NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant will visit India next week, hosting a clinic for 5,000 children, donating two basketball courts to a school and instructing top youth players.
Durant sparked the Golden State Warriors to their second NBA crown in three seasons last month. The 28-year-old star forward won his first NBA crown in his first season after leaving Oklahoma City for the Warriors.
“I’m excited to travel to India to help promote the game of basketball and meet the prospects at the NBA Academy India,” Durant said. “I’ve wanted to visit India for a long time and I can’t wait to experience the country’s unique culture and share my knowledge with the kids there.”
Durant, who also helped the US Olympic team capture gold in 2012 at London and last year in Rio, will travel to New Delhi next Thursday.
He will donate two courts to the Ramjas School as part of his charity foundation’s court renovation program, then visit the NBA Academy India in Noida, becoming the first active NBA player to appear at the school, where he will provide a master class in shooting, passing, dribbling and defensive drills.
Later at the academy, Durant will lead a larger-scale clinic for 5,000 youth, 1,000 in the facility and 4,000 other boys and girls through a satellite link from locations in Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata.
“We’re thrilled to host 2017 Finals MVP Kevin Durant in India,” NBA India managing director Yannick Colaco said. “Having one of the very best players in our league interact with the basketball playing youth of India will serve as great inspiration to the next generation of players here.”
Durant, an eight-time NBA All-Star and the 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player, averaged 25.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.6 blocked shots and 1.1 steals a game last season for the Warriors.
The Boston Celtics have announced they have signed the Egyptian-born rookie forward Abdel Nader.
Born in Alexandria, Egypt, Nader (6-6, 230 lbs.) became the first internationally-born player to be named Rookie of the Year in the G League. He becomes the first Egyptian to play for the Celtics since Alaa Abdelnaby.
The 2016-17 G League All-Star scored at least 30 points in five contests, including a 32-point, 10-rebound, 8-assist game against the Long Island Nets on Jan. 6.
Nader, the reigning 2016-17 NBA G League Rookie of the Year, averaged a team-high 21.3 points (44.7% FG, 34.9% 3-PT, 79.4% FT), 6.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.00 steal, 0.83 blocked shots and 33.5 minutes over 40 games with the Maine Red Claws in his first professional season.
The 23-year-old was originally selected by Boston in the second round (58th overall) of the 2016 NBA Draft.
The Celtics also announced they have waived guard Demetrius Jackson.
Rajon Rondo may not be the player he once was, but the high variance that comes with the point guard makes his situation with the New Orleans Pelicans a potential high-risk, high-reward situation.
The 31-year-old veteran agreed to a one-year deal to join his fifth team, following a lone season with the Chicago Bulls.
Since leaving Boston in 2014, Rondo also played a half season with Dallas and spent a single year in Sacramento alongside DeMarcus Cousins, who he reunites with in New Orleans.
Rondo’s brief stint with the Bulls saw him average 7.8 points, 6.7 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 40.8 per cent shooting overall. He did, however, set a career high in 3-point percentage with his mark of 37.6 on 1.9 attempts per game and was instrumental in the first two games of Chicago’s first-round playoff series against Boston – both wins – before suffering a thumb injury that ended his campaign.
As far as chemistry with teammates and coaches, an area Rondo carries baggage in, he embraced a leadership role with the Bulls’ young players and took a professional approach for the most part, despite his minutes varying wildly.
The publicised clashes he had came when he blasted fellow veterans Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade through an Instagram post for calling out the team’s younger players, and when he served a one-game suspension for an incident with assistant coach Jim Boylen.
With the Pelicans, Rondo will once again share the court with Cousins, a volatile personality in his own right.
The two flourished in the one season they previous played together in Sacramento in 2015-16, with Rondo averaging 11.9 points, 11.7 assists and 6.0 rebounds, while Cousins put up 26.9 points and 11.5 rebounds per game.
Rondo is expected to both play with and back-up Jrue Holiday, who re-signed on a five-year, $126 million deal earlier in the summer.
While shooting and floor spacing could be a concern for the Pelicans when Rondo, Cousins and Anthony Davis are all on the floor, the two big men will now have a pass-first distributor to lubricate the offence.
The addition of Rondo could have a positive effect on Cousins before the centre hits free agency next offseason, which in turn could keep the Pelicans’ core intact and allow them to avoid preemptively trading Davis before his contract runs out.