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LeBron James Remains Optimistic Despite 'Fragile' State Of Cavs

LeBron James framed the Cleveland Cavaliers' state as "fragile" after the team dropped to 5-7 with a 110-93 home loss to Toronto Raptors on Saturday.

"We're a very fragile team right now," James said. "Well, we were a fragile team from the beginning. Any little adversity hits us, we just shell up. That's something that will come with experience.

"This is not even the lowest it's going to get for us. You guys know, the lowest it can get is up 17 in the fourth quarter of Game 2 of the Finals and losing. It can get that low. Or being up 2-1 and going to Game 4 and lose three straight in the Finals. That's very low. So, I'm very optimistic. I'm very positive. More positive than I thought I would be right now, so, we look at what we did wrong, things that we did well and get ready for Orlando coming in on Monday."

Via Dave McMenamin/ESPN

Westbrook, Durant Participate In Non-Contact Portion Of Practice

Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant participated in practice Saturday, joining their Thunder teammates in select portions of non-contact drills.

Both are said to be progressing from their respective injuries on schedule.

“They looked good,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “They’ve been with the group the whole time, but (Saturday) was the first day they’ve actually participated in some of the drills. It wasn’t the entire practice.”

The Oklahoman reports that "there's a growing belief that Westbrook and Durant aren't far from returning."

The Oklahoma City Thunder could be targeting a Friday return for Westbrook, which would be the day before his originally scheduled evaluation date.

Durant could return soon thereafter as his original projection was Dec. 11.

Via Darnell Mayberry/Oklahoman

Silver Writes NYTimes Op-Ed In Favor Of Legalization, Regulation Of Sports Betting

Adam Silver has written an op-ed in the New York Times in favor of legalization and regulation of sports betting in the United States.

"Betting on professional sports is currently illegal in most of the United States outside of Nevada. I believe we need a different approach," writes Silver.

"For more than two decades, the National Basketball Association has opposed the expansion of legal sports betting, as have the other major professional sports leagues in the United States. In 1992, the leagues supported the passage by Congress of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or Paspa, which generally prohibits states from authorizing sports betting.

"But despite legal restrictions, sports betting is widespread. It is a thriving underground business that operates free from regulation or oversight. Because there are few legal options available, those who wish to bet resort to illicit bookmaking operations and shady offshore websites. There is no solid data on the volume of illegal sports betting activity in the United States, but some estimate that nearly $400 billion is illegally wagered on sports each year."

This position from Silver represents a willingness to think outside its long-held positions. The NBA reached agreement on a deal with FanDuel this week, which is a daily sports fantasy site.

"Let me be clear: Any new approach must ensure the integrity of the game," continued Silver at the end of the piece. "One of my most important responsibilities as commissioner of the N.B.A. is to protect the integrity of professional basketball and preserve public confidence in the league and our sport. I oppose any course of action that would compromise these objectives.

"But I believe that sports betting should be brought out of the underground and into the sunlight where it can be appropriately monitored and regulated."

Via RealGM Staff Report

Greg Oden Focused On Life Issues, Not NBA Comeback

Greg Oden attended the Cleveland Cavaliers' home game against the Toronto Raptors on Saturday.

Oden is not interested in pursuing a comeback in the NBA for now.

"I have to deal with other stuff first," Oden said. "Life stuff."

Oden averaged 2.9 points and 2.3 rebounds in 23 games for the Miami Heat last season.

Via Jason Lloyd/Akron Beacon Journal

Lakers Working Out Roscoe Smith

The Los Angeles Lakers will bring in Roscoe Smith for a workout on Friday, league sources tell RealGM.

Smith plays for the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the D-League.

Via Shams Charania/RealGM

Harden: Rockets Lacked Ariza's Leadership, Defense, Shot-Making Last Season

James Harden discussed the difference that Trevor Ariza has made in the Houston Rockets' lineup this season.

“His leadership, his defensive abilities, his shot-making -- all three of those things are something that we were lacking last year,” Harden said. “[Ariza] brings that ability to the table this year.”

Harden downplayed the impact of Parsons' departure over the summer, describing himself and Howard as Houston’s cornerstones and the rest of the roster as role players.

Parsons has said he does not pay attention to Ariza's play.

"I don't pay any attention to him," Parsons said recently. "Listen, many people replace many people every year in this league. He's a good, proven player in this league. He's supposed to play good for them."

Via Tim MacMahon/ESPN

76ers Assign JaKarr Sampson To D-League

The Philadelphia 76ers assigned forward JaKarr Sampson to the Delaware 87ers of the NBA Development League on Friday.

Sampson has appeared in nine games with two starts for the Sixers this season.

