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Five things we learned from Game 5 of The Finals

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Five things we learned from the Golden State Warriors’ 106-105 victory against the Toronto Raptors in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena:

 

1.  Winning for Durant > winning without him

We all should have bosses who care about us the way Bob Myers clearly cares about Kevin Durant. Myers took to the podium late Monday night, after earlier helping Durant to a waiting car as the Golden State Warriors’ star hobbled out of the building in a walking boot and into an uncertain future.

When Myers spoke publicly, he still sounded devastated, tearing up as his voice cracked in the midnight hour for those in the East.

“It’s people, sports is people,” said Myers, the Warriors GM. “I know Kevin takes a lot of [criticism] hits sometimes, but he just wants to play basketball and right now he can’t. Basketball has gotten him through his life. … I don’t know that we can all understand how much it means to him. He just wants to play basketball with his teammates and compete.”

 

Kevin Durant suffered an Achilles injury in Game 5 of The Finals.

Durant’s ability to do that in these Finals ended early in the second quarter, when he lost the ball on a spin move, staggered, then fell into a sitting position, grabbing his lower right leg. Durant had missed Golden State’s last nine playoff games with a right calf strain. His Game 5 injury was termed an Achilles injury, with an MRI set for Tuesday.

Myers self-nominated for any blame that people cared to lay, offering cover to the Warriors’ medical and training staff for their input into the decision to have Durant play in Game 5. But blame is a waste of time. The impact on the Warriors and on The Finals ranked second and third, frankly, to the impact of this mishap on Durant’s short- and longer-term future.

In the moment, his teammates and coaches were pulled in opposite emotional directions, delighted with the outcome but anguished over the circumstances. “I’m so proud of them,” coach Steve Kerr said, “just the amazing heart and grit that they showed, and on the other I’m just devastated for Kevin. So it’s a bizarre feeling that we all have right now. An incredible win and a horrible loss at the same time.”

 

Warriors GM Bob Myers called Kevin Durant’s injury in Game 5 “not fair.”

Stephen Curry also talked about his friend, the situation, Durant’s toughness and having the opportunity yanked away from him like Charlie Brown’s football. But it was left to Klay Thompson, who hit two of the Warriors’ three daggers in the closing minutes that snagged Game 5, to provide the proper perspective.

“We do it for Kevin,” Thompson said, when asked how his team soldiers on. “We do it for ‘K.’ I can tell you this, he wants us to compete at the highest level, and we’ll think of him every time we step on the hardwood.”

This no longer is the conjecture and abstract stuff from the past five weeks, when analysts wondered if Golden State might be “better” without Durant. Every one of the Warriors has shot that theory down, and different does not mean better.

There’s no doubt losing Durant for what’s left of the series leaves Golden State’s cupboard more bare basketball options-wise. Kerr and Toronto’s Nick Nurse have talked repeatedly about all the ways in which the Warriors benefit from Durant’s presence, whether he’s shooting over the Raptors’ defense or simply exerting gravity to open space for his teammates.

 

Klay Thompson was sad to see his teammate, Kevin Durant, suffer an injury.

But now, there’s a focal point for the Warriors’ emotions. It’s not the muddle of will-he-or-won’t-he, and how-much-will-he-have. Now the Warriors can distill the jumble of exhilaration and depression that washed over them Monday into a goal and an inspiration.

“It’s going to be a rough go in terms of just trying to recalibrate,” Curry said. “Until this point it’s been about our hope that he could play and our hope to stay alive in this series.”

But the emotional roller coaster Curry spoke of is on a straightaway now, maximum speed to the end. One game at home, (possibly) one more on the road, without the guy who gave them 11 points in 12 minutes Monday but with a fresh fire, and a better chance than they had at tipoff of Game 5.

Ask yourself this: Does this make the defending champions less dangerous? Or more dangerous?

 

2. Timeouts cut both ways

Through three preliminary rounds and four Finals games, Nurse was introducing himself to the NBA’s casual community in impressive ways. His unaffected personality makes him easy to like — “Enjoy the game,” he tells reporters as he wraps up each pregame media session — and his adjustments against each opponent so far makes him easy to respect.

