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Morning Coffee – Sat, Jul 20

Signing the sibling to lure the bigger fish?

Report: Raptors to claim Kostas Antetokounmpo, brother of Giannis, off waivers

The Toronto Raptors plan to submit a claim for Kostas Antetokounmpo off waivers, Varlas Nikos of Eurohoops.net reports.

Kostas is the younger brother of NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Raptors were previously interested in signing Kostas Antetokounmpo to a two-way contract if he had gone undrafted in 2018, Blake Murphy of The Athletic reports. However, Antetokounmpo was selected with the final pick of the 2018 NBA Draft.

The 21-year-old was waived by the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday. Antetokounmpo was used sparingly during the 2018-19 season, earning 11 minutes of playing time cumulatively over two games. Antetokounmpo averaged 10.6 points on 52.2 percent shooting, to go along with 6.3 rebounds per game in 40 games with the G League’s Texas Legends.

Does this portend a further rivalry between the Raptors and Bucks? In all honestly, probably not, but it’s certainly fuel for the Giannis-to-Toronto 2021 campaign which has lit basketball Twitter aflame in recent months.

Thanasis Antetokounmpo signed with the Bucks on Tuesday, so three of the Antetokounmpo brothers could be involved in a rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Nick Nurse confident in Jim Boylen, Bulls: ‘He’ll be a good leader for them’ | NBC Sports Chicago

Nurse stated that Maddon is a huge inspiration to him and was clearly overjoyed to speak with someone he considers an excellent leader. Nurse’s Chicago trip would not have been complete without a little NBA talk and he had no problem discussing his faith in colleague and Bulls head coach Jim Boylen.

“Well, first of all, Jimmy Boylen, the head coach, is a good friend of mine and he is a hell of a coach.”

Nurse went on to joke about not wanting the Bulls to do “too well” of course, as the two teams will see each other four times next season and will both be battling for a potential postseason berth in a new-look, wide-open Eastern Conference. The Raptors, of course, will be looking to make another deep playoff run despite the loss of NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. The Bulls will be looking to at least have a competitive season after finishing with a whopping 60 losses in 2018-19, their first 60-loss season since 2002.

But when discussing the future outlook of the Bulls, Nurse was confident in the direction of the franchise and Boylen’s presence as a strong headman for the team is a major reason why.

“Everything rises and falls with leadership and…he’ll be a good leader for them.”

Art of Self Defense’s Jesse Eisenberg wants to be the Pacers’ Drake

FanSided.com (Nir Regev): I’ve heard that you’re an Indiana Pacers fan. Is that true?

Jesse Eisenberg: Well, I grew up loving them when I was a kid because they were such a great team. Reggie Miller, Rik Smits, who I took a picture with last year. Dale Davis, Antonio Davis, Just a really good team. I’m originally from Queens. Now I live in southern Indiana so I can go to Pacers games. That’s the most convenient team for me. (Laughs)

I like Victor Oladipo, he’s great. Hopefully, they’ll be good this year, they’re unexpected. [smiles]

Do you go to the games? You could become like Drake!

Yeah, I’ve been to games. That would be so cool [to be courtside like Drake]! If they’ll have me. I think they’ll make the playoffs, they were in fifth place this year even without Oladipo for the last month. I’m curious how Brooklyn [Nets] will be this year with their new moves. They have a nice team and I’ve liked watching them in the past.

https://twitter.com/Sportsnet/status/1152343570164137984

Chris Broussard Put A Canadian TV Personality In A Casket For Ripping Him Over Kawhi Leonard | Total Pro Sports

“I had to Google Jay first. Real talk. I didn’t know who it was. And then I laughed, because to me, it was like someone in the G League criticizing Damian Lillard. Jay Onrait, as my partner Rob Parker would say, he had a cup of coffee and a sweet roll in the majors. He was on Fox Sports 1 four years, and he got demoted back to AA ball. He went from the NFL to arena football. He went from the NBA to the G League.

“I’m like, get in the majors and stick before you criticize me. Real talk. I’ve been in the majors for over 20 years. I worked at the New York Times for six years. Won awards for my coverage of the New York Knicks. Went to ESPN the Magazine and wrote for 12 years. Won awards for feature stories I wrote there. Morphed into television and radio, and I’ve never been fired, never had my contract not be renewed. I’m in the majors. I’ve been here for more than two decades. You spent four years and got demoted. You’re criticizing me? My career cannot be defined by breaking transactions, or missing out on transactions, making a few mistakes on transactions.

“The irony is that Jay Onrait, in trying to critique me for getting something wrong, he got two things wrong. He said ESPN kicked me out. ESPN didn’t kick me out. ESPN offered me a multi-year contract and was surprised when I turned it down and went to Fox. He said Fox kicked me out. I’m still at Fox. In fact, Fox kicked him out! Fox did not renew his contract.

“I think his ire with me stems from two things. One, bitterness that Fox Sports 1 didn’t bring him back. And 2, during the playoffs, I called Canada soft. I said Canada is soft, the Raptors are soft, and Drake is soft. I apologize. Canada is not soft. Drake is not soft. The Raptors are not soft. Jay Onrait is soft.”

Spain’s Marc Gasol excited to be carrying NBA title success into World Cup – FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 – FIBA.basketball

“It’s going to be a very competitive tournament, probably one of the best ever, and we are all very excited to wear the national team jersey and try to make another great run at a FIBA World Cup.”

In the First Round, Spain will play in Group C against Puerto Rico, Tunisia and Iran. They must have a top two finish to advance to the Second Round, where they would play in Group J against the top two from First Round Group D that is made up of Serbia, Italy, Angola and Philippines. The sides that finish first and second in Group J will progress to the Quarter-Finals.

Gasol will keep close tabs on Canada, who recently put his Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse in charge of their national team.

“It’s going to be a very exciting tournament for them as they are building a very competitive team and they can go far in the tournament,” he said. “They have many talented players, a great mindset, and they want to show the world their talent.

As for Nurse, he said: “Coach Nick is very talented and he wants to help Canada basketball continue to improve. He has worked in the past with Great Britain (2012 Olympics) and they have shown improvement. Nick loves FIBA basketball. I am sure he is going to have a lot of success with Canada, and that the guys are going to love working with him.”

Blake Griffin Trade Rumors: 3 Chicago Bulls deals

An interesting trade rumor emerged on July 18 when the Chicago Bulls were mentioned among three teams that were reportedly involved in discussions with the Detroit Pistons for star power forward Blake Griffin. The Pistons were in a rebuild mode until they traded the Los Angeles Clippers to land Griffin back in January 2018.

However, the pieces that were exchanged to the Clippers from the Pistons included forward Tobias Harris, center Boban Marjanovich, and a first round pick, among other players and future assets. That wound up working out well for both sides since the Clippers were planning on tearing it all down beyond star point guard Chris Paul and Griffin anyway.

Harris turned into a star, even though he’s with the Philadelphia 76ers now. Pieces from that trade also allowed the Clippers to land Kawhi Leonard and Paul George this summer. The Pistons, Toronto Raptors, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Clippers were all directly impacted by that trade at the outset of 2018.

Lakers Feel Kawhi Leonard Played Them in Free Agency

“I’ve heard complaints in the days after the signing. I heard complaints from the Lakers that they got played. I heard complaints from the Raptors that Kawhi came in and asked for the sun, the moon, the stars then left them at the altar.”

The implication: Leonard knew all along wasn’t signing with the Lakers, waited a week into free agency so other top free agents would commit elsewhere then announced his decision just to sabotage the Lakers.

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