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Kyrie Irving On Flagrant Foul: Was Protecting LeBron

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Kyrie Irving slammed Philadelphia 76ers forward Justin Anderson into the sideline to earn a flagrant foul less than 90 seconds into the game Friday night and declared it payback for rough treatment of Cavaliers teammate LeBron James. Anderson appeared to shove James from behind moments before and James fell to the court. Irving reacted when Anderson next got the ball and pushed him into the Sixers’ bench.

“Whether it was malicious or not … I kinda saw Justin kinda lower his shoulder and knock down Bron,” Irving said. “I was like … I gotta do something, I’ve got to protect my brother. A lot of late hits on Bron, a lot of guys trying to get one over on him. It’s over for that, it’s over for that.” Said James: “He was protecting me from getting shoved. It’s about it being a brotherhood around here and not letting anything happen to each other.”

Source: Brian Windhorst of ESPN

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Sources: NBA, NCAA Meet to Discuss Changing One-and-Done Draft Rule

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With momentum gathering to reshape the one-and-done draft entry rule, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts met with the new Commission on College Basketball in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, league sources told ESPN.

Silver and Roberts delivered the league and union perspectives on issues facing the basketball industry, including ways that changing the dynamics of the NBA draft could impact the pro and college games. The meeting was described as informational in nature, although the NCAA ultimately has no formal say in rules governing the league’s early-entry rules.

Draft eligibility rules must be collectively bargained between the NBA and the Players Association, and that conversation has been ongoing between the league and union, sources tell ESPN.

Nevertheless, there’s a growing belief within the league that Silver’s desire to end the one-and-done — the ability of college basketball players to enter the NBA draft after playing one year in college — could be pushing the sport closer to high school players having the opportunity to directly enter the league again. For that change to happen, though, the union would probably need to cede the one-and-done rule and agree to a mandate that players entering college must stay two years before declaring for the draft.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

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Luke Walton: ‘No talks of moving Lonzo to the bench’

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Coach Luke Walton says rookie Lonzo Ball remains the Los Angeles Lakers’ starting point guard and that there is no talk of moving the No. 2 overall draft pick to the bench.

Struggling with his shot, Ball has not played in the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ past two games — a win against the Phoenix Suns and a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Walton instead rode with the strong play of sixth man Jordan Clarkson.

“He’s our starting point guard,” Walton said of Ball after practice Thursday. “So there’s no discussion, no talks as of now of moving Lonzo to the bench. Nah. He’s our starting point guard.”

Walton said he was told Ball came to the practice facility late Wednesday night and worked on his shot after going 1-for-9 from the field, including 0-for-6 from 3-point range, in the 115-109 loss to the Sixers at Staples Center.

Source: Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN

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Okaro White Out Indefinitely with Fractured Left Foot

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The Miami Heat is down another man.

Okaro White, who started four games at power forward, but hasn’t played since Nov. 6 at Golden State, will undergo surgery Thursday to repair a fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone his left foot, the Heat announced shortly before Wednesday’s home game against the Washington Wizards.

White (6-8, 215) said he felt his foot “pop” as he went up for a reverse layup in practice Tuesday. He has been ruled out indefinitely, a Heat spokesman said.

White, a second-year forward out Florida State, averaged 3.3 points, 1.8 rebounds, 13.3 minutes and shooting 43.8 percent from the field in six games this season.

Source: Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald

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