You asked questions on twitter, time to answer them

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Welcome to the latest installment of our twitter mailbag, where we answer your questions. Any questions.

You have to date a girl that looks exactly like Joakim Noah or Tyronn Lue. Who do you date, and why? (@adonismuir)

I spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about this. A disturbing amount. Obviously, if faced with this choice, the correct answer is “I’ll become a priest.” Beyond that, if you look at pictures of Noah and Lue, Noah has the potential to be a prettier woman, but he has that little mustache and beard that throw the whole thing off. As for Lue… didn’t work for me on the court, doesn’t work for me as a date.

I needed a woman’s opinion. Not my wife, because explaining this then trying to sleep in the same bed with her was not going to go well. So I turned to Holly McKenzie of The Basketball Jones and other places (you have to follow @stackmack on twitter). Her first answer was it has to be Noah because of the hair. Then she made the best point — have you seen Noah’s sister? The model? Basically, Noah has the genes of a beautiful woman in him.

So Noah. That or the priesthood.

• Which team will be hurt most by the NBA lockout and which team benefits the most from the lockout? (@marvin_is_joe)
• Does a shortened #NBA season help or hurt older teams like my #Celtics? Fewer games, but played more often in a shorter time (@PowerForward44)

I’m combining these questions into one because, well, it’s my column and I can do anything I want. I have the power.

The answer to this question depends on how long the lockout lasts. If training camps are shortened (almost a given) and there are between 60-70 games on a pretty normal schedule, then veteran teams benefit. For the Celtics, Spurs and Mavericks it means less wear and tear on older bodies before the playoffs and they should do well in the regular season because they come in knowing who they are and what they want to do. (The Lakers lose that benefit with the coaching and system change.)

But if the lockout drags on and this is 1999 redux — 50 games crammed into a short schedule with some back-to-back-to-back games scheduled — then those veteran teams suffer from the wear and tear. They don’t have the fresh legs come the playoffs. That benefits good but younger teams — the Thunder, Bulls and Heat come to mind. They have legs that will bounce back from the condensed schedule faster.

How long before JR Swish commits a felony in China and ends up in secret Chinese prison? (@djbrnz)

Not going to happen — he’s going to be so sick from trying to eat what passes for food in China he’s not going to have time to get in trouble. He’s going to be lying in bed with a bucket beside him Googling McDonald’s locations.

By the way, if one guy will get an “under the table” deal to be cut from a Chinese team when the lockout ends, it’s Smith.

are the sixers an Iguodala trade away from being contenders in the East? (@jutmcquaid)

Why all the Iggy hate in Philly, people? It’s not like he’s Santa Claus. If you trade him you lose a quality perimeter scorer and more importantly your best perimeter defender by a mile. Yes, he is overpaid for what he delivers, but he does deliver something and if you trade him you create a new hole to fill. I think you live with him. The Sixers need a true superstar to take the next step forward, but that guy should be paired with Iggy. If the Sixers can run more and get Iguodala more transition opportunities, it will be best for everyone.

Why can’t Sam Presti properly evaluate college big men? #bjmullensproblem (@nick_van_hexel)

I would like to introduce you to the fans of 29 other teams, who would love to trade you Sam Presti’s list of draft picks in the last five years for their team’s. Sure, B.J. Mullens has not worked out (the next two guys picked after Mullens were Rodrigue Beaubois and Taj Gibson) but Presti has built a winner and he made a good trade for Kendrick Perkins (which just was a bad matchup with Dallas). Nobody hits all their picks. Nobody. Cut the guy some slack, would ya.

Who do you believe is the best basketball player in the world? As of right now. (@kaycgee)

I don’t see how you can argue anyone other than Brian Cardinal. It’s not even close.

(Okay, it’s LeBron James. And frankly that’s not up for debate.)

Will Norris Cole be the point guard the Heat need in order to focus on finding a true center? (@GeeYo)

When did finding a center and finding a good point guard become mutually exclusive? I’m confident Pat Riley has the skills to do both at the same time.

The real question is, when was the last time a rookie point guard played a key role on a title team? Magic Johnson? So sure, count on Cole to solve your problems. Point guard is an issue for the Heat but not the biggest one. The Heat need a real center far more than they need another good perimeter player. Miami needs its own Tyson Chandler to dominate the paint on defense and grab rebounds. That is their key to a title.

