UPDATE 8:05 p.m. ET: Deng is out, reports K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
The Lakers have lost eight of 10, and their struggles this season have been well-documented. They may catch a break Monday night in Chicago, where the Bulls may be without their leading scorer.
Luol Deng is a game-time decision due to a hamstring injury that kept him out of Saturday’s overtime loss to the Grizzlies, reports Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.
“We’ll know tonight,” Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Still day to day, a little bit better today, we’ll see tonight.”
Deng averages 17.4 points per game on the season. If he’s unable to go, Jimmy Butler, who started Saturday and played 48 minutes while scoring 18 points in Deng’s absence, would be expected to get the start in his place.
Joakim Noah, who was benched for the fourth quarter and overtime in Saturday’s loss, is expected to be available and to start. Thibodeau said after the morning shootaround that he expects him to respond well despite his poor performance the previous game.
“He understands,” Thibodeau said. “The thing is he’s been around. The team has to come first, that’s the most important thing. Sometimes that happens in-game, not a big deal.”
“He’s responded well since I’ve been here so I always expect that,” Thibodeau said. “I expect the best out of him.”
ProBasketballTalk’s Kurt Helin explains why he believes the Sacramento Kings have enough pieces to potentially make a run at the final playoff spot in the West.
A lot of people around the NBA have ideas to improve the draft, free agency and the D-League, and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has never been shy about sharing his. His latest idea seems pretty logical: a supplemental draft for undrafted free agents.
Via Hoops Rumors:
“I would have a supplemental draft every summer for undrafted free agents of the current and previous 3 years,” Cuban wrote in an email to Hoops Rumors. “If you are more than 3 years out you are not eligible and just a free agent.”
The supplemental draft would have two rounds, and teams would hold the rights to the players they select for two years, Cuban added. Players can opt out and choose not to make themselves eligible, but those who get picked would receive fully guaranteed minimum-salary contracts when they sign, according to Cuban’s proposal.
“That would make it fun a few weeks after the draft and pre-summer league,” Cuban wrote. “It would prevent some of the insanity that goes on to build summer league rosters.”
It’s an interesting proposition. Most undrafted players who sign during the summer don’t get guaranteed contracts, so when deciding to enter this supplemental draft, they would have to weigh the value of having guaranteed money versus getting to decide where they sign. It’s unlikely that anything like this could happen anytime soon, because of all the hoops to jump through to get the league and the players’ union to sign off on it, but it’s a worthwhile idea that deserves some consideration in the next CBA negotiations.