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Sources: Pistons Interested in Frank Ntilikina

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I gather #Pistons could have interest in #Knicks guard Frank Frank Ntilikina. The type of young talent team is looking to gain cheaply and hope more is shown as he matures. Only 21. #TooEarlyForTradeRumors

Source: Vince Ellis on Twitter

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Team USA vs. Spain – Preview, Prediction & Betting Odds

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On Tuesday, August 3, 2021 at 12:40 a.m. (EST), Team USA will play against Spain in this quarterfinal matchup. Both teams are aiming to advance in the tournament for the gold medal. The Americans defeated the Czechs 119-84 in their dominant Saturday victory. Likewise, Spain won over Argentina 81-71 in their Group C preliminary round matchup. Unfortunately, the USA-Spain game will not be televised live. However, it is available on NBC’s Peacock streaming service. Peacock is free to use with ads, but the option to go ad-free is there if the user is willing to pay $4.99 per month for Peacock Premium access.

Game Details

Date & Time: Tuesday, August 3, 2021 at 12:40 a.m. (EST)

Location: Saitama Super Arena; Saitama, Japan

Availability: Peacock (live) & NBC Sports Network (delayed)

Spread: USA -12.5 (-110) (per DraftKings Sportsbook)

Over/Under: 179.5

Best Moneyline: USA -800, Spain +550

  • Table odds retrieved from DraftKings

USA vs. Spain Preview

Team USA’s starting lineup in Tuesday morning’s game consists of Damian Lillard, Kevin Durant, Jrue Holiday, Draymond Green and Bam Adebayo. In the Americans’ 119-84 win over the Czechs, in 24 minutes played, Jayson Tatum led the team on the stat sheet, finishing with 27 points, two rebounds, one assist and two blocks. In 28 minutes played, Durant played an excellent game, too, earning 23 points, eight rebounds, six assists and one block. Team USA’s bench players scored a combined total of 66 points against the Czech Republic. Referencing Bovada’s Olympic futures odds for men’s basketball, Team USA has the best odds (-250) of winning the gold medal. In addition to the USA’s odds showing -250, the odds of the field upsetting them are +185.

Furthermore, the projected starting lineup for Spain consists of Ricky Rubio, Rudy Fernandez, Juan Hernangomez, Victor Claver and Marc Gasol. In the Spaniards’ 81-71 victory against Argentina, Rubio closed out his performance with 26 points, five rebounds, four assists and one steal. Coming off the bench, guard Sergio Llull had the second best performance of the game, putting up 10 points and one rebound in 20 minutes of play. Forward Claver also earned nine points, two rebounds, one assist, two steals and one block in 23 minutes played. Ranking fifth overall, Spain has current odds showing +2000 to win the gold medal.

Prediction: USA wins by 18 points

If Team USA plans to send an intimidation message during these Tokyo Olympic Games, this is the game to do it, considering their opponent ranks top five in the oddsmakers’ futures odds. Aside from Spain, the teams that trail USA for winning the gold based on expected probability include Slovenia (+300), France (+700) and Australia (+1000). Team Spain scored 81 points against Argentina. They will have to score more points if they hope to advance in the tournament. Versus the Czechs, the Americans shot 61.6 percent from the field. From behind the arc, they shot 20-42 (47.6 percent). Plus, they out-rebounded them 36 to 29.

Moreover, in the Spaniards’ 10-point win over Argentina, they shot 30-57 (52.6 percent) from the field. On the flip side, the Argentinians out-rebounded them 35 to 30. Not only will Spain have to outscore USA offensively, they have to play aggressive on defense. Now, the Gasol brothers know a thing or two about playing playoff-caliber defense. However, the Americans have all the youth and professional talent. While Iran and Czech Republic are not presenting adequate, spine-chilling Olympic basketball teams, this matchup here will be a solid test for USA.

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Bulls’ guard Zach LaVine desires respect for new contract

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According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine wants the respect he deserves for his contract extension. On Monday morning before Team USA’s practice to prepare for Tuesday’s match against Spain, the 26-year-old guard said to reporters, “I just want my respect, that’s the main thing. I outplayed my contract. I’ve been very loyal to Chicago. I like Chicago. I just want my respect. If that’s now or later, it’s something we’ve got to work out internally.” In the 2020-21 season, in 58 games played, LaVine averaged 27.4 points, five rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. He also shot 50.7 percent from the field and was selected to his first NBA All-Star Game.

