Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose looks on from the bench against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Chicago

Reports conflict surrounding Derrick Rose’s involvement with recruiting Carmelo Anthony to Bulls

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Carmelo Anthony began his free agent tour in Chicago on Tuesday, and while Derrick Rose wasn’t a part of the formal presentation that was made, he did speak with Anthony that day at the United Center.

What wasn’t clear was Rose’s overall involvement in the Bulls’ free agent pitch.

Reports conflicted as to just how aware Rose was of the timing of Anthony’s visit — initially, Rose was supposedly “bothered” that he wasn’t officially a part of it, and was simply going through a routine workout, unaware of what time Anthony would be stopping by.

Honestly, that seems somewhat preposterous on the surface. The team’s best player who works out at the arena daily would obviously have an idea that something like an in-person free agent pitch to Anthony would be going down, and even if he wasn’t going to be sitting in on that meeting, it would of course make sense that he’d carve out some time to speak to the fellow All-Star who was considering playing alongside him.

From K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

After two seasons dominated by knee injuries, Rose found himself back in the news Friday. ESPN.com reported that the front office hadn’t asked Rose to attend Tuesday’s free-agent pitch to Anthony and that a surprised Rose stopped his workout to briefly say hello when he saw Anthony touring the United Center.

In fact, sources said Bulls officials requested weeks ago for Rose to participate in the pitch should they get an audience with Anthony once free agency began. When official contact was allowed late Monday and details of Anthony’s Chicago visit were finalized, sources said they were communicated to Rose.

The Tribune reported in Wednesday’s editions that Rose came to the United Center for a previously scheduled workout and rehabilitation session, talked to Anthony for roughly 20 minutes inside the locker room and did not attend a dinner held for Anthony.

That falls right in line with Rose continually stating that he wasn’t interested in recruiting free agents, but common sense dictates that, at the very least, a conversation would need to be had when someone of Anthony’s magnitude is thinking about signing a long-term deal in Chicago.

TNT to cover NBA games with only former players, no traditional play-by-play men

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19:  Grant Hill #33 of the Phoenix Suns looks to move the ball as Derek Fisher #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers defends in the first quarter of Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 19, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) — TNT will use broadcast teams featuring only former players and no traditional play-by-play men during five NBA doubleheaders later this season.

The “Players Only” schedule runs Monday nights from Feb. 27 to March 27 and includes matchups such as Golden State-Oklahoma City on March 20 and Cleveland-San Antonio a week later.

Brent Barry will serve as the primary host of one team with Derek Fisher and Grant Hill, while Greg Anthony partners with Kevin McHale and Richard Hamilton on the other.

Lisa Leslie and Dennis Scott will serve as reporters.

Turner Sports says Thursday that Chris Webber will anchor the studio coverage with Isiah Thomas and Baron Davis, and that additional NBA players will contribute to the five-week program.

James Harden presents fan with game ball on her 100th birthday (video)

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HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden took some time out after the Houston Rockets’ win over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks to give a fan a present on a her 100th birthday.

Video shows Harden signing a ball for the woman and spending a few moments sitting next to her in her courtside seat and posing for pictures Wednesday night.

Harden told ESPN’s Doris Burke in an interview that he told the woman how “blessed” he was to be able to have a chance to meet her.

The Houston guard also put on a good show for the fan during the game, scoring 38 points in a 111-92 victory over the Bucks.

Paul George dunks on DeMarcus Cousins while getting whacked in the face (video)

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Kings center DeMarcus Couins appears set to become the first player to sign as a veteran designated player. The Pacers hope Paul George will follow.

But in the Pacers’ win over the Kings yesterday, George beat Cousins.

Not even Cousins thwacking George in the face could stop this dunk.

Report: Khris Middleton could return to Bucks before All-Star break

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 16:  Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts during their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 16, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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The Bucks projected Khris Middleton to miss about 70 games when he tore his hamstring before the season. That extended absence often leads players just to shut down for the year, but Middleton vowed to return in time for the playoffs.

He might get back far sooner than that.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star ‎break.

Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.

The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.