Dennis Smith Jr. Reportedly Close to Endorsement Contract with Under Armour

Dallas Mavericks rookie Dennis Smith Jr. is reportedly close to a “lucrative endorsement deal with Under Armour.”

Jeff Goodman of ESPN reported the news Monday, citing a source.

Dallas selected Smith out of North Carolina State with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2017 draft.

While the 19-year-old Smith has not stepped foot on the court for a regular-season game at the NBA level, he impressed in his one collegiate season with the Wolfpack. He averaged 18.1 points, 6.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds a night in 32 games while shooting 45.5 percent from the field.

He also thrived on a marquee stage in an 84-82 victory at Duke with 32 points in a demonstration of his potential against talented opponents.

The Mavericks will look for similar performances from Smith in the NBA as they strive to bounce back from a 33-49 campaign.

The guard still hasn’t had the chance to prove himself worthy of a top-10 pick yet for Dallas, but his potential was apparently enough for Under Armour to offer a “lucrative deal.”

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Dennis Smith Jr. Reportedly Close to Endorsement Contract with Under Armour

Dallas Mavericks rookie Dennis Smith Jr. is reportedly close to a “lucrative endorsement deal with Under Armour.”

Jeff Goodman of ESPN reported the news Monday, citing a source.

Dallas selected Smith out of North Carolina State with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2017 draft.

While the 19-year-old Smith has not stepped foot on the court for a regular-season game at the NBA level, he impressed in his one collegiate season with the Wolfpack. He averaged 18.1 points, 6.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds a night in 32 games while shooting 45.5 percent from the field.

He also thrived on a marquee stage in an 84-82 victory at Duke with 32 points in a demonstration of his potential against talented opponents.

The Mavericks will look for similar performances from Smith in the NBA as they strive to bounce back from a 33-49 campaign.

The guard still hasn’t had the chance to prove himself worthy of a top-10 pick yet for Dallas, but his potential was apparently enough for Under Armour to offer a “lucrative deal.”

Read more NBA news on BleacherReport.com

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David Griffin on Kyrie Irving Trade Request: Most Don’t Have ‘Courage’ to Do It

Former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin applauded Kyrie Irving‘s “courage” to ask for a trade from the organization Monday.

“Most guys don’t have the courage to do what he did,” Griffin said on ESPN’s The Jump.

Irving, 25, has been the talk of the NBA since formally requesting a trade from Cleveland last month. The Cavaliers have made no tangible progress on a move, but there has been a near-constant stream of rumors and speculation in the weeks since.

        

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

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Knicks Reportedly Hire Barack Obama’s Brother-in-Law Craig Robinson

The New York Knicks have reportedly hired Craig Robinson to serve multiple roles in their front office, “including player development and serving as general manager of the Knicks’ development league team in Westchester,” according to Shams Charania of The Vertical.

Robinson—the brother of Michelle Obama and brother-in-law of former president Barack Obama—was previously the Milwaukee Bucks‘ vice president of player and organizational development.

         

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

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Glen Taylor Says Andrew Wiggins Isn’t Available in Trade, Will Get Max Contract

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins expects a max contract extension by the Oct. 16 deadline for rookie extensions.

Wolves owner Glen Taylor made it clear he fully plans on giving it to him.

Taylor told Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune that he plans on handing Wiggins a five-year, $150 million offer. The first pick of the 2014 NBA draft is also unavailable in any trade package—including one for Kyrie Irving—according to Taylor.

    

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

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NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook and More

Now a week into August, the NBA‘s rumor mill continues to churn, thanks in large part to disgruntled Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving.

His July trade request sent the mill into overdrive, and as we inch closer and closer to the start of training camps and Cleveland explores all the offers coming its way, it’s still fueling it.

In other news, Russell Westbrook appears to be in no hurry to sign an extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder. It may be nothing, but having been through the Kevin Durant saga, nervousness from Thunder fans would be understandable.

        

Kyrie Irving to the New York Knicks?

Shortly after Irving’s demand became public, a list of teams he’d like to play for surfaced. It included the San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves, among others. 

But the biggest newsmaker on his list may have been the New York Knicks.

“His first choice is New York,” a source close to Irving told Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog. “The Knicks is where he’d love to be.”

The problem with that option is that the Cavs may want Kristaps Porzingis if they’re going to give up Kyrie Irving, and the Knicks aren’t nearly as enticing a destination without the rising Latvian star.

“The only player the Cavs would really want from New York in an Irving deal is Kristaps Porzingis,” Terry Pluto wrote for Cleveland.com. “It’s very unlikely the Knicks would part with their gifted 7-foot-3 center.”

The only other possibility at the moment seems to be something centered around Carmelo Anthony. At this point in his career, he doesn’t really help the Cavs “win” a Kyrie trade, but perhaps his friendship with LeBron James could have longer-lasting ramifications. After all, Cleveland’s already back in audition mode, trying to keep its superstar from leaving again.

        

What about Kyrie and the Phoenix Suns?

Another option for the Cavs is the Phoenix Suns. There’s an issue there that’s similar to the one detailed above with the Knicks. The player Cleveland might really like probably isn’t available.

The Suns would be willing to trade Eric Bledsoe as part of a deal for Irving, even if Irving makes no commitment,” Pluto wrote. “But they would not want to include rookie Josh Jackson in that deal, assuming Irving keeps his options open. The Cavs would love shooting guard Devin Booker, but he is as close to untouchable as anyone on the Suns roster.”

There’s no knowing for sure what Jackson will turn into over the course of his career. He certainly has high-end potential as a Swiss army knife-type defender and playmaker on the wing, but Irving is already an All-Star and 20-plus-point-per-game scorer. Jackson has a chance of getting there, but it’s no guarantee.

Keeping Booker off the table, though, makes more sense. Sure, his advanced numbers don’t paint a pretty picture (he finished 168th in 2016-17 box plus-minus, per Basketball Reference), but he’s still just 20 years old and had last season’s best individual game, according to Basketball Reference’s game score.

Scoring 70 in a game is an extreme rarity. And even if Booker and the Suns were hunting for it in the second half against the Boston Celtics, seeing that from a 20-year-old shows immense potential.

         

Will Russell Westbrook Sign an Extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder?

The Thunder are offering Westbrook nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in salary. And at the moment, even with that astronomical figure staring him in the face, he’s not signing. Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman wrote:

“Westbrook arrived in OKC late Wednesday night, but a source told The Oklahoman that the trip is not so he can sign a contract extension. Westbrook is eligible for a contract extension under the NBA’s new Designated Player Veteran Exception that – when combined with the $28.5 million he’s owed in 2017-18 – projects to pay him more than $235 million over six years.”

Westbrook’s camp has been quiet on this front since the offer became public, which could make OKC fans apprehensive. After losing a top-five player in Kevin Durant last summer, it would be easy to expect the worst when it comes to the 2017 MVP.

The biggest reason for optimism may be the acquisition of All-Star small forward Paul George. If he and Westbrook can push the Thunder to legitimate contention against the seemingly invincible Golden State Warriors, it could be hard for either one to justify leaving.

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Larry Nance Jr. Says Lonzo Ball Will ‘Make Everybody Better,’ Stays Mum on LaVar

Los Angeles Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. seems excited about the prospect of playing with Lonzo Ball, telling TMZ Sports the No. 2 overall pick will “make everybody better” next season.

Nance spoke briefly to the paparazzo Sunday and said he “certainly hopes” the Lakers return to their “Showtime” glory.

       

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

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