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Summer League winds down, and now, maybe, some NBA rest

Mon Jul 15 2:20am ET
By TIM REYNOLDS
AP Basketball Writer

Players: Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade, Andre Iguodala, Udonis Haslem, Chris Paul, Al Horford, Danny Green, Mike Conley, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Jimmy Butler, Damian Lillard, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, Jamal Murray

They'll hand out T-shirts to the Summer League winners following the championship game between Memphis and Minnesota in Las Vegas on Monday night, and then things will finally slow down a bit in the NBA.

Maybe.

And probably not for long.

It's been a hectic month since Toronto won the NBA championship and the so-called offseason commenced. Already this summer, 18 current and former All-Stars have changed franchises, and that number will rise to 19 if Vince Carter finds a new home for his final season. Recent NBA Finals MVPs Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala all were among those on the move.

And another three past finals MVPs - Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki and Tony Parker - all retired. So when next season begins, very little will look the same.

''I think there's going to be a lot of parity,'' Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson said. ''That's my gut.''

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver expected this summer to be loaded with player movement, and wasn't complaining about so many big names - Durant, Leonard, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, Paul George, Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Jimmy Butler and many more - needing to file change-of-address cards.

''At the end of the day, it's positive for the league,'' Silver said. ''I will say, though, I'm mindful of this notion of balance of power, and I think it applies in many different ways. An appropriate balance of power between the teams and the players ... at the end of the day, you want to make sure you have a league where every team is in a position to compete.''

There were some clear winners in free agency: Brooklyn (who got Durant and Irving), the Los Angeles Clippers (who got George and Leonard) and the Los Angeles Lakers (who got Davis) were among them. It could be argued that the Oklahoma City Thunder won as well - no, they won't be as good this season as they were this past season after trading George and Westbrook, but general manager Sam Presti has enough draft picks now to enjoy flexibility for years.

The losers are clear as well: Toronto lost Leonard and Danny Green and Golden State lost Durant, so last season's finalists certainly aren't favorites to be this season's finalists. It's also easy to say that New York lost after coming up empty on the big-name free agents, but the Knicks got plenty of good players on deals that ensure the team will have money again next summer.

A lookahead at what's coming, and some notes on what's gone down:

SO NOW WHAT?

Any NBA withdrawal will really only last about three weeks, until roughly three dozen players return to Las Vegas for USA Basketball's training camp leading up to the FIBA World Cup in China that starts on Aug. 31.

San Antonio's Gregg Popovich is coaching the Americans, assisted by Golden State's Steve Kerr, Atlanta's Lloyd Pearce and Villanova's Jay Wright. Zion Williamson, knee permitting, may take part in camp as one of the young players brought in to help the more-established pros get ready. If Williamson impresses, he may get a shot at joining the varsity club.

Also, this season's NBA schedule is likely to come around the second week of August, if recent years are any indicator.

WHO'S LEFT?

Plenty of free agents remain unsigned, and that'll still be the case even in September as training camps get ready to open.

It's still hard to see the Thunder keeping Paul, acquired in the Westbrook trade to Houston, so expect at least one more blockbuster trade before too long. Or can a player who is owed $121 million over the next three seasons be bought out? Stay tuned.

Carter wants to come back for a 22nd NBA season, which would be a league record. If he gets into a game after Jan. 1, he'll also become the first NBA player to appear in four different decades.

Jamal Crawford remains out there as well, and contenders should be calling him.

LOADED WEST

Philadelphia, Boston, Brooklyn, Indiana and Miami all likely got better in the East. Milwaukee kept most of its team that won an NBA-best 60 games.

The East will be good.

The West might be bloody.

The Clippers, the Lakers, Houston, Golden State, Denver, Utah, Portland and San Antonio could end up as the eight playoff teams in the Western Conference. It's plausible; they're probably the most realistic eight picks right now. But at least four of those teams - most of them with superstar duos that are all the rage now - won't be in the second round of next season's playoffs.

