Breaking: LeBron James done for the season

According to a statement from the Los Angeles Lakers, the organization has decided they will shut down LeBron for the final six games of the season. With the team being out of playoff contention, the organization decided it was in both their’s and LeBron’s best interests to shutdown the superstar for the rest of the season. During the 2018-2019 season, James averaged 27.4 ppg, 8.5 rpg, and 8.3 assist per game in a Lakers’ jersey.

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Breaking: Bulls shutting Markkanen down for the season

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Chicago Bulls are officially shutting down forward Lauri Markkanen for the season. The team reportedly decided to shut the young star down after he experienced “extreme fatigue” after Tuesday night’s game versus the Toronto Raptors. League sources also reported that Markkanen stayed in Toronto overnight to be evaluated by team doctors and physicians from a local hospital. When asked about Markkanen’s fatigue, Bulls’ HC Jim Boylen told media that the second-year player was “feeling a little sluggish” after several hard practices had caught up with him.

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Breaking: Warriors’ Jordan Bell suspended for 1 game

According to multiple reports, the Golden State Warriors have decided to suspend Jordan Bell for 1 game after the organization found him involved in conduct detrimental to the team. While no reports have surfaced as to what led the team to suspend Bell, both parties involved will seemingly handle this in-house. No further information on the subject is available at this time.

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After several days of tragedy, Jusuf Nurkic finally receives some good news

Several days after suffering one of the most gruesome injuries in recent basketball memory, veteran big-man Jusuf Nurkic finally received some good news from doctors on Tuesday.

 

Doctors officially informed the Portland Trailblazers and Nurkic that no nerve or muscle damage had been sustained during his horrific injury. The Bosnia-native also underwent a successful surgery on Tuesday to repair the compound fractures he suffered on his left leg. In a press statement, the team announced that Nurkic is out indefinitely and is expected to make a full recovery.

 

Before he suffered his season-ending injury, Nurkic was having a career year, averaging career-highs in almost every category. The 24-year-old 7-footer was averaging 15.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game during the 2018-2019 season. The team will likely need big-men like Zach Collins and Enes Kanter to step-up into Nurkic’s role and give the Trailblazers good production down low.

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Breaking: Nurkic suffers gruesome injury, likely done for the season

During the second overtime of the Portland Trailblazers’ 144-148 double-overtime win versus the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night, veteran big-man Jusuf Nukic suffered what appears to be a season ending leg injury.

Late Monday night, the Portland Trailblazers told reporters that Nurkic had suffered multiple compound fractures in his lower left leg. The Bosnian-native was jumping for a rebound when he landed awkwardly on several Nets’ players, which caused him to suffer the gruesome injury. Nurkic left the game on a stretcher with the help of several Blazers’ players and was transported to a local hospital.

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Breaking: Big Baller Brand in hot water

According to inside sources, the Ball family has had discussions about nixing their company, the Big Baller Brand, after reports surfaced earlier in the week stating that the company’s co-founder Alan Foster allegedly played a role in stealing $1.5 million dollars out of Lonzo Ball’s personal and business accounts. The Big Baller Brand has already made headlines this week after a report surfaced saying that the Lakers may ask the company to make changes to Lonzo’s signature shoes, after concerns were raised stating that the design of the shoes may have played a role in the young point guard’s ankle injuries during the team’s 2018-2019 campaign. According to sources close to the situation, the Ball family is looking at closing the company and several other business dealings in order to completely sever all ties with Alan Foster.

The Ball family reportedly learned about the missing money last fall after one of Lonzo’s financial advisors couldn’t complete a tax form because $1.5 million dollars was missing. This news comes just hours after Lonzo’s private Instagram account posted a photo which featured Ball in a Lakers’ uniform with a well-known Nike slogan beside of him. According to Bleacher Report, Lonzo’s manager recently posted a video in which he dumped a pair of ZO2s (Lonzo’s signature shoes) in a trash collection bin. The video also featured a caption which said “#dumpurmerch.”

 

Ball recently told ESPN that he believes that Foster, who had been a personal friend to Lonzo’s father for more than a decade, had “used his access to my business and personal finances to enrich himself. As a result, I have decided to sever all ties with Alan, effective immediately.”

 

According to ESPN, this is not the first time Foster has been involved in criminal activity. In 2002, Foster was sentenced to just over seven years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of mail fraud and two counts of money laundering. Foster’s crimes where part of a scheme that defrauded 70 investors of $4 million. In that case, Foster was ordered to pay $3.7 million in restitution to the victims of his crimes. Currently, Foster owns 16.3% of the Big Baller Brand.

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NBA Rumors: Jason Kidd a “possible” replacement for Luke Walton

According to multiple league sources, the Los Angeles Lakers will look into hiring Jason Kidd as their Head Coach if they decide to relieve Luke Walton of his responsibilities in the offseason. Sources say Kidd has expressed interest in coaching in the NBA again and the Lakers may be willing to give him that chance. The ex-Cal star and Hall of Famer is currently the favorite to take over the head coaching position at his old school, but sources say a chance at coaching in the NBA may draw him away from the University of California coaching job. After missing the playoffs with LeBron James, the Lakers are expected to fire coach Walton at the season’s end. The feeling in NBA circles seems to be that after missing the playoffs for the 6th straight year, the Lakers’ front office will “heavily” pursue big-time pieces in the offseason in order to give LeBron the team to finally end the drought.

