Heat and Spurs haven’t seen much of each other

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For a moment, let’s put aside key players like Chris Bosh, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard and just look at the Heat’s and Spurs’ top two players. In the last three years, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker have shared the court for just 45:57.

They could, theoretically, pass that total in Game 1 of the NBA Finals alone.

Due to circumstance, coaching, pettiness, injury, new additions and other reasons, Miami and San Antonio haven’t seen a lot of each other. That will obviously change in the next four to seven games, but recent matchups between these teams don’t give us many clues as to what will happen.

This season, of course, Gregg Popovich sent Duncan, Parker, Ginobili and Danny Green home before a November game in Miami. In turn, the Heat rested LeBron, Wade and Mario Chalmers for the March rematch in San Antonio.

Last season, because of the lockout, some Eastern Conference and Western Conference teams played each other only once, including Miami and San Antonio. In their lone meeting, the Heat won by 22 behind 30+ points from LeBron and Bosh, but Wade didn’t play due to a sprained ankle.

During the 2010-11 season – before Leonard was drafted – the teams traded 30-point wins, and the key players sat late in both contests. Such huge margins don’t seem likely in the Finals.

We haven’t seen much of these Spurs and these Heat playing each other (Just look at the picture I had to use for this post.) But the two teams with the best aggregate records in the last three years can duck each other no longer. We’re finally getting the great matchup we’ve longed for.

Bulls claim PG Kay Felder off waivers

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The Bulls’ point-guard position is a quagmire.

Kris Dunn and Cameron Payne are both injured (and not necessarily good). Jerian Grant is maybe an adequate backup pressed into starting. Ryan Arcidiacono is on a two-way contract.

Enter Kay Felder.

Bulls release:

The Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has waived forward Jarell Eddie and center Diamond Stone, and claimed guard Kay Felder off waivers.

Felder was waived by the Hawks, who acquired him in a salary-dump trade from the Cavaliers. Cleveland drafted Felder No. 54 last year, but ran out of roster spots this year.

Felder is only a moderate prospect. He impressed in the D-League, but at 5-foot-9, he has significant limitations. (His size also makes him incredibly fun to watch when he gets rolling.)

For Chicago, he’s a quite-noteworthy addition.

LeBron James: ‘I still got Pandora with commercials’

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Dwyane Wade revealed last year that LeBron James refuses to use his phone internationally unless he’s on Wi-Fi.

LeBron’s friend and new Cavaliers teammate again brought up that claim, and LeBron confirmed – then went even further about his own cheapness.

LeBron in a joint interview with Wade on ESPN:

No. I’m not doing that. I’m not turning on data roaming. I’m not buying no apps. I still got Pandora with commercials.

LeBron – he’s just like us!

As funny as that line is, keep watching to see LeBron hilariously explain how his hairline affects his interviews.

PBT Extra: LeBron as MVP and other NBA postseason award predictions

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Last year, Russell Westbrook had a historic season on his way to the MVP award, with James Harden and Kawhi Leonard right on his heels. But heading into this season, the dynamic for MVP — and many of the NBA awards — feels very different and wide open.

In this latest PBT Extra, I lay out my preseason predictions for every award — LeBron James for MVP, Ben Simmons for Rookie of the Year, and on down the list. There are a few leaps and surprises in there (predicting Most Improved or Sixth Man before the season is a crap shoot, so why not gamble).

Now the predictions season is over, let’s get on to the games.

Jazz: Dante Exum undergoing surgery after shoulder injury

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Jazz point guard Dante Exum hurt his shoulder in a preseason game – an injury that immediately looked like it could be season-ending.

Though Utah doesn’t outright say Exum is done for the year, this doesn’t engender much hope.

Jazz release:

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Danté Exum who suffered a separated left shoulder on October 6 vs. Phoenix.

After further evaluation, Exum (6-6, 190, Australia) has elected to undergo surgery to stabilize the AC joint of his left shoulder. The surgery is scheduled to take place Tuesday, October 24 in Los Angeles. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.

Exum (obviously) didn’t receive a contract extension before today’s deadline, so he’ll become a free agent next summer. After one full missed season already and two years of limited effectiveness, it’s not even clear Utah will extend Exum a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. The former No. 5 pick almost certainly won’t meet the starter criteria, which means his qualifying offer would be worth $4,333,931 (down from $6,619,903 based on his draft slot).

The Jazz will start Ricky Rubio, and Raul Neto will be the primary point guard behind him. Wings Rodney Hood, Alec Burks, Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles can all share facilitating duties.

Utah will probably be just fine without Exum this season, which speaks to his marginal place long-term.