LONGEVITY AWARD

For now, Golden State's Stephen Curry is the longest-tenured player under contract to one team. He's entering his 11th season with the Warriors.

With Nowitzki (21 seasons with Dallas) retired, Mike Conley (12 seasons with Memphis) traded to Utah and Westbrook (11 seasons with Oklahoma City) traded to Houston, no current player has had a longer uninterrupted run with one team than Curry.

But if Udonis Haslem re-signs with Miami, it'll be his 17th season with the Heat.

THE NUMBERS

Including the $196 million extension for Portland's Damian Lillard, a $170 million extension for Denver's Jamal Murray and another in-the-works $170 million extension for Philadelphia's Ben Simmons, NBA teams have committed to spend roughly $4 billion in new deals that were struck in the last three weeks alone.

And that's with 100 more signings to come, at least.

That $4 billion figure is twice what the total payroll was a decade ago for every team in the league, combined.

Player Notes
Derrick White Aug 4 12:30am ET

San Antonio Spurs guard Derrick White scored 20 points on Monday night in a 132-130 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. The point guard also had an efficient night shooting the ball. He went 6-for-11 from the field, 4-for-6 from three-point land, and made four of his five free throws. White has now reached the 20-point mark in two of his three games since the restart. With the NBA schedule packed with stars every night, it's hard to find room for White in your lineup. However, his cost is still reasonably valued with his production, and there are far worse options out there to slot into the guard positions. White and the Spurs take on a banged-up Nuggets lineup on Wednesday. The 26-year-old should be in line for another reliable fantasy performance.

Rudy Gay Aug 4 12:20am ET

San Antonio Spurs forward Rudy Gay came off the bench and was efficient in a 132-130 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Gay scored 24 points on 15 shots and added four rebounds and two three-pointers to his box score. That's now two games with at least 19 points during the restart for Gay. Inside the bubble, he is shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 46.7 percent from three. The forward is very similar to his teammate, DeMar DeRozan, in daily fantasy. He will never do enough to win you a contest, but he is an acceptable roster-filler if you need some points at a lower price.

DeMar DeRozan Aug 4 12:10am ET

San Antonio Spurs forward DeMar DeRozan had his second high-scoring performance inside the bubble in a 132-130 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. On Monday night, DeRozan scored 30 points to go along with five rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and one steal. The 30-year-old bounced back nicely from a disappointing 14-point outing against the Memphis Grizzlies last time out. DeRozan now has two games with at least 27 points and seems in fine form for the final stretch of the regular season. His lack of three-point shooting prevents him from reaching the night-winning totals fantasy managers look for in their daily lineups, but he is a reliable player with a solid floor on a nightly basis.

Nikola Jokic Aug 3 9:40pm ET

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic scored 30 points with 12 boards, 10 assists, 10 made free-throws and two steals in a 121-113 win over the Thunder. Jokic did all this despite going 0-for-5 from beyond the arc, so there was potentially room for even bigger numbers. Thunder center Steven Adams simply had no answer for the Serbian big, who has schooled him in their previous matchups this year. Jokic should remain one of the best center options in DFS, because of his versatility and big assist numbers.

Michael Porter Jr. Aug 3 9:20pm ET

Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. bounced back in a huge way with a career-high 37 points on 12 of 16 shooting from the field in an overtime victory over the Thunder. Porter Jr. became the first Nuggets rookie since Carmelo Anthony with 30+ points and 10+ rebounds in a game so he's on the right track. It's really just a matter of staying healthy when it comes to the 22-year-old, who has had all the tools necessary for a breakout. Fire him up again in DFS on Wednesday when the Nuggets take on the Spurs, who have allowed the eighth-most points per game in the league.