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The Lonzo Report: The latest buzz surrounding Lonzo Ball and his signature shoes

According to multiple league sources, the Los Angeles Lakers and Lonzo Ball engaged in discussions about whether or not Ball’s signature shoes played a role in suffering his ankle injuries during the team’s 2018-2019 campaign. Ball has been sidelined since he suffered an ankle injury on January 19th in a contest versus the Houston Rockets. Team doctors initially concluded that the injury was a sprained ankle, but after looking at it once more, the doctors also found out that Ball had suffered a bone bruise on the very same play. The bone bruise made it significantly harder to come back from the sprained ankle, and the Lakers ultimately decided to shut Ball down for the season.

Los Angeles Lakers v Houston Rockets

Lonzo Ball suffers ankle injury during matchup versus Houston Rockets on Jan. 19th.

When pressed about whether or not the Lakers talked to the young point guard about the possible role his shoes played in his injury, Ball told the media this:

“Yeah, they talked to me. They asked me about it, and I told ’em, I feel comfortable. If I wasn’t comfortable, I wouldn’t play in ’em. If I didn’t play in (his signature BBB shoes), I’d play in Kobe (Bryant’s signature Nike shoes). I work out in (LeBron James’ signature Nike shoes), but that’s because they’re heavier.”

Lonzo also told the media that he informed the Lakers that he would be open to making “just minor (adjustments)” to the shoes if the team requested him to.

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Above is a look at Lonzo Ball’s signature shoes.

Up until recently, all seemed to be fine between Ball and the Big Baller Brand as no reports had surfaced saying the Lakers had requested the brand to change any part of the controversial sneakers. But on Saturday night, Lonzo posted a picture on his Instagram account which featured a picture of him with Nike’s famous saying “It’s only a crazy dream until you do it” next to him. This prompted many NBA fans to jump the conclusion that Lonzo was leaving the Big Baller Brand for Nike after the meeting with the Lakers. While no evidence has surfaced to officially support this conclusion, it would seem as though Lonzo is switching brands. Lonzo and the Big Baller Brand have already made national news earlier this week after they were forced to cut ties with close business associate Alan Foster after allegations surfaced saying that the co-founder had taken $1.5 million dollars from the Lakers’ guard.

 

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3 NBA prospects to watch on Saturday as March Madness rolls on

March Madness is upon us NBA fans, and whether you despise or absolutely love college basketball, it certainly benefits you as an avid basketball fan to watch these young hoopers duke it out on the hardwood. The tournament has yielded us with amazing finishes, star-studded performances, and gut-wrenching losses thus far, and who knows what’s in store for us farther down the road? NBA prospects like Zion Williamson and RJ Barret have already taken the court in the first few games of March Madness, so which NBA prospects can you watch during Saturday’s round of games? Stay tuned to find out!

 

1) Ja Morant, Murray State

 

After witnessing Ja Morant become just the fourth person all-time to drop a triple-double during the NCAA’s March Madness tournament, the projected lottery is being considered must-see TV. The second-year guard out of Dalzell, SC is averaging 24.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 10.2 assists per game while shooting 50.4% from the field. Interested in learning more about Ja and his game? Take a look at our Ja Morant draft profile right here on The Hardwood Tribune! Morant and the Murray State Racers basketball team will face FSU at 6:10 PM on TNT. You can also stream the game live on NCAA.com.

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2) Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga

Hachimura and his Gonzaga Bulldogs started out the tournament hot with a dominating victory versus the Fairleigh Dickinson men’s basketball team, and there’s no doubt that they will look to replicate Thursday’s performance today against 9th seeded Baylor. Hachimura, who is projected to be a lottery pick, dropped 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 1 assist against the Knights during Thursday night’s Round of 64 matchup. Look for Rui to try to replicate his first-round success in tonight’s matchup as Gonzaga attempts to keep their championship dreams alive. Gonzaga will face Baylor tonight at 7:10 PM in Vivant Smart Home Arena located in Salt Lake City, Utah. The game will be aired on TBS and can be streamed live on Hulu.

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3) Keldon Johnson, Kentucky

Keldon Johnson, who is being viewed as a possible lottery pick, had a great start to the tournament as he scored 25 points and grabbed 6 boards during Kentucky’s 44-79 victory versus Abilene Christian in their Round of 64 matchup on Thursday. While his season has been a bit inconsistent, he has scored 20-plus points six-times and shot just about 39% from behind the arc. Keldon may be primed and ready for a big game as the Wildcats will have their hands full with a tough Wofford team in their Round of 32 matchup. The Kentucky Wildcats and the Wofford Terriers will face off today at 2:40 PM in Jacksonville’s VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. The game will be aired on CBS and can be streamed live on Hulu.

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