Via RealGM Staff Report

Andrei Kirilenko Situation With Nets Appears Beyond Repair

Andrei Kirilenko has left the Brooklyn Nets for their roadtrip as he has received several healthy scratches in recent games.

"Source says situation between Kirilenko and Nets probably won't be resolved until he's on another team," writes Stefan Bondy.

Lionel Hollins told the media on Friday that he's unsure if or when Kirilenko will rejoin the club on their road trip.

Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN reports that the Nets have had preliminary talks with the Philadelphia 76ers about moving Kirilenko and Sergey Karasev. Kirilenko would likely be waived by the 76ers.

Via Stefan Bondy/New York Daily News

Nuggets View Every Player On Roster As Trade Asset

The Denver Nuggets have built their core around Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried, who received a four-year contract extension before the season.

Still, the Nuggets are open to moving contracts and do not view anyone as an untouchable part.

"Every player on our roster is a movable asset," Tim Connelly said. "Certainly you don't want to view players as assets, but there's a part of you in the front office that has to be brutally honest with how these guys are viewed leaguewide. We don't have a guy on the roster we'd have to heavily incentivize to move."

Via Kevin Arnovitz/ESPN

Aaron Gordon Out Indefinitely With Fracture In Foot

Aaron Gordon has a fracture in his foot and is out indefinitely.

Gordon fractured the fifth metatarsal in his left foot during Saturday night’s game against the Washington Wizards.

Gordon was the fourth overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic.

Via Josh Robbins/Orlando Sentinel

Kobe Considers Hometown Discounts As 'Big Coup' For Owners

Kobe Bryant was not interested in taking a below market value with the Lakers.

Joe Johnson Had Issue In Free Agency With Knicks' Facility Being Outside City

Joe Johnson seriously considered signing with the Knicks in 2010.

Bradley Beal Hopes To Make Season Debut Against Cavs On Friday

Bradley Beal has been out since Oct. 10 with a fractured left wrist.

Thunder Want Serge Ibaka To Keep Shooting 3-4 Three-Pointers Per Game

Serge Ibaka is shooting a team-best 38.3 percent from 3-point range.

Brett Brown: Nobody Knew Year 2 Would Be Like This

The 14 players who have played so far this season for the 76ers have an average age of 23.3 years.

Lakers Re-Assign Jordan Clarkson, Xavier Henry To D-Fenders

Jordan Clarkson and Xavier Henry will make their second appearance of the season with the D-Fenders.

James Harden: Reggie Jackson Has To Get Money He's Earned

Reggie Jackson has made it clear that he is hoping to receive a more prominent, starting role.

Silver Strongly Disagrees With Roberts On Owners Being Replaceable

Adam Silver and the NBA responded to statements made by NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts in which she said the salary cap is "un-American" and that the owners are replaceable.

Tobias Harris Has Interest In Signing With Knicks

Tobias Harris hopes that the Knicks will pursue him in restricted free agency.

Dwight Howard Undergoes PRP Treatment On Knee, No Timetable For Return

Dwight Howard was not in the Rockets' lineup on Saturday and Kevin McHale said there is no timetable for when he will return.

Damian Lillard, LeBron Named NBA Players Of The Week

Damian Lillard and LeBron James have been named the NBA's Players of the Week for games played between Nov. 10 and Nov. 16.

Lakers Assign Jordan Clarkson, Xavier Henry To D-League

Jordan Clarkson and Xavier Henry have been assigned to the D-Fenders.

Scott Unable To Reach Nash Despite Lakers' Hope For Mentorship Role

Byron Scott and Mitch Kupchak said they hoped Steve Nash would serve as a mentor and de facto shooting coach for younger players.

Roberts: NBA Owners Are Replaceable

Michele Roberts expressed objections to the concept of an NBA salary cap, while also indicating that she's planning on pushing for more than 50-50 split of basketball-related income.

Some International Scouts Believe Kristaps Porzingis Is Best 2015 Prospect

Kristaps Porzingis is a 6'11 big out of Lavia that won't turn 20 until April.

NBA Agrees To Four-Year Deal With FanDuel

The NBA will receive equity in FanDuel as part of the deal.

NBPA Prepared To Appeal Jeff Taylor's Suspension

Jeff Taylor's suspension would cost him $199,689 of his $915,000 salary.

Justin Holiday, Ognjen Kuzmic Assigned To Warriors' D-League Team

The Warriors assigned Justin Holiday and Ognjen Kuzmic to the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League on Friday.

Giannis Becoming More Comfortable At Power Forward

Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 14 points and nine rebounds in 26 minutes.

Jeff Taylor Won't Appeal 24-Game Suspension

Jeff Taylor and his agent chose to accept the suspension and sit the remaining 13 games until he can return to the lineup.
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