The Bulls haven't completely ruled out signing Tracy McGrady, but aren't compromising

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mcgrady_runs.jpgTracy McGrady and Shaquille O’Neal seem to be one in the same. Neither can get the role or money (or affirmation?) they so desperately covet, and each will likely face the same choice: play for a team they actually want to play for in a limited role for a small salary, or sign with a non-competitive team to indulge their own inflated senses of self-worth.

It’s up to them, though it’s possible that one of either McGrady or O’Neal’s preferred teams will eventually blink. The Chicago Bulls, for instance, are still an unlikely destination for T-Mac, but they still remain at least kind of open to the idea of signing him. Though to their credit, they still insist on doing everything on their terms. From Marc Stein, writing at TrueHoop:

As of Friday morning, Chicago had not completely ruled out the signing of Tracy McGrady.

Miami’s signing of Eddie House extinguished one of the Bulls’ other prime options and thus helped keep alive the possibility of McGrady scoring the deal from the Bulls that he so badly wants, as chronicled here. Chicago, though, continues to look at other options such as Keith Bogans and Roger Mason.

…If the Bulls ultimately do relent and commit to a T-Mac experiment, since they do need another scoring threat on the perimeter, it’s believed that they will insist on McGrady accepting a non-guaranteed deal for next season so they can let him go at any time without financial hesitation if they deem the experiment to be failing.

For his part, Derrick Rose could take T-Mac or leave him. It really doesn’t seem to matter all that much to him either way. So, we’re not all that far from where we started. Teams aren’t so much courting McGrady as he’s courting them, but Chicago — and Miami, and the other teams on his list — don’t seem to be all that interested.

LeBron James: ‘I still got Pandora with commercials’

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Dwyane Wade revealed last year that LeBron James refuses to use his phone internationally unless he’s on Wi-Fi.

LeBron’s friend and new Cavaliers teammate again brought up that claim, and LeBron confirmed – then went even further about his own cheapness.

LeBron in a joint interview with Wade on ESPN:

No. I’m not doing that. I’m not turning on data roaming. I’m not buying no apps. I still got Pandora with commercials.

LeBron – he’s just like us!

As funny as that line is, keep watching to see LeBron hilariously explain how his hairline affects his interviews.

PBT Extra: LeBron as MVP and other NBA postseason award predictions

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Last year, Russell Westbrook had a historic season on his way to the MVP award, with James Harden and Kawhi Leonard right on his heels. But heading into this season, the dynamic for MVP — and many of the NBA awards — feels very different and wide open.

In this latest PBT Extra, I lay out my preseason predictions for every award — LeBron James for MVP, Ben Simmons for Rookie of the Year, and on down the list. There are a few leaps and surprises in there (predicting Most Improved or Sixth Man before the season is a crap shoot, so why not gamble).

Now the predictions season is over, let’s get on to the games.

Jazz: Dante Exum undergoing surgery after shoulder injury

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Jazz point guard Dante Exum hurt his shoulder in a preseason game – an injury that immediately looked like it could be season-ending.

Though Utah doesn’t outright say Exum is done for the year, this doesn’t engender much hope.

Jazz release:

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Danté Exum who suffered a separated left shoulder on October 6 vs. Phoenix.

After further evaluation, Exum (6-6, 190, Australia) has elected to undergo surgery to stabilize the AC joint of his left shoulder. The surgery is scheduled to take place Tuesday, October 24 in Los Angeles. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.

Exum (obviously) didn’t receive a contract extension before today’s deadline, so he’ll become a free agent next summer. After one full missed season already and two years of limited effectiveness, it’s not even clear Utah will extend Exum a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. The former No. 5 pick almost certainly won’t meet the starter criteria, which means his qualifying offer would be worth $4,333,931 (down from $6,619,903 based on his draft slot).

The Jazz will start Ricky Rubio, and Raul Neto will be the primary point guard behind him. Wings Rodney Hood, Alec Burks, Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles can all share facilitating duties.

Utah will probably be just fine without Exum this season, which speaks to his marginal place long-term.

Sprained ankle has LeBron James questionable for opener vs. Celtics

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James‘ playing status for Tuesday’s season opener against Boston remains unclear.

James has been slowed by a sprained left ankle for more than two weeks and it’s still not known whether he’ll be on the floor when the Cavaliers take on the Celtics and Kyrie Irving, who asked to be traded by Cleveland this summer.

Following Monday’s practice, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said “I really don’t know” when asked if James will play.

James took part in some post-practice shooting drills with teammates. He did not speak with the media as the Cavaliers prepared for their opener, a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference finals.

James has never missed an opener in his NBA career, and teammate J.R. Smith doesn’t expect him to miss this one.

“Oh, he’s going to go,” Smith said. “He’s going to go, trust me that. I don’t care what he’s got to do, he’s going to play.”