You can add Rockets to list of teams that want Nene

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Nene will be the most coveted free agent on the market this year. He is a true center who can defend the paint, is an efficient shooter (61.5 percent last season) who will give you around 14 points a game, and is a solid rebounder. In a league full of fours masquerading around as fives, Nene is a true borderline All-Star center.

Which is why Denver wants to keep him. Why the Miami Heat want him (but have no real good way to get him unless he wants to make about half what he would anywhere else). Why the Pacers want him.

And now you can throw the Houston Rockets in that mix, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The Rockets have some hard decisions to make. They’re going all out for free-agent center Nene. He’s 29 years old and coming off a season in which he averaged 14.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Nene is 6-11, 250 pounds, and Morey believes putting him in a lineup with Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin would give the Rockets three to build around.

If (Rockets GM Daryl) Morey doesn’t get him, they could again be fighting for the eighth seed, far from being a team capable of winning in the playoffs. … That’s where the tough decision comes in. If they can’t land an impact player in free agency, is it time to rebuild and position themselves for Anthony Davis or Andre Drummond or another high draft pick next summer?

Morey did a fantastic job of putting role players around the stars he was given — Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. The problem is, the bodies of the stars betrayed them. The Rockets, if they are serious about rebuilding and contending, need to get a star or stars.

Can Kevin Martin and Nene really be that? I’m not sold, I’d be thinking hard about ways to move up in the draft next year. But the Rockets with Nene certainly would be interesting and no pushover.

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.