July 19, 2019

Kyrie Irving, a 6-Time NBA All-Star and NBA Champion, is officially a member of the Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets have signed free agent guard Kyrie Irving. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released.

“Kyrie is one of the NBA’s elite guards and has won at the highest level,” said Nets General Manager Sean Marks. “His championship pedigree, coupled with his gifted scoring and playmaking abilities, will make him an outstanding addition to our team. We’re very excited to welcome Kyrie and his family to Brooklyn.”

“The entire coaching staff is excited to have the opportunity to coach a player of Kyrie’s caliber,” said Nets Head Coach Kenny Atkinson. “He is as talented and accomplished as any point guard in our game and we are enthusiastic about integrating him and our other new roster additions into our returning core.”

Irving (6’3, 195) joins the Nets after spending the last two seasons (2017-19) with the Boston Celtics and six seasons prior (2011-17) with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He earned All-NBA Second Team honors for his play during the 2018-19 campaign, when the 27-year-old averaged 23.8 points, a career-high 5.0 rebounds, a career-high 6.9 assists and a career-high-tying 1.5 steals, in 33.0 minutes per game in 67 appearances (all starts).

Over eight seasons with Boston and Cleveland, Irving has appeared in and started 508 career games, recording averages of 22.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 5.7 assists and, 1.3 steals in 33.8 minutes per contest while shooting 46.5 percent from the field, 39.0 percent from 3-point range and 87.5 percent from the free-throw line. He has also appeared in and started 61 career playoff games over four postseason appearances, averaging 23.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and, 1.5 steals in 36.4 minutes per game. The six-time NBA All-Star (2013-15, 2017-19) helped lead Cleveland to its first NBA title in 2016, registering postseason averages of 25.2 points (47.5 percent from the field, 44.0 percent from 3-point range), 3.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists and, 1.7 steals in 36.9 minutes per game. He also won a gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as a member of the U.S. men’s national team.

Irving earned All-NBA Third Team honors following his 2014-15 season in Cleveland and was named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year in 2011-12 following his debut season with the Cavs. Prior to being selected by Cleveland with the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the New Jersey native played one collegiate season (2010-11) at Duke.

Miami Heat ends Lin-sanity and shows the New York Knicks who's "bigger, stronger, meaner and faster"

About 400 miles from where the NBA is setting up for the second biggest league event (the NBA Finals is the first), the New York Knicks were in Miami facing the Heat who were on a 7 game winning streak. The New York Knicks felt good about themselves coming into the game after demolishing the Atlanta Hawks the night before at Madison Square Garden. They were hoping that momentum would carry over and the combination of Jeremy Lin and Carmelo Anthony in the offense would improve. The Heat had other thoughts as they came out in the immortal words of rapper Kanye West, "bigger, stronger, meaner and faster. In their 102-88 win over the Knicks, the Miami Heat 4 players score in double figures led by Chris Bosh with 25 points. It's what they did on the defensive end that suffocated the Knicks and in particular phenom Lin who was warned before the game that Miami would throw every defensive scheme his way every time he touched the ball.

Miami came out like a "pack of wild dogs" the term used by legendary linebacker Lawrence Taylor of the New York Giants when he wanted to get his team fired up. The Knicks did not wilt from the first wave of the Heat's pressure. In fact, the Knicks only trailed by 4 points (24-20) after the first period despite Lin's 3 turnovers. Things would only get worse for Lin as he finished the night missing 10 of 11 shots and turning the ball over 8 times.

The third period is when it all began to unravel for New York. They began the period down by 4 points again (51-47) when the Heat took total control. After Lin and Anthony converted 4 straight free throws to get within 2 (53-51) Miami responded by scoring the next 6 points. Before you could say Lin-Sanity, the Heat then outscored New York 27-15 the rest of the way to take a 14 point (80-66) lead. The Heat defense only allowed the Knicks 19 points. Miami then put the game on cruise control as the Knicks could only get within 9 points (82-73) with a little over 9 minutes left in the game.

The bench play that was supposed be a big part of the Knicks since they got Baron Davis back from injury, and the signing of J.R. Smith, was a non-factor in the game. Although Smith did contribute 14 points Davis struggled mightily. He missed all 7 shot attempts finishing the game with zero points. Steve Novak continued his hot shooting nailing 4 of 5 three-pointers for 12 points. Anthony led all Knicks scorers with 19 points.

It wasn't the way the Knicks wanted to end the first half of the year, losing to a team that is expected to not only get to the NBA Finals but to win it all. For one night Lin was brought back to earth by a team who was hell-bent on not letting the Lin-Sanity continue. Said Heat's head coach Erik Spoelstra, "we wanted to treat him (Lin) with the adequate respect he deserves."

