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DeMarcus Cousins reportedly traded to Pelicans in blockbuster deal

The Sacramento Kings' DeMarcus Cousins has reportedly been traded to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Buddy Hield and at least one first-round pick, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical:

Deal with the Pels includes guard Buddy Hield, and a 2017 first-round pick to the Kings for Cousins, league sources tell @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 20, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Sources: New Orleans is also sending the Kings a 2017 second-round pick (via Philadelphia) and Tyreke Evans in deal, league sources said.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 20, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Once again: BUDDY HIELD, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, one future first-round pick & one future second for DeMarcus Cousins, sources say— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 20, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

>> Read more trending news

Cousins is arguably one of the top big men in the NBA today, and pairing him with Anthony Davis and standout guard Jrue Holiday makes a serious trio in New Orleans.

The move to trade Cousins comes on the heels of the Kings making public proclamations to keep the disgruntled center.

Here’s what Yahoo! reported led to eventually trading the center:

“Two incidents in particular – an expletive-laced remark Cousins made about Golden State after Sacramento’s overtime win over the Warriors on Feb. 6 and the astonishing 17th technical foul this season, and resulting one-game suspension, against New Orleans on Feb. 12 – have caused Ranadive to have serious concerns about tethering the franchise to Cousins long term.”

The Kings were at significant risk to lose a 2017 Top-10 protected pick to Chicago, and trade increases chances to hold onto it.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 20, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Whether Cousins remains in New Orleans following next season, the last on his current contract, remains to be seen.

Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving says world is flat

There’s no getting around it: Cleveland Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving said he believes the world is flat.

>> Read more trending news

During a Friday podcast hosted by teammates Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson, Irving declared that the Earth is flat, the Huffington Post reported.

“This is not even a conspiracy theory. The Earth is flat,” Irving said. The point guard blamed “them” for lying, but did not clarify who “they” are, the Huffington Post reported.

The podcast began with a discussion on hotel aliases and childbirth, but quickly turned to aliens and conspiracy theories, Yahoo! Sports reported.

“What it really came down to for me,” Irving said, “was everything that was particularly thrown in front of me, I had to be like, ‘OK, this is all a facade, this is all something that they ultimately want me to believe in that is true or whether or not or whatever.’”

His flat Earther remarks trended on Twitter later that day. ESPN writer Arash Markazi asked Irving about it later that night.

“What’s your thoughts on that?” Markazi asked. 

“I think people should do their own research,” Kyrie said flatly. “Hopefully they’ll either back my belief or throw it in the water.”

Irving is not alone in his belief. The Flat Earth Society, whose aims are to promote and initiate discussion of Flat Earth theory as well as archive Flat Earth literature.”

Kyrie Irving was trending on Twitter today because he believes the Earth is flat. I asked him about it. pic.twitter.com/ODe9aP9qmK— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) February 18, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Kyrie Irving not only believes the Earth is flat but that the jury is still out on what dinosaurs actually looked like. pic.twitter.com/0lkra9gPE3— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) February 18, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Nobody is more woke than @kyrieirving. Nobody. A post shared by Ball Don't Lie (@yahooballdontlie) on Feb 17, 2017 at 6:23pm PST <script async defer src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script>

Mark Cuban takes dig at president with uniform No. 46

Mark Cuban apparently had a uniform response to President Donald Trump’s recent tweet that the Dallas Mavericks’ owner was “not smart enough to run for president.”

>> Read more trending news

Competing in Friday night’s NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, Cuban wore a No. 46 jersey. A source told ESPN that the jersey number, which would represent the number of the next president of the United States, was a likely response to Trump, the 45th president.

Cuban initially said that his favorite number, 23, was taken and that "23 times 2 is 46," ESPN reported. No one on the West celebrity squad wore No. 23, however.

He later said that his choice was "just to (mess) with everybody, because that is what I do.”

"You've got to have fun with it. You can't take it too seriously,” Cuban told ESPN. “So we'll see."

