Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Tyler Zeller out indefinitely

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Short of wearing a helmet, there was pretty much nothing Cleveland Cavaliers rookie center Tyler Zeller could have done to protect against this injury. Zeller has been ruled out indefinitely after Cleveland’s win over the Clippers on Monday night, making it a little more bitter than sweet for the Cavs. Zeller suffered the injury after he took an elbow to the face while battling for rebounding position with DeAndre Jordan, who as you may know, is a large man with equally large elbows.

Here’s the official word on the exact injury and the timetable for Zeller’s return from AP writer Tom Withers.

Out indefinitely is always scary, but we can take some educated guesses as to how long Zeller will be out of action. Although we don’t know the severity of the injury, it sounds as though Zeller will not need surgery. If you recall, Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera suffered a non-displaced fracture of his orbital bone before the season began when he took a nasty grounder to the face.

Cabrera sustained his injury on March 20th, and was back in time for the season opener on April 5th. Although everyone heals differently, a little over two weeks seems like a decent benchmark for Zeller’s return, as his concussion symptoms should subside by then as well. Again, this all depends on the severity of the injury and Zeller’s body.

Okay, let’s trade the stethoscope for a whistle. Losing Zeller, the 17th pick of the draft, is disheartening after he put forth such a promising effort (15 points, 7 rebounds) against the Clippers. Zeller isn’t the type of player who will “wow” you with anything, but he runs the floor extremely well and can finish around the rim with either hand. Just on those merits alone (and his 7-foot frame), he’s a viable backup big man. Those don’t grow on trees. The Cavaliers have some sleeper appeal with Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao playing the way they are, but they’ll need all hands on deck.

Shabazz Muhammad awkwardly mentions Collective Bargaining Agreement during halftime interview (video)

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The Timberwolves surprisingly led the Spurs by nine at halftime last night, which takes us to Shabazz Muhammad‘s mid-game interview.

Muhammad:

We’re doing a great job on defense, Wiggs, myself, everybody. It’s a tough team, especially Kawhi and the guys. So, we’re doing a really good job and everybody’s collective – Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Um. What?

To be fair, I can’t even imagine what type of nonsense I’d spew in the midst of a taxing workout or a high-pressure situation – let alone something that qualifies as both.

Unfortunately for Muhammad, Minnesota eventually fell to San Antonio, 100-93. But hopefully, he can laugh at this moment. He should, at least.

hat tip: reddit user cjsplash

Duke’s Jayson Tatum, California’s Ivan Rabb declare for NBA draft

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Wednesday a couple of forwards expected to go in the first round of June’s NBA draft said they plan on making the jump to the NBA.

As expected, Duke’s Jayson Tatum and Cal’s Ivan Rabb made their decisions official.

Duke announced Tatum’s decision.

Tatum is expected to be a top-five pick, DraftExpress.com currently has him as the No. 4 pick. The 6’8″ wing can flat-out score the rock, which is why teams are intrigued, as Rob Dauster of NBC’s College Basketball Talk told us in a recent podcast. However, teams wonder if he can create shots for others and not just himself, and if he’s going to be a good defender at the NBA level. He has the physical tools to do be a good defender, but will he put in the work game in, game out?

Rabb is a 6’10” sophomore who has a great NBA build and athleticism to spare, but at the NBA level everyone is a great athlete. Rabb doesn’t have a great perimeter game and needs to develop one and be a consistent defensive force to be a difference maker (or have a lengthy career) at the NBA level. DraftExpress.com has him going 22nd in this draft, and his stock seems to have fallen over the course of the season.

PBT Extra: What coaches are on hot seat? Alvin Gentry at front of list.

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This season, for the first time in 46 years, no NBA coach will be fired during the season (nobody is getting canned at this point).

However, once the off-season starts, there will be a few changes.

Alvin Gentry in New Orleans and Fred Hoiberg in Chicago are the names most mentioned, but there will be an unexpected firing somewhere around the league. Some GMs are on the hot seat also (Rob Hennigan in Orlando leads that parade).

I get into all of it in this latest PBT Extra.

Raptors’ Serge Ibaka, Bulls’ Robin Lopez each suspended one game for thrown punches

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It was obvious this was coming. Get in a shoving match “fight” in the NBA and you get a fine. However, actually throw punches and…

Toronto’s Serge Ibaka and Chicago’s Robin Lopez each have been suspended for one game by the NBA “for throwing punches at one another during an altercation,” the league announced. What that works out to is a $120,715 hit for Lopez and a $111,364 ding for Ibaka.

Also, Raptors assistant coach Jamaal Magloire earned a $15,000 fine shoving the Bulls Nikola Mirotic and “acting as other than a peacemaker as part of the same altercation.”

This all came out of what seemed a rather innocuous play. Ibaka and Lopez were battling for rebounding positioning, it went on for a second after the ball went through the hoop, Ibaka caught Lopez with a little chicken wing elbow in the back, Lopez spun, and, boy, that escalated quickly. Lopez’s punch missed, while Ibaka’s caught Lopez in the hair more than the body.

Both men got technicals and were ejected.