Zion Williamson's regular season NBA debut has been put on ice due to the New Orleans Pelicans rookie's knee injury, according to reports.

The Pelicans confirmed on Thursday that Williamson, the number one overall draft pick, would miss Friday's final preseason game against the New York Knicks due to "right knee soreness".

The 19-year-old instead remained in New Orleans for further testing and evaluation.

ESPN reported on Friday that the issue was set to keep Williamson out for a number of weeks, meaning he would miss the start of the NBA season, although he was said to have avoided serious injury.

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told reporters that the team believe Williamson hurt his knee on Sunday against the San Antonio Spurs.

Gentry told ESPN the former Duke sensation remained in high spirits, though, adding: "He's not dead, guys."

Williamson featured in four preseason games prior to the Knicks game, averaging 23.3 points.

New Orleans open the 2019-20 season against defending champions the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on Tuesday.

New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson will miss the team's final NBA preseason game with right knee soreness.

The Pelicans will face the New York Knicks on Friday without young star Williamson, it was announced on Thursday.

Williamson did not make the trip to New York and will remain in New Orleans to undergo further evaluation.

In four preseason games for the Pelicans this season, Williamson – the number one draft pick – has averaged 23.3 points.

The Pelicans open their regular-season campaign against defending champions the Toronto Raptors on October 22.

Veteran NBA forward Luol Deng signed with the Chicago Bulls on Thursday in order to retire as a member of the team.

A two-time All-Star from South Sudan, where he has worked to develop young basketball players, Deng was taken seventh overall by the Bulls in the 2004 NBA Draft.

"He was a role model on and off the court during his nine-plus years in Chicago, and he gave everything he had to help us win," Bulls president and COO Michael Reinsdorf said in a statement.

"I want to thank Luol for not only what he accomplished on the court for the team, but also for the leadership he demonstrated through his philanthropic efforts."

In 902 NBA games over 15 seasons with the Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves he averaged 14.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 34.3 minutes per game.

The 34-year-old averaged 15.9 points and 6.7 rebounds in 62 playoff games in seven postseasons, six with Chicago and one with Miami.

John Paxson, Bulls executive VP of basketball operations, said Deng would be remembered for "the fierce competitiveness he brought to both ends of the floor every night."

Deng ranks in the top five on the Bulls all-time list for minutes (fifth, 22,882), points (fourth, 10,286), field goals made (fifth, 3,987) and attempted (fifth, 8,675) and steals (fifth, 639).

He led the Bulls in scoring in 2011-12 (15.3 ppg) and 2012-13 (16.5 ppg).

The Bulls will honour Deng at a game to be determined later this season.

There will be a World Series game in Washington D.C. for the first time since 1933.

Two quarterbacks are heading to the bench and Jalen Ramsey has finally been dealt.

While all of that has been going on there has been some monetary proposals in the NBA.

All that and more on this week in US Sports.

 

1. Nationals earn first World Series berth

It was a historic week in Washington D.C. after the Nationals swept the St Louis Cardinals in four games to earn the first World Series berth in Nationals/Expos history.

The Nationals were the 29th team to make the Fall Classic, leaving the Seattle Mariners as the only organisation to not have been to one.

While this is a big day for this franchise, it is also one for some very loyal Washington D.C. fans as this will be the first World Series played in D.C. since 1933 when the Senators faced the Giants and lost in five games.

The Senators moved to Minnesota in 1961 and became the Twins.

 

2. Quarterbacks head to the bench

The Marcus Mariota era may be over in Tennessee, while the Josh Rosen era in Miami is at least on hold.

The Tennessee Titans announced this week that Mariota will be replaced under center by Ryan Tannehill going forward. The Miami Dolphins also announced Rosen will once again be on the bench and replaced by veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Rosen is still young having been taken in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft so he has some time to still find his way, but Mariota is bordering on being a veteran at this point, so this very well might be the end of his career as a starter.

 

3. Ramsey on the move

Ramsey finally got his wish this week as he was traded by the Jacksonville Jaguars to the Los Angeles Rams for first-round picks in 2020 and 2021 and a fourth-round pick in 2021.