Nick Nurse opted to call two timeouts late in Game 5 of The Finals.

Nurse has been demonstrating a willingness for weeks now to try things without sweating the reaction of the basketball intelligentsia. His decision to throw a box-and-one defense at Curry raised eyebrows and triggered smirks from those who consider the tactic a relic best reserved for college or high school games. But Nurse shrugged and partied on as the Raptors moved within three minutes and five seconds of hugging the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Then, uh oh.

Toronto — more precisely, Kawhi Leonard — had just scored 10 unanswered points to thrust the Raptors into a 103-97 lead. The crowd at Scotiabank and the tens of thousands more outside at “Jurassic Park” could taste the franchise’s first NBA title.

But when Nurse called not one but two timeouts at 3:05, he doused some of that enthusiasm, snuffed his team’s moment and gave the Warriors a chance to gather. By current NBA rules, he was going to lose those two timeouts at the 3-minute mark. But he didn’t have to use them.

“We just came across [mid-court] and just decided to give those guys a rest,” Nurse said. “[We] just thought we could use the extra energy push.”

While his guys were resting, though, so were Kerr’s. As Draymond Green said, “We had a … chance to gain our composure.”

 

What are the key takeaways from Game 5 of The Finals?

The Warriors scored the next nine points, and Toronto’s only counter was a Kyle Lowry bucket on which DeMarcus Cousin’s goaltended. There’s no way to know if all of that happens without Nurse’s timeout calls, but his double-stack when he could have put pressure on Kerr to burn his final one did get in the way of the Raptors’ run, something coaches are loathe to do.

(By the way, can we all calm down about the Toronto fans momentarily cheering Durant’s injury? It was a reflexive response, seeing an opposing player they respect and fear perhaps headed back to the sideline for The Finals after aggravating a calf injury that no one considered career-altering. From their seats, that’s about all those locals knew. 

The fans needed to shift gears in that moment, same as Warriors fans had to adjust on the fly when Kyrie Irving blew out his knee in Game 1 of the 2015 Finals. Once they did, there was applause in the building and even a chant of “KD! KD!” Nobody was delighting in Durant’s pain or suffering, nobody was wishing him the worst.)

 

3. Who wins Bill Russell Finals MVP?

Leonard was in the midst of his personal 10-0 push when the time came for selected media members to submit their Finals MVP ballots. It was a simple piece of paper, with room for one name only, and the obvious choice — assuming the Raptors closed out the victory — was Leonard.

 

Kawhi Leonard has been a standout performer throughout The Finals.

The laconic forward had been terrific through the Finals’ first four games. He was finally cutting loose in Game 5, too. And yet, Leonard had an inefficient, unreliable game Monday. Until his late spark, he missed 13 of his 18 shots and was stuck on 16 points. He wound up shooting 9-of-24, 2-of-7 on 3-pointers, and had five turnovers to go with his 26 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and two blocks.

He was absolutely correct to pass up the final shot, blitzed as he was by Golden State’s Thompson and Andre Iguodala. Forcing something there would have fed the worst elements of “hero ball.” So instead Leonard got the ball to Fred VanVleet, who seemed to have the best options — shoot or drive.

But VanVleet shoveled the ball to Lowry in the left corner, and the point guard’s attempt barely left his hands before it hit Draymond Green’s fingers.

Certainly, Leonard could use a little more help. Lowry, Danny Green and Norman Powell are shooting a combined 38.8 percent overall. Pascal Siakam is 2-of-15 from the arc in this round and 15-of-72 since Game 1 against Philadelphia.

But if Leonard is going to walk off with the second Finals MVP of his career, he’s going to have to earn it Thursday and/or Sunday. Ballots will be recast both days (barring a blowout for the Warriors in Game 6), and he’s a heavy favorite. But save for the fourth-quarter spurt, Leonard labored against Golden State’s defensive attention.

 

4. This is going Game 7

C’mon, does anyone really believe the Warriors are going to lose all three of their home games in this series? They were 9-3 in The Finals at Oracle Arena through their past four trips (2015-18).

