Here is our daily look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — laid out in bullet points. Because god is a bullet (have mercy on us everyone).
• Next Thursday night Derek Fisher will pull on a Thunder jersey then walk out on the court to take on the Lakers at Staples Center. Kobe Bryant admits that will be emotional.
• Here is the reaction of other Lakers to seeing Fisher in an Oklahoma City uniform.
• The Lakers are making moves that cut costs (trading Fisher to the Rockets saved them million). Why would the richest team in the league to do that? Because their bills are about to go up.
• Whatever happens the last month of the season, it will not change Deron Williams’ mind about the future.
• Dallas has one lineup that may be playing better ball than any unit in the league.
• The Suns and Jazz are trying to fight their way into the Western Conference playoffs.
• Nate McMillan cried when the Blazers fired him. Some will mock him for it, but I think it shows he cares and is invested. The league needs more coaches who care like that.
• On Sunday Danilo Gallinari made an amazing behind-the-back pass against the Celtics. In a bit of Sports Science, here is a breakdown of the physics of that pass.
• Brian Cook says he does not want to be bought out of his contract by the Wizards. Would anyone notice either way?
• Ricky Rubio had his knee surgery on Wednesday. It was successful.
• Coca Cola has signed a deal to put Chinese language advertising in Madison Square Garden to capitalize on
• Kings sign G/F Terrence Williams to a 10-day contract.
• The Warriors are expected to ink Mickell Gladness to a 10-day contract Thursday.
• Rockets assign C Greg Smith to the D-League.
The Chicago Bulls are one of the teams getting a D-League affiliate franchise this season. The Windy City Bulls will play in the suburb of Hoffman Estates, and now they have a head coach: North Carolina State assistant Bobby Lutz.
Via Upside & Motor‘s Chris Reichert:
Lutz was previously linked to the Bulls’ D-League job in July but there was confusion as to whether he would actually get the job. Now, it appears he has. And he has familiarity with the coaching staff, having served as an assistant coach at Iowa State under Fred Hoiberg in 2010-11, prior to going to NC State.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.