Kelly Olynyk Aug 3 8:10pm ET

Miami Heat forward Kelly Olynyk scored 17 points and made four triples in Monday's loss to the Raptors. Olynyk only averaged 18.6 minutes per game before the shutdown, but that number has ballooned up to 27.5 minutes per game in two bubble games. Now, it's worth noting that the first game was a blowout when Olynyk did his damage and the second saw both Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson struggle from the field. Still, if Olynyk gets the minutes, he could be a cheap DFS option who offers three-point shooting at the power forward spot. Next up is a matchup with his former team, the Celtics, who just allowed 19 made three-pointers to the Trail Blazers.

Jimmy Butler Aug 3 7:50pm ET

Miami Heat guard Jimmy Butler did it all in a losing effort against the Raptors on Monday. Butler compiled 16 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks in 33 minutes. It was an encouraging effort for the 30-year-old, coming just a day after he reportedly missed practice and was isolating himself. Butler is a good DFS player because of all the different things he can do on the floor. Still, his lack of a three-point shot bogs him down compared to other small forwards in his price range.

Jerome Robinson Aug 3 7:30pm ET

Washington Wizards shooting guard Jerome Robinson led the team in shot attempts and scored 17 points in Monday's loss to Indiana. The former Clipper was very trigger-happy in the contest, firing off a third of the team's 30 three-point attempts and shooting 7-for-18 overall from the field. He also tallied three rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block in 29 minutes of action. With all of Washington's top dogs missing the action in Orlando, there's a lot of shots and scoring to go around in the team, and Robinson has been one of the main beneficiaries of it. He's averaging 16.3 points in three Bubble games so far and should be on your DFS radar.

Shabazz Napier Aug 3 7:20pm ET

Washington Wizards point guard Shabazz Napier responded well to being demoted to the second unit, dropping 16 points on 6-for-11 shooting in Monday's 111-100 loss to the Pacers. He also had four assists, two rebounds, and one block with three turnovers in 22 minutes. Ish Smith, who replaced Napier in the starting lineup, also logged 22 minutes but recorded only 12 points with four assists and two rebounds. Playing off the bench certainly helped Napier here and it should also suit him on Wednesday against the Sixers. However, he remains a risky play in DFS competitions due to his inconsistent performances.

Goran Dragic Aug 3 7:20pm ET

Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic scored 25 points with five rebounds, five assists, three triples, two steals and a block in a loss to the Raptors on Monday. Dragic was dealing with back spasms prior to the game, though you wouldn't have known it judging by his performance. The 34-year-old got more run in this game because of Kendrick Nunn's 0-for-7 shooting night, though the latter shouldn't have too many nights like that. Averaging just 26 minutes per game through two games of the NBA's return doesn't make Dragic the best DFS play. There are better options for Wednesday's slate.

Thomas Bryant Aug 3 7:10pm ET

Washington Wizards center Thomas Bryant made it two double-doubles on the bounce with a 20-point, 11-rebound effort in Monday's loss to Indiana. He added three blocks while shooting a very good 9-for-12 from the field and 2-for-3 from outside. Bryant had a poor start in Orlando against Phoenix, but he's quickly gotten his act together and there should definitely be more to come from him. The next matchup against Joel Embiid and the Sixers is an ugly one, but the current Wizards team really lacks quality all over the place, so we can expect Bryant to sniff around another double-double on Wednesday.

Myles Turner Aug 3 7:00pm ET

Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner took advantage of a good matchup against Washington on Monday, recording 17 points and nine rebounds in a 111-100 win. He made two of three attempts from deep and shot 7-for-13 overall from the field. Turner also had a couple of blocks and assists in 33 minutes of action. He was very quiet and fouled out on Saturday against the Sixers, so this performance should boost his confidence nicely ahead of Tuesday's clash with Nikola Vucevic and the Magic. He'll likely have a smaller role offensively, with his defense on Vuc one of the keys for Indiana in the matchup.

