Bulls might be reeling Del Negro in off the hook

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The Bulls are going to fire head coach Vinny Del Negro, right? I mean, it’s been talked about for months. And there was actually a physical confrontation between Del Negro and VP Paxson. There’s no way he survives through Tuesday.

..OR IS THERE?!

Sorry, been watching old mysteries all weekend.

The Chicago Daily Herald reports that a weekend meeting was completed between Bulls upper management and Del Negro, and there still exists a possibility that Del Negro will be retained. The reasons? Well, the results, quite honestly.

His many, many, many detractors point to in-game failures to adjust, a seeming lack of response from the club to his coaching, timeout management and rotation failures as reasons for his dismissal. And certainly, the appearance of a coach and general manager near fisticuffs can’t be good for PR.

But then there’s the results. Joakim Noah has become one of the best centers in the league under his watch. Derrick Rose has become a top flight point guard. The Bulls have made the playoffs each year, despite dramatic roster changes. And they remained competitive throughout both the regular and post season. Plus, he has public support from several players.

But as McGraw points out for the Herald, the biggest reason for Del Negro’s dismissal will be the attractiveness of the club to free agents. The Bulls want to lure one, if not two, max free agents, and to do so, they need to have an organization top to bottom that players want to be a part of. Relying on the market and history of the club along with the money isn’t enough, not in this summer’s market.

Del Negro is likely gone, but the fact that it’s a question does give pause to the automatic dismissal of Del Negro’s future job prospects.

DeMarcus Cousins says Mavericks’ rumored interest flatters him, but he loves Kings

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) receives a blow to the head from Dallas Mavericks' Dwight Powell as Cousins works to get to the basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
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The Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in DeMarcus Cousins took its most direct public turn before the season, when Dallas signed Cousins’ brother, Jaleel Cousins. Jaleel is now on the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate, and I bet he will remain there as DeMarcus approaches 2018 free agency.

Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News:

So, DeMarcus Cousins, what do you think about the Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in acquiring you?

“It’s flattering,” Cousins told me, with a laugh, after the Kings’ Wednesday shootaround at AAC. Then, turning serious, he added of the Mavericks, “I respect them.”

“But,” I said, “I’ve also heard that you like it in Sacramento.”

“No,” Cousins corrected, “I love Sacramento.”

Cousins is getting good at this, toeing the line between appreciating another team’s interest and expressing his satisfaction with the Kings.

And give Cousins credit. He keeps producing at a star level for a team that hasn’t provided him with the proper support. Sacramento again appears headed toward the lottery, even as Cousins averages 29-10.

Questions remain, though: How much of Cousins’ attitude is him trying to make the best of an inescapable situation, and will expanded options in the summer of 2018 test his loyalty?

LeBron James dunks, struts past camerapeople and toward crowd, spooks fan (video)

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LeBron James is dominating, and the Cavaliers are rolling over the Knicks.

It’s almost as if something has LeBron particularly riled up. But maybe ease up a little? That cowering fan isn’t Phil Jackson.

Kevin Love drips snot all over his face, maybe into his mouth (video)

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Cameras zoomed in on Kevin Love at the wrong moment:

Need a sensory cleanser? Enjoy this fantastic outlet pass from Kevin Love to LeBron James:

Derrick Rose out for Knicks-Cavaliers with back injury, getting MRI

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 22:  Derrick Rose #25 of the New York Knicks dribbles against the Portland Trail Blazers during their game at Madison Square Garden on November 22, 2016 in New York City.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) — Derrick Rose is missing the New York Knicks’ game against Cleveland because of lower back pain.

Rose left the Knicks’ victory over Miami on Tuesday in the third quarter with back spasms. Coach Jeff Hornacek says Rose still felt sore on Wednesday when he came in and met with team doctors, so they sent him for an MRI exam to make sure there was no structural damage.

Rose is averaging 16.7 points and this is the first game he’s missed this season.

Brandon Jennings will start in Rose’s place.