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''It's going to be a battle,'' Bucks guard Jrue Holiday said. ''But I think both sides know the price and both have a goal. You've just got to leave it out there.''Washington Wizards Face Coverings

“First game, I really wanted to go out there and pressure the ball. (Coaches) really wanted me to try to impact the ball on defense. Pick up the energy. Pick up the pace. I feel like I did that. Took my shots when they were there,” LaVine said. “Second game, got my spot minutes. I think they switched the lineup a little bit, just seeing different guys. In the exhibition games, that’s what we’re going to do.

What they’re saying: “Franz has always been the type of guy that loves getting into the gym and working on his game. He’s never made excuses for himself. He’s accepted it, and he’s gotten better and better with it. I’m not surprised.”
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This offseason has already been a busy one with the firing of Stan Van Gundy and the addition of new head coach Willie Green.Golden State Warriors Face Coverings

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Boone ranks Mann as the No. 31 overall prospect and No. 9 point guard. At 6-foot-5-inches, he definitely has combo guard potential (though he mostly ran point at Florida), which would prove beneficial for a Brooklyn team with an established point guard in Kyrie Irving.Milwaukee Bucks Face Coverings

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The Wizards currently hold the 15th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft with a glaring need for a wing who can shoot and defend multiple positions. 

He was done with Team USA, where he felt he was not healthy enough to play at his peak and help the squad at the Tokyo Olympics. The reason he withdrew is the same injury that cost him most of last season, reports Chris Fedor of Heat Face Coverings
This is where losing Vanecek really hurts. The Caps did not have enough cap space to re-sign Ovechkin and Samsonov before the expansion draft. Now, the team has lost Vanecek and his minimal cap hit and will have to replace him for, most likely, a more expensive player. MacLellan could not even sign a player to a lower deal if he wanted to as the league's minimum salary rose this year to $750,000.Baltimore Ravens for NHL Face Masks

Corey – Kole Lind. Lind suited up in seven games with the Canucks last season and he was productive in the AHL with eight points (five goals, three assists) in eight outings. He also had a strong year with Utica of the AHL in 2019-20. Lind, who will turn 23 in October, could continue to develop with Seattle and the pending RFA probably won’t cost much to sign this offseason.

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The App is Back! Don’t forget to download the NBC Sports EDGE app to receive real-time player news, mobile alerts and track your favorite players. Plus, now you can check out articles and player cards. Get it here!

All of us across the WHL are incredibly proud of you, Luke. Your leadership is inspiring & your courage will help so many others in the LGBTQ+ community. Sabres for NHL Face Masks

Teams could have protected seven forwards, three defensemen and a goalie, or they could have protected eight skaters and a goalie if they felt the need to protect a fourth defenseman -- something the Nashville Predators, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs opted to do.

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Quenneville, 25, registered two points (one goal, one assist) in 16 games for the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League last season. He appeared in nine games with the Blackhawks during the 2019-20 campaign.Columbus Blue Jackets for NHL Face Masks
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The Colorado Avalanche shipped 26-year-old defenseman Ryan Graves to the New Jersey Devils for forward Mikhail Maltsev and a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL draft. Graves, who led the NHL with a plus-40 rating in 2019-20, was a potential candidate to be selected by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft with the Avs likely to protect Norris Trophy runner-up Cale Makar, Samuel Girard and Devon Toews on defense. Instead of risk losing him for nothing, Avs GM Joe Sakic ensured a small return for the blue-line regular. — Jace EvansWinnipeg Jets for NHL Face Masks
Omri Casspi, first Israeli NBA player, retires Report: ‘Highly likely’ Pistons stay at No. 1, draft Cunningham Report: Rockets aggressively trying to trade up for Pistons’ No. 1...

Paul, who is a frequent spokesman for the insurance company, appeared in a 2019 commercial where a buck completely destroys his garage. As the Phoenix Suns started losing games and eventually fell to Milwaukee in the NBA Finals on Tuesday night, fans couldn’t help but connect the commercial and this year’s Finals.Portland Trail Blazers Face Coverings

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For long stretches, it appeared the Suns were on the verge of a commanding 3-1 lead. But Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo, the cornerstones of a championship contender, made game-changing, series-saving plays in the final two minutes to even the series.Memphis Grizzlies Face Coverings
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"We still won," Holiday said. "And I know I can do other things to affect the game."

Antetokounmpo, who revealed during his news conference that his longtime girlfriend is expecting the couple's second child, has been relaxed and engaging throughout the Finals during his media availability, whether on practice days or after wins and losses on game days.

