Update 2/18 10:17 am: Reports are now saying that there is some flux on whether the Bulls want Kurt Thomas or Hakim Warrick in combination with Elson. Warrick’s contract is for only $3 million expiring as opposed to Thomas’ $3.8 million expiring. Same basic structure, just a different role and a bit less money.
2/17 9:15 pm: Yahoo! Sports is reporting the Bulls have completed a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks for Kurt Thomas and Francisco Elson.
The Bulls have been concerned with Salmons’ $5.8 million player option for next season, when they’re trying to clear as much space as possible. By dishing Salmons, the Bulls save some money this season and clear more space for this summer. They’re now looking at $36 million in salary locked up for next season, meaning they’ll be about $17 million under the cap after draft picks are signed.
It also represents a pretty significant capitulation on the part of the Bulls. The Bulls are currently in the eighth spot, but that’s an offensive weapon, limited it may be, that they just traded to the team in the 9th spot. And this team has almost no offensive weapons. There’s no intent to play either Thomas or Elson, these are both expiring contracts brought in specifically to clear space.
For the Bucks, it’s a no-lose. After Michael Redd went down, they needed a 2/3 that could score, and Salmons will probably help in that department. If he opts out, great, more cap-space. If not, he’s a movable expiring they can use to build on what they do this summer.
This move likely symbolizes the end of the Tracy-McGrady-to-Bulls idea. With Salmons gone, the Bulls probably were unable to find a suitor for Kirk Hinrich’s expensive services. Bulls fans will have little else to look forward to other than the hope of July.
Pelicans owner Tom Benson hospitalized with flu symptoms
METAIRIE, La. (AP) — New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson has been hospitalized with flu symptoms.
A statement released Wednesday by the NFL and NBA clubs says their 90-year-old owner is resting comfortably at Ochsner Medical Center, a hospital which also serves as a major sponsor and which owns naming rights to the teams’ training headquarters.
Benson has owned the New Orleans Saints since 1985 and bought the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012.
In recent years, Benson has overhauled his estate plan so that his third wife, Gayle, would be first in line to inherit control of the two major professional franchises.
Report: Seattle hosting Kings-Warriors preseason game
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he’d be surprised if Kawhi Leonard played again this season, a stark reversal from just a month ago. Back then, even while announcing Leonard was out indefinitely with a quad injury, the San Antonio coach said Leonard wouldn’t miss the rest of the season.
After spending 10 days before the All-Star break in New York consulting with a specialist to gather a second opinion on his right quad injury, All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard bears the burden of determining when he’s prepared to play again, sources told ESPN.
Leonard has been medically cleared to return from the right quad tendinopathy injury, but since shutting down a nine-game return to the Spurs that ended Jan. 13, he has elected against returning to the active roster, sources said.
The uncertainty surrounding this season — and Leonard’s future which could include free agency in the summer of 2019 — has inspired a palpable stress around the organization, league sources said.
At first glance, this sounds like Derrick Rose five years ago. Even after he was cleared to play following a torn ACL, the then-Bulls star remained mysterious about when he’d suit up. His confidence in his physical abilities seemed to be a major issue, and he was never the same player since (suffering more leg injuries).
But the Spurs famously favor resting players to preserve long-term health. They seem unlikely to rush back Leonard. They might even sit players who want to play more often. And Leonard isn’t Rose.
Still, it’s clear something is amiss in San Antonio. Maybe not amiss enough to end Leonard’s tenure there, but the longer this lingers, the more time for tension to percolate.
Report: Dennis Smith Jr. planned to have J. Cole dunk in dunk-contest routine
The dunk-contest scoring system – five judges ranking dunks on a scale of 6-10 – is plenty flawed. There should have been a larger difference between the Smith and Victor Oladipo dunks the Dallas point guard mentioned. But Oladipo didn’t advance, either. Personally, I thought the right two players – eventual-winner Donovan Mitchell and runner-up Larry Nance Jr. – advanced.
Maybe Smith was more upset about the missed opportunity – dunks (plural!) involving rapper J. Cole.
If Dennis had made it to the finals, Cole was going to throw him the alley-oop. But then the plan was, he was going to throw him the oop, Dennis would dunk it, and then Cole would catch the ball, and then he’d dunk it too. That was going to be the ill, craziest dunk-contest use of a prop or a person ever. But we never got to saw it, because they were holding out until the final round. They didn’t want to bring it out in the first round.
This certainly would have been unprecedented and cool. But unless Smith had something amazing planned for the alley-oop, the best element would have been Cole dunking. That would have upstaged Smith, who’s presumably the one being judged.
For what it’s worth, Cole can dunk. We’ve seen it in the celebrity game: