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Los Angeles Lakers Sign Christian Wood, 1st Veteran Forward And SoCal Native

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(LOS ANGELES) – lakers, A person knowledgeable of the transaction informed The Associated Press on Tuesday night that veteran forward Christian Wood has agreed to a two-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The individual spoke anonymously because the Lakers had not yet confirmed the deal for Wood, a native of Los Angeles. The second season of the contract is a player option, which might allow Wood to return to free agency next summer if he doesn’t land a big contract this year.

Wood essentially confirmed the signing on social media, tweeting, “It’s always been my dream to be a laker.”

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Wood averaged 16.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game for the Dallas Mavericks last season despite mostly serving as a reserve.

He averaged a career-high 21.0 points per game for Houston two years prior, establishing himself as a reliable offensive player in the NBA after previously bouncing back and forth from the G League. Wood can play as a small-ball center while stretching defenses with his 3-point shot, but he can struggle defensively at times.

The Lakers will be Wood’s ninth NBA team and his first in the Los Angeles area. Wood was born in Long Beach and attended high school in Los Alamitos before leaving town to attend two prep schools ahead of his time at UNLV. He will turn 28 shortly before training camp.

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The Lakers will be Wood’s ninth NBA team and his first in the Los Angeles area.

Wood is the Lakers’ seventh veteran acquisition this summer, following their run to the Western Conference finals led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Los Angeles signed free agents D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, 7-footer Jaxson Hayes, big Taurean Prince, point guard Gabe Vincent, and swingman Cam Reddish.

Following Mo Bamba’s injury, the Lakers went the rest of the season without a real backup center, so the addition of Hayes and Wood should allow Davis to play fewer physically demanding minutes in the middle.

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Another Race, Another Victory For Red Bull’s Max Verstappen At Chinese GP

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Shanghai — Another F1 race. Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing claims yet another victory.

The three-time defending champion won the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday from pole position, his fourth victory in five races this season and his 23rd in the past 27 dating back to last season.

Only a brake issue last month at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne likely prevented him from sweeping all five.

Verstappen trailed for only a few circuits after his pit stop. Lando Norris of McLaren finished second, roughly 14 seconds behind Verstappen, for the ninth race in his career as he pursued his maiden victory. Sergio Perez, Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate, finished third.

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Another Race, Another Victory For Red Bull’s Max Verstappen At Chinese GP

Charles Leclerc of Ferrari and Carlos Sainz of Aston Martin finished fourth and fifth, respectively, holding off Mercedes driver George Russell and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso in sixth and seventh.

The remaining points finishers were Oscar Piastri of McLaren, Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, and Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg in tenth.

Verstappen leads the standings with 110 points, followed by Perez (85), Leclerc (76), Sainz (69), and Norris (58).

“It felt amazing,” Verstappen remarked. “All weekend, we were really fast, and it was just fun to drive. The automobile was basically on rails, so I could do whatever I wanted with it. Those types of weekends are incredible to experience.”

Verstappen was asked if this was the most dominant victory of his career.

“It was a good one, yeah,” he remarked without elaborating.

The next Grand Prix is in Miami on May 5. Will Verstappen dominate the street race?

“It’s a completely different track,” he remarked. It has different tires and different tarmac. So, you never know.

The safety car appeared twice during the race. Once after, Sauber’s Valtteri Bottas halted at the track’s edge with a blown engine and then again in two virtually simultaneous incidents.

Kevin Magnussen clipped Yuki Tsunoda in one, while Lance Stroll collided with Daniel Ricciardo in the other.

Verstappen’s dominance in Formula One continued on Saturday as he won the season’s first sprint race.

Verstappen, who won in Japan two weeks ago, was critical of racing a sprint in China. He hasn’t modified his mind much, despite winning.

“The sprint format was better,” Verstappen explained. “But let’s not overdo it either. We already have 24 races scheduled, including six sprint events. I got it. I guess it’s selling better and better. But it also puts extra stress on the machinery.”

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Another Race, Another Victory For Red Bull’s Max Verstappen At Chinese GP

“We take it,” Verstappen said. “We need to deal with it. But we don’t need 12 right now since it will take a toll on people as well.”

Norris echoed Verstappen.

“The main point is the toll it has on mechanics and engineers,” he went on to say. “To be honest, I don’t believe it’s that horrible for us drivers. I don’t think we can complain at all. There are hundreds of mechanics and engineers here who must travel extensively. It’s unhealthy for them.”

