If Gregg Popovich were Luol Deng’s coach, he may have written on Thursday night’s lineup card “DNP — Spinal Tap.” And we all would have turned the jokes up to 11.
But Tom Thibodeau and the Bulls play things closer to the vest, so the official word as to why Deng was sent home before Game 6 Thursday was he had flu like symptoms. Nate Robinson played through the flu Thursday — he was throwing up during timeouts. With half the Bulls team playing through injuries Deng didn’t come off well in the exchange.
Deng took to twitter to clear the air Friday — he was not sent home by the team because of a mere flu, it was far more serious (the first tweet used twitter extension service TMI):
On Wed I was taken to the ER and my symptoms indicated I may have meningitis In order to play on Thurs I was required to undergo a spinal tap
Deng says he was back in the ER on Friday, which obviously will make him questionable for Game 7 Saturday, although he wants to play.
Deng has been through this before — he had a fracture in his leg and the team played coy, so fans were all over him for not playing through pain. Deng’s savvy enough to go over the team’s head and directly to the fans with this stuff now.
Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.
So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.
LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.
When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.
At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.
The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.
China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.
China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.
Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.
This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.
The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.