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Sources: Mavericks Hire Sports Gambler Bob Voulgaris to Front Office Role

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In another example of how dramatically the NBA is embracing the gambling industry, the Dallas Mavericks are hiring former professional sports gambler Bob Voulgaris as director of quantitative research and development, league sources told ESPN.

For years, Voulgaris made a living betting on NBA games, successfully wagering based on his research and information. Voulgaris is known for his deep analytics and expertise on coaching strategy and tendencies of individual referees.

Voulgaris created a popular NBA Twitter following where he regularly dispensed basketball information, opinions and data.

In part, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is expected to utilize Voulgaris as a strategic thinker who will help examine on-court strategy in big-picture ways.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN

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Report: Warriors ‘hopeful’ of Kevin Durant Return in NBA Finals, DeMarcus Cousins Expected to Return

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Warriors forward Kevin Durant (strained right calf) and center DeMarcus Cousins (torn left quadriceps muscle) were evaluated by the team’s medical staff earlier today.

Durant, who has not yet been cleared to begin on-court activities, continues to make good progress with his rehabilitation. At this point, it is unlikely that he will play at the beginning of the 2019 NBA Finals, but it’s hopeful that he could return at some point during the series.

Cousins also continues to make good progress with his rehabilitation and practiced with the team today for the first time since suffering the injury on April 16. It’s anticipated that he will play at some point during the 2019 NBA Finals, but the exact date is to be determined and depends on his progress.

The status for both players will be updated next Wednesday.

Source: Golden State Warriors

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Sources: Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard Expected to Agree to Four-Year Supermax Extension

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Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers are expected to come to terms over the summer on a four-year, $191 million supermax contract extension, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Lillard would officially qualify for the supermax if he’s voted to one of the three All-NBA Teams, which is virtually a lock for the four-time All-Star.

Lillard has two years and approximately $62 million remaining on his current deal. The extension would put him under contract for the next six years, and he’d be 34 years old by the time the deal expires, perhaps solidifying his status as arguably the greatest Trail Blazer of all time.

According to rival executives, a new pact for Lillard would almost certainly include a player option, something the guard bypassed on his previous deal.

Source: Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports

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Sources: Clippers ‘equally dangerous threat to Knicks’ to Sign Kevin Durant in Free Agency

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As for the bigger-picture matter of Durant’s future: I am unafraid to announce, with no trace of hot-takery, that firm predictions about what Durant will do when free agency starts in 40 days are ill-advised.

Within the last month, very smart and plugged-in people I have consulted say that the Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as an equally dangerous threat to the Knicks to sign Durant away from Golden State. And I believe it.

Problem is, at various points during the season, I have heard trusted insiders state with conviction that Durant is already planning to join the Knicks … and then that he is likely to consider the Nets as well … and now that he is eyeing the Clippers just as intently as New York.

It leads one to conclude that maybe the best forecast, at least for the moment, is that nobody but Durant and his business manager Rich Kleiman know.

Source: Marc Stein of The New York Times

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