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Clippers forward Marcus Morris apologized for playoff beef, no hard feelings

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With a first-round rematch between their teams set, Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic said there are no hard feelings remaining from the heated rivalry that he developed with LA Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. during last season’s series.

According to Doncic, Morris apologized to him during a game earlier this season about stepping on the back of Doncic’s left ankle in Game 5, a controversial play that the Mavs considered dirty with their star playing on a sprained ankle.

Morris served as the Clippers’ primary defender on Doncic throughout the series, which featured several intense exchanges between them, including Morris getting ejected for a flagrant foul 2 on Doncic during L.A.’s series-clinching Game 6 victory. Doncic eagerly anticipates more fiery competition with Morris in this series.

“He’s a hell of a player, hell of a defender,” said Doncic, who averaged 31 points, 9.8 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game in last season’s series, his first NBA postseason. “Trash talk is always there, and if it’s not, you’re not really competing. It’s going to be great.”

Morris wasn’t available after L.A.’s 117-112 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday, when he was one of several key Clippers who sat out a loss that prevented them from moving up to the Western Conference’s third seed. After last season’s series, he strongly denied that he used any dirty tactics against Doncic.

“He’s a young player, he’s going to be the face of the league in a while, I’ve taken into account of all that,” Morris said. “I have been around for a while, I know how this thing works. If it was anybody else, I don’t think it would be taken out of context that way. It is what it is. I am a grown man, I stand on my own, like I said, I didn’t mean to step on his ankle. They can say the stuff that they want to say, this and that, on Twitter, whatever.”

Clippers coach Ty Lue, an assistant last season who was promoted after Doc Rivers’ departure, immediately mentioned Doncic’s ability to control games as the biggest problem the Mavs present to the Clippers.

“We know he’s the head of the snake and it is going to be a tough challenge,” Lue said. “But we [got to] give him different looks, can’t let him be comfortable.”

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Top NBA draft prospect Jalen Suggs signs multiyear deal with Adidas

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Jalen Suggs has landed a multiyear footwear and apparel deal with Adidas ahead of his anticipated selection early in the 2021 NBA draft on Thursday.

“I’m so excited to be with the brand,” the former Gonzaga star said. “I grew up inspired by D-Rose and Dame [Lillard] and want to follow in the steps of the young Adidas family coming up now like Trae [Young] and Don [Mitchell].”

After a breakout freshman season leading the Nike-sponsored Bulldogs to the national championship game of the NCAA tournament, Suggs became one of the most sought-after players entering shoe deal talks this spring.

The deal was negotiated by Wasserman, with Suggs and the agency holding a series of seven presentations — most in person, some virtual — in Los Angeles to begin the process. Adidas ultimately emerged as Suggs’ choice.

Along with outlining product plans for Green in both basketball and lifestyle footwear categories, the brand committed to funding a court refurbishment in his hometown of Saint Paul, Minnesota, and mapped out a pathway to a potential signature shoe down the road.

Adidas currently makes signature footwear for James Harden, Derrick Rose, Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell and Trae Young, with each product being released during the player’s second or third season with the company.

In addition to Suggs, Adidas has finalized endorsement deals with three other players expected to be selected near the top of the draft, signing explosive wing Jalen Green, versatile big man Evan Mobley and scoring guard Sharife Cooper.

“Each individual brings something unique to our team,” Eric Wise, global GM of basketball at Adidas, said in a statement. “From their talent and work ethic on the court, to a community-first mindset, values and openness to collaboration, we cannot wait to see where this week takes them.”

Behind the scenes, the brand recently merged its Originals and Basketball departments to work more closely together, as the culture of the sport has continued to blur the lines between performance and lifestyle in recent years.

Another factor in swaying players to land with the brand has been the recent appointment of designer Jerry Lorenzo, founder of high-fashion brand Fear of God, to help lead the creative and business strategy of Adidas Basketball. Lorenzo has launched coveted crossover basketball sneakers with Nike in the past, while also carving out his own sought-after footwear category at Fear of God, before signing a long-term partnership with Adidas in late 2020.

With new designers at the helm and a new hybrid marketing approach, along with existing signature athletes he has long looked up to, Suggs is looking ahead to a future with Adidas as he begins his NBA career.

“We will create culture together,” Suggs said. “And if you give me some time, I will pursue greatness like them.”

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Nets announce Mike D’Antoni’s departure from coach Steve Nash’s staff

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NEW YORK — Mike D’Antoni is leaving the Brooklyn Nets, forcing Steve Nash to make another change on his coaching staff.

Nash announced the 70-year-old D’Antoni’s decision in a statement Wednesday, saying having the two-time Coach of the Year was “invaluable” in his first season as a coach.

“I will be forever grateful for his guidance and will carry on a lifetime of lessons from the many years we’ve spent together,” Nash said in the statement. “Our players and staff all benefited from this time in Broolyn and we wish Mike, Laurel and their family the very best in what lies ahead.”

D’Antoni won the 2005 Coach of the Year award in Phoenix when Nash was his point guard, then another in Houston in 2017. He has long been regarded as one of the NBA’s best offensive coaches and helped the Nets reach the second round of the playoffs, where they lost to eventual champion Milwaukee in seven games.

The Nets already lost one assistant this offseason when Ime Udoka left to become Boston Celtics coach. David Vanterpool was hired to replace him.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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Mike D’Antoni announces departure from Nets coach Steve Nash’s staff

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NEW YORK — Mike D’Antoni is leaving the Brooklyn Nets, forcing Steve Nash to make another change on his coaching staff.

Nash announced the 70-year-old D’Antoni’s decision in a statement Wednesday, saying having the two-time Coach of the Year was “invaluable” in his first season as a coach.

“I will be forever grateful for his guidance and will carry on a lifetime of lessons from the many years we’ve spent together,” Nash said in the statement. “Our players and staff all benefited from this time in Broolyn and we wish Mike, Laurel and their family the very best in what lies ahead.”

D’Antoni won the 2005 Coach of the Year award in Phoenix when Nash was his point guard, then another in Houston in 2017. He has long been regarded as one of the NBA’s best offensive coaches and helped the Nets reach the second round of the playoffs, where they lost to eventual champion Milwaukee in seven games.

The Nets already lost one assistant this offseason when Ime Udoka left to become Boston Celtics coach. David Vanterpool was hired to replace him.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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