Mike James, Darius Morris

Reports: Bulls sign Mike James, Lou Amundson

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As we covered when the Jazz claimed Erik Murphy off waivers, the Bulls had 24 days of service to offer free agents and remain $750,000 below the luxury-tax line (key for maintaining ability to pay Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson potential performance bonuses).

Chicago signed Ronnie Brewer with 10 days left in the season.

Now, with seven days left in the season, the Bulls will reportedly sign two more free agents – Mike James and Lou Amundson.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

James will sign for the remainder of the season

Shams Charania of Real GM:

Brewer, James and Amundson will be eligible for the playoffs. If all goes well, they won’t be needed to fill major roles, but they provide depth just in case.

James becomes Chicago’s third point guard behind Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin. The 38-year-old played 11 games with the Bulls earlier this season, so there should be a degree of comfort, even if he brings little upside.

Amundson has played for eight teams in eight years, including the Pelicans this season. He also played two minutes for Chicago last season during a 10-day contract, so he’s another player the Bulls have experience with, if only brief. At his best, the the 6-foot-9 power forward brings energy and rebounding.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.