Cuban had hinted about his uniform number earlier Friday, ESPN reported.

"Yeah, yeah, watch the jersey number, not my game," said Cuban, who finished scoreless with one rebound and a steal in 17 minutes as the West lost 88-59 to the East. "Yeah, it was fun. You've got to have some fun with all of this. You can't take yourself too seriously. Some people do. I don't."

Trump posted a tweet about Cuban on Feb. 12, writing: "I know Mark Cuban well. He backed me big-time but I wasn't interested in taking all of his calls. He's not smart enough to run for president!"

Cuban, a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton during the presidential election, has been critical of Trump, especially on Twitter. On Friday, Cuban posted six tweets in which he slammed Trump's policies and character.

I know Mark Cuban well. He backed me big-time but I wasn't interested in taking all of his calls.He's not smart enough to run for president!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

It's a waste of time to try to turn Pinocchio into a real President. The focus needs to be on the Geppettos and legislators around him— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) February 16, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Charles Oakley, NBA legend, arrested after altercation at Knicks game

Basketball fans were stunned Wednesday when an altercation erupted on the sidelines as the New York Knicks took on the Los Angeles Clippers at Madison Square Garden.

During the game, former Knick and NBA legend Charles Oakley, 53, appeared to shout at and shove security officials. Oakley was restrained and escorted out of the game by several security guards.

>> See the video here

Charles Oakley shoves Madison Square Garden security and is escorted out of the building in strange scene pic.twitter.com/lTphvnSzFV— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 9, 2017

It’s unclear what happened to cause the scuffle, but it was later reported that Oakley was arrested at the scene and would be charged with three counts of assault.

>> Read more trending news

UPDATE: @ABC7NY has learned, per NYPD, Charles Oakley will be charged with three counts of assault. #Knicks— Ryan Field (@RyanFieldABC) February 9, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

The Knicks also released a statement on the matter. 

>> Check it out here

pic.twitter.com/EebgCEqQxC— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) February 9, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Oakley, one of the most famous enforcers in the NBA from the mid-'80s through the '90s, played 10 seasons for the Knicks in his 19-season NBA career. Oakley also played for Chicago, Toronto and Houston.

Cavs' J.R. Smith holds premature baby girl for first time in heartwarming photo

NBA star J.R. Smith shared a heartwarming moment with his Instagram followers Monday.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

The Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard posted a photo of himself holding his premature baby daughter, Dakota, for the first time. 

"Today is one of the greatest days of my life. Today I get to hold my youngest for the first time! GOD is GREAT! #DakotaStrong," wrote the father of three.

>> See the post here

Today is one of the greatest days of my life. Today I get to hold my youngest for the first time! GOD is GREAT! #DakotaStrong A photo posted by JR Smith (@teamswish) on Feb 6, 2017 at 9:10am PST <script async defer src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script>

Smith and wife Jewel Harris revealed in January that Dakota was born five months early.

>> Read more trending news

"We decided to share with the world what’s been going on with our family the past five days," Harris said in a video posted Jan. 7. "We know a lot of you guys congratulated us on the expectancy of our little baby girl, but we had her five months early. She’s 5 days old today, and her name is Dakota, and she weighs 1 pound."

>> Watch the video here

.@TheRealJRSmith and his wife share difficult family news. pic.twitter.com/efNsDANUo8— UNINTERRUPTED (@uninterrupted) January 7, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

(h/t WJW-TV)

Spurs coach: Racism still 'our national sin'

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, asked what Black History Month meant to him, said Thursday night that it’s a “celebration of some of the good things that have happened,” and added a pointed reminder that “there’s a lot more work to do."

 >> Read more trending news

"But more than anything, I think if people take the time to think about it, I think it is our national sin,” ESPN reported, quoting an interview Popovich did with the San Antonio Express-News. “It always intrigues me when people come out with, ‘I’m tired of talking about that,’ or ‘Do we have to talk about race again’

“And the answer is, ‘You’re damned right we do.’”