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For a player that has played for six head coaches in seven NBA seasons, tore his ACL at age 21 and been traded while still on his rookie contract, perhaps some of that boils down to continuity.Chicago Bulls Face Coverings

Over and over in Game 4 of The Finals, Devin Booker used his footwork and skills to make it look easy en route to 42 points.Cleveland Cavaliers Face Coverings
In a Zoom call with reporters Thursday morning, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney admitted the team will try hard over the summer to address its weaknesses on the blue line.Baltimore Ravens for NHL Face Masks

Even when an NHL draft has numerous players who could step right into an NHL lineup within months of being drafted, a team should truly never draft for present need. In this draft, the most likely outcome is that zero players go directly to the NHL. This is due to both the lack of a generational talent available, and the shortened season the vast majority of the players were limited to this year means that that are less prepared, as a class, than under normal circumstances. Furthermore, and being fully frank, the Sabres have needs everywhere. So the goal here should be to take the player who is most likely to be a top of the lineup player at his peak. That is Owen Power. The gigantic Michigan blueliner has been compared to the likes of Victor Hedman, Chris Pronger, Brent Burns, and Aaron Ekblad, and no one in particular. In truth, he is a unique player, combining amazing size, strong skating, a big shot, great vision, the ability (if not necessarily the proclivity) to play a dominating physical game.

Guenther averaged over one point per game in two seasons with the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings as a winger. He’s a pure goal scorer showcased by his elite shot. 

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Earlier this month, Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks died of chest trauma after being struck by a fireworks mortar blast. On Thursday, Columbus teammate Elvis Merzlikins spoke at his memorial service, offering some more insight as to what happened during the tragic July 4 party. He also detailed the heroism Kivlenieks displayed moments before dying.Anaheim Ducks for NHL Face Masks
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• Everyone involved with the Ontario Hockey League will be required to be vaccinated next season. [OHL]

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Pending RFA Ryan Donato perhaps makes the most sense for the Kraken to gamble on. It would be his fourth team as he enters his sixth season in the NHL. In his one year in San Jose, Donato posted a career-high 14 assists but potted just six goals in a bottom-six role with the Sharks. Dylan Gambrell could be a solid fourth-liner for the Kraken to add. Matt Nieto also might be taken as a depth forward who could be used on the penalty kill. Winnipeg Jets for NHL Face Masks

Vegas essentially passed on a budding No. 1 goalie in favor of loading up on defensemen. To compare, here is a look at Vanecek's stats against Grubauer's stats at the time of the Vegas expansion draft.Toronto Maple Leafs for NHL Face Masks
in 2003, I was requested to meet with Warner Brothers about doing a film tentatively titled "Skate Jam." They were bringing back Looney Tunes with "Back In Action" & then wanted to start on my project immediately. A week later Back In Action bombed & Skate Jam was shelved forever Kings Face Coverings

You mentioned Billy earlier. How would you describe your relationship with him and how has he helped you since being here?Washington Wizards Face Coverings

He would replace Stan Van Gundy, who left the Pelicans after just one season. The deal is expected to be finalized this week.

Cunningham is a big, strong, physical guard/forward that has stardom written all over him. He can score at all three levels, including in the post where he has the size and strength to power through contact. He has tremendous court vision and his overall basketball IQ is off the charts.
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Sorry LeBron James, but it looks like the NBA's play-in tournament is coming back for one more season, and possibly more.

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"I thought I was going to get dunked on, to be honest with you," Antetokounmpo said with a smile. "But you know, going down the stretch, just do whatever it takes to win the game. Just put yourself in a position that can win the game."Cleveland Cavaliers Face Coverings

"They got a significant amount more shots than us, so for me I got to take care of the ball," Paul continued. "We got 17 turnovers, we shoot the ball too well not to have those opportunities to score."Philadelphia 76ers Face Coverings

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Alex Ovechkin was left unprotected, as he’s an unrestricted free agent. T.J. Oshie was protected, as was Evgeny Kuznetsov. Goaltender Ilya Samsonov got the nod over Vitek Vanecek, too. Calgary Flames for NHL Face Masks

It's tough to imagine Luke Hughes falling to No. 9 at this point. Most people I've talked to think New Jersey will end up selecting the youngest Hughes brother. If the Devils don't go Hughes, the other player they seem to be hot on is Swedish defenseman Simon Edvinsson.

From the tense Game 5 win by the Tampa Bay Lightning to coach Jon Cooper's heartfelt congratulations to the Montreal Canadiens in the handshake line to the boyish glee the players had in raising their second straight Cup, the seventh chapter of the series was its passionate apex.

