Dan Feldman

FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2012, fil ephoto, United States' Kevin Love, left, dunks as Australia's Brad Newley, right, defends during a men's quarterfinal basketball game at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Love is back in Minnesota after a summer highlighted by an Olympic gold medal. He's gearing up for one of the most anticipated seasons in the Timberwolves' hardscrabble history, with training camp starting next week. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano, File)
AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano

Kevin Love commits to Team USA for 2016 Olympics if selected

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Before last season, Kevin Love said he hoped to play in the 2016 Olympics.

Now, the Cavaliers forward is being even more direct.

Love, via Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com:

“If they pick me, I’ll play,” he said.

Love helped Team USA win gold in 2012, and he’s clearly still devoted to the program. That loyalty  will help his case, especially after withdrawing from 2014 World Cup consideration (though Jerry Colangelo seemed fine with that).

But Love’s stock has dropped considerably in Cleveland, where he, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving haven’t found an optimal way to complement each other. Love just hasn’t looked like the star he was in Minnesota.

That said, the international game favors his skill set – passing and outside shooting. Love’s ability on the glass could help Team USA play small, which would fit the rest of the roster. The big question: Can Love defend centers in Rio?

Love is far from a lock, but for someone who missed the last two All-Star games, he’s in pretty good shape to be chosen.

2016 PBT Awards: All-Rookie

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) prepares to shoot as Miami Heat forward Justise Winslow (20) defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, March 3, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
AP Photo/Alan Diaz

Kurt Helin

First team

Second team

While there is no positional requirement with this vote, I still prefer to put a two guards and three front court players on each team. Usually with this award, I’m scrambling to find rookies who deserve the honor of making the team, but this year’s class is so deep I am leaving guys who showed promise — Emmanuel Mudiay, Frank Kaminsky, Bobby Portis — off the list.

Sean Highkin

First team

  • Karl-Anthony Towns
  • Kristaps Porzingis
  • Nikola Jokic
  • Myles Turner
  • Devin Booker

Second team

This is the deepest rookie class I can remember. In the entire lottery, and most of the first round for that matter (excepting the Spurs’ Euro-stash pick and the little-used Sam Dekker), everybody can reasonably be expected to at least be a rotation player in the league. There’s usually at least one Joe Alexander or Hasheem Thabeet, a high pick that looks like a disaster right away. Not this year.

Dan Feldman

First team

  • Karl-Anthony-Towns
  • Kristaps Porzingis
  • Nikola Jokic
  • Willie Cauley-Stein
  • Jahlil Okafor

Second team

Towns, Porzingis and Jokic were locks, and the more I reviewed Cauley-Stein’s season, the more impressed I was. After that, there isn’t much separation within this incredibly strong rookie class. This season could’ve had an All-Rookie fourth team with players who’d make the second team many years.

Iman Shumpert done for regular season, but Cavaliers expect him back for playoffs

Iman Shumpert
AP Photo/Aaron Josefczyk
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The Cavaliers haven’t officially clinched the No. 1 seed, though they’re only one win or Raptors loss away.

Cleveland will just have to do it without Iman Shumpert – and, it sounds like, Mo Williams.

Cavaliers release:

Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert will miss the final two games of the regular season after experiencing soreness and inflammation in his left knee that kept him out of Saturday’s game in Chicago. After further evaluation on Sunday, Shumpert had his left knee drained. He will undergo additional treatment and rest over the next several days and is expected to be fully available for the start of playoff practice and preparation later this week. Shumpert will be OUT tonight versus Atlanta and Wednesday versus Detroit.

Cavaliers Guard Mo Williams experienced discomfort and increased soreness in his left knee (chondromalacia) during and following the Cavaliers game in Indianapolis last Wednesday night. He traveled back to Cleveland on Thursday for further evaluation and monitoring. He is traveling today to see Dr. James Andrews in Florida for additional evaluation. His status will be updated following that and he will be OUT tonight versus Atlanta.

The Cavaliers can probably beat the Hawks or Pistons without Shumpert or Williams, and there’s a chance Toronto drops a game, anyway. Heck, even falling to the No. 2 seed wouldn’t doom Cleveland.

But the Cavs need wing depth in the playoffs, and Shumpert would be a big loss. If Shumpert is sidelined, Williams — who can’t seem to get healthy — becomes even more important.

Yes, Cleveland says Shumpert will be ready, but it’s always a little uneasy to have a key player suffer an injury this close to the postseason.

Report: Bulls hold ‘strong internal desire’ to re-sign Joakim Noah

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, left, and forward Pau Gasol (16) react as they watch from the bench in the waning minutes of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center, Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014, in New York. The Bulls defeated the Nets 102-84. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
AP Photo/Kathy Willens

It’s looking less and less likely Pau Gasol will re-sign with the Bulls this summer.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

the biggest reason Pau Gasol and the Bulls appear headed for a split in free agency has less to do with Gasol and more to do with Joakim Noah.

Though front-office meetings have yet to finalize the Bulls’ Plan A for this offseason, there is strong internal desire to re-sign Noah on a short-term deal. Noah long has been a favorite player and ambassador of Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. Executive vice president John Paxson drafted Noah, and their bond is genuine.

And Noah remains invested enough in the team to question Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose for their silence at the April 3 team meeting, according to several people present.]

The Bulls don’t necessarily need to choose between Noah and Gasol, but they might.

Noah wants to start, and it seems Gasol needs to start (though a new contract could change the importance to Gasol). But Chicago is also loaded with other big men: Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis. Mirotic’s unique ability to stretch the floor among the group warrants him major minutes, and his age suggest he’s growing only more capable of a larger role. Ditto Portis.

Noah, on the other hand, is 31. He looked lost as a scorer before a season-ending injury, and his defense will diminish if he loses energy with age.

But Noah has said he hopes to re-sign with Chicago, where he has spent his entire NBA career. He’s a quality locker room presence, which could help with tension involving Jimmy Butler and Fred Hoiberg – though Noah would also have to get past his own issues with Hoiberg.

The Bulls have multiple problems. They need better chemistry, and they need better athletes capable of running Hoiberg’s offensive system. Noah can help the former, but not latter. It’s up to the front office to determine how to prioritize each and what that means for a contract offer to Noah.

Report: Jimmy Butler doesn’t fly with Bulls to New Orleans, still expected to play against Pelicans

Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (21) looks to pass between Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) and forward LeBron James (23) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, on Saturday, April 9, 2016.  (AP Photo/Jeff Haynes)
AP Photo/Jeff Haynes
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Jimmy Butler has been stuck in controversy much of this season. Fred Hoiberg even named him as the beginning of the Bulls’ problems in a strange answer about his coaching style.

Is this another Butler thing?

Chris Broussard of ESPN:

Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler did not fly with the team Sunday to New Orleans for its game Monday night, according to league sources.

One source with the Bulls said Butler had a family commitment and would fly to New Orleans later Sunday night and that he will play against the Pelicans.

“It’s the first time he hasn’t flown with the team,” one source said. “But he will play tomorrow for sure.”

This could be nothing. Players sometimes fly separately from their teammates to handle personal matters. As long as the player arrives in time for the game, it’s nothing.

But this isn’t a Chicago beat writer keeping fans updated on every tedious detail about the Bulls. This is a national writer who’s chasing the biggest stories in the league writing an article about Butler’s travel plans.The implication: There’s something to this.

Chicago has been eliminated from the playoff race, and it would be reasonable to sit Butler the final two games – especially if he needs offseason knee surgery (though he says he doesn’t). But this report says Butler will play, which would raise even more questions if he doesn’t now.

Again: Does the mere existence of Broussard’s report indicate there’s more to the story than its text reveals?