This makes a lot more sense.
The Chicago Bulls are not looking to trade Joakim Noah but are close to reaching an extension with him on his rookie deal, according to Marc Stein of ESPN. The two sides have been talking for weeks and are closing in on a deal that would keep Noah a Bull.
Meanwhile, the Nuggets are still telling anyone who asks that they are not moving Carmelo Anthony right now, the report adds. New GM Masai Ujiri and Anthony have yet to talk face-to-face.
That is in contrast to the report we passed along yesterday from ESPNChicago that the Bulls were talking about including Noah in a deal to bring in Carmelo Anthony. The new report says the Bulls are doing no such thing.
We said yesterday that it made no sense for Chicago to leak a rumor about including Noah, that it made little sense for them to really make that trade period because Noah is a better fit with Boozer and Rose than Melo.
It made sense for Noah’s people to leek it as negotiating leverage. It made sense for Denver to leak it as a way of letting Chicago (and others) know what the price tag would be for such a trade. It made sense for Melo’s people to say the Bulls were talking about it to see if they could generate momentum to get their man out of Denver. It made no sense for Chicago.
Did the Bulls discuss including Noah in any packages for Anthony? Well, define discuss. Because things that are fleetingly discussed by NBA front offices and even felt out a little through back channels would put the wild trade discussions in your fantasy league to shame. A lot of ideas are floated out there. But that is very different than seriously discussed, and few of those rumors ever rise to that level. This was likely one of them that never really got serious consideration.
The Bulls have a very good core in Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and Noah. This is a roster that is going to win a lot of games. The Bulls are not going to be messing with that core before it even plays one game.
Paul George to the Lakers is a capital-T thing.
George is from Southern California, and he keeps indicating his dissatisfaction with the Pacers. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2018. Even Lakers president Magic Johnson is talking about George.
Where do rumors like this originate?
Mitch Lawrence of Sporting News:
A SoCal native, he’s been talking about playing for his hometown team, the Lakers, for a long time. He’s never made his long-term intentions a secret within the Pacers’ locker room, according to former teammates. He wants to wear the purple and gold.
Did George say he dreamed of playing for the Lakers growing up? Did he say it’d be cool to join his boyhood favorite team if the situation presented itself? Or did he say he wanted to get the heck out of Indiana to join the Lakers as soon as possible?
There are so many ways his comments to teammates could get misconstrued as they get passed down in the game of telephone.
But the Lakers threat – to whatever degree it’s real – looms, and it’ll impact how the Pacers handle their offseason.
Jazz Center Jeff Withey was accused of domestic violence in a police report filed by his ex-fiancée.
Withey played a small role in Utah’s first two playoff games, but once the accusation over an alleged 2016 incident became public, he hasn’t seen the court. Withey received a DNP-CD in Game 3 against the Clippers, and the Jazz deactivated the center for Game 4 last night.
Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News:
The team called it a “strategic basketball-related decision.”
Withey was always going to see a reduced role with Rudy Gobert returning from injury.
Though Gobert didn’t play in Game 3, the Jazz had two injured players – Gobert and Alec Burks on the inactive list – so Withey was active but never played. But Withey was active for Game 1, which Gobert started healthy before injuring his knee 11 seconds in.
Therefore, deactivating Withey in Game 4 for Joel Bolomboy, a little-used second-round rookie who has yet to play in the postseason, is a curious choice for basketball reasons. It’s almost as if that wasn’t the reason.
The Rockets bench made a big production when an intentionally fouled Andre Roberson kept missing free throws in the Thunder’s Game 4 loss to the Rockets yesterday.
Russell Westbrook stuck up for his teammate.
Royce Young of ESPN:
I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it at all. Probably the guys that don’t play, probably over there the ones laughing, if I had to guess.
Good guess. It appears Montrezl Harrell and Bobby Brown – whose only playing time this series came late in Houston’s blowout Game 1 win – led the jeers.
But the most important thing for the Thunder is Roberson making his free throws. They need him on the court to defend James Harden, which exposes him to hacking. If Westbrook deflecting attention onto the Rockets’ benchwarmers helps Roberson at the line, great. But if not, the Rockets will keep having reasons to laugh.
Paul George-to-the-Lakers rumors have swirled for a while.
New Lakers president Magic Johnson will only fuel them.
Asked how he’d interact with the Pacers star to avoid tampering if they ran into each other, Johnson said on Jimmy Kimmel Live:
We’re going to say hi, because we know each other. You just can’t say, “Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,” even though I’m going to be wink-winking like [blinks repeatedly]. You know what that means, right?
In explaining how he’d avoid tampering, Johnson probably tampered. Accidental tampering appears to be his specialty.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement says team employees can’t permissibly “induce, persuade, or attempt to entice, induce or persuade, any Player who is under contract to, or whose exclusive negotiating rights are held by, any other Member of the Association to enter into negotiations for or relating to his services or negotiate or contract for such services.” But the league arbitrarily enforces tampering, so who knows whether he’ll be punished?
Johnson almost certainly could have gotten away with the hypothetical conversation he laid out. But going on television and describing it — even as fantasy, even not directly to George — could constitute tampering in itself,
If Johnson helps attract George to Los Angeles, it’d well be worth it. At least he’s trying something.