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Basketball Rumors from Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

Lakers center Tyson Chandler revealed he nearly wound up signing with the Warriors last week. In the end, the allure of going back home to Los Angeles was too much for the 36-year-old to pass up. After negotiating a buyout with the Phoenix Suns on Nov. 4 and he cleared waivers, the 7-foot-1 Chandler said there were a few teams who expressed interest in signing him. He said he then trimmed his choices down to just two, the Warriors and Lakers. Mercury News

“I think it was like five teams, and I narrowed it down to two,” Chandler said Tuesday, before confirming the Warriors were involved. “And then I had to do some heavy thinking and praying and then I can only see myself in a Lakers uniform, so it kind of made the decision for me.” Mercury News

I know what you’re thinking. The Warriors are too good, too talented, with too many prime years ahead of them to allow their dynasty to be imperiled by the animosity that exploded near the end of Monday night’s loss to the Clippers — an unseemly scene that resulted in the one-game suspension of Draymond Green and free agent-to-be Kevin Durant apparently muttering, “This is why I’m out.” Disharmony in the locker room? It just couldn’t happen that way. But it could. We know because it’s happened before — to a championship Warriors team. Mercury News

Here’s what ESPN reporter Tim McMahon said in a cut from the website’s latest power rankings: “Don’t be deceived by DeAndre Jordan’s solid statistics. He has been a major disappointment for the Mavs. He has rubbed teammates the wrong way with what they perceive as selfish play, the most blatant example being when he stole an uncontested rebound from Luka Doncic by putting his forearm in the prized rookie’s back and tipping the ball away. Jordan’s disinterest in playing help defense has been a big problem as Mavs opponents light up the scoreboard.” Star Telegram

Gordon Hayward’s season has been a bumpy ride, as expected for someone just one year removed from suffering a fractured tibia and dislocated ankle. But the Celtics forward is willing to do whatever it takes to help his team reach their potential during his first season back on the court, including a possible change in role. “For me, I’m happy to be on the court, No. 1 more than anything and, No. 2, whatever I can do to help us win,’’ Hayward said per The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn. “I said it before the season, it’s whatever to me.”

The Kevin Knox era is finally here, 15 games into his rookie season as he was inserted into the starting lineup for the first time by Knicks coach David Fizdale. And it coincided with the end of — at least temporarily — Frank Ntilikina’s run as the starting point guard. Fizdale shuffled his starting lineup again as the Knicks prepared to face the Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena Wednesday night, inserting Knox and Emmanuel Mudiay into the starting five and removing Ntilikina and Damyean Dotson in an effort to jump-start the sluggish offense. NY Newsday

The Suns have struggled out of the gate to a record of 2-11 so far this season, despite getting the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and selecting Deandre Ayton out of Arizona. However, their struggle isn't unusual. In the last 15 years, there have been just four cases of a team selecting first overall in the draft and then reaching the playoffs the same season: Andrew Bogut with the Milwaukee Bucks, Ben Simmons with the Philadelphia 76ers — although he did sit a year — Derrick Rose with the Chicago Bulls, and Andrew Bargnani with the Toronto Raptors. Arizona Republic

We’re only a few weeks into the NBA season and the Portland Trail Blazers are already figuring out which lineups work best on the court. According to NBA Stats, the Blazers five-player lineup of Evan Turner, Al-Farouq Aminu, Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic has the highest rated differential in the NBA. Through 12 games, Portland’s five-man lineup has a 127.0 offensive rating and 83.5 defensive rating. NBC Sports

Basketball Rumors from Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

Caris LeVert, the Nets’ breakout star of the season, left Monday’s game with a gruesome leg injury. And by the look of it, the young guard – who has had to overcome serious foot injuries in the past – won’t be back anytime soon. The Nets lost their cornerstone player for an extended period of time. NY Post

With just 3.7 seconds in the first half of the Nets’ game against the Timberwolves, LeVert was contesting a shot by Josh Okogie. He got tangled up with the Minnesota guard, and as they tumbled to the ground his right leg appears to snap and bend right above the ankle. NY Post

In the joyful moments after a nail-biting victory over the Atlanta Hawks, the years seemed to fall away for LeBron James and Tyson Chandler, the two oldest Lakers. They bumped chests and embraced. Afterward in the locker room, James interjected when a reporter asked Chandler what James said during the celebration: “I said ‘That’s my dog!’” he shouted, laughing over the din. But then, as 18-year-veterans do, Chandler started looking forward. “I love to learn in games like this because then the young players are a little more receptive,” he said. “So I’d rather learn on nights like this than to take the ‘L’ from this. Then it’s kind of hard to preach the kind of things you want to preach.” OC Register

Joel Embiid sank a three-point shot from the top of the key with less than two minutes left, turned around and raised his arms in the air. Once against, the Philadelphia 76ers’ star center got the best of the Miami Heat. Embiid scored 35 points — including 16 from the free-throw line — and JJ Redick added 25 to lead Philadelphia to a 124-114 win over Miami at AmericanAirlines Arena in a contest that featured 54 personal fouls and never saw a team lead by double figures until that Embiid three-point shot and Ben Simmons followed with a ferocious one-handed dunk shortly afterward. Miami Herald