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Each of the leagues used groundbreaking marketing and promotional tactics, new rules, and a style of play that forced the evolution of already established leagues.Vancouver Canucks for NHL Face Masks

Logan Mailloux has withdrawn from the 2021 NHL Draft following a 2020 conviction in Sweden for taking and circulating a photo of a woman performing a sex act without her consent.Columbus Blue Jackets for NHL Face Masks

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Power, a 6-foot-6 defenseman, is the favorite to go No. 1 overall to the Buffalo Sabres in the 2021 NHL draft next week -- which should be a big deal.
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Samsonov is just 24 years old and has a .908 save percentage in 45 career NHL games. From March 1 to the end of the regular season, though, once he put the first COVID-19 bout behind him, Samsonov was a .918 goalie. That's a worthwhile bet for the Capitals to make.Tampa Bay Lightning for NHL Face Masks
Carlos Carrasco tossed 2.0 scoreless innings for the Brooklyn Cyclones as he made his first rehab startNew York Yankees Face Masks

Of the nine players in the Angels opening day lineup, only three avoided a trip to the injured list during the first half of the season.

Said Roberts: “I think, for me, for Cody, when he was really good in ‘19, he was a hitter first, and the slug followed. He was using left center, he was using the middle of the field, right-center field. Breaking balls in the zone, he would slug those to the pull side.Chicago White Sox Face Masks

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Fraley did not play in Friday and Saturday’s games against the Los Angeles Angels. Manager Scott Servais said after Friday’s game that Fraley was under the weather after the initial test was negative.

Judge was on the American League All-Star team Tuesday night alongside Red Sox stars Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, J.D. Martinez, Nathan Eovaldi and Matt Barnes.

The 6-foot-6, 240-pound Ball is a former 24th-round pick by the Braves in the 2019 MLB Amateur Draft out of Dallas Baptist. He is a left-handed power bat. Ball recently turned 23-years-old and played most recently for the Braves’ High-A affiliate in Rome. He struggled at the plate this season with a slash line of .207/.354/.396, but his 2019 success was good enough to have him ranked the Braves’ No. 12 overall prospect this year.Los Angeles Angels Face Masks

Major League Baseball, which continues to investigate allegations of sexual assault against Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer, extended his administrative leave to July 27, two officials with direct knowledge of the decision told USA TODAY Sports.Texas Rangers Face Masks

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Indeed, while Antetokounmpo turned in a Finals MVP-winning performance for the ages, filled with iconic moments and games—The Block 2, The Alley-Oop, 50 for 50—Middleton was the unsung hero of the Milwaukee Bucks. Over the whole postseason, Middleton was Milwaukee’s leading scorer in “crunch time,” when the score differential was five points or fewer within the last five minutes of a game.Philadelphia 76ers Face Coverings

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trusting the process helped Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo win NBA titleBrooklyn Nets Face Coverings

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“A lot of fun. Only basketball that I've been wanting to play for a really long time,” Booker said. “So I'm having a lot of fun with it, competing at the highest level that basketball has known.”Detroit Pistons Face Coverings

You could see that at the end of Game 5 Saturday night. Phoenix was down one with less than :30 seconds left, Booker was matched up on P.J. Tucker and trying to drive past him, Antetokounmpo doubled Booker and took away the drive, so Booker stopped and tried to spin back toward the middle for a shot, only to find Holiday had left his man, dug down on Booker who spun right into him, then Holiday ripped the ball away for the steal.Chicago Bulls Face Coverings
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Time will tell, and CP3’s free agency decision (he has a player option for $44.2 million that he may decline) will play a major role in how I feel about Booker’s fantasy potential, but as of right now, I wouldn’t be too keen on plucking him up inside the top-20. He’s only sniffed top-25 status once throughout his career thus far, but for the most part, he hasn’t been much more than a top-40 option.

Houston Rockets big man Christian Wood is an option for USA Basketball as they look to fill Bradley Beal’s roster spot for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, according to the Houston Chronicle‘s Jonathan Feigen.

Mike Brown, the Warriors' associate head coach, also will be in Tokyo this summer as he is the head coach for Team Nigeria. Brown's squad actually knocked off the heavily-favored Team USA in an exhibition earlier this month.
Nause doesn't pile up buckets of points, but that isn't his role. An archetypal defensive defenseman, the towering blueliner has a good head on his shoulders and consistently makes sound on-ice decisions. He has good mobility, is patient with the puck, and is excellent in transition. If Nause isn't all that noticeable to the average hockey fan, it's because he's doing his job. And doing it well.

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New York sent a 2022 seventh-round pick to the Lightning for Goodrow, one of the key additions who helped Tampa Bay get over the playoff hump and win the Cup each of the past two seasons. The Rangers now have exclusive negotiating rights with Goodrow until the free agent market opens July 28.

"The Nashville Predators organization is proud of Luke for the courage he is displaying in coming out today and we will support him unequivocally in the days, weeks, and years to come as he continues to develop as a prospect," Predators president and CEO Sean Henry said. "A long-stated goal in our organization is equality for all, including the LGBTQ community, and it is important that Luke feels comfortable and part of an inclusive environment as he moves forward in his career."