Regarding the “outplayed my contract” comment, his argument his fair. Last season, with 200 three-point field goals made, he ranked ninth overall in the league. Despite the Bulls finishing 31-41 (.431) last season, he led the team in points and assists. Per ESPN, they are also reporting that Chicago is trying to work out a four-year, $105 million contract extension for their star guard. Though, this deal is expected to fall below his market value. In terms of signing available free agents this offseason, some Bulls fans are speculating the organization will pursue either Knicks’ shooting guard/small forward Reggie Bullock, Lakers’ power forward/center Markieff Morris or Pelicans’ point guard Lonzo Ball.

On July 13, 2018, the 2014 13th pick of the draft signed a four-year, $78 million contract with the Bulls. LaVine earned $19,500,000 last season, and he is set to earn $19,500,000 in the upcoming season. It is not urgent for Chicago to extend LaVine’s contract this offseason. The organization will have the full rights to re-sign him to a new deal for next season in 2022.

However, the guard will also become an unrestricted free agent next year, so the Bulls should work towards fixing their salary cap issues right now. Referencing Spotrac, center Nikola Vucevic has a cap figure of $24 million. Of this amount, his future guaranteed cash is $22 million. One notable 2021-22 cap hold is Lauri Markkanen. His qualifying offer is $9,026,952, and his cap figure is $20,194,524. On March 2, 2020, Markkanen was recalled from the Windy City Bulls of the G League.

Furthermore, on March 25, 2021, center Nikola Vucevic and forward Al-Farouq Aminu were traded by the Orlando Magic to the Bulls in exchange for Otto Porter, Wendell Carter Jr., a 2021 first-round pick and a 2023 first-round pick. This is quite the gamble for the Bulls organization, considering they traded away two future first-round picks. Vucevic is set to earn $24 million for the 2021-22 season. Chicago has $56,679,846 available in cap space. Their current luxury tax space is $29,405746.

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Rockets decline Avery Bradley’s $5.9 million team option

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First reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Houston Rockets are declining Avery Bradley’s team option for the 2021-22 NBA season. On November 23, 2020, the 30-year-old guard signed as a free agent with the Miami Heat. He signed a two-year, $11.6 million deal. On March 25, 2021, the Heat traded Bradley, Kelly Olynyk and a 2022 first-round pick to the Houston Rockets for two-time NBA All-Star guard Victor Oladipo. The 2022 first-round pick is an option to trade for a potential Heat or Nets pick. Plus, Houston received a trade exception, too.

Moreover, Bradley earned $5,635,000 this previous season; the Rockets declined his 2021-22 team option of $5,916,750 for next season. In other words, both sides have mutually agreed to part ways, so the six-foot-three guard is now an unrestricted free agent. In early February, it was first reported that the Washington native would miss three to four weeks due to a calf strain. Before this injury, he averaged 8.5 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game for Miami. Furthermore, he also shot a career-high percentage of 42.1 percent from behind the arc last season.

Though, Bradley disappointed both of his teams last season, leading to the Rockets finishing 17-55 (.236), ranking 15th overall in the Western Conference. Last season was the first time since the 1982-83 season that Houston failed to win at least 20 games. Since the 2011-12 season, it was the first time the Rockets had failed to qualify for the playoffs. In only 27 games played, the 11-year NBA veteran averaged 6.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. He shot 37.4 percent from the field as well.

Likewise, the Miami Heat finished 40-32 (.556) last season, regressing from the team’s 44-29 (.603) record and sixth NBA Finals appearance from the 2019-20 season. Fans across social media are already speculating that the 2010 19th overall pick will end up playing for the Los Angeles Lakers next season. If this happens, he would join the team’s newly established big three: LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook.

After Bradley signed with the Lakers for the 2019-20 season, he joined the list of players in the league’s history who played for both the Celtics and Lakers. The list includes Brian Shaw, Clyde Lovellette, Mel Counts, Rick Fox, Don Nelson, Bob McAdoo, Isaiah Thomas, Charlie Scott, Gary Payton, Shaquille O’Neal and Rajon Rondo. According to Bleacher Report, the Lakers are also interested in signing Carmelo Anthony this offseason.

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