This came on the heels of the Rams' trade of Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens earlier in the day.

Ramsey asked to be traded by the Jaguars after a Week 2 spat with head coach Doug Marrone.

He got his wish and is thrilled to be playing for a NFL Super Bowl contender.

 

4. NBA contracts being weighed and measured

It is that time of year where players and teams figure out what they will be paid or what can be afforded, and Wednesday, several reports came out that players have been given some offers.

Pascal Siakam is weighing an extension with the Toronto Raptors, as is Bogdan Bogdanovic with the Sacramento Kings, but Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown turned down a four-year, $80million extension which came as a surprise to some.

At the same time, the Kings have apparently not offered guard Buddy Hield an extension and he may be open to a trade if they do not give him the money he is looking for.

The NBA season starts next week, but there is still plenty to be decided going forward.

Jamaica centre Samardo Samuels is expected to join Athens-based club Panionios BC ahead of the new Greek Basketball League (GBL) season.

The much-traveled 30-year-old former NBA player was recently back in the United States where he took part in the Big 3 league.  Samuels represented the Trilogy. 

Prior to the move, the controversial player had found himself without a club, after being suspended by French basketball outfit Limogues following an argument with the coach.

A string of short stints has followed the player since 2017 when he signed with Spanish club Real Betis Energia Plus.  The big man parted ways with the club after a coaching dispute. 

Samuels signed with the Serbian club Partizan for the rest of the 2017–18 season.  He was suspended by the club on November 15, for the violation of its discipline code, just a day after Partizan lost in a EuroCup game against Alba Berlin.  The player reportedly criticized head coach Miroslav Nikolić and made inappropriate remarks to a female journalist.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Digicel, parent company of SportsMax, announced a multiyear expansion of its partnership that will deliver more than 200 live NBA games each season, tipping off on October 22 with the L.A. Lakers taking on the L.A. Clippers.

Extensive NBA programming will be provided to more than 30 Caribbean territories, including the Dominican Republic through Digicel, SportsMax and the SportsMax app.

Digicel, the Official Broadcast and Wireless Partner of the NBA in the region, through its subsidiary SportsMax will air over 200 regular-season and playoff NBA games, the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Finals and The Finals in the Caribbean, including the Dominican Republic, while offering preferred access to all NBA games through NBA League Pass on its Digicel Play cable system and the SportsMax app with new bundle and standalone offerings. 

“We are thrilled to extend this landmark deal with the NBA that allows Digicel, through SportsMax, to continue to be the Home of Sports in the Caribbean, delivering the NBA as part of the best line-up of sports programming to Caribbean basketball fans across cable-TV and streaming platforms,” said SportsMax President and CEO, Olly McIntosh.

“We are seeing an incredible appetite for NBA content from fans in the Caribbean, including the Dominican Republic, and we are thrilled to bring them more live games and content through this renewed partnership with Digicel,” said NBA Latin America Senior Vice President, Arnon de Mello. “We look forward to working with Digicel to continue to grow the game in the region.”

Digicel and SportsMax will also offer original NBA programming, including NBA Action, the league’s weekly show that offers the latest news, features, highlights and analysis from around the NBA, and NBA TV, the league’s 24-hour television network.  Fans will have access to select NBA TV programming, offering in-depth NBA coverage, highlights and appearances by current NBA players, coaches and legends. SportsMax’s programming will include onsite coverage from marquee NBA events.

Territories covered by the partnership include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Saba, St. Barthelemy, St. Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Martin, St. Maarten, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, and Turks and Caicos. Stay tuned to this space for full NBA broadcast schedule.

Bradley Beal has signed a two-year, $72million contract extension with the Washington Wizards, according to his agent Mark Bartelstein.

All-Star guard Beal has been at the centre of hypothetical trades for months, but the Wizards have seemingly made it clear they have no interest in letting him go – though they are yet to confirm an agreement.

According to ESPN, the extension will begin in the 2021-22 season and includes a third-year player option for 2022-23. The deal guarantees the 26-year-old $130m over four years.

