hawks

Reports: Mike Budenholzer may step down as Hawks president but remain coach

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This much we know: Changes appear to be coming to the front office of the Atlanta Hawks.

However, nothing has happened yet. An earlier report that Wes Wilcox was out as GM was shot down by the team, who sent out this statement:

“Hawks leadership is undergoing a period of evaluation and looking at how basketball operations works best.  There are no changes to report at this time and any reports indicating otherwise are inaccurate.”

Then came this bomb from Adrian Wojnarowski.

Everything in Atlanta seems up in the air and up for discussion. Changes are coming, but what changes remain to be seen.

This may all come back to the big question facing Atlanta this offseason:

Do they re-sign Paul Millsap to a max contract?

It seemed like Mike Budenholzer and part of basketball operations were ready to move Millsap and start the rebuild at the trade deadline when Kyle Korver was shipped to Cleveland. Then Atlanta ownership appeared to step in and stop the teardown, Millsap, stayed, and the Hawks got to the playoffs (but were eliminated in the first round).

Because of their cap situation, if the Hawks re-sign Millsap to a five-year max (what it will cost) they likely stay a good but not great team — 44-52 wins a season, first or second round playoff exit — for the foreseeable future. For someone like Budenholzer, out of the Spurs organization, the instinct may be to rebuild with young talent rather than live in the middle.

However, the Hawks have connected with the Atlanta community — specifically younger people living and working in the city — and are selling tickets at a pace the organization hasn’t seen in a long time. The Hawks are profitable. From ownership’s perspective, a rebuild could mean a drop in gate revenue and that connection with the community could be gone. This status quo might work for them.

There are some serious questions that the Hawks need to answer, and it seems that what they decide is going to lead to some front office changes. Big ones. And soon.

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.