Chris Andersen to sit for a week

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I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but amidst the ridiculous number of Carmelo Anthony trade rumors is an actual basketball team in Denver that’s still playing games now and again. They’re not bad, either, but apparently fall a bit short of Anthony’s expectations.

Regardless, Chris Andersen — Birdman and the Nuggets’ energy big extraordinaire — is ailing a bit. Andersen only plays about 20 minutes a night when healthy, but Denver has been without that 20 minutes of high-energy play for 22 of their 37 games this season. That loss hurt a bit earlier in the season (when the Nuggets were also without Kenyon Martin), but for now, the combination of Martin, Nene, and Al Harrington are able to fill in for Andersen quite easily. That’s the thing about role players: their impact of injuries, inconvenient though those injuries may be, can be mostly negated with stopgap solutions and lineup shifts.

So it’s not too much of a bother that according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports, Andersen will sit out a week or so in order to rest his injured knee and back. It’s not going to affect Denver’s bottom line in any meaningful way, and the only chance that Andersen’s absence has a legitimate impact is if a Carmelo Anthony trade goes down during Andersen’s absence. The timing of a trade could render several of Denver’s players inactive (including Al Harrington or Shelden Williams, who are rumored to be involved in potential trade packages) for a game or so, and that coupled with Andersen’s injury could cause the Nuggets to dig deep into their bench (hey there, Melvin Ely) in order to fill minutes in the frontcourt. Then again, if the Nuggets opt to trade Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, does it even matter if they’re short-handed and could lose a game on depth?

Bulls claim PG Kay Felder off waivers

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The Bulls’ point-guard position is a quagmire.

Kris Dunn and Cameron Payne are both injured (and not necessarily good). Jerian Grant is maybe an adequate backup pressed into starting. Ryan Arcidiacono is on a two-way contract.

Enter Kay Felder.

Bulls release:

The Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has waived forward Jarell Eddie and center Diamond Stone, and claimed guard Kay Felder off waivers.

Felder was waived by the Hawks, who acquired him in a salary-dump trade from the Cavaliers. Cleveland drafted Felder No. 54 last year, but ran out of roster spots this year.

Felder is only a moderate prospect. He impressed in the D-League, but at 5-foot-9, he has significant limitations. (His size also makes him incredibly fun to watch when he gets rolling.)

For Chicago, he’s a quite-noteworthy addition.

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.