Derrick Rose

Associated Press

Stephon Marbury wants to return, play one more NBA season at age 40

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Stephon Marbury hasn’t played an NBA game since the end of the 2009 NBA season — the season Derrick Rose was Rookie of the Year.

Starting in 2010, he went to China and went on to become a pioneer for other American hoopsters heading to that country — and he became a legend in Beijing. He led the Beijing Ducks to two Chinese Basketball Association titles and had such an impact he has a statue in his honor and a musical about him and his impact on Chinese culture.

Now, at age 40 and with his career in China winding down, he wants one more shot in the NBA, and he posted about it on Instagram.

I'm making a #nba come back for the fans who want to see me play my last year as a pro. After hearing so many people say come back I finally prayed about it and gave it major thought. I thought the perfect ending would of been retiring with the Beijing Ducks but it's clear the GM had other thoughts which is fine. My love for the ducks will always be A1 from day 1. I still have a lot of go in me as a player and at 40 being able to play at a high level is a gift. Being able to stay mentally focused and physically fit takes a different type of discipline. I'm motivated to make this the best year of my career as I end a 21 year long journey in the game I love. It's been a blessing to play 13 years in the @nba and this year 9 years in the @cbachina China has groomed my game and my style of play. China made me sharp and consistent. We practice Monday-Wed from 9-11:45 and 3-5:45. Thursday one practice 9-11:45 and Friday-Sat same schedule as M-W. I thought I would die at first coming from the NBA where you can't practice that long before the season starts. Oh and we do that for over 40 days. This way of training can either break you or make you. I'd like to look at it as it made me. So I'm ready and prepared to take on a challenge I once faced but with chips under my belt along with all that has come with winning chips in China. Statues, museum, green card, Honorary citizen, ambassador for the environmental protection bureau, key to the city, only 30 people ever to receive the key to the city of Beijing and MY PEACE something no one can ever take. So with all of these things I feel complete and ready to turn towards the last page of my basketball dairy that I've been writing since 95 when I left Lincoln High. I thank all of the positive energy from all those who showed it throughout my time away from the NBA. Thank you for always keeping it 100. @stephonmarbury_3 @espn @marcjspears @nytimes @nypost @nydailynews @newsday @slamonline #starburymovement #starbuy #loveislove

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Marbury is committed to play for the Beijing Fly Dragons during the upcoming Chinese season, but that will end if February or March (depending on their playoff run) and after that he hopes to hook up with an NBA team.

It would be a fun story, but I don’t see how it happens. Last season in China Marbury averaged 21.4 points and 5.5 assists per game, shooting 34.1 percent from three. Those numbers sound impressive until you consider that the Chinese league is known for an appalling lack of defense — I don’t mean major college bad, more like DIII bad (and that’s not fair to the DIII guys, who at least try). Maybe a better description is disinterested AAU team bad. Let me put it this way, last season the top three scorers in China were Jimmer Fredette at 37.6 points per game, Errick McCollum at 37.5, and MarShon Brooks 36.2 — and none of them got NBA contracts.

Marbury was struggling to stay on the court and play at an NBA level eight years ago, it’s hard to imagine him doing it now.

I loved Marbury’s game and would love to see him play again, but this may be more of a Big3 situation than the NBA. That said, a team or two may give him a look.

Bulls blew the Jimmy Butler trade, and they’ll pay the price for years

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NBCSports.com’s Dan Feldman is grading every team’s offseason based on where the team stands now relative to its position entering the offseason. A ‘C’ means a team is in similar standing, with notches up or down from there.

Jimmy Butler was a one-man wrecking crew.

Now, the Bulls are just a wreck.

A half decade of frustration since Derrick Rose‘s injuries sent the franchise spiraling off course culminated in a lousy trade of the star wing, an intentional blowup after years of unintentional blowups.