One thing Lillard seems to be doing more this season is passing in the mid-post off drives, which is the area from around 6-10 feet. In seasons past, when he got a step on defenders and made it to that area of the floor, it was more than likely that a shot was going up. In 2018, he’s passing as a plan from there, and I think it shows trust in his teammates. It’s telling about his work ethic that Lillard has become better at the thing he’s perhaps best at — attacking the rim — and I’ll be watching to see how that continues to affect his scoring and his teammates as the season goes along. NBC Sports

Basketball Rumors from Monday, November 12, 2018
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

A sellout Moda Center crowd collectively gasped in fear on Sunday night, when Portland Trail Blazers' All-Star Damian Lillard crashed awkwardly to the court in the first quarter of a victory over the Boston Celtics. The play happened a little more than four minutes into the game, when Lillard battled for a rebound with Celtics forward Gordon Hayward under Boston's basket. Lillard elevated to the right of Hayward, near the baseline, tapping the ball to a teammate. But he endured a nasty fall, his legs spreading as he landed and his right knee bending awkwardly. Oregonian

Lillard went on to play nine minutes, 44 seconds in the first quarter, subbing out with 2:16 left after scoring five points and recording all six of the Blazers' first-quarter assists. By the end of the night, Lillard had finished with 19 points, 12 assists and five rebounds, logging his first double-double of the season as Portland beat Boston 100-94. But he played through right knee pain all night. "It was sore the whole game," Lillard said. "I felt kind of limited moving." Oregonian

The Blazers played six games over an 11-day stretch and finished the home stand 5-1, notching resume-building victories over the New Orleans Pelicans, Milwaukee Bucks, L.A. Clippers and Celtics along the way. Their only loss came against the Lakers on Nov. 3. The hot streak moved the Blazers into second place in the Western Conference standings and into a tie for the third-best record in the NBA after 13 games. Oregonian

The Detroit Pistons were trailing by 21 points midway through the fourth quarter when Blake Griffin put his shoulder into Malik Monk's thigh while the Charlotte guard was airborne and attacking the rim, causing him to tumble hard. After a review, officials ruled it a flagrant 2 and ejected Griffin. The Pistons went on to lose to the Hornets 113-103 at Little Caesars Arena. It was a frustrating day for a team that couldn't get shots to fall. No one was more frustrated than Griffin, who wasn't getting the calls he apparently felt were warranted. Michigan Live

"I just think he's getting hit on a lot of shots," Pistons coach Dwane Casey said [about Blake Griffin]. "That frustration builds up and he's had a lot of load on himself, bringing the ball up the floor, handling the basketball, being a point forward and then going down in the paint and battling there, so I think it's taken its toll on him. "I got to do a better job of getting him some more relief, getting him out of the game a little bit more, finding places where he can rest. But I got to look at the film. Officials aren't going to change the way they call it, so we have to adjust, but I do think he's getting banged and hit down there. I got to go back and watch the film and send it in (to the league)." Michigan Live

Knicks rookie center Mitchell Robinson was drafted 30 slots behind Orlando’s rookie Mo Bamba, but only one of them made the history books Sunday at the Garden. Robinson set a new Knicks rookie record for blocks with nine as the lone home-team standout in Sunday’s 115-89 shellacking by Orlando. Robinson, who had a handful of rejections at the perimeter, broke the record shared previously by Kristaps Porzingis and Lonnie Shelton, who both had seven. NY Post

Frank Ntilikina played the game’s first six minutes Sunday night and wasn’t heard from again. He missed all three of his shots, was a minus-12 and his evening ended when he roughly backed in D.J. Augustin and was called for an offensive foul. Ntilikina complained to the referee that Augustin flopped. NY Post

Tyson Chandler has been seamless in his role as supreme closer for the Lakers. He played 8:56 in the fourth quarter Sunday, none more important than those final few seconds in which he saved the day for the Lakers with his block of Young’s potential game-winning shot. Chandler had three rebounds in the fourth, all of them offensive. “It’s atmosphere, in all honestly,” said Chandler, who finished with five rebounds. “Again, the energy around here, professionalism, the way they go about the day to day, made my transition easy.” LA Times

You want to talk about an eternity? Ask the Lakers how long it has been since they last felt what it was like to be over .500. The once-proud franchise, with those 16 championship banners hanging from the rafters, went nearly two years since a 111-109 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Nov. 22, 2016 put them at 8-7 to start Brandon Ingram's rookie year. Rob Pelinka was James Harden's agent then, not the Lakers' general manager. Magic Johnson was more apt to rip the team on Twitter, than to dress down their coach in a closed-door meeting as he did recently in his role as team president of basketball operations. LeBron James was basking in the glow of his championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Barack Obama was president. Instagram stories were just being rolled out on the app.

