Hornets’ Lance Stephenson Dunks over Bucks’ Larry Sanders

It’s only the first game of the season for the Charlotte Hornets, but Lance Stephenson is already making big plays.

Stephenson drove to the lane during Wednesday’s opener against the Milwaukee Bucks, then proceeded to throw down over big man Larry Sanders.

The dunk was nice, but the Hornets were still down 83-68 after the third quarter.

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Larry Brown thinks Mudiay would set bad precedent

Brown is worried that more top recruits will follow Mudiay’s footsteps.

      
 

 

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Miami Heat News: Heat Cut Tyler Johnson, Shawn Jones, and Larry Drew II

The Miami Heat roster now stands at 16 players.
Early Thursday morning the Heat got closer to their final opening night roster — which must be trimmed to a maximum of 15 players — by releasing Tyler Johnson, Shawn Jones, and Larry Drew II. The release of Larry Drew II was expected as the Heat’s intentions were to sign and release him in order to assign him to their D-League affiliate team the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
On the other hand, forward Shawn Jones didn’t seem like he was particularly ready for the NBA level. In 16.5 minutes of play through four games, Jones only averaged 3.0 points and 3.0 rebounds and evidently did not impress the Heat organization. Jones is very nitty gritty, however, he will need to be developed further before he’s ready for a NBA team.
The most surprising cut out of the three has to be shooting guard Tyler Johnson. Although a bit out of control at times, Johnson’s athleticism and raw talent were clearly there as he would have been the perfect player to deve…

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Wyoming senior Larry Nance Jr. cleared to play

Wyoming senior Larry Nance Jr. cleared to play in upcoming season

      
 

 

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Miami Heat News: Heat Sign Larry Drew II

The Miami Heat front office have decided to add point guard Larry Drew II, son of Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach Larry Drew, Sr. Drew appeared in 11 games with the Heat during the Orlando and Vegas Summer Leagues where he averaged 4.4 points, 3.6 assists, and 1.6 steals while shooting 50 percent from the three-point line.
Drew also spent considerable time in the D-League last season as he helped guide the Sioux Falls Skyforce to the playoffs. He appeared in 41 regular season games, including 36 starts, and averaged 11.4 points and 7.0 assists while shooting 47.4 percent from the field.
Since NBA teams are allowed to designate four players released from their training camp for direct assignment to their D-League affiliates, it is expected that Drew will be waived and added to the Heat’s D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
Drew is not expected to be in uniform for the Heat’s final two preseason matchups beginning with the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.

The po…

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Bucks say center Larry Sanders has minor surgery (Yahoo Sports)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders will miss the rest of the preseason after minor surgery.

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SMU poised to emerge in Larry Brown’s third year

USA TODAY Sports breaks down the projected NCAA tournament field of 68.

      
 

 

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Lady Gaga Chills with San Antonio Spurs, Holds Larry O’Brien Trophy

Lady Gaga may have been the San Antonio Spurs’ biggest fan in Berlin on Wednesday.

The Spurs played an exhibition game—and lost—against Alba Berlin in Germany this week, and Gaga, who is on a world tour, was on hand to watch.

Having a front-row seat to see the defending NBA champions play is pretty cool, but the recording artist’s fun didn’t end there. She got to chill with the players and even hold the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Lady Gaga was able to snap some pictures with Spurs stars Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

[Lady Gaga

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Danny Ainge: Larry Bird Used To Trash-Talk ‘Out Of Boredom’

The NBA regular season is long.
So long, that Boston Celtics great Larry Bird talked trash during the regular season to keep his mind in the game.
Celtics president of basketball operations and former teammate Danny Ainge was on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich” on Thursday and said Bird would trash-talk during games because he was bored.
“I always thought he did it to keep himself interested,” Ainge said. “He didn’t usually trash-talk when we were in the NBA Finals or big playoff games. It was mostly during the regular season games.”
With 82 games, and some of them against inferior opponents, it’s no surprise that Bird needed some extra motivation to stay focused.
All of the trash-talk helped generate some awesome NBA moments, though, such as when Bird dropped 42 points on the Philadelphia 76ers on Nov. 9, 1984, and told Julius Erving to retire. The quip angered Dr. J enough to start a full-on brawl.
Photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports ImagesFiled under: Andre Khatchatu

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Larry Sanders’ Road to Redemption Critical to Milwaukee Bucks’ Turnaround

For Milwaukee Bucks big man Larry Sanders, his ascension among the NBA‘s best centers and defensive players came as rapidly as his fall from grace last season.

