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Lakers unveil statue of Elgin Baylor outside Staples Center

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Lakers unveiled a statue of Elgin Baylor before Friday night’s home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Baylor’s statue became the sixth that decorates the front of Staples Center, joining Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Jerry West and Chick Hearn.

“I certainly appreciate all the wonderful things people have said about me,” Baylor said. “But without the wonderful teammates, (this) certainly wouldn’t have been possible. I’d just like to thank my teammates.”

The Lakers selected Baylor first overall in the 1958 NBA draft. He averaged 27.4 points and 13.5 rebounds in 14 seasons for the franchise, including the first two when it played in Minneapolis.

Various Lakers alumni spoke during Baylor’s ceremony, including O’Neal, Johnson, West and Abdul-Jabbar. Johnson said Baylor put entertainment into the NBA, and will always remember that Baylor set the Finals record for single-game points against the Boston Celtics on the road.

“You did some things that Dr. J, Michael Jordan, Kobe (Bryant), myself, we couldn’t do,” Johnson said. “I tried to do it. I just couldn’t hang that long in the air.”

Bryant provided his message to Baylor via video.

“I’ve stole so many of your moves, it’s not even funny,” Bryant said.

West held back tears when speaking about the friendship between him and Baylor. The two played together in Los Angeles.

“This is one of the greatest men I’ve ever met in my life,” West said. Baylor was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1977. He made the NBA All-Star team 11 times, and won the All-Star Game MVP Award in 1958-59, the same year he was Rookie of the Year.

Baylor was named to the All-NBA First Team 10 times in his career, and holds the all-time record for most points in an NBA Finals game (61).

Baylor was the first player in NBA history to score more than 70 points in a game. He scored 71 against the New York Knicks on Nov. 15, 1960.

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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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