Yi Jianlian recalled by Mavericks, solving all their problems

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The Dallas Mavericks don’t just want one low-cost project big man to fill out their rotation. They want all of them.

Dallas’ signing of Ian Mahinmi last summer has paid off nicely this year, and in an effort to find a similarly successful player on an equally affordable salary, the Mavs signed former lottery pick Brandan Wright, one-time cast-off Sean Williams, and — most recently — lottery letdown Yi Jianlian. As per Rick Carlisle’s custom, all of the Mavs’ bigs have received playing time rather randomly; Brendan Haywood and Mahinmi are the rotation regulars, but Williams’ 12-point outburst in the second game of the season was met with minimal playing time and an eventual D-League assignment, Dallas signed Yi and sent him to the D-League for a rehab stint, Wright logged 12 minutes over the Mavs’ last two games seemingly out of nowhere with Lamar Odom and Dirk Nowitzki filling in as utility centers in between.

There’s a shotgun feel to all of it, as Carlisle tests out each player in order to determine their capacity to bolster his lineups. Now, apparently, it’s Yi’s turn, as the Mavericks announced via releas on Monday that they’ve recalled Yi Jianlian from their D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends.

Based on Carlisle’s seemingly random rotation of extra bigs thus far, it’d be silly to make predictions as to how Yi might be utilized. But he’ll at the very least be with the team for their game against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday, and will likely be in uniform as a member of Carlisle’s flexible corps of athletic bigs.

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.