Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose on his return date: “Nobody knows but God”

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Another day, another Derrick Rose update that is basically no update.

Rose is “highly unlikely” to play Thursday night against Portland, coach Tom Thibodeau said after shootaround. Which is the nice way of saying “You’d have a better shot hitting on Kate Upton.”

Then Rose spoke to the media, speaking openly for five minutes, and our friend Aggrey San of CSNChicago.com was there.

“Still taking my time,” he responded to the first question, about how he felt physically. “Still trying to be patient, listen to my body and just be patient right now….

“It could be tomorrow and I could feel like I could play the next game,” he said. “Nobody knows but God.”

So, we should ask Pope Francis?

Does the regular season winding down put pressure on him?

“Not at all. I feel like when I’m ready to come back, I’ll be ready, no matter when it is. I don’t care. Whenever I’m ready, I’ll be out there,” Rose said. “[I wants to return] bad, but knowing that my health is the biggest key, where I’m only 24 years old, got the whole future in front of me, so just trying to take my time….

“[My knee is] still about the same, where when you warm up a little bit it gets loose, then the activity picks up and it gets back sore, so just playing through that,” Rose explained. “Sometimes you kind of think a little bit when I’m out there and that’s how I know when I’ll be ready to play. When I’m not out there thinking; I’ll just be reacting.

“[My explosiveness is] coming. I’m not panicking or anything. If anything, I think I’m going to be a better player. I’m just taking my time, like I said. I’m just being patient, doing all the right things, eating right and getting rest,” he went on to say. “I haven’t done my vertical—I think I lost some height in my vertical last year—so jumping-wise, I shouldn’t have to worry about that.”

Rose is doing the right thing. Being patient as a fan sucks, but when you have a 24-year-old MVP it’s about the next five years, not this one. I still think he’s going to play this season, and into the playoffs. But we shouldn’t expect too much right out of the gate.

Right now, we just have to wait. It seems even Rose doesn’t know when he’ll be comfortable and ready to return.

Add Kobe Bryant to don’t change hack-a-player crowd

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant gestures after hitting a three point shot during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Associated Press
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LeBron James is already there. So is Kevin Durant. Same with a lot of other old-school GMs and coaches around the league.

Their response to the rapid rise in hack-a-player (shouldn’t it always be hack-a-Shaq?) instances is “tell the guy to hit the free throws.”

Add Kobe Bryant to their ranks, reports Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is starting to feel differently. He realizes he runs an entertainment business and a parade of guys to the free throw line without because of a non-basketball play — you can’t begin to tell me fouling a guy 50 feet from the ball is a basketball play in the spirit of the rules — is bad for that business. It is unwatchable. And while every coach in the NBA “I hate to do it” they all do it with more and more frequency, there will be more than twice as many instances this season as there were a year ago, with more and more players involved. Because it works, and because they are paid to win, not play beautiful basketball.

Change is coming. Old-school types always bemoan change, and that’s not just a basketball thing. But the rest of the world has rules in place to stop this because they realize it’s not basketball, it’s gaming the system. And it needs to change.

Timofey Mozgov with maybe “best” missed dunk of the season (VIDEO)

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On this play the Sacramento Kings played defense like only they can — and you wonder why George Karl’s job is in danger — and gave Cleveland’s Timofey Mozgov a wide-open lane right down the middle for an easy dunk.

Ooof.

LeBron James had a triple-double (the 40th of his career) and the Cavaliers got a needed easy win, but this is the play you’ll remember.

Karl-Anthony Towns with nasty poster dunk on Dante Cunningham (VIDEO)

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Karl-Anthony Towns is a beast.

While the Timberwolves have plenty of question marks around him, but Towns has been exceptional. Coming into Monday night, he was averaging 21.6 points (on 59.9 percent shooting) and 12.7 rebounds a night in his last 10 games.

Then Monday he did that to Dante Cunningham.

The Pelicans went on to win the game 116-102, but Towns continues to play well.

Report: Come 2017, Knicks have real shot to land Russell Westbrook

during the first half of the NBA game at Talking Stick Resort Arena on February 8, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
Russell Westbrook
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The summer of 2016 is all about Kevin Durant — and we don’t know what Durant is going to do as a free agent because Durant doesn’t yet know what Durant is going to do as a free agent. Stay in Oklahoma City, bolt to the Bay Area or maybe Washington D.C.? These playoffs, meetings with teams and his advisors, plus personal factors all will play a role in Durant’s decision. Which he will get around to announcing in early July sometime.

But the sense around the league is that while Durant may very well stay in Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook was drawn to the bright lights of big markets. If an elite player were to bolt OKC, this was the more likely guy. Westbrook is a free agent in 2017.

In an article about Phil Jackson and the Knicks in the wake of Derek Fisher’s firing, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports said the Knicks have a real shot at Westbrook in a couple of summers.

The Knicks have a real chance to sell Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook in 2017 – New York and Porzingis have his attention, yes – and Jackson ought to start constructing an elite coaching staff to begin that process with Westbrook and with free agents beyond him.

Come 2017, expect Westbrook to meet with a number of big market teams on both coasts, and then make a decision. The summer of 2017 is a couple of NBA lifetimes away, it’s impossible to say what Westbrook will do (he may well decide to stay in OKC if they win enough), but the big market teams looking for a star will get their turn in the batter’s box.

Which is why I still think Durant signs a 1+1 deal this summer to stay in Oklahoma City for another season — he’s going to give everything another chance to come together for the Thunder, then when the salary cap is at its peak in 2017 (an estimated $108 million) he makes his peak seasons decision. He and Westbrook and Serge Ibaka will all be free agents at the same time, and they can make their calls.

And the Knicks could be involved in all of it.