from NBA stars who backed out of their commitment to play before the tournament. Of the 35 players named last summer as possible members of the roster, only four made it to China: Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton, Harrison Barnes and Myles Turner.

      Walker didn't play on Saturday due to a neck injury, and his two Boston Celtics' teammates were on the bench with injuries, too - Jayson Tatum (ankle) and Marcus Smart (leg).

      "Their effort was fantastic," Popovich said of his team. "They allowed us to coach them. You give people credit for what they did, and that's it. But it's not a blame and shame game. That's ridiculous."

      The team's 6-2 showing was good enough to clinch a berth in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, when the roster will look markedly different. Popovich, who will coach the team, didn't discuss a potential roster.

      "This isn't really the time to even think about that," Popovich said of the Olympics. "It's 10 months away."

      The seventh-place finish is the lowest ever by an American team in a major international tournament. Donovan Mitchell led the U.S. against Poland with 16 points and 10 assists on Saturday, with Joe Harris adding 14 points, Middleton 13, Derrick White 12 and Barnes 10.

      Mitchell, for one, said the experience was enough for him to know he'd like to be part of Team USA in Tokyo.

      "I think I have to wait for them to ask," Mitchell said. "But I want to be there."

      --Field Level Media

  • Veteran NBA G Livingston retires
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 13, 2019

    Guard Shaun Livingston announced his retirement Friday after 15 seasons in the NBA.

    • Livingston, who turned 34 this week, won three NBA titles with Golden State. The Warriors waived him on July 10.

      The Los Angeles Clippers made Livingston, a high school senior at the time, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft.

      He suffered a serious knee injury in February 2007 that forced him to miss the following season.

      "'The injury' gave me a chance to find and prove to myself (and the world) that I wouldn't be defined by my circumstances. With my time in the League what I will be most proud of is the fact that my character, values and faith were tested, and I persevered," Livingston wrote in an Instagram post.

      Post-injury, Livingston bounced around the NBA, with stops in Miami, Oklahoma City, Washington, Charlotte, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Brooklyn before finding his home in Golden State, where he spent five seasons.

      With the Warriors, he provided a valuable spark off the bench. In 367 regular-season games (15 starts), Livingston averaged 5.4 points and 2.4 assists per game, just shy of his career averages of 6.3 points and 3.0 rebounds.

      --Field Level Media

  • Adult content provider wants to sponsor Heat's home
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, September 12, 2019

    A company that produces adult internet content announced Thursday that it submitted a bid to purchase the naming rights to the Miami Heat's arena.

    • BangBros, a South Florida-based maker of sexually explicit videos, tweeted that it filed a $10 million bid to replace American Airlines as title sponsor of the county-owned arena located off Biscayne Bay.

      On Wednesday, Miami-Dade County announced that American Airlines decided against renegotiating its naming rights deal that expires next year. The airline has been the arena's title sponsor since it opened on December 31, 1999.

      The county said it was in talks with national companies to purchase the naming rights at a higher price than the previous $2 million-a-year deal.

      Apprised off the offer submitted by BangBros, a spokesman for Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez told the Miami Herald, "Seriously?"

      It's unlikely the county, team or the NBA would take the bid seriously.

      BangBros announced that it would change the arena's name to BangBros Center, which it would abbreviate to "the BBC."

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Pistons to sign Johnson, waive Beasley
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, September 12, 2019

    Veteran shooting guard Joe Johnson parlayed his time in the BIG3 league into a deal with the Detroit Pistons, Yahoo Sports reported Thursday.

    • To make room on the roster, the Pistons will waive forward Michael Beasley, who reached a deal on a one-year contract in August.

      Johnson was named the 2019 MVP of the BIG3 league, which pits former NBA players in games of 3-on-3. Johnson played for the Triplets, which won the most recent BIG3 championship under head coach Lisa Leslie.

      At 38, Johnson will return to the NBA, where he last played for the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets in the 2017-18 season. The 16-year veteran has played for the Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns, Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, Jazz and Rockets, while making seven All-Star Game appearances, his last in 2013-14 with the Nets.