Shouldn’t Allen Iverson be picked up by the Lakers? (@The_Hawk_13)

So you think the Lakers need to get an old point guard who can’t defend and would take shots away from Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol? The only way the Lakers want Iverson is if the deal includes a DeLorean with a flux capacitor in the back so they can go grab the 2001 Iverson.

The Lakers need a starting PG, Iverson is a backup right now. At best.

How long before the Grizzlies move to Seattle? (@jbunkis)

Right about when Kurt Cobain buys the team. About the same odds.

Jimmy Butler trade sets the stage for looming free agency

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(AP) — As draft night approached, some of the heavy hitters in the NBA – Cleveland, San Antonio, Houston, Boston, the Clippers among them – were jockeying, making calls and looking for deals to try to position themselves to make a run at the Golden State juggernaut.

The Warriors’ greatness has forced the rest of the league to do deep self-examination and be aggressive in upgrading their rosters if they’re even going to have a chance to compete. The Celtics and Cavaliers were looking hard at Pacers star Paul George and Bulls guard Jimmy Butler, the Rockets and Spurs were looking at clearing cap space to make a run at some big-name free agents next week and the Knicks were, well, the Knicks.

Draft night always lays the groundwork for what will happen when the circus (officially known as free agency) begins on July 1. And with all of those contenders looking to make a splash, the biggest move was made by … the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Wolves reunited Tom Thibodeau with Butler, giving up two promising young players in Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn and the No. 7 overall pick to land one of the best two-way players in the game. The move should jumpstart Minnesota’s pursuit of its first playoff spot since 2004 and, the Wolves hope, pave the way for success in free agency.

“I think it will (help) a lot,” Thibodeau said. “With players, they look around the league, they see the makeup of the team, they see how they play, play together. That’s the main thing. Both offensively and defensively.”

The Timberwolves have long had difficulty attracting free agents to a relatively small market that spends four months of the year covered in ice and snow. Landing a top-15 player like Butler to team with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins sends a sign of how aggressive the teams could be.

The Bulls plunged head-first into a rebuild with the decision, and now it’s up to the Pacers to decide if they want to do the same.

Much to the dismay of Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard, George let it be known last week that he did not plan to re-sign in Indiana when he becomes a free agent next summer. Most of the league assumes that he wants to play for the Los Angeles Lakers, who appear to be in a tug-of-war with the rival Celtics for George’s attention.

“I’m confident we’ll get something,” Pritchard told reporters in Indianapolis on Friday.

One of the big markets affected on Thursday night was at point guard, the deepest position in the league. Philadelphia, the Lakers, Sacramento, New York and Dallas all drafted point guards in the top 10, which could diminish the options for veterans like Jrue Holiday, George Hill, Jeff Teague and Patty Mills.

The elite point guards available – Chris Paul and Kyle Lowry – should have no trouble finding significant contracts. With Tony Parker suffering a serious injury in the playoffs, the Spurs were reportedly trying to clear space to make a run at Paul, who is widely considered the best point guard in the league. Paul has spent the last six seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers, but has yet to advance to the Western Conference finals.

The Clippers are trying to make a decision about retooling around the core of Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, but really it’s a decision that depends largely on Paul’s thinking. He has long struggled to win big in the postseason, and heading to San Antonio to join with Kawhi Leonard or Houston to team up with James Harden could prove to be more attractive.

Lowry figures to remain in Toronto with a Raptors franchise that he has helped put back on the map, but after that there will be few teams in the market for a high-priced starting point guard. Denver, Utah, New York and Indiana could wade into those waters. But if they look at themselves as still being a couple of year away, they might be hesitant to spend big bucks on a veteran.

Other big names available include Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap and Andre Iguodala. And while some of the very biggest names like Kevin Durant and Steph Curry figure to stay put, it only ramps up the sense of urgency for teams that have big holes to fill.

The clock is ticking and Thursday night provided the first steps toward making big improvements to the roster.

The Timberwolves rocked the boat with Butler, but the waters were calm after that, which should only mean one thing: It’s about to get real choppy when the clock strikes midnight on July 1.

