Avalanche’s Cale Makar suspended one game for hit on Kraken’s Jared McCann

Colorado Avalanche star Cale Makar has been suspended one game by the NHL following a hearing on Tuesday. Makar’s suspension stems from a hit he made on Seattle Kraken forward Jared McCann in Game 4.

Makar’s hit took place halfway through the opening period of Monday’s game, when McCann was stopped on a breakaway attempt. When McCann was in the corner following the play, Makar delivered an extremely physical hit on him up against the boards:

Makar’s called for a major, but after review it’s reduced to a minor for interference pic.twitter.com/VqtkQGP58n

— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) April 25, 2023
McCann was hurt on the play and didn’t return to Monday’s contest. Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol has already announced that McCann has been ruled out for Game 5.

“Late hit. Really late. No puck in play. Our 40-goal scorer not available for the rest of the game,” Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol said following Game 4, according to SportsNet. “I disagree with (the penalty call), obviously, as I assessed it and looked at it live and for sure looking at it after on video.”

Makar was initially given a five-minute major penalty for interference, but following a review, the call was reduced to a two-minute minor.

“I didn’t feel like I tried to finish him that far,” Makar said. “I feel like if I was in that scenario they would have done the exact same thing. I’m not trying to hurt anybody.”

McCann led Seattle with 70 points this season, including a career-high 40 goals. Even without McCann in the lineup, the Kraken were able to come away with a 3-2 overtime win in Game 4 to even the series at two games apiece.

Maple Leafs, Red Wings, Senators, Wild will play games in Sweden next season

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association announced on Wednesday that the Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs will participate in the 2023 NHL Global Series on Nov. 16-19 in Stockholm, Sweden.

The teams will play two regular season games apiece in Stockholm at Avicii Arena as a part of the event.

The @DetroitRedWings, @mnwild, @Senators and @MapleLeafs to headline the 2023 #NHLGlobalSeries – Sweden.

Details: https://t.co/zkkNS0HfLN

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 26, 2023
The 2023 NHL Global Series will mark the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th games that are being played in Stockholm. Stockholm has hosted more NHL regular season games than any city outside of North America. This will also mark the 10th season in which the NHL will play regular season contests in Europe.

The 2023 NHL Global Series will feature four NHL franchises for the first time, and it’s the first time that the Maple Leafs will play outside of North America. The Maple Leafs will become the 26th team to play regular season games outside of North America.

Meanwhile, this will be just the second occasion in which the Red Wings and Wild will play outside of North America and the third for the Senators. Between the rosters of the Maple Leafs, Red Wings, Senators, and Wild, there are 21 Swedish players.

Earlier this month, the league announced that the Arizona Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings would face off in a pair of preseason games in Melbourne, Australia as part of the 2023 NHL Global Series. Those games will be played at Rod Larver Arena in Melbourne on Sept. 23 and 24.

Anthony Edwards, Jalen Brunson lead Americans to easy win in FIBA World Cup tune-up

Team USA jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead in their friendly against a Luka Doncic-less Slovenia on Saturday and never looked back. They led by double-digits for the majority of the afternoon en route to a 92-62 victory in the second of five tune-up games ahead of the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

For the second consecutive game, Anthony Edwards led the way in the scoring department with 15 points, while Jalen Brunson (11 points, four rebounds and eight assists), Tyrese Haliburton (10 points, four rebounds and six assists) and Austin Reaves (10 points, five rebounds and four assists) all had solid all-around performances. It was a true team effort, as nine players had at least seven points and everyone on the roster scored.

About the only negative aspect of this outing for Team USA was that their poor 3-point shooting continued. After shooting just 6-of-27 from downtown against Puerto Rico earlier this week, the Americans went 9-of-33 versus Slovenia. It’s worth noting that Brunson is the only player on the roster who finished in the top 30 in 3-point shooting in the NBA last season, and Cameron Johnson, Haliburton, Reaves and Bridges were the only other players in even the top 75. They create so many good looks that you would expect the shooting to improve, but this could be an Achilles heel for this group.

Next up for the Americans is Spain on Sunday, which will conclude their short trip to Malaga. That game figures to be their first real test of the summer after two comfortable wins. After departing Spain, they will travel to the United Arab Emirates for their final two tune-up games against Greece and Germany in Abu Dhabi.

Then, it will be time for the real games to begin. Team USA has been drawn into Group C in the World Cup along with Greece, Jordan and New Zealand, with all of those games taking place in Manila, Philippines. Those games will run from Aug. 26-30, and they must finish in the top two to advance to the second round of the tournament.

There is always immense pressure on the Americans in any major tournament, but even more so this year after they stumbled to a seventh-place finish in the 2019 World Cup. Team USA last won the World Cup in 2014, and has five gold medals overall — tied with Yugoslavia for the most all-time.

‘That didn’t age well for me’

Golden State Warriors forward Klay Thompson is the latest player to sit down with Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George on his podcast, “Podcast P.” During his appearance, Thompson admitted that he regrets taunting Devin Booker during a loss to the Phoenix Suns last season.

The Oct. 25 match-up was just the fourth game of the season for both clubs, but it had a playoff-like atmosphere. In the third quarter, Thompson started jawing with Booker, repeatedly reminding him that he had four championships to his name. The two eventually came face-to-face, which resulted in double technicals. A few minutes later, Thompson received another technical for shoving Mikal Bridges, which earned him the first ejection of his career.

While the game was close when Thompson was ejected, the Suns later pulled away for a 134-105 win. Thompson finished with two points on 1-of-8 from the field, and was soundly outplayed by Booker, who finished with 34 points and seven assists.