Popovich, never shy about expressing his opinions about matters on and off the basketball court, made his comments about Black History Month, celebrated every February in the United States and Canada, before the Spurs’ game against the Philadelphia 76ers. The outspoken coach added that persons born white “automatically have a monstrous advantage” in terms of education, economics, legal matters and social issues.

“We have huge problems in that regard that are very complicated, but take leadership, time, and real concern to try to solve,” he said. “It’s a tough one because people don’t really want to face it.”

LeBron James lashes out at 'hater' Charles Barkley in interview

LeBron James has finally lost his patience with TNT’s Charles Barkley and sounded off in an interview after yet another puzzling loss, this time to the struggling Dallas Mavericks.

“He’s a hater,” James told ESPN of Barkley following the loss Monday. “What makes what he says credible? Because he’s on TV?”

Much has been made of the money the Cleveland Cavaliers have spent the last three years on players to keep James happy. That hasn’t stopped him from being upset with the team’s inability to trade for a playmaker off the bench to alleviate some of the pressure on Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love as well as himself. 

>> Read more trending news

Barkley made his opinion of the matter known last week on the popular studio show “Inside the NBA.”

“Inappropriate. Whiny. All of the above. The Cleveland Cavaliers, they have given him everything he wanted. They have the highest payroll in NBA history. He wanted J.R. Smith last summer, they paid him. He wanted [Iman] Shumpert last summer. They brought in Kyle Korver. He’s the best player in the world. Does he want all of the good players? He don’t want to compete? He is an amazing player. They’re the defending champs.”

That was the last poke that LeBron would take as he unleashed on Barkley for questioning his competitive spirit.

“I’m not going to let him disrespect my legacy like that. I’m not the one who threw somebody through a window. I never spit on a kid. I never had unpaid debt in Las Vegas. I never said, ‘I’m not a role model.’ I never showed up to All-Star Weekend on Sunday because I was in Vegas all weekend partying.”

He then called Barkley a hypocrite for his comments on being friends with Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony and how today’s NBA is too friendly.

“Go watch the ’93 Finals when John Paxson hit the shot. Barkley and Jordan were laughing and joking with each other during one of the games while somebody’s shooting a free throw. In the Finals. But, oh, nobody were friends back then.”

[h/t ESPN]

Rockets' James Harden surprises fan celebrating 100th birthday

The Houston Rockets’ James Harden had a great night on the court, but it’s what he did after the game that has fans cheering.

After scoring 38 points in a 111-92 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, Harden headed to the stands, where he signed a ball for a very special fan, a woman celebrating her 100th birthday. Harden presented her the ball and sat down to speak to her briefly, according to The Associated Press. During a post-game ESPN interview, Harden said he told the woman how blessed he was to have a chance to meet her.

>> Read more trending stories

The Houston Rockets posted the heartwarming exchange on the team’s Twitter page.

That moment you get the game ball from @JHarden13 on your 100th birthday. pic.twitter.com/sRBueSShDW— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) January 19, 2017

NBA considers changing game over millennials’ short attention spans

NBA basketball games are shorter than the other major league sports games like football and hockey, but the last minutes of a game can drag on for a considerable time.Commissioner Adam Silver said last week the league is considering making changes so they don’t lose millennials, who are tuning out in the final minutes of the game.

>> Read more trending stories 

“It’s something that I know all of sports are looking at right now, and that is the format of the game and the length of time it takes to play the game,” Silver said to ESPN.com’s Tom Hamilton.

“Obviously people, particularly millennials, have increasingly short attention spans, so it’s something as a business we need to pay attention to,” he added.

During the last two minutes of a basketball game, coaches call time outs, they switch players, and plan for plays that could help them win, but it can turn those final two minutes into 10 to 15 minutes, or longer.“We are going to take a fresh look at the format, specifically in the last two minutes," Silver said. It’s ultimately up to the NBA’s board of owners, but there’s been no word on what kinds of changes might happen or when.

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