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Oklahoma City Thunder waive recently acquired Austin Rivers

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The Oklahoma City Thunder have waived guard Austin Rivers, the team announced Sunday.

Rivers, 28, was acquired at the trade deadline from the New York Knicks in a three-team deal that moved George Hill to the Philadelphia 76ers. With the Thunder focused on player development and playing younger players, Rivers wasn’t in the team’s future plans. Rivers is averaging 7.3 points and 2.0 assists this season in 21 appearances.

After waiving Rivers, though, the Thunder are light in the backcourt with the team announcing Sunday that starting guard Luguentz Dort has entered the concussion protocol. Dort took a shot to the head on Saturday against the Boston Celtics and exited the game in the third quarter with concussion-like symptoms.

Per the league’s protocol, Dort doesn’t have a set timetable but will need to clear benchmarks before being available to return to play. Dort, 21, is averaging 12.6 points and is regarded as one of the best backcourt defenders in the league.

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Zach LaVine not on U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team flight to Tokyo after entering protocols

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LAS VEGAS — Team USA guard Zach LaVine was put into health and safety protocols on Monday and didn’t travel with the rest of the team on its flight to Tokyo for the Olympics.

USA Basketball said in a statement that it hoped LaVine would be able to join the team in Japan later this week.

He is the third player to be affected in the past week, as Bradley Beal had to leave the team because of the protocols and Jerami Grant was in contract tracing quarantine for four days.

The situation is a potential blow to the team, which will now travel with just eight players. LaVine had started the past two exhibition games in place of Beal and had looked strong through the Olympic run-up. He averaged 10.3 points in the four exhibition games, third on the team behind Damian Lillard and Kevin Durant, and had several impressive transition dunks.

Team USA is waiting on Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday and Devin Booker to finish the NBA Finals before traveling. Coach Gregg Popovich said Sunday that the players could arrive in Japan just 24 hours before the first pool-play game Sunday against France.

Deep in guards once the Finals reinforcements arrived, the team replaced Beal and the injured Kevin Love with forward Keldon Johnson and center JaVale McGee. Now, it finds itself potentially thin on the perimeter.

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Betting bullets – Odds take big swing in Milwaukee Bucks’s favor after taking three straight from Phoenix Suns

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After the home team won and covered each of the first four NBA Finals games, the Milwaukee Bucks won as four-point road underdogs in Game 5. The Bucks can now capture their first title in 50 years on Tuesday, when they host Game 6 as five-point favorites.

Following three straight wins, the Bucks are now -400 at Caesars William Hill. Those are the same odds for Giannis Antetokounmpo to be named Finals MVP. Jerry West is the lone player ever to be named Finals MVP on a losing team, which occurred when the Boston Celtics defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games in 1969.

Holding a 2-0 series lead, Phoenix was a -475 favorite to capture the franchise’s first championship. Additionally, Chris Paul was an odds-on -160 favorite to win the Finals MVP award.

Paul is now a +900 long shot to win Finals MVP. Devin Booker (+500) is the Suns player with the shortest odds. Phoenix is now +320 to win the championship, which would require a road upset and home win in consecutive games.


Betting bullets

• Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill has a prop bet on whether the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will go 17-0 during the regular season. Yes is +2,500 and no is -7,500.

• The two college football teams that have attracted the most interest at Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill are Auburn and Arizona State. Bettors were fading the Tigers and backing the Sun Devils. The price to bet the under on Auburn 7 has gone from +125 to -105. The price to bet the over on Arizona State 8.5 has gone from -110 to -125.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if we were off on some of these win totals,” Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill U.S., said in a company release. “Usually there’s a pretty good formula for these: You’ve got 12 games, they went 10-2 last year, they’ve got this many starters returning, you look at their schedule — and you can pretty much make a number. But there’s not much to base off from last year, and so many more kids are coming back with the extra COVID year.”

• Odds to win the national championship via SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas:

Alabama +200
Clemson +450
Ohio State +500
Oklahoma +500
Georgia +1,000
Iowa State +3,000
Texas A&M +3,000
Texas +3,000
LSU +4,000
Notre Dame +5,000
USC +6,000
Penn State +6,000
Wisconsin +6,000
Florida +6,000
Oregon +6,000
North Carolina +8,000
Michigan +8,000

• Two Wimbledon matches are under investigation after irregular betting patterns were flagged by bookmakers, the International Tennis Integrity Agency said last week. The ITIA did not identify the matches in question and told ESPN that it was unable to provide any additional details while the investigation is ongoing.

“Unusual betting patterns can occur for many reasons other than match fixing,” a spokesperson for the ITIA said in an email to ESPN. “For example, incorrect odds-setting; well-informed betting; player fitness, fatigue or form; playing conditions and personal circumstances.”

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NBA free agents – Team-by-team lists for 2021 and 2022

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Who are the NBA free agents to watch in 2021 and 2022? The 2020 free-agent class featured less star power than normal, as the league blitzed through a condensed transaction period featuring the draft and free agency in the same week.

The 2021 class has thinned out after Giannis Antetokounmpo, Rudy Gobert and Paul George signed long-term extensions, but it still features big names such as Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul, Victor Oladipo, DeMar DeRozan, Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond.

Here’s our team-by-team look at all the players who can and will hit free agency over the next two seasons.

Key: Restricted = restricted free agent; player = player option; team = team option; ETO = early termination option

MORE: 2021 NBA offseason preview


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