“Yeah, I was in my feelings though and Book was busting my ass that day,” Thompson told George. “I was not where I needed to be. God. You know stuff doesn’t age well and that didn’t age well for me. I don’t need to be flexing four rings, bro, like everybody know that. That’s on Wikipedia. My game wasn’t where it was at and we all get insecure at times.

“I’m man enough to admit that we all have our moments of weakness. I’m not really proud of that one. Cause I see Devin Booker and I should be like, man, I should be proud of this young man. The work he’s put in. He survived a tough regime in Phoenix where everyone getting traded, he’s playing for a new coach every year but now he’s a franchise player cause he just kept working. So, I admire the guys who have work ethic like that, you know?”

Good chance you won’t see Klay flexing his 4 rings to opponents again 😂 pic.twitter.com/xOXLGZqfW6

— Podcast P with Paul George (@PodcastPShow) August 7, 2023
The respect is mutual. After that game, Booker said that the exchange didn’t change his attitude towards Thompson.

“I love Klay Thompson,” Booker said. “I have from the beginning. From the draft, coming out, I said I wanted to be Klay Thompson. That doesn’t excuse us from competing against each other and talking a little mess with each other. I had fun with it. Big fan of his and his competitive nature, and that’s that.”

As Booker’s quote from the moment shows, this incident wasn’t a big deal. Still, it was pretty cool to see Thompson being this candid in an interview and admit that he wasn’t proud of how he handled that moment. We usually don’t see that from players, especially while they’re still active.

76ers, Clippers to restart James Harden trade talks, Raptors raising price for Pascal Siakam

We’ve reached the slowest point on the NBA calendar, where news has come to a near standstill and everyone is counting down the days until training camp begins in September. However, with two major trade demands still hanging over the league and some unsigned free agents still on the market, there is still something to talk about.

Both James Harden and Damian Lillard remain unmoved after both requested trades from their current teams earlier this summer. And while nothing appears to be imminent, that hasn’t stopped the rumors from circulating. Here’s the latest on both stars situations, as well as another potential trade involving the Toronto Raptors.

Clippers, 76ers to reengage in Harden trade talks
Harden’s been intent on getting out of Philadelphia and landing on his hometown Los Angeles Clippers team. The feeling is mutual for the Clippers, but the Sixers have been in no rush to trade their All-Star guard if the price isn’t right. After talks cooled off over the last month, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports that the two sides are expected to begin trade talks again involving the former league MVP. It’s unclear what Philadelphia could get in return for Harden, but when the two sides talked earlier about a trade package the Clippers were unwilling to give up younger players like Terance Mann or serious draft capital for the aging guard.

If the Clippers don’t want to give up too much for Harden, there’s the potential that this deal would need to include a third team to get the Sixers what they want in return for him. Multi-team deals are tricky, but if L.A. is really enamored with the idea of bringing Harden in, then it’s something that could happen.

Raptors turned down Hawks trade offer for Pascal Siakam
Toronto has been in the midst of this will-they-won’t-they saga involving a rebuild for quite some time. They lost Fred VanVleet for nothing this summer, signaling that they could look to trade other core players like Siakam, OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. However, we’re a little over a month from training camp and the Raptors have done nothing to suggest they’re going down the full fire sale path. But that doesn’t mean they’re not keeping their options open.

The Atlanta Hawks reportedly offered a trade package involving De’Andre Hunter, AJ Griffin and draft compensation to Toronto for Siakam, per Charania, but the Raptors keep increasing the asking price for the All-Star forward. Siakam enters the last year of his contract, and is extension eligible. But it’s been reported that he won’t sign an extension with any team that trades for him, and would instead become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Charania reports that talks between the Raptors and Hawks have been put on pause, and that despite Atlanta’s interest, Siakam could very well remain in Toronto through this season.

Trail Blazers no closer to trading Lillard
Lillard is still adamant that he wants to play for the Miami Heat and no one else. The Blazers still don’t like what Miami has to offer, so for right now the two sides haven’t gotten any closer to a trade, per Charania. That could change as we get closer to training camp, because certainly no one wants to deal with the awkwardness of a trade demand, but for right now, Lillard is still a member of the Blazers. Perhaps the Heat can manage to get a third team involved to get the deal done, because it’s been clear that the Blazers have little interest in a package centered around Tyler Herro for their franchise centerpiece of over a decade.

Anthony Edwards, Paolo Banchero, Jalen Brunson highlight FIBA 2023 World Cup team

We’re still over a month away from the FIBA World Cup tipping off on August 25th, but it’s never too early to take a look at the roster that will be representing the United States in the tournament. USA Basketball is hoping to have a better showing than the one they put forth in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in which they finished in seventh place, and the team they’ve put together has a great shot at improving upon that standing.

The roster was finalized in early July and it includes seven All-NBA players and four All-Stars. Nine of the 12 players have USA Basketball experience at various levels, while the other three will be making their debut for the national team. The head coach for Team USA is Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, while Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, Los Angeles Clippers head coach Ty Lue and Gonzaga head coach Mark Few will serve as assistants.

The three players who are making their Team USA debut are Reaves, Hart and Johnson, while Haliburton was on the U19 USA Basketball team that won gold at the FIBA World Cup in 2019. The roster is certainly young, but that’s to be expected for a World Cup roster for USA Basketball. That aside, this collection of players gives you everything from former No. 1 overall picks in Edwards and Banchero to undrafted players like Reaves. And there’s surely no shortage of talent on this roster, it’s just a matter of how well they can all gel together in the tournament.