Omer Asik helping Rockets once again

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Omer Asik isn’t done with the Rockets just yet.

After being emotionally unready to play two games following a trade request, Asik continued his resurgence in a win over the Grizzlies on Monday. Since bottoming out with his back-to-back DNPs, Asik has played 7, 12, 13 and 21 minutes.

Against Memphis, the Rockets trailed by 12 at halftime, because they grabbed just 14 defensive rebounds to the Grizzlies’ 13 offensive rebounds. Not only did that give Memphis 16 second-chance points, it prevented Houston from getting into its transition offense.

Enter Asik.

Asik played 14 minutes in the second half alone – more than he’d played in any of the Rockets’ last seven games – and all of the fourth quarter. With 10 rebounds total, Asik helped Houston grab 19 of 22 available defensive rebounds and surge ahead for the win.

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

Asked if he was surprised that Kevin McHale never returned to Howard down the stretch, Asik said he had not considered it.

“I don’t think about that,” Asik said. “I just play whenever I get minutes. I just try to play hard.”

This is why the Rockets haven’t traded Asik yet.

There will be nights, like this one, where he helps the team win. They might be few and far between, but they will happen. Plus, Houston, especially considering Terrence Jones has successfully replaced Asik in the starting lineup, doesn’t have any gaping holes that could be filled with the return in an Asik trade.

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Asik is too expensive a luxury to afford forever, but for now, the Rockets can wait for a good offer. In the meantime, they’ll happily get some production from him.

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.