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Pacers’ Bennedict Mathurin aims to be ‘one of the greatest players’



Indiana Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin wants to become one of the greatest players in NBA history. The sixth overall pick from last year’s draft out of the University of Arizona is off to a decent start.

Through 68 starts this season, the forward is averaging 16.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 27.8 minutes per game. Mathurin is also shooting 43.1% from the floor and 31.8% outside the arc.

According to a few NBA betting sites, the Pacers are not yet mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Although, sportsbooks are giving the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls better qualifying odds.

“I’ve said it multiple times,” Mathurin told Indianapolis Star, following the Pacers’ 115-109 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night. “I want to be one of the greatest players to ever play the game.”

It was Mathurin’s first game back after missing the previous four due to a right ankle sprain. The 20-year-old ended his outing with 18 points, three boards, two assists, and one steal in 31 minutes as a starter. Plus, he finished 7-of-10 (70%) shooting from the field and hit a 3-pointer.

Pacers rookie forward Bennedict Mathurin wants to become one of the greatest players in NBA history

However, despite outscoring the Hornets 40-22 in the opening quarter, Indiana went on to surrender 57 second-half points. Charlotte eliminated a 21-point first-half deficit to end a six-game home losing streak.

“Believe me, an opportunity lost for sure,” said Pacers coach Rick Carlisle. The Pacers’ 21 turnovers led to Charlotte scoring 35 points. “At that point, you’re just giving it away,” Carlisle added.

Anyway, Mathurin set a few records with Indiana. The Arizona product scored 72 points through his first three games of the season, the most by a rookie to begin a career since Jerry Stackhouse (76) in the 1995-96 season.

In Indiana’s 124-109 loss to the Bulls on Oct. 26, the rookie forward became the first Pacer in franchise history to score 100 or more points through five career starts.

Additionally, after tallying 21 points in a 123-117 loss against the Utah Jazz, Bennedict Mathurin became the fastest Pacers rookie since Chuck Person (1986-87) to reach 1,000 career points.

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Iman Shumpert, Teyana Taylor separate after 7 years of marriage




Ex-NBA player Iman Shumpert, 33, and singer Teyana Taylor, 32, have separated after seven years of marriage. The couple tied the knot on Oct. 1, 2016.

The “Google Me” singer denied rumors that the former Cleveland Cavaliers guard had been cheating on her.

“AHT AHT! Not too much on my bestie! In all fairness, Iman and I are separated and have been for a while,” Taylor wrote Sunday on Instagram in a lengthy caption next to a picture of her and Shumpert dressed as Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World.

“In all fairness, Iman and I are separated and have been for a while. To be 1000% clear, ‘infidelity’ ain’t one of the reasons for our departure.

“We are still the best of friends, great business partners and are one hell of a team when it comes to co-parenting our 2 beautiful children. Most importantly we are FAMILY & in the 10yrs together, 7yrs married, we ain’t ever played with or about THAT.”

In her post, Teyana Taylor added that she and Shumpert kept their separation private at first, which was why “we’ve been able to successfully & peacefully separate without all of the outside noise.”

“The only reason I’m even sharing THIS part of the chat is because the narratives are getting a little out of hand & it’s unfair to all parties involved,” she continued. “I hope this provided some clarity for y’all. Okay AunTey taking y’all back out the chat bye!”

Shumpert did not discuss the news on his own Instagram, nor did he comment on Taylor’s.

Before announcing their separation, Taylor’s last post featuring her husband was on his birthday in June. She called him a “king” at the end of the caption as she described him as “one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received.”

“Your birthday will always be one of my favorite days…Because on this day 33 years ago a super dope human being was born. My best friend, my husband, my children’s dad, my other half,” she continued. “Crazy how ya bday feels like my day cause you a gift.”

Ex-Cleveland Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert, singer Teyana Taylor are no longer together after 7 years of marriage

Meanwhile, Shumpert’s last Instagram post about his wife came on Mother’s Day in May. He praised the mother of his two kids, writing, “Your strength, persistence and patience has never ceased to amaze me. As we continue to celebrate you year in and year out for being all you can be I love that we take time every year for this holiday.

“Your lil head fits all of the hats no matter the size…but there’s something so beautiful about that mommy hat, so pure and so forever! Keep on pushing the love and creating the memories that remind us what this life is about. We love you.”

The couple plans to continue raising their two children — Iman “Junie” Shumpert, 7, and Rue Rose Shumpert, 3. Their top priority has always been taking care of Junie and Rue.

In April, Taylor told People that her “babies are good,” also saying they’re “getting big,” especially Rue. “My youngest is talking too much,” she added. “I can’t believe she’s a talking two. She is a talking two, for sure!”

Taylor went into early labor in 2015, and Iman Shumpert assisted in her delivery. On June 12, 2020, Taylor confirmed her second pregnancy in her music video for her 2020 single “Wake Up Love.”

Additionally, Shumpert was selected 17th overall by the New York Knicks in the 2011 NBA Draft out of Georgia Tech. After four seasons (2011-15) with the Knicks, the Illinois native was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He helped Cleveland win its first NBA championship in 2016.

Following four seasons (2015-18) with the Cavs, Shumpert went on to play for the Sacramento Kings (2018-19), Houston Rockets (2018-19 season), and Brooklyn Nets (2019-20 season, 2020-21 season).

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Celtics sign center Neemias Queta to a two-way contract




The Boston Celtics are signing free agent center Neemias Queta to a two-way contract, per sources. Queta, 24, was waived by the Sacramento Kings earlier this week. The 7-footer had re-signed with the Kings on a one-year contract in August. Queta was selected 39th overall by Sacramento in the 2021 NBA Draft out of Utah State University.

