Dan Feldman

Utah Jazz's Derrick Favors (37) reaches in on Memphis Grizzlies' Mike Conley (20) in the fourth quarter of the USA Basketball Showcase game, Thursday, July 25, 2013, in Las Vegas. The White team beat the Blue team 128-106. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

Report: Mike Conley wants to be considered for Team USA despite injury

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Mike Conley is out the rest of the regular season and playoffs.

But the 2016 Olympics?

Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com:

Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley will not withdraw his name from consideration for Team USA even though he’s out for the season with an Achilles injury, a league source told cleveland.com.

There’s no harm in remaining under consideration. But it seems unlikely Conley makes the Rio roster.

Even without Chris Paul: The Americans are loaded at point guard: Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Russell Westbrook and Damian Lillard. Do they really want to take a chance on Conley – who, even healthy, ranks behind at least Curry and Westbrook – without him returning to the court first? Even though the Games aren’t until August, Jerry Colangelo said he planned to pick the roster in late June without a tryout.

And if Conley is somehow selected, would he play? He’ll be a free agent this summer, and he can’t talk to teams until July 1. Though he’ll probably have a new deal by the start of the Olympics, he’d have to commit to Team USA before free agency. That’s a tricky timeline.

The bigger question: If Conley believes it’s possible he’ll be healthy enough for the Olympics, could he return in the playoffs if the Grizzlies last long enough?

Report: 76ers might fire Brett Brown, promote Mike D’Antoni

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Not only did a report say Brett Brown’s job was safe with the 76ers, new general manager Bryan Colangelo put strong thoughts on the record.

Colangelo, via Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly:

“I said, ‘If it was merely for the sake of what he’s gone through and what he’s been through, he deserves a chance to see this through,’” Colangelo said. “What I’ve observed and what I’ve been impressed with, is a guy that is passionate about what he does, he seems to have a great idea and sense for the game. His team, from an analytics standpoint, actually plays the right way, they just haven’t played well, in that regard.”

Then Colangelo doubled down.

Colangelo on CSN Philly, as transcribed by Derek Bodner of Philadelphia Magazine:

“I told the ownership Brett Brown is the coach of this basketball team going forward. I left no question [to that],” Colangelo told the Breakfast on Broad team. “Brett Brown deserves the opportunity. He toed the company line for the last three years, he’s done everything this organization needs him to do, he’s been in the community, coaching clinics, coaching kids. He’s a lifer. He’s a basketball guy.

But not everyone is convinced – with assistant Mike D’Antoni, who has been linked to the Suns and Wizards, the potential wedge issue.

Ken Berger of CBS Sports:

if D’Antoni, the Sixers’ associate head coach, gets offers elsewhere — besides Brooklyn, he could be a fit in Washington or Phoenix — then Colangelo may be tempted to let Brown go and bump D’Antoni up to head coach in order to keep him, sources say. Ownership may have other ideas, remaining firmly supportive of Brown.

Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times:

The source called it “50-50” that Brown is the head coach to start the 2016-17 campaign, but believes there’s only a 20 percent chance Brown finishes next season in that capacity.

The source expects associate head coach Mike D’Antoni, who was hired by ex-Sixers chairman of basketball operations Jerry Colangelo in December, to succeed Brown.

The first source said Jerry Colangelo, who stepped down as chairman the day Bryan was hired and is now a special adviser to managing owner Josh Harris, didn’t like it when he found out Brown’s two-year extension was a done deal upon joining the franchise Dec. 7.

Brown’s extension won’t save his job (unless the 76ers owners are that cheap). It might just get him more money on the way out the door, which isn’t a terrible parting gift.

Brown has done a nice job teaching the young 76ers. Can he coach a team trying to win? Don’t know. He hasn’t had the opportunity.

I generally believe he deserves the chance in Philadelphia, but deserve has only so much to do with it. If the Colangelos believe D’Antoni is the best man for the job, they should dump Brown and elevate Colangelo. They shouldn’t lose someone they deem a better coach just to give Brown a turn. This isn’t little league.

The ideal strategy might be testing Brown while keeping D’Antoni in reserve. But D’Antoni could force the issue by getting a head-coaching offer. Plus, having the next coach assisting the current coach can undermine the current coach.

It might be hard for Bryan to walk back his public statements, but Philadelphia needs the best coach it can get – whether that’s Brown, D’Antoni or someone else. Getting the optimal coach would far outweigh a few hurt feelings now.

