Stephen Curry Calls Out Doubters After Shooting 74 in Web.com Golf Tournament

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry impressed in his Web.com golfing debut, firing a 74 in the first round of the Ellie Mae Classic on Thursday in Hayward, California.

He also took the time to poke fun at people who doubted him, responding to former teammate Kent Bazemore’s tweet that told Curry’s skeptics to “eat it”:

The former NBA MVP sits in a tie for 142nd but is ahead of 13 players (12 Web.com regulars). If it weren’t for a frustrating bogey on the par-five ninth (his 18th hole), Curry would have finished the round ahead of even more golfers. He hit eight of his 18 greens in regulation and needed only 27 putts to get through the round.

Meanwhile, the kid who was once deemed “too skinny” and “just a shooter” gets to add another feat to the list of ways he’s proved doubters wrong. 

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NBA Trade Rumors: Latest on Carmelo Anthony, Jordan Clarkson and More

At a minimum, the NBA trade rumors market seems hung up on a single deal stuck in limbo.

Said deal will feature a guy by the name of Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks, of course. It’s hard to imagine a reality where the two remain together going into next season, meaning the rumor mill keeps on turning with August underway.

Joining the dramatic saga out of the Big Apple are a few more notes fans will want to keep an eye out for, including a team that has already surprised once this offseason with trades and another keeping an eye on the future by any means necessary. 

Let’s take a look at the latest offerings during what is normally a slow time of year. 

             

Nets on the Hunt for a Move 

The Brooklyn Nets are the team that surprised once already this offseason, striking up the deal with the Los Angeles Lakers for D’Angelo Russell.

Granted, the Lakers used Russell as a way to dump a terrible Timofey Mozgov contract on the Nets, but a team stuck at the bottom of the barrel and searching for a way out doesn’t mind inheriting such a mess of a deal if it means grabbing a former top-two pick to build around in the coming years. 

By and large, those sorts of deals are the best way for the Nets to improve the fastest. Free agents don’t consider it a superb destination, and a series of mistakes has left the team without notable draft picks.

As such, it’s not too surprising to hear the team isn’t quite done with trades yet, according to NetsDaily.com: 

Again, getting Mozgov was a necessary evil to acquire Russell. The Nets likely want a more athletic big next to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who often runs at the 4. Rookie Jarrett Allen out of Texas is more of a defensive-minded player for now, so their pursuit of a deal for another big makes sense. 

The Nets don’t have much to offer in a deal moving forward, though a rotational big who can shoot and get up and down the court shouldn’t be too hard to obtain if the front office is again willing to soak up some cash in the process. 

Believe it or not, the Nets are a team to watch. 

           

Lakers Thinking Ahead 

The Lakers are a team with a long-term vision. Hope might be a better word than vision given how often big dreams have turned out to be duds over the past few years, but credit goes to Magic Johnson and the front office for keeping up the pursuit of a major turnaround. 

With Lonzo Ball added to the core of Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle and the surprise Kentavious Caldwell-Pope signing as the proverbial cherry on top, the Lakers now turn an eye toward 2018. 

There? The front office sees a future gifting them perhaps Paul George or LeBron James, with current guard Jordan Clarkson as perhaps the odd man out, according to Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus.

“One person within the organization who isn’t permitted to speak publicly on the subject told Bleacher Report the team is confident it can move Clarkson if needed to open space,” Pincus wrote. 

Clarkson is perhaps left swinging in the wind if the Lakers need to free up cap space if one or more major free agents decide to come to town for a few reasons. One, he has a costly contract through 2019 worth dealing, and two, the Lakers don’t really have another piece they’d seem comfortable moving outside of Luol Deng, but he’s a nice veteran presence for a young core. 

For now, the Lakers appear settled into a comfort zone where the young core runs wild next year, flashing the upside and perhaps wooing potential big free agents such as those mentioned, as well as names like DeMarcus Cousins

If a team wants Clarkson right now, which isn’t so outlandish because he’s a 25-year-old guard who averaged 14.7 points per game last year, things could start to get interesting in Los Angeles. 

             

Carmelo Update 

The circus surrounding Melo and the Knicks still doesn’t seem close to ending. 

Anthony is painfully intent on leaving the Knicks after the ugly situation with former president Phil Jackson, which soured his feelings on a franchise he’d remained adamant about staying with for a long time. 

With the damage done, the new-look Knicks front office remains hamstrung by Melo‘s demands and the details of his no-trade clause.

As ESPN.com’s Ian Begley pointed out, the Knicks want the obvious return for a superstar: 

The problem? He only has one particular destination in mind, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post: “A stalemate has ensued as sources indicate Anthony only wishes to waive his no-trade clause to go to the Rockets. Not even Cleveland, which is in turmoil, is good enough for Anthony as the Cavaliers are dealing with Kyrie Irving’s trade demand.”

Before the mentioned Kyrie Irving drama, the idea Anthony would want to join forces with LeBron in Cleveland seemed to make some sense. But like the Houston Rockets, the Cavaliers don’t have a ton to offer in the form of a trade without digging into the established core that makes them an attractive trade option in Anthony’s eyes to begin with.

And those Rockets don’t have much of an incentive to throw a major offer at the Knicks knowing just as well as anyone else that Anthony doesn’t want to be in New York by the time the regular season rolls around.

Based on progress so far, the Rockets seem intent on letting the Knicks blink first and adding a 33-year-old Melo, who still averaged 22.4 points per game a year ago, to a lineup boasting Chris Paul and James Harden

With Anthony’s desired destination apparent, the only thing fans of both sides can do is wait it out. 