After locking into a four-year extension worth $44 million following a brilliant breakout season in 2012-13, Sanders probably had the worst year he was capable of having.

While we’ve seen players struggle to perform in “contract years,” there was so much more that went into last year’s troubles for Sanders.

Ben Leibowitz of Bleacher Report breaks it all down:

His involvements in a bar fight after just three regular-season games resulted in surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament—which kept him out for more than a month. …

He then underwent surgery to repair fractures to his right orbital bone in February, which he sustained against the Houston Rockets on Feb. 8, per NBA.com. He hasn’t been back in the rotation since—missing 25 straight games.

The five-game drug suspension is essentially the exclamation point on a lost season for Sanders. He was meant to move forward as the team’s up-and-coming leader and alpha dog, but injuries and off-court incidents have derailed his promising career.

Instead of expanding on his skills and continuing to be a strong defensive presence in the middle for the Bucks, Sanders raised questions about whether he has a place in Milwaukee’s future at all. Can he be depended on? What kind of impact will he have on his teammates?

Now on a big contract, Sanders wouldn’t be nearly as easy to move in a trade as before if Milwaukee decided that he was no longer providing a positive impact.

While there will likely always be someone willing to buy low on a game-changing talent like Sanders, the Bucks are sort of tied to him at this point until his stock can improve.

Here’s what Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times wrote earlier this offseason:

Still another Bucks player who could be wearing a new uniform next season is beleaguered center Larry Sanders, who has been saddled by a spate of off-court issues.

Sanders will be entering the first of a fully-guaranteed four-year, $44 million contract next season, making him virtually untradeable.

However, some team may be enticed to take on Sanders’ issues and hefty contract if perhaps Ilyasova, Henson or Knight was part of a trade package.

Obviously, it’s probably not worth it at this stage of Milwaukee’s rebuilding process to forfeit an asset and just dump Sanders. Unless he’s truly damaging everything on the court and in the locker room, the Bucks would be better off stomaching his presence until a better offer comes in.

With that said, the fresh start this year could do both sides a lot of good.

Milwaukee is turning the page as a franchise with new owners and a new head coach in Jason Kidd, so Sanders will be given every opportunity to get back on track.

Here’s what Bucks assistant general manager David Morway told HoopsHype about Sanders’ outlook going forward:

Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. Larry is in our future plans. We are hopeful that this year Larry gets back to being the basketball player that he was two years ago. He is a defensive presence and a game changer on the court. So when you have his length along with Giannis, Jabari Parker, John Henson and then Zaza Pachulia, Damien Inglis, who is very long, and if you play Khris Middleton at the two… We are a fairly long team.

The Bucks are wise to keep other frontcourt optionslike John Henson—on the roster, as relying on Sanders for a full slate of productive games might be a little tough to do at this point.

Again, though, for Milwaukee to turn things around and get back in the playoff hunt, it’ll need Sanders at his best. 

Here’s what Sanders told Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last year:

It’s been two opposite sides of the spectrum in a lot of ways. Two extremes. A consistent season would be great. I’ll be better from this. I’ve learned a lot already from this year. I’m going to continue to learn. I hate that this is a negative impact on my fans and my family or the organization.

At least in some ways, it’s good that the bar is so low right now. Sanders just needs to stay out of trouble and stay on the court, which shouldn’t be too much to ask.

Once he’s there, his incredible length and shot-blocking abilities should take care of the resteven if we don’t see him play at his 2012-13 level quite yet.

It’s important for the development of the entire Bucks team to have Sanders playing well.

Jabari Parker needs his rim protection to cover up for his defensive faults, and such a young team needs to establish an identity early on. With Sanders and all that length elsewhere, it can revolve around defense, so long as there’s consistency. That’s the big question right now.

For the Bucks to eventually turn it around and complete their rebuilding process, a lot of it starts with the man in the middle of it all.

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