NATIONAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE NEWS & NOTES

Orlando Magic rookie Mo Bamba isn’t here for hangers-on. After being selected sixth in Thursday’s NBA draft, the 7-foot-1 center shot down chatter he was involved with a young woman, after the Instagram user posted a photo of the two, leaving followers to ponder their relationship status.

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Mo BambaNBAE/Getty Images

“I honestly really don’t even know you like that,” Bamba, 20, wrote, per Orlando-based Twitter account. The woman in question, “emilyylisette,” captioned the snap with the former Texas product, “Well Orlando isn’t Dallas but you can still come over for Hanukkah I guess.” She has since made her account private.

As for Bamba, the New York native has been sharing up a storm since being drafted by Orlando. By Jaclyn Hendricks

This summer, LeBron James remains the name who may shape much of what happens in NBA free agency. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ star forward has until June 29 to exercise his $35.6 million contract option for next season or decline it and become an unrestricted free agent.

If he does end up entering the free-agent market, though, he doesn’t want the elaborate presentations or the like that have shaped his (and others’) recruiting pitches in the past. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reports James isn’t necessarily looking for a fancy display or presentation to sway him to a particular team this summer.

Carmelo Anthony reportedly will not exercise his option to become a free agent. He is expected keep his contract with Oklahoma City, which would pay him $27.9 million, according to a report by Marc Stein of the New York Times.

Anthony has until Saturday at midnight eastern to exercise his right to be a free agent when the period opens on July 1.

The Pacers will decline Lance Stephenson’s option worth $4.3 million for next season, making him an unrestricted free agent, reports Yahoo’s Shams Charania. Indiana is aiming for maximum financial flexibility heading into free agency, per Shams.

According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, the Pacers are expected to target unrestricted free agents Tyreke Evans and Will Barton in July. By 

Paul George will take on a previously driven road, teaming up with ESPN to document his impending offseason free agent decision, much like LeBron James did in 2010 when he took his talents to South Beach to join the Miami Heat. By 

The Nuggets are building around Nikola Jokic. But a second-round pick turning into a franchise player so quickly creates complications. Denver is resolving one by declining Jokic’s team option, which will send him into restricted free agency (as opposed to unrestricted free agency next year) and paying him.

Zach LaVine was the centerpiece in the Bulls’ return for trading a star. Chicago was reportedly willing to match a max offer sheet for LaVine in restricted free agency. But maybe the Bulls have at least somewhat soured on him. By Dan Feldman

Steve Ballmer, owner of the LA Clippers and the former CEO of Microsoft, says he would have supported Clippers players if they had chosen to engage in political protests during the playing of the national anthem.

Of course, that didn’t happen. Amidst all of the fervor over anthem protests in the NFL, no NBA players have knelt in protest before NBA games. Yahoo Sports

For nearly two decades, Dirk Nowitzki kept the Dallas Mavericks afloat. At minimum, they were a relevant team in the Western Conference, consistently pumping out 48+ wins and playoff berths. On the high end, the Mavericks were contenders that threw opponents for a loop thanks to the excellence of Nowitzki.

Dirk’s scoring prowess and unorthodox style caused problems for whoever they faced. Those big enough to body up Dirk couldn’t move with him; leaner defenders couldn’t keep him off his spots; the smaller, athletic forwards couldn’t dream of contesting his beautiful jumper. By 

Ballmer, speaking to Yahoo Finance at a Penn Wharton forum in Washington, D.C., was asked how the NBA has managed to avoid the political turmoil that has hung over the NFL for two seasons, and responded, “I think on that one, we had clear rules. I would have supported our guys, I would have been okay with whatever they wanted to do. But the rule was clear that you need to stand for the national anthem, and if you don’t, there’s consequences, and our players all knew that.”

The Toronto Raptors are hiring Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Adrian Griffin as the lead assistant on new head coach Nick Nurse’s staff, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Toronto made a strong push to secure Griffin from Oklahoma City, league sources said, where he has served as an assistant since 2016. After the season ended, the Raptors fired coach Dwane Casey, who was subsequently hired by the Detroit Pistons, and hired Nurse earlier this month.

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