Basketball Rumors, Sunday, November 11, 2018
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

The 76ers got their third star. The team will acquire All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler and Justin Patton from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless, and a 2022 second-round pick. "It's a sad side to it, but also a business side," Sixers star Ben Simmons said of losing teammates. "Whatever the team decides … whatever they want to add, we are open to Jimmy. I can't wait for him to get here. I'm excited to play with him." Philadelphia Inquirer

Butler can opt out of the final year — 2019-20 — of his contract next summer to become a free agent. He and the Sixers expect to reach a deal on a long-term contract then, according to ESPN. That makes sense, because the Sixers will have his Bird rights once the trade goes through. The Sixers can offer him a five-year, $190 million max contract next summer. Teams that don't have his rights would be able to offer Butler only a four-year, $141 million max contract in free agency. Philadelphia Inquirer

The Houston Rockets and Carmelo Anthony are discussing his role with the team and how the franchise and 10-time All-Star forward might still be able to proceed together for the rest of the season, league sources told ESPN. Talks are ongoing, the sources said. Anthony, who missed the Rockets' game against the San Antonio Spurs because of an illness Saturday night, signed a one-year, $2.4 million veteran's minimum contract with Houston after agreeing to a buyout with the Atlanta Hawks.

The Rockets got one of their key rotation players back from an injury on Saturday, but in keeping with the pattern of the season, another went out. Guard Eric Gordon returned after missing three games with a strained right adductor muscle. But forward Carmelo Anthony, who had played in each of the first 10 games of the season, averaging 13.4 points per game, sat out with an illness. Houston Chronicle

Beyond Saturday, Westbrook’s injury status remains day-to-day. The Thunder returns to Oklahoma City for games against the Suns and Knicks on Monday and Wednesday, respectively. Oklahoman

Asked about the way opponents are guarding him differently this season, Jayson Tatum is understated but direct. “They’re not giving me as much space this year,” the Celtics forward said this week. Intensified attention was a given for Tatum after having quite possibly the best year by a Celtics rookie since Paul Pierce. Pierce fought his way through by becoming one of the best in the NBA at scoring through contact. Tatum, who admits he’s getting bounced around a bit, is learning how to adjust to more physical play now. Boston Herald

Al Horford isn’t worried, nor surprised that Tatum is finding the start of his second season a little more difficult to navigate. “It’s just the success he had. He’s getting that attention. He’s getting people’s best shots,” said Horford. “He’s not slipping on anybody. People are aware of him. And before it was without expectation. Now it’s with expectation. And it’s learning how to deal with those things." Boston Herald

Slowly, Kevin Knox is regaining his form. In his third game back after missing the previous seven with a left ankle injury, the rookie wing scored 12 points in 24 minutes in the Knicks’ 128-112 loss to the Raptors at Scotiabank Arena. “I felt good, actually,” Knox said.“I thought I was going to get a little winded, but I was moving well, felt good. Once I get back into how I was before I got hurt, I think I’ll able to produce a little more.” NY Post

Trey Burke remained the odd point guard out and did not play for the second straight game. Emmanuel Mudiay, meanwhile, scored in double figures for the third straight game and finished with 12 points. NY Post

Basketball Rumors, Saturday, November 10, 2018
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

According to some Wolves, there needs to be more accountability among the team. Derrick Rose was the first one to bring that up after the game. “It’s about understanding one another and having that chemistry where you could give someone good or bad criticism,” Rose said. “There’s nothing wrong with coming up to your teammates, tapping them when he’s doing something wrong, doing something right and vice versa.” Star Tribune

Derrick Rose also said after the game that Towns accidentally knocked him in the face and that's why Rose was out of the game late. Rose said he was worried about his surgically repaired eye. He felt OK but was going to get an X-ray. A Wolves spokesperson said the team is treating Rose for a facial contusion and will be re-evaluated this weekend. Star Tribune

Josh Richardson was incredulous, but not necessarily surprised to hear the actual numbers to go along with Hassan Whiteside’s performance in the Miami Heat’s 110-102 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Friday. For the second straight game, Whiteside pulled in 20 rebounds and hearing this number once again caused Richardson’s eyes to widen and seek confirmation from no one in particular. “He had 20 rebounds again?” Richardson said in the Heat’s locker room after the game Friday. “He’s locked in right now. He’s bringing a lot of good things to the table.” Miami Herald

On Friday, 18 months after his last game in a Utah Jazz jersey, Gordon Hayward made his long-anticipated return to Salt Lake City. Hayward played his first seven NBA seasons with the Jazz, before signing with the Celtics in the 2017 offseason. The All-Star forward missed the team’s game in Utah last season after breaking his ankle in his first game with the Celtics. Friday night’s game was Hayward’s first back in Utah since leaving for Boston, and although the team released a brief tribute video, the still-aggrieved home crowd was far less welcoming.

As the Associated Press reported, the boos continued throughout the game whenever Hayward touched the ball. And he didn’t do much to silence the crowd in the Celtic’s loss, shooting just 3-for-9 for 13 points and seven assists in 26 minutes, as the 28-year-old continues to try to return to form following last year’s devastating injury.