2016 PBT Awards: Sixth Man of the Year

Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (9) dunks against Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) during the first half of Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, June 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
AP Photo/Eric Risberg
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Kurt Helin

1. Andre Iguodala

2. Tristan Thompson

3. Enes Kanter

This was the toughest award to hand out this season. Early on it seemed that Manu Ginobili and Iguodala had separated from the pack, but both suffered injuries and missed time. To me, Ginobili missed too much time, but Iguodala did not (even though he missed his games late). I know Iguodala doesn’t want this award, but he settles down the Warriors second unit and is key to the devastating “death lineup.” I know Jamal Crawford will get a lot of votes, but not mine: the Clippers are 6.9 points per 100 possessions worse when Crawford is on the court compared to sitting, and even the Clipper offense e is better when he is out. I understand the noise in those numbers but I can’t get past what often feel like empty stats from Crawford.

Sean Highkin

1. Andre Iguodala

2. Tristan Thompson

3. Cory Joseph

Iguodala doesn’t want this award and has been very vocal about that, but he gets the nod here. When you’re a part of the famous “death lineup” on the greatest regular-season team of all time, that’s enough to me. Thompson will be starting at center for the Cavs in the playoffs, but he’s anchored them off the bench and helped them get the best record in the East. And Joseph has given the Raptors some much-needed backcourt depth and solid play at both ends of the floor.

Dan Feldman

1. Tristan Thompson

2. Andre Iguodala

3. Enes Kanter

Iguodala and Manu Ginobili, in that order, were the NBA’s best reserves when on the court this season. But they missed so much time to injury. On my sliding scale that weighs both contributions per minute played and total contributions, that allowed Thompson to pass Iguodala and Kanter to pass Ginobili.

Bulls GM Gar Forman on trading Jimmy Butler: ‘We’ve got to explore all options’

Chicago Bulls shooting guard Jimmy Butler shakes hands with general manager Gar Forman during a news conference Thursday, July 9, 2015 in Chicago. The Bulls took what they believe is a big step, announcing a maximum five-year contract for their All-Star shooting guard on Thursday. They are hoping Butler can build on a breakout season, form a dominant tandem with Rose and help them emerge from the Eastern Conference after they came up short last season. Butler's deal is worth $95.5 million. (Anthony Souffle/Chicago Tribune via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT CHICAGO TRIBUNE; CHICAGO SUN-TIMES OUT; DAILY HERALD OUT; NORTHWEST HERALD OUT; THE HERALD-NEWS OUT; DAILY CHRONICLE OUT; THE TIMES OF NORTHWEST INDIANA OUT; TV OUT; MAGS OUT; NO SALES
Anthony Souffle/Chicago Tribune via AP
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Could the Bulls actually trade Jimmy Butler this summer?

Chicago’s top basketball executives – Gar Forman and John Paxson – didn’t shoot down the rumor.

Not even close.

Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago:

When given the opportunity to boldly declare Butler as the untouchable piece, they left the door open to other ideas.

“I would say, I think John made it pretty clear we’ve got to take a look at everything,” Forman said. “We’ve got to explore all options and I don’t think there’s anything that’s off the table when you have a disappointing year like this. With that said, obviously Jimmy has had a fantastic year. From where he was to where he’s gotten to, he’s become a very, vey valuable player for us.”

“There’s one untouchable guy I’ve ever been around, Michael Jordan,” Paxson said. “So that’s how I’ve always looked at it.”

This still strikes me as management trying to send a message – both to Butler (who some believe has changed during his path to stardom) and his teammates (some of whom believe he gets preferential treatment). There’s nothing preferential about a trade you don’t want. It might even be humbling.

This is also a good way to evaluate Butler’s value around the league. That knowledge could come in handy.

And it’s possible the Bulls get an offer that knocks their socks off. Pushing to trade Butler would be a mistake, but they shouldn’t keep him at all costs if another team covets him to a ridiculous degree.

I doubt Chicago will sell low on Butler for the sake of change, and given the amount of lowball offers floated when a star becomes even somewhat available, that means he’ll probably remain a Bull.

Michael Jordan congratulates Warriors: ‘Basketball is always evolving’

Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan pumps his fist as he watches his team against the Washington Wizards in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015. The Hornets won 101-87. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
AP Photo/Chuck Burton
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Klay Thompson and Draymond Green said Michael Jordan encouraged him to break the Bulls’ record.

So, it’s no surprise Jordan handled the Warriors going 73-9, topping Chicago’s 72-10 mark, with such class.

Jordan’s manager Estee Portnoy:

This is a welcome change from the 1972 Dolphins, who – champagne toasts or not – still brag about their undefeated season at a grating level. At least Mercury Morris does, and he presents himself as speaking for the team.

Good for Jordan, whom nobody would accuse of lacking competitiveness, for seeing the bigger picture. The Warriors are great for basketball, and their season doesn’t erase the Bulls’. If anything, it should make a new generation of fans appreciate just how hard it was for Chicago to win 72.

As the Bulls’ best player took the high road, so did their most prominent fan.

President Barack Obama:

Yup, Obama sure enjoys these Warriors.