      Johnson, the 10th overall selection in the 2001 NBA Draft, has averaged 16.0 points per game over 1,276 games played, scoring a career-best 25.0 points in the 2006-07 season with the Hawks.

      Beasley, 30, has played 11 NBA seasons, appearing in 26 games with the Los Angeles Lakers last season. The second overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, Beasley has averaged 12.4 points per game over 609 career games with the Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, Suns, New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks, Rockets and Lakers.

      --Field Level Media

  • Serbia beats Team USA in World Cup
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, September 12, 2019

    Serbia beat Team USA 94-89 in a consolation game at the FIBA World Cup in China on Thursday, continuing a spiral that will conclude Saturday with no better than a seventh-place finish in the tournament.

    • It is guaranteed as the worst showing in international play by the United States, as the top-ranked team in the world will wrap up the World Cup with another consolation game Saturday. In 45 major international competitions, Team USA had never finished worse than sixth and medaled 39 times.

      Serbia exploded with a 32-7 advantage in the first quarter when it nailed 8 of 9 attempts from 3-point range and added six free throws courtesy of fouls on 3-point tries. Serbia finished out the victory behind a game-high 28 points from Bogdan Bogdanovic (Sacramento Kings), who was 7 of 14 from 3-point range.

      Team USA came right back in the second quarter, outscoring Serbia 33-12 on 72 percent shooting, but shaky defense and the inability to consistently score allowed Serbia to keep a comfortable cushion.

      The Americans, paced by Harrison Barnes with 22 points, played without Jayson Tatum (ankle) and his Boston Celtics teammate Marcus Smart, who injured his left hand. Tatum has missed the past five games.

      Vladimir Lucic scored 15 points for Serbia. Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets) added nine points.

      The winner of Poland-Czech Republic will face Serbia for fifth place, with the loser taking on Team USA.

      --Field Level Media

  • France bounces Team USA from World Cup medal contention
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 11, 2019

    France rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit and knocked Team USA out of medal contention at the FIBA World Cup with an 89-79 win in the quarterfinals Wednesday in Dongguan, China.

    • Team USA had won 58 consecutive tournament games in FIBA and Olympic competition with NBA players dating to 2005 and leaves an international competition without a gold medal for the first time since 2006.

      Evan Fournier carried France with 22 points and Rudy Gobert had 21 points and 16 rebounds.

      "France beat us," Team USA coach Gregg Popovich said. "I couldn't be more proud of these guys who sacrificed their summer to be here having never played together. They put themselves in the arena and competed. They deserve credit for that. ... They did a great job and I'm proud of them."

      The best possible finish for the U.S. in this World Cup would be fifth place.

      Gobert said after the game no one on the France roster came to the World Cup to beat the U.S.

      "It doesn't mean anything if you don't win in the end," Gobert said.

      Donovan Mitchell didn't score in the fourth quarter but ended with a game-high 29 points. The U.S. went frigid on the offensive end in the fourth quarter and did not score on their final six possessions as France pulled away.

      After trailing at halftime, Mitchell scored 14 points in the third quarter and Team USA took a 66-63 lead entering the fourth.

      Jayson Tatum, who was listed as a game-time decision with an ankle injury, did not play for the fourth consecutive game.

      Up next for the U.S. is a meeting Thursday with Serbia in the consolation round at Dongguan.

      France squares off with Argentina in the semifinals.

      Several marquee NBA players bowed out of the competition during training camp. Popovich defended the roster he brought to the World Cup.

      "It's a disrespectful notion to even bring that up. It's disrespectful to France or whoever else is in the tournament. France beat us. ... It's not about the United States didn't have their other guys," Popovich said. "There's no such thing as other guys."

      --Field Level Media

  • Nets' Durant: 'Some days I hate the circus of the NBA'
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 10, 2019

    Kevin Durant understands the business side of the NBA and the attachment of fans to their teams, but that doesn't mean he likes it.