Reggie Jackson might be Stanley Johnson’s biggest cheerleader. That can be a lonely position when the Detroit Pistons’ fourth-year enigmatic forward is struggling offensively — which happens with great regularity. But here’s yet another reminder that Johnson is only 22. And after his second straight good game – 22 points, seven rebounds and three steals in a 124-109 smacking of the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night – Jackson’s faith looks prescient. Detroit Free Press

The Pistons and Johnson did not agree to a contract extension last month, so he will likely be a restricted free agent next offseason. The Pistons will lack the cap space to sign significant free agents. Detroit Free Press

Asked about the turnover, Jokic revealed the source of so much consternation over the past two days. “I can not say nothing, they’re going to fine me,” he said. Jokic’s recent $25,000 fine had a significant effect on him. Jokic is typically accommodating and friendly to the media, but since Wednesday, when the fine was announced, he’s been reticent to engage much at all for fear of saying the wrong thing. Denver Post

Since missing seven games with a bad ankle, [Knicks rookie Kevin] Knox is still trying to find his scoring touch. He has appeared in two games and scored a combined two points on 1-of-8 shooting from the field, and he has yet to play more than nine minutes. But his playing time should go up soon, especially after getting in a full practice Friday. Aside from typical soreness after games or working out, Knox said the ankle feels fine. Now he’ll get to really test it against Leonard, one of the league’s best players. “I know he’s a great defender, [he has] large hands, and he guards some of the best players in the NBA, so it’ll be pretty good to go against him,” Knox said. “But, I mean, the mindset you have to have is to attack as much as possible, get to the rim as much as possible and make open shots.” NY Post

Nemanja Bjelica pumped his fist and pounded his chest. When the crowd roared with approval, he roared right back, expelling nearly a week’s worth of frustrations. Bjelica overcame his recent struggles to key a critical third-quarter run and the Kings withstood a late charge, holding on to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 121-110 on Friday night before a capacity crowd of 17,583 at Golden 1 Center. “I was maybe too wild, but I couldn’t control my emotions,” Bjelica said. Sacramento Bee

Basketball Rumors, Friday, November 9, 2018
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

Calling himself a “doofus” for being unaware of the progress Kristaps Porzingis had made recently, David Fizdale backtracked from his comments a day earlier. The Knicks coach said Thursday that the face of the franchise had yet to move past lightly jogging in his recovery from a torn ACL and made it sound like he wasn’t expecting him back this season. It sparked an Instagram post from Porzingis, showing himself on an outdoor track sprinting followed by a photo of UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov with the caption, “This is number one bulls–t.” NY Post

On Friday, Fizdale said he was unaware of such progress, because he’s focused on the day-to-day machinations of the team and members of the organization were aware of the positive step Porzingis had taken. NY Post

The Cavaliers are losing games and players at an alarming rate. Starting point guard George Hill could miss two weeks with a sprained right shoulder, the latest setback for the Cavs, who have won just one game and are expected to be without All-Star forward Kevin Love for at least another five weeks following foot surgery. News Herald

Cleveland is also missing forward Sam Dekker, who sprained his ankle and is out for a month. News Herald

In his 12th NBA season and first with the Clippers, Marcin Gortat is in an unfamiliar place: on the bench. One week since starting his eighth game this season and 172nd in a row, Gortat hasn’t played at all in the Clippers’ last three games. Coach Doc Rivers has opted for a center rotation of Boban Marjanovic, the new starter, and reserve Montrezl Harrell. LA Times

Gortat naturally isn’t happy with the decision but said he won’t rock the boat. “It’s obviously a new look and different situation for me,” he said. “I’ve never been completely off the rotation like that, but you know it’s a coaching decision. You just got to accept that. As hard as it is on me I still gotta be a professional about everything.” LA Times

Brad Stevens wants to see his team play a full 48 minutes with consistent effort, consistent execution, and, well, a few shots wouldn’t hurt. And the Celtics coach is still waiting for that end-to-end masterpiece. But in the meantime, there’s last night’s 116-109 overtime win over the Phoenix Suns. Kyrie Irving saved what started as an offensive slog with a season-high 39 points — the Celtics guard’s second straight 30-plus performance — and the C’s withstood an equally withering 38-point performance by the Suns’ Devin Booker. Boston Herald

The Trail Blazers got off to a hot start thanks to the hot-handed CJ McCollum picking up right where he left off against the Bucks last Tuesday. While his fast-break dunk over Patrick Beverley in the first quarter was epic, the Clippers hung in their with the Blazers and put up a fight until finish. But in the end, it was too much of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum and the Blazers improved to 9-3 on the season with a 116-105 win over the visiting Clippers. NBC Sports

Basketball Rumors, November 8, 2018
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

LeBron’s Lakers? What can I tell you that hasn’t been yelled on ESPN for the last three weeks? Head coach Luke Walton seems to be on the hot seat, they’re playing JaVale McGee 25 minutes per game (we all love JaVale, but can you rely on JaVale? There’s a difference…), and LeBron has fully embraced the laid-back California lifestyle and isn’t playing a lick of defense. But don’t worry, they have Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson. Mercury News

Cedi Osman left Wednesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder midway through the first quarter with lower back spasms and is doubtful to return. Osman was starting at power forward in place of Kevin Love and Sam Dekker -- two players already on the shelf with injuries.