The crowd in Oakland, on top of all that talent, made for one of the most daunting stops in the NBA for road teams. And this was well before the sense of finality that has descended on the outdated and soon-to-be forsaken barn in the East Bay.

 

Oracle Arena will get its final curtain call on Thursday in Game 6.

Until the final few minutes of Game 5, it was possible that Golden State had played its last game at Oracle, though that reality never fully hit home. The players and coaches didn’t dare get their heads around it because once Game 4 was in the books, any sense that they were done at Oracle meant they necessarily would be done in The Finals in Toronto.

Now order has been restored, Toronto up only 3-2, as if each team has controlled its home games.

“The biggest thing, the biggest advantage is being at Oracle Arena one more time,” Curry said, “where our fans can really get behind us, and we’re going to have to will ourselves for another 48 minutes to stay alive.”

Said Draymond Green: “I’ve never seen this group fold. And that stands true still.”

Green, who had 10 points, 10 boards and eight assists while hounding Leonard and thwarting Lowry’s final shot, isn’t done yet. Neither, it turns out, is Cousins, who stepped into the breach when Durant went down and finished with 14 points.

 

An unpredictable 2019 Finals is headed to a Game 6.

Consider the alternative for the Raptors — wringing champagne out of their clothes, finalizing a parade route — the last thing they wanted to do was travel three time zones again, regardless of their success in Games 3 and 4 there.

“Yeah, our goal was to get them back on the plane, get them back to Oakland,” Thompson said.

Frankly, if Toronto could, it might take the loss now and wave everyone on to Game 7 Sunday at Scotiabank. It would save the Raptors the wear and tear of hauling their butts to California and back, and avoid subjecting themselves to whatever indignities, ankle sprains and confidence dings the Warriors and their fans might heap upon them.

 

Clutch shooting from the ‘Splash Bros.’ powered Golden State to a Game 5 win.

“Yeah, we had a chance to win a championship … and we didn’t do it,” VanVleet said. “We didn’t play well enough. We didn’t execute enough down the stretch and that stings a little bit. But there’s a lot more basketball left to play.”

How much is left in either team’s tank at this stage?

It don’t matter,” Draymond Green said. “I hope no one has anything left in the tank [after Game 5] because if you do, you didn’t give enough. But when we step back on our floor for Game 6, that’s all that matters. It’s not like we’re the only team battling. They’re battling as well. Everybody is facing fatigue at this point. … You’ve got to do what you came here to do anyway.”

 

5. Finals change free agency’s course

Certainly it’s possible Durant could still make the biggest splash on the market this summer. And there’s no reason to think one or more suitors wouldn’t be willing to pay him premium bucks next season to rehab and provide hope beginning with the 2020-21 season. Even that, though, could affect what free agents might choose to play with him, if they’d feel as if they’d be sacrificing a year, too.

It’s possible that this mishap keeps Durant with Golden State — he can invoke his player option for next season, earn another $31.5 million and rehab on the dime of the team for whom he sacrificed this week, while taking another run at the market in 2020.

 

Isiah Thomas and Grant Hill explain how a playoff injury can affect a career.

Then again, Durant will turn 31 in September. He has logged big minutes and long seasons and it’s only a guess as to how the most severe of Achilles injuries might affect his future performances.

Maybe he’s still effective at an All-Star level, but a changed player in the way, say, Rudy Gay got stronger and bulkier but less mobile after his Achilles tear. Maybe it’s all a great unknown until Durant actually rehabs and makes it back, wherever he opts to land.

There’s no denying, though, that it adds another huge variable to summer that already had Leonard pondering a relocation, Kyrie Irving presumed to be gone from Boston, Anthony Davis still making unpleasant noise in New Orleans and about 40 percent of NBA players overall in search of new contracts this season.

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Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.



