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NBA Rumors for Friday, October 17
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The Minnesota Timberwolves are shopping forward Chase Budinger in trade talks, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Among talks with several teams, the Detroit Pistons and Houston Rockets have shown an interest, league sources said. Houston is reluctant to take on the $5 million player option Budinger’s deal has in 2015-16, as are the Pistons, sources said. Yahoo
A league source confirmed a Yahoo! Sports report about the Pistons having interest in Budinger, a 6-foot-7 forward who appears caught in a numbers game at small forward. Nothing appears to be imminent, but it looks like the Pistons are at least kicking the tires on Budinger before the season begins. The Pistons actually drafted him in the second round in 2009, in a pre-arranged deal with the Houston Rockets, where he developed into a contributor before knee and ankle injuries have limited him to just 64 games over the past two seasons. Detroit News
The Brook Lopez health circus continues. Fortunately, this time, it’s a minor bump in the road — hopefully. The Brooklyn Nets center sustained a mild right midfoot sprain in the first quarter of the Nets’ preseason contest against the Sacramento Kings on October 15th, Nets General Manager Billy King announced. InsideHoops
Statement from Nets Medical Director Dr. Riley Williams III: “Brook Lopez experienced right foot soreness after being stepped on during the pre-season game against the Kings Wednesday night. X-ray and CT scan studies done Thursday in New York reveal no fractures or bone injuries. Brook has been diagnosed with a mild midfoot sprain and is likely to be out for approximately 10-14 days.” InsideHoops
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant underwent successful surgery today to address a Jones fracture in his right foot, Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced. The Thunder, Durant and his representatives jointly decided for surgery to be performed by Dr. Robert Anderson with Thunder medical personnel present at the OrthoCarolina Foot and Ankle Clinic in Charlotte, NC. Durant will be re-evaluated in six weeks, at which time a further update will be provided. InsideHoops
A big ol’ smile broke out on Perry Jones’ face. He was asked how much he’s looking forward to the unexpected opportunity he’s about to get as a result of the injury to Kevin Durant. “It’s an opportunity everybody looks for,” said Jones, still smiling. “It’s a great opportunity.” Like the rest of his Thunder teammates, Jones hates that Durant went down with a fractured bone in his right foot. But had it not been for Durant’s misfortune, Jones again likely would have been subject to sporadic minutes this season. Oklahoman
The Milwaukee Bucks have exercised the third-year contract option on Giannis Antetokounmpo and the fourth-year contract option on John Henson, General Manager John Hammond announced today. Antetokounmpo, 19, appeared in 77 games last year during his rookie season and averaged 6.8 points with 4.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 24.6 minutes per contest. He ranked among the NBA’s rookie leaders in scoring (11th), rebounds (T-4th), assists (T-10th), field goal percentage (9th), 3-point percentage (4th), free throw percentage (9th), steals (6th), blocks (4th) and minutes (5th). He made the first of his 23 starts on Dec. 18 vs. New York and finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. InsideHoops
General Manager John Hammond announced today that the Milwaukee Bucks have requested waivers on Chris Wright and Elijah Millsap. Wright, 26, appeared in eight games for the Bucks in 2013-14 and averaged 6.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. He also played in 41 games for the Maine Red Claws of the NBA D-League last season and earned an All-Star berth with his 19.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.4 blocks per game. Wright did not appear in a 2014 preseason game for the Bucks. InsideHoops
The Washington Wizards have waived center Daniel Orton. InsideHoops Twitter
Josh Smith and Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy had a good talk during the weekend. The discussion was about what the forward does well, and both came up with the same general answers. One thing not on the list is three-pointers. He doesn't need to shoot many this season. "I think Josh has a very good understanding of the shots he needs to shoot that are not only best for him, but best for our team,'' Van Gundy said. "He's one of the elite guys in the league around the basket. Last year, stuff inside, right at the rim, in two straight years, he has been 71% and 77%. There's very few guys at that level. So he needs to get more of those. He knows that. He also understands he really doesn't need to shoot threes for this team." Detroit Free Press
After some initial uncertainty, the New York Knicks plan to pick up the third-year contract option for guard Shane Larkin, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Knicks have been satisfied with Larkin, 22, in the preseason, and will guarantee the $1.67 million on his contract for the 2015-16 season. The deadline for guaranteeing the third-year option comes at the end of October. Yahoo Sports
On Monday night, Houston grabbed five offensive rebounds against the Suns starters in the first quarter with 6-foot-8 Joey Dorsey at center instead of Dwight Howard. "Terrible," Suns power forward Markieff Morris said of the Suns' rebounding. "That's one of our weaknesses and we just have to clean it up every game. To be this small when we play, it's all about boxing out. We can't outjump the biggest guys in the league so we just have to put a body on them. "I know we had a problem with that last year but we have to exercise that more so we can get out and run." Arizona Republic
"We need somebody to just be the guy," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. "We can't have just P.J. (Tucker) being that one aggressive rebounder. We need our bigs to be that way. We need our guards to be after it. Any ball that goes up in the air in that lane area, our mindset should be, 'We're getting that one.' We don't have enough of those guys that have that mentality. The guys that do those little things will probably stick out to us coaches and we'll probably play them more." Arizona Republic
Suns: "We have one or two guys who are in great shape," [Jeff] Hornacek said. "I don't think we have enough guys who are in that type of shape where we can push it and get the ball up and down the court. If it takes longer practices to get there, that's what we'll do. I don't know if now that they're veteran guys who have played before in a season, they're just going, 'OK, let's just get to the regular season and then we'll go.' It doesn't always work out that way where you think you can just turn it on." Arizona Republic
Nerlens Noel is starting to show glimpses of why the 76ers believe he can be a cornerstone of the franchise. After struggling mightily in the preseason opener, the power forward has averaged 11 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocked shots, and 2 steals in the last two games. "You just see a little bit more each time he plays," said coach Brett Brown, whose team hosts the Boston Celtics on Thursday night in an exhibition game at the Wells Fargo Center. "He's still finding his way and wants to learn. He's instinctively curious." Philadelphia Inquirer
When it comes to roster cuts, the Sixers plan to keep the best 15 players regardless of position. "I'm not out to construct an incredibly well-balanced team," Brown said. "If we've got to tilt because we've got a bunch of interesting wings, then that's the way we will go. . . . This team is going to be fluid, as we all know." Philadelphia Inquirer
Joel Embiid learned the terrible news after working out at the 76ers’ morning shootaround. The Sixers announced that Embiid’s younger brother Arthur died Thursday in Africa. No additional information was immediately available. Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie, coach Brett Brown and teammate Luc Mbah a Moute, a fellow Camaroon native who has been Embiid’s mentor, missed Thursday night’s preseason game against the Celtics to be with the 20-year-old Embiid in Philadelphia. The Intelligencer
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