SH Blog: Neal signs with Bucks; listen to LeBron’s choices for NBA 2K14 soundtrack

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Luis_Scola_ArgentinaWe’re approaching the quiet period in the NBA offseason, but there’s still some news to be found. Today’s big topic is the Pacers making themselves even better, adding Luis Scola to be their third big. Click that link right there for Chris Sheridan’s take on what the trade means for Indiana, and, by extension, the other teams jockeying for position at the top of the East.

The other news today is Gary Neal signing with the Bucks. This might not have registered on the radar before this year’s Finals, when Neal got his name recognized, at least if you’re not like me and didn’t go to the same high school as the former Towson guard. Now he’s got a guaranteed deal for a decent chunk of change, though he might not get another chance to light it up on the national stage with Milwaukee.

Other than that, it’s a pretty slow day around the NBA, as late July tends to be. Of course, what news there is, you’ll find right here, so let’s get to it.

  • Here’s some reactions to today’s trade that sent Luis Scola to the Pacers, via NBA.com: ” “I’m very, very excited to play for the Pacers,” said Scola. “They are one of the top three teams in the NBA with a good shot to win a championship. I think it’s a great team and this is a great opportunity. I can’t wait.” “Luis will be a very important asset to our team and to our bench,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “He has NBA experience, international experience and is the type of player that will fit in nicely on our roster. I want to thank Gerald and Miles for their contributions. They had tough years last season, but worked hard, never complained and contributed to the great chemistry our team had. I think Gerald and Miles will be solid additions in Phoenix and we wish them well.” “
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  • chris paulJeff Goodman of ESPN.com got some interesting quotes from Chris Paul about his role on Team USA and with the Clippers: “Chris Paul has changed his mind and is leaning toward playing in the 2016 Olympics. The Los Angeles Clippers point guard, who was on the 2008 and 2012 gold medal teams, said he was leaning heavily toward bypassing the 2016 Games — until Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski announced he was returning to coach the team.”If it had been another coach than Coach K, I was prepared to be done,” Paul told ESPN.com. … Paul admitted there were times when he and (Blake) Griffin weren’t on the same page last season, but said the trip gave the pair an opportunity to bond. “We talked about everything,” Paul said. “We talked more than we ever have. As we get more familiar with one another, we get more comfortable. Last year we had our moments, but we’re both very competitive and just want to win.” Paul was believed to be the driving force behind the Clippers dealing a first-round draft pick to land former Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers. The Clippers also made moves to acquire shooting guard J.J. Redick and forward Jared Dudley, and Paul was excited about the addition of first-round draft pick Reggie Bullock — who came through his AAU program.”
  • 2K Sports’ new NBA game drops in October, but the soundtrack is released right now, and it’s handpicked by LeBron James himself. LeBron’s choices range from Coldplay and Phil Collins to Big Krit and Kendrick Lamar, plus a double dose of the omnipresent Black Keys. Sean Sweeney of Dime Magazine has the full list: “2K Sports officially released the NBA 2K14 soundtrack earlier today. It was personally selected by the game’s cover athlete, LeBron James, and features an eclectic 20-track mix of hip-hop, rock, and classic pop. For fans who want to listen to the soundtrack before the release date (Oct. 1), they can stream it from the the NBA 2K14 Spotify page. “2K is letting me take control of some important elements in NBA 2K14, including this year’s soundtrack,” said James in a release. “I love that I’m the first NBA 2K cover athlete to choose the soundtrack.” “
  • MozgovThe Nuggets today announced that they will re-sign Timofey Mozgov, according to the team’s website: “The Denver Nuggets have re-signed center Timofey Mozgov to a multiyear contract, general manager and executive vice president of basketball operation Tim Connelly announced today. Mozgov, 7-1, 250, averaged 2.6 points and 2.6 rebounds in 8.9 minutes while shooting .506 from the field in 41 games for the Nuggets last season. In 130 career games (50 starts) with Denver and the New York Knicks, he has averaged 3.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in 12.1 minutes. “Like all players, Timo just needs an opportunity to play,” Connelly said. “He’s got a great attitude and mindset toward improving his game, and we’re confident that he will help us on the interior in the seasons to come.” “

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Dan Malone is about to begin his fourth year as a journalism student at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and spent this summer as a features intern at the Cape Cod Times. He blogs, edits and learns things on the fly for Sheridan Hoops. Follow him on Twitter.

Scola getting traded to Pacers today? (UPDATE: Yes)

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220px-Luis_Scola_&_Paulius_JankūnasThe Eastern Conference is about to get a whole lot more competitive at the top once a reported trade of Luis Scola to the Pacers comes to fruition.

Yahoo Sports reported earlier that the Indiana Pacers and Phoenix Suns are in the late stages of negotiations of a deal that would send the 33-year-old veteran forward to the Pacers in exchange for Gerald Green and possibly a draft pick or picks.

UPDATE: The deal is for Green, Miles Plumlee, and a lottery-protected 2014 first-round pick, according to Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

How will this tip the balance of power in the East?

Well, we already saw this spring how dominant the Pacers can be with their fearsome twosome of Roy Hibbert and David West along the front line. The New York Knicks couldn’t contain those two in the Eastern Conference semifinals, and it took the eventual champion Miami Heat seven games to dispatch the Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals when the primary backup at the power forward position was Tyler Hansbrough.

But Hansbrough (who has since signed with Toronto) averaged only 12.7 minutes during the playoffs, and Ian Mahinmi logged only 8.3 minutes as the backup center behind Hibbert.

Luis_Scola_ArgentinaScola has the ability to play either power forward or center, and he possesses one of the most polished low-post offensive repertoires of any big man in the league. The Suns acquired him on a waiver claim after he was amnestied by the Houston Rockets, and he has two years remaining on his contract.

If this trade goes through, you can put the Pacers right up there with the Brooklyn Nets as the team that has improved the most during the offseason. Remember, they also signed Chris Copeland away from the Knicks, and they reached into Brooklyn to sign C.J. Watson as the new backup behind George Hill at point guard, replacing D.J. Augustin.

(RELATED: SHERIDAN TALKS PACERS MOVES ON INDIANAPOLIS RADIO)

SH Blog: Best of Team USA, Summer League

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Anthony Davis cropWith little-to-no big name free-agents left on the board, the NBA has shifted into the dog days of summer. These next two months are when the superstar players take their time out of the limelight, relax, and hopefully improve their games for next season.

Not a lot of action for the superstar players (unless you’re playing in the Drew League in L.A. or trying out for Team USA in Vegas) means a chance for the undrafted or unsigned players to put themselves on the NBA map — or an NBA roster. 

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Evening News: Kings start negotiations with Cousins; Nets ink Anderson; Nuggets re-sign Mozgov

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Hello and welcome to the Evening News.

As the offseason continues, we’ll keep you updated every evening.

What’s happening today?

Mighty Moke’s Top 25 Available Free Agents — July 26 Update

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Andrew WigginsGet used to this word: Tankapalooza.

There are 10 teams, give or take, who have a legitimate chance to compete for the NBA championship in 2014. Everybody else will suck. Some will suck more than others, and that will be a good thing for them.

Because that will improve their chances of landing the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft and selecting Andrew Wiggins of Kansas, who will be the next LeBron James.

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