Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant is the first NBA All-Star to defect to rapper and mogul Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports agency, sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Roc Nation is a newly formed agency that has been aggressively pursuing star players in the NFL, MLB and now the NBA.
“KD doesn’t want a traditional NBA agent anymore,” a league source with knowledge of his thinking told Yahoo! Sports on Friday night. “He wants Jay-Z to handle his branding. …He had a chance to be with his idol and couldn’t say no.”
League executives and agents wonder whether the move to Jay-Z and Roc Nation could eventually lead to the agency pushing for Durant to depart small-market Oklahoma City for the opportunities of New York or Los Angeles.
Durant is signed with the Thunder through the 2015-16 season.
A rehabbing Dwight Howard hits the practice court for the first time.
A four-team trade that would send Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers is complete, multiple sources told ESPN on Thursday night.
Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant
A source with direct knowledge of the talks told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein the Lakers will receive Howard, the Denver Nuggets will acquire Andre Iguodala, the 76ers will receive Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson, and the Magic will get Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic and one protected future first-round pick from each of the other three teams.
In addition, the Magic will be getting other pieces, including 76ers No. 1 draft pick Moe Harkless, a source told Stein.
While the Los Angeles Lakers continued to engage the Orlando Magic in discussions to acquire All-Star center Dwight Howard, there was no face-to-face meeting between Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and Orlando general manager Rob Hennigan on Tuesday, a league source told ESPNLosAngeles.com.
The Lakers remain committed to pursuing Howard even without assurances he would sign a long-term extension with the club. What is unclear to both sides is whether Orlando would accept Andrew Bynum without assurances he would sign a long-term extension.
If a Howard trade is not feasible, the Lakers would quickly turn their attention to resuming extension talks with Bynum and re-signing forward Jordan Hill. If Bynum agrees to an extension, it would start the clock on a deal for Howard in much the same way Brooklyn’s extension with Brook Lopez did.
After acquiring Steve Nash, the Lakers intend to keep its core of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum together next season, according to a source.
Bynum has been involved in trade rumors for Dwight Howard, while Gasol has been on the block since December.
The Magic have sought the inclusion of more pieces beyond Bynum in a trade for Howard, such as the ability to absorb at least one problematic contract.
The Wolves are pursuing Pau Gasol and are offering Derrick Williams in the process, according to two sources.
Minnesota offered Derrick Williams to the Bobcats for the No. 2 overall pick in hopes of helping to acquire Gasol.
The Wolves want to pair Gasol with Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio.
Metta World Peace
Metta World Peace was ejected from the Los Angeles Lakers’ 114-106 double overtime win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday after receiving a flagrant foul 2 for hitting James Harden in the head with his elbow.
World Peace threw down a dunk to draw the Lakers to within one, 48-47, with 1:39 remaining in the second quarter.
As he made his way back up the court, World Peace started to beat his chest in celebration before striking Harden, who was behind him, in the back of the head with his left elbow, causing the Oklahoma City guard to fall to the floor.
Harden stayed down and play was stopped for several minutes while the referees separated Lakers and Thunder players who were arguing and the flagrant 2 determination was only made after the collision was reviewed on a video monitor at center court.
Mike Brown continues to seek advice from Gregg Popovich. Brown served as an assistant coach under Popovich with the Spurs from 2000 until 2003.
“Times get tough at certain times for me,” Brown said. “He’s probably the guy that I reach out to more than anybody else, and he knows me well enough to where if I haven’t reached out to him, I’ll see I got a phone call from him or a text from him. He’s been great for me — and not just for me, but for my entire family.”
Popovich is eager to assist Brown as long as it is not directly related to the matchup between the Lakers and Spurs.
“He still helps me out,” Brown said. “He’s just a real human being. He knows people very well, and that’s probably his strongest strength. He’s a terrific, terrific people manager. He helps me in a lot of ways, not only on the floor but off the floor in my personal life.”
The Los Angeles Lakers traded longtime point guard Derek Fisher after acquiring Ramon Sessions earlier in the day, according to sources.
Fisher, who has spent 13 of his 16 NBA seasons with the Lakers, was dealt to the Houston Rockets for Jordan Hill, sources told ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher.
The Lakers will also send a first-round pick, which was previously acquired from Dallas, in this year’s draft.
The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired point guard Ramon Sessions from the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of a multi-player deal that will bring the Cavs the Lakers’ 2012 first-round pick, according to league sources.
The Cavs also will send young wing player Christian Eyenga to the Lakers and veteran forward Luke Walton will be going to the Cavs.
The Lakers’ will keep their draft pick this year if they miss the playoffs. As part of the deal, the Lakers also will have the right to swap first-round draft position in 2013 with the Miami Heat’s first round pick, which the Cavs own.