Kurt Helin

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Charlotte reserve guard Ramon Sessions out with meniscus tear, no timetable set yet

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Ramon Sessions has been what the Hornets expected from him this season: A solid, shot creating (although mostly for himself) backup point guard behind Kemba Walker who can hold things down while the All-Star gets some rest. He’s not bringing what Jeremy Lin did a season ago, but he’s been fine bringing 6.2 points per game.

Now the Hornets will need to get by without him — he has a meniscus tear in his left knee and he is going to miss some time. From the Hornets’ official release:

The Charlotte Hornets announced today that guard Ramon Sessions has been diagnosed with a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee. Sessions will be listed as out for tomorrow’s game against the Utah Jazz and he will be reevaluated upon returning to Charlotte. 

Sessions is going to miss much more than one game. How long he will be out depends on if surgery is required.

This means Brian Roberts will get more run backing up Walker in the short term.

The Hornets have lost six in a row and have fallen out of the playoffs if they were to start today. The team is already without Cody Zeller (who will miss Saturday’s game as well), which was the reason they traded for Miles Plumlee.

PBT Extra: Lakers bring in Magic Johnson, but will that change team direction?

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Magic Johnson is back with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Right now that is in an “advisor to the owners” role next to Jeanie Buss, but his influence likely will grow. As Jim Buss’ fades. That is the topic of this latest PBT Extra.

Intentionally or not, the Lakers have tanked the past two seasons (drafting second and landing D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram) while selling the Kobe farewell tour. Now that Kobe is gone the Laker development is forefront, and it is slow. How good this Lakers’ core can ultimately be is something we will not know for sure for years, however, Jim Buss promised the Lakers would be back to contending (or at least the second round) by this season. Buss is the favored son of the legendary Jerry Buss who the father left in charge of basketball operations. Magic has been a regular critic of Buss, and the buzz is the other siblings in the Buss trust (there are six total, including Jim and Jeanie) are none-to-thrilled with Jim’s job performance and work ethic. Buss is in trouble.

But where is Magic going to take this team? Superstars are not just walking through that door anymore just because of the Laker brand, there needs to be a foundation. Under Magic, will the Lakers completely abandon their slow build plan and trade quality assets for good-but-not-great veterans who can get them more wins now? Essentially becoming the Isiah Thomas Knicks?

It should be a concern for Lakers fans.

Report: Cavaliers “backing far away” from Carmelo Anthony trade

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Kevin Love is not completely off the table. There are maybe 10 guys in the entire NBA for which there is no price to make a trade work. However, Love falls into that next tier of “in theory you can get him but in reality there is no way another team would actually give up enough to make a deal.”

Carmelo Anthony is not enough. Not close. No sane GM is moving a 28-year-old, at his peak Love for 33-year-old and declining Anthony.

And the Cavaliers are not interested in a Love for ‘Melo swap, reports Joe Varden of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Multiple sources with knowledge of the Cavs’ thinking are also backing far away from a potential trade for Anthony. It doesn’t mean a deal for Anthony is entirely out of the question. Just mostly out.

That hesitancy stems from this: Teams never want to completely close the door, just in case. At this time of the year (and through much of the season) teams talk all the time to each other, gauging interest and value of their players and others. There is a Mississippi River of talk between teams, what becomes public is the cups of that water media members dip in and pull out. For teams, never say never, they never know what might develop. The story on this deal covers this.

So a deal for Love would have to make the Cavs better. Who they could acquire for Love and his huge contract that would actually improve the team is a small group. In fact, the Cavs would be more likely to seek multiple, gifted role players in return for Love who could play behind LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, instead of alongside them.

While the Cavs will not rule out trading Love (the only player entirely off limits, in any scenario, is James), several sources said it’s highly unlikely he’s moved by the Feb. 23 trade deadline.

Love is going to be a Cavalier after the deadline and heading into the playoffs. I could concoct some fantasy basketball trade scenario where Cleveland would move Love, but nobody makes those trades in the real world.

The Cavaliers have brought in Jordan Farmar, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they made a minor deal. Just don’t expect a blockbuster.

As for the Knicks, they will keep looking but I’d be very surprised if they can find a deal for Anthony by the Feb. 23 deadline. Which will make Krisptaps Porzingis happy.

Hawks’ Taurean Prince, Heat’s James Johnson each fined $25,000 for altercation

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I expected a suspension to come out of this, but the NBA’s punishments remain a game of roulette.

Atlanta forward Taurean Prince has been fined $25,000 by the league for his brutal flagrant foul II against Miami’s Hassan Whiteside, throwing the Heat center to the ground. Prince was ejected for that play, as he should have been.

Miami’s James Johnson also got a $25,000 fine from the league for “escalating the situation in retaliation by throwing a forearm into the chest of Prince.” Which is accurate.

But does anyone blame Johnson? You know his teammates loved that, and Whiteside has offered to pay Johnson’s fine.

Report: Bulls reach out to Sixers about potential Jahlil Okafor trade

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If Jimmy Butler is a cornerstone in Chicago — and he should be seen as such — the question becomes which of their young players looks like they could be part of a future with him?

Take your time, we’ll wait for an answer.

Cristiano Felicio shows promise. They are disappointed in the development of Nikola Mirotic. And would you bet on Doug McDermott being part of that future? Bobby Portis? Denzel Valentine? Paul Zipser? Actually, maybe Zipster as a rotation player. The point is the Bulls still need to get younger and with guys who can be trusted to get buckets.

Like maybe Chicago native Jahlil OkaforThe Sixers backup center is available, and the Bulls have reached out, reports CSNChicago.com’s Vincent Goodwill.

The Bulls have been active with the trade deadline approaching, and they’ve inquired about the availability of Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor, multiple league sources tell CSNChicago.com….

So far, there’s more interest on the Bulls’ side than the 76ers’ side, according to sources, but the Bulls are interested in Okafor’s services. Because salaries have to match and Okafor is on a rookie-scale deal, one wonders how it can work if the 76ers aren’t enamored with some of the Bulls’ young players who’ve yet to fully blossom. The Bulls could conceivably open up talks to a third team if need be, considering it isn’t likely they’d want to part with any future first-round picks as they’re still deciding how they are to proceed with franchise direction in the next couple seasons.

Look at that list above, you think the Sixers are “enamored” with any of those guys?

The Sixers have Joel Embiid as the center of the future, and he has paired better with Nerlens Noel, so Okafor is the odd man out.

Still, Okafor brings a useful NBA skill to the table — the man can get buckets inside. He can post up, but is at his best facing up and getting by slower bigs. He’s got versatility in his offensive game. He’s not going to bring a lot else to the table — he’s no rim protector on defense — but bring him off the bench as a center and he has value.

The only question is would the Sixers find enough value in return to make a deal?