On Wednesday, the Kings are offering another new look, but this time in their attire. The Kings unveiled their Nike City Edition uniforms for this season. This version brings back the baby blue with red trim the Kings wore during their first four seasons in Sacramento. However, unlike last season’s edition, this version has the word “Sactown” across the chest instead of the lion/basketball logo. That image will remain on the shorts. Sacramento Bee

At its core, McCollum's struggles appear to be due to the altered rotation by coach Terry Stotts, who decided to pair him with Damian Lillard more often. In prior years, Stotts staggered the two guards to try to keep one on the floor at all times. But this offseason the coaching staff announced they would pair their star backcourt together, instead letting Evan Turner take the ballhandling role with the second unit. Indeed, Stotts did not bluff on his rotation change. Of the top five lineups Portland has played by minutes this season, McCollum hasn’t appeared in any that consist of a majority of bench players. In contrast, three of the Trail Blazers’ most-played lineups in 2017-18 were “bench units” with McCollum smack dab in the middle. NBC Sports

Basketball Rumors, November 7, 2018
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

Russell Westbrook will miss Wednesday night's game in Cleveland with a left ankle sprain, but beyond that is unknown. Westbrook suffered the sprain at 4:30 in the third quarter of the Thunder's 122-116 win against New Orleans on Monday. Westbrook did not return to the game. Oklahoman

Seemingly disrespected by the demotion, Kanter wasn’t going to embrace the idea after he played like a bull in a china shop, racking up 23 points, 24 rebounds and seven assists as a scoreless Robinson played limitedly. Endorsing Fizdale’s comment would acknowledge his Knicks starting days are over as he plays out the final year of his contract. “I don’t worry about trophies,” Kanter said. “My thing is, we promised this city the playoffs. So my thing is, just go out there and my job is how am I going to make my teammates better, whether I’m first unit, second or third unit.” NY Post

Rockets forward James Ennis III needed one game to work his way back after missing three with a strained hamstring. He played 19 minutes in Brooklyn, taking just three shots. In the two games since, however, Ennis proving a jolt of scoring while other Rockets shooters struggled. "I have been feeling really good," Ennis said. "I got good passes from James Harden and that made it easy." Houston Chronicle

Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving was fined $25,000 by the NBA for throwing a basketball in the stands following Boston’s loss to the Nuggets on Monday. The league announced the fine on Tuesday.

Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Sam Dekker will be out approximately 2-4 weeks with a sprained left ankle. Dekker went down awkwardly early in the third quarter of the Cavs' 102-100 loss against the Orlando Magic on Monday night and was assisted back to the locker room, unable to put any weight on his left foot.

The Heat is expanding its Vice campaign to include a Vice-themed court this season. After unveiling its black “Vice Nights” City Edition uniform Monday, the Heat unveiled a new court Tuesday to go along with the very Miami look. The Heat will play on the Vice-themed court in the 14 home games it’s scheduled to wear the alternate uniforms. Miami Herald

The twist this season is that there will be the matching court as part of the theme. "That's the coolest thing," Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. "It's not just the jersey, but to be able to go all in, all the way around. That makes it even more a special night, when we get the opportunity to get on the court. "I think it's going to bring some excitement to even the players. So it will be cool to the fans, definitely, to come in and feel a different environment, a different vibe. So look forward to it." Sun Sentinel

Both LaVar Ball and LaMelo Ball announced Tuesday via Twitter that LaMelo, the youngest of the basketball-playing Ball brothers, will go back to high school for his senior year. That high school, however, is Spire Prep Academy in Geneva, Ohio. LA Daily News

Basketball Rumors, November 6, 2018
Updated 5:00 a.m. ET

Knicks lottery pick Kevin Knox is back. David Fizdale wasn’t going to dispute the doctors and allowed the rookie to play Monday versus the Bulls, despite not going through a five-on-five scrimmage before his return from an ankle sprain. The doctors cleared him after missing seven games, and Fizdale was not going to stand in the way of the ninth pick in June’s draft. NY Post

After a poor-shooting preseason, Knox lost his starting job to Frank Ntilikina at small forward. Now Damyean Dotson starts at small forward as Ntilikina was moved to point guard. Knox could win the starting job at some point. NY Post

McDonough at least thought he’d make it through this season as he said the Suns “are lined up pretty well for the 2019 free agent class in terms of their cap space and how they’re positioned going forward.” Sarver didn’t give him the opportunity to see that out. Phoenix announced the firing Oct. 8, 10 days before the season opener. “It was unexpected,” McDonough said. McDonough joked that he would’ve scheduled more Australian teams in the preseason had he known this was going to happen. Arizona Republic

