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Will Dwyane Wade be a Chicago Bull next season?


Dwyane Wade has expressed his frustration with the Bulls this season — both with teammates and management. He’s also not seeming to take head coach Fred Hoiberg very seriously. It all points to a big question:

Will Dwyane Wade be a Chicago Bull next season?

He has said he will consider opting out, but will not make any call until the season is over.

I can think of 23.8 million reasons Wade could be back as a Bull next season — that is how much his player option is for, and it’s unlikely he would make that much on the open market (although he could get a multi-year deal and more security). Also, Chicago is his hometown and he has been active off the court in his city, he may not want to walk away from that. He may not want to leave playing with Jimmy Butler.

Rival executives are not so convinced that’s enough, reports Ken Berger of Bleacher Report (in a must-read piece about the dysfunction in Chicago).

Wade, 35, has a player option for next season. Given the tumult in Chicago, rival executives believe it’s reasonable to expect Wade may want out—despite the $23.8 million he is owed if he stays.

The question is, how strong would the market for a 35-year-old two guard with questionable knees be? He is averaging 18.8 points a game, he can still create shots for himself and others, and he’s still a good player on the perimeter. He has real value, but how much will teams pay for it?

There are some contending teams — Cavaliers, Clippers, others — that would have an interest in Wade as a free agent, but only if he was willing to take a considerable pay cut. To use the examples cited, LeBron James may not care, but Cavaliers already have the NBA’s highest payroll. The Clippers need to shell out this summer to retain Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and J.J. Redick (all of whom would be more important on the court to the Clippers than Wade).

What other teams are out there might offer remains to be seen.

Wade likely has not made up his mind yet, he will get to the off-season then make his call. He’s going to need to decide what matters most to him in the balance of money/winning/playing with friends. He can’t have everything, so what is it that drives him now?

Utah’s Donovan Mitchell with shot of night to force OT with Spurs


One of the factors to consider in the Rookie of the Year race: clutch plays.

Down three with less than 10 seconds to go Friday night, the Utah Jazz put the ball in the hands of their rookie playmaker Donovan Mitchell — and he made the play, draining a three to force overtime. It’s an impressive play.

In the clutch this season (last five minutes of a game, within five points), Mitchell has averaged 3.2 shots per contest (by far the most of any rookie) and has a true shooting percentage of 51 percent. Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons, the other front-runner in the ROY race, averages less than a shot per game in those clutch situations (0.8) and has a true shooting percentage of 66.7 percent.

Mitchell made the big shot, but the Spurs made plenty too, had 45 points on the night from LaMarcus Aldridge, and got the win.


PBT Extra: Who is coming out of the Eastern Conference?

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The Toronto Raptors will finish with the No. 1 seed and all the best metrics in the East, but they have a history of playoff flameouts. The Boston Celtics’ have been hit hard by injuries. And the Cleveland Cavaliers have LeBron James but also a dreadful defense, this is the most vulnerable a LeBron led team has been since he bolted Cleveland seven years ago.

So what team is coming out of the East?

We get into that in this latest PBT Extra. A poll on Twitter found most of you think the Cavaliers, but personally, I think the Raptors — who have been better defensively all season than the Cavs — may finally have their year.

LaMarcus Aldridge drops career-high 45 points, Spurs beat Jazz in OT

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge had a career-high 45 points, helping San Antonio overcome Donovan Mitchell‘s 35-point performance for Utah in the Spurs’ 124-120 overtime victory over the Jazz on Friday night.

The Spurs won their sixth straight and beat the Jazz for the first time in four meetings this season.

Utah’s 12-game road winning streak came to an end, but only after Mitchell had 14 points in the fourth quarter, including three 3-pointers in the final two minutes to force overtime.

San Antonio remained sixth in the Western Conference with the same record as fifth-place New Orleans, a half-game behind Oklahoma City for fourth. Utah remained eighth in the West.

After free throws by Spurs guards Manu Ginobili and Patty Mills and a dunk by Jazz center Rudy Gobert put San Antonio up 114-111, Mitchell drained his third 3-pointer of the fourth with 3.6 seconds remaining to force overtime.

Mills, who finished with 23 points, had six points in overtime as the Spurs capped an undefeated six-game homestand.

Aldridge averaged 32.2 points and 9.0 rebounds during the winning streak, including two double-doubles.

Aldridge scored 28 points in the first half on 12-for-16 shooting, including a 3-pointer.

Utah missed its first six shots and was 4 for 14 as San Antonio grabbed a 19-8 lead midway through the first quarter. Mitchell settled the Jazz, scoring six points to cut the Spurs lead to 29-21 heading into the second quarter.

Mitchell was 14-for-35 shooting while falling six points shy of his season-high.

Derrick Favors added 22 points for Utah and Ricky Rubio had 20.

Ginobili finished with 18 points for the Spurs.


Stephen Curry leaves game with knee injury


In his first night back from an ankle injury that forced him to miss six games, Stephen Curry limped off the court not to return after in third quarter Friday night after JaVale McGee fell into his knee.

He limped to the bench then eventually to the locker room after the injury.

The severity of the injury is not yet known and should become clear on Saturday after an MRI.

Curry scored 29 points and grabbed seven rebounds before being forced to leave the game, and the Warriors held on to win the game.

Obviously, if Curry is out heading into the playoffs, that changes the dynamic in the West, where the Houston Rockets were already right on the heels of the Warriors.