"Brad has always made it clear to me, that in a perfect world, he would never leave Washington,” Bartelstein told ESPN.

"He has felt an obligation to be the focal point in turning the Wizards into an elite team. He's thrilled about all the resources that [team owner] Ted [Leonsis] is pouring into the franchise and thrilled how committed [Leonsis] and [general manager] Tommy [Sheppard] are to building something special."

A recent report from The Washington Post suggested there was growing belief Beal would leave the Wizards, but he has been convinced to remain.

"Washington is where I've been the last seven years, going on eight. It would be great to play in one place forever," Beal told The Washington Post in June.

Beal averaged 25.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists in 82 games for the Wizards last season. He shot 47.5 per cent from the field and 35.1 per cent from three-point range.

Ben Simmons conceded he is "not a great shooter", but the Philadelphia 76ers guard feels his other strengths make up for that.

Coming into this season Simmons is 0 for 17 from beyond the arc in his career, but last week he hit a three-pointer in a preseason game against Guangzhou.

"I am confident to say I am not a great shooter," Simmons told reporters.

"I am getting better, though. It is a game. It is five people on the court. I lack something that I am not that great at, but other areas I am very great at.

"I run the floor as well as anybody. Physically, I can rebound the ball at 6-10. As a point guard, I can guard 'one' through 'five'. That is one thing that is coming into my game which I am excited about. I love getting better; I love spending time in the gym and building that confidence."

But while he has struggled with his shooting previously, Simmons has been seen repeatedly making shots in practice and plans to make it a part of his game this season - at least more so than he did over his first two NBA seasons.

"It is something I have been working toward getting better as a player, as you would do as a writer. Everybody works to get better," he added.

AEK became the first team to reach three figures in this season's FIBA Champions League when they beat EB Pau-Lacq-Orthez 102-82 in their Group B opener, while Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem showed their teeth on the road.

Keith Langford starred for the Athens outfit, amassing 27 points as Jonas Maciulis weighed in with 17. Matt Mobley's 25, including four of seven from three-point shooting, was in vain for EB Pau-Lacq-Orthez.

A third-quarter burst of 18-8 proved pivotal for Hapoel against Teksut Bandirma in Turkey and they hung on to win 73-69 as the hosts battled back in a thrilling finish.

Dyshawn Pierre was Dinamo Sassari's hero as he sunk two free-throws with 2.9 seconds remaining to seal a 79-78 win against Lietkabelis. It meant Pierre capped a double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds in style.

San Pablo Burgos were 11 points adrift at one stage before turning their game against Antwerp Giants on its head.

Goran Huskic led the way with 19 points for the Spanish newcomers, who were better to the tune of 21 during the third and four quarters to win 90-76.

Telekom Baskets Bonn followed their domestic win over Bayern Munich by beating Casademont Zaragoza 85-71, while Ryan Toolson starred in the closing stages for Manresa to see off Torun 85-81.

There were comfortable wins for Nymburk and Dijon over Bamberg and tournament debutants Falco Szombathely respectively.

LeBron James said he will not address the turmoil between China and the NBA following the fallout of his comments regarding Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar James was critical of Morey on Monday, labelling the Rockets GM "misinformed" for his tweet about the unrest involving China and Hong Kong.

Morey issued an apology for a now-deleted tweet, that read "Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong" amid the ongoing protests in the region.

The tweet angered Chinese officials and caused backlash in the Asian country against the Rockets and the NBA, which has financial interests in China worth billions of dollars.

James' comments reportedly did not go down well in Hong Kong, with the four-time MVP's jersey burned and trampled in demonstrations.

"I had a sense of [how] what I said felt for me," James said on Tuesday following questions about his comments and how they would be received in Hong Kong. "And like I said yesterday, when I speak upon things, I speak from a very logical standpoint on things that hit home for me. Yesterday, obviously, I gave thoughts on what I felt and how I saw things that transpired from that week that we were [in China]."

When asked whether he plans to learn more about the anti-government protests in Hong Kong, James added: "I plan on being here and being a captain of this team and trying to figure out how we can win a championship.

