Author: Kurt Helin

Los Angeles Lakers vs Chicago Bulls

Jimmy Butler likes to play country music during warmups. His teammates are not fans.

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Music can fill NBA locker rooms. Mostly it’s guys listening on headphones; sometimes it’s blaring out loud. If it’s Tony Allen listening on headphones everyone gets to hear it anyway at the volumes he plays.

But it’s almost always hip-hop. Some Drake, Kanye West, sometime’s it’s edgier stuff. Sometimes it’s throwbacks like Biggie, Tupac, DMX.

And if it’s Jimmy Butler’s turn in the Chicago locker room, it’s some country too.

“I get my own playlist in warmups sometimes,” Butler told ProBasketballTalk. “My teammates don’t like it very much because it’s country music, but they get over it.”

Country? Yes. Starting with Taylor Swift.

“I like Taylor Swift,” Butler said. “I like music as a whole, but her music is kinda catchy. I’m sure she’ll hear this interview now and be like ‘what’s going on?’”

So what’s on his playlist?

“I like country music. I listen to a little hip-hop,” Butler told us. “But I try to listen to people I’ve gained relationships with over the years, so whether it’s Ludacris or Lee Brice or Jason Aldean, whoever it is I try to support them just like they support me.”

Butler remains out of the lineup right now, recovering from a strained elbow.

“The elbow is great, it is getting better,” Butler said. “I’m taking care of my body, so I’ll be back in no time.”

Butler is spending some of his time off the court working on Kellogg’s Give a Child Breakfast efforts. It’s a charity issue he says is not just a tax write off, this is something finds very personal — making sure children get fed breakfast before school. He was at a Chicago-area school last week to help promote the effort.

“We just want to raise awareness that one in every five kids may go to school hungry in the morning, and to try and change that we want to try and provide 1 billion servings of cereal and snacks by the end of 2016 and a million breakfasts by the end of 2015,” Butler said of the Kellogg’s Give a Child Breakfast campaign.

And if the kids at that schools he visits want to dance to a little Taylor Swift, he’s good with that.

Raptors’ GM Masai Ujiri wants to get Canadian players on Toronto roster

Masai Ujiri
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There are a number of young Canadian players in the NBA — Andrew Wiggin, Anthony Bennett, Kelly Olynyk, Andrew Nicholson, Nik Stauskas, Tyler Ennis, and the list goes on — but none of them are on the roster of the NBA’s one Canadian team.

Raptors GM Masai Ujiri wants to change that.

As part of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport’s Canadian Basketball Speakers forum, Ujiri said that he would love to get a young Canadian on his team’s roster, although he was careful to avoid naming names as that would be tampering, reports Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.

“We are an NBA team, it’s important we look for talent everywhere, but it is on our minds to get a Canadian player or Canadian players,” Ujiri said at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre, after he had delivered his address…

“We are studying it. I even considered last year hiring somebody to concentrate just on Canadian players and I think I’m going to go through with it because the growth of the game here is so big,” he said.

“It’s the fit. We can maybe take our time and study it a little bit so it is the right fit and not do it just to do it. It’s going to come, there is no doubt in my mind. It’s an obligation that I think we have to fulfil. We are a Canadian team and I think to have Canadian players, I think will be phenomenal.”

Of course, the Canadian they would most want is Wiggins, who is on his way to being named Rookie of the Year and is showing signs of being a potential superstar in the league (his jumper has made leaps this season). However, Wiggins is in the first year of his rookie deal and the Timberwolves are not about to move him. What’s more, even when his rookie contract is up, he’d have to take a pay cut (and take a risk with injuries at the end of that deal) to get out of town — players almost never turn down a max extention to their rookie contracts. If Wiggins is offered one he likely stays another five years after this first deal. Meaning it’s going to be after 2020 before Wiggins might be a Raptor.

But the other names on that list above, and others coming in the pipeline will become available. There are quality guys Ujiri can get.

And it sounds like he may do just that.

Chris Bosh thanks fans in Miami

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat
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Classy.

Chris Bosh is out for the rest of this season — but will be back next season — due to blood clots on the lungs. He is out of he hospital and recovering, and on Monday night was in the AmericanAirlines Arena.

He met with the media earlier, but then before the game came out and thanked all the Miami fans for their support. It was handled well, as Bosh tends to do just about everything.

Five Things We Learned in NBA Monday: Just a reminder Anthony Davis is as good as anyone right now

New Orleans Pelicans v Milwaukee Bucks
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If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while putting Clyde Frazier’s suits in a bracket to choose the best one

1) Anthony Davis is playing as well as anyone in the NBA. And he’s just 21. Anthony Davis is not going to win the MVP award this season because his campaign doesn’t come with a compelling narrative (I think Westbrook leads there) and the Pelicans likely miss the playoffs. But make no mistake, he’s played as well as anyone in the league this season and gotten it done at both ends. He showed it again Monday night, putting up a huge line against the Bucks: 43 points on 17-of-23 shooting, 10 rebounds, six assists, and a couple blocks. But more than that it was how he did it — he had 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the fourth quarter, taking the game over down the stretch by knocking down midrange shots (even showing off a floater) to get the Pelicans the win on the road. He is unreal.

2) Giannis Antetokounmpo just keeps getting better every day. The one guy who could try to challenge Anthony Davis for the “best young player in the game” title is the Greek Freak, and he put up an impressive line against Davis’ Pelicans: 29 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals, three blocks. He’s not Davis, and the Bucks lost, but Antetokounmpo is just fun to watch play the game.

3) Hassan Whiteside is going to get suspended for this. Also, Miami’s playoff dreams are fading. First let’s talk playoffs. This is what the loss of Chris Bosh for the season has done to Miami — they went from being a playoff lock to a team that, even at home, can’t beat the Boston Celtics. Those Celtics are another team in the playoff mix and they have been on a run behind Isaiah Thomas, who closed out this game brilliantly (and the Heat were without Goran Dragic to counter). Miami is just half a game out of the playoffs as of this loss, but watching them play it’s hard to see them catching Indiana or Charlotte.

As for Whiteside, this is his second immature skirmish of the past week, and this one is going to cost him a game or two.

4) The Wizards can beat a playoff team. Sure, it’s a tired Hornets team on the second night of a back-to-back, but the Wizards will take it. No questions asked. John Wall was using his speed to pressure the Hornets defense early. Marcin Gortat was fantastic in the paint (20 points). The Wizards needed a win like this; the question is can they build off it.

5) Even the Nuggets can beat up on the Knicks. Just a reminder that the best thing about the Knicks right now are Walt Frazier’s suits. Denver has been a franchise in disarray of late having lost 14-of-17 and firing their coach (although to be fair, they have played more free under interim coach Melvin Hunt),  but they owned New York — the Nuggets went on a 12-0 run late in the second quarter to take charge, outscored the Knicks by 16 in the third quarter and led by as many as 34. At least the Knicks are ensuring good lottery odds. But you can’t underestimate the amount of work that roster needs.

Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan gets high, throws down ally-oop with force (VIDEO)

Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Clippers
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DeAndre Jordan can finish.

He’s been doing more of that with Blake Griffin out, and that includes Monday night: 20 points on 10-of 11 shooting, plus he pulled down 17 rebounds. He was a force in the paint and the Clippers won 89-76 over Minnesota.

And he can finish. With authority.