    • "Some days I hate the circus of the NBA," Durant told The Wall Street Journal for an article published Tuesday. "Some days I hate that the players let the NBA business, the fame that comes with the business, alter their minds about the game. Sometimes I don't like being around the executives and politics that come with it. I hate that."

      Durant signed a four-year, $164 million contract with the Brooklyn Nets after his former team, the Golden State Warriors, lost the NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors. Durant ruptured his right Achilles tendon in Game 5 of the series and will be out most, if not all, of the upcoming season.

      In the interview, it was apparent Durant, who turns 31 later this month, was a player in need of a fresh start.

      He said he hasn't been back to the Bay Area since the NBA Finals -- adding, "It didn't feel as great as it could have been" -- and had others pack up his home for the move East. He also didn't spare words when it came to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the franchise he spent nine seasons with and won a league MVP award with before signing with the Warriors in 2015.

      He hasn't forgotten fans burning his jerseys and calling him "all types of crazy names" after his decision, or the way he was greeted upon his return with the Warriors.

      "Such a venomous toxic feeling when I walked into that arena," he told The Wall Street Journal. "And just the organization, the trainers and equipment managers, those dudes is pissed off at me? Ain't talking to me? I'm like, 'Yo, this is where we going with this? Because I left a team and went to play with another team?'

      "I'll never be attached to that city again because of that. I eventually wanted to come back to that city and be part of that community and organization, but I don't trust nobody there."

      --Field Level Media

  • Jordan pledges $1M to Dorian relief in Bahamas
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 10, 2019

    Michael Jordan pledged $1 million Tuesday to the Hurricane Dorian relief effort in the Bahamas.

    • The Charlotte Hornets owner and NBA Hall of Fame member owns property there and is a frequent visitor to the area that was devastated by the Category 5 storm earlier this month.

      "My heart goes out to everyone who is suffering and to those who have lost loved ones," he said in a statement. "As the recovery and relief efforts continue, I will be tracking the situation closely and working to identify non-profit agencies where the funds will have the most impact. The Bahamian people are strong and resilient and I hope that my donation will be of help as they work to recover from this catastrophic storm."

      The official death toll has climbed to 50 in the Bahamas but is expected to rise. Thousands remain missing or displaced.

      Jordan donated $2 million last year toward Hurricane Florence relief efforts near his hometown of Wilmington, N.C.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cavs' play-by-play announcer McLeod dies at 67
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, September 10, 2019

    Cleveland Cavaliers play-by-play announcer Fred McLeod died suddenly on Monday. He was 67.

    • The team announced his passing Tuesday morning. The cause of death has not been disclosed.

      McLeod was born and raised in the Cleveland suburb of Strongsville and had worked as the Cavaliers' television play-by-play man since 2016. He also was the team's executive producer for multimedia.

      In all, McLeod spent 36 years in broadcasting, including 22 seasons as the Detroit Pistons' announcer. He also called games for the Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lions.

      He was a multiple regional Emmy Award winner and earned a lifetime achievement award from the National Academy of Arts and Sciences.

      "The entire Cavaliers organization mourns the loss of their great friend and teammate," the team said in a statement. "Fred's deep love for Cleveland and the Cavaliers was clearly evident in everything he did in and around the community and on-air during his more than 1,000 Cavalier game broadcasts. He was a true, heart-felt ambassador for the team, fans and entire greater Cleveland community."

      McLeod is survived by his wife, Beth, and their three children.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA notebook: Grizzlies reportedly won't buy out Iguodala
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 9, 2019

    The Memphis Grizzlies are not engaging forward Andre Iguodala in buyout discussions and expect the 15-year veteran to report to training camp, according to The Athletic and Stadium's Shams Charania.

    • Iguodala, 35, was acquired in a trade with the Golden State Warriors in July. In order to entice the Grizzlies to pick up Iguodala's contract, the Warriors also sent a 2024 first-round pick to Memphis.