NBA All-Star weekend takes center stage tonight as the Celebrity All-Star game and Rising Stars Challenge takes place at the Amway Center. Jeremy Lin has been chosen to be on the team that will be coached by Shaquille O' Neal.

Chadwick Boseman, looking forward to other NBA All-star Game Activities, and catching up with friends in NYC

 Film and television actor Chadwick Boseman didn’t have any concrete plans for the NBA All-Star 2015 weekend but was definitely going to the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, the Taco Bell Skills Competition, and the Sprite Dunk Contest.

The 42 actor used to live in New York City, so he hoped to get to see some of the people he knew when he lived in the Big Apple.

Mike Greenberg, co-host of ESPN’s Mike & Mike; coached the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game team representing the East and his assistant coaches were New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony and Isaiah Austin, formerly of the Baylor Bears.

Nets guard to represent Brooklyn at NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, February 16-18

So, the votes to get Brooklyn Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie’s participation in the 2018 NBA All-Star activities were not in vain. The NBA has recognized Dinwiddie’s talent and the tremendous improvement in his skill level, which has helped to push the Nets’ win-loss record past last year’s record in the face of injuries to principal players.

Dinwiddie was chosen to participate in the 2018 Taco Bell Skills Challenge as part of NBA All-Star Weekend, held February 16-18 in Los Angeles. The Taco Bell Skills Challenge will take place on Saturday, February 17, at Staples Center and be aired on TNT and ESPN Radio at 8 p.m. ET. All-Star Saturday Night also includes the JBL Three-Point Contest and Verizon Slam Dunk.

Dinwiddie will become the fourth Net to participate in the skills challenge, joining Jason Kidd (2003, 2008), Devin Harris (2009) and Deron Williams (2012). Kidd won the event in its inaugural season in 2003.

The three-round, obstacle-course competition, which tests dribbling, passing, agility and three-point-shooting skills, will feature a head-to-head, bracket-style tournament format. The four big men will be on one side of the bracket and the four guards will be on the other side of the bracket. First-round matchups will be announced at a later date.

A native of Los Angeles, Dinwiddie has appeared in 51 games (41 starts) for the Nets this season, averaging 13.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 6.4 assists in 28.4 minutes per contest (all career highs). He currently ranks 14th in the NBA in assists per game among qualifying players.

Below is the roster of the 2018 Taco Bell Skills Challenge.

2018 Taco Bell Skills Challenge Participants

Now, with this NBA All-Star accomplishment for Dinwiddie, we can get started on the Spencer Dinwiddie Most Improved NBA Player campaign.

NBA designed a new format to allow captains of each team to choose their players

The NBA shook things up a little bit with a reconfiguration of the NBA All-Star 2018 teams. This year, instead of an East vs. West NBA All-Star game format with teams comprised of members from their respective conference, each of the two teams will be headed by the top two players who received the most votes. In this case, they are LeBron James and Stephen Curry. Each team captain will then select players regardless of conference.

Below is a list of teams and players: 

Team LeBron

NBA All Star 2018 Team LeBron James photo credit NBA

Starter: Kyrie Irving, G, Boston Celtics
Starter: Kevin Durant, F, Golden State Warriors
Starter: LeBron James, F, Cleveland Cavaliers
Starter: Anthony Davis, F, New Orleans Pelicans
Starter: DeMarcus Cousins, C, New Orleans Pelicans
Reserve: Bradley Beal, G, Washington Wizards
Reserve: LaMarcus Aldridge, F, San Antonio Spurs
Reserve: Kevin Love, F, Cleveland Cavaliers
Reserve: Russell Westbrook, G, Oklahoma City Thunder
Reserve: Victor Oladipo, G, Indiana Pacers
Reserve: Kristaps Porzingis, F, New York Knicks
Reserve: John Wall, G, Washington Wizards

Team Stephen

NBA All Star 2018 Team Stephen Curry photo credit NBA

Starter: Stephen Curry, G, Golden State Warriors
Starter: James Harden, G, Houston Rockets
Starter: DeMar DeRozan, G, Toronto Raptors
Starter: Giannis Antetokounmpo, F, Milwaukee Bucks
Starter: Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers
Reserve: Damian Lillard, G, Portland Trail Blazers
Reserve: Jimmy Butler, G, Minnesota Timberwolves
Reserve: Draymond Green, F, Golden State Warriors
Reserve: Kyle Lowry, G, Toronto Raptors
Reserve: Klay Thompson, G, Golden State Warriors
Reserve: Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Minnesota Timberwolves
Reserve: Al Horford, C, Boston Celtics


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