The Three-Alphas idea was poorly conceived and predictably faltered. Fred Hoiberg has looked out of his element in the NBA, and his rosters haven’t fit his preferred style. Five straight first-round picks – Marquis Teague, Tony Snell, Doug McDermott, Bobby Portis and Denzel Valentine – have produced little value in Chicago and stressed the Bulls closer to their breaking point.

But they still had Butler.

Butler has grown steadily as a player, approaching superstardom. Using win shares and teams’ actual wins, he accounted for more than a third of Chicago’s victories – a higher percentage of his team’s wins than anyone in the NBA, save the Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns. But unlike Towns, Butler actually led his team to the playoffs. Butler could have again single-handedly carried the Bulls into the playoff race this season, which isn’t nothing.

Perhaps, the prospect of another early postseason exit was no longer appealing. Chicago has gone nine years without a losing record, but has advanced past the second round only once since Michael Jordan’s last championship, reaching the conference finals in Rose’s 2011 MVP season. There would have been nothing wrong with choosing to rebuild in aim of something bigger, and Butler – locked into a team-friendly contract for two more seasons – would have given the Bulls a huge leg up.

Instead, they squandered that elite asset.

Chicago traded Butler to the Timberwolves for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and moving up from No. 16 to No. 7 in the draft. That last aspect is the cherry on top of an awful trade. The Bulls didn’t even get an additional first-rounder! They gave up their own in a deal that still would have been awful if they hadn’t.

LaVine is recovering from a torn ACL suffered in February, a troubling injury for someone whose upside is tied to the athleticism he displayed while winning the last two dunk contests. Chicago will have him for only one year on his cheap rookie-scale contract before paying him market value (or so), either with an extension this summer or in restricted free agency next summer. Maybe the Bulls can get LaVine on a discount due to his knee, but they would be assuming real risk.

What did they see in him to make him the centerpiece of their Butler return?

LaVine has garnered attention by upping his scoring average in three NBA seasons – 10 to 14 to 19 points per game. Though LaVine’s efficiency is solid thanks to a smooth 3-point stroke, his heavy workload under Tom Thibodeau – 37.2 minutes per game, third in the NBA – contributed to LaVine’s impressive traditional statistic. He ranked 37th in points per game, but just 69th in points per possession, which is not so nice.

For all his athleticism, LaVine hasn’t really applied it to defending, rebounding or drawing fouls. His injury raises questions about whether he’ll maintain the athleticism necessary to make a jump. Just 22, LaVine still has time to blossom. But it’s worth acknowledging how one-dimensional he is.

Dunn, the No. 5 pick just last year, is actually older than LaVine. A rough rookie year was particularly disappointing, considering Dunn’s age. He has a way to go before his production warrants playing time, though he’ll see the court to develop – especially on this team.

Lauri Markkanen was a fine pick at No. 7, but the shooting big will have to majorly exceed expectations to make this a worthwhile package for Butler.

After surrendering with the Butler trade, Chicago looked directionless in free agency. Quickly securing Cristiano Felicio on a four-year, $32 million contract might have been commendable last year. In 2017 – a tighter market, especially for restricted free agents and big men – it’s a misread. Justin Holiday looks like decent value on his two-year, $9 million contract. Nikola Mirotic remains a restricted free agent.

Getting a second-rounder for paying a portion of Quincy Pondexter was a wise use of resources. Committing to rebuilding sooner and convincing Dwyane Wade to opt out of his $23.8 million salary would have created more room for similar salary dumps. We’ll never know whether Wade would have gone for that, but he might have.

The saving grace of this offseason: Chicago should be bad. Really bad. Maybe worst-in-the-league bad. That’ll net a high draft pick, unlike the Pacers, who are trying to win a moderate amount after their own flop of a star trade.

But the Bulls could also remain bad for years as they try to build back up. Their young core is lacking, and they don’t have a single extra first-rounder.

They never should have been this destitute after starting the summer with Butler.

