Sam Presti denies interviewing for Kevin Pritchard's job

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I’m not sure if there was a specific moment where things went sour between Kevin Pritchard and the Portland Trailblazers, but at this point the funk in the air is undeniable.

And Sam Presti doesn’t want any of it stinking up his place with the Thunder or his status as one of the top GMs in the league.

Reports have indicated that Presti was interviewing for Pritchard’s chair with Pritch still in it, but they didn’t quite pass the smell test. Why would Presti hand over the Thunder, who are coming off of an incredibly successful season with the roster he constructed, to anyone at this point? Kevin Durant is a top five player, Russell Westbrook is positively captivating, and the team is only in a position to improve from this point forward. If Presti stays in OKC, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before the Thunder are perennial contenders.

It makes sense that Portland would want Presti, but to assume Presti would leave the Thunder for the Blazers? Iffy at best.

So it comes with minimal surprise that Presti himself has denied the rumors. Via Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman’s Thunder Rumblings blog:

“The story is absolutely false,” Presti said in response Tuesday. “I
have not interviewed with any teams or spoken to officials related to a
team, nor do I intend to. I have a terrific situation here with the
Thunder and enjoy being a member of the Oklahoma City community. I am
excited about the short and long term vision for our organization.”

It’s the second time in four days Presti’s name has been linked to
the Blazers and the second time Presti has had to express how satisfied
he is in his current position. A Yahoo! Sports story over the weekend
reported the Blazers had targeted Presti as a potential replacement to
Pritchard should they part ways with him and even have made several
“fact-finding calls” about Presti.

“Portland has a general manager, and I have a great job in Oklahoma
City,” Presti said Sunday. “I am excited to be a part of what we’re
building here.”

Now, Presti would probably respond the same way even if he had been interviewing for the Portland job, but think about it. Do the math. Reflect. Why would a successful GM bail on a project he built from the ground up?

Are Bulls and Dwyane Wade moving toward a buyout?

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About a month ago, the Bulls said they hadn’t discussed a buyout with Dwyane Wade.

Have the two sides progressed since?

Nick Friedell of ESPN:

Dwyane Wade isn’t long for the organization’s future and is expected to reach a buyout agreement at some point in the next few months.

Expected by whom?

People with direct knowledge of momentum toward a buyout?

Or everyone who can see that a 35-year-old earning $23.8 million fits poorly on a rebuilding team?

For the Bulls to now drop their biggest name and a large expiring contract that could prove useful in trades should require Wade surrendering a large portion of his salary. He doesn’t sound like someone inclined to do that yet.

A few months is a long time. As long as Wade gets bought out by March 1, he could join another team’s playoff roster. It’d surprise nobody if he gets bought out after the February trade deadline, which we already knew. I don’t see strong indication of something more imminent.

LeBron James’ camp already shooting down leaving-Cavaliers rumor

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LeBron James has done a terrible job shooting down rumors about him leaving the Cavaliers

Except this one from Chris Sheridan, who cited a source saying LeBron would “100 percent” leave Cleveland next summer due to a rift with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

Sheridan’s source saying LeBron is leaving doesn’t make that true. But other anonymous sources denying it doesn’t make the denials true, either.

New Orleans Saints fire Pelicans’ team physician

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The Pelicans have been crushed by injuries the last few years.

Why? That’s an incredibly complex question.

But the New Orleans Saints – who share an owner (Tom Benson), a front-office leader (Mickey Loomis) and other staff with the Pelicans – have found culprits for their own injury woes.

Mike Triplett of ESPN:

The Saints have fired team orthopedists Deryk Jones and Misty Suri, per source, after it was discovered that CB Delvin Breaux has a fractured fibula and will require surgery expected to sidelined him for 4-6 weeks. Breaux was originally diagnosed with a contusion

Suri is a Pelicans team physician.

Scott Kushner of The Advocate:

Fairly or not, Suri – after the Saints deemed him unacceptable – will be in the crosshairs if he keeps his job with the the Pelicans and their injury woes continue.

Rumor: LeBron James ‘100 percent’ leaving Cavaliers next summer

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Chris Sheridan was ahead of the crowd in 2014, reporting LeBron James would likely leave the Heat for the Cavaliers – which obviously happened.

But Sheridan called it a “90 percent chance,” a small – but large enough – hedge. He also said LeBron would announce the decision on LeBron’s personal website. Of course, LeBron revealed his choice in a Sports Illustrated essay.

So, maybe Sheridan knows what he’s talking about. Maybe he doesn’t.

But the longtime NBA writer just fanned the flames of the already hot LeBron-leaving-Cleveland rumors.

Sheridan:

Of course, the denials came quickly.

There have already been plenty of warning signs about LeBron’s relationship with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, which didn’t restart in a great place.

It’s entirely believable LeBron would leave Cleveland, in large part due to Gilbert.

But it’s also fun to speculate about that salacious storyline.

Maybe Sheridan or his source got carried away for that very reason. Or maybe they know something.

Neither possibility should be discounted.