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NBA Offseason 2019: June 25 roundup

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The NBA offseason is in full swing, with talk of trades and other player movement starting to bubble up. As well, free agency is set to open at 6 p.m. on June 30. Keep up on all the latest news, talks and more as the offseason takes flight:

* Ujiri wants to keep roster in tact
* Mitchell, Conley build some early chemistry
* Warriors to talk future with Thompson, Durant this week
* Beal: Wizards’ brass says I won’t be moved
* Morey: Rockets could add ‘top-level mid-level’ player
* Iguodala thinks Durant, Thompson will re-sign

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East Player MovementWest Player Movement | Free Agent Tracker | Offseason Trades2019 Draft

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 Ujiri: Raptors ideally ‘want everybody back’

Life is pretty great for the Toronto Raptors, who are not even two weeks removed from winning their first NBA championship. GM Masai Ujiri was the mastermind behind the building of the Raptors’ championship roster and some key player decisions lie ahead this summer.

First and foremost is that of Finals MVP and star forward Kawhi Leonard. He is reportedly declining his option for 2019-20 and will enter free agency, with plenty of suitors from the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks to the LA Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers on his tail. Aside from Leonard, swingman Danny Green (an unrestricted free agent) and center Marc Gasol (who has a player option) are among the names Toronto must make decisions on. 

Ujiri met with the media in Toronto on Tuesday and said Leonard is the top free-agent priority for the Raptors, but he isn’t about to overlook Toronto’s other players from the 2019 title run. He also plans to meet with Pascal Siakam’s agent this summer to discuss a potential contract extension. Siakam is fresh off winning the Kia Most Improved Player Award and was critical in the Raptors’ playoff and regular-season success.

Veteran swingman Vince Carter spent the first 6 1/2 seasons of his career with Toronto (1998-2004) and he and the team have mended fences after a bitter split between them years ago. Carter, who just completed his 20th season, is an unrestricted free agent this summer and Ujiri did not rule out Monday a potential place for Carter with the franchise.

Ujiri also commented on his future with the Raptors, as talk of him pursuing a front-office job with the Washington Wizards bubbled up shortly after the Finals clincher. In short, he sees himself staying in Toronto as long as they will have him.

— 12:12 p.m.

 

Mitchell, Conley get in some work

The Utah Jazz pulled off the most recent trade of the summer, reaching a reported agreement with the Memphis Grizzlies for star point guard Mike Conley. That trade isn’t expected to be officially given the NBA’s OK until July 6. 

While Conley isn’t officially a member of the Jazz (yet), he has apparently gotten in a workout with Utah’s other star guard, Donovan Mitchell. Thanks to video from Twitter users @ChrisJHoops (Chris Johnson) and @swishcultures, Jazz fans got an early look at their new backcourt.

(And as eagle-eyed observers will note, he’s also wearing a Jazz “note”-style logo t-shirt during the workout, too.)

If you missed it at last night’s NBA Awards red carpet show, Conley also talked about the pending deal to Utah and how he learned about it — while also atoning for a Twitter gaffe he made shortly after the deal was reported …

 

Mike Conley shared some thoughts on his reported trade to the Jazz.

— 11:25 a.m.

 

Myers to talk future with Durant, Thompson

Free agency doesn’t officially open until 6 p.m. on July 30, but the day beforehand, teams can begin scheduling meetings with free agents starting at 6 p.m. The Golden State Warriors have two of the prime free-agent targets of the summer on their roster and won’t be wasting time getting a meeting in with them.

Warriors GM Bob Myers told reporters on Monday that the team plans to schedule meetings with forward Kevin Durant and guard Klay Thompson. Per The Mercury News, the Warriors have held to Durant’s wishes to not have recruiting tactics, such as putting up billboards in the Bay Area. As for Thompson, The Mercury News reports he is expected to agree to a deal provided it is a five-year, $190 million one the Warriors have said they will offer.

When asked Monday of his level of optimism in keeping both players with Golden State, Myers simply shrugged his shoulders and said, “We’ll see.”

Coach Steve Kerr recently told ESPN’s Nick Friedell that there will be no formal recruiting pitch to either player.