With Hart on the floor, the Lakers outscore the opponent. From a plus-4.5 net rating when he’s on the court, the Lakers drop to a minus-6.0 when Hart is off the floor, which is the highest differential of any player on the team. That indicates at the very least that having Hart in the lineup helps create a winning formula for the Lakers (at least so far). But in the lineup juggle, there are powerful forces at work beyond just the numbers. After some experimentation with a small-ball group early in the year, the Lakers have seen JaVale McGee is critical to anchoring their defense, so he remains a starter. While LeBron James can play big, his preferred role is small forward, and Kyle Kuzma’s scoring burst so far this season (19 points per game) validates his starting role and gives James a natural power forward to play with. OC Register

Basketball Rumors for Monday, November 5, 2018
Updated 8:00 p.m. ET

Tyson Chandler didn't play one second Friday night in his last game as a member of the Phoenix Suns. The Suns announced Sunday morning they're buying out the last year of the veteran center's contract. Chandler is in the final year of a four-year deal in which he is guaranteed to make $13.6 million. “I am grateful for my time in Phoenix and want to thank my teammates, my coaches, the front office and the fans for an amazing experience.” said Chandler in a news release. “I wish them the best and I am excited for the next stage in my career.” Arizona Republic

ESPN is reporting Chandler plans to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers after clearing waivers with the Suns. The 7-footer is from Compton, Calif. Arizona Republic

Alex Abrines has never been more valuable to the Thunder. He's also in the final year of his contract. If a two-game road sweep of Charlotte and Washington didn't make it obvious, Abrines has become one of the most important pieces surrounding the Thunder's core of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Steven Adams. Oklahoman

The Pistons have struggled in the starts of games and their offense has been in a slumber through the first eight games. It doesn’t help that two of their best 3-point shooters, Reggie Bullock (sprained ankle) and Luke Kennard (sprained shoulder) are injured, but it’s also imperative that some of the other shooters start making their shots. They rank 27th in the league at 43 percent on field goals and 28th in 3-point percentage (31 percent). So far, the Pistons are getting to the free-throw line more, ranking eighth at 28.5 attempts. The answer, simply put, is making their shots. Detroit News

Give Jabari Parker credit. No Bulls player has been more consistent this season. The same lack of energy he has displayed far too often in his 10-game sample size is the same lack of energy he has brought to his postgame media sessions … when he actually decides he wants to offer his two- to four-word replies. Sun Times

The good news is the Bulls own the option on Year 2 of Parker’s deal, so can cleanse themselves of 245 pounds of mope by the summer, but the key to this season was development, and all Parker has shown is he’s stealing minutes from a younger player that could use them. He’s definitely not a defensive role model and admitted that the day he was signed. He’s not a motivational locker-room leader by most accounts. And his offense comes and goes. Sun Times

The risk versus reward of Clippers coach Doc Rivers deciding to start his gigantic lineup of 6-10 Danilo Gallinari and 6-9 Tobias Harris at forwards and behemoth and skilled 7-3 center Boban Marjanovic has yet to be determined. Rivers used that lineup for the first time this season at Orlando and found some success in the victory. But in an NBA where small-ball is all the rage, Rivers still wonders how his big guys can be an effective group. LA Times

Basketball Rumors for Sunday, November 4, 2018
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

Part quarterback and part wizard, Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is a passing savant. Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder said he might be the best passer in the league, regardless of position. And that was before he carved the Jazz defense like a pumpkin for 16 assists. Jokic will loft passes to his teammates on fly routes, whip passes to any teammate who wants to cut hard or deftly drop passes to confident shooters, liberated by screens set by his massive frame. Jokic is the engine that makes the Nuggets’ offense go. It’s why Jamal Murray, an optimal two guard, can be disguised as a point guard. The Nuggets have their conductor. Denver Post

The first game of this week, Joel Embiid scored a season-low 10 points, as the Hawks aggressively double-teamed him and forced him to give the ball up. In the final three games of the week, Embiid averaged 37 points and 13.7 rebounds. The MVP chants he’s heard from the fans at Wells Fargo Center are absolutely warranted; Embiid is posting historically great numbers. NBC Sports

Devin Booker probably returned earlier than he should’ve from his strained left hamstring to be that leader and so much more for the Phoenix Suns. “That’s all he was talking about was coming back and being ready to play,” Suns wing Josh Jackson said. “He’s still not 100 percent right now, but he wanted to play so bad, he came back and played anyways. It just shows how much of a competitor he is. How bad he wants to win and be out there with us.” This is the latest of what has been an uneven start to the season for Booker, who hoped it'd be a special one for the team and himself. Arizona Republic

Basketball Rumors for Saturday, November 3, 2018
Updated 1:00 a.m. ET

Luke Walton’s performance has come under some scrutiny following a 3-5 start to the season, all of the Lakers’ losses coming by single digits. Since signing star free agent LeBron James in July, the Lakers have raised their expectations to return to the playoffs after a five-year absence from the postseason, and the early struggles seem to have raised concern in the organization about reaching that goal. Daily Breeze