But Niederreiter, 28, carries his modest $5.25M cap hit for just one more year. This opens up some tantalizing possibilities.Calgary Flames for NHL Face Masks

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“We believe he has good hockey ahead of him,” Fletcher said. “It’s tough to predict injuries. He certainly is a man that plays hard.”Anaheim Ducks for NHL Face Masks

"We are excited to announce that we have signed Miro to a long-term contract," Nill said in a statement. "Since joining us, it has been clear that Miro is part of a collection of young, rising stars that are now playing in the National Hockey League. As an organization, we truly feel that Miro has just scratched the surface of his ability and will be in the Norris Trophy discussion for years to come."New England Patriots for NHL Face Masks

• Buffalo Sabres forward Jeff Skinner, who waived his no-movement clause to be exposed in the draft. His contract carries a $9 million cap hit through the 2026-27 season. It's notable that he played for Seattle general manager Ron Francis in Carolina and that Kraken assistant GM Jason Botterill signed him to that contract while in Buffalo.Miami Dolphins for NHL Face Masks
- There have also been some whiffs: Luka Šamanić ('19, 36 games in two years), Sergey Karasev ('13, 95 games), Andrew Nicholson ('12, 285 games), and Quincy Douby ('06, 143 games).

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After all, the NBA had a compressed 72-game season only 71 days after the Los Angeles Lakers won the 2020 NBA title in a campus bubble. The U.S. Olympic team will begin preliminary play against France on Sunday followed with games against Iran (July 28) and the Czech Republic (July 31). That gives Middleton, Holiday and Booker between three to five days to fly to Tokyo and prepare for Team USA’s first game, depending on when the NBA Finals ends.Miami Heat Face Coverings

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Prkacin averaged 13.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists last season with KK Cibona in the Adriatic League. He shot 39.4% from 3-point range and was thought to be one of the more versatile frontcourt players in the draft this year.

They allowed Antetokounmpo to dominate once again (32 points, nine rebounds), while also leaning on Khris Middleton (29 points), Holiday (27) and Pat Connaughton (14). While the Suns did not contest the Bucks enough from deep (14-of-28), the Suns became too reliant on their paint and mid-range presence at the expense of being enough of a perimeter threat (13-of-19).
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The Mavericks, as a team positioned to make a deep playoff, simply didn’t have enough minutes for Green. With Kidd now taking over, Green could have a chance to further develop and become a regular contributor in the rotation next season.Charlotte Hornets Face Coverings

As for Bridges, while his offense was a bit more intermittent throughout the playoffs than you’d hope, two-way wings are at a premium in the modern-day NBA. Not only did he shoot a career-best 42.5 percent from 3 this season, but he also doubled as one of the league’s best, multi-positional defenders. His cutting ability and growing comfort with attacking off the dribble to create his own shot in the mid-range makes this a no-brainer. He’s a All-Defensive caliber player who will eventually be able to take a ton of pressure off Booker on the offensive end of the floor.Los Angeles Clippers Face Coverings

Lillard made clear that he wants the Trail Blazers to be more aggressive — “urgent” was the word he kept returning to — in making changes than in the past.Detroit Pistons Face Coverings
F: Rickard Rakell F: Troy Terry F: Max Jones F: Isac Lundestrom D: Cam Fowler D: Hampus Lindholm D: Josh Manson D: Haydn Fleury G: John Gibson

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Widely heralded for his lethal wrist shot, Sillinger is one of a handful of elite scoring forwards in this draft. Having bolted the WHL's Medicine Hat Tigers for the U.S. during the pandemic, he potted 24 goals and 22 assists in 31 games for Sioux Falls. He has great hands and reads the game particularly well. His considerable size and strength helps keep defenders at bay, along the boards and in open ice.New York Jets for NHL Face Masks

"Look how many lives you've touched, Matiss. Look how many lives you've touched," Legace said. "Torts even flew in, and he hates goalies."Calgary Flames for NHL Face Masks

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The Coyotes traded Hill because they could not protect the 25-year-old and starter Darcy Kuemper from the Kraken.

Just over a week after losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final, the Montreal Canadiens have been dealt another heavy blow.Seattle Kraken for NHL Face Masks

Free agent Jani Hakanpää could be an option to replace the physical element of Miller’s game. A solid defender on a second or third pairing role, Hakanpää was traded to the Hurricanes at last season’s deadline as a part of the Hayden Fleury deal with the Ducks.St Louis Blues for NHL Face Masks
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The Seattle Kraken will begin putting together their inaugural roster on Wednesday night during the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft.