Dan Feldman

Washington guard Dejounte Murray, center, dribbles the ball past Mount St. Mary's center Taylor Danaher (50) as Washington forward Marquese Chriss, right, watches duirng the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Report: Washington freshmen Marquese Chriss and Dejounte Murray declaring for NBA draft, hiring agents

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A new rule allows players to declare for the NBA draft and withdraw within 10 days of the combine.

Washington’s Marquese Chriss and Dejounte Murray aren’t taking advantage of it.

Jeff Goodman of ESPN:

By hiring agents, the Chriss and Murray will lose their college eligibility.

Chriss is a probable lottery pick. The 6-foot-9 freshman forward has an impressive combination of athleticism and skill. He can finish above the rim, shoot college 3s and protect the rim. He’s a little raw and his rebounding was surprisingly poor, but anyone who can jump as high and shoot as well as him will attract major NBA attention. Plus, he won’t turn 19 until the week after the draft. Imagine where he’ll be in a year.

Another freshman, Murray is a borderline first-round pick. He’s 6-foot-5 and athletic – intriguing traits for a point guard. NBA teams will have to weight his ability to make plays others can’t against his poor outside shooting and too-frequent sloppiness with the ball. It shouldn’t take too long into the draft for someone to bet on his size, athleticism and aggressiveness.

Report: Jimmy Butler facing offseason knee surgery

Chicago Bulls' Jimmy Butler, right, drives past Toronto Raptors' DeMar DeRozan during the second half of an NBA basketball game against in Toronto, Monday, March 14, 2016. The Bulls won 109-107. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP
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Jimmy Butler was concerned enough about his left knee to seek a second opinion. After consulting Dr. James Andrews, Butler returned to the Bulls lineup, saying “Gotta risk it to get the biscuit.”

So far, the Bulls have gotten a plain bagel.

They’re 4-3 since Butler’s return, but he has lagged well behind his usual level on both ends of the court, and Chicago just l two straight to the Knicks.

Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times:

According to a source, Butler was told that exploratory surgery on the knee was in play as soon as the season comes to an end.

And while he was initially vague when asked about it, the All-Star didn’t take that scenario off the table.

“Maybe. I hope not,’’ Butler told the Sun-Times. “Is my knee the same as it was before the injury? No.

“But I want to play, man. And at times I feel like I’m hurting this team. That’s the most disappointing part because I’m not the player I was. I don’t know if there’s something really wrong in there, but it’s not really right, either. But I’ll be fine. I have to figure out a way to help us win playing with this. That’s all I’m worried about.’’

The 36-35 Bulls are 1.5 games behind the Pistons for the East’s final playoff spot. Chicago has an easier remaining schedule than Detroit, but if you can’t beat the Knicks, whom can you beat?

If Tom Thibodeau were still coaching the Bulls, he’d be getting a ton of heat for playing Butler. The guard’s minutes per game (34) since returning to the lineup are rivaling his shooting percentage (38).

But this Butler’s toughness showing. It’s not easy for any coach to restrain Butler’s competiveness, even if he desired. I’m not sure Fred Hoiberg does.

Butler makes the Bulls better, even at this lower level. An hobbled Butler trumps Chicago’s other wing options.

The bad news for the Bulls: If Butler’s knee is in bad enough shape to require offseason surgery, it’s less likely he reverts to form this season. They’re probably stuck playing at their current level and hoping that’s enough.

They also must hope Butler doesn’t damage his knee further.

Derrick Rose dunks for first time all season (video)

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Derrick Rose has never gone a full season without dunking.

Even two years ago, when he played just 10 games, he managed to throw one down. It’s a far cry from his 32 dunks while winning MVP in 2010-11, but at least the Bulls point guard showed his athleticism hadn’t completely diminished.

With this slam against the Knicks last night, Rose once again avoided a dunk-less season.

LeBron James drives straight through lane, throws down reverse dunk (video)

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LeBron James looked frustrated throughout the Cavaliers’ loss to the Nets last night.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy this spectacular dunk.

It looks similar to his reverse slam against the Bucks the night before, except this time, he dribbled himself through the paint rather than cutting without the ball. If LeBron is going to reverse dunk in the halfcourt offense nightly, sign me up.

Matthew Dellavedova’s ankles broken by Donald Sloan behind-the-back dribble (video)

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There will be a lot of people happy to see Matthew Dellavedova on the lowlight reel.

They can thank Donald Sloan for putting the Cavaliers guard with a dirty reputation on the ground.