Here’s a stunner: Players not happy with McGee’s comments

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After JaVale McGee came out and undermined the players by doing the one thing you absolutely cannot do in a lockout, give the other side any hope that you’re considering breaking (no matter how rational, reasonable, or predictable that is), the players acted stunned. “What? JaVale who? Who is that? The McGee boy, you say?” as if it was completely out of left field. They didn’t want to respond to it. Of course they did, because, well, they were pretty mad that McGee had done such a stupid thing.

But all that feigned ignorance? Yeah, not so much. From Sports Illustrated:

A union source said players learned of the comment via Twitter during the meeting and “were furious,” and it surprised no one when the message coming out was even heavier than usual on all the resolve and unity rhetoric. They all denied McGee had a clue when it came to representing the masses, then went to work explaining why this strategy isn’t nearly as futile as so many of us believe it to be.

via Billy Hunter calls out David Stern, vows players will not back down in negotiations – Sam Amick – SI.com.

Can you imagine being in that meeting?

“Uh… guys… guys… guys!”

“What, what is it (role player)?”

“Uh… JaVale apparently told reporters that some of us are ready to quit.”

“No. No he didn’t. I TOLD YOU TO MUZZLE HIM, (sub-superstar)! I TOLD YOU TO TAKE HIM OUT THE BACK ENTRANCE OR THROUGH THE SEWER.”

The odds are that JaVale will not be asked to attend the next meeting, or if he is, he needs to bring help. Ironic that JaVale McGee now needs a help defender.

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.