“There’s no recruiting,” Kerr said. “We’re not doing any videos and tours of the city. Basically it’s a ‘We want you back and we hope you decide to come back and see what happens,’ but we’re at a different place now,” Kerr said. “But any time you’re trying to retain your own players, I think the song and dance, the pomp and circumstance is unnecessary and I actually think it’s unnecessary even for other players. You just got to do what you got to do, but with our group it’s just — conversation.”

 

What moves will the Warriors make in free agency this summer?

— 11:02 a.m.

 

Beal open to extension with Wizards

As difficult as the 2018-19 season was for the Washington Wizards at large, it was a solid one individually for guard Bradley Beal. He posted career highs in scoring (25.6 points per game), rebounding (5.0 per game), assists (5.5 per game), steals (1.5 per game) and minutes played (3,028). Washington, however, was not as successful as injuries to John Wall, Dwight Howard and others left the team with a 32-50 record.

Beal was in Santa Monica, Calif., last night for the 2019 NBA Awards, where he claimed the NBA Cares Community Assist award. He just missed out on qualifying for a supermax contract extension after not making one of the 2019 All-NBA teams. Beal told The Washington Post last night he was “definitely” open to discussing a contract extension with the team.

“I have thought about it but I haven’t really full-out processed it,” he said, in an interview at the Barker Hangar following his award presentation on Monday. “I still have two years left. We just drafted Rui [Hachimura] and I want to see what we do in free agency before I make the ultimate decision. I haven’t even been offered it officially. Until that happens, I’ll wait and think about it. I’ll have an ample amount of time to process everything and make a decision when the time is right.

“I’d be naive to say I wouldn’t be [interested in extension talks]. Washington is where I’ve been the last seven years, going on eight. It would be great to play in one place forever. But at the same time, you want to win and make sure you’re in a position to do so. I’m definitely going to evaluate who we hire as the GM and who we pick up on the team. All that plays a factor.”

After such a rough season overall, trade rumors swirled about the Wizards and Beal’s name came up in some rumors. Beal said Monday that he has been assured by Washington’s owner (Ted Leonsis), its interim GM (Tommy Sheppard) and his coach (Scott Brooks) that he will not be traded.

“They’ve been very transparent and that’s been great,” Beal told The Washington Post. “They’re not keeping me in the dark about anything, even about the trade rumors. … It’s great having that peace of mind.”

— 10:42 a.m.

 

Morey gives vote of support to starters

Over the last 12 years, the Houston Rockets have proven they are not a team to stand pat under general manager Daryl Morey’s watch. After falling short of their stated dream — a trip to The Finals — for a second straight season, Morey doesn’t think his team is about to fall back in the Western Conference.

Quite the contrary, actually. Morey spoke at the 2019 NBA Awards last night in Santa Monica, Calif., and made it clear he still believes his team is among the best of the best in the NBA. Per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Morey sounded confident that not only would his core players from last season be back come 2019-20, but more talent could join their mix.

“I think we’re going to have our starting five, plus a top-level mid-level. Maybe we’ll do better than that,” Morey said. “We’re going to be the favorites in the West, for sure. We were the best team down the stretch with that group and that’s without adding one more quality player like we’re going to do. Most teams are scrambling to keep their starting unit together. We got ours next year.”

Morey said the free agent competition for the top players appears unusually wide open. But he strongly indicated that his free agency game plan is built around winning the recruiting battle for a free agent that would play for a mid-level exception, to be worth $5.7 million in the first season.

“I don’t like the moves to open up cap room,” Morey said. “Makes it harder for me. I like the moves that make it harder to get people. All the moves have been cap-related. That probably worked against us the past couple days. But hey, it’s a competition. There’s going to be a competition.

“There are a couple real top guys, but it seems wide open. It seems more wide open. There’s a couple of guys you pretty much know where they are going. The rest are a mystery. They keep their circle real tight.”

Aside from that, Morey also shot down talk of a rift between star guards James Harden and Chris Paul, with Paul reportedly wanting out of Houston. Paul told the Houston Chronicle on Sunday he is “very happy” to know he will be back with the team next season. Morey added Monday that he had recently spoken with Paul about next season and playing for the Rockets.