After signing a two-way contract, the Portuguese hooper appeared in 15 games off the bench with the Kings in his rookie 2021-22 season. Queta averaged 3.0 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 8.0 minutes per game while shooting 44.7% from the field and 64.7% at the foul line.

Referring to multiple NBA betting sites, the Boston Celtics hold second-shortest odds behind the Denver Nuggets to win next season’s 2024 championship. Sportsbooks are still showing great odds for the Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers.

In Sacramento’s 109-108 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Jan. 10, 2022, the center recorded a career-high 11 points and five rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench. Queta finished 4-of-7 (57.1%) shooting from the floor and 3-of-4 (75%) at the line.

The Utah State product became the first Portuguese player to score points in the NBA. With the Stockton Kings, Sacramento’s G League affiliate, the center averaged 16.4 points, 7.9 boards, 1.8 assists, 1.9 blocks, and 28.2 minutes per game in 14 starts.

Boston Celtics sign center Neemias Queta to a two-way contract; the 7-footer is set to join guards J.D. Davison and Jay Scrubb as Boston’s two-way players

In the 2022-23 season, Queta made only five appearances off the bench with the Sacramento Kings. The Portugal native averaged 2.4 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 5.8 minutes per game while shooting 66.7% from the field.

Furthermore, the center made 29 starts with Stockton in the 2022-23 G League season. Queta averaged career highs of 16.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game.

Additionally, he shot career bests of 68% from the floor and 80.3% at the line. He finished as runner-up for the G League MVP award and also earned All-NBA G League and All-Defensive G League honors.

Queta is now set to join guards J.D. Davison and Jay Scrubb as the Boston Celtics’ two-way signees. Under the league’s new collective bargaining agreement, NBA teams can sign a maximum of three two-way players.

The former King will spend time next season with the Maine Celtics, Boston’s G League affiliate.

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Lakers, Jarred Vanderbilt agree to a four-year, $48 million extension




The Los Angeles Lakers and forward Jarred Vanderbilt have agreed to a four-year, $48 million contract extension, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul and agent Erika Ruiz announced on Friday. His new deal is set to begin in the 2024-25 season. Vanderbilt, 24, is slated to earn $4.64 million in 2023-24.

For his upcoming contract, he’s projected to make $10.71 million in 2024-25, $11.57 million in 2025-26, and $12.42 million in 2026-27. The deal also includes a $13.28 million player option for 2027-28. As a matter of fact, he’s eligible to receive up to 140% of the average NBA salary.

According to a few NBA betting sites, the Los Angeles Lakers hold sixth-shortest odds to win next season’s 2024 championship. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns.

Vanderbilt was selected 41st overall by the Orlando Magic in the 2018 NBA Draft out of the University of Kentucky. The 6-foot-8 wing was then immediately traded to the Denver Nuggets.

Moreover, in 17 games off the bench with Denver in the 2018-19 season, Vanderbilt averaged 1.4 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 4.1 minutes per game. Plus, he shot 47.4% from the floor and 60% at the foul line.

Los Angeles Lakers, Jarred Vanderbilt have agreed to a four-year, $48 million extension; new deal begins in 2024-25 and includes a $13.28 million player option for 2027-28

After nine appearances with the Nuggets in the 2019-20 season, the Western Conference contender traded Jarred Vanderbilt to the Minnesota Timberwolves in February 2020.

He made 67 starts in 74 games played with the Timberwolves in the 2021-22 season. Also, he averaged a then-career-high 6.9 points, a career-high 8.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and a career-best 1.3 steals per game.

In Minnesota’s 141-123 win over the Houston Rockets on Jan. 9, 2022, the forward recorded career highs of 21 points and 19 rebounds in 32 minutes as a starter. Along with logging four assists, two steals, and two blocks, Vanderbilt shot 10-of-14 (71.4%) from the field.

In July 2022, the Timberwolves traded Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Leandro Bolmaro, Walker Kessler, and five first-round draft picks (2023, 2025-27, 2029) to the Utah Jazz for center Rudy Gobert.

Last season, the wing appeared in 52 games with the Utah Jazz and 26 with the Lakers. The Texas native averaged a career-high 7.9 points, 7.5 boards, a career-best 2.4 assists, and 1.1 steals per contest.

Vanderbilt is the fifth member of last season’s Lakers team to receive a multi-year extension this offseason, joining Rui Hachimura, D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, and Anthony Davis

As part of a three-team trade in February 2023, the Jazz traded Vanderbilt and Beasley to the Lakers; Los Angeles traded a 2024 second-round draft pick to Minnesota; and the Lakers traded Damian Jones, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Russell Westbrook, and a 2027 first-round draft pick to Utah.

Of course, Westbrook is now with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Additionally, the Timberwolves sent D’Angelo Russell to the Lakers, and the Jazz dealt Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Mike Conley, a 2025 second-round draft pick, and a 2026 second-round draft pick to Minnesota.

Vanderbilt started 24 regular-season games and was in the starting lineup for 13 of Los Angeles’ 15 playoff games. During the first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs, he recorded a playoff career-high 15 points in Game 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Besides Vanderbilt, the Lakers agreed to contract extensions with four other players this offseason — Anthony Davis (three years, $177.13 million), D’Angelo Russell (two years, $36 million), Austin Reaves (four years, $53.83 million), and Rui Hachimura (three years, $51 million).

Furthermore, Los Angeles added Jaxson Hayes (two years, $4.63 million), Taurean Prince (one year, $4.5 million), Gabe Vincent (three years, $33 million), Cam Reddish (two years, $4.63 million), and Christian Wood (two years, $5.75 million).

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