 

Report: Dallas picks up option on Yogi Ferrell for next season. As expected.

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When teams sign a guy out of the D-League, or late second-round picks/undrafted guys as you see this summer, they are often announced as “a three-year deal.” The reality, this is a non-guaranteed contract (or at most a guaranteed contract for a short period of time) with team options for future years.

Why teams do that is guys like Yogi Ferrell.

Dallas snapped him up out of the D-League last season when they needed a point guard, and Ferrell proved to be a solid rotation-level player to bring off the bench. With that Dallas now has the option to bring him back at a good price next season, and they will do just that, reports Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Sources say the Mavs have informed PG Yogi Ferrell that they are picking up his team option for next season, an easy decision after he proved himself capable of being a rotation player after his promotion from the D-League.

Ferrell will make $1.3 million next season, a steal for a rotation player. Dallas needs that, because the cost of keeping Nerlens Noel could push the Mavericks close to the luxury tax.

If Ferrell keeps playing like he did last season, and his big payday is coming in a couple of years.

What exactly was on the table for Bulls in Jimmy Butler trade?

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It’s been the cry since the Bulls’ front office traded Jimmy Butler for Zach LaVine (coming off an ACL surgery), Kris Dunn, and the No. 7 pick (Lauri Markkanen):

Why didn’t the Bulls get more?

I’m in the camp they didn’t get enough, starting with the question why did they give Minnesota the No. 16 pick in the deal? Even if the Bulls keep that pick, it doesn’t feel like they got enough for an All-NBA player, a top-flight wing defender who can also get buckets with the ball in his hands. The Bulls could have been patient and waited out a better offer, one of this quality would always have been on the table.

However, the deals for Butler may not have been as rich as fans assume. Here is part of what ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote breaking down the trade.

It’s not as if Chicago didn’t canvas the league, either. The Bulls talked to Phoenix about a package centered around Eric Bledsoe and the No. 4 pick, but nothing came close, according to league sources. (Those talks may have been linked at one point to Cleveland’s pursuit of Butler, which apparently fizzled Thursday as Dan Gilbert, the Cavs’ owner, tried to hire a new president of basketball operations on the freaking day of the draft.)

They poked around with Denver, but the Nuggets drew a line at Jamal Murray, sources say. Those teams had to weigh the possibility of Butler bolting in 2019, which cooled the market a bit, sources say.

Boston has danced around Butler for almost a year now, and would not include the No. 3 pick in any package for him as the draft approached, sources say. Other reports suggest they refused to offer next year’s Nets pick, or the Lakers-Kings pick they snagged from Philly in the Markelle Fultz deal.

Boston’s Danny Ainge wanted a deal, a bit of a discount, and the Bulls were not going to give it. Those pick requests are reasonable for a Top 15 player, but Ainge knows he can be patient and the Celtics will still win more than 50 games next season and be a contender in a couple of years. Ainge knows he has a real shot at Gordon Hayward as a free agent this summer. He knows it’s not Butler or bust, so he didn’t go all in. He can afford to be patient right now, but eventually he will have to make a move.

The lack of a better market for Butler speaks to a couple of things. Phoenix, Denver, and other teams are correct to worry about overpaying for a player that could leave in a couple of years. Maybe they can win him over with their culture, maybe a team like Denver becomes very dangerous with Butler in the mix with Nikola Jokic, but is that enough. This is also where the looming shadow of Golden State, the Mount Everest looming over all things in the West, comes into play — how much do teams want to pay to try to contend right now?

Still, the Bulls could have done better. At least know a direction is set, the Bulls are rebuilding. Can Gar/Pax pull that off is another question entirely.

Klay Thompson goes up for 360 dunk in exhibition… and he’s not a dunker (VIDEO)

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Klay Thompson has an amazing skill set — one of the best pure shooters in the league, he can put the ball on the floor and create, and he’s a very good perimeter defender.

He’s not a dunker. Oh, he can dunk, but he’s not the guy you’re inviting to the Dunk Contest.

Case in point, this video out of China where Thompson was part of an exhibition and tried to show off his dunking skills.

Thompson’s shoe sponsor is China-based Anta, which explains why he’s there playing some exhibition ball. In case you missed it, Thompson had a Finals shoe released.

Those are about as good as the 360 dunk.