Thursday’s Sports In Brief
Shortly after the Suns took Deandre Ayton to start the NBA draft, the Mavericks traded up two spots for the rights to Luka Doncic.
The Atlanta Hawks swapped the rights to Doncic, the No. 3 pick who has spent the last year winning championships all over Europe, to Atlanta for Trae Young, the No. 5 selection from Oklahoma.
The Mavericks also gave up a future first-round pick to draft Doncic, who only arrived in New York on Wednesday after helping Spain’s Real Madrid win its league championship after he won Euroleague MVP and Final Four MVP honors when they won that title this year.
His lengthy European season kept him from working out for teams but he knew the Mavericks were interested in having him on their team for what’s expected to be Dirk Nowitzki’s final NBA season.
He remains optimistic the relationship can be salvaged.
Leonard has requested a trade from San Antonio because he is unhappy after missing most of last season with a right quadriceps injury. Buford would not comment on ”speculation” of a trade demand, but agreed there is a fractured relationship between Leonard and the only franchise he has played for.
”Kawhi and his family mean a lot to the organization and to the community and while none of wish we are where we are, we’re going to do what we can to build the best relationship we can with him,” Buford said Thursday night as the Spurs made two late picks in the NBA Draft. ”We’ll explore all of our options, but the first one would be to do what we can to keep Kawhi as part of our group.”
Leonard missed the first 27 games of the season but returned to play in nine games. He complained of discomfort and pain in the leg in his final game. Leonard sought an outside opinion after the Spurs cleared him to play, working with his own medical team in New York in an attempt to return to the court. The 6-foot-7 forward reportedly grew upset that the Spurs had questioned his rehabilitation process.
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) – The Cavaliers selected a point guard and pitch man.
Moments after the team selected Collin Sexton with the No. 8 pick in the NBA draft Thursday night, the Alabama playmaker made his appeal for LeBron James to re-sign with Cleveland.
”Man, LeBron, let’s do it,” Sexton said during ESPN’s telecast from the draft in Brooklyn. ”Let’s do it. I’ve seen you needed a few extra pieces this past season, and let’s do it. Let’s go back to the Finals.”
The Cavs believe Sexton – and perhaps a few more tweaks to their roster – will help convince James there is no reason for him to leave home for the second time in his career.
Sexton averaged 19.2 points and 3.6 assists as a freshman for the Crimson Tide, and the 19-year-old also led the school to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012. He’s confident, a proven scorer and he addresses a major need for the Cavs, who traded All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving to Boston last year and spent all season trying to replace him.
Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue started eight different point guards during the regular season.
LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Michigan State’s board of trustees will address a plan Friday to pay a $500 million settlement to Larry Nassar’s victims, a meeting that comes amid calls for the school’s interim president to resign over recent comments about some of the women and girls the former sports doctor sexually assaulted.
Although the board appears to lack the votes to oust John Engler from his interim perch, the public meeting likely will be heavily attended by people who are fed up with Engler and want him gone. The primary focus of the meeting is the school’s budget, along with the settlement plan.
Some 150 of Nassar’s victims have joined a public crusade to force Engler out of the interim job. Last week, two university trustees also signaled they could call a vote during a board meeting Friday on whether to fire him.
STORRS, Conn. (AP) – The University of Connecticut fired men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie after finding NCAA violations that included improper training sessions and improper contact with recruits by Ollie and former UConn star Ray Allen, according to documents released by the school.
The violations are laid out in more than 1,300 pages of emails, transcripts and contracts given to The Associated Press and other media organizations who filed Freedom of Information requests with the school after Ollie was fired in March. They were released this week after UConn President Susan Herbst upheld the firing decision, a process that now heads to arbitration.
The NCAA is investigating UConn for potential violations, but has not issued a finding.