Pelicans win the Lottery, Zion Williamson next?

The New Orleans Pelicans have not had much to cheer about this season. Their star player Anthony Davis asked for a trade in January, and the season was a mess the rest of the way. However, things got a little better on Tuesday night.

The Pelicans win the Lottery! New Orleans will draft first in the 2019 NBA Draft, which means they will probably get Duke phenom, Zion Williamson. The Pelicans jumped from seven to the number one spot in the draft. Vice president of basketball operations David Griffin now has more ways to try to convince Davis to return or use Davis in a trade to build around Williamson.

Will Davis change his mind and stay in New Orleans? Who knows, but if you’re the Pelicans, you have a guy in Williamson who could be a franchise player for years to come.

Under this year’s new NBA Draft Lottery system, the odds at the top of the lottery were leveled so that the three teams with the lowest regular-season winning percentages (New York, Cleveland and Phoenix) each had a 14 percent chance of receiving the No. 1 overall pick. Drawings were held at tonight’s Draft Lottery to determine the first four picks in the 2019 NBA Draft presented by State Farm. The full results of tonight’s Draft Lottery are as follows:

  1. New Orleans Pelicans
  2. Memphis Grizzlies
  3. New York Knicks
  4. Los Angeles Lakers
  5. Cleveland Cavaliers
  6. Phoenix Suns
  7. Chicago Bulls
  8. Atlanta Hawks
  9. Washington Wizards
  10. Atlanta Hawks
  11. Minnesota Timberwolves
  12. Charlotte Hornets
  13. Miami Heat
  14. Boston Celtics
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Cavs owner Dan Gilbert: ‘John Beilein is a winner’

University of Michigan Head Coach John Beilein and the Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed to terms on a multi-year contract for Beilein to become the team’s next head coach, Cleveland announced on Monday.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a five-year deal.

“We conducted a deep and thorough search to find the best possible candidate for the next head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. We interviewed several strong and talented candidates who, no doubt, will get an opportunity to become an NBA head coach somewhere down the line,” said Cavaliers GM Toby Altman. “Following the end of those interviews, it became clear to us that Coach Beilein was the right choice and best fit for our franchise.”

Cleveland Cavaliers Chairman Dan Gilbert believes that Beilein is a proven winner.

“We could not be more thrilled to name John Beilein as the new coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers,” said Gilbert. “First, John is a great human being. He cares deeply about his players and others who work for him and around him. He defines the words class, integrity and character. He is a tireless worker who obsesses about finding better ways and the inches that will help his team and the organization grow. John is a brilliant basketball mind and last but not least, John Beilein is a winner.”

Beilein, 66, has compiled a career record of 829-468 (.639) as a collegiate head coach. He has recorded 20-plus win seasons on 23 occasions and has finished with a winning record in 35 seasons, placing him in the top 10 for career victories among active NCAA Division I head coaches. He took Michigan to the Final Four and a pair of National Championship Game appearances in 2013 and 2018, with the trip to the title game in 2013 being the first in 20 years for the school.  In 12 seasons at Michigan, Beilein became the winningest coach in school history.

“I am very thankful to Dan Gilbert and Koby Altman and honored to be the head coach of the Cavalier,” Beilein said. “I love the position the team is in to build and grow and this was something I felt was the perfect fit for me. With hard work and dedication by all of us, we will grow this team day by day and reinforce a culture of success that sustains itself with strong core values. Cleveland is a great city with amazing fans and I am really looking forward to calling Cleveland home for years to come.”

It’s a very interesting hire for the Cavaliers, especially when you consider Beilein’s age and the number of young guys that are on Cleveland’s roster. The Cavaliers probably will not be a winner anytime soon. Therefore, will Beilein be around when the team actually starts winning again? Unlikely, but anything is possible.

Max Kellerman: Kawhi Leonard is best player in the NBA(VIDEO)

Last season, was a tough one for Kawhi Leonard. As a member of the Spurs, and due to injury, Leonard played in only nine games in the 2017-18 season. Many questioned his heart, and some wondered if he would ever be the same. What a difference a year makes.

The former Finals’ MVP has willed the Raptors to the Eastern Conference Finals. In the Eastern Conference semifinals against the 76ers, where Leonard made a series-clinching, buzzer-beating jump shot on Sunday, Leonard averaged 34.7 ppg.

Leonard has played like one the best players in the NBA, and according to ESPN’s Max Kellerman, Leonard is the best player in the league.

Listen what Kellerman had to say on ESPN’s First Take today:

I think many forgot how good Leonard was before the injury. He is special for sure. Best player in the league? Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden, and Kevin Durant might argue with you, but in the end, it’s safe to say that Leonard is back!

Twitter reacts to Kawhi Leonard’s series-winning shot

What a Game 7 in Toronto, and what a fantastic shot by Kawhi Leonard. With the score tied at 90, Leonard shot a jump shot in the corner that bounced around the rim and went in at the buzzer, and the Raptors win 92-90 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals to play the Milwaukee Bucks, which starts on Wednesday.

After the game, Twitter reacted.

Here is a sampling:

Jay Williams on LeBron’s reaction to Magic leaving Lakers: ‘You did the same thing twice'(Video)

When former Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson abruptly quit before the team’s season finale, many were surprised, including LeBron James.

