Bucks concerned for status of Sudan native Thon Maker following travel ban

President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on the entry of non-American citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries has caused a headache for a lot of people, including those in the NBA.

The NBA has contacted the State Department for clarification on how the ban might affect the league and teams with players from those countries.

“That’s one of the things in the meeting: Young guys just want a little bit more from him,” Gibson told ESPN, noting that Wade practiced Saturday. “And he brung it today. He pushed the young guys. And that’s a sign that that meeting did a little something.

“It’s all about positive. We’re not trying to have any negative aspects, anything like that. We got everybody against us right now. The only people who are going to help us out of this is ourselves. And we understand that. And [executive VP John Paxson] said it in the meeting yesterday, too.”

Wade and Butler started Friday’s loss to the Miami Heat on the bench as punishment for their comments following Wednesday’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Butler told reporters Wednesday that the Bulls “don’t play hard all the time.” Meanwhile, Wade called out some of his teammates for not caring about winning, saying “I can’t be frustrated and I can’t care too much for these guys. [They] have to care for themselves.”

Bulls guard Rajon Rondo then interjected himself in the story Thursday after making a lengthy post on Instagram in which he criticized Butler and Wade.

ESPN reported the Bulls fined all three players an undisclosed amount.

they cried foul after visiting the free-throw line 13 times.

Jack Lambert Game Jersey John Wall recorded his 11th straight game of at least 10 points and 10 assists (second to only James Harden’s 12 this season), but the Wizards shot just 42.5 percent from the field in the 102-92 loss to the Jazz. Then they cried foul after visiting the free-throw line 13 times.

Jonathan Quick Game Jersey It’s frustrating, Wall told reporters. You keep attacking the basket. No-name guys getting calls on the other end, that’s getting little contact. You drive to the basket and get contact the whole game and [they] try to make up for those calls the last two or three minutes of the game. It gets frustrating.

Boogie’s 18th technical foul this season came 32 seconds into Sunday’s loss and will earn him another automatic one-game suspension by the NBA, lest the foul is rescinded. For his part, it’s the fastest Cousins has ever gotten a technical in an NBA game.

Indiana Pacers (30-29) at Houston Rockets (42-18), 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT — In opting against trading Paul George at last week’s deadline (and failing to acquire any help for the face of the franchise in turn), the Pacers solidified their status as a lame duck in the competitive Eastern Conference. George has just 19 points (on 6-of-20 shooting) in two games since, and Indiana could quickly fall out of the playoff race.

Raptors (37-25) at Bucks (27-33), 8:00 p.m. ET — Toronto is surviving without Lowry, but it faces a tough game on the road against a Milwaukee team that desperately needs wins to sneak into the final playoff spot. The Eastern Conference seemed wide open, but the Cavaliers look like the favorites once again.

DeRozan has stolen one move from him that has taken his post game to the next level.

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It’s worth noting DeRozan is 9 for 15 when he turns over his left shoulder, so he is comfortable going in both directions. And while he’s less likely to turnaround over his left shoulder, it doesn’t prevent him from being a dominant post scorer. As Kobe Bryant once explained (to Nick Young of all people), players have to be predictable to be unstoppable. The reason why?

If you’re unpredictable you don’t know what the heck you’re going to do, so how can you dictate to the defense what you’re going to do?

Speaking of Bryant, DeRozan has stolen one move from him that has taken his post game to the next level. Being able to turnaround over both shoulders gives DeRozan a strong foundation to work with because he can take what the defense gives him, but his shimmy makes him practically unguardable. You’ll often see players put all their weight into defending DeRozan on the block to prevent him from getting deeper post position. As a counter, he’ll simply fake as if he’s going to turn over his left shoulder before turning over his right.

Chatwood was only able to record one out before being replaced by Freeland, and is now on the disabled list with a right calf strain, further compounding the rotation’s injury woes and increasing the emphasis on the rookies.

But Freeland has been getting a lot of help from his veteran teammates, who he said have helped him with mechanics or other issues that they may have faced in their younger years. He’s picked their brains to find out what helped them succeed, as Freeland put it.
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They helped us out with whatever we needed, Freeland said. They encouraged us to be part of this team and help us win.

Gray, 25, has pitched in three big-league seasons, which qualifies him as a seasoned veteran in this rotation. He’s helped dispense advice for his less-experienced teammates.

Marcus Morris wants no parts of Jimmy Butler’s high-five

If you played competitive sports as a kid, you likely learned important life lessons about competing with maximum effort while respecting your opponents — or maybe you got more of Marcus Morris’ motto: I’m here to win, so get out of my face.

The Pistons forward visited the free-throw line in the third quarter of Monday night’s game against the Bulls. Morris, an 80.1 percent free-throw shooter this season, missed his first attempt and got the traditional high-fives from his teammates. Shake it off, make the next one, bend your knees, follow through. All that stuff.
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This looked like the season the Clippers would finally put it all together. Not only did they win 14 of their first 16 games in dominating fashion, they looked like the type of team that could give the Warriors problems if they were to meet in the postseason. Then they dropped a few games — as most teams usually do when they come out of the gates as hot as the Clippers did — which was later punctuated by Blake Griffin missing 17 games with an injury followed by Chris Paul tearing a ligament in his thumb.