This was the first Formula One race in China since 2019, after the COVID-19 outbreak and China’s clampdown cancelled four events. Shanghai-born Zhou Guanyu finished 14th for Sauber, maybe his last chance to race at home, as teams will alter their driver lineups next season.

He squatted on the tarmac after the race and covered his face, with the audience chanting “Guanyu, Guanyu, Guanyu.”

The true competition in Formula One for the remainder of the season appears to be for the half-dozen positions below Verstappen and Perez. Mercedes’ George Russell dubbed it a “fight” for positions 3 through 8.

“Small differences can have a major impact,” Russell added.

Domination is nothing new in Formula One. Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, and Lewis Hamilton ruled before Verstappen arrived, with Schumacher and Hamilton winning seven season titles and Vettel four.

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Another Race, Another Victory For Red Bull’s Max Verstappen At Chinese GP

Verstappen and Red Bull are certain to dominate next season. That could change in 2026 when new engine and chassis regulations take effect in Formula One.

Miami will have a celebrity paddock. There was also a celebrity parade in China, with former basketball player Yao Ming and double Olympic champion skier Eileen Gu appearing for photos in the paddock and on the course before the race began.

SOURCE – (AP)

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The NBA Playoffs Are Finally Here. And As LeBron James Says, ‘It’s A Sprint Now’

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Boston has a 64-win club that leads the league in wins. Denver’s defending champions have won 57 games. A bold young team in Oklahoma City, whose No. 1 seed was no fluke. A trio of Villanova alumni in New York transformed the Knicks into a legitimate contender.

Once again, there’s LeBron James.

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The NBA Playoffs Are Finally Here. And As LeBron James Says, ‘It’s A Sprint Now’

The NBA playoffs are ready to begin, with the Celtics and Nuggets the big favorites — at least according to BetMGM Sportsbook — to meet in the Finals, and there are plenty of teams who believe they can win the whole thing. After a seven-month buildup that included training camp, a preseason, the regular season, the first NBA Cup, and a play-in tournament, the league finally wakes up on Saturday with 16 clubs left in contention for the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

“Come Saturday, there are 15 other teams that want what we have,” Denver coach Michael Malone said. “We have the world championship trophy and everybody’s trying to take it from us.”

Let the games begin. The Nuggets are attempting to become the sixth franchise to win back-to-back championships, with the majority of last season’s core returning this year, including likely NBA MVP Nikola Jokic. They’ll begin their quest against the Lakers and James, who is chasing his fifth championship and has never concealed that this is, by far, the most important time of year for him.

“There ain’t no more pace,” said the 39-year-old James, the league’s oldest active player and all-time scoring leader who is looking for his fifth NBA championship. “What are you pacing yourself for? Now it’s time to sprint. It’s a sprint now. We already completed the marathon.”

Round 1 begins on Saturday, with four games: Orlando at Cleveland, Phoenix at Minnesota, Philadelphia at New York, and the Los Angeles Lakers at Denver. On Sunday, four more Game 1s are scheduled: Miami at Boston in a rematch of the previous two East finals, Dallas at the Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana at Milwaukee, and New Orleans at Oklahoma City.

The Thunder won 22 games three seasons ago, and 24 games the following year. Those days are long gone: 40 victories last season demonstrated potential, and 57 wins this season — with no full-time starter above the age of 25 — indicate that OKC’s time may have come.

“It means a little more, how we got here, for sure,” said Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Thunder guard who has averaged 30.1 points this season and is a legitimate MVP candidate. “But at the end of the day, I suppose it’s home-court advantage until the Finals. That’s always a plus when you have a home court like ours.”

They are young, brash, and undeniably entertaining. When asked why he wasn’t wearing his division title T-shirt when the Thunder clinched the No. 1 seed, Thunder guard Jalen Williams responded, “This leather jacket cost a lot,” eliciting laughter.

The Thunder were not expected to be in this situation; they were assigned 100-1 odds to win the NBA championship when the season began. Boston is an entirely different tale; the Celtics met and beyond expectations.

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The NBA Playoffs Are Finally Here. And As LeBron James Says, ‘It’s A Sprint Now’

All Boston did this season was post the fifth-best record in franchise history, which is a significant accomplishment for any team, but especially for one as legendary as the Celtics. Three of the four Boston teams with the best regular season records went on to win NBA championships.