Walton also sidestepped questions about whether Johnson issues directives about lineups or playing time: “Magic and I talk a lot about basketball and our team and his opinions and my opinions.” The most powerful voice in the locker room, James, has undergone slow starts before with new teams: He began his Miami tenure in 2010 with fellow superstars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh just 8-7, with then third-year coach Erik Spoelstra undergoing withering criticism. In his return to Cleveland in 2014, James and the Cavaliers started 5-7, getting him and first-year coach David Blatt out on rocky terms. Both teams eventually reached the NBA Finals. Daily Breeze

Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton says he believes he has a "great relationship with management" and does not feel like he is "going anywhere." Walton spoke with the media hours after ESPN reported that Lakers president Magic Johnson met with the coach on Tuesday and admonished him following a winless two-game road trip. League sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin that Johnson's message to Walton increased the pressure on the coach to deliver winning results sooner rather than later, an about-face from Johnson's public comments regarding patience at the outset of training camp.

Asked if he feels he has job security, Walton replied, "I feel like I'm coming down here to do my job and coach." Walton signed a five-year contract with Los Angeles in April 2016 worth reportedly $25 million to $30 million. At the time of his hiring, the Lakers were being managed by then-GM Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss, the brother of Lakers controlling owner Jeanie Buss.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love underwent surgery Friday on his injured toe and will miss at least six weeks. The team announced that Love had the procedure, calling it successful, at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. The surgery was performed by Dr. Martin O'Malley.

Derrick Rose isn't looking for validation in the wake of his career-high 50-point game on Wednesday night for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He's looking to build on his complicated legacy each time he steps on the floor. "I'm making history right now," Rose told ESPN on Friday. "Like every time I touch the court is history. That's how I feel about it, right? And I feel like my fans and the people that watch, they can relate in some way. I mean the people that really care about me. You have people that talk s--- here and there but they're the ones that's following my story and the ones that's writing about my story. So who cares what they say. They just got to keep watching and keep writing."

Due to the nature of his injury, Markieff Morris had to go through the NBA's concussion protocol before getting cleared. That process includes a variety of baseline tests to determine if a player has all of their cognitive ability. That wasn't fun, either, Morris said. "[The recovery] has been s****y. The league does a great job of getting guys back, but the workout, I think it's too much. Thirty minutes straight on the bike. Thirty minutes straight on the treadmill, then work out, then practice and all in one day. That's a lot," he said. NBC Sports

It is Nick Nurse’s decision to start Serge Ibaka at centre and bring Jonas Valanciunas off the bench, except on those rare nights where they face a traditional back-to-the-basket five on the opposing team. Ibaka is playing his best basketball since he was in his mid and early 20’s. He and Kyle Lowry are developing the kind of chemistry in the screen and roll game that gets Toronto easy buckets when it needs them. Ibaka is averaging a career best 16.6 points a night through eight games, while his block totals and steal totals are trending upward for the first time in the past four seasons. Toronto Sun

Jimmy Butler is set to make his return to the Timberwolves lineup Friday against the Warriors, coach Tom Thibodeau said after shootaround in San Francisco. Butler missed Wednesday’s game against the Jazz officially for “precautionary rest,” and it might not be the last time he misses a game for that purpose as he tries to stay healthy and play himself back into game shape while the Wolves work out a trade for him, but he is back in the lineup Friday. Star Tribune

Detroit Pistons coach Dwane Casey envisioned a free-flowing offense with a lot of ball movement and long-range shooting success. Seven games into the season, the Pistons rank 26th in the NBA in 3-point percentage and last in assists. But Casey isn't discouraged as the Pistons (4-3) head to Philadelphia Saturday on a three-game losing streak (1 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit). "It's early, we're a work in progress," Casey said. Michigan Live

Former Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach Jim Boylan filed a lawsuit Thursday against the team alleging age discrimination after his option wasn't picked up for this season. In the lawsuit Boylan, 63, provides a transcript of a voicemail left by former head coach Tyronn Lue from last June informing him the team was moving in a different direction. According to the transcription, Cavs general manager Koby Altman informed Lue that "they're not gonna pay that kind of money for three assistants on the bench. He wants to go younger in that position and, you know, find somebody who's a grinder and younger in that position."

Former Hawks player Lamar Patterson is a dog lover. And no matter what he does now for the Brisbane Bullets on the basketball court, he can expect to be dogged by questions about Kobe, his pet, not the retired NBA great. The ex-Hawks player flew into Brisbane, Australia, with his French bulldog placed inside his hand luggage and ran afoul of Australia's quarantine laws. The Bullets recruit was briefly detained after landing in Brisbane on Thursday with his dog, Kobe. Journal Constitution

Larsa and Scottie Pippen are getting divorced. We've learned Larsa filed legal docs Friday in L.A. County Superior Court to end their marriage. They've had multiple issues over the years ... Scottie filed for divorce back in 2016 but they called it off last year. Just before he filed, cops came to their home twice for domestic disturbance calls, but no one was arrested. Larsa told cops Scottie scared her. TMZ

Basketball Rumors for Friday, November 2, 2018
Updated 7:00 a.m. ET

Can you see DeMarcus Cousins possibly returning to the New Orleans Pelicans as a free agent next offseason? Pelicans star forward Anthony Davis can. "He will be a free agent next year. Hopefully, down the line we can reconnect," Davis told ESPN's The Undefeated on Wednesday night after a 131-121 loss to the Golden State Warriors. Such talk from Davis about Cousins again joining him with the Pelicans could also be good news about the five-time All-Star's future in the coming years in New Orleans.

