Jeff Teague doesn’t want Atlanta to match Milwaukee’s offer

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NBA free agency is about the money. First, second and third. This is a business.

But it’s also about feeling wanted. Players feel neglected and overlooked by the team they are on and suddenly here comes other teams telling them how special they are, now much they are wanted and needed, and by the way here’s a nice check to go with that love. The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence. It’s no wonder a lot of guys that sign offer sheets really don’t want their original team to match it.

That’s where Jeff Teague is — he signed an offer sheet with the Bucks (four years, $32 million) and he’d prefer if the Hawks didn’t match it, he told the Journal Sentinel.

“I’m definitely excited at the opportunity to come back to work with Larry Drew,” Teague said. “The Bucks have a good team, a young nucleus and guys that are ready to take the next step. I can help.”

(Teague’s agent J.R.) Hensley said Teague was frustrated by the Hawks’ lack of interest and phoned team president and general manager Danny Ferry to inform him he did not want to return to Atlanta.

“I’m nervous,” Teague said of the waiting game which will play out until Atlanta makes its decision. “I really want to be here. I thank Milwaukee for giving me this opportunity and taking a chance on me.”

See, it’s also about feeling wanted. The Bucks told Teague how much they wanted him while Atlanta, as is their right, coldly let the market set the price tag to keep him. Now Danny Ferry and the Hawks have to decide if they keep Teague, let him go and go with Mo Williams or guys on the roster, or go chase a free agent such as Brandon Jennings, who was a Buck and didn’t feel the love from Milwaukee.

Atlanta has to make a decision by Saturday.

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.

Sprained ankle has LeBron James questionable for opener vs. Celtics

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James‘ playing status for Tuesday’s season opener against Boston remains unclear.

James has been slowed by a sprained left ankle for more than two weeks and it’s still not known whether he’ll be on the floor when the Cavaliers take on the Celtics and Kyrie Irving, who asked to be traded by Cleveland this summer.

Following Monday’s practice, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said “I really don’t know” when asked if James will play.

James took part in some post-practice shooting drills with teammates. He did not speak with the media as the Cavaliers prepared for their opener, a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference finals.

James has never missed an opener in his NBA career, and teammate J.R. Smith doesn’t expect him to miss this one.

“Oh, he’s going to go,” Smith said. “He’s going to go, trust me that. I don’t care what he’s got to do, he’s going to play.”