Offseason grade: D-

Kevin Durant: I heard Derrick Rose made James Johnson sleep on his floor at haunted OKC hotel

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Derrick Rose (now with the Cavaliers) and James Johnson (now with the Heat) have both expressed their belief in Oklahoma City’s Skirvin Hilton Hotel being haunted.

Apparently, when they played for the Bulls earlier in their careers, Rose and Johnson handled the ghosts together.

Kevin Durant, via The Bill Simmons Podcast:

I heard D Rose, when they came his second year in the league, he made a rookie a rookie sleep on his floor, because, the year before, he said he felt somebody touch him or something like that. That’s what I heard.

So, the next year he made – I think it was James Johnson, it might have been – sleep on his floor.

I heard that story. I don’t know if it’s true or not.

Johnson began his NBA career with the Bulls during Rose’s second season in Chicago.

The rest of this story is too good to check out.

Report: Cavaliers called Warriors about Kyrie Irving-Klay Thompson trade

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The Warriors rejected a Klay ThompsonPaul George trade offer from the Pacers.

What about Thompson for Kyrie Irving, who’s younger than George and locked up for an additional season (the same amount of time as Thompson for a similar price)?

Apparently, Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman inquired before sending Irving to the Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:

It would be hard to believe that Altman could have landed a better trade than the Boston one. He did call the uninterested Warriors about Klay Thompson, a source said.

I’m not sure what this trade would’ve accomplished for either team.

The Warriors obviously already have a point guard in Stephen Curry. Though Irving isn’t the best distributor, his handles and defense push him to point guard. Curry and Irving would have been a tough fit together. Golden State knows Curry and Thompson are a championship-caliber pairing.

Thompson would have been a big upgrade at shooting guard in Cleveland, but the Cavs would have been woefully undermanned at point guard. Derrick Rose, Jose Calderon and Kay Felder wouldn’t cut it. At least the Cavaliers have decent options at shooting guard with J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Kyle Korver.

The Warriors would’ve never said yes, which is fortunate for the Cavs. They did better in their trade with Boston, anyway. Thomas can step in at point guard while Crowder still provides much-needed wing depth – plus Zizic and that sweet, sweet Nets pick.

Report: Anthony, Knicks remain at trade stalemate as ‘Melo does some public apperances

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The news on the Carmelo Anthony trade front is there is no new news on the Carmelo Anthony trade front. Regardless of what unsubstantiated rumors fly out of Houston fans’ Twitter account.

The Knicks and Rockets remain at a stalemate, reports Marc Berman of the New York Post — just as Anthony is about to do a number of public appearances.

Tuesday night, Anthony will be in a place he cherishes. Not Houston, but Baltimore, where he will host The Basketball Tournament — a month-long event that is down to its final four…

A stalemate has ensued as sources indicate Anthony only wishes to waive his no-trade clause to go to the Rockets. Not even Cleveland, which is in turmoil, is good enough for Anthony as the Cavaliers are dealing with Kyrie Irving’s trade demand.

The Knicks’ management tandem of Steve Mills-Scott Perry claim it won’t trade Anthony to Houston unless it cobbles together a solid deal that makes sense for the Knicks’ future. Nothing has materialized.

Anthony is likely to speak to the media at one of these events. Maybe. Even if he does, the man is polished and will not say anything particularly inflammatory.

The Knicks need leverage in these negotiations, and their one threat is they will bring Anthony into training camp and start the season with him. They may not want to, but they must have that threat to force Houston to work harder to find a third team (or fourth, someone to take on Ryan Anderson‘s contract), or to get Anthony to accept a trade to another team where a deal could get done. If Houston thinks Mills/Perry and the Knicks will eventually cave, they can wait out the summer. And that’s where we stand. Which is why the Knicks made a recent move:

In fact, a source told The Post the signing of veteran point guard Ramon Sessions partly was due to him connecting better with Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis than did Derrick Rose, who left for Cleveland via free agency.

The Knicks still want to make this trade, but they are wise not to do a deal just to get it done. They can and should be patient.