Stephen Curry Says He Wasn’t Mocking Cavs Star in #LeBronJamesChallenge Video

Count Stephen Curry as one of the many fans of the #LeBronJamesChallenge.

Speaking to The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson II Tuesday, Curry said the reason he imitated James’ dance at Harrison Barnes’ wedding Saturday was that he’s been memorizing the viral moves since they were first posted on Instagram in June.

“I’ve been watching that video twice a day since it happened because its my favorite video in the entire world. He made a song popular by making a video. And that lives. So now every time I hear that song, that’s all I think about. And I’ve been doing that dance because of him, at my house, at dinner. When something good happens, I pull that out, because I like it and it makes me laugh and it makes me happy. Not making fun of him.”

Curry also said that he didn’t mean any disrespect for dancing next to Kyrie Irving—who reportedly requested a trade from the Cavaliers as he attempts to move out of James’ shadow, according to ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst.

“That was just a casualty of the moment because me and him were hanging out all night,” he said. “Then that song came on and I was having a good time. Obviously, that’s a separate side story to their relationship, but neither one of us was trying to clown him.”

The wedding video aside, it’s been a busy summer for James and the Golden State Warriors on social media.

Not only has Kevin Durant been roasting fans on Twitter left and right, but James and his friend Draymond Green exchanged digital pleasantries in June during the Warriors’ championship parade.

At the time, James posted a photo of Green wearing a shirt featuring the word “Quickie” in the same font as the Cavaliers’ Quicken Loans Arena. The photo was captioned: “…. That’s what she said, HUH?!?!?”

“Well, the Q, that’s what those guys’ arena’s called,” Green said, per CSN Bay Area (via the Washington Post‘s Scott Allen and Des Bieler). “We got ’em out here quick, with the trophy. Quickie.”

If the offseason pettiness that’s consumed the NBA has been any indication, the 2017-18 campaign may be the most entertaining yet.

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Ian Clark Reportedly Agrees to Pelicans Contract After 2 Seasons with Warriors

Following a successful two-year spell with the Golden State Warriors, Ian Clark is reportedly moving on to the New Orleans Pelicans, agreeing to a one-year deal with the team Tuesday, per The Vertical’s Shams Charania.

After failing to earn a regular role with either the Utah Jazz or Denver Nuggets, Clark signed with the Warriors in September 2015.

He appeared in 143 games for Golden State and averaged 5.3 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists a night. Particularly last season, Clark benefited from the Warriors’ overall dominance. As head coach Steve Kerr rested his stars late in games, Clark had an opportunity to shine.

The 26-year-old scored 22 points in Golden State’s 127-104 victory at the Portland Trail Blazers on Nov. 1 and then dropped 23 points in its 135-90 home win over Portland on Dec. 17.

Clark’s best performance in a Warriors uniform came in a 107-85 triumph at the San Antonio Spurs on March 11. He scored 36 points on 15-of-21 shooting.

To a certain extent, the more Clark’s profile grew, the better his chances of leaving Oakland became.

Over the last few years, Warriors general manager Bob Myers has had to save what money he can to accommodate the team’s core of stars. Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli, Marreese Speights and Leandro Barbosa were among Golden State’s salary-cap casualties a year ago.

This offseason, the Warriors retained Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry. In doing so, though, they left themselves with little cap space to re-sign Clark.

In a perfect world, Golden State would’ve kept Clark, thus helping maintain their depth off the bench. However, Clark wasn’t a key contributor and thus was expendable.

The Pelicans could help Clark shine in a way he never would’ve with the Warriors. Less than three seasons after leaving Golden State, Kent Bazemore went from being recognized almost solely for his celebrations on the bench to re-signing with the Atlanta Hawks for $70 million over four years.

Clark shot 37.4 percent from beyond the arc and averaged 16.7 points per 36 minutes in his last season with the Warriors, per Basketball Reference. Assuming he can maintain or improve those numbers in New Orleans, he’ll be a solid role player for head coach Alvin Gentry.

The only question is where he’ll fit into the team’s rotation. The Pelicans re-signed Jrue Holiday and signed Rajon Rondo in July, and Gentry plans to start the pair together. That could make Clark the first guard off the bench.