The Clippers have surprisingly kept their heads above water despite those injuries and are in a position to walk into the playoffs as the No. 4 seed with Paul set to return soon. They’ll need him to stay ahead of the Jazz, Grizzlies and Thunder in the standings with 25 or so games to go.

Game Youth Dylan Strome Jersey What’s most important, though, is Paul, Griffin, J.J Redick and DeAndre Jordan are healthy when the calendar hits April 15. Since this might be the last opportunity for them to make a run with this core, it’s about time we got to see them at their full potential. And who knows, if they are all healthy, maybe they can actually give the Warriors a run for their money.

Louisville sophomore Donovan Mitchell to enter NBA Draft, won’t hire agent

Louisville sophomore guard Donovan Mitchell will the NBA Draft, but has no plans to hire an agent, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. That means he can attend the NBA Draft Combine, but may return to college without losing eligibility. He will have 10 days after the combine to make a decision.

“I talked to Coach [Rick] Pitino and he felt like it was the right decision also,” Mitchell said via Goodman. “Whether or not I leave or not, I can improve.”

“It’s my dream to play in the NBA,” he continued. “But I want to make sure it’s the right decision. There’s no downside to doing this, and I want to see where I’m at.”

Mitchell, a 6-3 combo guard, averaged 15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists for the Cardinals this past season. He’s expected to be a first-round pick and is rated No. 25 in Sporting News’ latest NBA mock draft.

Shaq became the fourth Laker to be immortalized with a 1,200-pound, nine-foot statue now hovering over Star Plaza at Staples Center.

“I still think there’s a couple other guys that probably deserve a statue more than me,” Shaq said, mentioning Wilt Chamberlain and James Worthy. “But I’m honored. They’re giving me a statue in front of the place I like to say I built. Staples does start with ‘S.'”

Staples is also getting crowded when it comes to housing statues. The Lakers have Shaq, Magic Johnson, Jerry West and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in bronze. They’ll no doubt add a fifth statue when they decide it’s time to honor Kobe Bryant. That got us thinking: Bryant is an absolute lock to get a statue. West calls him the greatest Laker ever. But who else in the NBA is a no-brainer?

Then we’ve taken it even further, looking for the top four players who just fall short of a statue. No disrespect, but we’re talking about the ultimate honor. Lastly, we’ll go out on a limb and forecast the four players we believe will one day be immortalized in bronze.

MLB trade rumors: Blue Jays GM: ‘No plans for a complete rebuild’ in Toronto

With less than two weeks until the trade deadline, there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Toronto Blue Jays. Not only just about the viability of contention this year, but whether the organization is preparing to press the reset button and begin a rebuild.

Although there have been whispers of a potential fire sale in Toronto, GM Ross Atkins has offered the most convincing evidence yet that the Blue Jays won’t be tearing things down anytime soon.

MORE: MLB trade rumors: Latest news, rumored deals

Atkins spoke with Buster Olney on the Baseball Tonight podcast a few weeks back and addressed many things, including the Blue Jays’ trade deadline approach. Atkins reiterated that the club isn’t looking to tear things down ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

It’s just about trying to improve, get better and win. We’re never going to say ‘we don’t want to win,’ Atkins told Olney. Ultimately, why we have our jobs, in our minds, there is no plans for a complete rebuild.

For us, it’s how do we get better — how do we compete — how do we win? We certainly feel like we have a chance to do that this year and next year.

Game Kids Marcus Cooper Jersey Atkins wasn’t naive about the team’s dwindling playoff chances this year, but it appears the Blue Jays are reluctant to endanger their 2018 plans by making any potential big-ticket trades involving Josh Donaldson, Marcus Stroman or Roberto Osuna.

Game Kids New Orleans Saints Jersey However, the Blue Jays have several players on expiring deals: Marco Estrada, Francisco Liriano, Jose Bautista and Joe Smith, just to name a few. These players may not be the most attractive trade chips, but Atkins used an ominous addition by subtraction philosophy to suggest the Jays could improve their big-league roster by dealing away some of their struggling veteran players.

The Celtics now have an All-Star level point guard

Game Luke Kuechly Jersey Crowder probably has the most overlap positionally with Hayward, but also possesses much of the same positional versatility. While Crowder is signed for three more years at one of the best deals in the NBA, Bradley and Smart are about to get expensive after this season. For a team that might get crazy expensive following Isaiah Thomas’ contract, it could make sense for the Celtics to look to offload one of them to make the space.

Overall, though, this is a simple addition. The Celtics now have an All-Star level point guard, wing and big to build around all on the same aging curve. They also have young, top-three picks in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, as well as a couple of the Bradley, Smart and Crowder trio. Oh, and they might have multiple top-five picks next season.