“You can’t even expect to be a 64-win team,” Celtics President Brad Stevens explained. “That’s a really difficult level to meet, no matter how good you are, how well organized you are as a coach, or how many alternatives you have as a player. That’s just difficult to do.”

The Celtics have no visible weaknesses, finishing the season ranked first in offensive rating, second in points per game, third in defensive rating, and fifth in points allowed per game. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kristaps Porzingis all finished with at least 20 points per game; only two earlier Celtics teams had three 20-point scorers in a single season. They also added Jrue Holiday – a U.S. Olympian this summer, like Tatum — in the offseason to help lead a defense designed for this time of year.

“Everybody has that right mindset,” Celtics guard Derrick White said. “We’re looking forward to this.”

The Knicks lost Julius Randle but have continued to ascend, powered by the Villanova trio of MVP candidate Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, and Donte DiVincenzo. They face a blockbuster first-round series against Joel Embiid and the 76ers, who were competing for a top-2 seed before Embiid was injured and missed much of the season.

“We just focus on getting better every day,” Brunson explained.

The Thunder, Indiana (the league’s best scoring club this season), and Orlando are all making their playoff debuts for the first time since 2020. Indiana faces a Milwaukee team that will be without star Giannis Antetokounmpo, while the Magic face a Cleveland team that has not won a playoff series without James since 1993.

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The NBA Playoffs Are Finally Here. And As LeBron James Says, ‘It’s A Sprint Now’

“We’re going to enjoy this,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said, “because they deserve to.”

The title will most likely go to one of Boston, Oklahoma City, Denver, New York, Milwaukee, or Minnesota. Since 1984, 39 of the 40 NBA champions have begun the playoffs as the first, second, or third seed in their conference.

Having saying that, this year has been somewhat unpredictable. And, as always, the playoffs are full of surprises.

“The reality is we’re going to have to play well on Sunday,” Stevens told reporters. “And beyond.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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Kansas Adds AJ Storr After He Led Wisconsin In Scoring This Season

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AP News - VOR News

AJ Storr is transferring to Kansas after scoring the most points for Wisconsin this season.

Storr announced on Thursday via social media that he was making this move “with great excitement and humility.” Later Thursday, Kansas formally confirmed the signings of Storr and former South Dakota State guard Zeke Mayo.

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Kansas Adds AJ Storr After He Led Wisconsin In Scoring This Season

“Joining the Jayhawks is a dream realized, and I’m incredibly honored for this opportunity to be a part of the tradition and culture of Kansas Basketball,” Storr wrote on his Facebook page.

It was a busy day for Wisconsin transfer news, as Badgers point guard Chucky Hepburn confirmed on social media that he would also be joining the portal.

Storr, who stands 6-foot-7, averaged 16.8 points and 3.9 rebounds for Wisconsin this season, helping the Badgers finish 22-14. Wisconsin received a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but lost 72-61 to James Madison in the first round.

Mayo revealed his commitment to Kansas on social media two weeks ago. This season, he was named Summit League Player of the Year after averaging 18.8 points and helping South Dakota State earn the conference’s automatic NCAA invitation. The Jackrabbits lost 82-65 against Iowa State in the tournament’s first round.

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Kansas Adds AJ Storr After He Led Wisconsin In Scoring This Season

Kansas will be Storr’s third school in as many seasons. Storr began his college career at St. John’s, where he averaged 8.8 points during the 2022–2023 season.

While Storr only spent one year at Wisconsin, Hepburn was a three-year starter. As a freshman, he helped Wisconsin win a share of the Big Ten regular-season title in 2022 by hitting a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left in a 70-67 victory over Purdue.

This past season, Hepburn averaged 9.2 points, 3.9 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.1 steals. He averaged 12.2 points per game during the 2022-23 season and 7.9 points per game in 2021-22.

“As I embark on this new chapter and enter the transfer portal, please know that my decision is not a reflection of anything lacking at Wisconsin,” Hepburn wrote in an Instagram post announcing his decision and thanking Wisconsin’s players, coaches, and supporters. “Rather, it is an opportunity for me to explore new alternatives and continue my journey towards my dreams.

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Kansas Adds AJ Storr After He Led Wisconsin In Scoring This Season

“I appreciate all Wisconsin has given me. I will take the teachings and memories I learned here with me wherever I go, and I will always be happy to be a Badger.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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