Lakers contact Spurs but have had no further dialogue about Kawhi Leonard

The Los Angeles Lakers contacted the San Antonio Spurs after Kawhi Leonard‘s public trade request last week but immediately felt the Spurs had no intention of engaging in any dialogue, sources close to the situation told ESPN. As one Lakers source put it, “They basically shut the door on us.” No players were discussed and, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday, there has been no further dialogue between the teams. Leonard has expressed a preference to be traded to Los Angeles, specifically the Lakers. All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard reportedly wants…

N.B.A. Draft 2018: Live Picks and Analysis of Round 1

• It has been fairly common in recent years for players to use a Jr., or even a III or IV with their name regardless of whether their fathers were professional athletes, but even with that in mind this year’s top picks seems to have an abundance of players who use a suffix, what with Marvin Bagley III, Jaren Jackson Jr., Wendell Carter Jr., Michael Porter Jr. and Lonnie Walker IV all being projected to be top-15 picks. • One-and-done college careers may be coming to an end should a…

Dwight Howard, Brooklyn Nets working on buyout

Eight-time NBA All-Star Dwight Howard and the Brooklyn Nets have agreed to enter into buyout talks for his $23.8 million expiring contract. “I want to be in a situation where I have an opportunity to help a team win,” Howard said Thursday during a phone interview. “That’s my only goal. All I need is a real chance and a clean slate where it’s not people talking about my past.” A buyout will allow the 6-foot-11 center to hit free agency this summer. Howard, 32, will ultimately be one of the…

ESPN and Others Order Reporters Not to Break News About N.B.A. Draft Picks

In an email message on Thursday, Wojnarowski said, “I will be aggressive in breaking news, including trades, trade talks and delivering our audience up-to-the moment reporting and direction on which players teams are planning to select in the draft.” Wojnarowski’s chief rival on pick tipping — Yahoo Sports reporter Shams Charania — will also be restrained. Verizon purchased Yahoo last year, and in January expanded its agreement with the N.B.A. Verizon now offers N.B.A.’s streaming subscription package for sale through Yahoo Sports, and is the exclusive mobile seller of subscriptions.…

Lonnie Walker talks NBA draft and his fascination with Bruce Lee

NBA lottery prospect Lonnie Walker IV isn’t your typical incoming rookie. The 6-foot-4 guard out of the University of Miami is not only one of the most athletic players in this 2018 draft class but a martial arts enthusiast. In fact, he told ESPN that his alter ego on the court is fighting legend Bruce Lee. Walker is so enamored with Lee that he once used Bruce Lee as his social media handles before being talked into changing it to his real name when he declared for the draft following…

Memphis Grizzlies discuss trading No. 4 pick in NBA draft

The Memphis Grizzlies are in discussions with a number of teams to trade the No. 4 pick in the draft, league sources tell ESPN. Any such trade would likely include Memphis forward Chandler Parsons, whose contract is considered an albatross because of his knee problems. The Grizzlies have several potential trade partners, as the Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics and LA Clippers have shown varying degrees of interest in a deal, a source told ESPN. Get ready for Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic,…

New York Knicks center Kyle O’Quinn declines contract, to become unrestricted free agent

9:23 PM ET Adrian WojnarowskiESPN New York Knicks center Kyle O’Quinn has declined his $4.2 million contract for the 2018-19 season to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, league sources told ESPN. O’Quinn, 28, had his best NBA season for the Knicks and should be among the better backup centers available in the summer marketplace. O’Quinn averaged 7.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 58 percent shooting in 18 minutes per game for the Knicks. New York’s starting center, Enes Kanter, has to make a decision on exercising his $18 million…

Los Angeles Lakers warn employees about possible tampering ahead of free agency period

The Los Angeles Lakers recently called an organizational meeting warning all employees about possible tampering ahead of a free-agent signing period in which they are expected to play a key role, with the ability to sign two superstars, sources with knowledge of the meeting told ESPN. Which decisions on key players, draft picks, trades and new contracts will be priorities for every franchise? Plenty of picks throughout the lottery could be in play for draft-night trades. So which moves should teams make? 1 Related Lakers co-owner and governor Jeanie Buss…

Big-name rookies on hand for Puma unveiling

NEW YORK — Puma officially entered the basketball shoe game Wednesday night, unveiling the Clyde Court, which will be worn by several big-name NBA rookies Puma has signed and will be the model that will first be sold to the public in October. The German company shocked the sports business world last week by signing Duke’s one-and-done Marvin Bagley III to the biggest rookie shoe deal since Kevin Durant inked a seven-year, $60 million deal with Nike in 2007. Other players who will be among the top picks in Thursday’s…

Dwane Casey says Detroit Pistons have plenty of talent in place

DETROIT — Dwane Casey looks at the roster of the Detroit Pistons and sees a core of players capable of a lot more than the team accomplished last season. “Our time is now,” Casey said. The Pistons introduced Casey as their new coach Wednesday, over a week after hiring him to replace Stan Van Gundy. Casey inherits a team built around Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, but the roster has little flexibility and the team gave up its first-round draft pick this year to acquire Griffin. In other…