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Hakeem Olajuwon Interested in Ownership Stake in Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon expressed a desire to take an ownership stake in the team.

Many groups now have called me and want me involved,” Olajuwon said Tuesday, per ESPN.com’s Mark Woods. “With two of the groups, I’m doing my background check to see if that is a possibility. Just an association would be great. I’m still with the organization now. I have a contract with the Rockets, not to be in an ownership position. But if the opportunity opens itself, it will be something great.”

Rockets CEO Tad Brown announced in July that team owner Leslie Alexander is putting the Rockets up for sale. Alexander has owned the team since July 1993.

Olajuwon isn’t the first former Rockets player to throw his name into the hat regarding an ownership stake.

I’m working on it,” Dikembe Mutombo said July 18, per Mark Berman of Fox 26. “I’m talking to a lot of people already since [Monday]. We’ll see. I’m just talking to the people who can cut the check and they can make me be part of it. I’m working on that.”

Bloomberg’s Scott Soshnick also reported Tuesday that pop singer Beyonce, who’s a native of Houston, is considering pursuing an ownership stake.

Olajuwon would be a fitting addition to any Rockets ownership group. No player has meant more to the franchise than the 54-year-old Hall of Famer.

He’s the franchise leader in points (26,511), rebounds (13,382) and blocks (3,740), and he helped lead Houston to NBA titles in 1994 and 1995.

Whoever purchases the Rockets may end up spending a record fee for the team, eclipsing the $2 billion Steve Ballmer paid for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2014. The Houston Chronicle‘s Jerome Solomon reported last month the Rockets have a valuation ranging from $1.6 billion to $2 billion, and that number will likely rise in the event a bidding war is started.

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Allen Iverson Apologizes to Ice Cube, Fans and BIG3 for Absence

Allen Iverson issued a statement on Instagram Tuesday apologizing to the BIG3 and his fans after he was mysteriously absent from the league’s stop in Dallas on Sunday.

When it became clear Iverson was a no-show, BIG3 released a statement saying it “had no advance warning” and that an investigation would be launched. 

TMZ reported Monday that Iverson allegedly was spotted at the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois, late Saturday night and early Sunday morning. 

Iverson, who signed on with BIG3 as a player-coach, has rarely played since agreeing to head up 3’s Company. 

To date, Iverson has managed six points in 27 minutes over three games. 

BIG3 play is scheduled to resume Sunday at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. 

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LaVar Ball Says He Was Better TE Than Rob Gronkowski

LaVar Ball will say anything.

On Tuesday, Ball told the Really Big Show on ESPN 850 AM Cleveland that he was a better tight end “back in my heyday” than four-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro selection Rob Gronkowski (h/t TMZ Sports).

Ball—who played tight end for the London Monarchs—claimed he was “too fast, too strong” and simply a better athlete than the New England Patriots superstar. 

“Once you get into a real good situation, where somebody really believes in you, that’s what you can take off to a whole other level,” he added.

Ball clearly feels he never found that situation in his football days. As B/R’s Natalie Weiner documented in March, Ball had stints on the New York Jets practice squad as a defensive end in 1994 for Pete Carroll and as a tight end for Rich Kotite in 1995.

He was ultimately loaned out to the Monarchs and served as Michael Titley’s backup at tight end. 

Titley offered his take on Ball as a tight end, per Weiner:

“‘It was new to him, playing football and playing tight end,’ said Titley, now 48 and living in Houston. ‘I don’t think he had played much in college. I think he was one of the first guys that they were doing that experiment with, trying to move a basketball player to tight end.

Ball ‘at the time could run like a deer’ despite being a ‘real big guy,’ Titley said. ‘If he’d had a couple opportunities and some more time, I think he could have made something of himself football-wise.’

Former Monarchs cornerback Kenny McEntyre had a far different perspective.

“Man, he’s talking all that junkand he was garbage,” he told Weiner. “Personally, I think the most athletic people in the world are basketball players, and he actually wasn’t a bad athlete, to be honest with you. But he was no comparison to what his kids are—let’s just put it like that.”

Former Jet Marvin Williams offered his take as well.

