The Latest: Pascal Siakam wins NBA Most Improved award
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) - The Latest on the NBA Awards show in Santa Monica, California (all times local):
Pascal Siakam of the NBA champion Toronto Raptors has won the Most Improved Player at the NBA Awards.
The 25-year-old from Cameroon averaged 16.9 points and started 79 of 80 regular-season games for the Raptors in his third year with the team.
Siakam had 26 20-point outings after scoring 20 points in a game only once in his first two seasons. He then scored 32 points in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
Siakam beat out De'Aaron Fox of Sacramento and D'Angelo Russell of Brooklyn.
Siakam says his award can give hope to African kids to work hard in pursuing their dreams.
Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks has won Rookie of the Year at the NBA Awards.
The 20-year-old small forward from Slovenia accepted his trophy from RJ Barrett, who went to the New York Knicks as the No. 3 pick in the NBA draft last week.
Doncic was the No. 3 pick last year.
The other finalists were Deandre Ayton of Phoenix and Trae Young of Atlanta.
Mark Cuban says deals aren't typically consummated the first night of free agency.
The Dallas Mavericks owner says some players want a formal presentation - what Cuban calls "the dog-and-pony show" - while others just want to ask questions and it's not necessary to have a meeting with them.
Cuban says some players want to meet the coach and others want to discuss the business side of things.
At the end, Cuban says there aren't a lot of secrets and he's not going to tell potential free agents much that they don't already know about his team.
Mike Conley Jr. was part of a wave of trades around the draft, moving from Memphis to Utah, and the veteran says he expects a lot of players to be on different teams next season.
Kyrie Irving is one of more than 200 free agents. Conley says he doesn't know if the Los Angeles Lakers "are in there as much" as the Brooklyn Nets right now to land Irving.
Former NBA Finals MVP Isiah Thomas credits the Lakers with having had the best two summers of any NBA team, landing LeBron James last year and now Anthony Davis, although his pending trade won't be official until next month.
Shaquille O'Neal, who is hosting the NBA Awards, planted a smooch on Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss on the red carpet.
Buss calls Monday night's event "our version of the Golden Globes."
Buss says that since the season ended she had "a big surprise" when Magic Johnson suddenly quit as president of basketball operations. She hadn't spoken publicly since Johnson's stunning announcement before the final game of the Lakers' sixth straight losing season.
Buss says she's "very confident" in general manager Rob Pelinka and she noted that new coach Frank Vogel's teams consistently play defense.
She says the Lakers "have a lot of other changes" that are coming but she cited NBA rules in not being able to discuss them yet.
The biggest names in pro basketball are gathering for the annual NBA Awards show.
Shaquille O'Neal presides over the festivities Monday night from Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica Airport.
The finalists for the Most Valuable Player trophy are Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee, Paul George of Oklahoma City and Houston's James Harden, who won last year.
Antetokounmpo and George are also vying for Defensive Player of the Year, along with Utah's Rudy Gobert.
Larry Bird and Magic Johnson will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award during the two-hour show airing on TNT.
Among the presenters are Tiffany Haddish, Issa Rae and Samuel L. Jackson.
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