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Liberty Links: That Markelle Fultz kid is pretty, pretty good at basketball

Plus, some other things that deserve your attention.

NCAA Basketball: UCLA at Washington
The USA Today database needs to start hooking us up with Summer League pics, man.
Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Help out a fellow basketball fan in need

While we usually start the morning links post with some sort of brief summary of the previous day, today I wanted to highlight something more important than Summer League. A basketball fan from Allentown, PA named Aaron Sweatt is dealing with some repercussions of a fight against brain cancer, and he needs your help.

Aaron’s loved ones are asking for $20 donations to help Aaron and his mother pay for his medical expenses, and in return you get a cool pair of basketball-themed socks and the satisfaction of knowing you made a difference in someone’s life.

If that sounds like your thing, you can help Aaron out by donating here.

And now, back to our regularly-scheduled programming.

Markelle Fultz tore it up last night

In case y’all didn’t read my super-important Summer League recap—and the just-as-pivotal emoji-cap from WC in the comments—do yourself a favor and do so. If you don’t want to do that, at least watch this hesi pull-up jimbo.

Dan Gilbert lowballed the guy he allegedly wanted to be GM—Chris Haynes and Marc Spears, ESPN

According to sources, the team's initial offer was $1.5 million. League sources tell ESPN $4 million is typically the starting point of what an individual in that role should earn. Sources maintain financial compensation wasn't the only factor as to why the 40-year-old Billups turned down the job on Monday after weeks of deliberation, but it played a part.

Cleveland is known for its unwillingness to pay top-dollar for front-office leadership.

So LeBron is definitely bouncing next summer, right?

Celtics considering shipping Jae Crowder to Utah in potential Gordon Hayward sign-and-trade—Woj and Ramona Shelburne

The Boston Celtics have been aggressively trying to create enough salary-cap room to give Gordon Hayward the four-year, $128 million maximum contract he agreed upon by discussing trades involving Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley, sources told ESPN.

The Jazz and Celtics discussed on Wednesday the possibility of including Crowder in a sign-and-trade agreement for Hayward, league sources said, which would be cap beneficial for Boston.

Utah getting a player of Crowder’s caliber when Hayward was going to sign there outright—and still might—would be pretty impressive maneuvering.

Some other notable free-agency moves

Had to make sure all the YOLO free agents signed on one day, I suppose.

Tom Thibodeau’s Wolves Are Now an Old-School Colossus, but Can They Thrive in the Modern Age?—Jonathan Tjarks, The Ringer

The real challenge will come in the playoffs, when their 3-point shooting and Thibodeau’s flexibility will be tested. He has built a team that would dominate a decade ago, when he won a championship as an assistant coach with the Celtics and the current pace-and-space era of the league was still in its infancy.

These days, all roads go through Golden State, and they have proved they can play traditional big men like Dieng and Gibson off the floor in the playoffs. Will Minnesota be able to keep up with a smaller team that spreads the floor, and do the Wolves have enough 3-point shooting to prevent their offense from getting bogged down?

Thibs has already pot committed resources that make it look unlikely, but I would love to see the Wolves experiment with funky small-ball lineups. Those obviously depend on Towns proving to be a more capable last line of defense than he was last season, of course, but they shouldn’t be playing bully ball for 48 minutes a night.

Danny Green made All-Defense, and Coach Pop still ripped him

This is a little old, but come on, it’s classic Pop.

Woj with some [side-eye emoji] material on Giannis Antetokounmpo


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