There has been months of speculation about Anthony Davis possibly playing in Los Angeles for the Lakers or the Clippers in the coming years. And Davis recently hiring agent Rich Paul, who also represents LeBron James, didn't calm that talk. However, Davis told ESPN's The Undefeated he is still under contract with New Orleans through the 2020-21 season and he is not the source of the departure rumors.

Cavaliers "acting" coach Larry Drew said contract negotiations with the team are "going forward in a positive direction." Drew wants the Cavs to restructure his contract if he's going to become the team's interim coach this season following firing of Tyronn Lue, who was dismissed Sunday. Cleveland snapped a six-game losing streak and got its first win on Tuesday under Drew.

Center Dwight Howard will make his debut for the Washington Wizards on Friday, coach Scott Brooks said. Howard, 32, returned to practice Thursday after missing the team's first seven games with a strained muscle in his buttocks.

Carmelo Anthony believes the perception of the Knicks during his tenure with the club had a negative effect on its chances to land a top free agent. "I think just the business. Everything that was going on. The perception of New York Knicks ... not basketball but the organization," Anthony said Thursday when asked what kept the Knicks from landing a top free agent when he was there.

"I think it probably scared a lot of people away. Scared some people away. Not knowing the nuances and the ins and outs of kind of what was going on, who is in charge, who is not. So it was more than just basketball when it came to people making those decisions," he said. During Anthony's six-plus seasons in New York, he played under four different team presidents/general managers and four different full-time head coaches.

The Thunder wanted to create a uniform celebrating the Native American heritage of the state. That wish has become Oklahoma City’s new “City Edition” uniform. The uniform and its influences are impossible to miss. Designed in partnership with Nike, the Thunder released the full implementation of the design, the base color of which is turquoise, “representing the 11th anniversary stone and the native color of friendship,” the Thunder explained in a press release issued Thursday morning. Norman Transcript

Steph Curry has teamed up with Viola Davis to make a documentary about the 2015 church shooting in Charleston in which 9 African Americans were killed. The movie is called "Emanuel" -- named after the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina. TMZ

Basketball Rumors for Thursday, November 1, 2018
Updated 8:00 a.m. ET

Derrick Rose: The man who most people assumed lost his game years ago — largely due to injuries and age — dropped a career-high 50 points Wednesday night in Minnesota’s 128-125 win over Utah at Target Center, a victory he punctuated with the game-winning block in the game’s final seconds. “D-Rose is the man. The legend. Myth. Vintage,” Karl-Anthony Towns said. “Told you I saw it early. You all didn’t believe me. Thought I was BS’in, that the man was done, he don’t have nothing in the tank. Well he damn sure showed y’all something tonight.” Pioneer Press

As the clock struck zero, teammates mobbed Rose, the crowd roared MVP chants, and Rose started to cry. Rose usually keeps his emotions in check; that’s who he is. But there was no holding back how he was feeling, not after all he’s been through over the past few years. “He’s been through a lot of adversity,” Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He’s probably maybe one of the most mentally tough people that I’ve come across. He’s got great awareness, he knows what’s happening everywhere. He knows who’s doing what. He knows who’s saying what. I believe in this guy.” Pioneer Press

Derrick Rose would hear and awaken echoes all night. As Jimmy Butler sat out with “general soreness” amid reports that his egomaniacal Minnesota reign will soon end, another former Bulls star brought to Minnesota by Tom Thibodeau demonstrated that you can choose to play the game with joy. Star Tribune

Two nights after scorching the Lakers, Butler did not wear a Timberwolves uniform. He sat in the locker room, lounging in jeans, whining about media coverage. The Star Tribune is reporting that Butler is indeed “sore,” as Thibodeau says, and being rested as part of the team’s plan to keep him healthy, although that could be prelude to a trade. Star Tribune

Thanks to fan anger at Butler, Target Center was about one-third filled. It took Rose’s Cirque du Soleil act, a career-best 50 points and a 128-125 victory over Utah to enliven the crowd. Once the cheers fade, the Wolves should trade Butler, if he’s healthy enough to pass a physical. Star Tribune

It was a crazy night for Luka Doncic, one that started with him occasionally guarding the man he admitted was "my idol," LeBron James. It got a little weirder after the Mavericks' heartbreaking 114-113 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers as 19-year-old rookie, Doncic, was still in his uniform and waiting outside the home team's locker room. Dallas Morning News

He was waiting for James' signed game jersey. "I just wanted his jersey," Doncic said. "I asked him for the jersey in the game."' James signed the jersey to "Luka D" with the message "Continue to #StriveForGreatness". Dallas Morning News


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