“It’s been the strangest part of my career with the media,” Morey said. “There have been times we deserve terrible coverage. It’s not now. The discussion should be we are favorites next year and let people beat that up. That’s been really strange for me. It just started and kept going.

“The lines of communication are good. I just left a meeting with Chris.”

— 10:30 a.m.

 

Iguodala: ‘Nobody is going to the Knicks’

Two of the biggest names in free agency this summer — Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson — reside in the Bay Area. As such, the Golden State Warriors are readying for an offseason that, depending on what Durant and Thompson decide, could drastically change their future.

Forward Andre Iguodala was on Monday’s edition of CNBC’s “Power Lunch” to promote his new book, “Andre Iguodala: The Sixth Man.” The topic of Golden State’s free agency came up and specifically, what Durant and Thompson would do this summer. Iguodala had some insight on that — and some ribbing/trolling for New York Knicks fans, who have had eyes on the Golden State duo for a while now.

“I think they’ll both be back with the Golden State Warriors,” he said. “We’re like brothers, we keep in contact, but regardless of any of that, if both did decide to leave they would still be my brother. I would still keep in contact with them as much as possible. I’m just wishing the best for those guys and they come back full strength.”

After he was told he was crushing the hopes of Knicks fans, Iguodala said: “Nobody is going to the Knicks, sorry.” (It is worth noting, of course, that Iguodala was smiling as he said this and was likely just making a joke.)

The Knicks have long been thought to be among those hot on the trail of Durant, Thompson, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard and other top-level free agents this summer. 

— 10:10 a.m.

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East Player MovementWest Player Movement | Free Agent Tracker | Offseason Trades2019 Draft



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Lakers’ Jeanie Buss backs Rob Pelinka, chimes in on Magic Johnson’s exit

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The NBA offseason has been one of twists and turns for the Los Angeles Lakers ever since Magic Johnson stepped down as team president at season’s end. Additionally, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka was under fire after Johnson said in late May that Pelinka was the one who was “backstabbing” him while both men worked for the team. 

While all of this has been going on, Lakers governor and controlling owner Jeanie Buss has been silent on the events surrounding the franchise. However, she ended her silence on the matter at last night’s 2019 NBA Awards, speaking on the state of her team before the event got rolling. She minced no words, saying she stands behind Pelinka and was decidedly caught off guard by Johnson’s resignation as well.

She said her relationship with Johnson will “be fine” and backed the work Pelinka has done since coming aboard in the spring of 2017. 

 

Jeanie Buss spoke about the state of the Lakers before the 2019 NBA Awards.

“I’ve always had confidence in Rob, whatever the speculation is out there,” Buss said, per Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times. “We don’t need outside media to validate the things that we do. I’m very happy and I think we’re on the right path.”

As to why she hadn’t spoken up on the matter of Johnson’s resignation and subsequent accusations against Pelinka, Buss said: “There really wasn’t anything to say,” Buss said, per ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “I think that when Magic decided that he didn’t want to be with the organization any longer in an official capacity, that took me off guard. So I needed time to figure out what the process was going to be. That’s all. Just taking care of business and looking out after the organization.”

“It was a surprise when Magic turned in his resignation. I didn’t see that coming. But everything else has been pretty much as any organization moves forward and changes going into a new season. So as much as has been speculated as to what the Lakers are doing, to me, we are in a really good place and we are following our path, and our plan, going into the next season.”

The Lakers hired Frank Vogel as the team’s new coach on May 20, the same day in which Johnson went on ESPN’s “First Take” and lobbed his claims against Pelinka. That day, Pelinka said Johnson’s words were “surprising to hear and disheartening. … They’re just simply not true.” In Johnson’s absence, the Lakers were elevating Pelinka to the Lakers’ lead basketball executive. 

“I have 100% confidence in him in running his basketball operations,” Buss said, per the Los Angeles Times. “He’s brought us a great new head coach in Frank Vogel, whose teams have had a lot of success in the playoffs and who have played consistently ranking high in defense, which means not only does he emphasize defense but the players buy into his defensive schemes.”