“I remember Ball very well,” he told Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. “He was a very athletic guy and raw. I remember him very well because he played only one year of college football. I remember a very confident guy and, yes, he voiced his opinion and was cocky, but overall seemed like a great guy.”

It’s hard to imagine that Ball, who never played a game in the NFL and was a backup in Europe, was anywhere near the level of a player like Gronkowski, who has a remarkable 68 career touchdowns in 88 games. And while Ball was a converted basketball player, others in that category—such as Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham—have had wildly successful NFL careers.

But Ball’s brashness is good for business. The more outlandish the commentary, the more his name makes the rounds in social media, in turn keeping him and the Big Baller Brand in the spotlight.

Which is why he will say anything.

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Melo Trimble, Minnesota Timberwolves Reportedly Agree to Contract

The Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly agreed to a partially guaranteed contract with Melo Trimble Tuesday, per ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski

Trimble averaged 15.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists a game in three years with the Maryland Terrapins. He was also a 34.3 percent shooter from beyond the arc.

The 22-year-old also made three appearances for the Philadelphia 76ers in the Las Vegas Summer League, averaging 10.3 points.

The Associated Press’ Jon Krawczynski‏ speculated the Timberwolves may be looking to add depth ahead of their trip to China in October for two preseason games with the Golden State Warriors:

In an interview with the Washington Post‘s Tim Bontemps, Trimble acknowledged there aren’t any certainties when it comes to his future in the NBA.

In the position I’m in, not being drafted and trying to make a team and all that, I’m not going to be the first or second option,” he said. “I might not be an option at all. But I’m going to do my role, and these next couple years for me is just getting where I fit in.”

Jeff Teague signed a three-year, $57 million deal with the Timberwolves this summer, and third-year guard Tyus Jones will back him up at the point.

Breaking into Minnesota’s rotation won’t be easy for Trimble. He’d likely benefit from spending most of his rookie year with the Timberwolves’ NBA G League affiliate, the Iowa Wolves, where he can gain professional experience and possibly prove himself worthy of an NBA roster spot in Minnesota or elsewhere.

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Beyonce Reportedly Interested in Buying Houston Rockets Ownership Stake

Pop singer Beyonce reportedly is showing interest in becoming part of an ownership group to bid on her hometown Houston Rockets following a decision by team owner Les Alexander to sell the NBA franchise. 

On Tuesday, Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg reported Beyonce could be an asset to interested parties by adding “superstar sizzle to any ownership group, likely helping the team with local and international marketing.”

Last month, Alexander confirmed his intention to end his tenure as owner of the organization, which began in July 1993.

“It’s been my great joy and honor to own the Houston Rockets for the past 24 years,” he said. “…I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the fans, partners, city officials and employees who care so deeply for this team. I’ve made this decision after much deliberation with my family and friends, and do so knowing the franchise is in great shape with the players, coaches and management team in place. CEO Tad Brown will oversee the sales process with the league office, supported by my management team.”

Patrick Rishe of Forbes estimated the Rockets could sell for $2 billion thanks to their offseason transactions, including a long-term contract extension for MVP candidate James Harden and a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers to acquire point guard Chris Paul.

“Leslie Alexander is now 73 years old,” Rishe wrote. “He purchased the team in 1993 for $85 million, won 2 NBA titles in his first 2 seasons of ownership, and the franchise is currently valued by Forbes at $1.65 billion…more than 18 times the value of the initial purchase. Job well done, Leslie.”

Beyonce is one of the most well-known celebrities in the world, but her net worth falls short of being able to buy the Rockets alone. Celebrity Net Worth projects her overall assets at $450 million, while TheRichest is a bit more conservative at $350 million.

Another factor is her husband Jay-Z’s agency, Roc Nation Sports. He was forced to sell his share in the Brooklyn Nets after becoming a certified agent to represent players, but there’s been nothing to suggest his wife wouldn’t be eligible to become a team stakeholder.

Beyonce was born and raised in Houston. She rose to fame as part of Destiny’s Child before experiencing mega success as an individual pop act. She’s also a prominent philanthropist, being named the most charitable celebrity of 2016 by DoSomething.org.

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