Report: Derrick Rose injury could ‘accelerate’ attempts to trade Luol Deng

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The news of the latest injury to Derrick Rose, a torn meniscus that will require surgery, is devastating on multiple levels.

You have to feel for Rose personally, of course, considering all of the hard work he put in to come back from an injury to his other knee that forced him to miss all of last season.

And for Bulls fans, depending on how much time he ends up missing, it could mean the end of any hopes of contending for a title this season — not only because of the absence of Rose, but also because of what the franchise may choose to do with other key players on the roster.

From K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

Knowing Rose would return, management kept the 2013-14 Bulls intact for one, final championship run. Whether the reshaping of the roster, widely assumed to transpire next summer, will be accelerated could depend on for how long Rose is sidelined.

If Rose misses the remainder of the season, attempts to trade Luol Deng, who can walk as an unrestricted free agent next summer, could be accelerated.

It makes sense for the Bulls to try to get something in return for Deng, a two-time All-Star who is highly regarded by many of the league’s head coaches, and someone that management deemed wasn’t worthy of a contract extension. But with everyone well aware of the situation in Chicago, it’s more than likely that the Bulls won’t get what they would consider equal value in any trade offers.

There’s also Deng’s impending free agency to consider, so whatever teams do show interest would need assurances that Deng would have an interest in re-signing with his new club next season, and at a contract number agreeable to both parties.

The scenario is a complicated one for the Bulls front office, but right now it’s just something to look at. No decisions need to be made on the personnel front until it’s discovered whether or not Rose will be lost for the bulk of the season.

Devin Booker drops 70 points for Suns in loss to Celtics (VIDEO)

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Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.

Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.

His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.

Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon skies to finish amazing alley-oop (VIDEO)

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Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.

As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.

Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.

Former Hawk Pero Antic’s celebration accidentally punches teammate in face in Eruoleague (VIDEO)

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Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.

Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.

Maybe a little too pumped.

Ouch.

That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.

Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.

(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)

James Harden helped recruit Lou Williams to Houston

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The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.

While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”

Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”

We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.

Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.