               

All stats and info via ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.

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Willie Reed Agrees to Contract with Clippers After 1 Season with Heat

The Los Angeles Clippers and free-agent forward Willie Reed officially agreed to a one-year contract for the veteran’s minimum Thursday. 

The deal was originally reported by Chris Haynes of ESPN last month.

Reed, 27, declined his player option with the Miami Heat that would have paid him $1.6 million for 2017-18. He averaged 5.3 points and 4.7 rebounds, shooting 56.8 percent from the floor. The Heat finished a surprising 41-41, foraging a surprising bond that made Reed feel close to his teammates. 

“I mean you have an emotional attachment to these guys. This is a special team. We made history this year,” Reed said in May, per Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel. “Of course I want to be here. But we will see what happens when it comes to time to be able to talk and discuss things like that.”

Reed, who went undrafted in 2011 before battling his way through D-League and overseas stints, has proved himself as a solid bench big. He was good in limited minutes in 2015-16 with the Brooklyn Nets and was even better last season after linking up in Miami.

The Heat outscored opponents by two points per 100 possessions with Reed on the floor last season and were more than three points better defensively, per Basketball-Reference. Opponents shot 7.6 percent worse than their regular-season average when defended by Reed inside six feet of the basket, per NBA.com.

This was Reed’s first real chance at cashing on, so it’s likely a major disappointment he wound up taking the minimum. Cristiano Felicio got $32 million from the Chicago Bulls with a similarly limited sample; Reed had to expect he’d at least crack somewhere in the eight figures with his next contract. 

Reed doesn’t stretch the floor and struggles at the free-throw line. He’s something of a relic in the five-out NBA and will decline quicker than more skilled offensive players. 

The Clippers will likely use him in a similar manner to his role last season in Miami. He’ll back up Blake Griffin and probably get some minutes behind DeAndre Jordan as a smallish center. 

 As a limited-minutes big off the bench, Reed is a decent fit basically anywhere.

 

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Stephen Curry Shoots 74 on Thursday at Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic

Steph Curry took time out of his NBA offseason to make his professional golfing debut on Thursday, participating at the Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic on a sponsor exemption.

He didn’t disappoint, playing a solid opening round and finishing with a respectable 4-over 74 on the afternoon, per the Web.com Tour:

Things didn’t start well for Curry. Starting on the back nine, he hit his drive at the No. 10 into the cupholder of a golf cart to the left of the course, per Michael Collins of ESPN.com. He recovered nicely, however, bogeying the hole.

You can see his drive below:

He would then par his next two holes before consecutive bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14.

But that would set up his first professional birdie on No. 15, which included an excellent approach: 

             

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Joe Harris Says Nets Are Tracking the Color of Players’ Urine

The Brooklyn Nets‘ push to be at the forefront of NBA health and technology includes tracking the color of each player’s urine, according to guard Joe Harris.

Zach Lowe of ESPN wrote a feature on the Nets’ attempt to rebuild from their franchise nadir, which includes heavy investments in tracking player health. Brooklyn also tracks player diets, sleep patterns and soreness levels in addition to their urinary habits.

Urine color has a direct correlation with hydration levels, which is of the utmost importance for performance and long-term health.

        

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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Michael Jordan Says Kawhi Leonard Is the ‘Best 2-Way Player’ in the NBA

San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard can add Michael Jordan to the list of NBA greats who are enamored by his all-around ability on the court. 

In a Facebook video posted on Spurs Uncensored, Jordan called Leonard “the best two-way player in the game right now.”

A six-year NBA veteran, Leonard has steadily progressed into one of the NBA’s best players. He has finished in the top three of MVP voting each of the past two seasons. 

The 26-year-old set career highs last season with 25.5 points and 3.5 assists per game. He also averaged 5.8 rebounds, and his 13.6 win shares ranked fourth among all NBA players, per Basketball-Reference.com

In addition to becoming an offensive force, Leonard is a standout defender. He won back-to-back NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards in 2015-16 and finished third last season. 

Leonard’s ascent has allowed the Spurs to remain one of the NBA’s best teams over the past two seasons, despite the retirement of Tim Duncan and decline of aging veterans like Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. 

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Andre Iguodala to Be Turner Sports Special Contributor at 2017 PGA Championship

Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala will move from the hardwood to the fairways of Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the 2017 PGA Championship.

The Associated Press’ Jon Krawczynski (via NBA.com) reported Iguodala will work with Turner Sports to provide social media coverage and have an on-camera presence at the tournament, which tees off Aug. 10.

I’m looking forward to the on-camera thing, just to let people know my knowledge of the game and pretty much test myself,” Iguodala said.

Like Warriors teammate Stephen Curry, Iguodala is an avid golfer in the offseason, with the two-time NBA champion telling Krawczynski that he schedules his summer workouts so as to maximize his time to fit in the occasional round.

Iguodala said golfing helps him stay centered.

I feel like golf has brought me some peace,” he said. “When things aren’t going right, I can get out on the golf course and when things are going really good on the court I can go and enjoy the scenery, enjoy the weather. And when I’m too high, I can have golf humble me and beat me up a little bit. It’s a really good place for me to be, on the golf course.”

Iguodala will have to put in a lot of work if he’s going to catch up to Curry on the links. Iguodala said he’s at a 12.3 handicap, whereas Golf.com’s Jenna Febbo reported Curry is carrying a 2.2 handicap.

The two-time NBA MVP received a sponsor’s exemption to golf in the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae in Hayward, California. Through 17 holes of the Web.com Tour event, he’s tied for 127th at three over.

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