"That's my main goal right now. I feel like I talked about it yesterday. I tweeted out responses to people not understanding my knowledge and where it came from with my brain and learning from the situation. I'm talking about it now. I won't talk about it again.

"I'd be cheating my team-mates by continuing to harp on something that won't benefit us. We're trying to win a championship. That's what we're here for. We're not politicians. It's a huge political thing. But we are leaders and we can step up at times. I'm not saying at this particular time, but if you don't feel like you should speak on things, you shouldn't have to."

 

Brazil international Marcelinho Huertas and Giorgi Shermadini helped Tenerife make a winning start to the FIBA Champions League campaign as they beat Nizhny Novgorod 81-67.

Tenerife, who were beaten by Bologna in last season's final, were too good for their Russian opponents as Huertas scored 13 points and Shermadini contributed 24 along with nine total rebounds.

Newcomers Peristeri also got up and running with a 70-64 success over Gaziantep in their maiden Champions League match, having overcome a rotten start where they fell 20-4 behind.

Steven Gray, Scoochie Smith and Christos Saloustros all reached double figures for the victorious Greek side.

No team scored more points on Tuesday than Rasta Vechta, who enjoyed an 89-76 success over Anwil Wloclawek, as Trevis Simpson sunk six shots from beyond the arc in a 30-point contribution.

Elsewhere, there were wins for VEF Riga, Neptunas Klaipeda, Besiktas, Turk Telekom and Strasbourg.

Kyle Lowry will remain with the Toronto Raptors for another two years after signing a one-year extension on Tuesday.

The reigning NBA champions confirmed the All-Star guard had agreed a new deal and, according to Lowry's agent Mark Bartelstein, the extension is for a further year and worth $31million.

Lowry had one year left on his old contract and will earn $33.3m this season, with the fresh extension keeping him off the free agent market next summer. 

“Kyle has been at the heart of every successful run our franchise has achieved the past seven seasons,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said. “He is a competitor, a winner at every level and the engine that our players and city feed off from.”

Lowry, 33, added he was proud of the success he had experienced in Toronto so far.

"I'm very proud of what we have achieved with the Raptors, and I'm happy to be able to continue to call Toronto my home,” Lowry said.

"Bringing a championship to the city of Toronto and the country of Canada has been one the best things I've done so far in my career, and I'll push for that goal every single year I play this game.”

Since Lowry joined the Raptors in 2012, he has been part of five All-Star teams. He is entering his 15th season in the league and eighth with Toronto, which makes him the longest-tenured player on the roster.

During the Raptors' postseason run in the last campaign, Lowry averaged 15.0 points per game with 6.6 assists and 4.9 rebounds in 37.5 minutes of play.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James criticised Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey for his "misinformed" tweet about the unrest between China and Hong Kong.

Rockets GM Morey issued an apology for a now-deleted tweet, that read "Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong" amid the ongoing protests in the region.

The tweet angered Chinese officials and caused backlash in the Asian country against the Rockets and the NBA, which has financial interests in China worth billions of dollars.

James was asked about the situation on Monday and while he believes in free speech, the four-time MVP was not happy with Morey's comments.

"I don't want to get into a ... feud with Daryl but I believe he wasn't educated about the situation at hand and he spoke," James told reporters. "So many people could have been harmed, not only financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually.

"Just be careful what we tweet ... even though, yes, we do have freedom of speech. But there can be a lot of negative that comes with that, too."

Morey quickly issued a clarification on his tweet at the time, saying it reflected his opinion, not that of the Rockets or the NBA. The NBA issued an apology to China, which in turn drew widespread and bipartisan condemnation in the United States.

"I think when we talk about the political side, I think it's a very delicate situation," James, who was speaking prior to the preseason matchup against the Golden State Warriors, added. "Very sensitive situation. For me personally, if any of you guys know me or always cover me, you guys know when I speak about something, I speak about something I'm very knowledgeable about. Something that hits home for me. Something I'm very passionate about.

"I feel like with this particular situation, not only was I not informed enough about — I just felt like it was something not only myself or my team-mates or our organisation had enough information to even talk about it at that point in time. And we still feel the same way."

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