“Man, get the f— out of my face,” James recently said about his initial reaction to Magic leaving on “The Shop,” which airs on HBO. “You b******ng.”

Today, former NBA player Jay Williams gave his thoughts on James’ reaction to Magic leaving the Lakers on ESPN’s First Take:

It is slightly different. Magic quit right on the spot, and the two times LeBron left Cleveland, he did it as a free agent, which means he fulfilled his contract. So, it was his right to leave the Cavaliers. Just like it is Magic’s right to quit his job with the Lakers, but I find what Magic did to be a little worse because you don’t leave a job in that way, especially without telling a woman who you have a lot of respect for in Lakers owner Jeanie Buss.

Is this LeBron’s karma for the way he left Cleveland? Who knows, but in life, what goes around,  comes around.

Giants’ Jones on the possibility of Zion Williamson coming to NY: ‘That would be a cool deal’

The NBA Draft Lottery is May 14, and at this point, teams are salivating at the opportunity to take former Duke star, Zion Williamson, and based on what we have seen during his time at Duke, Williamson has the potential to be the next big thing.

The Knicks, Suns, and Cavaliers have the best opportunity to get Williamson. All three teams have a 14% chance to get the number one overall pick. Wherever he goes, Williamson is going to be box office. He easily was the most popular player in college basketball last season.

One guy who would love for Williamson to go to New York is the newest Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, who played his college ball at Duke and was the sixth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

“I have gotten to know him a little bit,” Jones said on Friday after Giants Rookie Minicamp. “We talked a little bit about that actually this week. That would be a cool deal. We will see what happens. He is a special guy.”

If Williamson goes to the Knicks, man, that would give that city and franchise a big boost, and quite frankly, it’s probably good for the NBA. I always believe that the Knicks being right is great for the NBA, and Williamson to New York could help the Knicks become relevant again. Plus, if all goes well, Jones and Williamson could be the new faces of New York City sports, which would be a great thing for fans in the “Big Apple.”

Stephen A. Smith: 76ers might get swept

The Toronto Raptors got out early on the 76ers in Game 1 and did not look back. In front of their home crowd, and led by Kawhi Leonard’s 45 points, the Raptors routed the 76ers 108-95 on Saturday to take a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Game 2 is Monday night in Toronto.

After what many saw on Saturday night, some think the Raptors could run away with this series, including ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

“I have the Toronto Raptors winning this series,” Smith said on ESPN’s First Take today. “Here’s the difference between my opinion before the series, and my opinion after Game 1. I don’t give the Sixers much of a chance; I’m scared they might get swept.”

It’s only one game, but Toronto looks like the better team. I had the Raptors winning the series in 7, and I think that will still happen.

Listen below to what Smith had to say:

DeRozan fined for throwing basketball at referee

San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan has been fined $25,000 for recklessly throwing the basketball toward a game official and into the spectator stands, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, for which DeRozan was assessed one technical foul and ejected, occurred with 5:01 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Spurs’ 117-103 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, April 20 at AT&T Center.

To view the incident, click on the following link:

http://www.nba.com/video/2019/04/21/bbops-nuggets-spurs-042019

Larry Drew will not return to Cavaliers next season

The Cleveland Cavaliers and head coach Larry Drew announced today they have mutually agreed that he will not return as the team’s head coach next season. Drew’s current contract expired with the conclusion of the 2018-19 Cavaliers season.

“We have great respect and appreciation for Larry and the job that he did as the head coach of the Cavaliers for nearly the entire 2018-19 campaign. He brought professionalism, class and steady leadership both this past season and prior four years,” said Altman. “Larry and I had a productive discussion about this past season, the future of the franchise and the search process that we will shortly launch regarding the head coaching role. Larry respectfully declined to participate in the search process and will not be returning to coach the Cavaliers. All of us in Cleveland wish Larry nothing but the best going forward.”

Drew was named head coach of the Cavaliers on November 5 and guided the team to an overall record of 19-63, with all 19 wins coming after Drew took over following the team’s 0-6 start to the 2018-19 season. Prior to his arrival to Cleveland, Drew held head coaching stints in Atlanta and Milwaukee before joining the Cavaliers first as an Assistant Coach and later as the Associate Head Coach, which includes the 2015-16 campaign when Cleveland won its first-ever NBA Championship.

“I want to thank Dan Gilbert, Koby Altman, the entire organization, and especially our fans, for what has been a very special and rewarding time here in Cleveland. Koby and I had a good discussion following the season and have both decided that the best decision for each of us was that I would not return to coach the team,” said Drew. “I am very proud of what we accomplished over the last several years together and will always cherish our Championship. I also want to commend our players this season for the bond that they established, the way they approached their jobs and the hard work and growth they had every day. I am very proud of them and wish them the best as they continue to develop for the future.”

Magic Johnson: ‘I was happier when I wasn’t president'(VIDEO)

In a total shocker, Magic Johnson has resigned as president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The 59-year-old Johnson made the announcement before the team’s game against the Blazers on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. Johnson took over for Mitch Kupchak in February 2017.

According to Johnson, he had not told Lakers owner Jeanie Buss or GM Rob Pelinka about his decision.

Obviously, the highlight of Johnson’s time with Lakers was the signing of LeBron James. The biggest disappointment has to be not making the playoffs this season.

Listen below as Magic explains why he is stepping down: