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Erik Spoelstra returns to Miami Heat after birth of son

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MIAMI (AP) — Santiago Ray Spoelstra’s father is back at work.

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, still wearing the bracelet from the hospital where his son was born, will be back on the bench Tuesday for his team’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Spoelstra missed Sunday’s game at Indiana, though revealed that he didn’t initially say the right thing when his wife Nikki called him to say it was baby time.

“As naive as I was, I made the comment to our doctor and Nikki on speakerphone, ‘OK, is this a fire drill?”‘ Spoelstra said. “And that’s when I proceeded to get screamed at.”

He made it home in plenty of time — and was there for the birth.

“Life-changing, obviously,” Spoelstra said. “Mom is great. Baby is great. … It’s been a blessing the last couple of days.”

It’s the first baby for the Spoelstras, and mother and son are expected to leave the hospital on Wednesday. Santiago was 6 pounds, 8 ounces and 19 inches long when he arrived. He was born about three weeks ahead of schedule, so his father — who decided long ago he wasn’t going to miss the birth, no matter where the team was at that point — wasn’t thinking last weekend on the Heat road trip that the arrival was imminent.

“My wife and I went through that drill many times. I was going to have my bag packed and ready,” Spoelstra said. “I figured I had at least another two more weeks to do that.”

Said Heat guard Dwyane Wade: “As he will find out, this is the greatest love that you will have. And I can’t wait until he experiences it.”

The Heat lost in overtime at Indiana on Sunday, with assistant coach Dan Craig taking Spoelstra’s spot. Spoelstra said he only watched about 45 seconds of the game, and his father-in-law snapped a photo of the new father with his son checking it out on his phone.

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Report: Pau Gasol to join Trail Blazers

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Free agent center Pau Gasol has agreed to a one-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Gasol, 39, who was limited to just 30 games last season because of a variety of injuries, has career averages of 17.0 points and 9.2 rebounds over 17 NBA seasons.



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Report: Furkan Korkmaz returning to 76ers

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Free agent forward Furkan Korkmaz has agreed to a two-year contract to return to the Philadelphia 76ers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Free agent forward Furkan Korkmaz has agreed to a two-year contract to return to the Philadelphia 76ers, agent Mike Lindeman of Excel Sports tells ESPN.

Korkmaz, 21, brings back a rotational forward with the ability to spread the floor with his shooting. The loss of JJ Redick in free agency – and Kyle Korver’s decision to choose Milwaukee over Philadelphia – brought some increased urgency to keep Korkmaz on the Sixers roster.

 The 21-year-old Korkmaz, who was the 26th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, averaged 5.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in 14.1 minutes last season.

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Report: Kevin Love to withdraw from World Cup

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Cavaliers forward Kevin Love is the latest player expected to withdraw from Team USA’s training camp for the FIBA World Cup, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

This news comes just one day after Damian Lillard reportedly withdrew from the World Cup. Love, who played in just 22 games last season because of a shoulder injury, averaged 17.0 points and 10.9 rebounds in 2018-19.

During the previous two weeks, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum reportedly decided not to compete in the World Cup this year.

Although the guard ranks will be somewhat depleted of NBA stars, Team USA continues to have a deep pool of players available.



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