Malcolm Brogdon Aug 3 7:00pm ET

Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon made his first restart appearance on Monday, collecting 20 points, seven rebounds, and six assists in a comfortable win over Washington. Brogdon, who also had one steal and one block, missed the team's first game in Orlando on Saturday with a neck problem. The 27-year-old guard is having a nice debut season in Indiana, as he's registered career-highs in multiple categories. He's in a another nice spot on Tuesday against Orlando, who don't have a great defensive record against opposing guards. Brogdon had 19 points, eight assists, and five rebounds against the Magic in his only previous appearance in the matchup this season.

T.J. Warren Aug 3 6:50pm ET

Indiana Pacers small forward T.J. Warren followed up his Saturday's 53-point explosion with a 34-point performance in Monday's 111-100 win over Washington. He went cold from deep with a 1-for-6 performance, but shot a nice 14-for-26 overall from the field and filled it up in other categories as well. Warren's stat line included 11 rebounds, four assists, four blocks, and three steals. The 26-year-old forward clearly did something right during the corona break, and he gets no time at all to cool down, with Indiana back in action on Tuesday against Orlando. Warren struggled in his most recent outing against the Magic when he had just two points, but he looks like a completely different player right now.

Pascal Siakam Aug 3 6:50pm ET

Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam shot the ball much better in his second bubble game against the Heat. After going just 5-for-17 from the field, Siakam scored 22 points on efficient 50 percent shooting from the field. The 26-year-old has a real case for winning the Most Improved Player award again in 2020, averaging 23.5 points on 45.6/36.1/80.2 shooting splits. Siakam has had two double-doubles against his next opponent, the Magic, but has struggled with his shot against their underrated defense. He might be worth a look anyway in DFS, considering the Magic will be coming off a back-to-back against another tough Eastern Conference foe, the Pacers.

Fred VanVleet Aug 3 6:30pm ET

Toronto Raptors guard Fred Vanvleet went off for his third 30-point game of the season, scoring a career-high 36 in Monday's win over the Heat. The 26-year-old was feeling it from deep in this one, notching seven triples and adding five rebounds, four assists and a steal. VanVleet amazingly went 13 of 13 from the free-throw line, which is a season-high. It appears that Toronto will lean on VanVleet in the bubble just as much as they did in the games prior to the shutdown, which bodes well for his DFS prospects moving forward. The Raptors will look to improve to 3-0 in Orlando against the Magic on Wednesday and VanVleet should be a big part of it.

Jamal Murray Aug 3 3:40pm ET

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (hamstring) has officially been ruled out for Monday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He was considered very questionable, but the Nuggets will play it safe here. It sounds like he's getting closer to a return, so maybe he'll be back for the next game. Until then, Monte Morris will be asked to step up and join the starting five. He'll be worth looking at for DFS contests while getting extended run.

Jonathan Isaac Aug 3 3:30pm ET

Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac (knee) reportedly suffered a season-ending injury during Sunday's game against the Sacramento Kings. His knee gave out on a non-contact play and he tore his ACL. He'll likely need surgery which means he won't play until possibly some point next season. This is a big blow to the Magic who just got Isaac back from injury. It's going to be tough to replace his production on the court. Aaron Gordon, Terrence Ross, and Wesley Iwundu will likely be asked to step up in his place.

Ish Smith Aug 3 3:20pm ET

Washington Wizards guard Ish Smith will join the starting five for Monday's game against the Indiana Pacers. Head coach Scott Brooks has decided to shake things up and bench Shabazz Napier after an unimpressive beginning to the restart. Smith has been playing well and is trending up. He could be a decent cheap DFS option for Monday's slate, especially since the Wizards are in desperate need of playmakers.

Malcolm Brogdon Aug 3 3:20pm ET

Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon (neck) will return to the starting five for Monday's game against the Washington Wizards. He will make his bubble debut after missing the opener due to a neck issue. It's unclear if he'll be limited at all, but he was able to practice and go through shootaround. Victor Oladipo (knee) and Domantas Sabonis (foot) are sidelined, which means Brogdon should see his usage spike. He'll most likely be a reliable DFS option, assuming the Pacers don't limit him.