Game J. R. Sweezy Jersey Boston has arguably the most enviable position in the NBA right now. They might not have the juice to beat Cleveland and get to the NBA Finals next year yet — after all, they overachieved this season, and will lose a couple of roster players — but they are set as the next team in the East as the Cavaliers age or LeBron James potentially leaves.

Why it might not happen: Hiram Bithorn Stadium has a capacity of 18,264, and until Puerto Rico becomes a state (if that ever happens), there will be massive economic roadblocks to putting a full-time professional sports team there.

To that end, Tucker is as diligent in trying to perfect his craft as the NFL’s non-specialists. Besides practicing extensively at team headquarters with his long snapper (Morgan Cox) and holder (punter Sam Koch) under the eye of special-teams coaches Jerry Rosburg and Randy Brown, Tucker scours video of his kicks to make sure the technique is sound.

Former NFL players trying to open medical marijuana dispensary

Several former NFL players have long been outspoken about using marijuana for medical use, and now two of those players are diving further into the game to normalize medical marijuana.
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Former quarterback Troy Smith, a Heisman winner who saw the most success with the 49ers, has joined forces with former Browns player Eric Metcalf and high school coach Ted Ginn Sr. to secure the rights to a marijuana dispensary in the Cleveland area.

According to the source, Spears, 35, also could be packaged with other acts to fill the 12-minute slot Feb. 4 in Minneapolis, as she did at Super Bowl 35 in 2001, in an iconic performance of Walk This Way in Tampa, Fla., with Aerosmith, ‘N Sync and Mary J. Blige, among others.

The Daily News quoted Spears from an interview last summer in which she was asked point-blank by BBC Radio 1 if she would be game for another Super Bowl halftime.

Yes, she answered, I would probably do that.

The Daily News’ final, pointed assessment:

Game Youth Chad Williams Jersey We’re told that the success of her Las Vegas residency, which started in December 2013 and will wrap at the end of the year, has proven the ‘Baby One More Time’ singer to be commercially and emotionally stable enough to perform for millions at the NFL’s biggest showcase. Spears has also made the case that she can still sing, which has been questioned.

Kyle Lowry is back from a wrist injury

He has also been a willing power forward, playing about a third of his possessions at the 4, according to Basketball-Reference.com. Anthony was effective in that role for Team USA in the Olympics, and he has been more effective as a power forward in the NBA. According to 82games.com, Anthony had a PER of 22.6 as a power forward this season, compared with 16.4 as a small forward.

The size of his payout is imposing, but the contract is down to two years, and maybe less on the (very) slim chance that Anthony exercises his option next summer.

“I like Carmelo, I think he takes a bad rap,” an Eastern Conference executive said. “He doesn’t get in trouble, he has put up with a lot from that organization and I think a lot of guys would have lashed out by now. Give him credit for that. But anyone who brings him in has to ask, does he make your team better, looking at everything including his (salary) number? In most cases, that’s going to be no.”

Kyle Lowry is back from a wrist injury, which means Toronto’s All-Star backcourt duo of Lowry and DeMar DeRozan is ready to terrorize opponents in the playoffs. DeRozan averaged 27.3 points this season, fifth-best in the league.

The Raptors might be a bit underrated heading into the playoffs. They haven’t played many games with all of their pieces together. This is a deep team that has size, good guards and defensive stoppers.

Milwaukee is sort of playing with house’s money after losing Jabari Parker to another major knee injury this winter. Giannis Antetokounmpo stepped up by averaging 22.9 points and 8.8 rebounds per game while making his first All-Star team. This team may not have enough depth to win a playoff series — yet.

A couple of Boston’s better players come off the bench.

The defending champs will arguably have the three biggest stars on the court during this series, but the Celtics are a more cohesive unit. They have a more balanced scoring attack highlighted by Kelly Olynyk’s 26-point outburst Monday.
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A couple of Boston’s better players come off the bench. Smart and Olynyk would start on a lot of rosters, which is why Boston chose to stand pat at the trade deadline instead of packaging them to acquire a big-name star at the expense of depth.

Olynyk’s pick-and-pop ability makes him similar to Love. He doesn’t have the foot speed or rebounding tenacity Love possess, but he can do some of the same things on offense, exemplified by his Game 7 explosion against the Wizards.

It’s worth noting the Celtics went 1-3 versus the Cavs during the regular season. Rosters fluctuate and momentum has swung in Boston’s favor a bit, but Cleveland, being able to draw back on past success, will likely enter the series with the same confident swagger it displayed against Toronto.

One matchup that usually goes under the radar is the battle between coaches.

K-Dog, rookie Jaylen Brown said after the game, recalling the criticism Olynyk got early in the year. He does what he does, man. Kelly’s been contributing all year, but they were kicking him early in the year, saying this and that about him. Now, everyone loves him. So I am happy for him.

Game Mens New York Jets Jersey He was one of the prizes they pilfered from the Nets in the Garnett-Pierce deal, the No. 3 pick in last year’s draft. Shunted from the rotation for a game in the first round, Brown put in 20 important minutes for the Celtics, finishing with nine points and three rebounds and playing veteran-level defense.