Or maybe, rather than trade him, the Bulls are trying to lock up Joakim Noah

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Noah_no1.jpgThis 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.

Reggie Jackson to return to Pistons lineup Sunday vs. Orlando

AUBURN HILLS, MI - APRIL 24: Reggie Jackson #1 of the Detroit Pistons tries to get around the first quarter defense of Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in game four of the NBA Eastern Conference quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Palace of Auburn Hills on April 24, 2016 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. 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 Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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The Detroit Pistons’ playoff dreams hinged on them being able to hang around until point guard Reggie Jackson got back from this thumb and knee injuries. They have done just that — the Pistons are 11-10 and would be the eighth seed if the playoffs started today.

And now they get Jackson back. Stan Van Gundy made the announcement Sunday at shootaround, before the team takes on the Orlando Magic.

It will take a few games to get his conditioning back, but this is huge for Detroit. Jackson running the pick-and-roll with Andre Drummond is at the heart of Detroit’s offense – the Pistons were 2.3 points per 100 possessions better with the ball in his hands. Ish Smith played well for the Pistons in his absence — 10.8 points per game, 6.4 assists, and he’s been solid. Move his playmaking to the second unit and suddenly the Pistons become a lot more dangerous.

Jakob Poeltl with huge poster dunk for Raptors. Yes, Jakob Poeltl. (VIDEO)

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The scouting report on Jakob Poeltl coming out of Utah said he could run the floor well and he was a good finisher around the rim.

But we didn’t expect this.

During the Raptors win Sunday against the stumbling Hawks, Poeltl filled the lane on the break, got the rock, and nobody was going to stop that finish. Least of all Tim Hardaway Jr., he just ends up in the poster.

Hassan Whiteside: “Portland was my second option”

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 28: Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Charlotte Hornets at American Airlines Arena on October 28, 2016 in Miami, Florida. 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 Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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Entering free agency last July, Hassan Whiteside said his first choice was to stay in Miami — then Pat Riley gave him 98 million reasons to stick around. While the Heat have been up and down this season, Whiteside has thrived as the franchise player in Miami.

Last July he also met with Dallas, but it turns out that was not his second choice. Here is what Whiteside told Erik Gunderson of the Miami Herald before his team fell to the Blazers on Saturday.

“Portland was my second option,” Whiteside said at the team’s Saturday shootaround in Portland. “I would have came here.”

Interesting. There were reports the Blazers chased Whiteside, but it didn’t seem that serious. Apparently, it was. If The Blazers got Whiteside, would they still have spent $70 million on Evan Turner? Probably not. And suddenly a lot of things look better in Portland.

For Blazers fans, watching their team try to outscore opponents while playing terrible defense this season — in part because of a lack of rim protection behind their undersized guards — it’s easy to imagine how much Whiteside would have changed the picture in the Northwest. But at this point, that’s just fan fiction.

JaVale McGee tries to inbound ball for wrong team, Warriors bench cracks up (VIDEO)

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JaVale McGree has become a solid contributor for the Warriors off the bench, giving them a needed shot blocking presence. He’s not getting a ton of run (seven minutes a night), but he’s efficient when he’s out there.

Still, there is his reputation as the guy most likely to end up on Shaqtin’ a Fool. He hasn’t done anything like that for a while… until Saturday night, when after a made free throw he tried to inbound the ball for the Suns for a second.

The Warriors bench was laughing under their shirts and towels.