      Iguodala spent the past six seasons with Golden State, helping the team win three NBA titles and winning 2015 NBA Finals MVP. For his career, he has averaged 12.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.5 steals per game.

      It was expected that the Grizzlies would have talks about a buyout with Iguodala after buying out Dwight Howard, Charania reported. As a well-respected player and proven winner, Iguodala would have plenty of suitors across the league.

      --Team USA qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and headed to the FIBA World Cup quarterfinals with an 89-73 victory against Brazil in Shenzhen, China.

      The Americans will face France on Wednesday in Dongguan, with the winner meeting either Argentina or Serbia in the semifinals. Myles Turner and Kemba Walker each scored 16 points to lead Team USA, which shot 52.2 percent from the field and had more steals (11) than turnovers (10).

      Jaylen Brown added 11 points, Harrison Barnes had 10 and Marcus Smart and Khris Middleton each scored nine. Jayson Tatum remained on the sidelines with an ankle injury. Vitor Benite scored a game-high 21 points for Brazil, with Anderson Varejao and Leandrinho Barbosa each scoring 14 points.

      --Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, a member of the U.S. men's national team, practiced for the first time since spraining his left ankle in a win over Turkey at the FIBA World Cup last week.

      He said the ankle "felt good," and he is optimistic about seeing action when the U.S. resumes play Wednesday in a quarterfinal game against France in Dongguan, China.

      Tatum was held out of action during wins over Japan, Greece and Brazil. He was hurt in the closing seconds of a 93-92 overtime victory against Turkey on Sept. 3. In his first two World Cup games, Tatum averaged 10.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in 24.5 minutes.

      --The NBA has decided to ban "ninja-style headwear" beginning with the 2019-20 season, according to an ESPN report.

      Teams were notified in May of the decision, and the issue was expected to be further discussed by the NBA Competition Committee at meetings in Chicago on Monday. Details such as the size and length of the headbands will be determined prior to making an official rule change.

      Among the players known for wearing the headwear in the past are Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat, Jrue Holiday of the New Orleans Pelicans and Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Grizzlies refusing to buy out F Iguodala
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 9, 2019

    The Memphis Grizzlies are not engaging forward Andre Iguodala in buyout discussions and expect the 15-year veteran to report to training camp, according to The Athletic's and Stadium's Shams Charania.

    • Iguodala, 35, was acquired in a trade with the Golden State Warriors in July. In order to entice the Grizzlies to pick up Iguodala's contract, the Warriors also sent a 2024 first-round pick to Memphis.

      Iguodala spent the past six seasons with Golden State, helping the team win three NBA titles and winning 2015 NBA Finals MVP. For his career, he has averaged 12.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.5 steals per game.

      It was expected that the Grizzlies would have talks about a buyout with Iguodala after buying out Dwight Howard, Charania reported. As a well-respected player and proven winner, Iguodala would have plenty of suitors across the league.

      Memphis is in rebuilding mode, having traded team legends Mike Conley and Marc Gasol this year.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: NBA banning ‘ninja-style headwear’ this season
    By Field Level Media / Monday, September 9, 2019

    The NBA has decided to ban "ninja-style headwear" beginning with the 2019-20 season, according to an ESPN report.

    • Teams were notified in May of the decision, and the issue was expected to be further discussed by the NBA Competition Committee at meetings in Chicago on Monday. Details such as the size and length of the headbands will be determined prior to making an official rule change.

      "The ninja-style headwear is not part of the NBA uniform and hasn't been through the league approval process," NBA spokesman Mike Bass told ESPN in a statement. "Teams have raised concerns regarding safety and consistency of size, length and how they are tied which requires a thorough review before consideration of any rule change.

      "When some players began wearing them last season, we didn't want to cause a disruption by intervening midseason, but we notified our teams in May that they would not be part of this season's uniforms."

      Among the players known for wearing the headwear in the past are Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat, Jrue Holiday of the New Orleans Pelicans and Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

      --Field Level Media