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Spurs’ Leonard Is 2015-16 Defensive Player Of Year

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The San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard, who helped the team finish with the NBA’s top defense this season, is the recipient of the 2015-16 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, the NBA announced today. Leonard, a 6-7 forward, becomes the first non-center to earn the honor in back-to-back seasons since Dennis Rodman in 1989-90 and 1990-91.

Leonard received 84 first-place votes and 547 total points from a panel of 130 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. He edged the Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green, who tallied 44 first-place votes and 421 points to finish as runner-up for the second season in a row. The Miami Heat’s Hassan Whiteside was third with 83 points (two first-place votes). Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.

A first-time NBA All-Star this season, Leonard contributed to a San Antonio defense that led the NBA in points allowed (92.9 ppg) and defensive rating (96.6 points per 100 possessions). The Spurs, a franchise-record 67-15 this season, were even stingier on defense with Leonard in the game: According to NBA.com/Stats, they had a defensive rating of 94.9 when the five-year veteran was on the court and 99.2 when he wasn’t – a difference of 4.3 points per 100 possessions. Leonard also averaged 1.78 steals (12th in the NBA), 5.5 defensive rebounds and a career-high 0.99 blocks to go with career highs on offense of 21.2 points and 2.6 assists.

Below are the balloting results for the 2015-16 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. The balloting was tabulated by the independent accounting firm of Ernst & Young LLP.

2015-16 KIA NBA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR RESULTS

PLAYER 1st Place (5 Pts) 2nd Place (3 Pts) 3rd Place (1 pt) Total Points
Kawhi Leonard 84 41 4 547
Draymond Green 44 62 15 421
Hassan Whiteside 2 12 37 83
DeAndre Jordan 7 29 50
Paul Millsap 3 12 21
Avery Bradley 1 11 14
Rudy Gobert 1 10 13
Tony Allen 1 2 5
Anthony Davis 1 1 4
Andre Drummond 1 3
Jimmy Butler 2 2
LeBron James 2 2
Trevor Ariza 1 1
Jae Crowder 1 1
Al Horford 1 1
Kyle Lowry 1 1
Chris Paul 1 1

For the third year in a row, complete media voting results for each NBA annual award will be posted on NBA.com/official after the announcement of each winner.

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Sources: Spurs Plan to Meet with Kawhi, Work Out Differences

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With head coach Gregg Popovich expected to take the lead, the Spurs plan to meet with [Kawhi] Leonard over the summer to gauge whether the sides can work out their differences and continue what has been largely a positive and productive partnership, sources said.

Leonard was sidelined for all but nine games this season because of a quadriceps issue that has led to an icy relationship with the team’s front office over his diagnosis and the rehabilitation process. He continues to rehab in New York.

Popovich, Buford and Leonard’s Spurs teammates have long maintained the squad wants the star forward back in the fold, but they’ve also all said his long-term health is most important.

Source: Michael C. Wright of ESPN

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Report: Hawks, Budenholzer Agree to Part Ways

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The Atlanta Hawks and coach Mike Budenholzer have mutually agreed to part ways, Budenholzer told ESPN.

The Hawks announced the move later Wednesday night.

Budenholzer, the 2014-15 NBA Coach of the Year, and the organization finalized terms of a split Wednesday night.

“I am grateful for the five years that I spent as coach of the Atlanta Hawks and will always cherish the incredible contributions, commitment and accomplishments of the players that I was fortunate enough to work with here,” Budenholzer told ESPN on Wednesday night. “From ownership to management, support staff to the community, I’ll look back with great pride on what we were able to achieve together with the Hawks.”

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

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Sources: NBA, NBPA Talk Lowering Draft Age Requirement

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The NBA and National Basketball Players Association’s conversations on eliminating the one-and-done entry rule have centered on lowering the minimum age requirement no sooner than the 2020 draft, league sources told ESPN.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts have discussed scenarios to end the requirement for American players to wait one year after high school graduation to enter the NBA draft, but no formal agreement could be reached before the NBPA’s executive committee, including president Chris Paul, gather for a meeting at the end of the NBA playoffs in June.

Silver and Roberts have both expressed a desire to change the rule, but it remains to be seen how the process of negotiating a rule change between the league and players will unfold.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

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