 

What moves should the Lakers make in free agency?

Los Angeles has been active in the offseason already, reaching a reported trade with the New Orleans Pelicans that will net the Lakers superstar big man Anthony Davis. In exchange, the Lakers will reportedly send guard Lonzo Ball, guard Josh Hart and forward Brandon Ingram to the Pelicans.

Buss was at the awards to support Johnson receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award and to support former Lakers star Shaquille O’Neal, who was serving as emcee of the event. When asked by ESPN about Johnson’s comments about Pelinka betraying him, Buss said: “I can’t really anticipate what he thinks. He has to answer those questions. He’s always full of surprises. Like as surprising as it was, it kind of reminded me of back in 1981 when he asked to be traded after winning a championship with the Lakers because he wasn’t happy with the way the offense had changed. And that led us to getting Pat Riley as our head coach.

“So he’s got good instincts. He’s got to stay true to who he is and do what is right for him. I wish I would’ve had a little bit more notice, but I think we are going to be just fine.”

Once the Davis trade is officially consummated, the Lakers will have plenty of work to do to round out a roster chock full of vacancies and needs. Buss knows that getting back to the top remains priority No. 1 for her and her team.

“There’s the gold standard, and then there’s the purple-and-gold standard,” Buss said, per ESPN. “Certainly, we are going to do everything we can to get the best players possible and to get the Lakers back to consistently be at that level. But we got a ways to go, and I think we are [heading] in the right direction, but at the end of the day, we will be judged by our wins and losses.

“The goal has always been to get back into the playoffs.”

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Robin Roberts receives 2019 Sager Strong Award

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Be The Match

For the thousands of people diagnosed every year with life-threatening blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, a cure exists. Over the past 30 years Be The Match, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), has managed the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world, working every day to save lives through transplant.

If you’d like to volunteer to be listed as a potential blood stem-cell donor, ready to save the life of any patient in need of a transplant, please visit Join.bethematch.org/Robin

 

Sager Strong Award

Broadcasting legend Robin Roberts is the recipient of this year’s Sager Strong Award at the 2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia on TNT. The Sager Strong Award, named for iconic Turner Sports sideline reporter Craig Sager, is presented annually to an individual who has been a trailblazer while exemplifying courage, faith, compassion and grace. The award is bestowed upon the recipient in the form of a colorful suit jacket, a replica of the one worn by Sager during his unforgettable “Time is simply how you live your life” speech in 2016.  Past Sager Strong recipients include NBA legends Monty Williams in 2017 and Dikembe Mutombo in 2018.

As anchor for ABC’s Good Morning America, Roberts has been recognized with numerous awards due to her leadership, courage, sustained excellence and contributions to the show including several Daytime Emmy awards. In addition, Roberts is the President of Rock’n Robin Productions which creates original broadcast and digital programming ranging from informational shows and documentaries to live events.  Prior to being named co-anchor for ABC’s Good Morning America in May 2005, Roberts’ career thrived at ESPN, where she was well-known for her prominent role as SportsCenter host.  Before joining ESPN in 1990, she began her broadcasting career as a sports reporter and anchor in Mississippi before moving on to Nashville and then Atlanta.

 

Robin Roberts shared the inspiring message of “make your mess your message” at the NBA Awards.

Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 triggering an outpouring of support from across the nation, and again five years later with myelodysplatic syndrome (MDS). She aligned with Be the Match to inform the public about the need for more donors and, since her diagnosis, the bone marrow registry has seen a tremendous increase. Her battle has been recognized with awards and honors from organizations around the country including The Susan G. Komen Foundation and The Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program.

A 2016 Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame inductee, Roberts has also been honored with the George Foster Peabody Award in 2012 and the Gracie Award in 2019.  The recipient of the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism in 2014, she was recognized with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYS in July 2013 for the strength and courage she has displayed throughout her life and career.

Roberts, who graduated cum laude from Southeastern Louisiana University in 1983, where she was a standout performer on the women’s basketball team, received the WNBA Inspiration Award in 2008.  In 2012, she was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

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