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Danny Ainge: Cavaliers don’t affect Celtics’ roster plans


Lakers coach Luke Walton admitted what we could already see: Teams are timing their rebuilds to occur during the Warriors’ reign.

What about in the Eastern Conference, where LeBron James‘ teams have dominated? Do the Cavaliers affect team-building strategy?

Celtics president Danny Ainge on The Dan Patrick Show:

It doesn’t, nope.

It doesn’t matter. We have our own problems and our own challenges and trying to find, put players together that can win and compete in the league today is very difficult. Obviously we’re competing to try to get the same players that everybody wants in the league, but other than that, we’re not reacting to things that they’re doing right now. They have a great team. When you have LeBron James on your team, you’ve got to find some players that can compete against him, and that’s tough to do. He’s been the best player in the league for the last five or six years.

I don’t believe Ainge. If he’s telling the truth, he’s not doing his job as well as he could.

LeBron is an overwhelming force right now. He’s also 32 and can become a free agent next summer. Whether it be age-related decline or leaving Cleveland, LeBron could radically change the Cavaliers’ ability to win within a year.

A challenger like the Celtics should absolutely account for that.

And it seems they have.

Though there are obviously other factors, Boston didn’t trade for Paul George, Jimmy Butler or DeMarcus Cousins. The Celtics have hung onto to high first-rounders. This looks like a team waiting out LeBron.

Of course, Ainge wouldn’t want to admit that. The Celtics and Cavaliers met in the playoffs two of the last three years. A conference finals rematch is commonly expected. Ainge wouldn’t want to tell his players – or the Cavs, for that matter – Boston was deferring to Cleveland.

The Celtics look like a team concerned by Cleveland. They swim like a team concerned by Cleveland. They quack like a team concerned by Cleveland.

Maybe, no matter how Ainge frames it, they’re a team concerned by Cleveland.

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’


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.